THE HSBC, one of the world’s major banks, has published a paper called ‘European Meltdown’ in the wake of the Dutch and French votes against the EU Constitution and the emergence of calls in Italy and Germany, in particular, for the restoration of the old currencies.
The bank is now being forced by events to think, and even predict, the unthinkable for the ruling classes of Europe.
The HSBC’s paper states that monetary union has been a disaster for Germany, Italy and Holland which would all be better off if they ditched the single currency, along with the single interest rate, and returned to their old currencies.
The paper blamed the single interest rate for driving the German economy into recession, causing a boom and then a bust in Holland and destroying Italy as an exporting power, while leading to ‘exorbitant’ wage demands.
It said that the benefits of quitting the euro were now so significant that the costs and benefits of ‘exiting from the euro’ were now being calculated in these countries, with Italy the most likely candidate for the first member of the EU to quit the single currency.
The HSBC report testifies to the correctness of the Marxist position that the bourgeoisie cannot transform the extraordinarily sharp contradiction between the requirements of the productive forces to expand and develop, and the huge barrier of the capitalist nation state which holds them back.
Hitler sought to unite bourgeois Europe through wars of conquest. This failed, not because of bourgeois opposition, but because of the determination of the Russian workers not to provide the European capitalists with their ‘living space’, and because the Soviet planned economy proved its superiority to capitalism by producing all of the required weaponry to defeat the fascists despite the enormously rapid advances of the German and satellite armies.
The post 1945 bourgeois leaders of Europe sought to unite Europe from above, through a series of diktats from the Brussels Commission.
This has come unstuck, not just on the different national bourgeois interests, but on the determination of the European workers to halt the mass privatisations of state-owned industries and to stop the attempts to add long hours to the working week.
The French and Dutch workers voted against the EU Constitution because of their hatred for privatisation and a law of the jungle capitalism.
The German and Italian workers are now battling against vicious attacks on their jobs, pay, pensions, health and unemployment benefits.
They are determined that a united bourgeois Europe, a super-imperialism that could challenge the United States bosses, will not be built on their bones.
The break-up of the EU is taking the form of demands for a return to the old currencies, which right wing movements such as the Northern League are demanding from within the Berlusconi government.
In form, there seems to be a return to the ‘old nationalism’. The content however, is the determination of the working class to defend all of its gains and advance to a Socialist Europe.
This means that the problems of the European workers will not be resolved by a return to the old currencies, or by ‘reforming’ the EU by trying to change the nature of the European bourgeoisie.
These problems will only be resolved through socialist revolutions in all of the major European countries, that will expropriate the bourgeoisie and smash its state apparatus, in order to advance to a Socialist United States of Europe.
This will create a colossal development of the productive forces, through bringing in a nationalised and planned economy throughout Europe, where production will be planned to satisfy people’s needs and not to create a class of super-billionaire capitalists.
A Socialist United States of Europe in alliance with the countries of Africa and the Middle East will really make poverty history and bring humanity to the brink of world socialism.