Paul Mason: There’s a case for Lexit — but not this year!

“For left wing internationalists in the UK the problem is not migration; nor is it even ‘sovereignty’ — which is always pooled in a multilateral world. It is that the EU is programmed by Treaty to destroy the core values of Europe.

The Commission’s demand that the Greek people should vote Yes to austerity in the referendum of July 2015 was the ultimate betrayal of Europe’s founding values.

It revealed that, on top of an irreformable structure there is a new problem: that Germany’s elite — and some of its people — are content to use the Euro system for their own differential advantage (link | chart), even if that means crushing the democratically elected government of another country. As a result, after July 2015 Europe became a system based on force, not rules.

[…]

Against the power of global corporations, hedge funds, and investment banks we need:

  • parliaments with the sole power to legislate;
  • a press with the power and will to scrutinise;
  • a rigorously apolitical civil service;
  • and a legal system tilted in favour of the citizen.

For the pro-Brexit left, the problem is Europe’s institutions fail on all counts.”

https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/theres-a-case-for-lexit-but-not-this-year-c0f6da935689

IWF-Experte: “Die ökonomischen Annahmen waren irrwitzig”

Der Autor Paul Blustein recherchiert seit Jahren im Inneren des Internationalen Währungsfonds.

“Bluestein: Problematisch war vor allem, dass es nicht früh genug einen Schuldenschnitt gegeben hat. Das wäre sicherlich nicht ausreichend gewesen – in Griechenland waren viele Reformen notwendig. Die ökonomischen Annahmen im Jahr 2010 aber waren geradezu irrwitzig optimistisch. Griechenland hätte unglaubliche Sparmaßnahmen durchsetzen müssen, um die Ziele des Programms zu erreichen. Am Anfang sollte ein Haushaltsüberschuss von sechs Prozent der Wirtschaftsleistung erzielt werden. Das ist viel mehr, als selbst eine gesunde Volkswirtschaft schaffen kann, dabei steckte Griechenland schon damals in der Rezession.

ZEIT ONLINE: Hat denn keiner im IWF gemerkt, dass dieses Szenario unrealistisch ist?

Bluestein: Klar, aber die Alternative lautete Schuldenschnitt, und das war für die mächtigsten Politiker in der EU inakzeptabel. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt gab es auch gute Argumente gegen einen teilweisen Schuldenerlass, nämlich die Ansteckungsgefahr, wenn auch andere Länder dies gefordert hätten. Trotzdem wurde die größte Bürde für die Rettung Europas bei Griechenland abgelegt. Das war unfair, und es rächt sich bis heute: Die Krise hält immer noch an.”

http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2017-03/griechenland-iwf-hilfe-sparprogramm-eu-kommission-dominique-strauss-kahn

Greece: Where did all the money go?

“The breakdown of how the programme funding was allocated clearly illustrates the crisis management strategy Greece’s lenders opted for. Eurozone leaders, with the reluctant agreement of the IMF, made a conscious decision to use almost two thirds of their ‘taxpayers’ money’ (as they like to refer to it) to service the debt which they refused even to reprofile at the beginning of the crisis, when it was essential and could have given Greece a chance of recovery.

To protect the integrity of the eurozone, the strategy has left Greece with a massive pile of debt and a quarter of the economy gone, still unable to stand on its own feet. It is this very debt and the pretence of key decision makers to present it as sustainable that keeps the country in a vortex of ongoing political instability, fiscal crises, troika fall outs and economic uncertainty. It is the magnitude of the surpluses required to maintain this sustainability pretence that in spite of the most phenomenal fiscal consolidation in ferocity and speed, Greece is still required to find savings in the volume of billions.

If the intention of eurozone leaders and institutions was indeed to keep their ‘boots on Greece’s neck’ due to the failings of its political class, as the ex-US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner claimed in his book, they have achieved their goal. Now they need to be open about their own crisis management decisions and answer the uncomfortable question: Where did all the money go?”

http://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.2080

Leaked memo: Seven years of demanding the impossible in Greece

Hello. It’s been some time.

“According to [IMF’s then head of research Olivier] Blanchard, not only was the task unprecedented, but Greece was being asked to achieve the impossible in unfavourable external circumstances, when everyone was barely recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis and without any other policy levers (low interest rates or exchange rate adjustment). […]

Athens is currently under pressure to adopt another 2 percent of GDP in new fiscal measures, which relate to the tax-free threshold and pension spending. Since 2010, Greece has adopted revenue-raising measures and spending cuts that are equivalent to more than a third of its economy and more than double what Blanchard had described as unprecedented almost seven years ago.”

http://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.5256

The Left and the EU: Why cling to this reactionary institution?

“Indeed, in its unwavering support for neoliberalism the EU represents nothing less than an attempt to perpetuate an economic model which advantages European businesses, whilst eroding the living standards of most Europeans. Particularly in the countries of the eurozone, democracy has been eviscerated by the adamant insistence of the EU on more cuts to government spending. […]

The EU is not internationalist in any sense that a genuine member of the left would support. It exists to advance the interests of the business class as against workers, and in its zeal to enrich corporations at the expense of ordinary people it has succeeded in creating such disaffection with the political establishment that fascism, the very phenomenon the EU was in theory designed to prevent, has once more become a formidable force in countries languishing in the grip of high unemployment and low wages. […]

There is a moral case for leaving, based on the fact that Brexit would probably result in the dissolution of the EU and ease the suffering of nations currently held captive by neoliberal economics. […]

A myth has gained ground amongst large sections of the left that the rights which British workers have come to take for granted, such as maternity leave and paid holidays, were gifted to Britain by the EU, and that Brexit would free the Conservatives to intensify their assault on the working class, uninhibited by a social Europe which at present exercises a restraining influence over neoliberal governments. Even supposing that the remain camp is right in assuming that the Conservatives will hold onto power until the next general election in four years time, a questionable assumption in light of the fact the Conservatives are deeply split over the referendum, it is simply false to claim that we owe whatever rights we enjoy to the EU, As others have documented, most of the rights that are invoked by the mainstream left as a reason to vote remain were already in place when we joined the EEC in 1973, and they owe not to a beneficient bureaucracy of Eurocrats but to Britain’s working classes, who won these rights over the course of many years and after a series of hard-fought struggles with the capitalist class. Likewise, the retention of these rights will depend not on the good-will of a remote bureaucracy, which is actively undermining those same rights elsewhere, but on the determination of workers to band together in defence of their standard of living.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/22/the-left-and-the-eu-why-cling-to-this-reactionary-institution/

Nigel Farage: “You should all be fired!” [Nov. 2011]

From the start, this blog was about making a case for Grexit. Widening the scope though, and taking into account recent developments in Europe, from this moment onward it is also about a left-wing exit (“Lexit”) of as many Eurozone member states as possible—consigning this ill-conceived monetary union to the dustbin of history, as UKIP leader Nigel Farage has put it so eloquently.

As strange a bedfellow libertarian/right-populist single-issue party UKIP may be for progressive forces in Europe, they at least have achieved a remarkable victory last Thursday. The outcome of the EU referendum is a shot across the bows of this clunky old tanker—aka “neoliberal superstructure”—called the European Union. (Or maybe it was a torpedo to its side—only time will tell.)

In the days and weeks to come, we will post a lot more about the current state of affairs regarding Lexits. Until then, a walk down memory lane with Nigel Farage lends this endeavour a light-hearted bipartisan tinge: this particular Member of the European Parliament is so right on so many issues that we simply refuse to fall for the platitudes—bordering on character assassination attempts—put forth by mainstream media. We’d rather listen to the man instead:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdob6QRLRJU

Even the Left must exit the EU to avoid economic horror seen in Greece

I would’ve never thought that I’d be quoting The Sun one day—of all papers!—, but where this rag is right, this rag is right:

“Unemployment is touching 30 per cent of the workforce, savage cuts to pension benefits are lined up, the economy has shrunk by a quarter since 2010 and tortuous negotiations with the country’s creditors are continuing into summer.

Some things never change and Greece’s Euro-torment is one of them.

This could be happening in Britain had we listened to the likes of Peter Mandelson, Michael Heseltine, Michael O’Leary and Nick Clegg 15 years ago and signed up to Europe’s single currency. […] One glance at the horrors inflicted on Greece because it lost control of its currency and interest rates gives some idea of the quality of these gentlemen’s advice. […]

Increasingly, however, the Leave coalition is linking traditional Conservative Eurosceptics with those on the Left who, seeing the carnage wrought by the euro, are rapidly concluding that there is nothing remotely ‘progressive’ about either the euro or the wider EU project.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1247350/even-the-left-must-exit-the-eu-to-avoid-economic-horror-seen-in-greece/