European Union

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Yea, the stock market has taken a shit kicking this week.

Ken Burch

Could we call that picture "Running Dogs Playing Poker"?


All of us are locked into the stock market one way or another - where do you think your pension plan administrators invest?


I suppose if you are invested the so-called "economy" meaning gambling on the stock market then you are going to lose most or maybe even all of your money (unless of course, you cashed out your facebook chips on Friday.)

The people of Argentina and Iceland have rejected outside debt money and are not going to pay back onerous debt.  The people of Greece would be wise to do the same.


The GamblersEight (G8) sitting around the poker table don't want the people of Greece to leave the casino because the people from other European countries (Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, others) might get wise and leave as well.

-- just my two cents ;)



Enbridge Frown

Mayhaps some pension plan administrators are wanna be financial advisers.


The Iceland follies: Loony currency schemes (

Argentina unleashes dogs to sniff for dollars (


Maybe I missed it here somewhere, but I havent seen anything about Blaukuppy in Frankfurt, since the first day.


The Brits sure do not like the rest of Europe it seems.




Ken Burch wrote:

Could we call that picture "Running Dogs Playing Poker"?

"A Friend in Need" by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

"A Friend in Need" by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge


Labour - 41%, polling the highest they have polled in 9 years

Cons - 36%, up 3%

Lib Dem - 11%, down 4%, polling the lowest they have polled in 15 years

The prime minister used to be deemed an electoral asset, and he continues to outperform the administration as a whole to an extent. But over the last few months he has veered from positive to deeply negative territory. As recently as last December he had a positive rating of +5, but this has now turned into a net negative of –11. Crucially, that leaves him in a statistical dead heat with Miliband, whose strongly negative rating of –17 in December has now eased to –12. If the economic blame game is still preventing an outright Tory collapse, the question of leadership is no longer doing so.

The chancellor has slid further and faster than the government as a whole, Osborne's +17 net rating in June 2010 had fallen to –2 by December, and has now dived right down to –25 points. The same is true of Nick Clegg whose already poor ratings are sinking to new depths. The deputy prime minister's net +19 rating in August 2010 had already flipped into a negative –19 by December of last year, and has now sunk further to –27.

Incumbent administrations are increasingly unpopular across the EU, and Britain is not immune. The Conservatives' rapidly shrinking advantage on the economy is only one sign of disillusion. Only 31% of respondents think the coalition is doing a good job overall, as against 52% who say the reverse. The difference between these two figures gives the government its negative net approval rating of –21 points. That is down from –8 in December last year, and from a positive approval of a net +23 during the coalition's first flush in power in June 2010.

The news for the Liberal Democrats is unremittingly bleak. Up until now ICM's methodology has suggested a less precipitous collapse in Lib Dem support than has been seen in other surveys since the coalition was formed. But third party's standing now shrivelled to its lowest level in 15 years, since the time when Tony Blair's all-conquering new government briefly attracted support of 60%. The last time the Lib Dems did so badly in a more ordinary political environment was over 20 years ago, during the party's miserable early days at the very start of the 1990s.


Canada, Europe, it's all the same thing. Just the rich and the poor fighting it out, time, after time, after time.




the slow return of rage

In successive polls since Christmas, the Tories economic lead of 21 points has fallen in sequence to 18, 17 and 13 before now shrinking to nine.

Sven Sven's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Hollande is rerfeshing, very refreshing.

Hollande Says NATO Missile Shield No Threat to Other Nations


News of the World's 'fake sheikh' had Tom Watson followed, emails show

Mazher Mahmood, who now works for Sunday Times, appears to have commissioned surveillance of phone-hacking critic

Peter Mandelson told the Leveson inquiry on Monday how Rebekah Brooks would "come on to me and complain" that Watson and his colleagues were "hounding" them, and demand: "Couldn't they be pulled away, pulled off?" Brooks, editor of the Sun at the time of the libel, had taken over as chief executive of NI at the beginning of September, in control of both Murdoch tabloids.

On the evening of 29 September, while Derek Webb was still shadowing Watson at his conference hotel, the Sun revealed it was switching political sides, and published a dramatic anti-Brown front page. From then on, it embarked on a ferocious campaign against Gordon Brown and his supporters.

Watson is due to give evidence to Leveson on Tuesday.


Greek leftist Alexis Tsipras delivers 'message of friendship' to Germans

Leader of Syriza insists Greece is not seeking to blackmail Germany during his charm offensive in Berlin


Italy steps up tax enforcement. Results so far? Deep discount used Ferraris.


mmphosis wrote:


It's almost as if a séance is being conducted in order to communicate with a deceased loved one, which in their case would be Capitalism, except that we know its evil heart continues to beat away on life support.


Refreshing indeed.

France's Hollande makes bold debut on EU summit stage


The the French President only has to hold europe together for another year and then Merkel will be gone. Merkel is holding Europe back.


Finally this inquiry is getting somewhere.

Jeremy Hunt: minister for Murdoch

If this module of the Leveson inquiry has a smoking gun, it is the memo Jeremy Hunt wrote to the prime minister on 19 November 2010


The Guardian seems to have a two-fold mission here. One is to enact revenge on Murdoch, and the other is to bring Cameron down. Good for the Guardian.




Cracks in Sarkozy's UMP party as leaders wrestle for control

UMP ministers call for unity, warning 'war of clans' could lead to catastrophic collapse in support just before general election


European Labor

Political and Ideological Crisis in an Increasingly More Authoritarian European Union

Acute economic and political drama mark contemporary Europe. The terrible trauma of the financial crisis has been followed by a sovereign-debt disaster. In the countries most deeply affected, the people have been faced with massive attacks on public services, wages, pensions, trade unions, and social rights. The draconian austerity policies have pushed the situation in those countries from bad to worse, leading them into a deep depression. The result is an ever more serious social and political crisis. Mass unemployment is growing, and both in Greece and Spain youth unemployment has now passed 50 percent. In the European Union this is leading to more intense internal confrontations, both social and political.


The Historical Role of Social Democracy

Much now suggests that the historical era of social democracy is over. This does not mean that political parties that call themselves Social Democratic (or Socialist, as they call themselves in southern Europe) will not be able to win elections and form governments, alone or with other parties. However, the role social democracy has played historically, as a political-party structure with a certain progressive social project, now seems to be irrevocably over. The original goals of social democracy—to develop democratic socialism through gradual reforms, place the economy under political control, and meet the economic and social needs of the great majority of the population—were given up a long time ago. Instead, what will be focused on is the role it played during its golden age—the age of welfare capitalism—as an intra-capitalist political party with a social project.

The change of the character of the social-democratic parties has developed over a long time, but today’s more intensified social contradictions help reveal what is hiding beneath the thin veil of political rhetoric. Where social democracy has been in power in EU countries in recent years, its leaders have been loyal executioners of brutal austerity policies, overseeing massive attacks on the welfare state and trade unions. In turn this has, among other things, led to dramatically reduced support for social democrats; with few exceptions, today they are hardly represented in European governments.

The role of social democracy in its golden age was to administer the class compromise—not to represent workers against capital, but to mediate between the classes within the framework of a regulated capitalist economy. As a result, the parties (especially where they were in power over long periods) changed from mass organizations of workers into bureaucratic organizations strongly integrated into the state apparatus, with dramatic losses in membership, and with their organizations increasingly converted into instruments for political careerists, and campaign machinery for a new political elite....


..we should know which europe will be administering ceta and to what purposes. canadians need be worried for good reason. this European Labor piece was written by:

Asbjørn Wahl is Adviser to the Norwegian Union of Municipal Employees, Vice Chair of the Road Transport Workers’ Section of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and Director of the Campaign for the Welfare State, a trade-union-based national alliance fighting privatization and liberalization.


Constitutionalized Neoliberalism

Second, neoliberalism has been constitutionalized as the economic system of the European Union through the Treaty of Lisbon and former treaties. Capital’s freedom of movement and right of establishment are carved in stone, and all other considerations are subordinated to this principle, which we clearly have seen in the labor market (see below). Free competition is another basic principle in the EU treaties. In recent years this has also increasingly been applied to the services market, which differs from the commodity market in the way that trade in services mainly deals with the buying and selling of mobile labor power.

It has long been a common saying on the European political left that socialism is prohibited by the EU treaties. With the stability criteria, and the new sanction regime to force member states’ structural budget deficit below 0.5 percent and government debt below 60 percent of GDP, we can conclude that traditional Keynesianism, or what we may call traditional social-democratic economic policy of the post-war period, is not allowed. This represents a dramatic curtailment of democracy in the EU member states and represents a major step towards a more authoritarian, neoliberal European Union....


..and here we have an example of neoliberal europe.

Exposed: Outrage In Denmark As Goldman Sachs Buys National Energy Company

In an unprecedented move, Denmark agreed Thursday to sell 19 percent of its state owned energy company, DONG Energy, to U.S. investment giant Goldman Sachs – a decision so unpopular it caused Denmark's governing Socialist People's Party to quit the coalition government.

The purchase gives board positions and veto power to Goldman Sachs on important, strategic energy decisions for the country, one of the world's leaders in developing renewable energy. The news set off a storm of protest this week in Denmark.

Around 190,000 people have already signed a petition rejecting the state energy company's sale to the Wall Street firm, which is widely referred to Danish media as a “financial vulture“ and “vampire squid“ due to its outsized role in provoking, then profiting off, the global financial crisis.

Goldman Sachs seized control of nearly one-fifth of Denmark's DONG Energy for around $1.45 billion. The total value of the company is estimated at $5.7 billion, though many analysts and economists say this amount is far too low and that it is actually worth much more....


Bosnia on fire: a rebellion on Europe’s periphery

With its radical demands and popular assemblies, the rebellion in Bosnia and Herzegovina shows that the global cycle of struggles is far from over.

On Friday, February 7, government buildings were on fire all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its people, silent for a long time, finally decided to speak their mind. And when they did, what came out was not just words — it was a roar. It was fire, stones and heavy fighting with the police. The most impressive and symbolic picture of the first few days of the rebellion was the one depicting a burning government building in Tuzla, the city where it all began, with the graffiti “death to nationalism” written on it. Since nationalism has long been a favorite refuge of the country’s political elites, who used it to justify their political and economic oppression, this was indeed a powerful message.

Prime Ministers of cantons in Bosnia and Herzegovina started handing in their resignations, one by one. On Sunday, February 9, the Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović went to Mostar — a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a large Croatian population — to meet with the Croat leaders there, while the President of the Republic of Srpska (the Serbian part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Milorad Dodik, was summoned to Serbia to meet with the first Vice-President Aleksandar Vučić (the unofficial leader of Serbia). The reasons were clear. Both the political elites in Croatia and Serbia are afraid, among other things, that what some already call the “Bosnian revolution” may spill over the borders into their countries....


The “Plenum” of Tuzla

One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of the mobilization is the appearance in Tuzla — right at the center of the rebellion, where the former government handed in its resignation some days ago – of a revolutionary organizational body called the “plenum”. This plenum (or general assembly) is very similar to the original Russian soviets. The protesters are using them in order to reach collective decisions and demands in a direct democratic manner. What is interesting is that the idea of the plenum, as a political body for democratic decision-making, originated in the 2009 wave of student occupations in Croatia, while the Croatian student movement itself got the idea from the 2006 Belgrade student movement. This, in other words, is a fine example of post-Yugoslav left activist cooperation and mutual inspiration.  The protesters in the capital Sarajevo and in the town of Zenica are now trying to organize a plenum as well....



These days I believe it's a sad occasion when people set fire to public buildings that they've paid for.  Sad because when such events occur it's usually an indication that people have been shoved around for far too long by the ruling power structure.  Nowadays it seems to be the case that whether the regime being burnt out of the physical structures they’ve been presiding from winds up being replaced by something else, very little if any relief can be expected from a new regime.  It's also the case that no matter how many physical structures are gutted out with the fires of protest, other structures will be built and costed to the public in order to accommodate the same thing that precipitated the fires in the first place, exacerbating the problem of public debt.  It points to the need for revolt everywhere because isolation means defeat.


the very first post (in 2012) on this long thread says:

Euro's day of reckoning looms

frankly, I never believed that, and any unravelling is no closer today in 2014 than it was in 2013:

Euro Displays Uncommon Strength

Currency Is Poised to Be Best Performer Among Major Rivals in 2013

The suspicion that the ECB won’t be able to use its remaining monetary policy tools, or add new ones, is contributing to the euro’s rise. Ironically, by boosting the euro, the efforts of Weidmann and his backers on the ECB board to prevent the November interest-rate cut set the stage for further monetary accommodation down the line — once the resolve of German industry and the Bundesbank have been sufficiently worn down.

Remember, even as the euro is up against the dollar, it has increased 10% against the yen in the past three months alone. The Japanese central bank has pumped huge sums into the monetary system, a move that Europe has been unable to make because of ECB rules, and Germany’s opposition to changing them.


Slumberjack wrote:

These days I believe it's a sad occasion when people set fire to public buildings that they've paid for.  Sad because when such events occur it's usually an indication that people have been shoved around for far too long by the ruling power structure.  Nowadays it seems to be the case that whether the regime being burnt out of the physical structures they’ve been presiding from winds up being replaced by something else, very little if any relief can be expected from a new regime.  It's also the case that no matter how many physical structures are gutted out with the fires of protest, other structures will be built and costed to the public in order to accommodate the same thing that precipitated the fires in the first place, exacerbating the problem of public debt.  It points to the need for revolt everywhere because isolation means defeat.

..i agree slumberjack that revolt needs to be everywhere or at least most places. i would like to add that we replace the current structures is as important as that. so that we are not repeating the same sad story over and over. that our struggles become more efficient. the common thread/hope that i see with most struggles in europe is the movement towards a direct democracy. a bottom up democracy that doesn't rely on the electoral political machine for change.



Bosnia and Herzegovina: all power to the plenums?

It’s been two weeks since the start of the Bosnian rebellion. A recent poll has shown that 88% of the people in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina support the protests. These protests are still going on, but they are peaceful now and hence the media attention is no longer as great, even though the protests remain a much discussed topic in the region. However, perhaps the main locus of the protest movement has now switched to the direct democratic plenums (general assemblies) emerging all around Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The plenums

General assemblies in their various forms are a very old means of direct democratic organization of the oppressed during times of protests, rebellions, strikes and revolutions (like the 1905 and 1917 revolutions in Russia, 1936 in Catalonia or 1956 in Hungary). The earliest versions of some kind of general assemblies were already present in ancient Athens, while many ‘theorists of utopia’ imagine some kind of general assemblies in their blueprints of potential democratic societies in the future.

The sudden emergence of the plenums in large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken everybody by complete surprise. One could even say that the plenums themselves are the greatest positive development in the protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far. The first plenum appeared in Tuzla, the center and starting point of the protests, where the protesters were most articulated and most organized from the start. After that, plenums started to appear in other cities as well, taking Tuzla as their example.....


Nantes Riots Against Airport Construction



Spatial struggles: Teatro Valle Occupato and the (right to the) city

Teatro Valle is an ancient theatre in Rome, which, following its occupation by a large group of citizens in 2011, has become internationally renowned as an experimental space for new social, political and cultural practices revolving around the idea of direct democracy and the ‘common good’ (bene comune).

Before its occupation, the theatre was part of a broader network of public theatres managed by the Italian Theatre Authority (ETI), a public authority closed by the Minister of Economy in 2010 on the ground of its assumed ‘lack of utility’. Behind this decision stood a larger plan by the Minister implementing massive cuts on public spending, particularly in the culture sector (with targeted activities ranging from performances and exhibitions, up to research, education, etc.), as part of austerity measures aimed to combat the recent international financial crisis and reduce Italian public debt. This was accompanied by an intensive campaign of privatization, which included, among its many targets, the management of public services and public goods, particularly those related to water....


The Theatre and the (right to the) city

The occupation allowed citizens to re-appropriate an area of the city that had traditionally been designated to political and economic institutions, and to tourist enterprise. Teatro Valle is located in the historical centre of Rome. This area is not neutral as it carries strong political and symbolic meanings. The proximity with key institutional buildings entailed for Teatro Valle the need to compete and struggle for its place in the city centre.

The whole neighbourhood was crucially deprived of everyday life as an effect also of the strong pressure coming from gentrification, property speculation, and the pervasive commodification of urban spaces that tourism produces. The occupation contributed therefore to changing the typology of people having access to this area: not only tourists, politicians, workers in the public administration and government and international offices, or people traversing the city centre intent on shopping; but also ordinary citizens who were substantially excluded from this area, and who come from the suburbs of Rome or other areas in and outside the city.

Their participation and enactment in the Theatre requires sometimes hours spent in travel but it contributes to generating a common place in which a cultural alternative with high innovative value has finally found expression. In this respect, Teatro Valle is not a territorial, but an elective community.....


..this could be ukraine in 10 - 15 years. hopefully sooner for the organizing aspects.

New documentary: Bosnia and Herzegovina in Spring

This short documentary tells the story of the uprising in Bosnia and Herzegovina that started in early February 2014. Since February 5 2014, protests — started by workers from five factories in northern city of Tuzla: Dita, Polihem, Poliolhem, GUMARA and Konjuh – have swept across the country. The factories had been privatized, bankrupted and stripped of their assets, leaving the workers with large debts, no salaries, no health care and no benefits. The protests culminated on February 7, 2014 when several governmental buildings were set on fire in cities across the country, including the presidential building in Sarajevo. Under pressure of protests, four regional governments resigned. The protests were followed with mass popular assemblies, referred to as plenums, that quickly spread across the country.


1 Million Take the Streets in Italy Against Anti-Workers “Reforms”

The Renzi government’s attacks on workers have led to 1 million taking the streets in Rome. “Labor reforms”, known as jobs act, are actually aimed at subjugating workers even worse to employers; workers can be fired more easily – Renzi lies this would diminish unemployment, when it’s proven in other EU countries that in fact it made it worse. Unemployment among youth reached a record of 44%. Renzi’s law will only increase exploitation and the artificial impoverishment of workers, said protestors: labor reforms mean poverty for working class....


Italy general strike shuts down schools, transport

Thousands of striking workers marched today through more than 50 Italian cities to protest government reforms they say erode their rights.

The general strike, which has shut down basic services across the country, is the first by two of Italy's largest union confederations against a centre-left government.

Protesters clashed with police in some cities, including Rome and Milan.


In a sign of internal discord within his own party, some members of the Democratic Party joined the marches.


Offering 'Example of Resistance,' Nationwide Strike Against Austerity Hits Belgium

A series of austerity measures sparked a nationwide strike in Belgium on Monday, bringing transportation services to a halt and forcing the closures of some businesses.

Hundreds of flights, trains, trams and buses were canceled, ports were blockaded and hundreds of factories were closed in the action called for by the country's three main unions.

"There's never been a strike this strong," said Marie-Helene Ska, the head of the Christian CSC union.

Monday's action, described as the largest in years, is the culmination of a series of actions against austerity plans by the two-month old federal government of center-right Prime Minister Charles Michel....

Doug Woodard

Reviews of several books on the EU crisis:



The “Democratise Europe” Project. A European Movement, A Coalition of Citizens. Interview with Yanis Varoufakis By Yanis Varoufakis, October 27, 2015.....

this is too important a message, which needs exhaustive discussion...

a pleasure to read the thoughts of one of the important political players, seriously dedicated to find truthful political answers!

Whether in agreement or not. This recalls our own experiments within the North American Greens Federation when we were faced with NAFTA, trying to work out a blueprint for a transition away from North American Free Trade, a beautiful document, I thought that took 3 days of meetings to conclude (later of course to be ripped up by the opportunist putchists of the Party...)

Beautiful to see an openess and flexibility re strategy, while focusing on the goal, in his case the democratization of Europe.

More to the point, a decentarlization transition accompanying such a populist democratic process!


Sahra Wagenknecht (Die Linke) - The Consquences of Western Politics

"Those who speak about refugees have no right to stay silent on war."


Portugese Dictatorship, Left & Right in Anti-Democratic Europe and the War in Syria (and podcast)

"Eric Draitser, Mark Sleboda and Don DeBar discuss the election results in Portugal and the anti-democratic actions of the Portugese president who has refused to recognise the results. They also discuss the rise of the far left and new right in Europe. The conversation also touches on the latest developments in the war on Syria."


Pentagon Push For Build Up in Europe Against Russia

"Top Pentagon generals are backing a plan to increase by 50% US forces available to NATO in the event of a confrontation with Russia.


Portuguese MPs force minority government to quit over austerity

A surprise alliance of leftwing parties with a mission to “turn the page” on austerity has ousted Portugal’s centre-right government barely 11 days after it took power.

The moderate centre-left Socialist party forged an unprecedented alliance with the smaller Communist party and the radical Left Bloc, linked to Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party, and used a parliamentary vote on policy to force the government to resign on Tuesday.

The Socialist leader, António Costa, 54, is now expected to become prime minister in the coming weeks with a broad, leftwing coalition government, which hopes to ease austerity while still adhering to European Union rules.

“The taboo has ended; the wall has been broken,” he said after the vote. “This is a new political framework; the old majority cannot pretend to be what it stopped being.”


'Islamic Invasion' - Touting, Koran-Mein Kampf-Equating MP Wilders Scoops Top Dutch Politician (and vid)

"Right-wing populist Geert Wilders has been named Dutch Politician of the Year for the third time. The anti-immigration and anti-Islam MP likens the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, and wants to close national borders to stop an 'Islamic invasion'. 'People are angry, they are afraid, they want a different policy and the political elite is not listening to them,' Wilders told AFP."


JDL - Geert Wilders: 'Israel Is the Litmus Proof'

"My friends, what we need today is Zionism for the nations of Europe."


Barbarism Advances  -  by Luciana Bohne

"Today's Europe reminds me of the city in Albert Camus' novel, The Plague (1947). 'They fancied themselves free but no one is ever free so long as there are pestilences.' For a metaphor of lurking, studiously ignored evil, you can't top The Plague.

Today pestilence-carrying rats are back infesting Europe..."

And Canada too.

Doug Woodard

USA Wants War in Europe

Stratfor's George Friedman analysis