Skip to main content

EU Uber Alles? Neoliberal echoes of a darker, mid-century plan for continental unity

The unflinching support for the EU and its institutions is not about preventing European countries from becoming “Afghanistan.” Not about preventing collapse. Not about the inconvenience of long lines at passport control. It is about promoting an ideology, a specific worldview, a vision for the way the world should work.

by Michael Nevradakis

Part 5 - Why the fear of losing the EU?

For some of those who favor the EU, their support often approaches levels of blind dogmatism. The main issue to contend with here though is why do such large segments of the political, business, and media elite so strongly support the EU, the Eurozone, and all of its associated institutions and policies?

In a word, the reason is neoliberalism. Based in part on “third way” politics, which burst to the political forefront in the 1990s with the likes of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, it is the idea that capital, including “human capital,” should be able to flow freely across borders—or better yet, that borders should be abolished altogether. It is an idea that pays lip service to democracy and social justice but that preserves the primacy of international financial capital and so-called “free trade” über alles.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras, defending his government’s policy of maintaining Greek membership in the Eurozone, argued in a recent interview that Greece would turn “into Afghanistan” if it left the common currency bloc. However, as evidenced by Tsipras’ aforementioned victory speech, the end goal is preserving the idea of “Europe”—as conceptualized by today’s European Union—at all costs, even if it means breaking campaign promises (or outright lying, if you prefer) and implementing policies that are toxic for the country and its people.

Some of the more laughable defenses that have been heard in favor of EU membership—as exemplified by the heated pre- and post-Brexit referendum rhetoric, concern such awful inconveniences as having to wait on line at customs control or at currency exchange. Somewhat more serious arguments concern the loss of the right to seek employment in other European countries. Doom-and-gloom scenarios, such as the one put forth by Tsipras and also much of the press and mass media, predict economic failure and catastrophe for those who dare depart from the Eurozone or the EU.

This unflinching support for the EU and its institutions, though, is not in reality about preventing European countries from being transformed into “Afghanistan.” It is not about preventing collapse. It is not about the laughable inconvenience of waiting on long lines at passport control. It is about promoting an ideology, a specific worldview, a vision for the way the world should work.

How exactly does this new, visionary world work in reality? What is the end goal? Let’s take the “free movement of labor” as an example. The positive spin that is often placed on this issue points out the advantages of being able to seek work in 28 EU member-states, increasing options for those seeking jobs and the pool of potential workers for employers.

In actuality though, such policies promote a “brain drain” from poorer EU member-states towards those that are wealthier. This perpetuates a spiral of impoverishment in countries such as Greece, from which an estimated 600,000 people have emigrated just during the years of the economic crisis, draining the country of a significant percentage of its educated professionals, the know-how and innovation they could provide, and the contributions their employment would make to the national tax base and pension system–further perpetuating the vicious economic cycle.

Indeed, it can be surmised that a portion of the still significant levels of support for EU membership in Greece stems from individuals who do not view EU membership in terms of the country’s best interest but in terms of self-interest — such as the opportunity to escape the “hellhole” that is Greece and to move to other, wealthier countries that are deemed more “civilized.” Motivated self-interest can also be seen in certain professional categories, such as academics for instance, who fear losing such benefits as EU-provided or EU-supported financial grants.

On their end, employers do not wish to lose what amounts to a pool of surplus labor. This has nothing to do with meritocracy, competition, or finding the best candidate to fill available positions. It has much more to do with increasing labor supply and lowering wages accordingly, essentially pitting labor against itself. As an ancillary benefit, the impoverishment of EU member-states such as Greece creates an internal bloc of countries with educated working populations, proximity to the rest of Europe, free trade and the same currency, and labor conditions and wages rapidly approaching third-world levels. This leads to “investments” (including the aforementioned privatizations) in these nouveau-poor nations, while “free” trade allows cheaply-made imports from economic powerhouses such as Germany to be dumped on local markets.

The same holds true for economic migrants and refugees, for whom we are often told there must be “no borders.” But what this influx of peoples actually represents from an economic point of view is further surplus labor, including labor willing to perform undesirable jobs at pitifully low wages. It represents a new labor pool which is, in essence, pitted against the domestic labor of European countries, suppressing wages across the board. As an additional bonus for employers, those migrants and refugees who are undocumented are far more likely to be amenable to long workdays, extremely low wages, and employment without insurance, benefits, or union membership — essentially held hostage by fear of deportation or starvation.

In other words, these migrants and refugees are exploited, and this exploitation occurs under the guise of “open borders” and “solidarity.” As this exploitation takes place, the true causes of the mass waves of migration and outflows of refugees from these countries are ignored. These, in turn, are closely related to the geopolitical ambitions and activities of Western actors, including the EU and Brussels-based NATO.

While many of those who are opposed to unchecked migration are indeed racist and xenophobic, there also exist those who oppose such migration on the aforementioned grounds, while further recognizing that states already battered by domestic unemployment are in no position to absorb a new labor pool. There are obviously non-racist and non-xenophobic grounds for opposition to the destruction, impoverishment and exploitation of these countries in the first place There are then equally sound and benignant grounds for further opposition to the exploitation of the migrant workers and the suppression of wages and elimination of jobs for the domestic workforce, especially at a time when double-digit unemployment already officially exists in much of Europe and the Eurozone.

The way this induced “free” movement operates, a significant percentage of the labor force within “united” Europe is exploited or driven out of work and forced into internal migration within the “common market,” while migrants from outside Europe add to the pool of surplus labor and drive down wages even further. Both categories of workers are exploited by the “big fish,” namely economic and industrial giants such as Germany, and by international financial capital, which together benefit quite handsomely from this situation. This is as far from a xenophobic argument as one can get.

If this all sounds far-fetched, consider the following remarks made by British Labour Party MP John Reid on the BBC’s “Sunday Politics” television program on April 14, 2013: “The Treasury insisted in having a free flow of labor because they thought it would have brought down the cost of labor.” Reid further noted that he was attacked by members of his own party for suggesting that it was not racist to discuss the issue of immigration.

This is the prevalent ideology: “open borders” under a veil of “humanism” but with the goal of the economic exploitation of workers and entire countries alike. War and conflict is fomented in some countries, economic oppression in others. The migrants fleeing these countries in search of survival and employment are then exploited by the wealthier countries, which benefit and profit off of their work and very presence in these countries, such as through the broadening of the tax base. Conversely, the countries that raised these individuals and invested in their education are left largely empty-handed, at best awaiting remittances from abroad. And all of this is couched in pseudo-humanitarian terms: open borders, free movement, and “free” trade.

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [4] [6] [7]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In another bizarre moment, CNN suffers from a real-journalism crisis and exposes the US war crimes in Yemen ... again!

It’s almost like watching The Twilight Zone!
globinfo freexchange
When the corporate media finally decided to dedicate some of their 'precious' time to focus on the war crimes in Yemen, we thought that it was just a smokescreen. The 'unexplained phenomenon' happened after the unimaginable war-crime in which a school bus was bombed by the Saudi coalition, fully supported by the US.
The global condemnation was so loud that the corporate media couldn't avoid it. They had to speak about it. However, we were right. It was just a small parenthesis away from the common agenda. The US-Saudi coalition war crimes in Yemen continue at the same rate, but the corporate media continue to act like if the war doesn't even exist.
Yet, surprisingly enough, we had an unexpected exception to this corporate media norm. CNN decided to return to the issue and condemn the US involvement in Yemen!
In the following video, Kyle Kulinski was also surprised by the fact that CNN covered again th…

Jeremy Corbyn: 'We are in touch with Bernie Sanders and his campaign'

globinfo freexchange
Jeremy Corbyn and Yanis Varoufakis had an interesting conversation in August 20, at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Varoufakis challenged Corbyn to lead an international progressive movement that will end the brutal policies of the dominant neoliberalism.
Interesting parts of the dialogue:
JC: We saw the way in which the European Central Bank treated yourselves and also the austerity that was imposed on Ireland on Portugal and Spain.
YV: It's not just a state. They committed a crime against the Irish people. The head of the Central Bank of Europe put a gun on the Irish Prime Minister's head and demanded that overnight the losses of private investors, mostly from Germany, should be transferred on to the books of the Irish state and the Irish Prime Minister's account. Now, that's, you know, robbery, just daylight robbery. That's what they did.
JC: I actually challenged the whole Maastricht idea, which established the European Central Bank, because it wa…

Τελευταία ευκαιρία για Grexit ... πριν αναλάβει ο Κούλης

globinfo freexchange
Η τελευταία κερδοσκοπική επίθεση κατά του τραπεζικού συστήματος δείχνει ότι ακόμα και όταν υποκύπτεις σε ότι ζητάει η διεθνής χρηματοπιστωτική μαφία, δεν είναι αρκετό.
Το ότι θα δικαιωνόμασταν για άλλη μια φορά και μάλιστα τόσο γρήγορα, πραγματικά δεν το περιμέναμε.
Μετά την υποτιθέμενη έξοδο από τα μνημόνια και το περίφημο διάγγελμα Τσίπρα είχαμε γράψει πως οι μετριοπαθείς 'Αριστεροί' προσπαθούν να μας πείσουν ότι τώρα η χώρα θα έχει περισσότερη ελευθερία να χαράξει τις δικές της πολιτικές. Δηλαδή, η χρεοκοπημένη Ελλάδα (που βρίσκεται σε χειρότερη κατάσταση απ'ότι όταν μπήκε στο πρόγραμμα διάσωσης), θα κολυμπήσει ξεβράκωτη στα ίδια νερά με τους καρχαρίες των αγορών και θα επιβιώσει. Αυτό πάνω-κάτω μας λένε.
Πράγματι λοιπόν, μετά από περίπου ενάμισι μήνα, ένα από τα βασικά εργαλεία του μηχανισμού της διεθνούς χρηματοπιστωτικής μαφίας (το Bloomberg), αποφάσισε να εξαπολύσει επίθεση κατά του τραπεζικού συστήματος και ο πανικός δεν άργησε να εξαπλωθεί. Όπω…

How Bezos tricked Bernie and workers

globinfo freexchange
The truth is that Bernie Sanders fought, and still fights for the workers more than any elected US president combined for decades. And his crusade against Amazon and Jeff Bezos' enormous greed resulted in the unprecedented decision of the company to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour.
But it was too good to be true.
As Bloomberg reported:
           Amazon.com Inc. is eliminating monthly bonuses and stock awards for warehouse workers and other hourly employees after the company pledged this week to raise pay to at least $15 an hour. Warehouse workers for the e-commerce giant in the U.S. were eligible in the past for monthly bonuses that could total hundreds of dollars per month as well as stock awards, said two people familiar with Amazon’s pay policies. The company informed those employees Wednesday that it’s eliminating both of those compensation categories to help pay for the raises, the people said.


As a pure product of the neoliberal culture, Bezos found the op…

The Podesta emails - top US plutocracy group attempted to approach Hillary Clinton under newly elected chairman Jeff Bezos

WikiLeaks series on deals involving Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. Mr Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and was President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff from 1998 until 2001. Mr Podesta also owns the Podesta Group with his brother Tony, a major lobbying firm and is the Chair of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington DC-based think tank.
globinfo freexchange
An email by a Business Council* representative to John Podesta was expressing the desire of the group to 'approach' Hillary Clinton.
The email was sent nearly two years before the 2016 presidential election at the time where Jeff Bezos was the newly elected president of the group. Also, according to the email, the group consisted of more than 120 "of the biggest CEO's in the US.", meaning, the elite of the American plutocracy.
According to the email, the group was interested for a speech by Hillary Clinton in their meeting, but also, for some informal contacts of he…

This is the real EU ...

failed evolution
When the European Parliament voted recently to sanction Hungary for neglecting norms on democracy, civil rights and corruption, we wrote:
This is the Union that exhibited some "humanitarian sensitivity" by packing thousands of refugees in Greek islands under inhuman conditions and paid Turkey to keep them in its soil. And now, these hypocrites want to punish Hungary for neglecting norms on democracy, civil rights and corruption!
We were right.
According to a recent article by the NY Times:
There is growing acrimony — and now an investigation — over why the camp [Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos] is so bad when so much money has been provided by the European Union to help improve the Greek asylum system since migration levels started to rise in 2014.
[...]
Aid groups have been warning of a need for expanded facilities for several years, however. For some, the failure to improve the camp and hasten the asylum process suggests neglect on the…

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - neoliberal establishment 0-3 ... so far

globinfo freexchange
More than a month ago, we identified an immediate mobilization of the establishment machine to push progressives into the establishment lines after the 'shocking' victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Under the fierce pressure of the corporate media, Cortez was essentially forced to declare loyalty to Nancy Pelosi. That was a first, significant victory of the establishment against Cortez and the progressive movement.
After that, we saw an unexplained and bizarre contribution of both Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to the establishment pro-McCain 'litanies'. In this totally unnecessary self-recruitment for the McCain's legacy whitewash operation, Cortez retreated unconditionally and the establishment marked a second victory against her.
Now, the establishment 'scored' one more time, as Cortez was forced to endorse establishment's agent, Andrew Cuomo.


We mentioned already that corporate media will focus mainly on pushing progressives to b…

Rapid drop of the recruitment rates may accelerate hyper-automation and privatization of the US army

globinfo freexchange
Younger generations have been 'trained' by the dominant culture to act in more 'pragmatic' terms in the arena of a brutal economic cynicism. As the fight for a place in this system becomes harder and harder, more and more people are being left out of the game. More and more of the them struggle to survive.
Despite these perfect conditions for the US empire components to exploit the growing numbers of the 'brigades of the poor’, not everything went well for the empire.
After 9/11 disaster, the Internet, the WikiLeaks, the alternative sources of information, the whistleblowers and the powerful combination of all these, brought some unprecedented changes. They managed to destroy the deceptive facade of the US deep state narratives, propagated through the corporate media.
With all the big lies, war crimes, war propaganda exposed to great extent, millennials and new generations are not easy targets for "war on terror"-type narratives.
As a con…

Financial crises: a tool for the banking cartels to become more powerful

globinfo freexchange
Ten years after the last financial meltdown, very few spotted and mentioned (even until today) an astonishing admission by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC).
In the conclusions on chapter 20 of the report, the Commission implies that trillions (with a T) of taxpayer dollars were mobilized to stabilize the system.
Yet, perhaps the most astonishing conclusion that drawn very little attention, lies in the last sentence in which the Commission actually confirms that the financial sector is even more concentrated in the hands of very few powerful institutions:
A series of actions, inactions, and misjudgments left the country with stark and painful alternatives—either risk the total collapse of our financial system or spend trillions of taxpayer dollars to stabilize the system and prevent catastrophic damage to the economy. In the process, the government rescued a number of fi- nancial institutions deemed “too big to fail”—so large and interconnected with oth…

In Brazil too we see what has become now neoliberalism's common practice: recruit the far-right to do the dirty job

globinfo freexchange
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, professor of sociology at Coimbra University in Portugal, and a distinguished legal scholar at the University of Wisconsin Madison, spoke with Greg Wilpert of the Real News, about the shocking rise of neofascism in Brazil through presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro.
Santos explained:
It’s very well documented that the United States is - through several organizations - really advising, financing Bolsonaro’s campaign. Bannon has said that he had talks with the Bolsonaro’s son and they have particularly advised him in terms of digital strategies. That’s what they are doing. But we know that the Koch brothers have also been helping fund him.
We are in a society in which the class inequalities go together with the racial prejudice. In this society, which in fact for a long time it was very conservative and run by the oligarchies, in the last 15 years, there was a revolution in terms of the social policies - particularly the identity policies.…