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Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:22 AM

How the European Union Turned Into a Neoliberal Nightmare

This is why the issue cannot be dumbed down to simplistic, ignorant, hateful xenophobia. It's a typical hallmark of neoliberalism, to divide social and economic issues, and keep the focus on social issues while keeping the economy in the hands of the 1%. It's dismaying, and, unfortunately not surprising, to see so many Americans from the supposed left supporting the neoliberal EU.

Some of us support a political revolution in the U.S. One major target of that revolution is the eradication of neoliberalism. To truly accomplish that, it's going to have to be a global effort. I don't know if leaving the EU is an effective step or not, but I know that it's not just about immigrants.

In the U.S., we've seen a season of great discontent. That's what's fueling the rise of Trump. Masses are angry. From the right, the rise of hate, the rise of fascism, is happening. From the left, it's a rise against neoliberalism. And neoliberalism is a cause of the anger from both sides.

For those who oppose Brexit...what alternative methods for abolishing neoliberalism are you suggesting? It seems like that might be a more productive conversation, rather than suddenly becoming a big supporter of the neoliberal EU.

Voting to leave the EU is a no-brainer for the Left. The European Union is remote, racist, imperialist, anti-worker and anti-democratic: It is run by, of, and for the super-rich and their corporations. A future outside austerity and other economic blunders rests on winning the struggle to exit the EU, removing us from its neoliberal politics and institutions. Corporate bureaucrats in Brussels working as agents of the big banks and transnationals’ now exert control over every aspect of our lives. Neoliberal policies and practices dominate the European Commission, European Parliament, European Central Bank, European Court of Justice and a compliant media legitimises the whole conquest. This has left the EU constitution as the only one in the world that enshrines neoliberal economics into its text. Therefore the EU is not—and never can be—either socialist or a democracy.

Against the left’s strategic case for exit is relentless blither and blather from the elitist liberal commentariat: the EU is a social-democratic haven that protects us from the nasty Tories is their litany and verse. This is an absurd fantasy: by design the EU is a corporatist, pro-capitalist establishment. Therefore, it strains credulity that the bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party and a rump of the trade union movement believe in the myth of Social Europe. The late Bob Crow was bang on the money when he said: “social EU legislation, which supposedly leads to better working conditions, has not saved one job and is riddled with opt-outs for employers to largely ignore any perceived benefits they may bring to workers. But it is making zero-hour contracts and agency-working the norm while undermining collective bargaining and full-time, secure employment.”

The only thing that should remain is the truth: a social Europe was never part of the European Union super-state project. How could it be? The EU has always travelled on the “free trade” train alongside “free” movement of capital, business-austerity, flexible labour markets, low pay, privatisation of public services and the eradication of welfare states. These were not just random policy proscriptions, but specifically designed by ‘free-market’ fanatics. It was the deepening and integration of the EU project that allowed unelected policy makers, driven by the powerful EU corporate lobby, to circumvent and eradicate the social rights that were won by workers in the aftermath of World-War-Two. Creating democratic deficits in all the EU institutions and policy-making by unaccountable technocrats enabled and accelerated this process of dismantling rights. This arrangement ensured the neoliberal Holy Trinity of public spending cuts, privatisation and the removal of trade union rights could be enforced with little contestation.


Neoliberal logic is insidious and some trade union leaders in Britain seem bewildered by it all and continue to argue that some kind of utopian Social Europe exists, offering protection for workers in Britain. In reality the Social Chapter, while it potentially gave some extra legal protection on a few issues, was never much more than crumbs: a gesture to disguise the reality of the European Union as a bosses union. What protects workers in Britain is not the social rights from benevolent bureaucrats in Brussels, but our collective strength and ability to organise and take action.


http://www.alternet.org/world/eu-neoliberal-nightmare

45 replies, 4081 views

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply How the European Union Turned Into a Neoliberal Nightmare (Original post)
LWolf Jun 2016 OP
marmar Jun 2016 #1
Teamster Jeff Jun 2016 #2
MohRokTah Jun 2016 #3
LWolf Jun 2016 #4
appal_jack Jun 2016 #5
marmar Jun 2016 #8
rhett o rick Jun 2016 #14
MohRokTah Jun 2016 #27
xocet Jun 2016 #32
MohRokTah Jun 2016 #33
rhett o rick Jun 2016 #37
Rex Jun 2016 #44
cherokeeprogressive Jun 2016 #16
Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2016 #26
alarimer Jun 2016 #6
LWolf Jun 2016 #10
rhett o rick Jun 2016 #17
unblock Jun 2016 #7
sufrommich Jun 2016 #9
LWolf Jun 2016 #13
Rex Jun 2016 #11
LWolf Jun 2016 #15
pampango Jun 2016 #12
sufrommich Jun 2016 #18
rhett o rick Jun 2016 #19
pampango Jun 2016 #20
rhett o rick Jun 2016 #22
pampango Jun 2016 #24
davidn3600 Jun 2016 #23
pampango Jun 2016 #25
WIProgressive88 Jun 2016 #29
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2016 #21
DetlefK Jun 2016 #28
LWolf Jun 2016 #38
DetlefK Jun 2016 #41
Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2016 #30
TexasMommaWithAHat Jun 2016 #31
roamer65 Jun 2016 #34
closeupready Jun 2016 #35
Teamster Jeff Jun 2016 #36
riderinthestorm Jun 2016 #39
LWolf Jun 2016 #40
rhett o rick Jun 2016 #45
Greybnk48 Jun 2016 #42
LWolf Jun 2016 #43

Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:28 AM

1. K/R

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:31 AM

2. kick rec

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:38 AM

3. Baloney! eom

 

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:42 AM

4. What's baloney?

You've got some evidence to back that up?

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:45 AM

5. Oh, another brilliant riposte, I see.

 

I was just about to agree with the abundant evidence presented above, but your incisive counterpoint has set me straight. Will chocolate rations be doubled too? Doubleplusgood!



k&r,

-app

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:47 AM

8. There's baloney alright, but not in the OP.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:04 AM

14. Since your post lacks substance, we need to guess your point. You support neo-liberalism

 

and to hell with the People. Am I close?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #14)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:17 PM

27. I support the European Union

 

Last edited Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:50 PM - Edit history (1)

Socialist rhetoric has no place in the discussion.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #27)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:49 PM

32. Since you stated that you support the "European Unions", can you give an example of one of them?

Furthermore, if you support unions, don't you think that "socialist rhetoric" is largely unavoidable?

Lastly, if that is so, then your earlier statements are inherently self-contradictory.



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Response to xocet (Reply #32)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:50 PM

33. Typo corrected. eom

 

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #27)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 01:46 PM

37. I am curious what makes you think you get to tell others what they can or can not include

 

in a discussion? All you added to the discussion was "baloney". I also support the EU because the rich countries help the poor countries, kinda socialistic. But the neoliberal capitalists will ruin it for everyone. They want to strip countries like Greece of their assets and resources and leave them swinging in the wind.

Neoliberalism = massive poverty = death.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #37)

Sun Jun 26, 2016, 01:29 PM

44. I am surprised so may folks still

 

reply to that particular algorithm.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:06 AM

16. With mayo!

 

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:04 PM

26. Salami!

 

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:46 AM

6. Yes, people voted to leave because they have been left behind by the Labour Party

In many ways, it was a protest vote, trying to punish those who sided with banking, finance and the tech industry instead of working people, whom they have abandoned. Some of it is also class, which is more apparent in the UK than here, but we still have progressives here who look down on (especially) working class whites as nothing but racist "white trash". And of course there is definitely a racist, xenophobic part to it, but it is not that simple.

They, like Trump voters, have thrown their lot in with exactly the wrong people. People who make promises they have absolutely no intention of keeping. Promises that sound good ("Take our country back", "Make America Great again" but which are entirely meaningless. And what they will end up with is something so much worse than what they had. It won't be neo-liberals that have won, but the kind of corporate fascists that have taken hold in, say, Kansas and Wisconsin. They should be prepared for the kind of nightmare we are already dealing with: right-to-work laws, privatization of everything (get ready to say goodbye to the NHS), and the kind of corporate control of everything we have right here.

I see no chance of Labour changing its tune, but maybe they are smarter than Democrats and this can be a wake-up call for them.

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Response to alarimer (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:52 AM

10. Yes, with

one exception: I think neoliberals are a version of corporate fascists, and I think neoliberalism gives rise to more fascism on the right.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:07 AM

17. I see neoliberalism as a stepping stone to fascism. Corporations don't like Democracy. They

 

much prefer a strong authoritarian run corptocracy, which is just another was to say fascism.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:46 AM

7. i see it at this stage as an economic union without a political union.

and therein lies the problem, though it suggests that the solution is "more" rather than "less".

if the eu were, politically, more like a federal system, including some federal elections, that would go a long way to fixing a lot of its political problems.

in terms of the neo-liberalism lens, you could say that this would lessen if the eu bureaucrats were under the direction of leaders who were, presumably, social democrats or something like that.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:48 AM

9. Utter bullshit. It's pretty eye opening to see

so many so called progressives embracing it though. It would be cool if you admitted that the claim that Trumps popularity with the "masses" doesn't include minorities or women. As far as I'm concerned,it's starting to look like there's very little difference between the extremes of the left and the right,I don't trust either one ,if that makes me a "neo liberal" I'm OK with that.

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Response to sufrommich (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:02 AM

13. Of course

Trump's popularity doesn't include minorities or women.

Anger at the establishment from the right is certainly going to include xenophobia and bigotry of all kinds.

Anger at the neoliberal establishment from the left is about neoliberal economic policies that harm the 99% to benefit the 1%. I hope you're not okay with that.

When there is, here in the U.S. and other places around the globe, a growing anger at establishment governments, including neoliberal governments, change in some form is coming. Those that cling to the establishment, who try to equate the left and right as equal "extremes" are leaving the door open for the rise of fascism, rather than helping to organize that anger, energy, and determination to change into something more evolved and better for the people or the planet.

"There's very little difference between the extremes of the left and the right" sounds very much like the claim that there is little difference between the Republican and Democratic Party, which is regularly attacked here. Yet, clinging to neoliberalism as the mythical "center" actually supports that claim, rather than refuting it.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:53 AM

11. Careful, using the term 'neo-liberal' is a trigger word for some.

 

Who knew we had so many libertarians posting here?

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Response to Rex (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:06 AM

15. There's a knee-jerk

need to defend neo-liberalism, to be Chuckles the sensible woodchuck, for quite obvious reasons.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 10:58 AM

12. EU countries have some of the highest pay, strongest unions and most equitable incomes in the world.

That really is terrible. Let's turn things over to the Conservative Party in the UK and their next prime minister, Boris Johnson, who wants to turn the UK into a "hyper-capitalist island freed from EU regulation", a "neoliberal fantasy island".

That will tech those neo-liberals a lesson they will never forget.

There is a reason that British unions, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders all supported the UK remaining in the EU - and it wasn't because they support neo-liberalism.

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Response to pampango (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:09 AM

18. Amazing isn't it? How quickly the so called progressives embraced

this utter crap even though no actual liberal leader agrees with them.

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Response to pampango (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:10 AM

19. The EU is a socialistic group and the capitalists do not like it. As the capitalists strip EU

 

countries like Greece of their assets and resources, a bigger and bigger financial burden falls on the remaining countries. The rich capitalist countries will want out.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:13 AM

20. "The EU is a socialistic group ..." Perhaps why Bernie supported Remain for the UK. n/t

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Response to pampango (Reply #20)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:21 AM

22. Capitalism is killing itself. How many people should we let die of poverty before we stand up

 

to the Big Money Corporate Capitalists?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #22)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:40 AM

24. You are right. We need more socialist groups, not less. n/t

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Response to pampango (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:27 AM

23. But do they have autonomy?

 

Local and national democracies are being stripped away in favor of multi-national organizations that are controlled by elitists and the wealthy. Regardless of what you see as benefits, it's a loss of autonomy and national identity.

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Response to davidn3600 (Reply #23)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:54 AM

25. Control by "elitists and the wealthy" is indeed what needs to be resisted whether they are at

the national level or the "multi-national organization" level.

FDR proposed many "multi-national organizations" obviously with the intention that they not be controlled by the elites and wealthy. So the idea of a liberal "multi-national organization" that provides a liberal framework for international cooperation is something I support. I think that is the reason that Bernie, Corby and British unions supported remaining in the EU.

The UK is about to be reminded of how national elites and wealthy can distort national policy in their favor.

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Response to pampango (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:23 PM

29. Excellent post. n/t.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 11:14 AM

21. Fully agree. n/t

 

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:22 PM

28. Did you know that the UK is one of the most neoliberal countries of all of the EU?

So good luck for the UK to fight neoliberalism by leaving other countries who are less neoliberal.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #28)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 07:02 PM

38. Leaving the EU

is leaving the EU; regardless of the leanings of individual countries who are members, the EU is, at this point, neoliberal, and therefore unhealthy.

A case can be made, and I might end up being one to do so, that it would have been better to reform the EU from within. Just like we need to reform the neoliberal Democratic Party in the U.S. from within. Of course, we've seen how difficult and costly it is to begin that process; it's neither easily nor quickly done.

For some, it might seem more effective to simply amputate quickly, rather than try to treat the festering limb.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #38)

Sun Jun 26, 2016, 06:58 AM

41. UK leaving the EU has made the EU less neoliberal on average.

So I don't get why the Brexit is supposed to be a sign of Britain fighting neoliberalism in Britain. They have actually saved the rest of the EU from BRITISH neoliberalism.

The UK doesn't generate money by producing things. It's an importing country. It generates money by being a financial hub of world-wide importance and by offering financial services and tax-incentives that lure rich people to London. (e.g. all the russian and greek millionaires)

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:23 PM

30. The EU was a great idea at it's heart....

 

The consolidation of Europe into a single people taking power away from the remains of the old empires. There was a time when two countries could go to war because some prince was caught cheating in a card game.

Politicians HATED IT because it took away their power. The banks originally hated it because they made money on currency exchange rate fluctuations (aka: the money changers of old). Big business loved it because they could commit commerce (yeah, like that) for free. It wasn't until the banks were able to figure out how to dip their bills that they got on board.

Now it sounds like the mob. It isn't that we avoid war because it murders innocent people, we don't because it's bad for business....

.....until it's good for business.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #30)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:38 PM

31. Ouch.

nt

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 01:00 PM

34. The EU is dominated and run by Germany.

If you don't think hostility toward Germany still exists in the UK, you are dead wrong. Many fought and died to keep the UK independent and free during two world wars and Germany's role in those wars has not yet been forgotten.

Political union with Berlin in the driver's seat is not yet tolerable in Britain.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 01:02 PM

35. K&R

 

Thanks.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 01:42 PM

36. kick

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 07:24 PM

39. More OPs like this please. Obviously some are still confused by neo-liberalism

 

K&R!

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #39)

Sat Jun 25, 2016, 07:26 PM

40. That's a nice way to put it.

Today alone I've seen quite a bit of stumping for neoliberalism right here.

So yes...we need more.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #39)

Sun Jun 26, 2016, 01:58 PM

45. I would feel better if I thought they were merely "confused". I fear they embrace

 

neo-liberalism. I think that the Third Way is neo-liberalism with the added pretense to support social justice. If one looks closely at those that embrace the Third Way, I think you see that, even thought they say they support social justice, they do so reluctantly.

And I think the extreme extension of neo-liberalism is fascism. Capitalism works so much better under fascism. Capitalism and democracy are not compatible.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Sun Jun 26, 2016, 10:44 AM

42. Not being a Brit (with a full understanding of all of this)

I wasn't quite sure how to react to all of this. Your post was extremely helpful LWolf. Thanks. Anything that trashes Reagan/Thatcher, Milton Freidman neo-liberalism is something I'm in support of.

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Response to Greybnk48 (Reply #42)

Sun Jun 26, 2016, 01:28 PM

43. You're welcome! nt

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