As recently as a year ago when I and others on the Left wrote and spoke about ‘the dictatorship of the financial markets’ many people thought we were exaggerating. However after the events of the past few weeks, can there be any doubt but that we are witnessing a full frontal assault on democratic rights by European bondholders, bankers and speculators facilitated by the leadership of the European Union?
The political and financial establishment in the United States responded to the financial collapse caused by the insane, greed driven, speculation in the sub prime housing market and the toxic debt packages that were traded among the world’s most ‘prestigious’ banks, by allowing the very same authors of the disaster to write their own bailout terms and ram them down the throats of the American people.
Former and serving chiefs in the world’s biggest investment bank, Goldman Sachs, were centrally involved. Goldman Sachs made a fortune on the sub prime scene at its height and then, with consummate cynicism, made another fortune speculating on the inevitable crash of this gigantic pyramid scheme built on the exploitation of poor and middle income Americans.
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it is everywhere’, wrote Matt Taibi in Rolling Stone Magazine two years ago. Comparing it to a vampire squid sucking the economic lifeblood of humanity, he continues, ‘…the history of the recent financial crisis which . . .doubles as a history of . . . the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.’
After the dramatic events of the last few weeks, The Rolling Stone writer could now say much the same of the European Union response to the disaster in the Eurozone.
Silvio Berlusconi has just been peremptorily removed from office at the diktat of the speculators in the European financial markets, not because he was a despicable charlatan, but because they weren’t confident he had the authority to force through the drastic austerity on the Italian people which they see to be necessary to recovering their gambling debts. The replacement they have secured as the new Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, is a ‘graduate’ of Goldman Sachs, having been an international adviser to the bank.
The new President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, is also a graduate, a very senior graduate in fact. He was a Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs. This is the same bank which conspired with a right wing Greek government to falsify the national accounts so that Greece could join the Eurozone. The same Goldman Sachs also which specialises in speculating against the currencies and debt of weaker economies in order to make massive profits oblivious to the social dislocation and human suffering which this activity causes to working people and the poor in the affected countries.
In Greece former Prime Minister Papandreou has also been removed at the diktat of the markets and the leadership of the EU. The new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was a major banker, Governor of the Bank of Greece in fact from 1994 to 2002. He is now tasked with bludgeoning the Greek people with a savage intensification of austerity and massive privatisations. Like Mario Monti in Italy, he is really a direct representative of the very sharks in the financial markets whose activities caused the current frightful crisis in the first place.
Monti and Papademos are both members of the Trilateral Commission a secretive organisation founded by US oligarch, David Rockefeller, to coordinate the strategies of US and European big business. In addition Monti is a member of the Bildergerg group an even more secretive and sinister strategising body for the world’s major capitalists.
Monti and Papademos have been foiseted on the Italian and Greek people respectively without ever having been elected. Monti is joined in the new Cabinet by an equally unelected conglomerate of representatives of big business and banking interests.
In all this we see the reality of what it takes to ‘satisfy the markets’, ‘give confidence to the markets’ and ‘reassaure the markets’, phrases faithfully repeated without questioning by just about every establishment commentator and journalist in Ireland and all over Europe. Shamefully the political establishment of this State, like their European counterparts,connive in this crushing of the democratic rights of millions of Europeans in the interest of the private profit of the private financial corporations which orchestrated these ‘coups d’etat’.
There is only one solution to the present crisis that is so destructive of society. The power of the financial markets must be challenged and broken by mass action of the ordinary people of Europe. The financial institutions must be brought into public ownership and democratic control and run for the benefit of the big majority.