back to e-flux.com

Exhaustion and Senile Utopia of the Coming European Insurrection


#1

Figures such as Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, among many others, have stressed in the past that we need to create institutions for unified political decisions at the level of the European Union. In the aftermath of the Greek debt crisis, it seems that the Europhile intellectuals have gotten what they asked for. The EU entity has been subjected to a sort of political directorate that has unfortunately only served to reveal that financial interests lie at the heart of the Union’s priorities. The early stage of the European tragedy has manifested itself as a political enforcement of the financial domination of European society.

The institutions of the welfare state have been under attack for thirty years: full employment, labor rights, social security, retirement, public schools, public transportation—all of these areas have been weakened, neglected, or destroyed. After thirty years of neoliberal obsession, we arrive at a collapse. What comes next? The ruling class answers coarsely: more of the same. Further reduction of public sector salaries, further raising of the age of retirement. No respect for society’s needs and the rights of workers.

Thatcher said thirty years ago that there is no such thing as society, and today this statement comes across as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Society is in fact dissolving, leaving space to a jungle where everyone fights against one another. Following the Greek crisis, the monetarist dogma has been strongly reinforced, as if more poison could act as an antidote. Reducing demand will lead to recession, and the only result will be to further concentrate capital in the hands of the financial class and further impoverish the working class.

Following the Greek financial crisis, emergency law was declared: a self-proclaimed Merkel-Sarkozy-Trichet directorate imposed a deflationary policy to be forced on the various national governments of European countries. In order to rescue the financial system, this self-proclaimed directorate diverts resources from society to the banks. And in order to revive the failed philosophy of neoliberalism, social spending is cut, salaries are lowered, the retirement age is raised, and the younger working generation is precarized. Those who do not acknowledge the great necessities of competition and growth will be cut out. Those who choose to play the game will have to accept any punishment, any renunciation, any suffering demanded by the great necessity. But who said that we must absolutely be part of this?

Read the full article here.