GERMAN Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble has said Standard & Poor’s (S&P) threat to downgrade all eurozone countries, and saddle them with ruinous interest charges for their multi-billion borrowings, is the ‘best possible incentive’ ahead of Friday’s summit, where German Chancellor Merkel with her French lieutenant Sarkozy in uneasy tow, will be putting the states of the eurozone under Prusso-German discipline.
Germany is to crack the whip, but its lack of confidence in the EU emerging out of the financial collapse is evidenced by Merkel’s refusal to accept the European Central Bank becoming the lender of last resort, or agree to the issuing of Eurobonds.
The German collective memory of the consequences of the financial collapse under the Weimar Republic, when the Deutschmark became the preferred choice of wallpaper, is still far too strong for these risky steps to be taken, risking revolution at home.
Germany and France are taking a gamble, with the ratings agency threatening the eurozone with collective doom if they should falter and administer the whip in less of a manner than the agency expects.
Meanwhile in Italy, Greece and Ireland special measures and budgets are being pushed through to pauperise the working class and the middle class to try to stave off a new banking collapse that would be the end of the euro.
However, these measures will have to be forced through using the full power of the state. National democratic traditions are being dumped in favour of dictatorship by mainly unelected governments that will very quickly become reviled as Quislings. For the German bourgeoisie there is no alternative but to wave the big stick over the EU. It is to be a variation of the Deutschland Uber Alles theme, with the weaker French bourgeoisie seeking its share of any spoils.
The Merkel-Sarkozy axis is insisting that all 17 eurozone states must have their budgets policed and face big sanctions if they run up deficits, and that a new EU treaty must be completed by March, agreed by all 27 states of the EU, to ensure such a course is taken, and that the crisis is dealt with. This will entail not just marching over the bones of European bourgeois democracy, but waging a civil war throughout Europe to liquidate all of the gains of the European workers since the end of the Second World War.
Since EU fiscal union will be a knife at the throat of the City of London, the Merkel-Sarkozy axis is also aimed at ending the power of the British bourgeoisie in Europe, a task previously attempted by Napoleon and Hitler.
This is why the Tory Party has already begun to split, with a second front opened up by newspapers like the Daily Telegraph which is now abusing PM Cameron on a daily basis and, instead, is lauding their hero, the hammer of the poor and those on benefits, the failed Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.
There is no doubt that the drive for a new revised EU treaty by March will split the coalition and split the Tory Party, with the issue of a UK referendum providing the knife.
It will realign bourgeois politics in the UK, and also expose the bourgeois fault lines inside the Labour Party.
In this situation of a major international crisis of capitalism, both economic and political, the British working class will have to take over the old slogan of the Irish nationalists that ‘England’s difficulties are Ireland’s opportunities’.
The working class in the UK must take advantage of the serious divisions that are emerging amongst the bourgeoisie and its political lackeys over the way forward, to bring down whatever unelected crisis government that the bourgeoisie seeks to replace the coalition with, and replace it with a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers and set about building socialism.
Since this struggle is going to be mirrored all over the EU, the working class throughout Europe will be in the same trench, seeking to replace capitalism with socialism. This struggle will in fact be to replace the broken EU with the Socialist United States of Europe.