Not only eternal peace between the European nations was promised, which had fought bloody wars against each other for centuries. There was also the prospect of social homogenization between the nations so that periphery would catch up to the living standard in the center. For quite a few years it seemed as if this capitalist dream could become true.
But then came the financial crash of 2007/8 which led to a global economic crisis affecting the global capitalist system until today. The periphery’s boom, mainly built on foreign credit, turned out to be a financial bobble. Capital flew and the bobble was about to burst not only on the periphery but even in the heart of the system – until today it is only tamped by US monetary policy called Quantitative Easing.
At the global periphery before 2007/08 such circumstances would have led to state bankruptcy, exchange rate depreciation (currency devaluation), impoverishment of the population, general economic contraction – most probably under the leadership of the institution of global financial capitalism imposing their model of export-led development. The costs of tradable goods must decrease until they reach a competitive position on the world market (regardless of the social losses imposed). As long as demand was strong enough to absorb the products a new cycle could commence. Before 2007/08 this sometimes even became reality with the credit-driven consumption boom centered in the US. This does, however, not take into consideration that by this means the gap between supply and demands was further widened eventually adding to the underlying reasons of the global crisis.
By definition the Euro regime does not allow this type of structural adjustment as it is being called by the executors and ideologues of the financial oligarchy. The Euro is supposed to remain stable de facto a surrogate for the gold standard. For the German financial establishment this is an unshakable dogma. They are not only defending their main political project for a European order but also their creditor interests. Within the frame of the systems then only one way of structural adjustment remains: internal devaluation. It is causing even more social hardship as in the first place capital get away without much harm (first of all foreign creditors). The economic downturn eventually does hit also local capitalists. The proclaimed aim is the very same: Drive down production costs until competitiveness is achieved. For small economies this might not be impossible. For the large southern European countries the world market is definitely too small.
“Social Europe” as being propagated by the systemic left across the continent does not only affirm the system but constitutes a contradictio in adiecto. The EU and the Euro regime have been built exactly to attack the all mechanisms of social balancing created in the frame of the nation states. Moreover a “social transfer union” cannot be an end in itself. Instead the peoples of Europe must be empowered to generate their income by themselves and thus achieve an equalization of living standards across the continent.
Usually civil society will object: “This is nationalism!” (Actually for Gramsci the term civil society meant the ideological apparatus of the ruling system operating without brute coercion. Today the historic left is providing this apparatus by the name civil society.) Then the starvation of Greece must be internationalist by reverse? Or the “humanitarian wars” are guarantor of peace as they were instituted under Clinton and seconded by the EU? The nation state as arena of struggle must be reclaimed by the subaltern classes. There we will find not only the better conditions of social defense but also to keep democratic rights under attack by supranational institutions like the EU which are under complete control of the capitalist oligarchy. Put differently: It would help the systems if we advised the Greek victims of the Euro to wait until an antagonist movement rises in Germany in order to commonly fight against the regime. Steps towards a renationalization are for the time being the only way of defense of the subaltern classes against the capitalist elites. The nation state is the only place where the power of the oligarchy can be put into question.
We are decided enemies of the Euro regime and the EU. But what does this mean concretely in political terms? In which way it is possible for a peripheral country to exit the Euro and to avoid falling victim of an IMFä-type structural adjustment? And how does this apply for antagonist forces in and around the German center which has been benefiting from the Euro regime? Questions like these should be treated under this rubric.
The current politico-economic crisis rocking the Euro regime with its fierce attacks against the toiling classes is prompting resistance. We want to contribute developing successful self-defense and turn it into political counter-attack. We believe that especially at the periphery the power of the capitalist oligarchy can be shattered in a way that alternatives to their rule are becoming possible. How they can look line will be sketched here.