As the Corporate (actually Corporatist) Media goes into Chicken Little mode after smugly assuming for weeks that the citizens of the sovereign state of the United Kingdom would “do the right thing” and reject separation from the European Union, I thought it timely to provide a contrarian view of what is clearly a major political and economic world event.
Before I expound my own views on the subject, however, let me address the foremost objection a European reader might have to what I may say: being on the other side of the Big Muddy, I have no deep knowledge of the situation in the Euro Zone. There is a grain of truth in this criticism, but only a grain. True, American media has virtually ignored the issue, with the exception of BBC America and a few alternate media sites on the internet, even as it been the subject of intense discussion in Britain. But I would argue that one can be too caught up in the minutiae of an issue to assess it properly, especially if one is firmly aligned in what has clearly been a partisan political event. It is easy to be myopic in one’s outlook and overlook broader aspects of the vote. Distance gives one perspective and that I humbly provide in the following paragraphs.
One headline in this morning’s news suffices to point out all that is wrong with the European Union, as it is presently constituted. The headline this morning–quickly taken down because it was apparently too honest–had German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying “We must save our European Union.” The headline, if accurate, is very telling: save the European Union, but from whom? The citizens of its constituent nations? Apparently Herr Steinmeier and a select circle of EU oligarchs are greatly afraid of similar referendums in other Euro Zone countries, where a popular vote by the majority of the nation’s citizens may also go against the supra national–and, apparently, in many ways undemocratic–EU government apparatus. Is Herr Steinmeier’s possessive “our European Union” referring to the select circle of EU officials who make economic decisions which can–and have–adversely affected millions of average European citizens?
Since Steinmeier’s inadvertent honesty, pronouncements emanating from him have been more diplomatic in tone but also edged with a coercive subtext: he and fellow EU patricians have stated that they want Britain gone as quickly as possible and that Prime Minister Cameron needs to be pressured to begin the process immediately, if not sooner. Cameron, who opposed the exit, has already announced his intention to step down as head of the Conservative Party in October and, quite rightly, expressed the opinion that it should be up to his successor to carry out the process of separation. The Lisbon accords, which created the EU, allowed for its constituent members to leave and provided for up to two years for an orderly withdrawal. Apparently some of the EU
oligarchs officials want a speedy divorce and some have even talked about making it as punitive as possible to Britain, as an object lesson to other nations whose citizens may also be unhappy with the way the EU is being run.
Wisely, Chancellor Angela Merkel was not among those wanting a nasty “divorce.” Apparently talking in opposition to her foreign minister, the Chancellor opined that the European Union has “no need to be particularly nasty in any way” in the negotiations with Britain about its exit from the Union and called for an orderly separation. Britain had previously opted out of surrendering its own currency to the Euro and instead recognized both currencies as legal tender, a prescient move in light of what the EU did to Greece when it dared to assert its own autonomy a little while back.
It should be remembered that the Euro Banksters–who colluded with Wall Street in bringing the world to the brink of fiscal collapse in 2008 by selling worthless paper and then providing easy credit to buy their worthless paper–when their self created bubble collapsed, demanded their pound of flesh from Greece and others nations who fell for their deceit. Greece was then forced into enacting programs detrimental to its own economic self interest; the EU colluded with the banks and forced upon a nation which could ill afford it crippling interest rates and counterproductive economic measures. In this scenario the banks may be seen as Mafia Dons, acting as loan sharks, while the EU served as their “enforcer” ready to (figuratively) break the bones of Greece, or any other nation of the EU that dared defy them.
It should be borne in mind that during this same time frame, “Austerity” was not pushed on the American economy by the Obama Administration as it had been by the EU and their bankster colleagues, and while the American recovery from the Great Recession has been slow and uneven, with the top 1% benefitting most from a rigged economy and the rest of us only benefitting marginally, the US, unlike Cameron’s Britain, did not suffer any subsequent recessions, still less than Southern Europe, which remains nearly as bad off as it was in 2008.
Greece, after it had endured all it could from the Euro Bankster imposed Austerity, rebelled against its economic exploitation by the EU, in response to which the EU abruptly cut off the money supply. It was an object lesson designed, not only to punish Greece, but to intimidate all other southern European countries to remain subservient to the EU or else suffer a similar fate. Because Greece had surrendered its own currency when it joined the Union and relied solely on the Euro for its money, Greek banks were forced to shut down and those in Greece still with jobs not destroyed by Austerity went unpaid. Finally, the reformist Greek government was forced to surrender to the economic imperialism of the EU.
By comparison, Britain is far better off, not only by wisely retaining its own currency, but also because it possesses a stronger industrial base better able to weather the ill effects and bad economics of Austerity. Hopefully, with David Cameron’s departure the counter-productive doctrine of Austerity will also be gone–and that can only be a good thing for Great Britain.
The idea of European unity is fundamentally a good idea; Europeans not murdering each other in local wars that mutate into world wars is also a GOOD THING. Likewise, the European Common Market, as originally formulated, made a great deal of sense when it promoted trade that was both fair and equitable across national borders. Similarly, the idea that neighboring countries, living on good terms with one another and sharing a common cultural heritage should having relatively easy transit of people back and forth, also makes a great deal of sense. But when a handful of bankers and powerful but unscrupulous trans-national corporations, hiding behind the curtain of European Union, adversely control the lives of millions of people and coerce punitive economic agreements from their national governments against their own citizens best interests and their nation’s economic well-being, that is neither democratic nor fair, nor just.
Britain was certainly a beneficiary in many aspects of the European Union; it may seem to many on the continent that the UK’s action was precipitous and unjustified. But the Brits are not the only voices of dissent in the EU; there are similar voices of dissent in the Netherlands, Italy and France. In Spain, in the wake of the Bankster created Great Recession, hundreds of thousands of families were evicted from their homes. In 2013, for example, firefighters in Coruña were called on to break down the door of an 86-year-old woman who was to be evicted; in that case they refused to do the bidding of the Banksters. But in the majority of cases the banks have had their way and the EU has been there all through it to make sure that their will is obeyed without question.
In the EU, vulnerable nations like Greece have been forced to eliminate jobs, cut pensions and privatize, privatize, privatize. Who benefits from all this? Certainly not the citizens of the countries coerced into such policies. The Euro bankers, like their Wall Street counterparts, reap in massive profits at the expense of individuals, cities and whole states. Spain, in particular, is a prime example of the adversity imposed from above by the EU and the bankers who run it behind the scenes. Eight years after the beginning of the Great Recession, Spain’s unemployment remains at over 20% nationwide, while the unemployment rate for those under the age of twenty-five is a whopping 45%! Explain to me how Spain being in the EU has benefitted its citizens? Could they be any worse off if they were independent? Perhaps, if it did not have to follow the dictates of a remote, undemocratic, essentially oligarchic entity for the supposed benefit of European unity, the Spanish people might have been free to pursue other solutions better suited to their individual needs.
The United States would be in the same situation if, in 2008, our nation had been in the control of the Republican Party who, no sooner were they out of power suddenly preached balanced budgets and smaller government. This is the same political party that spent like a drunken sailor for eight years, cut taxes for the ultra rich and got the nation involved in an unprovoked war in Iraq which added trillions to the deficit. Yes, it is a good thing to maintain a balanced budget and pay your bills on time; in prosperous times a nation should maintain a healthy economic balance and even accumulate a “rainy day” fund. But when one has a severe economic downturn, that is the absolute worst time to demand a balanced budget; still less do you go about laying off thousands or millions of people to adhere to a theoretical economic dogma.
Europe during this same period has been in the thrall of economic oligarchs, who used the shield of the EU to impose “Austerity” as a solution to the same economic downturn. The net effects of this dogma have been devastating and have retarded most of Europe’s recovery unnecessarily. Behind the smokescreen of this supposed solution to the Great Recession lies a hidden agenda. The banksters have used the dogma of Austerity as an excuse to roll back long established social benefits and economic rights, many of which Americans would envy if they could but experience them even for a short time. The Banksters have also used Austerity as an excuse to privatize publicly owned institutions for their own personal gain; they have similarly hidden behind the shield of the EU to engage in myriad other actions designed to enrich a junta of international banks and corporations.
Since the 1990’s in the United States, one after another so-called “Free Trade” agreement has been pushed through by politicians who touted its economic benefits to an uniformed public. Without exception, these agreements have resulted in millions of good paying jobs leaving the United States to impoverished third world nations, often controlled by military dictatorships. Ironically, these same impoverished nations have not benefitted from the influx of manufacturing jobs; rather, waves of immigration ensue, as local economies are also disrupted by these same “Free Trade” deals. NAFTA, CAFTA and now the TPP, are not about trade at all, much less are they free; they are about a handful of trans-national corporations acting in collusion to adversely control the economic resources of nations and subordinate those nations’ sovereignty to the will of a Corporatist oligarchy.
Lest Europeans think they are immune to this type of corporate economic imperialism, just remember that after the oligarchs have rammed the Trans Pacific Partnership through a corrupt lame-duck session of our Congress, they are coming after Europe with the TTIP to do the same to you. When they promise economic prosperity and jobs creation as its benefit, remember that the U.S. has suffered over twenty years of these empty promises and now Americans on both the right and left are wise to the lies.
At the present time, Europeans may be upset with the British for wanting to retain their own economic and political sovereignty; some Brits may be upset at their fellow nationals for what they perceive as being against “progress” or guilty of a perceived xenophobia. Perhaps they may be right in some regard. In the greater scheme of things, maybe the wiser course would have been for Britain to stay within EU and pull the fangs of the oligarchs and banksters who have been manipulating things behind the scenes, and make it more responsive to the will of the citizens of its constituent countries.
Instead of blaming the bearers of bad tidings, however, the citizens of those nations which remain in the EU should take stock of the situation and demand real reforms to an organization which has proven to be unresponsive to the needs of many of its constitutents. The voters of these same nations should also reflect on the nature of the leadership of the EU, whose first instinct is to punish any nation that may wish to emulate Brtain. Remember what the EU did to Greece; then reflect on whether the Brits were totally unjustified in the course they laid.