The election of Donald Trump symbolises the demise of a remarkable era. It was a time when we saw the curious spectacle of a superpower, the US, growing stronger because of – rather than despite – its burgeoning deficits. It was also remarkable because of the sudden influx of two billion workers – from China and Eastern Europe – into capitalism’s international supply chain. This combination gave global capitalism a historic boost, while at the same time suppressing Western labour’s share of income and prospects. Continue reading →
Donald Trump’s victory marks the end of an era when a self-confident Establishment preached the end of history, the end of passion and the supremacy of a technocracy working on behalf of the 1%. But the era it ushers in is not new. It is a new variant of the 1930s, featuring deflationary economics, xenophobia and divide-and-rule politics.
British citizens took to the polls to cast their “Leave” ballots—and their grievances—in the now-infamous Brexit vote last June, seeking to escape the overarching power of the European Union. Their triumph stunned British and global elites, but shouldn’t have; the odds were stacked in the Leave camp’s favor.
On the panel are Conservative former chancellor Ken Clarke MP, Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner MP, runner up in the UKIP leadership election Lisa Duffy, DiEM25 initiator and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and the previous owner of the Daily Telegraph Conrad Black.
Friday 23/9/2016 (click here for the Eurofinance site & here for a related Keynote speech)
How long can Europe go on like this? In mid-July Germany sold €4.038bn of 10-year zero-coupon bonds with a yield of minus 0.05 per cent. This added a few more billions to the more than €4.25 trillion euros-worth of euro-zone government bonds that now carry a negative yield. These yields and the ECB’s €80-billion a month quantitative easing policy have now infected non-government markets. According to Bank of America, the highest-rated euro-denominated senior and secured debt of non-bank companies maturing in one to three years yield an average minus 0.08 percent. And there’s no obvious way out: at the ECB’s July meeting the bank kept the main refinancing rate and the deposit rate at record lows of zero and minus 0.4 per cent.
Yanis Varoufakis responds to Alexis Cukier and Patrick Surain, who challenged him on his time as Greek finance minister, the feasibility of reforming existing EU structures, and a left-wing exit from the EU. Read ‘the challenge’ here.
Yanis Varoufakis has told the UK government to get a move on with triggering Article 50 to begin a “robust debate” on what a post-Brexit Britain could look like.
In an interview with the BBC’s Today programme, the former Greek finance minister, said the discussion prior to the referendum was of “very low quality”, adding that once article 50 is invoked Britain should use the negotiating period to prepare itself as nation. Continue reading →
An interview on the Brexit paradox-cum-enigma and the future of the European Union – the interview was recorded in the context of the Institute of Directors conference on post-Brexit Britain, 27th September 2016
Varoufakis’ speech last Michaelmas was thought to attract over a thousand students
[The following is re-posted from the Cambridge Union’s The Tab]
With the Autumn Statement of the new Government looming, the Cambridge Union takes over Inner Temple hall to question the dominance of austerity politics in the United Kingdom. Yanis Varoufakis, the ex-Greek Finance Minister, will be speaking in favour of the motion ‘This House has Lost Confidence in Austerity’. Joining him on the Proposition side will be former Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable and Lord Karan Bilimoria. Facing them across the floor on the Opposition bench will be the former Executive Director of Conservatives IN Charlotte Vere and Head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Ryan Bourne. The confirmation of Varoufakis will cause a slight switch-up for the Union’s President-Elect Kate Dunbar, who will move from the Proposition to the Opposition. Continue reading →
Stefano Fassina points out that in my article ‘Europe’s Left After Brexit’ I did not discuss his preferred option for Eurozone member-states: Stay in the EU but leave the euro. Of course the reason my article did not discuss that position is that it was focusing on Brexit and addressing Lexiteers like Tariq Ali and Stathis Kouvelakis who are arguing, from a left-wing position, for leaving the EU altogether – i.e. Brexit-like moves. But I am more than happy to comment on Stefano’s preferred option (In the EU, Out of the Euro) here. Continue reading →
13 September 2016 (Click here for the openDemocracy site)
What role does national self-determination and ‘self-government’ play in European and human emancipation today? Yanis Varoufakis replies for DiEM25.
Yanis Varoufakis has recently been engaged in debating this key question for our times with the left. (See more.) Here, we try to open out the argument further. In his confrontation with the Eurogroup over its policy towards Greece, Yanis claimed to stand for those suffering from its policies everywhere. A much larger argument with opinion formers across the spectrum is essential. Now we’d like to test these claims, especially in their application to the strategy Yanis and others are developing for DiEM25, the cross-European network.
Anthony Barnet, Rosemary Bechler, Alex Sakalis.(oD)
In reply to Tariq Ali, Stathis Kouvelakis, Vicente Navarro and Stefano Fassina on DiEM25’s plan for resisting within the European Union
Preface: This article (published in edited form in Jacobin, Neues Deutschland, Il Manifesto, Mediapart and elsewhere) addresses left-wing critics of DiEM25 claiming that DiEM25 is pursuing the wrong objective (to democratise the EU) by means of a faulty strategy (focusing at the European rather than at the national level). This response, while addressed to left-wing supporters of Lexit (the strategy of calling for referenda in favour of leaving the EU, Brexit style), is pertinent also as questions raised often within the other political traditions that DiEM25 seeks to unite in the struggle to democratise Europe; i.e. authentic liberals, ecologists, feminists, members of pirate parties, activists unwilling to be embedded in existing parties, progressive conservatives even.Continue reading →