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Greece, Spain

When the FT supports Europe’s radical left

By Bernard Cassen Fingers in your ears and blindfold over your eyes: faced with the crisis, this is the policy of denial practised by the European Union (EU), especially with respect to the euro area. A policy is not judged by its intentions but by its results. And the results are catastrophic: the Eurozone is on the brink of recession and public debt is increasing in many countries, the exact opposite outcome we were told the austerity measures demanded by Angela Merkel and implemented by the European Commission would deliver. All for the price of widespread suffering due to cuts – sometimes brutal – to the welfare state. The international context, above all the financial collapse of Russia, can only exacerbate this recessive spiral. We should not be surprised that European governments, that in the name of “competitiveness” become more neo-liberal every day, ignore hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who, in recent times, have taken to the streets in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal to reject the bitter pill imposed by Brussels. In contrast, it is surprising that they do not listen to some of their usual mentors – the IMF and the OECD – who shout that they should be daring, that they should stop the obsession with debt reduction and change policy. Yet the risk of destabilization of the euro zone – and thus the EU – are sufficiently perceptible to the Bible in the City and the international financial community, the British newspaper the Financial Times, to lead it to openly take sides in favour of Europe’s political anti-austerity forces. The title of the article published on November 24 by Wolfgang Münchau, one of the FT’s star columnists, is a small bomb alone: “The radical left is right about Europe’s debt” Here are some significant passages: “Let us assume that you share the global consensus view on what the eurozone should do right now. Specifically, you want to see more public-sector investment and debt restructuring. Now ask yourself the following question: if you were a citizen of a eurozone country, which political party would you support for that to happen? You may be surprised to see that there is not much choice. In Germany, the only one that comes close to such an agenda is Die Linke, the former Communists. In Greece, it would be Syriza; and in Spain, it would be Podemos, which came out of nowhere and is now leading in the opinion polls. Further, Münchau denounces “the sense of resignation with which the establishment parties of the centre-left and the centre-right are allowing Europe to drift into the economic equivalent of a nuclear winter.” And he concludes: “It is a particular tragedy that parties of the hard left are the only ones that support sensible policies such as debt restructuring. The rise of Podemos shows that there is a demand for alternative policy. Unless the established parties shift their position, they will leave a big opening to the likes of Podemos and Syriza.” At the time he wrote these lines, the FT columnist could not know that one of the parties of the left which he lucidly highlights was likely to come to power in the coming weeks. This could indeed be the case in Greece with SYRIZA if the results of early parliamentary elections on 25 January confirm opinion polls. This perspective paralyzes Berlin and Brussels to the point that their most senior figures grossly interfere in the internal political debate in Greece as if it were a banana republic in Central America in the early 20th century, with the Troika in the role of the ambassador of the United States. Thus we heard Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Commission, the French commissioner Pierre Moscovici, and the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, put pressure on Greek MPs to elect the President of the Republic Stavros Dimas, put forward by the Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. In vain, since on December 29, he lacked 12 votes to reach the qualified majority required (180 votes out of 300). Hence the dissolution of parliament and the calling of citizens to the polls on 25 January. Despite this setback, everything indicates that the threat that there will be chaos and the stigmatisation of Syriza will ramp up until polling day to create a climate of panic in a bid to favour the parties supporting the incumbent government. All efforts will be made to brainwash the population in order to prevent the free expression of the popular will. The deliberately provocative title of a recent article (30 December 2014) of the Financial Times – yes, that newspaper again – “Eurozone’s weakest link is the voters” is no better description of the view of “democracy” that prevails in the European Union … Memoire des Luttes Translation by Revolting Europe

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Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope


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