Lightning & Thunder & Rumbles from Europe

This is actually heating up as a possibility (who’d a thunk?): Twitter wars on #Brexit: four more months until the June 23rd referendum:

Wiki says the referendum question was amended to read: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? with the possible responses:

Remain a member of the European Union
Leave the European Union

Boris Johnson, the last senior figure in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party still to declare which side he’ll join in the campaign to decide the future of the U.K.’s membership of the European Union will support leaving the bloc, finally declared on Feb. 21 (6781 comments at the time); Cameron nuked his whales just afterward, claiming he’d mentioned an Out vote could lead to a second referendum.

‘Boris Johnson backs Brexit campaign in EU referendum defying David Cameron’s plea not to join leave campaign – live, the Guardian.

The article explains Brexit, names (then) Yes and No campaign notables.

brexit rowanson

Martin Rowsan: On the reaction to Boris’s stance

Well, this nukess the notion of a #Brexit, doesn’t it, ha ha?  ‘Cost of Brexit would outweigh the benefits, says credit ratings agency Moody’s – Politics live’, Feb. 22; and “Pound falls in value after Johnson backs Brexit.”  Well, somebody’s gonna take Boris to the woodshed twleve times a day, eh?  The nerve!  And Cameron’s claiming it’s all a stunt, and Boris is anglin’ for his job!

Ah, but how I love the scent of fear-mongering denial in the morning:

“Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said in an article for the Sunday Telegraph that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Britain to leave the European Union.

It is not scaremongering to ask which result Putin would favor. If we left, the European Union for the first time in its history would be smaller and weaker. That’s obviously in Russia’s interests,” he argued.

His key reasoning:

“But it’s not Cameron’s deal that will be on the ballot paper in the referendum on Britain’s EU membership. In fact, it may not have even been finalised by June. People will be voting on far more important issues: jobs, investment, employment rights, environmental protection, peace, security and international cooperation.

Labour and the unions played a key role in making sure that employment rights – like guaranteed paid holiday, paid maternity and paternity leave, and agency workers’ protection – were kept out of Cameron’s negotiations. But there is a serious risk that the Tories would use a vote to leave as the chance for a bonfire of rights in its aftermath.

So Labour will be running a positive campaign for the real change we need: to unite opposition to austerity and build a Europe of sustainable growth, jobs and social justice. That can only be achieved by working with allies who share our aims across the continent.”

Some background on the Brussells Summit: Via ‘Brexit referendum to go ahead after UK secures deal with European Union’ By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden

The focus is on immigrant benefits and mainly not, new border fences, and UK opt-outs on EU rules and financial regulations.  But the authors say:

“The talks and the agreement expose the wholly reactionary character of the EU as a bastion of the interests of the banks and major corporations. There was not a shred of principle animating any of the 28 heads of state at the summit, only naked, national self-interest.

The most serious divisions were between France and the UK over Cameron’s demands that the City of London banks and finance institutions be exempt from any euro zone financial regulations. French President François Hollande said France’s position was “to make sure financial regulation applied everywhere in Europe, without vetoes or impediments”—a position later echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

Writers at are claiming that:

“The “Leave” camp is dominated by the right wing of the Tory Party and the anti-immigrant UK Independence Party—the forces Cameron sought to placate by promising an in-out referendum in the Tory Party’s general election manifesto last year. It is headed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, Justice Secretary Michael Gove and five other cabinet members. They represent that section of the Tories who believe greater deregulation and independence will benefit Britain’s banks and businesses, and free them from the influence of the UK’s rivals, Germany and France. This is what they mean by their constant references to “sovereignty”.  I really can’t speak to that, myself.  Are nationalism, free-reign capitalism, and border controls driving Leave votes?


From the Hellenistic Republic:

‘Greek farmers deliver ultimatum to Tsipras’; After a month of blockading roads in protest at reforms, farmers will sit down with the government this week in Athens for a make-or-break meeting

“Hopes that the government will finally back down in a make-or-break meeting between the prime minister and farmers on Monday have been diluted by economic reality. Athens’ submission to Brussels after months of wrangling over the terms of a third, €86bn bailout last summer, has left very little room for manoeuvre.

Pension reform has been set as the precondition for opening talks on much-needed debt relief. Without significant cuts, creditors at the EU and International Monetary Fund argue the underfunded system – aggravated by six years of recession and heavy unemployment – will simply collapse. “Everything will depend on what the government offers,” says Fouzas, who will be among the farmers’ representatives at the meeting. “As it is Sunday we opened the tolls for a couple of hours ahead of the talks to show goodwill.”

And as elsewhere, austerity measures are allegedly driving some Syriza supporters to the Communists, some to the neo-fascist Golden Dawn.

The farmers at the roadblocks …”stated they had a “meaningful debate” with prime minister on all issues, although they stated the government did not step back”

In ‘Discontent returns to the streets in Greece’, Colleen Bolger talks to Greek socialists about renewed protests against the SYRIZA government’s acceptance of austerity.  She chronicles the increase in both private and public sector union strikes and protests increasing since Nov. of 2015, and the national unity on display on Feb. 4.

Key issues are pension cuts and pay-ins (taxes) to the system.  Leftist Popular Unity doesn’t seem to be gaining support, but rumors abound as to future scenarios as workers become more…dissatisfied.

Applause for Yani’s DiEM25 from an Unexpected Source, I’d have thought: ‘It Takes a Greek to Save Europaby Pepe Escobar

Pepe may have switched from just enough tequila to just a bit too much ouzo for this one.  Doggone, he has some rollicking and raucous fun describing what’s afoot in Europa, and of course a New Greek Foundation Myth of actual democracy rising from the sea anew…not far from the birthplace of democracy.  The subject is the DiEM25, of course (Democracy in Europe Movement).

He brilliantly uses some of the Pantheon of Greek deities to set the scene, much as Varoufakis had in his book The Global Minotaur.  It’s a fun read.

“Europa, in classical Greek mythology, was this Phoenician princess babe that drove lusty Zeus absolutely bonkers.

A trickster par excellence, Zeus turned into a white bull, lured Europa into riding him, and before she could escape, dove into the Aegean Sea and carried her off to Crete. The product of their inevitable lovemaking was King Minos. So keep in mind that Europa is the Minotaur’s step-grandmother (more on the Minotaur in a minute.)” and so on.

But he says that Yanis claims that it’s slated to be a leaderless movement, and hopes are that it leads to building a more democratic Europe by 2025. (2025???)

Now I’d saved a Tweet of his that named the presenters at the big conference in Berlin, so I’d reckoned they just might be the leaders.  Hella lot of academics, intellectual, investment-led recovery, greentechnologies…(centrifugal forces? kinda like Bill Gates meets Davos WEF , eh?

Given that none of the names were familiar to me, and that none of the Greek leftists who’d left Syriza seemed to be on it, I went a-googlin’, and finally found at again: ‘What is behind Varoufakis’s “Democracy Movement to Rescue Europe?”  The author identifies a lot of the luminaries as very pro-EU; a few snippets:

“This affluent EU constellation, represented in politics, culture and science, and which includes the trade union bureaucracy with its European Works Council system, feels threatened by the growing crisis of the EU and is anxious to defend its privileges.

That is what characterizes DiEM25. Behind the defence of the EU is primarily the defence of their own sinecures and privileges. They regard the break-up of the European Union and the return of national borders as a threat to their privileged position.

Varoufakis and his DiEM25 are responding with an aggressive defence of their social position. It is striking that not a single social demand is raised in their manifesto. Instead, it states that the “lack of a coherent strategy in foreign and immigration policy and the fight against terrorism” must be overcome.

Varoufakis’s Movement to Save the EU complements the policies of German imperialism. In the German Chancellery as well plans are being made to mobilize privileged sections of the petty-bourgeoisie to carry out social attacks, police state measures and military rearmament in the name of defending the EU.

This is why the red carpet was rolled out for Varoufakis in Berlin and why he was feted in the editorial offices and on talk shows. It was therefore no coincidence that Gesine Schwan, who twice ran for the office of German president as the favoured candidate of the Social Democratic Party (2004 and 2009), attended the founding ceremony of DiEM25.”

Well, well, and ouch, Yanis; you seem to have earned a major Trotskyite critic.

Now as to the massive refugee crisis, Enough Is Enough (for News Revo) on Twitter has been following it, and especially the most hideous nationalistic responses.

Not Greece, but sorry Tuskie: yes, the EU certainly did help a hella lot.

Feb. 22 MST

Please say it’s not so.

SPECIAL REPORT 04.02.2016 “Fake life vests soak up chances of survival for shipwrecked refugees

Sorry; I can’t bring any of it.  Read at your own peril, but there is a long history of this hideous perfidy along the Turkish coast.  Tumbrils and pitchforks for fake flotation devices profiteers; grrrr.

This post will be old news as soon as I press ‘Publish’; no matter.

7 responses to “Lightning & Thunder & Rumbles from Europe

  1. #Brexit McCarthyism: ‘Brexit ministers BANNED from accessing Government documents and BLOCKED from briefings’

    “Ministers campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union have been banned by Whitehall’s most senior civil servant from accessing official documents and prevented from receiving briefings.

    In a move like to enrage Eurosceptics, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet secretary, has told ministers that when they campaign on EU matters they will no longer have access to official briefing papers, or get help with developing ideas for speeches.

    Instead departmental officials will only be able to provide them with a basic fact checking service.’”

  2. lambert strether held a conversation on DiEM25 at NC yesterday. one commenter linked to this critique by Takis Fotopoulos at global research, for any who’d care to wade thru it.

    Takis’s Wiki. Inclusive democracy and libertarian socialism, and his ‘The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY’ loads of stuff there.

  3. I go for a walk in the wetlands near our house and prepare for some clean-ups of modern civilization’s bounty of bottles, cans, and 5-gal contractor materials buckets, and, bam, the world falls apart, does it? The US election gets more and more dismal, the death of Scalia brings the Supreme Court to a screeching halt, and nobody at the grassroots level knows any of the people running for Congress (except the incumbents).

    The US and Russia and Turkey are so close to victory over DAESH that the caliphate is beginning to move operations to Libya. And the US, Russia, and Turkey are already fighting over the spoils.

    And now the treatment of Greece has tipped the balance toward #brexit.

    The good news. Now that hunting season is almost over, the abandoned deer stands lying on the ground are ready sources of shelter for salamanders. Saw a marbled one on Monday.

    This is going to be one of those signature years like 1968 IMHO. Those wishing for absolute electoral chaos might get their wish. With chaos in Europe as well.

    • ‘modern civilization’, yes, creates a lot of…trash, doesn’t it? do you have landfills there for er..disposal? what a nice project you’re busy with, far better than the news of the day.

      yes, chaos in the bread and circus electoral department. so many opinions that who is in the white house matters, and the sides are being chosen with fervor, aren’t they? the gov of nevada, sandoval (r) was being floated as senate confirmable, but he just withdrew his name from consideration. i’ve been following friedrichs v. ca teachers a bit, but three other cases were supposed to be decided soon.

      cripes, trnn said that cameron is pro #brexit, and was just looking for a better deal. i didn’t see that at all! greece: oy, what, a hundred thousand refugees over the past year? if #brexit, might #grexit follow, thd? but this will make you laugh:

      • How would Obama play TPP and TTIP trade deals against the Senate to get a Senate confirmation? Would he tell the GOP that he’d repudiate the deals or promise to jawbone some anti-TPP Democratic votes for the deals? Interests aren’t driving parties as straightforwardly as they used to. The flood of cash released by Citizens United has created microfractures in both parties that split the caucuses by who is paying whom. It has intensified the gridlock. Look at how powerless Ryan is to get agreement of the majority of his caucus.

        • i appreciate your question, and can only say that it’s lng been considered ONE of his signature deals (well, two) as a lame duck. but you have me at a disadvantage in that i have no idea about paul ryan’s caucus.

          but as to citizen’s united, i did read a detailed (imo) examination of that SCOTUS-approved law and how many other deeper state, if i may, influences on what stree calls ‘the unelected dictatorship of $$$’ that rules USian politics.

          paul street’s ‘Beyond Campaign Finance’

          man and woman alive: there are three hootie owls outside callin’ to each other just now. la bella luna will rise in a few hours, and some crazy star will rise, as well. we call it ‘tomalak’, but it seems to have a related celestial body of a red hue beneath it…and it seems to sway in some crazy syncopated rhythm of its own beat. arcturus? in a few more days we may get to see in which constellation it boogies, but forget ‘goodnight moon’; we say ‘goodnight tomalak’, as if it’s a romulan vessel parked there. ;-)

    • marbled dude’s pretty cute. :-) well, if he’s not in yer sleeping bag, anyway.

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