No, this is not a ‘gamechanger’
Debt reduction and austerity are reflections of wider sea changes in capitalist political economy. Specifically, they are a reflection of the fact that globalisation fuelled by credit and driven forward by the finance sector has hit the buffers.
The finance sector has been the primary driver of globalisation up to this point and it inflated itself through the provision of cheap and easy credit. This enabled the feeding frenzy of speculation and aggressive wealth accumulation of wealth at the very top. For a time, the credit artificially inflated the living standards of the middle classes and some amoung the working classes but the depression of wages meant this was always a ticking time-bomb. Meanwhile, political institutions like the EU have struggled to keep pace with the changes in underlying economic structure.
However, fiscal restriction of national governments is not even new – if you don’t believe me, ask the IMF. Furthermore, debt reduction was enshrined as a legal priority in Britain long before this deal was a twinkle in a Eurocrats eye – by the last Labour government.
The two above facts show clearly that the expectations of a radically different course being charted were the EU to simply not exist are naïve ones. If the EU wasn’t doing what it is then the IMF would be – it really is as simple as that.
For all its flaws, the EU is obviously more accountable and susceptible to democratic pressure from below than the IMF. It has a elected Parliament – the IMF doesn’t, for example.
At the end of his piece, the comrade indicates he is thinking of changing his basically correct position on Europe. Given the above, I have to ask why? It saddens me to say this I have to surmise it isn’t because of a ‘game-changing’ moment in the superstructure but is more likely to be a response to the ripples of discontent people are expressing in reaction to the above process which are crystalising into nationalist sentiment. We should not be following the latest fashion but shaping and leading it. We should be leading the struggle for a democratic and socially just EU.