Greece, the Euro and all that….
The continuing economic turmoil in Greece is rapidly becoming a giant black hole that is threatening to suck the entire Eurozone into oblivion. Labour should oppose the bail-out, in fact, it should have started opposing them a long ago because they are not meant to genuinely help the people of Greece but in fact, are aimed purely at servicing the manic austerity drive of the Greek government. It is therefore the complete opposite of solidarity for Labour to suggest spending a single penny on bailing out Greek capitalism.
However, when it comes to the fate of the wider Eurozone I am less indifferent. Jon Lansman argues:
The only rational solution left is the orderly dismantling of the eurozone. It is not sufficient, either for Greece or the rest of us, for Greece to leave the Euro. What is needed is for Germany and the Benelux (and perhaps a very small number of others) to abandon the Euro, create a new common currency which is allowed to revalue whilst the Euro devalues, and, in time, allow residual eurozone members either to adopt their own currencies or perhaps, in a very small number of cases, to rejoin Germany at a somewhat more favourable exchange rate.
I’ll try and ignore the fact that Britain can’t leave something it isn’t a member of and focus on questioning how this is the ‘most rational solution’. It may well be if you happen to be a German capitalist. In fact, i’m pretty darn sure they would love the idea – not only would they no longer have to deal with Greece’s many problems but they would get rid of the flotsam and jetsam that make up some of the weaker Eurozone economies. Dismantling the Euro is unquestionably what German capitalism wants but I fail to see how that benefits the working class.
Notably in Greece and Spain, the European working class is on the move, it is on the front-line fighting against austerity so, why now should Britain’s left wants to shrink back into its nationalist shell and take our class away from those in the vanguard of a bitter struggle. How many times comrades? Socialism is international or it is nothing. Yet when it comes to the European Union, our left wants to grasp to the coat-tails of Nigel Farage and every other tin-pot nationalist out there. The European Union, for all its many flaws, is the germ of a new society, our society in the old. A society that crosses and destroys national boundaries and consigns nationalism to the dustbin of history.
Yes it’s imperfect, yes it’s neo-liberal, but when will we accept the fact that neo-liberal capitalism, in breaking down national barriers, is playing a *progressive* role, in paving the way for the end of the nation state. Monetary union is the first step towards political union; a process that capitalism has started and socialism should finish. Calling for the destruction of the Euro is thus implicitly to call for the break-up of the EU because the Euro is an important glue that binds the countries within it closer together and brings political union closer. Socialists want European unity, we want a European Union that is democratic and socialistic – we do not win that by calling for its break-up, for campaigning with UKIP, the BNP and the Conservative right, an axis of reaction if ever there was one, we win that by fighting for democratic reform and an EU (with a common currency) that is truly democratic in character. This is what Labour should be calling for and arguing for in socialist parties across the EU, a programme of unity and democracy based on social solidarity – not knee-jerk, fundamentally myopic Euroscepticism.