The Silence of the Left: Brexit, Euro-Austerity and T-TIP

By Michael Hudson and cross-posted from Counterpunch.org

The media in the United States have treated the British vote against remaining in the European Union (EU) as if it is populist “Trumpism,” an inarticulate right-wing vote out of ignorance at being left behind by the neoliberal economic growth policy. The fact that Donald Trump happened to be in Scotland to promote his golf course helped frame the U.S. story that depicts the Brexit vote as a “Trump vs. Hillary” psychodrama – populist anger and resentment vs. intelligent policy.

What is left out of this picture is that there is a sound logic to oppose membership in the EU. It is Nigel Farage’s slogan, “Take Back Control.”

The question is, from whom? Not only from “bureaucrats,” but from the pro-bank, anti-labor rules written into the eurozone’s Lisbon and Maastricht treaties.

The British tabloids opposed EU membership by depicting unelected Brussels bureaucrats as making laws binding on Britain. The argument was largely a nationalistic plea for “British laws to help the British people.”

The real problem is not merely that bureaucrats are making the laws, but the kind of laws they are making: pro-bank, anti-labor austerity. Tax and public spending policy has been taken out of the hands of national governments and turned over to the banking centers. They insist on austerity and scaling back pensions and social spending programs.

The Maastricht and Lisbon treaties – along with the German constitution –deprive the
eurozone of having a central bank to spend money to revive the European economy. Instead of working to heal the economy from the debt deflation that has occurred since 2008, the European Central Bank (ECB) finances banks and obliges governments to save bondholders from loss instead of writing down bad debts.

To top matters, Brussels bureaucrats seem quite bendable to U.S. pressures to sign the T-TIP: the Obama Administration’s neoliberal Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This is a corporatist program shifting regulatory policy into corporate hands, away from government: environmental policy, public health policy and food labeling for starters

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