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Cohn-Bendit Calls A Spade A Spade [UPDATE]

by afew Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 07:18:34 AM EST

Speaking from Strasbourg as co-chair of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit made some remarks about the Irish situation that can be heard in this video (in French):

Here's a rough and incomplete translation into English of the main points:

The Irish problem is complex... (laughter) No, I mean it's not a for-or-against matter...

What's happening is that European banks are being saved that gambled at the casino and lost. Usually, if you lose at the casino, you lose. That's life. But here, we are saving the banks, but also a whole system behind them, in which...

Remember that Ireland annoyed us for years as deregulation champion of Europe... Commissioner McCreevy only knew one word, deregulation... Ireland boasted they had the strongest economy in Europe, company tax was the lowest, low taxes were the best system - and now they're paying for it, they have a State that is incapable of reacting...

So, we are saving, not just banks, but a system that is in itself a system of bankruptcy, a political system... It's the failure of neoliberalism and of deregulation..

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't, because it's true there's more to it, if European banks went bust the economy would go too and everyone would get hurt...

But we [presumably the Greens] are going to push for calling a spade a spade - Ireland represents the failure of economic liberalism and the failure of deregulation.


Cohn-Bendit also made remarks (not on the same occasion) after meeting the Greek PM Papandreou (h/t rootless2):

France, Germany Forced Greece to Buy Arms: MEP - Defense News

PARIS - France and Germany, while publicly urging Greece to make harsh public spending cuts, bullied its government to confirm billions of euros in arms deals, a leading Euro-MP alleged Friday.

Franco-German lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit said that Paris and Berlin are seeking to force Prime Minister George Papandreou to spend Greece's scarce cash on submarines, a fleet of warships, helicopters and war planes.

"I met Mr. Papandreou last week. I was in Athens. I've known him for a long time," Cohn-Bendit told reporters, accusing Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy of blackmailing his friend.

Cohn-Bendit accused France and Germany of making their contributions to an IMF-led rescue package for the debt-ridden Greek economy contingent on Athens honoring massive arms deals signed by Papandreou's predecessor.

Neither of these contributions from Cohn-Bendit is easy to find in media coverage. In fact, to all intents and purposes (and counting a passing mention from Deutsche Welle (in French, h/t Migeru), the two given here are, as of writing, the only ones.

Update [2010-11-26 11:29:26 by afew]:

Still no coverage of this (that I can find).

Though the video has gone the Internet rounds, the maker EUX TV's partner Euractiv has posted no report on it.

The only write-up is the one in French from Deutsche Welle - which is reproduced by an African news site, Afrique Actu.

In English, this story on ET is linked to by Florida Today.

So, interest in Africa and in Florida, but none whatsoever in Europe.

Nothing from the Greens/EFA either. Though it looks like a press briefing, they have produced no press release at the time of writing.

So, Dany: are the Greens "pushing" to get this message out, as you say, or is that just posturing?

Display:
Speechless at our powerless-ness. If Cohn-Bendit can't break through...

But damn good that he's called these two shots.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 07:23:47 AM EST
Adding, i think it's up to progressives in France and Germany to carry this meme as far as it can.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 07:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To me it's interesting (and welcome) that Cohn-Bendit comes out clearly with this call - he who has long been considered pro-liberal (economic). To judge by conversations on the anti-pensions marches, this (deserved or undeserved) reputation was enough for many hard-lefties to dismiss Europe Ecologie entirely.

So if he's saying the EP Greens are going to push for communicating on this, let's hope it's heard.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 07:30:00 AM EST
Just out of curiosity, what does a bust of the economy look like? Does anyone know? Who gets hurt? Right now it seems like the victims of the system are the only ones getting hurt under the current scheme. So, if the economy does go bust and everyone gets hurt, then that seems like the fairest system. Right now, the way it is rigged, everyone but the casino banks get hurt.
by Magnifico on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 07:41:20 AM EST
I'm actually a little worried about Cohn-Bendit's "it's complex", "it's a system being rescued" and "the whole economy would suffer".

He criticises neoliberalism and deregulation, but to him still there is no alternative.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 04:13:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Greens Party: Financial Crisis
In this context, the EGP puts forward the following propositions for consideration:

In the short term, Governments have no other choice than to take action in order to prevent the collapse of the banking system by providing state guarantees or injecting capital, using taxpayers' money. Because at the same time, Governments find billions to save banks that are responsible for their problem, while they can't find the funding needed to fight starvation, unemployment, environmental degradation, the loss of biodiversity and to fund development aid, this rescue is not legitimate if not counterbalanced by a number of measures
<sigh>

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 04:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The document is from October 2008; perhaps Green economic policy has matured in the intervening two years.

Further, as you didn't highlight, "this rescue is not legitimate if not counterbalanced by a number of measures," so we should first investigate the counterbalancing measures. (posted in full, as it's a public doc.)

No wait, it deserves a diary.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 05:10:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Knock yourself out :)

EGP: Economy

A green economic vision for Europe

The full document and translations in DA, DE, ES, FI, FR, GR, HU, IT, MT, NL, SV



Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 05:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be Fair and Accurate™, that's two years old (though it may still be their position).

The measures they go on to suggest are:

  • drastic reduction of financial exec and trader remuneration
  • Tobin tax
  • financial instruments to be accredited by a European testing agency
  • ban on naked short selling
  • mark to market valuation to be "reformed"
  • accreditation, transparency, control of hedge funds to be "tackled" at European level
  • tax havens to be closed, tax fraud and evasion prevented
  • delay on new investors' voting rights (presumably anti-LBO)
  • all financial institutions to contribute to a reserve fund guaranteeing deposits up to €100K
  • restriction of off-balance-sheet accountancy
  • establishment of an independent European ratings agency
  • creation of a European financial markets watchdog with teeth
  • EU-level coordination to diminish the effects of finance sector crisis on other sectors of the economy
  • anti-cyclical budgetary measures
  • "sufficient liquidity must be provided by the European Central Bank"

That wasn't a bad list, two years ago. Now some of it may look like the stable door after the horse has bolted.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 05:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
To be Fair and AccurateTM, that's two years old (though it may still be their position).
To be fair, I went to their website looking for their position on the financial crisis, or press releases, or news about Cohn-Bendit's remarks... and I found that the most recent position is from 2008...

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 05:23:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Entirely agree. The Greens/EFA site is no better. Though DCB appeared to be at a press briefing in Strasbourg, there's no corresponding press release.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 05:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and the European United Left/Nordic Green Left site is even worse on economic policy generally and the financial crisis in particular.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 06:01:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Notice the post timing. Now found in separate diary Here.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 07:43:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what he thinks personally - I understood he was speaking as co-leader of the Greens/EFA in the EP. They seem to have agreed that their communication would focus on "the failure of neoliberalism and deregulation", which is a big, clear point that doesn't seem easy to deny at the moment, rather than to argue against propping up the banks, which could lead to complicated technical counter-arguments and certainly be opposed by the general agreement that the economy would grind to a halt if not.

But this is my imagination at work, they may simply be incapable of conceiving of an alternative.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 26th, 2010 at 05:01:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The silence more telling than him being attacked?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 08:20:05 AM EST


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