Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Yanis Varoufakis discussing Adults in the Room

May 1, 2017

Yanis Varoufakis and Paul Mason in conversation at Union Chapel to discuss Adults in the Room, an account of the European Deep State.

Larry Summers asked Yanis Varoufakis, are you in the inside or the outside?

In other words, are you one of us?

Christine Lagarde, after hours of fighting with Yanis Varoufakis, relaxing afterwards, admitted, he was right, and what was was being done to Greece was wrong, but it had to be done to satisfy the political establishment.

In discussion with US Treasury, they admitted, what was being done by the EU to destroy Greece, they were not happy with, but Greece was Germany’s sphere of influence, and they could not interfere.

Yanis Varoufakis was then  warned, be aware, in a week, a smear campaign will be launched against you by the EU.

One week later, that was what happened, a smear campaign was run. Lazy journalists, with ties to the Deep State, were briefed, they print their lies, and the rest  of the media regurgitates. Lies become facts.

If Yanis Varoufakis attempts to correct the lies, it is then reported as Yanis Varoufakis denies he said. That was never said, not reported.

Until that is he was interviewed by the New York Times, and said it was all a  pack of lies. Who should we believe, it is your word against theirs? Ah, yes, I recorded the meetings.

Not all journalists are of the calibre or integrity of Paul Mason.

Greece was neither here nor there. Greece had to be destroyed to serve as a warning to others.

We are seeing the same with Brexit. UK cannot be seen as being better off outside the EU. It must be punished to serve as a warning to others. That this will destroy Europe is seen as irrelevant.

Yanis Varoufakis set up the Untouchables, a secret task force to deal with Oligarchs and tax dodgers. They obtained records from the banks to show where the money was flowing, then compared with tax receipts. They then offered an amnesty, declare and we will tax you at 15%, we are letting you off lightly, fail to declare and we will bring criminal prosecutions, and by the way, we know who you are.

This programme, which would have brought in billions of euros, was scrapped by the Troika.

The Troika was supported by the Oligarchs, the Troika in turn supported the Oligarchs.

When Greece held its referendum, the media campaigned against No to the Troika. The media owned by the Oligarchs. The Greeks showed courage, they voted No, even though they knew there would be a price to pay. They were betrayed by Greek politicians.

A condition of the next bailout, was to scrap the programme to claw back the tax that had been dodged.

Know who is your enemy, the enemy within. In Labour, those who sabotage the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

In Brighton, it is insanity for Labour to oppose Caroline Lucas.

Everyone urged to join DiEM25 to form progressive alliances across Europe.

We have to transfer power back to nation states, back to town halls, back to people, at the same time, network and cooperate.

When Greece needed help and support, they were betrayed by politicians across Europe, politicians who pretend to be progressive.

When someone says they want to be a politician, want power, they are the people not to vote for.

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.

Greek crisis is the canary in the mine

March 11, 2017

Last year the Greek economy suffered a further blow, contracting by 1.2% at the end of 2016, according to revised figures released earlier this week. The figures, published by the Greek statistics agency Elstat show it was the worst quarter since the summer of 2015, when the European Central Bank closed the Greek banks.

The medicine imposed by the EU is killing the patient, not that there was ever any intention of helping the patient to recover.

Capitalism is an adaptive system, or was, 50 year long Kondratieff cycles, each new cycle driven by technological innovation. This came to an abrupt end in 2008. We are now post-capitalism.

2008 a banking crisis, morphed into an economic crisis, into a social and political crisis, and now a geo-political crisis.

2009 the German banks were bankrupt, their ‘assets’ worthless dodgy US financial instrument. They were bailed out by the German taxpayer.

2010 the German banks were in trouble again, back with their begging bowls, the Greek state was bankrupt, could not service their debt, technically the German banks were insolvent. The German taxpayer would not stomach a second bail out of the German banks. A clever ploy, biggest ever loan to a bankrupt state, the money flows to Greece straight back out to French and German banks. Classic extend and pretend. And a bonus, control the Greek state, plunder the Greek state, force sell off of state assets at knockdown prices. The result, Greek economy shrank by 25%. To put that in context, Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash economies shrank by 20%.

2015 Syriza won a landslide victory, with a mandate to challenge the EU.

What we saw in Greece, was not ‘conventional Left politics’, this was a radical, progressive moment with popular support. Greeks were saying, enough is enough.

Most intelligent observers recognise, the EU is close to collapse. It is a rigid hierarchical system.  Such systems lack the ability to adapt, they are brittle and cannot survive shocks.

The banking crash of 2008 was one such shock. The election of Syriza was another shock. The example being set by Syriza could not be allowed to spread, the contagion had to be contained.

The mechanism used to destroy  the Greek banks and destroy the Greek government was the ECB.  The role of a Central Bank when banks are in trouble is to help support the banks, ECB did the exact opposite.

But was the closure process legal and within the ECB’s charter and mandate?

ECB President Mario Draghi wasn’t sure; Draghi commissioned an independent legal opinion on this issue.

Fabio De Masi, a German Die Linke MEP, asked for a copy of this legal opinion. He was denied a copy.

When money flowed into Greece, then back out to bail out German and French banks, why were EU citizens not told what was happening?  Instead they were led to believe that hard working Germans were subsidising lazy Greeks.

Greece was bankrupt. The existing debts should have been written off, or at the very least restructured. Instead, more money was loaned to enable the Greeks to continue to service their debts.

ECB is a Central Bank without a government. Countries within the eurozone are countries without a central bank. The eurogroup lacks any legitimacy, legally and a constitutionally it does not exist.

ECB used its powers to interfere directly in the democratic process of a country.

Yanis Varoufakis  and Fabio De Masi MEP have launched a public campaign demanding the immediate release of what they are calling The Greek Papers.

Greece is the canary in the mine, symptomatic of a wider problem within the EU and the eurozone.

As it celebrates the signing of the Rome treaty, EU has proposed changes but it is merely a watered down version of business as usual

EU is not Europe.

We should be planning now for the collapse of the EU to be replaced by a network of cooperating democratic countries.

At local level, as we have seen in Spain, Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, ordinary citizens seizing control of their local Town Halls, opening to public participation, then networking with other citizen controlled Town Halls.

We need across Europe a Green New Deal.

At local level, establishment of open coops, support for small businesses, collaborative commons.

We need faircoin and fairpay card as cooperative digital alternatives to the euro, at local level, local currencies.

In Foundation, first book of the Foundation trilogy,  the Galactic Empire is collapsing. A group of citizens establish at opposite ends of the galaxy, two foundations. They do so in the knowledge that the Empire will collapse, but by preserving what is known, they will greatly reduce the period of instability.

That is the situation we now find ourselves in Europe. 2008 could be our 1929, when Europe descended into Fascism and chaos.

We are already seeing the end, the rise in Fascism, the chaos.

We must work now to plan for the future, otherwise our 2008 will be 1929.

Please support Yanis VaroufakisFabio De Masi and DiEM25 in their call for the release of The Greek Papers. Please support their request to release these critical documents by signing the petition calling for the release of #The GreekFiles.

Is 2008 our 1929?

June 28, 2016
Come on Greece It's Time to Leave

Come on Greece It’s Time to Leave

Leave won because too many British voters identified the EU with authoritarianism, irrationality and contempt for parliamentary democracy while too few believed those of us who claimed that another EU was possible. — Yanis Varoufakis

Britain has voted to leave the EU. The reason? A large section of the working class, concentrated in towns and cities that have been quietly devastated by free-market economics, decided they’d had enough. — Paul Mason

While I remain convinced that leave was the wrong choice, I welcome the British people’s determination to tackle the diminution of democratic sovereignty caused by the democratic deficit in the EU. And I refuse to be downcast, even though I count myself on the losing side of the referendum. — Yanis Varoufakis

I predicted in Postcapitalism that the crackup of neoliberalism would take geo-strategic form first, economic second. This is the first big crack. — Paul Mason

As of today, British and European democrats must seize on this vote to confront the establishment in London and Brussels more powerfully than before. The EU’s disintegration is now running at full speed. Building bridges across Europe, bringing democrats together across borders and political parties, is what Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss. — Yanis Varoufakis

1929 the Wall Street crash, followed by The Great Depression, followed by dog-eat-dog mentality, austerity, followed by rise in Fascism across Europe, Spanish Civil War, General Franco, Mussolini, Adolf Hitler come to power, World War Two.

I was at a garden party Saturday. Live music, Lamborghini in the stable block, tennis court in the grounds. Very scared people.

On leaving, I thought, was this like June, a lovely sunny June, people at garden parties before the horror of World War Two?

Since the 2008  banking crisis, economies have flatlined. Forget the lies of politicians, who get out a magnifying glass, see statistical noise and claim they see recovery.

EU is a failing economic zone thanks to structural flaws in the euro.

Across Europe we are seeing a rise in Fascism.

Yanis Varoufakis sees exact parallels with the 1930s and fears the worst if the EU breaks up. That was why Yanis Varoufakis campaigned with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell for UK to Remain in the EU. Not because he sees anything good in the EU, he does not, he bears the lashes on his back, it is because he fears for the future and wanted our help to fight the EU from within.

Those who saw the EU for what it is, a big business cartel, a democracy-free zone, even if on both sides of the debate, had a common aim. There were those who felt EU was beyond reform, therefore Leave and hope others follow. Others like Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Yanis Varoufakis thought best to fight from within.

Greece dared challenge the EU, and for that Greece was destroyed.

UK has done more than dare challenge the EU, UK has dared to Leave, has sparked a Revolution across Europe. This is the spark that will set Europe alight.

We should fear what the EU will do next.

We have seen attacks on David Cameron for resigning, demand he start negotiations to leave.

We are being told no access to EU markets.

Unelected EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has ordered eurocrats to not enter into any negotiations with the British informal or otherwise, he has questioned why UK MEPs are still sitting on the European Parliament.

Who do these people think they are?

But what it does do, is illustrate the mindset of arrogant unelected eurocrats.  Contempt for democracy, contempt for the Greeks, contempt for the Brits.

They are frightened, they know their days are numbered, as they know if UK can have a painless exit from the EU, other countries will follow, and the EU will collapse.

Greece was punished, brought to its knees by the ECB turning off funding to Greek banks.

What therefore will EU do to UK, what punishment will they mete out?

We have already seen threaten to stop the mechanism by which British banks operate across Europe for clearing euros.

EU may pick a fight with UK, the fifth largest economy in the world. Adolf Hitler picked a fight with UK.

EU would come of worse if they tried, but they will take down the entire world economy with them. They would turn southern Europe into a wasteland and create a world recession that would last a generation.

If no deal with EU, would under WTO rules have Most Favoured Nation Status. This would grant both sides access to markets with low tariffs, but without any diktat from the EU. It would then be for both side to reach agreement to lower those tariffs.

We have already seen how jittery are the world markets. Markets hate uncertainty.

Economic illiterate George Osborne has threatened yet more austerity. The worst possible outcome if facing a recession.

Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Paul Mason, recognise, we have to deal with mass migration, the devastating impact it is having on working class areas.

Free movement of people, never envisaged mass movement of people.

This is being used, and it was encouraged by war criminal Tony Blair, to drive down wages.

It is not only in UK.

In Cyprus, unscrupulous hotel chains, fire all their Cypriot workers, hire in their place, temporary cheap labour form Romania and Bulgaria. Another hotel chain, employs students from a hotel and catering school in Slovakia, girls who are bullied, work in an atmosphere of fear. Cheap labour via the back door, no training programmes in place.

All parties have to cooperate, call public meetings, to reach a consensus. This is too important to be left to a handful of politicians or political parties. The EU Referendum showed how of touch they were with ordinary people. There also has to be at grassroots across Europe, cooperation to decide what Europe we want. And that Europe cannot be one where we are being dictated to by the EU.

UK has to have full unfettered access to the European market, in turn, they to the UK.

To trade, we do not need trade agreements, but removal of tariff barriers, especially punitive ones, helps.

UK has to look to other markets. UK could quickly reach agreement with India. There are historic ties and it is clearly easier for India to reach agreement with one country, than with 27 countries.

To attempt to turn UK into a fiscal penal colony with creditor guards and debtor prisoners, as has been to Greece, would fail.

By the same measure the debt of Greece must be written off. It is unpayable, why therefore pretend otherwise?

Jeremy Corbyn is being blamed for Brexit, which is farcical, were it was not so tragic. It misses the point, as to why a referendum was held, it was for the people to decide, not politicians.

The Parliamentary Labour Party has revolted against Jeremy Corbyn, but they have no mandate to do so. And they have done it at a time when we all need to be focused on a post-Brexit future. Their self-indulgence will not be forgotten. And if Jeremy Corbyn was at fault then what role those MPs who have mounted a coup?

Brexit has shown the eurocrats have still not got it. Sadly neither have the many embittered Remain who are spewing hatred on social media, many seem to lack any understanding of the difference between EU and Europe, that anti-EU is not anti-Europe or anti people of Europe, they are stirring up racial hatred which has already lead to attacks on people from Eastern Europe.

DiEM25 are pushing for democratisation of the EU. They now as a matter of urgency need to push for retention of trade links with UK.

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.

Leak of TTIP papers

May 2, 2016
TTIP leaks

TTIP leaks

These leaks should be seen as another nail in the coffin of a toxic trade deal that corporate power is unsuccessfully trying to impose on ordinary people and our democracies. — Guy Taylor, Global Justice Now

It was bound to happen at some time, a leak of TTIP papers.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as the leaked papers shows, has nothing to do with trade. Trade is a front to hide the biggest power grab in human history by global corporations, all being pushed through in secret by the EU.

No one should be surprised at this.

EU does not exist for the citizens of Europe, as we saw with the crushing of Greece.

EU exists as a cartel to further the interest of big business.

Today Greenpeace Netherlands have released 248 leaked pages of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating texts. According to Greenpeace, “the documents unveil for the first time the US position and deliberate attempts to change the EU democratic legislative process.”

Molly Scott Cato MEP:

The most sinister aspect of the leak is the way the US is demanding that its corporations can know in advance proposals being made by European law makers and will be given particular status in our legislative process. This is a totally unacceptable threat to European democracy.

That is right, the US demands to know in advance what the EU is doing or planning to do. Presumably for confirmation of what they already know through spying.

The US, and for that read US corporations, is looking to change regulation in Europe to lessen the protections on the environment, consumer rights and other rights and protection.

This would mean for example accepting genetically modified foods, glyphosate from Monsanto.

What is disgraceful, is not only that TTIP means handing over democratic control to global corporations, but also that EU is pushing this through in secret.

An evening with Yanis Varoufakis

April 6, 2016
an evening with Yanis Varoufakis at Union Chapel

an evening with Yanis Varoufakis at Union Chapel

We should be clear on this, the EU sucks but there should be no alternative than to try and civilise it. — Yanis Varoufakis

An evening with Yanis Varoufakis in conversation with Owen Jones at Union Chapel in Islington.

Yanis Varoufakis was arrested several times whilst in England in the 1980s on various student protests. His father was in a concentration camp.

His father grew up in a Greek community in Egypt. On returning to Greece, he was of no political persuasion, and was seen by fellow students as a neutral figure.  When the university doubled student fees, he went to see the Vice-Chancellor to argue the case against. On leaving, he was roughed up by secret police, then asked to sign a document renouncing the Communists. He refused. For this refusal, he was tortured and placed in a concentration camp for three years.

When Syriza were elected, the people were jubilant, not only in Greece, but across Europe. Here was  a party of activists, who from 4% of the vote had taken 40% of the vote. They were prepared to take a stance against the EU. They had the support of people across Europe. For that reason Greece had to be destroyed, the political contagion could not be allowed to spread across Europe, people could not be allowed hope.

Irish and Cypriot governments had betrayed their people, were mere puppets of the EU. What could they say, what excuses offer, if the Greeks fought and they did not? Greece had to be  destroyed. There is nothing like the threat of a good example.

Within days of taking office, Yanis Varoufakis was visited by the EU and told, he could not challenge the EU, that if he did, the Greek banks would be destroyed.

At a meeting of the euro group, told that a democratic decision by the Greek people was irrelevant, counted for nothing.

Greece was told it was not acceptable for the government to consult its own people in  a referendum.

Greek people are in debt bondage. First time in history creditors do not want their money back, as the polices imposed on Greece make the debt unpayable. But they do not want their money back, it is about servitude.

Greek people last year showed courage. They voted No to the EU. They were then betrayed by their own government, that signed a surrender government.  What took place was a coup. Syriza are not running Greece, the EU is running Greece. Instead of tanks, banks were used to occupy and crush a country.

They did not have to sign. They had the backing of the Greek people not to sign.

Greece could have refused to repay part of the debt they owed. This  would have  caused the euro to collapse.

What Greece was expected to sign, was presented in unintelligible Greek. It was a Google translation.

An English version was obtained.

Two key phrases in the first page:

  • Greece had to agree to everything the EU demanded
  • Any legislation put before Greek Parliament had to have prior EU approval

Yanis Varoufakis could not agree to this as it would be a betrayal of Greece.  He resigned.

David Cameron has falsely claimed he has achieved reform of the EU. He has not. He is now squandering in excess of £9 million on EU propaganda to be delivered to every household. This is money that would be better spent on keeping libraries open.

DiEM25 argue for UK to remain part of the EU to fight for reform. They fear a breakup of the EU will return Europe to the 1930s.

Everyone is urged to sign and share the DiEM25 petition calling for transparency within the EU.

We should be under no illusion about the EU, it is a cesspit.

DiEM25 are demanding democratic reform, transparency. EU meetings should be live streamed over the internet, minutes and transcripts should be published.

The European Investment Bank should be accountable to the people of Europe. It should be investing in green technology.

Europe is stagnating. There is no investment. Even in Germany, which is sitting on a huge surplus, is not investing.

Even when we look at a  very local level we see this lack of investment, town centres collapsing, people have no money.  Where they are in employment, it is low paid, soul destroying McJobs.

Aldershot as an example. A decaying town, boarded-up shops. TechStart, the one success story, a social enterprise that recycles computers, provides help and training, a net café for the local community. It is located in a  dead shopping shopping centre. It could form a hub of local social enterprises, for example a social enterprise café turning waste food from supermarkets and farms into delicious meals. Instead, TechStart is closing at the end of the month because the local Town hall is cutting its funding.

There has to be a European Convention, where the people, not politicians, decide the future of Europe.

There are some good things that come out of the EU: minimum working conditions, environmental standards. But would it not be better if these came from our own democratic countries not via the back door of a dictatorship?

The same EU is pushing TTIP in secret. An international treaty that is less about trade than removing even the fig leaf of democracy and handing control to global corporations.

If UK leaves the EU, brexit which is likely, the EU will collapse. It is already close to collapse.

If it collapses, this could release dark forces across Europe, as we saw in the 1930s following the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression.

But would it? There certainly is that risk. If people are working across Europe to reform the EU, can they also not work across Europe to cooperate as sovereign democratic countries?

The release of The Panama Papers, has shown the extent of tax dodging and money laundering.  The Mafia surrounding Vladimir Putin has laundered $2 billion,  the Chinese elite has transferred  a trillion dollars out of China in the last year. This dirty money inflates property prices in London. One of the first casualties, the Prime Minister of Iceland.

We need  openness and transparency. Abolition of tax havens, not reform.

It should be  a criminal offence to transfer funds to a tax haven, set up off-shore shell companies, nominee directors, bearer bonds. Fine of $1 million or ten times the funds transferred. Ten years in prison for the board of directors.

John McDonnell some time ago offered to place his tax affairs in the public domain. This should be obligatory for all politicians.

In Norway, tax affairs are in the public domain. In England it is a criminal offence to publish the tax affairs of another.

When Yanis Varoufakis was criticised for profiting from the Greek crisis by going on a speaking tour, he answered his critics by publishing details of fees received.

We are entering a post-capitalist phase.

We can have a future of coops, open coops where the community has a say, which contribute to the collaborative commons, where information flows freely, where we do not require large companies, where with high information content, we can assemble locally or even print with 3D printers.

An alternative future is that of atomised individuals, serfs to apps, Uber drivers, task rabbits, transfer of wealth from the poor and exploited, where people work to the command of robots.

Who decides: the people or corrupt politicians?

Would Yanis Varoufakis wish to be Greek Prime Minister? No. But, if asked, would say yes as public service, a dirty job that needs to be done.  We should not have leaders.  Nor should the people expect to be led.

John McDonnell is showing an alternative is possible. Instead of top-down, dictating to the masses he is drawing on ideas from the grass roots

We have to move to participatory democracy, away from representative democracy, look to Frome where the people mounted a Flatpack Democracy revolution, seized control of the local Town hall, as has happened across Spain. Ordinary people need to seize control of their local Town Halls, open the meetings to public participation, then network across Europe.

We are not Europeans, we are English, French, German, Russian, Catalan, people with a proud history, our own culture, but that does not mean  we cannot cooperate with each other.

Looking to the future, we need to have a panel discussion between Paul Mason, Yanis Varoufakis and Michel Bauwens, sketching out what this post-capitalist future of open coops, collaborative commons, would look like. By no means prescriptive but a road map.

In Greece, the people are not crushed, they still have the spirit to fight the cesspit that is the EU. Their government may have surrendered, the Greek people have not surrendered.

Yanis Varoufakis can walk the streets, people stop and wish to chat, these are people from all walks of life.

And the weak suffer what they must

And the weak suffer what they must?

Yanis Varoufakis book signing at Union Chapel

Yanis Varoufakis book signing at Union Chapel

The conversation was followed by book signing of And the weak suffer what they must?

What was nice before I set off, an e-mail from Union Chapel welcoming me, and telling me what was available to eat.  A nice touch.

menu

menu

After book signing I retreated to the bar and had chicken. It did not look good, but was surprisingly tasty. I added a little salad. It could have done with rice.

The meeting was video recorded. This will be added when available.

Yanis Varoufakis was on Start the Week with Andrew Marr.

Union Chapel is in Islington, more or less opposite Highbury and Islington Station.  It is a stunning building, both a church and a music venue. It was here where Jeremy Corbyn held his last rally before being elected Labour Party leader. An ideal venue for singer-songwriter Jewelia to play a  concert. Work is done with the homeless. One of the projects is to help with the meals.

 

Yanis Varoufakis at AlpenSymposium

January 14, 2016

Yanis Varoufakis in discussion at AlpenSymposium.

Extend and pretend, grant huge loans to a  country, in this case Greece, when it is known the loans cannot be repaid, the loans then used as an excuse to destroy a country.

Last January, Syriza were elected to great hope. Six months later they betrayed the Greek people, hope replaced by despair. Greece now under occupation by the EU.

The Greek crisis in reality is not a Greek criss, it is a European crisis.

EU is a corrupt, malignant force, it is not democratic, it was established as a cartel, it still functions as a cartel. The euro was introduced to aid price fixing.

TTIP is being pushed in secret by the EU.

We have David Cameron claiming to be renegotiating UK relationship with EU. He is doing nothing of the sort. The focus is on whether or not immigrants can claim benefits. Few are in UK to claim benefits, they are there to work, high unemployment and low wages in their own countries forcing them to seek work elsewhere. The rare exception being the filthy Nepalese parasites that have poured into the UK.

Any meaningful change would require Treaty change, agreement of every single country, of the European Parliament (an expensive talking shop)  and  the European Commission (a Fascist dictatorship).

David Cameron is not arguing for any meaningful democratic reform that would make the EU accountable to the people of Europe.

It was EU meddling in Ukraine, that has created the crisis and civil war in Ukraine and brought the West to the brink of war with Russia.

There are only two ways forward for Europe, one is the democratic reform proposed by Yanis Varoufakis  (It ignores that the EU is too big an entity to ever be accountable). The other is to smash the EU, the Fourth Reich in all but name, for it to be broken up and replaced by cooperating, democratic, sovereign states.

For some perverse reason, only five minutes is available of what looks like an interesting discussion.

#ThisIsACoup Yanis Varoufakis in conservation with Paul Mason

December 24, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis in conservation with Paul Mason discussing the 20 February 2015 agreement with the EU. Bad as it was, it was not as bad as it could have been, as Yanis Varoufakis managed to obtain agreement on changing the worst aspects that had previously been imposed on Greece.

Additional film footage for the Paul Mason documentary #ThisIsACoup.

I was in contact with a Greek friend on the eve of the referendum. She was in two minds of how to vote. She had last her job a year ago, after much effort she had found two temporary jobs. She had voted for Syriza in January. She had lost one of her two jobs, had not been paid for the other. She was in despair.

After the No vote, rejecting EU austerity, I thought she would be happy. No, they will punish us.

My friend, as with many Greeks, showed great courage in voting Oxi. To only then be betrayed by  Alexis Tsipras and Syriza when they signed a surrender document.

Talking to Greeks in Athens in October, where there was hope in January, now there is despair. They have lost all confidence in politicians.

The exception is Yanis Varoufakis. He commands a great deal of respect. My Greek friends working in a coffee shop in Cyprus (there being no work in Greece) refer to him as their hero.

The way forward is for Greek people to resist, they cannot rely upon elected politicians, to establish alternative sharing economies, alternative currencies.

Europe is Kaput

November 17, 2015
Yanis Varoufakis Royal Festival Hall 00

Royal Festival Hall slowly filling up

Yanis Varoufakis Royal Festival Hall 01

introduction by Royal Festival Hall creative director

Yanis Varoufakis Royal Festival Hall 02

Srecko Horvat with Yanis Varoukis and Slavoj Zizek

Yanis Varoufakis Royal Festival Hall 04

surprise fourth guest …

Yanis Varoufakis Royal Festival Hall 05

Julian Assange

A discussion between former Greek finance minister and professor of economics Yanis Varoufakis and philosopher Slavoj Zizek at Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank in London.  Moderated by  philosopher Srecko Horvat. A surprise fourth member, Julian Assange half way through the discussion (such the magic of modern communications).

A discussion overshadowed by the terrorist attacks by ISIS Friday night in Paris.

Yanis Varoufakis was due attend a conference in Paris on Plan B for Europe. This had to be cancelled.

Why one minute silence at 1100 GMT? Why the French colours on buildings across the world?

France was criticised for closing its borders.

No one knew what was happening. It would have been remiss of France had the borders not been sealed.

We need to be wary of a backlash. We must not allow the creation of a repressive state, controlling and monitoring its citizens.

Soviet union ok it just happened to have a democratic deficit.

The same could be said of EU, ok but just happens to have a democratic deficit.

In the UK, democracy was something that grew organically. The barons challenged the King and we had Magna Carta. The merchants challenged the aristocrats. The industrialists the merchants. The proletariat the ruling class. The banks challenge the industrialists. The role of the state to act as a moderator, to stop one group exploiting another.

EU lacks democratic accountability, it is corrupt, autocratic, it takes away national sovereignty.

Proud nations, with a long history, their sovereignty has vanished into a black hole.

The foundation of the EU, iron and steel and coal federation, a cartel to benefit these industries. An administration to help it run. Agriculture added. Fixed exchange rates enabled price fixing. Fluctuating exchange rates led to the creation of the euro.  Prices could again be fixed. The bureaucrats who run the EU have contempt for democracy.

Th European Parliament a gravy train, nothing to do with democracy or accountability.

Technology allows us to communicate, as never before, and yet we are less well informed as never before. Oligarchs distort and filter the information we receive, they do so to further their own interests.

We have to be better at using technology, to network.

Is it possible to make the EU democratic? Probably not, but if we do not believe it to be possible and try, then it never will be democratic.

The ECB (European Central Bank) could write out a cheque for everyone living in poverty. Exact opposite of policies pursued by economic illiterate George Osborne who is cutting money to the poor.

Meetings of the European Finance Minsters could be live streamed over the internet.  Meetings would then be held in secret, where the real business would be discussed. Make a criminal offence. Eventually they would be caught.

Several trillion dollars siting idle. Put that money to work, invest in green infrastructure, would create jobs and benefit everyone.

We must criticise Islam. We should ignore those whose knee-jerk reaction is to scream Islamaphobia.

A Palestine singer sang of honour killings. He was booed in the US for doing so.

Human rights transcends culture and religion. That women have always been bastardised, part of culture, does not make it acceptable.

US, Europe and Russia must come together and cooperate in the fight against ISIS.

Saudi Arabia an exporter of terror.

Two competing ideologies, Islam and the Death Stars of Silicon Valley (high tech companies).

Apple is relocating factories from China to US. US factories will not employ people, they will employ robots. Robots do not spend money in the economy.

We could and should create a Basic Income.

We cannot have people who have never even visited a company, owning that company or a part of that company, speculative investment. We have to have alternative corporate ownership.

One possibility is open co-ops as postulated by Michel Bauwens. Those who work there have a stake, as do those who are effected, and the open co-op would contribute to the global commons.

An example, though not an open co-op, would be Infinity Foods, a worker-owned cooperative in North Laine in Brighton. They contribute to the local community by granting pensioners a 10% discount.

The opposite end of the spectrum, classic Death Star, facebook, information is captured from users, and goes to fill the coffers of facebook.

A Citizen Assembly, no politicians or parties (examples would be in Iceland and The People’s Assembly in England) drawing up a constitution, how they wish to shape the EU.

TTIP (linking North America and Europe), and its equivalent linking North America with Pacific Rim countries, has a geo-political dimension, it is as much about the countries it excludes (Brazil, China, Russia) as to the countries it includes. It has little to do with trade, it is about handing control to global corporations, it is being negotiated in secret. It must be opposed.

Russia and Putin are understandably paranoid. The West, contrary to agreement reached bewteen Ronald Reagan and Mikhail  Gorbachev, has expanded up to the borders of Russia.

If we do not like Putin, we should work with democrats in Russia.

The surveillance state is like God, all knowing. We can pretend it does not exist, but if we accept it exists, what impact on our behaviour?

As Paul Mason details in PostCapitalism, capitalism is dying. What comes next?

TTIP, tax-avoiding global corporations, marauding high-tech death stars, the rich guarded by private militias, mass unemployment, precarious employment competing with robots in sweatshop factories, serfs working for death star apps, intrusive mass surveillance, monitoring, logging, controlling our every thought, movement and social interactions?

A brutal Caliphate controlled by ISIS?

Or a networked, sharing, collaborative society, where wealth is evenly distributed?

On leaving, everyone asked to have their own internal minute of silence for all the victims of violence across the world.

Books for sale in the foyer by Foyles, The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis and several books by the other contributor panellists.

Sadly no book signing, the event overran by 45 minutes and the Royal Festival Hall had to be evacuated by eleven o’clock.

A very special thanks to Cristina Savini Soler who unable to attend kindly gave me her ticket.