Barroso wants European austerity empire

This satiric video from the USA says about itself:

An animated editorial cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Fiore.

Why are so many central bankers, politicians and pundits admiring austerity wonderfulness? Because of . . . Great Latvia Success Story! You can be this too!

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

EU president launches big power grab

Wednesday 12 September 2012

by Richard Bagley

European Union chief Jose Manuel Barroso launched a campaign today to grab sweeping new powers for the bloc under the pretext of solving the EU economic crisis.

The European Commission president, who heads the EU’s powerful yet unelected 27-commissioner policy-making and enforcement body, used his annual state of the union address to its weak parliament to tell countries that they should get used to giving up power to Brussels.

Faced with global powers such as the United States and China, he claimed, “even the biggest European countries run the risk of irrelevance.”

But his big business-friendly remedies included massive privatisation of the public sector and “flexible” labour markets and a new era of empire in the form of a military force and trade deals with poorer countries outside the bloc to allow European firms to take over local markets.

Barroso said: “At the national level it means undertaking structural reforms that have been postponed for decades. Modernising public administration. Reducing wasteful expenditure.

Reforming the labour market to balance security with flexibility.”

He called on the bloc to enforce the Compact for Growth and Jobs adopted in June that put so-called “liberalisation of markets” – code for privatisation and a bonfire of labour protections – and “modernising” public administrations at its heart.

“This is the goldmine that is yet to be fully explored,” Barroso told MEPs.

He confirmed that the commission was tabling proposals to grant the bloc sweeping new powers over the internal banking systems of member states.

And, complaining that countries had not “equipped” the EU with the “instruments needed to cope with the new reality,” he said: “The present European Union must evolve.

“Let’s not be afraid of the words – we will need to move towards a federation of nation states” that “will ultimately require a new treaty.”

He added that one key goal must be “a Europe that is capable of deploying military missions to help stabilise the situation in crisis areas” around the world.

– Germany’s constitutional court gave the green light today to its contribution to the £400 billion European Stability Mechanism.

The ruling removes the final barrier for the central pot of taxpayers’ cash for EU countries that are struggling to borrow money from financiers and are willing to make the cuts requested by the bloc’s architects.

A fresh wave of strikes began in Greece today as European Union hatchet men continued talks with their local political allies on how to squeeze billions from cuts: here.

The International Monetary Fund has demanded the Irish government lay out detailed plans on how it will slash spending over the next four years: here.

Britain: Bankers’ £37bn bonus payout sparks anger: here.

Barroso’s European Commission’s anti-environment policies

This video about wildlife photography is called Wild Wonders of Europe in 3D.

From BirdLife:

Green groups: no medals in sight for Barroso II

Wed, Jul 4, 2012

Green groups: no medals in sight for Barroso II

Halfway through its term in office, the European Commission is falling behind in the race to create sustainable long-term prosperity in Europe, warn Europe’s leading green groups in a critical assessment of the Commission’s environmental performance since 2010 released on Tuesday 3 July.

This report finds among others that the Commission has acted to protect the environment even less than the first Barroso Commission.

The report, inspired by a topical Olympic theme, assesses progress in nine EU policy fields with impacts on the environment and reviews the track record of 13 European Commissioners and Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Each policy field is given a mark out of ten based on two main factors: environmental ambition and the extent of environmental issues that the Commission has addressed.

While the Commission has in some measure recognised the environmental, health and economic impact of enduring problems linked to resource depletion, pollution and ecological destruction, swifter action is required. Its flagship reform proposals on EU fisheries and agriculture policies would not put an end to industrial overfishing, nor halt animal and plant extinctions, nor soil, water and food pollution from pesticides. The Commission therefore only scores a 3.5/10 on agriculture and a 4.5/10 on fisheries.

German Parliament calls for more EU environment spending 2014-2020: here.

SUPER-RICH landowners raked in a mammoth £13 million in EU common agricultural policy (CAP) subsidies last year, Greenpeace revealed yesterday: here.

The Vanishing: Europe’s farmland birds. By Iván Ramírez, 12 Feb 2017: here.

Ex-Leftist supporters of war and capitalism

This video about the Iraq war says about itself:

No Plan, No Peace – 1:48:47 – 5 Nov. 2007

“Iraq will be better,” declared Tony Blair five days after the fall of Saddam. “Better for the region, better for the world, better, above all, for the Iraqi people.” That contrasts starkly with the several hundred thousand dead and injured Iraqis, four million refugees inside and outside Iraq, 4,141 coalition soldiers who have died and the cost to the UK of well in excess of £5bn. Yet it’s now clear that Mr Blair knew before the invasion that America’s planning for post-war recovery was woefully inadequate – and so was Britain’s.

From British daily The Morning Star:

The left-wing rogues’ gallery

Tuesday 04 August 2009

Neil Clark

It’s a sad truth that some of the biggest enemies of progressive socialist causes have not been those on the right but those who claim to be on the left.

All over the world, some of the most reactionary anti-working-class policies have been carried out by governments which go under a “socialist” or “social democratic” label.

In eastern Europe for instance, nominally leftist governments have presided over mass privatisation and cutbacks in health and welfare provision since the fall of communism 20 years ago.

And in Britain, new Labour has sided with global capital against the interests of ordinary working people as well as supporting illegal imperialist wars of aggression in the Balkans and the Middle East.

New Labour claims to be a left-of-centre party but, as Labour veteran Tony Benn recently stated, in fact it is to the right of the positions taken by old-style “one-nation” Tory figures such as Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan.

They accepted the progressive mixed economy/welfare state consensus of the post-war period and did not believe that market forces should be allowed to rule every aspect of our lives.

So here is a “rogues gallery” of 10 political figures who, while campaigning under a left or progressive banner ended up siding with capitalism and betraying the very people – and the causes – their parties were supposed to represent.

Tony Blair

At the 1995 Labour Party conference, the new Labour leader promised a “publicly accountable, publicly owned railway” if his party returned to power.

It was the first of many promises he was to break.

In fact, Blair extended the Tory policy of privatisation into new areas such as air traffic control. An enthusiastic globalist, Blair showed where his loyalties were when he told the bankers of Goldman Sachs that he supported British companies “letting some jobs migrate” to India and China.

In foreign policy, Blair ditched Labour’s traditional scepticism of foreign adventures and respect for the United Nations and enthusiastically supported illegal attacks on Iraq and socialist Yugoslavia.

The man who in his maiden speech in Parliament declared that he was a socialist because “socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral,” currently earns around £2 million a year from US bank JP Morgan Chase and receives up to $250,000 (£147,600) for a 45-minute speech on the US lecture circuit.

Ferenc Gyurcsany

A former Hungarian Communist youth leader, Gyurcsany made his fortune from privatisation deals in the early 1990s.

On becoming “socialist” prime minister in 2004, he presided over a large-scale privatisation programme and cutbacks in Hungary’s health and welfare programmes which led to a sharp rise in poverty.

In 2006 he provoked riots when a tape in which he admitted lying “morning, noon and night” to the electorate was leaked to the media.

But while he is [a] hate figure for most Hungarians, others hold a more positive view. “Gyurcsany is our kind of socialist,” was the verdict of a US junk bond trader.

Ramsay Macdonald

The first ever Labour prime minister sided with the bankers in the economic crisis of 1931, betraying his party and Britain’s working class by forming a Tory-dominated “national government” which introduced swingeing cuts in unemployment pay and the pay of public-sector employees. Macdonald’s treachery led to riots in Glasgow and Manchester.

David Lange

Lange’s New Zealand Labour government of the 1980s was a forerunner of Britain’s new Labour.

Lange’s finance minister Roger Douglas carried out a programme of privatisation and deregulation which was lauded by free-market economists and big business but alienated the party’s traditional supporters and led to a sharp rise in unemployment and inequality.

Jose Marie Barroso

A former leader of an underground Maoist grouping, the leader of Portugal’s Social Democratic Party and prime minister from 2002-4, Barroso hosted the infamous meeting at which he, George Bush, Blair and Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar made the final plans for the illegal invasion of Iraq.

In office, Barroso pursued neoliberal policies, which he has continued as head of the European Commission.

Aleksander Kwasniewski

The former Communist minister morphed into a hawkish pro-NATO Polish president, supporting the US-led bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the invasion of Iraq four years later. A strong globalist, he is a board member of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Gyula Horn

In 1994, after four years of economic hardship, the Hungarian Socialist Party won a convincing election victory on a programme of retaining the best features of the popular “goulash communist” system of the Janos Kadar years.

Western elites were horrified, but when faced with the choice of defending the interests of ordinary Hungarians who had voted for him or siding with the international money men, Horn chose the latter.

He sacked genuinely socialist ministers and appointed wealthy banker Lajos Bokros to introduce a swingeing programme of cuts in public spending and welfare provision.

Philip Snowden

The “Iron Chancellor” in Ramsay Macdonald’s 1929 Labour government, Snowden blocked plans for a socialist reflation of the economy and joined Macdonald in defecting to a Tory-dominated national government formed in August 1931.

In the election campaign later that year he turned on his former comrades, calling Labour’s pro-working-class policies “Bolshevism run mad.”

He ended up as “the first viscount Snowden” – not bad for a weaver’s son from West Yorkshire.

Viktor Klima

Austrian Socialist Party politician who, under the pretext of “modernisation” moved his party away from the unequivocally socialist positions it took under the leadership of the popular Bruno Kreisky to adopt a more pro-capitalist stance.

During his period as Austrian chancellor from 1997-2000, Klima privatised publicly owned assets and cut back on welfare provision. His policies undoubtedly aided the rise of far-right politicians such as the late Jorgen Haider.

Ivica Dacic

Leader of the Serbian Socialist Party who last year took his party into a coalition with the Democratic Party of Serbia, whose former leader Zoran Djindic had been responsible for founder of the Serbian Socialist Party Slobodan Milosevic being kidnapped and sent to The Hague.

Dacic’s decision to enter a neoliberal, pro-privatisation coalition with his party’s most bitter enemies was condemned by the party’s traditional supporters who saw it as a betrayal of everything it had claimed to stand for.

Neil Clark is co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership campaign

On December 16 of last year, Egor Gaidar died of a heart attack at his dacha outside of Moscow at the age of 53. He was a leading figure in the implementation of market “reform” in Russia, which had a disastrous impact on the country and resulted in an immense growth in social inequality: here.