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 was a central bank based on price stability. Not on living standards, not on rights and sharing. It was entirely on price stability.
YV: It was a purely ideological construction, which, nevertheless, besides being ideologically quite putrid it was - technically and financially - ridiculously stupid. We created a central bank without a state, to be the central bank of 19 governments without a central bank.
YV: Could I invite you to be a bit more ambitious?
JC: OK, in what respect?
YV: You have a great burden on you to be the leader, not just of a progressive democratic socialist movement in the United Kingdom, but also beyond the limits of the United Kingdom.
People out there - and you know that - in Europe, in America, in Latin America, are looking at you for inspiration and leadership beyond the shores of these islands. Would it not be important, and quite marvelous actually, to create that progressive international with Bernie Sanders, with the new president-elect in Mexico, with us in Europe, in order to put forward a hopeful message to the people of Britain, to the people of Europe and so on, people of India in South Africa, that we need an international New Deal?
Because all the problems that you described regarding Britain of poverty, low investment in the things, in the good quality jobs ...
You know, I was looking at data about private debt in this country. You have a massive private debt crisis. You don't have a public debt crisis, you have a private debt crisis. When more than half of the families in this country, especially working-class families, need credit cards in order to put food on the table ...
All these are problems that we have in Greece, they have in Mexico, we have in Italy, and it's a bit like climate change, you need to act upon them in this country, but it's not enough. To lift these boats, to empower the working class in Britain, to have investment good quality jobs, it would help to do the same thing in Europe, in the United States. This is why we need to coordinate and this is why we need people like Jeremy Corbyn to show leadership beyond the shores of this country.
JC: Don't frame it around the individual ... but it is important, and you're right, that we build that sense of international connection because you're quite right, others are very internationally connected in a better way than many of us are.
I have spent a lot of time talking to a lot of people across Europe over the past three years. We are in touch with Bernie Sanders and his campaign. And I'm delighted to say the new president of Mexico, who I know, I consider him a friend, has invited me to his inauguration. And he has this massive opportunity - having won historically a big majority in the presidential election - to actually challenge the levels of inequality in his country, which are probably the most unequal society in the world.
We wrote that, a whole new generation in the West now sees the neoliberal fairy tale fully exposed. What this 'model' is offering now is more inequality, more unemployment, more ridiculously low-paid jobs, destruction of social state, plus, more authoritarianism under the pretext of terrorism. So, most importantly, what is not offering, especially to the young people, is hope for a better future. As a natural consequence, the younger generations turned massively to political figures that could make the difference, like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.
The establishment paints these two politicians as 'radicals' just because they want to bring back some socialist policies that were taken for granted a few decades ago, even in the capitalist West. The establishment was terrified with the thought that someone like Bernie Sanders could become the next US president, so it did everything to throw him out of the path to power. And the elites were shocked to see that, despite the disgusting propaganda by their media, the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn regained significant power against Theresa May who gambled and lost.
Neoliberal tricks don't work anymore. Mainstream media propaganda is not effective. We're probably one step before the final demolition of this ruthless system. Could a Sanders/Corbyn synchronization in power give the final decisive blow against Reagan/Thatcher awful legacy?