For Brexit to be a Success, UK and US Must Work Together to End German Hegemony

For Brexit to be a Success, UK and US Must Work Together to End German Hegemony

  (Photo by Calgacus) By Joshua Tartakovsky Calgacus 13 January 2016 Britain chose Brexit. Now Britain must find a way to leave while protecting its interests and finding an honorable compromise with its central trading partner. The problem is that forging a fair agreement with the EU, dominated by Germany, is impossible. In an election year where both French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel are facing increasingly potent eurosceptical challengers, and as Merkel’s refugee-friendly policy is revealing itself as lunacy in the streets of Berlin, it takes a high level of naiveté to assume that EU elite in Brussels would want to give Britain a fair deal. Anything less than ‘punishing’ Britain for daring to break free would embolden Front National, Alternative for Germany, and Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands where elections will be held in March. Hollande and Merkel can hardly have the tranquility and good judgment needed for even a meagre compromise as they feel the ground shaking beneath their feet. Britain buys 7% of German exports. But Germany will not permit the EU to unravel for the sake of staying in good terms with Britain. If the EU breaks up, German industries would no longer dominate the EU, and Spanish, Italian or French products, now cheaper without the euro, could present a viable competition as they will be more attractive for buyers abroad. Similarly, Germany has already shown its inflexibility by the hardline it took towards Greece’s desperate pleas for a compromise on its debt. The Greek economy is on its death bed but Germany did not flinch. Germany’s financial interest is to...
Back in Athens: History takes place in Greece first.

Back in Athens: History takes place in Greece first.

Acropolis in a rainy day. All photos by Joshua Tartakovsky (C) All Rights Reserved 2016. I am back in Athens after a long absence. The weather is still warm for a winter, the water – offered freely every time one sits down for a coffee, fresh and cold. The vegetables and meat – fresh and tasty. But the system collapsed here, and will never recover as anyone who has eyes to see can admit. The economy will never recover. (Greece can never pay back its debt which is at least 175% of its GDP and every week businesses are closing down with unemployment at 50% among youth and 26% among adults). The dying middle class can still pretend otherwise, as Ekathimerini makes desperate attempt to engage in a child’s dream that all this will pass and the banks will resume growth.  But Greeks are still limited to pulling out 80 euro a day from the bank, more children are begging for food or money, more homeless people in the street. There are also major discounts on everything. One can buy a small ancient Greek deity figurine + soap for a single euro. In Exharcheia, the graffiti-ridden neighborhood, dominant is the spirit of nihilism and anarchism. Youngsters everywhere smoking marijuana, drinking beer or coffee for hours. No future to look forward to or a solution. The young who can leave and who have the money are leaving. But most get paid about 500 Euro per month in total. In the mean time, the pro-austerity, pro-EU, Left-wing Syriza government is cutting down on pensions and may even repossess homes. Greeks joined the EU...
Greece: In the Eye of the Storm

Greece: In the Eye of the Storm

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 7 April 2016 Greece is once again in the eye of the storm. This is true for several reasons. It is the only EU country where transnational EU capitalism failed (remember that when people tell you about how communism failed, and while they are right, capitalism failed and is failing too). Now according to Wikileaks, the IMF is considering creating a“credit event” against the country. Greece also became a magnet for migrants and so-called refugees. The country is mired in such a deep recession that it can never possibly recover. Ever. (How about that for American optimism?) In fact, in order to continuously pay for the debt, more cuts will be needed, homes will be repossessed, pensions will be sliced. All this in a country where a third are under the poverty line, where a majority of youth are unemployed and where the entire family often lives off pensions of the elderly. The debt will be paid for an eternity but it will not be followed by economic growth. When “life as it is” is not bearable, what do more cuts mean? More suffering, deeper into the endless pit. No hope. No future. Welcome to 21st Century EU Capitalism. Recession, austerity, crisis. Of course, Greece was the first victim. Its naïve populace with its good intentions believed joining EU was a glamorous endeavor. The Euro seemed shiny and starry.  But now that industries are destroyed, people have no money, and businesses close every day, the EU does not seem like such a big fantasy anymore. Now it is too late. (However, if only the Greeks could...
INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 2

INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 2

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 21 March 2016 Maybe you can talk about that a little bit… It’s easy. If I am Mr. Buffet, I know we are not talking about Buffet but a financial elite… in order to create new situation of more profit for my own investment capital, I cannot deal with different states. And I have more then, nominally, we have more than 327 trillion dollars in terms of investment capital worldwide. Controlled by 40 banks… even less. 40 banks. 327 trillion… We have a GDP, a world GDP, from 75 to 77 trillion dollars. And they are only for investment. We’re not talking about derivatives or other aspects of the financial market. We’re talking about 327 trillion dollars. So in order to create opportunities for my capital to provide new, or even more profit, for my portal, we have to destroy and re-destroy the whole… I cannot provide more out of the normal economic cycle. We have to destroy and recreate the cycle itself. And there’s no way I can do that if we have normal states or people or national economies, things like that. We tried that through financial means. We saw that. And we saw how the whole market was destroyed back in 2007 up to 2008. After that, they recreated the whole market and right now they have even a worse situation then back in 2007. So, in order to subsist that kind of a situation in the financial market, we need an army, we need political means – the economy cannot provide any more. You will see that the big international corporations are avoiding...
INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 1

INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 1

Photo taken by Christina Polychronopoulou (C) Joshua Tartakovsky, March 17, 2016   One year ago, while in Athens, Greece, I interviewed Mr. Dimitris Kazakis, leader of United Popular Front (EPAM), a popular Left movement that emerged from the anti-memorandum protests of 2011. Mr. Kazakis is an erudite speaker, a socialist economist, and one who knows both the terrain of the social struggle and the high-end banking sector in London where he worked for many years. At the time, Mr. Kazakis was not very optimistic about Syriza – the Left party governing Greece, if to say the least. He warned that Prime Minister Tsipras has no intention of breaking with austerity and that he will take on a new contract that will enslave the country further. The interview was conducted in February 2015, but it took me months to publish it since I wanted to give Syriza a chance. Mr. Kazakis was right. It happened exactly as he said. One year later, on February 17, 2016, I met Mr. Kazakis at the offices of EPAM in Athens again. Things are much worse in Athens now. Mr. Kazakis covered almost all issues under the sun. He talked about the migration crisis, why he supports a Brexit, Greece’s economic predicament, the world economy, NATO in the Aegean, Erdogan and Merkel, NGOs dubious roles, nationalism, why cosmopolitanism is dangerous, the Germans, perpetual war, Venezuela and Cuba. Below is the full interview. You actually predicted what will happen at the time because at the time what you said was that these negotiations are a sham, they are going to sign on another contract and so...