you're reading...

Greece needs a new Marshall Plan, say German radicals


In Germany there’s not only the Merkel government. There’s actually an opposition. Die Linke is offering alternative proposals to the logic of stability and balanced budgets, even if this in not easy in the country of rigor.

‘The idea of Europe is something completely different from the currency,’ stated the document from the conference that brought together on 17 February in Kiel, north Germany, the elected representatives of the German left in the European Parliament, the federal Bundestag and the regional parliaments (Länder). Also present were invited representatives of the French, Danish, Spanish and, for Italy, the mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris.

All were united in denouncing the austerity policies for their disastrous impact on Europe’s welfare states, which have been knocked out by the financial diktat that has decreed the end of the social compromise accepted in the past by European capitalism. A capitalism that, instead of paying for the crisis that it caused, sees in it an opportunity to impose uncontrolled domination of economic and financial power. ‘The focus on debt,’ is a ‘pretext to cash in’, according to Linke and other parties of the European left at the conference.

The public misery is instead a result of a contraction in revenues. These have been eroded not only by tax evasion but also cuts to corporate taxes and the lack of a wealth tax in the context of a huge redistribution of wealth towards the rich that has emptied the coffers of governments, including the German government.

What is to be done?

The European Central Bank should offer credit at 1% interest rate directly to member states, freeing them from the blackmail of the spread. There must be a Tobin tax and a rigorous control of financial markets. There must wealth taxes across Europe. This is what Linke proposes. As for the German export surplus, due in no small part to the policy of wage restraint, Die Linke argues that it should be reduced through guaranteed salary minima and a generalised increase in wages. As well as rebalancing Europe’s balance of payments, it would stimulate domestic demand.

For Die Linke, solidarity, at the foundation of the European Community after the Second World War, remains an important value to contrast nationalism and xenophobia. The party is organising initiatives together with the Greek left. And it thinks that Germany has a debt to pay: ‘The economic boom of the 1960s wasn’t only down to the Germans but also the work of immigrants from southern Europe, and the renouncing of demands for reparations for the Nazi war.’ Now Greece needs a Marshall plan, like that which Germany enjoyed, and more investment to create jobs, which are instead being destroyed by austerity measures.

The ‘renewal of democracy’ was also at the centre of the debate, because ‘the financial crisis is also a crisis of democracy’. On this theme Di Magistris intervened; the new interest of Italian citizens for ‘common goods’ offers lessons for Germany that are completely new, which Linke intends to study. The experience of participatory democracy in Naples, according to the mayor, is an antidote to the disaffection with politics, and is a concrete way to fight privatisation and liberalisation, imposed by the troika of the EU, European Central Bank and IMF. For Die Linke, fighting against privatisation and active citizenship are at the centre of the exchange and common analysis with other forces of the European left.

The hope is that they manage to work together against the crisis, and against those who want to make the weakest pay.

il manifesto


About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

  • A Week in Revolting Europe paper.li/tomgilltweets/… #austerity #politics #poverty #inequality #protest #banks #pensions #wages #unions 1 week ago
  • A Gathering Storm: Eurozone in 2014 | Jacques Sapir | Revolting Europe wp.me/p1bMfw-1XC 1 week ago
  • RT @labourstart: France: Two Total refineries in France to shut down over strikes ow.ly/rNovF 1 week ago
  • RT @USILive: Banking Union without Reform? - usilive.org/banking-union-… 1 week ago
  • EU credit downgrade 'pours cold water on narrative that things getting better in eurozone' -The Economist. economist.com/blogs/charlema… #austerity 1 week ago
  • RT @corporateeurope: 'Elected politicians excluded from #EU-US negotiations', writes @StaffaniDK #TTIP notat.dk/elected-politi… 1 week ago
  • Women plan mass #protests in #Spain today against law changes taking abortion rights back 30 years newsinfo.inquirer.net/549871/spain-s… 1 week ago
  • RT @euronews: Major austerity drive in Portugal deemed illegal eurone.ws/JOjqV8 1 week ago
  • RT @SocialEurope: Read on SEJ: Why Wage Depression Is Not The Way Out For Spain bit.ly/19xQlGP 1 week ago
  • Families of kids with special needs issue SOS as disability benefits cut & schools cost too much ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_artic… #austerity #greece 2 weeks ago
Follow @tomgilltweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Anti-social Europe in numbers


Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures


A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.


99% of the 167 000 Madrilenos who signed a petition rejected the sell off local water company

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list


Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB


Workers and citizens stand up for themselves


Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Massive Spanish protest

Half a million take to the streets over labour market deregulation


Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

International Workers Day

International Workers Day 2012

RSS Watching Corporate Europe

  • Pesticides, tobacco and greedy lawyers: the most read stories from CEO in 2013
  • EFSA urged to clean up list of 'public interest' organisations
  • NGOs welcome Ombudsman’s damning report which heavily criticises Commission

RSS Hate Crimes in Europe

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • Listen to Roma Rights
  • Russia: Total disregard for human rights on “Constitution Day”


in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be


Workers down tools over PM Monti's attack on labour rights


Concentration camps and a massive migrant marine cemetery





Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

PM Rajoy One Year On

Spaniards are not impressed








The Dossier