Quite a lot of time passed by since my last days in Brussels. Now I’m already in France, trying to meet young activists of the Jeunesse Front National. Well, not today. I’m too many posts behind so I got myself a bed in a hostel and took a day off just for writing.
Anyway, I decided to share this, a little shortened, interview with you, without “manipulating” anything. I hope that you can decide on your own whether you like Mr. Murphys ideas or not.
Paul Murphy is a young Irish socialist who has been an assistant to Joe Higgins until his boss won a seat in the general elections. Since 2009 he is a MEP himself.
I’m happy if you share your thoughts on the interview below!
First of all, do the Irish people see the European Union as skeptical as the British do?
“No, it’s a complicated question, but no. Ireland is in a economic meaning quite backward. A widespread perception is that being a member of the European Union bought economical and social progress.
Now there is a big change in the attitude. There is a lot of anger towards the European Union. Now you have a population that is very skeptical about the European Union but will be positive about Europe.”
Are you skeptical about the European Union too? Why?
“I don’t believe in whole Europe’s crisis management. In my eyes it is a devastation of peoples living standards. Followed by a massive crisis of unemployment, up to 50% for young people all over Europe. The destruction of social services, health care and education really creates a crisis for the people. And also in doing so create more damage for the economy in whole. All across Europe there is an attempt to use the crisis to institutionalize austerity publicize and to write them into law with like the fiscal treaty. And it’s been done by purpose in the interested of some people. Some people have benefit from it, the big bankers, the bound-holders.
So I think by the leadership of the EU there is an opportunistic using of the crisis to push a pre-existing neoliberal agenda”
But people voted for this policy. Haven’t they?
“The EU that we currently have is completely undemocratic. The European Commission is effectively the government, but is unelected. It’s supposed to be kind of accountable to the European Parliament but it’s not. The European Cancel is elected in a sense that it is governments. But it’s negotiations are entirely in secret. People don’t know what they discuss. Then you have the European Parliament, which is elected, but isn’t really a parliament in a sense of having the rights of a parliament. Next you have the European Central Bank which is completely unelected, completely unaccountable. Completely independent, but independent of any democratic control not independent of neoliberal right-wing ideas. So they are happy to shift powers from elected governments to European Commission. Because elected governments can come under pressure from protests, from strike movements and so they feel its safer for them if they want their policies to pass to have power in the European Commission. People might have elected their governments but they have no choices about the decisions taken.”
People could have voted for left-winged options if they want a change, though. Why isn’t the left benefiting from the crisis?
“There are a number of reasons. One important background reason is the experience of Stalinism. A failed system, there is no returning to that system. But some parties are still in tradition of that system and people don’t like that of course.
But also the Stalinism was used as a massive propaganda weapon by the right-wings. They say: “socialism failed.” As if they would be just the possibility of Stalinism! A current problem of the left is the cooperating with social-democrat governments in many countries. In Italy for example. They join the government and then they manage capitalism. The temptation of maybe gaining little small changes by getting into government is high. But people who hoped for a real alternative are disillusioned and then they look away.
How could a alternative socialist Europe look like?
“It would be an confederation of socialist states coming together on free and equal bases. With every thing being transparent, with elected representatives having the key powers, being recall able by the people that elect them and having fundamentally different policies.
For me, the road to the kind of Europe I want does not go through the current European Union. Most likely scenario is, that you have some kind of break down of the current European Union. And than of a different bases you rebuilt a different Europe.
Take the concrete case of Greece: I think the austerity policies pushed by the European Commission is going to be result in a situation where Greece leaves the Euro. I think that is most likely. I think what will happen is that in the next year hopefully a left government Syriza will be elected. It will be under a lot of pressure from below. Will have to repudiate at least some portion of the depth. And I think so consequences of that is that they will be punished by being pushed out of the Euro. The ECB will use its power to basically force them out.
Of course there are two scenarios, either it can be a disaster for the people. A huge flight of capital and a even bigger devastation or it has to match with socialist policies. For example control of the capital to stop the rich getting out their money of Greece. People always name the big problem of weak national currencies but if you have a democratic central bank who controls the currency it doesn’t have to be that weak. You could allow a level of inflation to reduce to depth. You wouldn’t allow that your currency is traded on those international markets. Like china is in those sense, you can’t buy the yuan [China’s currency] easily and and sell it again. One just have to keep in head, it’s not a natural phenomena that currencies are traded.
Anyway, potentially workers come to power In Greece and than it spreads. It doesn’t have to happen like absolutely simultaneous, but it does to have happen quickly because otherwise Greece would be isolated.
Everything is completely interconnected. It’s different than in the 20th century when just one country made a revolution, today especially working conditions all over Europe are so similar. A revolution would immediately have a big impact on others countries. And Europe’s potential socialist countries would need each other. It’s true in today’s world one country can’t have fundamental changes on it’s own. So I’m oppose to the direction of events that are happening in Europe now, but actually I’m in favor of a real confederation of Europe but on a socialists bases.”
And how likely is that become to be true?
“Ordinary people have two options at the moment, they can do nothing and kind of have their lives destroyed or people decide that they had enough of all of these attacks and organize collectively together to fight back. Nobody can tell the future. But I believe the the war will become less one-sided.”