The Euro Dilemma….
If you believe the press then certainly the Euro and maybe even the European Union as we know it are teetering on the edge of a Greek precipice; for the right this is easy to spin as a glorious moment of vindication, they were right, the European Union has become too integrated, it was better as a looser federation of contending nation states. However, for the left, the consequences and therefore response to a potential Euro collapse are not so clear-cut, on the one hand, it is gratifying to see the collapse of the austerity agenda pursued by the EU bureaucracy, however, the internationalist instincts of the left should lead it away from the conclusion that it was integration itself that has ‘failed’.
Do not forget that the Eurozone, unlike Britain, has narrowly missed a double-dip recession, so do not assume a ‘Euro failure’ is as complete as the media is spinning it to be. What has ‘failed’ is top-down, bureaucratic, integration forced on people through fiat. Similarly, the weakness of the Euro is not caused by it being a single European currency but a symptom of the failings of a top-down insistence that different economies be forced by diktat into a one-size-fits-all straight jacket. Democratic and therefore sustainable economic planning would be dealing strong economic growth in the Eurozone now if that was what its constituent parts actually practised.
I think everybody on the left is agreed that the European Union needs to be a vastly more democratic, social, model. However, the question then becomes how we achieve this; some will say that withdrawal is the right way to force this issue. This is obviously not the case; if we want to see more integration, and I think we should, then Britain taking its bat and ball away is obviously not the right way forward. Just because the EU isn’t run in the way we like does not mean we withdraw, if we made decisions on that basis, then we should all never stand for election (something even the far-left now routinely does) and seriously consider forming a utopian commune somewhere away from the rest of the world, maybe in Antarctica. I can only see leftist ‘Euroscpeticism’ as opportunism of the highest order, and it’s not particularly effective opportunism, Syriza in Greece is immensely successful at both taking a principled stand against austerity while maintaining the integrity of an internationalist committment to the EU.
Capitalist globalisation is not a fairground ride we can simply opt to get off of, it is a process which integrates our world even more to a point where all our hopes and dreams on the left can become a reality. Only complete fantasists on the left and right imagine we can ever go back to a world of ‘sovereign’ nation states strutting around the world like self-important peacocks and causing mass instability in their wake. Before people rush to pull us out of the EU we should remember the consequences of Europe being disunited before, world war and many millions of deaths. This in itself should really be good enough for the left to adopt the European dream and ideal and make it its own, done right, democratically and yes in a socialist way, it is the stepping stone to a much better world out of the nightmare one of the past. Of course, while it is their dream, the dream of the bureaucrats and the businessmen, it will be executed in a exploitative way, however, it will also be done in a way that is doomed to fail (capitalist globalisation cannot be completed by capitalism itself) and when their dream becomes our nightmare, that is when we should shout carpe diem and seize the moment to replace it with a vision and dream of our own, a democratically united Europe, with a socially just economy that can be a beacon for the rest of the world.