A qualitative change is taking place within the European Union where it is crystal clear that national independence and democracy are being dumped without formal procedure or public announcement. A couple of years ago Lord Mandelson, former EU Commissioner and New Labour guru, said “the age of pure representative democracy is coming to an end”. Surprise, surprise, that situation is now with us and happening to Britain as well as other Member States, whether a eurozone member or not.
The opportunity dealt up by the financial crisis to cull democracy has been grasped and promoted by the financiers and bankers. They have taken control and government ministers are their spokespersons implementing the monied men’s policies to keep capitalism alive in a form the financial sector controls. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has admitted her frustration with EU summits and their cumbersome democratic mechanism. “The EU’s ability to act and room for manoeuvre has proved slow and complicated. If we want to seize the crisis as an opportunity, we must be prepared to act more quickly and even in unconventional ways.”
In October the Frankfurt Group was formed in a back room at the Old Opera House to celebrate the retirement of the European Central Bank’s head, Jean-Claude Trichet. Present were the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, head of the International Monetary Fund together with the bureaucratic elite of the EU and Central Bank. Later on at the Cannes G20 summit officials walked around with lapel badges saying ‘Groupe de Frankfort’. This ‘Groupe’ met four times.
Afterwards two prime ministers were removed. Unelected financiers were put in their place to run affairs including the acute austerity policies in Greece and Italy. Draconian measures have been loaded onto the peoples of Ireland, Portugal and Spain, now joined by France and Belgium.
Several Prime Ministers were summoned to Berlin to receive their orders including Mr Cameron. Even the Commission President’s proposal to solve the crisis was rebuffed. Mr Cameron failed to join the group discussing the euro crisis, he was turned away.
All this reflects the dictatorial procedure and austerity being put in place in the eurozone and beyond. There is no longer any pretence that intergovernmental meetings at either EU or eurozone levels are taking decisions.
In Britain two million workers came out on strike on 30 November over the pension arrangements the ConDem Government is attempting to impose. It is blatant robbery from pension funds to satisfy the greed of those with an over-supply of money and a direct attack on the public sector. As the posters carried on the demonstrations and rallies around Britain stated it is an attempt to make public sector workers “pay more for less and retire later”. A couple of weeks beforehand Government minister Francis Maude, said “this is the final offer” but it turned out to be a piece of failed blackmail.
The attack on pensions and huge cuts in jobs is a common policy being imposed on public sector workers across the EU. The announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that pay will be capped for two years followed by miserly pay increases is also common in other EU Member States.
The thrust in all EU Member States, especially those in the eurozone, is to centralise powers, sacrifice national government powers and hence formal democracy. On top of this is the peddling and over-stating of the financial crisis, national debts, deficits and eurozone crisis where the real motive is a massive shift of wealth from those who work for their living to those who have an overabundance of wealth.
This ConDem government is fully behind the austerity policies in the eurozone and of course Britain. This Condem government is signed up to a “closer European Union” which includes the wholesale attack on both middle and working classes even though Cameron kept a distance from the new Treaty to put in place the European Stability Mechanism.
Since the foundation in 1992 of our Campaign against Euro-federalism we have made clear that the EU is the antithesis of democracy and that trying to force different economies into a monetary, economic and fiscal union would be a disaster. It is no comfort to say “we told you so”, that will not halt the processes taking place or the impoverishment of millions of lives and rational development of Member States – including our own. With the full support of Messrs Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and their cabinet of millionaires the Frankfurt Group is about to force a political union within the EU. This will bring about the end of all forms of democracy and the right to self-determination of nation-states.
That is the qualitative change taking place. Britain and its peoples would be well out of that cauldron.
Mandelson’s forecast is the same as saying the French Revolution will be undone. The end of the right to self-determination and independence is to undo the American Revolution. The situation is serious and that is why EU membership, the eurozone crisis and the new ESM Treaty are not just something over there which some hope will go away.
The growing opposition of the trade unions and labour movement to ConDem government policies has to be further widened to appreciate that the overarching EU factors have to be understood and taken into account and acted upon. An alternative must be put in place for the benefit of the peoples of Britain.
That requires both class and national aspects of the battle to be recognised. Otherwise we will have bankers and financiers ruling us as an oligarchy where once there was democracy and nation-states, the very things that can control private capital. They are also the very things that can bring an end to capitalism.
John Boyd is secretary of the Campaign against Euro-federalism and editor of the Democrat.Tags: Domestic (UK), Europe
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This post was written by John Boyd