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EU, Greece

Greece, Europe and sovereignty

What image will remain in the European Union in the wake of the Greek crisis? Indeed, whatever the outcome of this crisis, whether it results in a Greek default and a possible exit from the euro zone, or a capitulation of the Greek government, the consequences of this crisis on the EU and its image will be very deep. The crisis has brought to light the opacity of decision-making in both the EU and the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank. It has highlighted the anti-democratic nature of many of these decisions and a deep aversion on the sovereignty of peoples. The European Union, without realizing it, has assumed the role of the defunct Soviet Union in developing the equivalent of a doctrine of “limited sovereignty”. So whatever the outcome of this crisis, its impact on the EU’s image will be disastrous.

The management of the crisis was disastrous, but it is a disaster for which the European Commission bears full responsibility. Upon the coming to power of the new Greek government (an alliance of SYRIZA and the sovereignists of ANEL) it was clear that the framework of the negotiations could not be that of the “memorandum”. This fact was denied by the negotiators of the Eurogroup that have consistently sought to constrain the Greek government within a framework that the latter rejected.

The European Commission, and the various ” European “institutions” affected to believe that negotiations were about the amount of aid, so the Greek government proposed to overcome this logic of aid and  address the debt problem in a political manner, as was done in 1953 with Germany’s debt. This refusal by the Commission to hear what the Greek government was saying has led to the transformation of these negotiations into what the Greek Finance Minister, Mr Yanis Varoufakis, called a “war”. [1] As might be expected, this resulted in a hardening of the Greek position. Today there is a de facto alliance of the SYRIZA left with the sovereignists of ANEL, an alliance which largely determines the attitude of the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. [2]

If we are now on the brink, it is largely because the European Union has pursued negotiations with a too openly this political objective: to bend Greece to ensure that a challenge to the austéritaire framework desired by Germany and the countries that have accepted the role of vassals of the latter, and here we must speak of Spain, France and Italy, cannot be achieved by democratic means. Gradually, in the spring of 2015, it became clear that what the European Union was looking for was not an agreement with Greece but the surrender of the Greek government. Whatever the outcome of these “negotiations”, the European peoples will therefore understand that emanating from Brussels was only the treacherous Punic faith, and that Mr Juncker thought only of a Carthaginian peace.

From this point of view, and this has an enormous importance, the European Union has lost the image battle. It has demonstrated its essence: an oppressive and repressive structure, profoundly undemocratic. The reputation of the EU is now tainted by its behavior in relation to Greece.

The European Union was presented as a new construction, not a “super-state” nor a simple association. By asserting peremptorily, in the words of Mr Barroso, that the EU is a “sui generis” project [3] European leaders exempted it from any democratic control and so buried the principle of national sovereignty, but without replacing by another principle. This was reaffirmed, more abruptly, by Jean-Claude Juncker, the successor to the ineffable Barroso as head the European Commission: “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties”. [4] This revealing statement dated from the Greek election on January 25, 2015, which just saw the victory of SYRIZA.

Constitutional Law, ie the standards by which we create rules to organize our life in a community, normally focuses on the issue of sovereignty. Now, it is this question that the oligarchs of Brussels and Frankfurt would love to make disappear. We saw the scheme developed, consciously or unconsciously, in Brussels, and that is revealed in the discourse of Barroso and Juncker where there is no other purpose than to exclude sovereignty and lead the EU without any democratic control over their actions.

But Juncker’s statement goes even further. [5] He rejects a country’s right to challenge decisions in the treaties. We are now part of a new “limited sovereignty”. This language reminds us of that of the Soviet Union in relation to Eastern European countries in 1968, during the intervention of the Warsaw Pact in Prague. It regards the member countries of the European Union as colonies, or more precisely as “dominion” in the framework of the Commonwealth, whose sovereignty was subject to that of the metropolis (Great Britain). Unless that in this case it is no Metropolis. The European Union is thus a colonial system without metropolis. And, perhaps, is it only a colonialism by proxy. Behind the figure of a supposedly united Europe, which is now in fact divided by the European institutions, we can discern the face of the United States, a country which continues to give orders to Brussels, as we have seen on the issue of transatlantic treaty (TTIP) and the Ukrainian crisis.

This revelation of the true nature of the European Union led some to compare it to a “soft fascism”. [6] Laurent de Sutter, professor of law and director of collection by Presses Universitaires de France, gives this explanation: “The widespread delusion of the European authorities, must be questioned. Why does it Behave so immodestly before our eyes? Why does it continue to pretend to find reasons, when these reasons no longer have any meaning – they are just empty words, hollow slogans and inconsistent logic? The answer is simple: it is a question of fascism. This is to give an ideological cover for pure convention, a discourse which it pretends to adhere to while performing another operation “. [7]

It is then necessary to draw all the consequences, even if the formula of “soft fascism” may shock. It is now clear that the struggle to recover sovereignty is an essential prerequisite. We cannot discuss important issues until sovereignty is restored and the state reconstructed. It is now clear that the differences will not be on a “right-left” axis, at least as long as the question of sovereignty is not resolved.

“There is nothing irremediable except the loss of the State,” said Henry IV. [8] When he made that statement before the judges of Rouen, as a Parliament at the time was an assembly of judges, he wanted to make clear that a higher interest must prevail over special interests and the pursuit by individuals of their legitimate aims should not be at the expense of the common goals of society. By restoring the sense of the nation, he ended the civil war. We are here dealing with this question today. We may deplore it, but we must see, and draw the necessary conclusions.

It is clear today that we must create a united front sovereignists. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an easy formula. Like any united front, it is not supposed to a magic formula, producing an artificial unanimity, but a tactical instrument for a specific political objective. It will be necessary, ultimately, that we distinguish between the criticisms that can be made within this front, and the ones we should reserve for our enemies.

Translation/edit by Revolting Europe

[1] http://www.euractiv.com/sections/euro-finance/varoufakis-greeces-creditors-have-turned-negotiations-war-315247
[2] A. Evans-Pritchard, “Left Syriza demands ‘Icelandic’ default as Greek defiance stiffens,” The Telegraph, June 14, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11673989/Syriza-Left-demands-Icelandic-default-as-Greek-defiance-stiffens.html
[3] As Manuel Barroso JM Barroso, President Barroso Speech by. “Global Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific”, Speech 14/352, speech at Stanford University, 1 May 2014
[4] JC Juncker, « La Grèce doit respecter l’Europe», Le Figaro, 29 janvier 2015, http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2015/01/28/01003-20150128ARTFIG00490-jean-claude-juncker-la-grece-doit-respecter-l-europe.php
[5] See the analysis by C. Delaume, « Du traité constitutionnel à Syriza : l’Europe contre les peuples », in Le Figaro-Vox, 2 février 2015, http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/politique/2015/02/02/31001-20150202ARTFIG00405-du-traite-constitutionnel-a-syriza-l-europe-contre-les-peuples.php
[6] L. De Sutter, “La raison délirante de l’Europe, un nouveau fascisme mou ? », in Libération, 10 février 2015, http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2015/02/10/la-raison-delirante-de-l-europe-un-nouveau-fascisme-mou_1199605
[7] Ibid.
[8] Henri IV Speech to Parliament of Rouen in 1597.

About revoltingeurope

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


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