Saturday, 4 December 2010

Euro, Ireland and Usurious Debts


Whilst power is being transferred slowly out of the national terrain
into the hands of the unelected EU-IMF vultures, with only a quisling
role assigned to the governments of Greece and Ireland (and soon
Portugal and Spain), it is becoming clear that the project for a
European Union with a single currency but 16 different governments is
unravelling right before our eyes. No serious commentator believes it
will survive in its present form.

The stage will arrive in the not too distant future, if it isn't
actually here already, that the blood required by the vultures of the
EU-IMF will no longer be able to be given. Bankruptcy and default of
all foreign debts will occur. What does the Weekly Worker assume is
going to happen next? That the euro will continue and that the nations
of Europe will not fight against their erasure - as announced by
Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, in a speech to
the EU, when he stated that the nation-states are dead?

Where national sovereignty is threatened, economic decisions are
passed to the control of unelected bureaucrats - historically Ireland
voted 'no' in the Lisbon treaty referendum, but then had to vote 'yes'
in a rerun. A rebellion starting on national terrain will be the next
stage of political developments - the City of London has allegedly
made loans to the tune of £150 billion and a default on these debts
will mean it takes a hit. This will be a progressive outcome, shifting
the balance away from the bloodsucking banksters back to the people.

In attacking the future nationalist response of the Irish people, the
Weekly Worker appears to want these monstrous, usurious debts to be

VN Gelis

If only

VN Gelis decries the statement by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy that the “nation-states are dead” (Letters, December 2). As a Marxist, I could only rejoice if such a statement were actually true!

Surely, a basic requirement of internationalism is a view that the nation-state is historically dead, and the progressive solutions we need and fight for can only be achieved over its grave, and on the basis of the development of much wider associations. Previous crises in the European Union have provided the fuel to drive towards much greater integration within it, and it is almost certain that, however much nationalists like VN Gelis dislike the idea, such will be the case this time too.

S/he says that no serious commentator believes that the euro can survive in its current state. That is quite clearly false. Although it’s possible that the euro may cease to exist in its present form, and I have explored the possibility of that myself, the reality is that it most likely will continue to exist in its present form, and there are plenty of serious commentators who hold that view. The reality is that the euro is a political project. At the end of the day, the political forces behind that project will do whatever is needed to ensure it continues. In a recent TV interview, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapaterro was only the latest leader to spell out what that means: constructing a fiscal union to go along with the monetary union. Already, it has been agreed that next year the EU will issue its own bonds to raise capital in the markets, and that is just another step down the road of constructing a federal European state.

As Marxists, we should welcome such a development, whilst fighting to try to ensure that the basis upon which this new state is constructed is as favourable to workers as we can possibly achieve. But, as a nationalist, VN Gelis cannot think in terms of such an international struggle by workers, because her/his mind is imprisoned within national borders, and as such s/he ends up advocating the preservation of the existing reactionary capitalist states as though that were in some way preferable.

S/he says: “Where national sovereignty is threatened, economic decisions are passed to the control of unelected bureaucrats.” But, within the confines of a global capitalist system, the question of national political sovereignty is irrelevant in such matters, especially for tiny economies such as Ireland. The reality is that both Greece and Ireland were already threatened by decisions made by people who were unelected, other than by their shareholders - not people in the International Monetary Fund or in the EU, but by the managers of the huge global bond funds, who refused to buy Irish debt other than at increasingly exorbitant interest rates!

Moreover, while s/he is right to point out that the officials at the European Central Bank and in the EU commission are unelected (although of, course, the finance ministers who ultimately brokered this deal are elected), s/he fails to recognise that the state officials within any capitalist state, including those who run the national central banks, are likewise unelected. Why does s/he think that an unelected Irish bureaucrat determining Irish economic policy is any better than an unelected EU bureaucrat?

The answer here is not to present national capitals or national state bureaucracies as somehow preferable, but to fight for a consistent democracy within the EU itself. In fact, even a consistently bourgeois democratic EU would be better able to withstand the pressure from specific sections of capital than would an Irish workers’ state. If we really want to talk about exercising democratic control over economic decision-making, then it is inconceivable that this could be achieved on any basis less than something of the size of the current EU. That is one reason we should welcome its development.

Arthur Bough

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