Europe

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 10:14 Barry Finger Editorial Dept - Europe
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If the ongoing standoff between the Syriza government and the Troika of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be boiled down to its essentials, it would be this: The “institutions” will only equip the Greek economy with enough operating funds to manage a bare-bones operation. And they will begrudgingly accede to this only if Syriza maintains a primary surplus and the neoliberal labour market reforms that the Troika judges necessary to keep the Greek economy, and other eurozone economies, competitive in the global market. The left-wing government must, in essence, demonstrate that its loyalty to the European bankers’ project takes precedence over its obligations to democracy.

If accepted, this means, for Syriza, that it will not be able to implement its anti-austerity measures – the massive public works projects needed to revive the country's economy, expand its tax base, or drive down its public debt through growth. Bailout of the private and national central banks, which had or still hold sovereign Greek debt on their balance sheets, is, in any case, now being internalized by the ECB by means of quantitative easing. These toxic assets have been swapped out for euros at terms far in excess of their actual market values. This is not a complete bailout of the banking system. It will not restore that sector to its previous level of profitability. But quantitative easing is sufficient to guarantee eurozone-banking-system liquidity should the Greeks refuse to listen to “reason” and renege on their “commitments,” thereby triggering a run on the banks.

 
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 11:30 Ben Neal Editorial Dept - Europe
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The current crisis in Ukraine has, among other things, highlighted the issue of nationalism in the former Soviet republics, and in particular extreme right nationalism.

The politics of the Euromaidan movement, which toppled President Viktor Yanukovych are overwhelmingly those of Ukrainian nationalism in various forms, and far right organizations such as the Right Sector and the Svoboda Party played significant roles in the movement and in the subsequent interim government, as well as currently in volunteer battalions fighting in the Donbas region.

The current government in Kiev is supported by the EU and USA. Many on the left internationally, including some on the left in Ukraine, consequently consider the Kiev government to be a ‘fascist junta,’ beholden to if not directly controlled by western imperialism. Meanwhile, the separatist movement in the south east of Ukraine, which grew out of the pro-Yanukovych anti-maidan movement, is essentially a mirror image, dominated by Russian nationalism, and with Russian far right organizations and individuals involved in various ways, and is supported, certainly diplomatically and politically, if not militarily, by the Russian government.

 
Monday, 21 October 2013 14:11 Human Rights Watch Editorial Dept - Europe
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Punk Rock Group Performer Alleges Forced Labor and Death Threats - A member of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot has released a public letter alleging “intolerable” prison conditions and a death threat when she complained.

On September 23, 2013, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike to protest threats by staff and abusive work and living conditions that are threatening her physical and psychological wellbeing at a penal colony where she is serving her prison term.

“These allegations are extremely serious and disturbing,” said Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities need to promptly and thoroughly investigate Tolokonnikova’s accusations and make sure she doesn’t face retribution for going public.”

 
Friday, 26 April 2013 13:45 Roger Annis Editorial Dept - Europe
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Reopens the Debate Over Her Cruel Legacy - The death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on April 8 has renewed an intense political debate in Britain and internationally over her legacy. For her ruling class sycophants, Thatcher was a heroine, “one of the greatest” prime ministers Britain ever had.

While she is falsely credited with lifting Britain out of a lasting economic slump during the 1970s, she did succeed in imposing a drastic and lasting shift in the balance of social and economic wealth between rich and poor, very much to the detriment of the latter. She was prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

Thatcher imposed pro-capitalist mantras such as slashing the social wage to achieve “balanced” government budgets, privatization of the delivery of public services and relaxing the regulation of stock markets. She privatized public housing on a vast scale and promoted the virtues of individual home ownership and patriotic war.

 
Saturday, 18 February 2012 00:00 Panagiotis Sotiris Editorial Dept - Europe
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On Sunday 12 February 2012 the people of Greece, in demonstrations and street fights all over the country expressed in a massive, collective and heroic way their anger against the terms of the new loan agreement dictated by the EU-ECB-IMF ‘troika’ (Eurpoean Union, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund).

Workers, youth, students filled the streets with rage, defying the extreme aggression by police forces, setting another example of struggle and solidarity.

Greece is becoming the test site for an extreme case of neoliberal social engineering.

The terms of the new bailout package from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the so-called ‘troika’, equal a carpet bombing of whatever is left of collective social rights and represent an extreme attempt to bring wage levels and workplace situation back to the 1960s.

Terms of the Bailout

Under the terms of the new agreement the following drastic changes are going to be put to vote:

 
Sunday, 27 November 2011 18:21 Editorial Dept - Europe
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In Paris on October 15th, a group of finance ministers and central bankers known as the G20, representing major nations, gave the European Union until October 23red to find an answer to the financial crisises that are tearing apart the EU and its monetary structure.

Don’t hold your breath. If not now, at least in the foreseeable future, the EU will collapse for the oldest reason, national sovereignty and national self-interest.

If you visit Wikipedia and enter “European Wars”, it will kick out a list that’s several pages long in small print starting with the Trojan Wars, 1193-1184 BC. The Romans conquered everyone for a while. The Spanish tried to invade England. For a while Napoleon was invading everyone. There were the hundred year wars, thirty year wars, and wars for the hell of it. Suffice to say the Europeans have a long record of going to war with one another.

World War One impoverished its participants and led to World War Two. After the devastation of World War Two and with the threat of the Soviet Union to the East, European leaders concluded that the only option to avoid future wars or being overrun by the Russian bear was to form a kind of United States of Europe.
 

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