Yanis Varoufakis: Let’s Change Europe From the Ground Up

Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

The 2008 global financial crisis — the modern 1929 crash — set off a vicious chain reaction across Europe. By 2010 it had irreparably damaged the foundations of the eurozone, causing the establishment to bend its own rules and commit crimes against logic in order to bail out its banker friends. By 2013 the neoliberal ideology that had legitimised the EU’s oligarchic technocracy had plunged millions into misery, even through the enactment of official policies: socialism for the financiers and harsh austerity for the many. These policies were practised as much by conservatives as by social democrats. By 2015 the surrender of the Syriza government in Greece had divided and disheartened the left, robbing Europe of the short-lived hope that progressives rising up in the streets would alter the balance of power.

Since then, anger has combined with hopelessness to create a vacuum, soon filled by the organised misanthropy of a Nationalist International triumphing across Europe, and making Donald Trump a very happy man. Against the background of an establishment that increasingly resembles the unhappy Weimar Republic, and of the recalcitrant racists produced by the crisis’s deflationary forces, the European Union is fragmenting. With Angela Merkel on the way out and Emmanuel Macron’s European agenda dead on arrival, the European election in May could prove the last chance progressives have to make a difference at a pan-European level.

Since it was created in 2016, DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) has resolved to make the most of this opportunity. First we prepared our programme, the New Deal for Europe. Then we invited other movements and parties to help develop it and to create, together, our European Spring — the first transnational list pursuing a common policy agenda across Europe. Before discussing this project, the left must address two issues dividing and weakening progressives across Europe: borders and the EU.

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