Exit from eurozone – EU, response to the crisis of euro (Rosa Luxemburg workshop)

Contribution (based on relevant questions) on Rosa Luxemburg workshop: “Crisis, Crises, the Crisis of the Euro – Alternatives of Sceptical Optimists” (16-17.12.2011)
  • The upgrading of economic and currency union as the central pillar of the“European project” reveals the deeper aim from the formation of European Union: The broadening of vital space for the German capitalism and other capitals which have the advantages against the weaker capitalist formations. Current problems of monetary union show the contradictory nature of the euro as it is the first currency without a national state and a common fiscal policy.
  • The Euro Plus Pact, as the response of european capital to the sovereign debt crisis, clarifies that the only acceptable reform of EU and Eurozone is in a totally different direction from which European people demand.
  • The response to the crisis of euro will cause the biggest reform in the nature of EU. Its most striking character will be, first, the explosion the democratic deficit, as European peoples will not be asked for these reforms (under the fear of a storm of “No”). Second, they will lead to the demolition of workers and social rights. Wages, pensions, working hours, welfare states will be in doubt with the excuse of confronting the sovereign debt crisis. They will try to close the parenthesis that opened the first after-war period as a result of the peoples struggle and the global competition.
  • Different parties of Greek Left had not the similar opinion against Maastricht Treaty. But the majority said “No”. Especially, there are three currents of the Left: Communist party, which has the bigger electoral percentages, Coalition of Left and Progress and Revolutionary ex-Parliamentarian Left. Communist Party said “No” as traditionally, since the entrance of Greece in 1981, was against EU. Coalition said by majority “Yes”, although there were massive currents in the party who were saying “No”. Revolutionary Left had said “No”, arguing that “Europe without frontier” under these circumstances means “exploitation without limits”.
  • The adoption of Maastricht Treaty in Greece led the ruling class of Greece to show the public finance’s discipline (alongside with spending cuts, privatizations, etc) as the most crucial aim of budget management.        In this sense, Maastricht Treaty in Greece meant bloody austerity measures from the decade of 90’s and the shielding of monetary policy as a means to prevent the intervention of working people in the formation and direction of this side of economic policy.

In Greece, European Union alongside with IMF had a protagonist role in the formation and applying of the bail-out plan and the accompanying austerity measures. In this sense intervention of European Union and much more of Germany in the daily economic and political life of Greece has been reached levels which we have never seen again with the exception of the last war. The most striking case was the Task Force that has been formatted in Athens which is headed by German Horst Reichenbach, who is called as “gauleiter” even by mainstream press. As a result of all the above, Greek people blame EU (which has been proved more strict than IMF) for the social genocide and economic occupation.

Euro Plus Pact’s provisions have many commons with the Memorandum of Understanding that Greek government signed with Troika.

  • From the onset of the crisis the whole Left in Greece gave a heroic struggle to stop this attack of European capital. In spite of this there are remaining different approaches that are related with EU’s nature. Especially Coalition of Left believes that EU can change, even now, in a progressive direction. At the other side, Communist Party and Revolutionary Left too believe that these changes are permanent reflecting in institutional level historical and reactionary transformations of nowadays capitalism.
  • Not only in Greece but alongside the European periphery has been proved that monetary union was a failure of historical dimensions. Euro failed because, among many others, the common currency increased periphery’s budget deficits and public debts as a result of the expansion of German capital. Sovereign debt crisis is the price that periphery paid for the surpluses of core countries. In this sense a left alternative must include three terms: First, exit from Eurozone and EU as a precondition for applying of distribution policies. Second, abolition of pubic debts with the help of audit commits which will prove that this debt must not be paid by the peoples because, at least by its biggest shares, it is a product of corruption or the functioning of irrational markets. And third, increases to the wages and salaries and generous subsidies to the public services (health, education, security system, transportations, etc).

These demands can unify not only the peoples of European periphery who have paid the biggest price because of the austerity measures the last two years but have the ability to unify peoples from periphery with peoples and working class from the core countries. We don’t forget that the domino effect of pan-european austerity began with Agenda 2010 and Hartz IV labor reform under the government of SPD before a decade. In this context Left and labor movement of Germany has a unusually big share in the nowadays battle to answer the question that Rosa Luxemburg formulated: Socialism or Barbarism!


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