Some Reasons for and Consequences of Britain’s Departure from the EU

EU referendumPublished: 30 June 2016.
Author: Pat Byrne.

The unexpected vote of the British public by 52-48% to leave the European Union has rocked ruling elites worldwide. Not only are they worried that Britain leaving the EU will tip the UK into recession but could slow down the rest of the global economy. In the longer term, they also fear it could mark the beginning of the dissolution of the European Union itself. Moreover, they worry that this vote against the EU signals a growing rejection of international capitalist institutions and spells the doom of pro-corporate trade pacts like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, better known as TTIP.

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Book Review of: ‘And the weak suffer what they must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

9781568585642Published: 12 June, 2016.
Author: Chris Gray.

Margaret Thatcher made two errors regarding Europe. The first – a common one among British politicians and commentators – was to imagine that a single European market was possible without something resembling a single European state. Tariffs can be lowered and quotas abolished without affecting the sovereignty of national parliaments, but a single European market requires a lot more: it demands a single rulebook. This means that member-states lose all power to set particular quality standards, environmental controls tailor-made for specific habitats or protection for workers and pensioners from cross-border races to the bottom. A single market may not need a single currency, but it needs a single federal-like state to function properly. But, then again, if a single federal-like state is in place, then we might as well have a single currency too (p121).

Varoufakis?s book is subtitled Europe, austerity and the threat to global security. The analysis deserves scrutiny. The title is a clause from Thucydides? History of the Peloponnesian war, taken from the famous passage concerning the island of Melos, which had rebelled against Athenian rule and was about to suffer the consequences.1

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Israel Moves Even More to the Right

NetanyahuPublished: 4 June 2016.
Author: Uri Avnery.

I recently mentioned the German word Gleichschaltung ? one of the most typical words in the Nazi vocabulary. “Gleich” means “the same”, and “Schaltung” means “wiring”. The long German word means that everything in the state is wired up the same way ? the Nazi way. This was an essential part of the Nazi transformation of Germany. But it did not happen in any dramatic way. The replacement of people was slow, almost imperceptible. In the end, all important positions in the country were manned by Nazi functionaries.

We are now witnessing something like this in Israel. We are already well into the middle of the process. Position after position is taken over by the far-far right, which is ruling Israel now. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

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UK Labour’s New Economics ? Unfortunately Not So New…

The New EconomicsPublished: 2 June 2016
Author: Michael Roberts

Over 1000 people packed into a London college to take part in a day of analysis of the state of the British economy. And hundreds had been turned away. This was a conference called by the new left-wing leadership of the opposition Labour party in Britain. The hardworking and dedicated activists within the Labour party that had backed Jeremy Corbyn, the new leftist leader, had turned out in droves to discuss with due intent what is wrong with capitalism in Britain and what to do about it. It was an unprecedented event: the leadership of the Labour party calling a meeting to discuss economics and economic policy and allowing party members to discuss.

Labour?s finance leader, John McDonnell opened the conference by saying the aim of the various sessions was to see how Labour could ?transform capitalism? into delivering a ?fairer, democratic sustainable prosperity shared by all?. We needed to ?rewrite the rules? of capitalism to make it work for all. He argued the British capital was failing to invest for growth and jobs. We needed to break with the ?free market? ideology of the neo-liberal agenda and ?reshape the narrative? with ?new economics?.

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