From the 1916 Societies:
Aidan Hamill, a student and republican activist from Belfast, discusses the globalist agenda of Big Business and how institutions as the EU, with its increasing drive towards neoliberalism, serve to empower its ends.
But there are also many others, such as myself, who regard the EU as unreformable and foresee the need for a more radical approach to achieve the progressive Europe we all would like to see and live in. Towards that end, this piece intends to focus on the key issues of national sovereignty and self-determination, as pre-requisites for achieving our democratic socialist objectives.
The basic principle behind national sovereignty is that national governments have power to make and apply laws within the national territory, free from external impediment. Without it, the people cannot have any real claim to self-determination. The biggest threats posed to democratic governments stem from current trends towards a globalised world. It should be noted that globalisation is a man-made occurrence and thus can be reversed. The neoliberal ideology espoused by corporate elites has been driving globalisation, becoming the economic and political orthodoxy of the world, with the help of a subservient media apparatus, a plethora of think-tanks that influence policy and through the acquiescence of academia.
Briefly, neoliberalism is an extreme right-wing ideology based on false notions that human beings are inherently ‘rational’ and ‘self-interested’. Consequently, it promotes policies such as austerity, privatisation, deregulation, globalisation and tax cuts for the rich. As economist Paul Craig Roberts put it, ‘neoliberalism intends to re-establish feudalism – a few robber barons and many serfs: the One Percent and the 99 percent.’ The result is obscene levels of inequality, whereby 65 people own as much wealth as half the world’s population, a truly staggering statistic.
One of the many corollaries of that is a globalisation of poverty, as expertly outlined by Professor Michel Chossudovsky. Huge concentrations of wealth in fewer and fewer hands inevitably brings a concentration of power also. Thus, globalisation places major constraints on democratic governance, most notably through so-called ‘free trade’ agreements. Institutions such as the IMF, WTO and the World Bank serve to force countries into debt bondage, while membership of supranational organisations such as the EU help tie European citizens into a global power network dominated by financial and corporate elites.
Increasingly, national policy is being determined by global economic institutions and free trade agreements. As I have previously written about, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a massive trade deal being negotiated in secret by representatives of the US, the EU and by hundreds of corporate lobbyists – who together represent the interests of the world’s banking and corporate elites. TTIP will give these same elites near-complete control over every facet of our lives, by removing any semblance of democratic accountability we once may have had, with the sovereignty of nation-states replaced by the interests of elite bankers and corporate heads.
The Investor Trade Dispute Settlement (ITDS) provision would allow corporations to sue national governments – that is to say European taxpayers – for billions, if domestic laws that protect our rights and living standards (this could be anything in the realm of labour, health and environmental protections to civil and human rights) are felt to ‘interfere’ with their profits or ‘future profits’, through specially set up secret courts that almost always rule in the interests of Big Business’ rights to ‘free-trade’. TTIP would also open up the public sector of European countries for mass privatisation of state industries. Moreover, any government that tried to reverse these privatisation policies could be hauled in front of a private tribunal and sued for billions, as has already happened in Australia.
As mentioned, a major consequence of EU integration and the proposed TTIP deal is that it infringes on the power of elected government to the advantage of unelected technocrats, who operate at the behest of their financial and corporate masters. National sovereignty and self-determination, core principles for socialists and republicans in Ireland, are essential to achieving the democratic republic we strive for. A republic that organises economic production on the basis of need and not profit, that gives workers genuine democratic control over the decisions that impact their daily lives.
But, of course, the existence of national sovereignty does not necessarily equate to ‘popular sovereignty’. At present, British and Irish politicians and political institutions already for the most part serve Big Business at the expense of the rest of us. But TTIP will effectively be the deathknell for liberal democracy in Europe. Economist and geopolitical analyst Peter Koeing argues that under TTIP, ‘Europeans would become literally subjects of a corporate empire’ and that ‘European countries would stop being sovereign nations, even more so than is already the case under the current Brussels dictate’. These sentiments were echoed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who argued that Britain would be better off leaving the EU.
While there are some areas we could point towards where the EU has benefited the general welfare of its citizens, particularly in regard to human rights and labour rights, make no mistake the driving idea behind EU integration is not to benefit ordinary workers but that the elite corporate and banking class might profit enormously from it – especially from bank bailouts and vicious austerity programmes enforced on European citizens by the European Central Bank and European Commission.
The Power of Money Creation
The ability of private banking institutions to create money out of thin air and lend it at interest – and thus by extension creating debt – is the crux of our enslavement to an international cartel of bankers and financiers. This ‘sleight of hand’ process of money creation is wonderfully outlined by legal investigator Ellen Brown’s book ‘The Web of Debt’. Its foreword is given by banker and developer Reed Simpson, who states that, ‘the process by which money comes into existence is misunderstood, and for good reason’. He goes on to say, ‘the whole of civilisation and all of its systems hang on this fulcrum of the money power’ and that ‘in private hands, where it is now, it can be used to enslave nations and ensure perpetual wars and bondage.’
Thus, ending the debt-money fractional reserve banking system and replacing it with a debt-free monetary system is crucial to our liberation. Countries cannot do this by wedding themselves to a common currency in the hands of private banking interests – as is the case with the Euro through the European Central Bank. For the gombeen Dublin Government to hand over fiscal and monetary powers to private banking interests is to enslave the people to perpetual debt bondage and poverty. There is no reason why governments need borrow money from private banking institutions, placing itself and its people into debt bondage. It could just as easily create the money itself by issuing it through a public banking system.
A major weapon private bankers employ to control nations are speculative attacks on national currencies, which Warren Buffett has described as ‘weapons of financial mass destruction’. These attacks have the power to bring down whole economies without a shot being fired and have been used to force countries into debt peonage that they have no hope of paying back. The very fact a nation must defend its currency shows that there is something seriously wrong with the system itself. Which again outlines the necessity of governments to have sovereign control over their economy. State sovereign control over its money then is an essential attribute of sovereignty.
Imperialist and Exploitative
The EU has benefited richer and more powerful countries, such as Germany and France, at the expense of weaker countries as Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain – all of whom have seen their wealth sucked out of them as a result of deliberate debt bondage. According to Bloomberg, German banks loaned out a staggering $704 billion to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. French banks loaned $477 to all these countries also. These countries were first forced into debt, before foreign banks, through so-called ‘bailout’ loans, dragged them in turn into a perpetual debt cycle – with the added requirement viscious austerity and privatisation be implmented. In effect then, the Eurozone has become an instrument for German and French imperialism, by exploiting and looting the weaker members.
Recent research has shown that the Irish people have suffered more as a result of the financial crash (and the subsequent austerity programme imposed by the EU) than even the Greeks. Experts discovered that Ireland lost more than €18,000 per person, Spaniards €13,000 and Greece €17,000. In contrast Germans and French saw their wealth increase.
Beyond that, The EU is a vassal of the United States and as such does not have an independent foreign policy. If proof were needed as to who pulls the strings in the EU, we need look no further than the EU decision to impose sanctions on Russia, following spurious allegations that Russia had invaded Ukraine – all at the behest of the neocons in Washington. Europe has borne the brunt of alienating itself from the enormous Russian market, with an estimated 130,000 jobs lost as exports of agricultural products plummetted, down 29 percent. The US on the otherhand lost only 10 percent of similar business. This clearly demonstrates the EU is closely aligned to the US-NATO warmongers intent on global hegemony.
Revolutionary and Radical Change Required
In order to escape the coming dystopian future, a more radical and revolutionary vision of Europe is needed. James Connolly’s vision of Europe was of a ‘free federation of free peoples’ – ideally a socialist confederacy. This is the Europe we should aim towards. But it cannot be achieved from within the EU, its institutions and framework. And it will certainly be much harder to achieve within the looming context of a ‘corporatocracy’ that serves to restrict workers’ ability to organise effectively.
The internationalism of socialism is different to the globalist agenda of the ruling elites. It is imbued with a humanism that recognises the virtues of our common humanity: solidarity, community, altruism, love. The globalist agenda for a more interconnected and monolithic world is driven by ideals of consumerism, greed and a rugged individualism. Despite carefully constructed capitalist propaganda, these are not the natural traits of human beings but distortions caused by a pathological system that feeds off them.
Reform of the EU is not a viable option to bring about the necessary changes as the parliamentary process is a dead rubber – the game is rigged. As the radical historian Professor Howard Zinn put it, ‘for progressive movements, the future does not lie with electoral politics. It lies in street warfare – protest movements and demonstrations, civil disobedience, strikes and boycotts – using all of the power consumers and workers have in direct action against the government and corporations.’
Also, we need only look at how the vast array of the British ‘establishment’ aligned with the ‘Remain’ campaign. Academic Elliot Murphy noted as much, arguing that ‘with the corporate world, mainstream media, military, City of London, arms trade and the majority of the political right and centre supporting remain, a vote for leave isn’t just a vote against the neoliberal forces of the Troika: It is also a vote against our own ruling classes.’
The EU, then, is an important institution within the global power network, with the banks at the apex of this pyramid structure, and is a bastion of neoliberalism. As such, it is beyond reform. In short, the western financial system is a fraudulent criminal enterprise from which we must break free – likewise from conforming political institutions which uphold that fraud, the EU among them. We must build instead a truly ‘free’ Ireland and a truly unified Europe. For republicans and socialists alike, a United Ireland under the EU will not bring real independence as Ireland would still be subservient to the international banks and corporations who truly hold power in our world.