IN THE RADICAL PRESS / IL MANIFESTO
By Rossana Rossanda
Those who participated in the development of Another Road for Europe, proposed by Sbilanciamoci and with the collaboration of Il Manifesto, will gather in Brussels, near the European Parliament Thursday. There will be different groups, associations, movements, along with many experts, who have worked not only on the analysis of the crisis, but also on some proposals.
For a couple of years we have now been on the brink of a disaster that has already involved several countries of the so-called southern periphery, which has shredded Greece and has forced, a few days ago, Spain to accept the dictates of the troika to get a loan, and which is forcing on Italy a unilateral policy of rigor, accepted for eight months by a unanimous parliament – a new anomaly in the Peninsular. Already growth in the continent is at minimum levels, unemployment continues to rise, workers – temporary and not – and pensioners are forced into an ever more stringent diet of sacrifices in order to avoid – if we ever will really manage it – from sinking into a debt trap.
It is not enough. Even the rigorous Monti is in a bit of difficulty between the foul mood that prevails in Italy and the rigidity of Germany, the illegitimate but undisputed master of Europe.
Also Thursday, at the same time as us but with much more authority and solemnity the Council of Europe meets in Brussels; we will see yet another of these summits run aground between conflicting interests, united only by deafness to the cries of the weak.
Protests that do not find any representation in our elected institutions, which, however ultimately decide. It is therefore from the group of experts, associations and movements that together or in parallel that have worked with us, that will emerge on Thursday a series of emergency measures that we will debate and fine-tune.
We already know, from the reports and documents that have been issued and exchanged, and from meetings held, that the measures have at their centre: a tax on financial transactions; the change in the rule that prevents the European Central Bank loaning to governments at 1% interest rates, a rule that instead only allows banks or financial institutions to lend and that do so at rates at least six times greater for countries in difficulty (in Greece twenty-fold and beyond, if this is not usury, what is it called?); to allow the renegotiation of debt; an outline of homogeneous tax regulations for the whole EU area without which every debtor country is exposed to scandalous speculation; to begin to lift the fog from various projects of Community financing such as Eurobonds; reflect on a Continent-wide mutualisation of debt as in the United States’ federal system; and growth through a reindustrialization project that rests on two axes, the primacy of a green economy and a standardization of advanced social welfare systems, whose disorder underlies the fatal process of offshoring.
None of this is impossible, or even greatly revolutionary: it is a management of resources that is less disorganised, less cruel, and – to judge by the results – less stupid than neo-liberal policies that have been permitted by the ambiguity of Community powers, oscillating between sovereignty and subordination, towards zero democracy. Economic choices result in institutional choices that have so far been suspended but are in need of correction, in a community that started badly and that risks ending up worse.