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History Has Decided

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: l’Histoire a tranché Translated Wednesday 19 May 2010, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Henry Crapo

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: l’Histoire a tranché

Translated Wednesday 19 May 2010, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Henry Crapo

And if the crisis were to give progressives, and the union and social movement, the occasion to renew the interrupted debate on the orientation of the European construction?

In such a perspective, there would be some chance to build the social Europe that is so vehemently rejected by the present leaders of the European Union. We can’t hold our breath until those who, in the government, in the organisms in Brussels, in the editorial rooms, who supported the Maastricht Treaty, then the project for a European Constitution, and finally the Lisbon Treaty, have the courage to admit that life has given the lie to their predictions.

They promised bread and roses to peoples “united in their diversity”, and mocked all those who had the impertinence to contest being towed along by liberal dogma omnipresent in the European Treaty. You don’t have to be a Marxist to admit that in every situation and in every controversy, it’s practicality that wins the day. Listen again today to the speech given by Nicolas Sarkozy on 21 February 2007 in Strasbourg, in the heat of the presidential election, and the curious echo it rings: “To unblock Europe’s institutional structure is, in my eyes, an absolute priority, if we wish that Europe not be transformed into a simple free-market zone in which speculators and predators from around the world come to confront each other.”

Isn’t this exactly what we see before our eyes, exactly what the Lisbon Treaty has imposed, which was supposed to have put an end to that imaginary “institutional blockage” inherited from the Treaty of Nice (2000)? Aren’t the financial markets and their bond rating agencies acting against the economies of Greece and Portugal? And aren’t they doing this precisely because the treaties enshrine the total liberty of movements of capital within the Union?

In his time, Charles de Gaulle got heated up about those who “jump around like goats, shouting Europe! Europe!”. Today it is time to stand up against those fire-brands who speak of Europe, but think only of the markets, the competition between peoples and between workers, ah! their sacred competition, the all-powerful Central European Bank, but never think of the Europeans themselves. Think of the Greek people who are resisting the blood-letting that the Doctors Diafoirus [1] of the IMF and of the big countries of the European Union – France and Germany foremost – want to administer them. Think of the working families in Portugal promised, by their prime minister José Socrates, a new cure of austerity with raising of the sales tax and reduction of social expenditures. And of the public service workers and the retired in Spain, to whom José Luis Zapatero has announced a wage cut of 5% as a starter and freezing of pensions as second course.

History has proven correct those who denounced the Single European Act in 1986, who voted “no” to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, and rejected the Giscard constitution in 2005. But the makers of the crisis obstructed the debate in progress, wishing to fix the destiny of Europe in isolation from the people, and today wish to deprive the parliaments of the right to vote freely their own national budgets. This liberal and authoritarian haste is pushing Europe toward a catastrophe. We must reopen the citizen debate, to provide proof that a different European construction is possible.

[1] Wikipedia: Thomas Diafoirus was a doctor from the play Le Malade imaginaire by Molière. He is portrayed as a pedantic man who loves to use elaborate scientific terminology but is not overly concerned with his patients’ actual health.

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