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Parchment in the Fire: Contesting Capitalism in the Eurozone

In light of the new Syriza government’s difficult struggle against the German dominated institutions of the Eurozone, I’ve revisited a little known book published ten years ago by political scientist Richard Dunphy called Contesting Capitalism? Left Parties and European Integration (Manchester University Press, 2004). In the book, Dunphy charts out the trajectory of the European Far Left’s relationship to European integration. While at the time the book seemed to fly under the radar (this was just before the French and French rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in 2005 and the rapid accession of a number of new member states in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Reading The Greek Deal Correctly

Reading The Greek Deal Correctly. James K. Galbraith

On Friday as news of the Brussels deal came through, Germany claimed victory and it is no surprise that most of the working press bought the claim. They have high authorities to quote and to rely on. Thus from London The Independent reported:

several analysts agreed that the results of the talks amounted to a humiliating defeat for Greece.

No details followed, the analysts were unnamed, and their affiliations went unstated – although further down two were quoted and both work for banks. Many similar examples could be given, from both sides (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Grexit, schmexit: It ain’t gonna happen

For sale? Owner must sell …

Right now a battle of Homeric proportions is being waged for the future soul of the European Union.

On one side are the Teutonic bookkeepers of the EU, led by Merkel of Germany and Cameron of Britain. On the other side is the tiny, profligate, bankrupt state of Greece, the home of Western civilization. Caught in the middle are the other EU states, with the citizens of most of them not too sure that tightening the screws on Greece with renewed – or continued – austerity steps is the wisest thing to do. Siding with (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The Greek canary in the European coalmine: An interview with Yanis Varoufakis

Over at Ricochet, I’ve transcribed my podcast interview with Yanis Varoufakis, economist and Syriza candidate in tomorrow’s Greek elections. With Syriza looking to get the most votes and possibly an outright parliamentary majority, I asked Yanis about the Greek economy, Syriza’s economic plans, his views on what these mean for Europe and how we can expect Greece to take its place in Europe come Monday. Here is the interview in full.

Michal Rozworski: I know this is an enormous topic but what is the current economic situation on the eve of the elections in Greece? Can you give a kind of snapshot?

Yanis (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: WikiLeaks publishes CIA tips for sidestepping airport security

WikiLeaks has released two classified CIA documents offering tips to help undercover spies elude security systems at international border crossings using false IDs.

The post WikiLeaks publishes CIA tips for sidestepping airport security appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

CuriosityCat: America versus the European Union: The Precautionary Principle

The European Union has already institutionalized a litmus test that cuts to the core of the differences that separate the new European view of shared risks and vulnerabilities from the older American view of unlimited personal opportunities and individual prowess. It’s called “the precautionary principle,” and it has become the centerpiece of EU regulatory policy governing science and technology in a globalizing world. Most European political elites, and the public at large, favor it. Far fewer American politicians and citizens would likely countenance it… The key term … is “uncertainty.” When there is sufficient evidence to suggest a potential deleterious (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Canada-EU trade deal threatened by EU lawmakers

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Every once in awhile commonsense and decency trumps greed and avarice, not often, but it is news when it happens.

Our PM Steve Harper has polished up an apple for the corporate world in an attempt to pave the way to huge profits through yet another crippling trade deal. This time with the European Union. (EU)

Looks as if he has hit a few bumps as he tries to set the terms and position the US to follow in with a sweetheart deal that would further entrench the corporate world at the cost of local authorities and (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Calling the bluff on "we must compete in the global marketplace"

The soul-numbing mantra “we must compete in the global marketplace” is much heard these days. Conservative politicians and business groups toss it out tirelessly as an argument to reduce taxes, and weaken labour and environmental laws. Unfortunately, their argument is valid. Trade agreements have so reduced the ability of national governments to tax and to provide legislative protection for

CuriosityCat: David Cameron turning on the Spitzenkandidaten

David Cameron and the Spitzenkandidaten

Remember The Cullen Plan for pre-election electoral cooperation between the NDP and Liberals? He advocated a deal which enabled one candidate to run against the sitting Conservative MP, rather than splitting the vote and letting the Tory win, which is the reason Harper is in power right now. In the election of the European Parliament held yesterday, we saw a somewhat similar electoral cooperation pact between certain parties, resulting in what is called the selection of Spitzenkandidaten, to maximize the chances that groups of parties with similar policies will have a better chance of having (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: One possible Russian-driven solution

Bill Clinton: Ukraine Saviour?

Ukraine is in turmoil, with positions apparently hardening on all sides, since the Geneva Agreement outlining a method of resolution was agreed upon a short while ago. The level of support for the anti-Kiev position in eastern Ukraine is unclear at the moment: Armed men have seized public buildings in a string of towns in the Donbas region. It is unclear how much support they have. Polls suggest that two-thirds of people in the south and east want to stay part of Ukraine and not be annexed by Russia, as Crimea was in March. Even (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The Great Game—did Putin outplay the West in Crimea?

In the 19th century, the British and Russian empires’ strategic rivalry for supremacy in Central Asia was referred to as the Great Game. The game has never really ended as Russia has continued to vie with Western powers for influence and control in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. And in recent days, the Russians may have just outplayed the West in Ukraine.

Influence in Ukraine has see-sawed

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda

Ukraine: Doors open for Putin

Today, much to the surprise of some, a public agreement was announced by the US, Russia, EU and current Ukraine government, dealing with concrete steps to move the matter forward. The following is the full text of that agreement, with the most important part (in my view) bolded:

Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia

Putin’s Push: Reality versus Rhetoric

Congratulations to Thomas Graham, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute, who was the senior director for Russia on the US National Security Council staff 2004-2007. He has shrewdly analyzed the Russian push under Putin, in its historical context, and outlined the steps that the West has to take to deal with Putin. Visa denials and economic sanctions, while nice sound bytes, are pretty meaningless. His views:

The way to stymie Russian expansion is not by denying visas and freezing assets of Russian officials and their business associates, the West’s current approach. Nor will (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia

Political Eh-conomy: Diagnosis, or into the privatization matrix (Canada Post, Part 1)

There is little doubt that Canada Post’s recently-announced plan to eliminate home delivery, raise prices and lay off thousands of workers is not aimed solely at streamlining operations, but is likely a prelude to future privatization of postal delivery in Canada. Canada Post is ripe for the picking: it is a profitable, socially-useful public enterprise with n updated, nation-wide infrastructure of retail outlets, other properties, vehicles and IT systems. One bad year in 2011, when the post office recorded a loss due in part to rotating strikes and a 2-week lockout, has been used to create an image of unsustainability (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Americanized Labor Policy Is Spreading in Europe –

Americanized Labor Policy Is Spreading in Europe –

While most of the debate over Europe’s response to the financial crisis has focused on the budget austerity enveloping the Continent, the comparatively unheralded erosion of worker protection is likely to have at least as big and lasting an impact on Europe’s social contract.

Filed under: Austerity, Europe, Exploitation, Labour, Neoliberalism Tagged: Collective bargaining, European Union, Labour law, labour relations

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Converting principles to other people’s money #nlpoli

When Premier Kathy Dunderdale spoke to a St. John’s Board of Trade last May,  she claimed the federal government had tried to tie the federal loan guarantee on Muskrat Falls to the European free trade talks.

There’s no evidence that her claim is true, at least based on the selected documents Dunderdale released last week in the House of Assembly on the negotiations.

The documents actually show something else.

(Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada-EU CETA trade agreement has “troubling” elements: Yves Engler [VIDEO]

Yves Engler, a Canadian activist and author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy, discusses the “troubling” elements in the Canada-EU CETA trade agreement.

The post Canada-EU CETA trade agreement has “troubling” elements: Yves Engler [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Vale delays Long Harbour smelter… again #nlpoli

Earlier this year,  mining giant Vale was saying they’d start production at the new Long Harbour smelter in 2013, but after a meeting with Premier Kathy Dunderdale in Brazil,  the company won’t be ramping up until 2015.

That’s the news from VOCM on the weekend, although they didn’t report the actual news about the delay at Long Harbour.  VO just reported that Dunderdale met with Vale officials and that the start-up date was 2015, as if it had always been two years away.

The premier says she went down a few days early to meet specifically with Vale officials to get an update on the Long Harbour development and the Voisey’s Bay mine site.

She says Vale officials indicated that Long Harbour will start to ramp up in 2015, while they’re looking to go underground at Voisey’s Bay.

According to VOCM, the company officials are concerned about power supplies “in . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Vale delays Long Harbour smelter… again #nlpoli

LeDaro: EU foreign ministers at odds over Syria

Is U.S. going to be all alone in Syrian intervention?

The Disaffected Lib: Sure, the Iron Curtain Fell, But What’s Going Up In Its Place?

When the Berlin Wall came down it quickly led to the liberation of eastern Europe and the demise of the Soviet Union.

Western European leaders, egged on by the United States, pulled out all the stops to sign up eastern Europe into the E.U. and NATO.  America sought to drive the North Atlantic alliance right up to Russia’s borders.

It was a moment of triumphalism in Washington as Reagan and Bush Sr. were crowned with laurel wreaths for winning the Cold War.  Eastern Europe had been liberated, saved for democracy, or so we were told.  Maybe (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Five reasons Canada should NOT ratify a Canada-EU free trade agreement

By: Stuart Trew | Originally published by Troy Media, on April 26, 2013: Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of British Columbia recently wrote a column for Troy Media on the virtues of the Canada-European Union free trade deal. He listed five reasons why he thinks the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, should [...]

The post Five reasons Canada should NOT ratify a Canada-EU free trade agreement appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Disaffected Lib: English as the Official Language of the European Union?

There’s a move afoot to have English declared the common language of the European Union and it’s a German who is pushing the idea.   Here The Guardian gives a pretty clear reason why a common language might be helpful when representatives of the constituent nations sit down to parlay.

Money talks, especially in Brussels. A billion euros are usually “mil milhoes de euros” in Portuguese, or a thousand million. In Spanish, likewise, “billón” means a million million, so billion is “mil millones de euros”. Confusingly, “billion” translates as “milijarde” into Croatian, or “miljard” into Dutch. When the French talk (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Excessive corporate rights in Canada-EU CETA trade deal unacceptable to Canadians and Europeans

Transatlantic Statement Opposing Excessive Corporate Rights (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) By Trade Justice Network | Feb. 5, 2013: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM and OTTAWA, ONTARIO and MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Labour, environmental, Indigenous, women’s, academic, health sector and fair trade organizations from Europe, Canada and Quebec representing more than 65 million READ MORE

CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

Merkel and dominoes …

One of the fascinating things about high level crises like the eurozone one, is the role played by the men and women who have the power or lack the power to influence events. And the key person in the past five years or so is a woman some nicknamed The Iron Lady – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Der Spiegel has a fascinating article describing her practical approach to the eurozine crisis, which includes this:

For months, Merkel wavered over whether or not Greece should remain in the euro zone. As recently as summer, she couldn’t decide

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe

United States of Europe?

Financial integration is one major step along the road towards eventual political integration into one massive new federal state, the USE (United States of Europe), and yesterday a significant move was made in this direction: Europe’s finance ministers have taken another major step towards closer integration, with a significant transfer of authority from national governments to the ECB, he says.

The EU had already agreed that the ECB would act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks. But the deal gives the ECB powers to close down eurozone banks that do not follow the rules. It also . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe