Eric Toussaint initiated the following text. Information about the author: http://www.cadtm.org/The-Challenges-of-the-Left-in-the Toussaint is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. He is the author of Bankocracy (2015); See his bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ric_Toussaint He co-authored with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. Since the 4th April 2015 he is the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt.
Find the full text as well as a list of signatures by country attached.
Ten Proposals to Beat the European Union
This collective text initiated by Eric Toussaint, of the CADTM campaign for the abolition of the debt of the global South has been collectively discussed and co-signed by personalities and activists from more than 15 European countries representing a wide range of forces of the radical and anticapitalist Left: Podemos and Izquierda Unida in Spain, the Portuguese Left Bloc, the Left Party, the NPA and Ensemble in France, Popular Unity and Antarsya in Greece, the radical Danish left and activists from countries such as Cyprus, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary. It is signed by MEPs from different parties and countries, by the head of finance of the City of Madrid, by the former president of the Greek Parliament, by a series of members of the Commission For the truth on the Greek debt. All the signatories are involved in the ongoing discussions about a “plan B” for Europe.
The aim of this text is to analyze the balance of power in the European Union and elaborate a series of radical but necessary proposals against austerity, neoliberal policies and for an alternative to the existing form of European integration.
The ten proposals put forward in this text are the outcome of an analysis of the situation in Europe since 2010. […]
To avoid what we saw in Greece in 2015, here are ten proposals for social mobilization and actions to be taken immediately and simultaneously by any government that is truly operating in the interests of the people.
1. A left-wing government must disobey the European Commission in a very transparent manner and in line with its prior commitments.
The party or coalition of parties (the example of Spain comes to mind) that claim to govern should from the outset refuse to conform to austerity measures, and pledge to refuse measures aiming solely at balancing the budget.[…] Therefore, the first step is to begin disobeying in a clear and determined way. The Greek capitulation has shown us why we must shed the illusion that the EC and other European governments respect the popular mandate. This illusion can only lead to disaster. We must disobey.
2. Call for popular mobilization both at the national and the European level.
3. Launch a debt audit with citizens’ participation.
4. Establish control of capital flows.
We must clarify what this means. It does not mean that people cannot transfer a few hundred euros abroad. Obviously international financial transactions would be allowed up to a certain amount. On the other hand, it is important to enforce strict control over capital flows beyond a certain threshold.
5. Socialize the financial sector and the energy sector.
Socializing the financial sector does not merely mean developing a public banking hub. It implies decreeing a public monopoly on the financial sector, i.e. the banks, building societies and insurance companies. That is, a socialization of the financial sector under citizen control; turning the financial sector into a public service. Of course, socializing the energy sector will also be a priority during the ecological transition. Ecological transition cannot take place without a public monopoly over the energy sector, both in terms of production and distribution.
6. Create a complementary, non-convertible currency and defend the right to leave the eurozone.
Whether it is a case of exiting the eurozone or remaining in it, it is necessary to create a non-convertible complementary currency. In other words, a currency that is used locally, for exchanges within the country — for example, for paying increased pensions, salary increases for civil servants, taxes, public services, etc. The use of a complementary currency enables partial relief from the dictatorship of the euro and the European Central Bank.
Of course, we cannot avoid the debate on the eurozone. In several countries, exiting the eurozone is an option that must be defended by political parties, trade unions, and other social movements. Several eurozone countries will not be able to truly break away from austerity and launch an ecosocialist transition without leaving the eurozone. A redistributive monetary reform, or the levying of a special progressive tax on incomes above €200,000, should be implemented in the case of an exit. That proposal would apply only to cash assets, and not to personal property (principal residence, etc.).
By applying a progressive exchange rate when moving from the euro to the new currency, the amount of cash in the hands of the wealthiest 1 percent would be reduced and wealth redistributed to households.
7. Implement radical tax reform.
Remove VAT on basic consumer goods and services, such as food, electricity, and water (up to a certain level of consumption per individual), as well as other basic utilities. On the other hand, increase VAT on luxury goods and services, etc. We also need to increase the taxes on corporate profits and incomes above a certain level — in other words, a progressive tax on income, wealth, and luxury residences. The reform of taxation must produce immediate effects: a very significant decrease in indirect and direct taxes for the majority of the population and a very significant increase for the wealthiest 10 percent and for major corporations. Also, strict new measures will be taken against fraud and tax evasion.
8. Deprivatize — “buy back” — privatized companies for a symbolic euro.
9. Implement a broad emergency plan for creating socially useful jobs and for economic justice.
Reduce working hours with no reduction in wages. Repeal antisocial laws and adopt laws to remedy the situation of abusive mortgage debt; […]
10. Initiate a genuine constituent process.
This does not imply constitutional changes within the framework of the existing parliamentary institutions. It involves dissolving the parliament and electing a constituent assembly by direct vote.