Posts Tagged ‘DiEM25’

March of fools and future of Europe

March 26, 2017

#What are the leaders celebrating in Rome? These leaders are responsible for the disintegration of the EU. — Yanis Varoufakis

Europe is an idea, doesn’t know borders and we don’t accept borders in this continent. — Yanis Varoufakis

You can force the people into chains, but not very efficient. Or Manufacture Consent, they willingly forge their own shackles.

In London yesterday, we saw the march of the deluded, Green Party that has lost its way, LibDems who will jump on any passing bandwagon, an assorted rag tag, all united in their support of the EU.

The usual false claims made, prosperity, peace, democracy, betrayal of young people. They could not even differentiate between EU and Europe, the two are not the same.

War criminal Tony Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell ‏claimed 16–17 year olds supported EU. Maybe he failed to tell them the number of children died in his illegal Iraq War, that it is young people in southern Europe who are bearing the brunt of EU austerity, in Athens young unemployed wander the streets looking lost, in Cyprus the young are a lost generation, no future thanks the the EU.

Yes, there was prosperity, that was across Europe, post WWII, whether in EU or not. UK saw creation of welfare state, expansion of universities, a growing economy, environmental legislation, before Edward Heath took UK into the EU.

Post-2008, post-capitalism, the EU has stagnated, if not gone backwards.

In Greece, the people dared challenge the EU, for that Greece had to be destroyed.
Peace in Europe, for that we have Nato to thank, not EU.

And are we forgetting the bloody break up of Yugoslavia, the criminal networks now based in the former Yugoslavia spreading their tentacles across Europe, the people traffickers?

Are we forgetting the civil war in Ukraine, the seizure of Crimea, the West almost brought to the brink of WWIII, a direct result of meddling by EU in Ukraine?

In Poland and Hungary, Fascist governments, crackdown on civil society.

In Turkey, a Fascist Islamist president, crackdown on civil society.

In Russia, gangster capitalism. Over the weekend, mass protest against corruption, brutal crackdown against any protest.

In Belarus, a brutal crackdown against the people by a Fascist regime. The street protests are against what has been called a ‘parasite tax’, if you are unemployed you are to be taxed for being a burden on society.

Across Europe, we are seeing a rise in Fascism, as a direct response to the EU.

In London over 20,000 a year die due to air pollution. The main cause, diesel fumes. The EU pushed diesel. Why? Because they were lobbied by VW. The same VW that fiddled its pollution tests. Small diesel cars are more polluting than lorries. Small diesel cars are 12–13 times more polluting than top of the range diesel cars.

In Rome, protest against the EU.

In Rome the EU meet to celebrate. It is businesses as usual.

In parallel in Rome, DiEM25 are meeting to offer an alternative, radical vision for Europe. Note Europe not EU.

Skip the first hour and a half and go straight to Yanis Varoufakis. The first hour is an empty venue filling up, next half hour waffle, though interesting points are made.

Many criticised Yanis Varoufakis for touring the UK with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to support UK remaining in the EU. Is he not one of its strongest critics, does he not bear the scars on his back?

Almost as an aside, Yanis Varoufakis explained why. It was not because he supports the EU, it was because he wanted the British on the inside to help with the fight against the EU. But, unlike those who took to the streets in London on Saturday, he recognises why people voted to Leave, it was not because they were racist (though some were), it was because they were saying enough is enough.

Anti-EU is not anti-Europe. Those who voted Leave, are saying the three million EU citizens living in UK should be granted the right to remain, they should not be treated as a bargaining chip.

But unlike those on the streets of London, Yanis Varoufakis recognises what could happen, 2008 could be our 1929, a rise of Fascism across Europe, which is why we need a progressive alternative to the EU, a progressive alternative for all of Europe.

It is for these reasons that DiEM25 are proposing change.

A Green New Deal, money to be pushed to the maintainers of society, to the innovators.

The maintainers are the nurses, the doctors, the teachers, the carers, the road sweeper, people who without society could not function.

The innovators are those who will take us to a greener, fairer society. They will create open source, open coop platforms, to enable participation, to put out of business Uber and Deliveroo.

Is it fair, as a speaker before Yanis Varoufakis asked, that the head of Fiat in Italy earns more in one day, than the lowest paid worker at Fiat would earn in 20 years?

We have to, as an earlier speaker said, redefine what we mean by work. That someone is not paid, does not mean they are not doing useful work.

This leads directly to the need for a Universal Dividend. Not as we have at present, forced to work to earn a living, precarious low paid soul destroying McShit jobs, serfs working for apps as we see with Uber and Deliveroo, bullshit jobs.

Leads also, as the speaker who followed Yanis Varoufakis, to DiEM Voice, art to drive a new agenda.

EU can try to punish UK in which case all will suffer, the German car worker, the French wine producer. Or we can all agree the existing trade arrangements remain in place.

We need democratic reform, power passed back to countries, that they recover their sovereignty, create a network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries, power passed down to cities and regions, as we see in Barcelona and Catalonia. Power passed down to ordinary citizens, participatory democracy, not the failed representative democracy. New political parties, as Podemos in Spain, or a reformed Labour Party as desired by the leadership and the new members, but blocked by the reactionary Labour Party Establishment.

EU is a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone, a haven for tax dodgers and corporate lobbyists.

The EU experiment has failed. The EU is disintegrating.

What we have to ensure, is that it is replaced by something better, where all citizens are represented, where wealth is fairly distributed, where the environment is protected. We cannot for example deal with climate change at national level, or even European level, it has to be at global level, with countries cooperating.

If people across Europe, do not fight for this New Europe, you will be delivered into the hands of Nationalists and Fascists, delivered by the gullible fools we saw gather in London on Saturday, who should be fighting for change, not supporting the existing rotten system.

Thoughts on DiEM25 UK launch

February 5, 2017

On Saturday morning 28 January 2017, at Conway Hall in Central London, long an important place for radical religious, philosophical, social and political thinking in the UK, DiEM25 held its UK organisational launch.

I have attended many interesting meetings at Conway Hall, unfortunately I was not at the UK launch of DiEM25 or at the meeting the evening before with Yanis Varoufakis.

Speakers from varied backgrounds included musician Brian Eno, Turkish author, columnist and academic Elif Şafak, from a Polish perspective Agnieszka Wiśniewska and Igor Stokfiszewski, and economics professor and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

Brian Eno is wrong, 1970s and onward not a period of growth.

Post-WWII, 1950s and 1960s were when we saw unprecedented growth. When Harold Macmillan told us ‘we had never had it so good’ and Tony Benn or was it Harold Wilson talked of ‘the white heat of technology’.

Brian Eno is though correct when he says we have seen accumulation of wealth by the 1%.

Where in the 1970s the head of a UK bank had a salary of 100 times the lowest paid, now it is in excess of three hundred times.

In US, wages have flat-lined since the 1970s, even though productivity has continued upwards at the same rate as post-WWII. In part explains the rise of Donald Trump.

Technology has given us in a post-capitalist world Uber, Deliveroo and now Wheelys, serfs working for an app.

It can also give us open platform coops, open source.

In Madrid, they have developed as Open Source Decide Madrid, a public participation platform. Being Open Source, it can be adopted by other citizen-controlled Town halls.

I agree with Elif Şafak, left v right has no meaning, it has had no meaning for at least a decade.

She has come from a dictatorship, Turkey, that could equally apply to the USA under Donald Trump.

Whilst I can sympathise with DiEM25’s “radical remain” position of being “in the EU against the EU” it is now dated and can no longer apply, and must change that position.

We have Donald Trump one side and Vladimir Putin the other, we need a strong Europe. A strong Europe of independent, democratic cooperating, sovereign states. This is not the EU, it can never be the EU. To believe can democratise the EU is a pipe dream. It is a brittle structure unable to adapt. It is built into the EU DNA to be a democracy-free zone, nothing will change that.

Build links across Europe, which is what DiEM25 is doing.

Build communities at local level, open coops, collaborative commons, then seize control of local Town Halls, then network these citizen controlled Town Halls.

This can be done, Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña in Spain, Frome in Somerset in England, are showing the way.

Yanis Varoufakis is correct, there needs to be cooperation between parties, but that is not the same as forming formal alliances.

There is something ridiculous when Labour challenge Caroline Lucas in Brighton, especially when we look at the regressive Member of Parliament Labour has in Brighton, who uses every opportunity to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

Similarly, Labour should forget Scotland, if SNP remains a progressive party, the same could apply to Wales. Focus on England.

In Stoke, Labour are likely to lose because they put forward a useless candidate. A candidate who ranks alongside Owen Smith.

There has to be massive clear out of the Labour Party. No matter how good the policies put forward by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, they will count for nought when they are constantly undermined.

As I write, Caroline Flint granted a prime time media platform to attack Diane Abbott. And what was the sin Diane Abbott had committed? She had failed to attend the House of Commons Brexit vote. Would it have made any difference? Not one iota. It was a landslide to trigger Article 50 for UK to exit the EU.

But it is this type of infantile behaviour by Caroline Flint that turns people off politics, and loses Labour votes.

Jeremy Corbyn was wrong to tell his party how to vote on Brexit Article 50.

We are leaving the EU. The focus should now be on building a post-Brexit future. And that is for the people to decide, not politicians.

We need a Green New Deal. Investment in people, in green technologies.

For example, instead of capping energy prices, talk of nationalisation of Big Six, create community owned local energy grids. Into these local networks feed renewables guaranteed a fair price. Consumers pay a fair price. Any surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned National Grid. Any ‘profit’ ploughed back into the local network or used to fund local community projects. The Big Six would be unable to compete and would go out of business.

HS2, Heathrow Third Runway, Hinckley Point C, should all be scrapped. These are gravy trains for contractors, not job creation schemes, and as infrastructure projects offer little.

The railways should be brought back into public ownership as each franchise expires, or in the case of Southern Rail for bad performance. Ownership would be some form of cooperative structure not nationalisation.

The idea put forward by Yanis Varoufakis, a national dividend not a basic income is worth exploring.

Another Europe is possible

June 24, 2016
ballot paper

ballot paper

England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example. — William Pitt the Younger

Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. — Benjamin Franklin

EU is Dead. Long Live a Free Europe.

In the Greek EU referendum last year, the bullying and hectoring failed to work. The Greeks said No to the EU.

The bullying and hectoring in the UK failed to work, the people said No.

When the votes were counted, what we saw was a victory by the people.

Lives were not sacrificed in two World Wars for the UK to be ruled by an unelected 28-member junta located in Brussels.

David Cameron has done the decent thing and resigned.

George Osborne has to go. He threatened the British people with economic terrorism if they voted to leave the EU.

Labour showed they were out of touch during the Scottish Referendum. Out of touch during the General Election. Out of touch on the EU Referendum. There was not the support within the Labour movement to leave as had been claimed.

Labour has one last chance under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Either reform or go the way of socialist parties in Greece and Spain and be replaced by radical, grass roots parties. This means a radical agenda, it also means a purge of the Blairites. The poison of Tony Blair has to be removed from Labour. If the evidence stacks up following publication of the Chilcott Inquiry, then Blair has to be put on trial for war crimes.

This morning we had war criminal Tony Blair crawl out from under his stone and call for Jeremy Corbyn to go. And on cue, two Blairite MPs table a Vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. Others are given a platform by the BBC.

Blairites need to wake up to the fact, Jeremy Corbyn has widespread public support they do not.

One of the huge mistakes made by Labour and the Trade Unions, was to attribute to the EU hard won rights by generations of workers. If, as they falsely claimed, handed down by an undemocratic big business cartel, then what role Labour, what role Trade Unions?

Every single right we have, was won by ordinary working people.

Green Party, and especially Caroline Lucas, lost what little credibility they had, with the ludicrous claims they made for EU benefits.

One of the few people to come out with any credibility was Yanis Varoufakis. He made no claims for EU benefits, he told it as it was, but asked that we stay in to help fight the EU.

The politicians are out of touch. They cannot decide what a Post-EU future will look like. There has to be open public meetings across the country to draw up a consensus.

This morning President of the Council of Ministers Donald Tusk showed arrogant contempt for the people of Europe. He said it was to be business as usual for the remaining 27. His arrogant contempt for democracy illustrates all that is rotten with the EU.

Leaders of the 27 are to meet without David Cameron in crisis talks. David Cameron is still British Prime Minister, UK is still an EU member.

Greece was treated in the same way, meetings were held without Greece.

UK has triggered a mass demand across Europe for countries to leave the EU.

Our friends in DiEM25 must now change course. Their motto reform or disintegrate, is now outdated, has been overtaken by events. They must heed what their colleagues in UK and across Europe are saying, dismantle the EU and move to a better future. This means, we cooperate at grassroots across Europe. We move to a network of cooperating, sovereign, democratic, European countries.

Until there is a General Election, should the Tories run the country? Should we not have a grand coalition government?

Whatever happens, we need John McDonnell, with the help of Yanis Varoufakis, to draw up what could be an Emergency Budget, to stabilise the economy. This means as outlined last year, investment in jobs, green infrastructure, dealing with tax dodging and an end to austerity.

All Partly Leaders must sign a pledge that they will respect all existing environmental protection and employment rights legislation.

We need to increase the Minimum Wage.

We need to assure all those from Europe living and working in UK, they are welcome. They should also, if they work and pay tax, be entitled to claim benefits.

Free movement of people was never to envisage the mass movement of people we now see.

The German equivalent of the CBI, has recognised existing trading agreements should remain.

Germany exports 50.9 billion euros worth of goods to the UK.

We must knock on the head the lies that are circulating, that Brits will not be able to work and live in Europe.

We must make clear, leaving EU, does not make us anti-European.

We should encourage and help other countries to leave the EU. For those in the euro zone, leaving is going to be difficult without their own currencies. They should establish parallel cryptocurrencies.

We need to transfer power to lowest possible level.

Citizens across Europe should seize control of Town Halls, implement participatory democracy, then network across Europe. Follow the examples of Barcelona and other towns and cities across Spain, of Frome in Somerset with their Flatpack Democracy revolution.

We must support open coops, collaborative commons.

Cornwall is highlighting the loss of its regional funding from the EU. Other regions will be in the same position. This funding should be maintained, but it should go on green infrastructure, for example establishing community owned local area networks into which renewables feed, supporting and establishing social enterprises.