Apple, Brussels, and Ireland’s Bruised Sovereignty – Project Syndicate op-ed

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ATHENS – Despite their unequivocal Europeanism, the Irish have been serially mistreated by the European Union.

When Irish voters rejected the Treaty of Lisbon in 2008, the EU forced them to vote again until they delivered the “right” outcome. A year later, when private Irish banks imploded, threatening their (mainly) German private creditors with severe losses, Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank’s then-president, immediately “informed” the Irish government that the ECB would shut down ATMs across the Emerald Isle unless Ireland’s unsuspecting taxpayers made the German banks whole.

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Europe’s Left after Brexit

In reply to Tariq Ali, Stathis Kouvelakis, Vicente Navarro and Stefano Fassina on DiEM25’s plan for resisting within the European Union

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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.[1]  Continue reading

KURIER: Österreichs Sozialdemokra­tie hat ihr Ende erreicht

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Der griechische Ex-Finanzminister sagt, der Geist Bruno Kreiskys sei verloren gegangen.

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Der frühere griechische Finanzminister Gianis Varoufakis hat in Alpbach bei einem Pressegespräch auch zur österreichischen Innenpolitik Stellung genommen. Er kritisierte dabei die von den Sozialdemokraten übernommenen Inhalte rechter Politiker, wie die Errichtung neuer Grenzen. Damit sei das Ende der Sozialdemokratie, wie sie von Bruno Kreisky inspiriert worden sei, erreicht worden.

Zur bevorstehenden Bundespräsidentenwahl befragt, meinte der Linkspolitiker, es handle sich dabei nicht um ein Rennen zwischen einem linken und rechten Kandidaten. “Das wäre fantastisch”, so Varoufakis. Es gehe vielmehr um “Zivilisation” oder nicht. Als Europäer sei er beschämt darüber. Solche Reaktionen der Bevölkerung auf die Politik gebe es auch in anderen Ländern – von Ungarn, Griechenland, Polen, Frankreich oder auch in Großbritannien. “Es ist nicht die Schuld der Menschen”, so Varoufakis.

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The Politics of Negative Interest Rates – Project Syndicate op-ed

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ATHENS – Objects of desire come at a cost. Only bad things, like toxic waste, have a negative price, the equivalent of a fee payable to anyone willing to make them disappear. Does this mean that negative interest rates embody a new perspective on money – that it has gone “bad”? [To read on, click here]

“Merkel has no plan” – interviewed by Die Welt’s editor, Stefan Aust

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A few weeks ago, Stefan Aust, Die Welt’s editor and formerly the heart and soul of Der Spiegel, paid me a visit at our Aegina house. We spoke for a good two hours on Europe, Germany, Greece and, of course, DiEM25. It was a serious, pleasant and at times passionate discussion. On 14th August the article-interview was published. For Die Welt’s site click here. (For the longer version of the interview, as published, in pdf form click: Page 1 & Page 2) Alternatively… Continue reading

Galbraith’s letter to Kathimerini: Let’s talk about academic-journalistic ethics, shall we?

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Athens daily Kathimerini published a letter signed by 23 ‘US-educated Greeks’ sent to the University of Texas’ President denouncing James K. Galbraith (a long-standing professor there) for having helped me design a “monetary cum military coup d’etat”.  At least that was their description of my Plan X – a preliminary contingency plan to counter the European Central Bank’s Plan Z with which Greece is being threatened continually since 2012 – see the Financial Times report here. Once more, the victims of the troika’s six-year-old coup d’etat, which has pushed the Greek people into a vortex of Depression and Insolvency, are being portrayed as coup plotters. The purpose of this campaign, in which Kathimerini has played an energetic role, is to vilify anyone who resisted the troika, who did her or his duty to defend Greece’s democracy, and who continues to argue that the only way to end Greece’s crisis is to oppose the troika. What is new here, with the letter of the 23, is a new violation  – this time of the most basic of academic principles: “Never criticise a text that you have not read!” As Galbraith demonstrates in his response to Kathimerini (see below), the 23 ‘US-educated Greeks’ based their denunciation letter on misinformation peddled by, amongst others, Kathimerini – e.g. the preposterous allegation that Plan X included a plot to arrest the Governor of the Bank of Greece. To read Galbraith response…

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Building a Progressive International – op-ed Project Syndicate

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 16.54.28ATHENS – Politics in the advanced economies of the West is in the throes of a political shakeup unseen since the 1930s. The Great Deflation now gripping both sides of the Atlantic is reviving political forces that had lain dormant since the end of World War II. Passion is returning to politics, but not in the manner many of us had hoped it would.

The right has become animated by an anti-establishment fervor that was, until recently, the preserve of the left. In the United States, Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, is taking Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, to task – quite credibly – for her close ties to Wall Street, eagerness to invade foreign lands, and readiness to embrace free-trade agreements that have undermined millions of workers’ living standards. In the United Kingdom, Brexit has cast ardent Thatcherites in the role of enthusiastic defenders of the National Health Service.

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