19 November 2011

Europe: the empire vs. the nations

Few Americans grasp the significance of recent events in Europe. The European Union's stealth war against national sovereignty and democracy has come out into the open.

Within days of Greek Prime Minister Papandreou's announcement of a referendum on Greece's submission to EU-imposed austerity policies in exchange for bail-out loans, the EU pressured him into resigning by threatening to cut off aid. A new government headed by Lucas Papademos, submissive to the EU's will, took office without elections being held. EU bureaucrats have been stationed in Greek government ministries to oversee the imposition of austerity. The planned referendum, of course, was canceled. The Greek people were totally shut out of any say in the decision to turn their country into a vassal state.

Days later, manipulations by the European Central Bank brought down Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy, a much larger economy whose drift toward default represented the biggest threat yet to the euro currency and to the whole EU project. Berlusconi is a corrupt and repulsive figure, but the Italian people had elected him, and in the normal course of events they could have voted in someone else if they so chose. His successor, Mario Monti, has never received a single vote from any Italian. He, like Papademos, will do the EU's bidding on austerity in exchange for continued economic aid which will keep Italy bound into the system.

Pat Condell was right when he spoke of the EU as "not, in fact, a union at all, but a continent-wide political coup". Ambrose Evans- Pritchard uses the term "putsch". British patriot Nigel Farage is in fine form here, speaking truth-to-power to the EU's leaders:

Days ago, a secret German government memo was leaked which confirms plans to exploit the current crisis to build a centralized European super-state which would be able to assume dictatorial control over weaker member states, and to order (!) British Prime Minister Cameron not to give the British people a referendum on EU membership. At about the same time, details of the pending Irish national budget were leaked -- leaked from the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, raising the question of why the German government gets to review Ireland's budget before almost anyone in Ireland has seen it.

Although Germany is now clearly the EU's dominant country, it is not Germany, as such, that is doing all this. The German people hate the bail-outs they are ultimately paying for as much as other Europeans hate the austerity which is imposed as the price for them; the euro currency and the idea of a pan-European super- state superseding national sovereignty have never been popular in Germany. The German political establishment, like that of the other EU member states, is pursuing its own elitist EU agenda in arrogant defiance of the popular will. (For that matter, the two embarrassing leaks mentioned above make me wonder if there are people in the German establishment who don't like what's going on and are trying to throw a few spanners into the works.)

The empire being built in Europe is not a German empire; this is about class, not nationality. The EU, like the Republican party in the US, has evolved into the political utensil of the financial parasite class. Papademos and Monti, the EU's -- quislings is not too strong a word -- in Athens and Rome, are both former high- ranking bankers. The austerity policies being imposed on the weaker nations as the price of bail-out loans are crushing the life out of their economies in a death spiral of falling demand and rising unemployment, killing all hope of recovery; the purpose is not to help the Greek, Italian, etc. peoples, but to protect the interests of the big lenders from whom their rulers borrowed money in the past. Let social safety nets be shredded, let millions sink into destitution and despair, let the young and talented emigrate to greener pastures beyond Europe -- so long as debt is held sacrosanct and default unthinkable.

Like race in the US, nationality and culture have kept European LIVs divided and distracted from the real enemy. Southerners raged at an imaginary Fourth Reich, while northerners tut-tutted at "profligate" and "undisciplined" Greeks and Italians. Few stopped to think what they themselves would have done had they been an ordinary citizen of the countries they excoriate -- or that those other peoples no more gave informed consent to their rulers' machinations, or foresaw the implications, than they themselves did.

But there are signs that Europeans are waking up. Across Europe, protests against austerity have dwarfed the Occupier rallies in the US. In Greece and (lately) in Italy too, there has been increasing resort to violence, and in all honesty I cannot criticize this. We Americans still have elections that mean something. In those countries, every avenue for peaceful and democratic change has been brutally shut off. As President Kennedy said, a regime that makes peaceful revolution impossible makes violent revolution inevitable.

Greeks and Italians have the right to run their own countries their own way and, if they make bad decisions, to face the consequences and devise their own solutions. That's what it means to be an adult. Providing endless financial support, accompanied by imposing one's own control over every decision, is how one treats a small child. The peoples who created European civilization in the first place have a right to not be treated like small children.

Update: Here's Farage again, from about a month and a half ago, on the struggle between the EU and national democracy:


Blogger Ahab said...

In your opinion, is the EU sustainable if it continues to act this way?

19 November, 2011 09:34  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Excellent post. Thanks for educating me on this. I've been remiss on reading up on what's happening in the EU.

19 November, 2011 09:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: Strictly speaking, yes, for a long time -- in the sense that "acting this way" is how the EU sustains itself at the expense of the nations it rules. In practice, I doubt it can continue to do so for much longer, because rising mass outrage will force governments to change course, or economic instability (outside investors are now getting nervous even about German bonds) will crash the system, or some combination of those.

SK: Thanks. It's rather difficult for Americans to really understand what's going on over there; since I've been following European affairs for a long time, it's a natural topic for me.

19 November, 2011 09:58  
Anonymous NickM said...

"Few Americans grasp the significance of recent events in Europe."

Having read that I can think of at least one American who groks it!

19 November, 2011 12:50  
Blogger dmarks said...

Those are a lot of interesting points.

Most of which the Europeans I've talked to a lot about this haven't raised. All interesting.

21 November, 2011 18:41  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Most coverage in the US of Europe's problems treats it as a given that the euro currency and the European Union must be saved -- the only question is how. In fact, most European countries would be better off without it -- they'd lose the bail-out money (with entangling strings attached), but they'd gain the flexibility of having their own currencies and being able to use stimulus policies to get out of recession.

23 November, 2011 07:08  

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