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The Lisbon Treaty and the triumph of technocracy

category national | eu | feature author Saturday July 11, 2009 19:18author by Steve McGiffen - www.spectrezine.orgauthor email spmcgiffen at yahoo dot co dot uk Report this post to the editors

An exclusive article for Indymedia.ie

featured image
Steve McGiffen, Assistant Professor of International Relations

Steve McGiffen is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris. He is editor of the radical left website Spectre [www.spectrezine.org] and, with Kartika Liotard, MEP, the author of Poisoned Spring: The EU and Water Privatisation (Pluto Press, 2009). Steve can be contacted at spmcgiffen [@] yahoo.co.uk

The Lisbon Treaty is the latest step in a process which, though its conception can arguably be traced to the Treaty of Rome itself, was born at Maastricht. This process is one of removing what is truly of fundamental importance to capitalism – principally, the way in which it manages its economy – from the realm of an at least partially democratised politics.

This is, moreover, not an exclusively European process, but one which is global. As parliamentary institutions have spread following the collapse of authoritarian systems of 'left' and right, they have simultaneously been deprived of a range of powers once considered proper to them.

The nationalist right makes much of the transfer of powers from national to transnational institutions, from Dublin or London to Brussels, for example. Not sharing their 'patriotic' fantasies, I am far more concerned by the transfer of powers from institutions whose nature makes them responsive to popular sentiment, to those essentially immune to such pressures. Not only the European Union, but other regional bodies such as the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, and international institutions like the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund, have now narrowed policy choices available to national governments and parliaments to such an extent that 'legitimate' democratic pressure can no longer be brought to bear on the most important areas of policy.

This does not, as yet, represent the complete abolition of democracy, whose continued existence, albeit in shadow form, retains a powerful propaganda function. We are still able to decide for ourselves, as peoples, whether we want legalised abortion, a smoking ban, gay marriage, identity cards and even, as things stand, a socialised system of health care. Yet these issues, though important in themselves, are either subordinate to the economic questions now effectively removed from politics, or not truly controversial within the realm of capital itself. Whether a country has legal abortion or not has few implications for capitalism, which has shown itself capable of adapting to progress towards gender equality. Similarly with the issue of gay marriage. Right-wing views on such matters are mere atavisms, of no fundamental importance to the maintenance of this hyperexploitative system. What really counts is the economy, and the creation and maintenance of conduits for the transfer of public wealth into private hands. Of the issues I mention above, the one which bears most heavily upon this is the question of socialised medicine, which is why the European Commission has, with measures such as the directive on the application of patients' rights in to cross-border healthcare, begun what will become a steady, erosive assault on this cornerstone of a civilised, humane and efficient society.

No issue is immune from removal from the democratised realm in which elected national governments answerable to elected national parliaments continue to exercise real decision-making powers. The Lisbon Treaty's extension of qualified majority voting into several new policy areas, and the concomitant abolition of the national veto in those areas, represent an attempt to narrow the policy choices available to elected politicians still further.

Capitalism faces what may be its greatest ever crisis, one which has been evident to it since the oil shocks of the 1970s. In order to extricate itself from this crisis it needs to increase the rate at which it extracts surplus value from labour. There is no other way, and everything must be subordinated to this. All policy areas must be scrutinised through the lens of corporate capital's economic imperatives. The war on terrorism, another part of the process of undermining the powers of democratically elected institutions, is about creating the structures needed to discipline what is certain to become an increasingly rebellious, troublesome population and workforce. The continued pressure to force member states to accept genetically modified organisms is designed to enhance the control of the food supply by major corporations, as hunger is an even more effective disciplinary tool than a police officer's baton or gun. Whatever else the bank crisis may be, it also represents an opportunity to move wealth from the public purse to private pockets. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan likewise. Because any and every aspect of our lives can be turned into an opportunity to profit, any and every aspect of our lives must eventually be removed from the realm of popular democratic decision-making, or even influence. Governments must cut social spending because Brussels tells them they must, just as Tony Blair took his country into an illegal war because God told him to do it. Popular sovereignty was a fad whose time has passed.

The creation of an independent European Central Bank was thus the thin end of the wedge. Politicians, we are told by those who favour this dictatorship of the bankers, are not for the most part economists; they are vulnerable to their short-term need to win elections; they cannot be trusted to put the public interest before career or party. If all of this disqualifies them from making economic decisions, however, they are surely also unfit to decide on other questions. Abortion, gay marriage? Well, they aren't necessarily lawyers, doctors or philosophers, either, so why let them near such issues? GMOs? What does the average politician know of DNA markers or protein structure, or the relationship between genotype and phenotype? Clearly, if politicians, and by implication the people who elect them, can't be trusted to take decisions about economics, they can scarcely be trusted to take decisions on anything at all. And so, in place of democracy, we now have a developing technocracy, in which decisions of importance are increasingly removed from the elected and given to the appointed.

The European Union's bogus internationalism makes for effective propaganda. I concentrate my own oppositional activity on the EU simply because it is the most powerful distillation of bourgeois hegemony in my part of the world. Its function and philosophy are indistinguishable from other transnational instruments of technocratic rule such as the WTO and IMF. I am equally opposed to these international bodies, yet in presenting my arguments against them I have never once provoked the charge that I am nationalistic, or anti-internationalist. No-one, even their most ardent admirers, has ever to my knowledge tried to romanticise these institutions, to claim that they are responsible for decades of peace, or that they represent a future in which we will all embrace across boundaries of culture and language. Yet such things are said of the European Union all of the time.

A second 'no' vote would, of course, achieve nothing concrete. Ireland would be reviled, the Irish people insulted, the democratic veil worn by the European establishment once more cast aside, and a way found to continue business as usual. It would, however, represent a tremendous blow on the level of propaganda, and thus an important step in the war of position we are obliged to fight, now that power is so diffuse, now that there are no more Winter Palaces to storm. Two centuries of progress towards politically and socially democratic societies are being reversed. At the very least, a no vote would mean that this is not happening with our acquiescence. At best, it might represent the beginnings of an effective progressive movement against this ongoing subversion of everything which underlies the relatively egalitarian prosperity and relatively open societies which have increasingly characterised western Europe since the defeat, in the ruins of Berlin in 1945, of the last attempt to destroy democracy and impose a bogus Union on its peoples.

Steve McGiffen is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris. He is editor of the radical left website Spectre [www.spectrezine.org] and, with Kartika Liotard, MEP, the author of Poisoned Spring: The EU and Water Privatisation (Pluto Press, 2009). Steve can be contacted at spmcgiffen [@] yahoo.co.uk

Related Link: http://www.spectrezine.org
author by Elsiepublication date Sat Jul 11, 2009 20:42Report this post to the editors

Here's a copy of a letter from Jim Higgins, MEP (Fine Gael) stating that Anti-Lisbon treaty campaigners are a "motley crew" with "spurious" arguments, citing specifically Declan Ganley and Sinn Féin.

Anti-Lisbon Campaigners: "motley crew" with "spurious arguments"
Anti-Lisbon Campaigners: "motley crew" with "spurious arguments"

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:13Report this post to the editors

Jim Higgins should be asked his opinion on the Corrib Gas scandal and on private mercenary armies operating in his own back yard?
Also has he published his expenses yet?
Fine Gail had a golden opportunity to nail Fianna Fail corruption over the corrib issue but chose not to , WHY?
This man and his coleagues have a lot to hide. Just like Fianna Fail.

author by Vpublication date Sun Jul 12, 2009 13:24Report this post to the editors

Jim Higgins M.E.P. is just one of the many "Pied Pipers" referred to at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86545#comment223456

He (and his kind) will benefit from a "yes" vote, and that's ALL that he (and they) care about.

Don't be fooled by them.

And don't forget that he (and his kind) only have one vote each, while the rest of the voters have hundreds of thousands more votes than they do, which hopefully the vast majority of them wil use to say "no": again!!

author by Etainpublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:58Report this post to the editors

As a person who who has looked at it fairly closely, it seems obvious (to me) that the structure of the European Union favours tyranny over democracy, and that the Lisbon Treaty is designed to slyly strengthen the basically tyrannous nature of the overall organisation.

The age old "Separation of Powers Doctrine" that can be traced back to ancient Greece, and which has long been society's main protector of genuine democracy, appears to me to be virtually absent (in practice) in the European Union structure.

Though the "shadow" of democracy is present in European Union activities, as has been stated above (in the main part of this article), it seems to me that it is only there because it is necessary for "propaganda" purposes, and for fooling gullible voters into voting for a "wolf in sheep's clothing".

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 19:01Report this post to the editors

The last contribution is so self evidently silly that one hardly knows where to begin. Obviously the writer has never tried to live in a real tyranny – if he/she had they would know that the EU States are the very opposite of tyranny – indeed the community was born out of the desire to get as far away as possible from tyranny. Part of the secret of the economic success of the community is the realisation that pooling a little sovereignty and agreeing binding common rules is a good thing. The nationalistic and tyrannical insistence on total territorial sovereignty is an outdated idea that far seeing minds as far back as the 1920’s realised were enslaving and pauperising people not serving them.

The separation of powers doctrine evolved in England not in ancient Greece and is alive and kicking in the EU if you bother to read up on it or observe it. It has an executive, a legislature and a judiciary which have defined powers as to the member states vis a vis the member states.

Going on about shadow democracy and the like is just common or garden conspiracy stuff that not even argued for – just states. Debate on the Lisbon Treaty yes but let it be fact based.

author by Etainpublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 19:14Report this post to the editors

Begin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers -- which clearly states:

"The separation of powers, also known as trias politica, is a model for the governance of democratic states. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the uncodified Constitution of the Roman Republic."

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 23:27Report this post to the editors

I don't agree with the analysis or that it invalidates my point. I do agree that the antecedents of the system were apparent principally in the Roman Republic mainly with hindsight. It was not fully apparent or described by Montesquieu until post 1688 England. In any case the system is fully visible and is a daily reality in the EU and the Lisbon Treaty reinforces it rather than undermines it. I note you avoid addressing the main points I made. The equation of the EU with tyranny is baseless. It was to avoid tyranny, war and the mutual suspicion caused by an excessive focus on nationalism to the detriment of the partnership of neighbours that the community was begun and its economic and political achievements were the reasons for its continued successes and evolution.

author by Etainpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 08:59Report this post to the editors

"The equation of the EU with tyranny is baseless." -- an earlier statement made by you.

When making such statements, I wonder if you have given any consideration at all to the views of people like Vladimir Bukovsky? -- more on him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Bukovsky.

The following two excerpts are from a speech Mr Bukovsky made during a visit to Brussels in February, 2006: 

"It is no accident that the European Parliament, for example, reminds me of the Supreme Soviet. It looks like the Supreme Soviet because it was designed like it. Similarly, when you look at the European Commission it looks like the Politburo. I mean it does so exactly, except for the fact that the Commission now has 25 members and the Politburo usually had 13 or 15 members. Apart from that they are exactly the same, unaccountable to anyone, not directly elected by anyone at all. When you look into all this bizarre activity of the European Union with its 80,000 pages of regulations it looks like Gosplan. We used to have an organisation which was planning everything in the economy, to the last nut and bolt, five years in advance. Exactly the same thing is happening in the EU. When you look at the type of EU corruption, it is exactly the Soviet type of corruption, going from top to bottom rather than going from bottom to top."

"If you go through all the structures and features of this emerging European monster you will notice that it more and more resembles the Soviet Union. Of course, it is a milder version of the Soviet Union. Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that it has a Gulag. It has no KGB – not yet – but I am very carefully watching such structures as Europol for example. That really worries me a lot because this organisation will probably have powers bigger than those of the KGB. They will have diplomatic immunity."

More on the "Warnings from Vladimir Bukovsky" subject (regarding EU Dictatorship) can be found via the following link:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Warnings+from+Vlad...&aqi=

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 14:18Report this post to the editors

I as a senior citizen have grown extremely tired of hearing despots claiming to be democrats and friends of the people, It is very hard to seperate lies from truth. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.
The refusal to honour Irelands democratic vote is an action that should warn people of the insidious forces behind this treaty.
The refusal to condemn Israel for the murderous genocide in Gaza is another.
Why would the former colonising countries Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and Spain want to go to war when they can get what they want by stealth.

Fianna Fails use of the French multinational company VIOLIA to controll water and sewerage schemes and the LUAS trams in Ireland is an example of what the EU has in store for us. This company is contracted to the Iraeli's to run a tram system in the occupied palastinian teritory in Gaza.
When we entered the EU we sacrificed one of our major resources ( our fishing rights)and we were promised all sorts of goodies in return, very few of which materialised.
Our farmers are totally under controll of the EU through dependance on Eu subsidies and grants that can be withdrawn at any time.

Now we are told that if we don't vote yes this time our position as members of the EU will be compromised. IN other words the EU is not going to accept a democratic decision by Ireland without administering punishment for our audacity for not doing what they want.
People can post on this site and claim to be lefties or whatever but that does not mean that they are, we can only judge by their points of view.

IF YOU DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE VOTING FOR THEN VOTE NO OR ABSTAIN.

author by Roger Cole - Peace & Neutrality Alliancepublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 14:43author email pana at eircom dot netReport this post to the editors

I would like to take up the debate with "Pro-Lisbon Lefty".

The key point is that last year after a long debate a referendum was held on the Lisbon Treaty and the people voted no. The political and media forces that dominate our society did not accept the will of the Irish people and are forcing them to vote on exactly the same treaty in contravention of Article six of the Irish Constitution. They are doing so after abolishing the National Forum on Europe which held public debates on the treaty throughout the country for the simple reason that they lost those debates while at the same time they are ignoring the Irish Supreme Court McKenna Judgement and seking to undermine the Irish Supreme Court Coughlan Judgement.
The issue therefore is it a left wing value to reject the democrat decision of the Irish people? In fact there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that if the decision was made on a 32 county basis like the vote on the Good Friday Agreement the no vote would have been even higher. The treaty is 96% the same as the EU Constitution which was rejected by the French and Dutch people and if the rest of the people in the other EU states had a right to vote, they too would vote no. Of course there are pleny of people on the "left" who think they are much more intelligent than ordinary people and in fact as a Labour Party member I talk to them all the time. What defines them is their sense of their own superiority not to mention that they have been like David Begg put on the Board of the Central Bank etc so they make money out being superior. They ignore and despise ordinary people and then when the same people they despise turn to the BNP and other right win parties they get all upset and morally superior. The absolute reality is that no person on the "left" should reject the democratic will of the people. By rejecting the will of the people they are not Left wing. There are only a few weeks to go before the vote on the 2nd of October. The battle lines are between those who believe in democracy and those who do not. With all their power and money and with fear massive and widespread as a consequence of the yes sides commitment to supporting imperialist wars and horrific neo-liberal economic policies, I for one will not be surprised or shocked of they win. But they always underestimate the will and power and deeply rooted commitment to Irish Democracy, Irish Independence and Irish Neutrality after 800 plus years that resides with the people. A second victory is therfore in my opinion a real option If the Irish people do vote no then they will become to most popular people in Europe and will be cheered to the rafters.

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by Pete.publication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 16:07Report this post to the editors

"If you go through all the structures and features of this emerging European monster you will notice that it more and more resembles the Soviet Union."

You can say that about ANY bureaucracy...it is playing games with words.

ALL bureaucracies look the same at a superficial level.

People FLED FROM the Soviet Union and its slave colonies.

Often shot in the back for doing so.

People FLEE TO the European Union.

That is the difference between a tyranny and the the EU.

The EU is most successful international organisation ever conceived.

Its inhabitants tend to be wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of anybody who lived in Europe just a few generations ago.

How QUICKLY the Irish forget the BILLIONS of European money we received which dragged us out of poverty... within living memory.
.

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 20:16Report this post to the editors

My view of Bukovsky is that he is quite wrong. He was hardly in the west a few weeks in the 1970s when he began his fault finding and I believe him to have been well got by rightist eurosceptic elements in Britain whom he has mixed with. I believe he is either an intellectual malcontent of some sort or that he was somewhat unhinged by the horrors he experienced in the USSR. I don’t believe his formation allows for great validity to be attached to his judgement in these matters. In any case he is a long standing resident of the UK and is coming at this from a UK centric perspective which is the not the right one for Ireland. On the EU issue the interests of the UK and Ireland are divergent.

As regards Roger Cole’s points there is nothing whatever elitist abut being left wing. My position is a left wing one and I see the development of the EU as enhancing democracy and socialism rather than threatening it. I believe the prosperity of the Irish economy which will provide the funds we want to spend on social services and the like is best guaranteed by full participation in the EU project. A second No vote may not formally put Ireland out of the EU at least initially but it would have zilch influence compared to what it used to have. It is very hard to get this idea across to someone who has no experience of diplomacy or international negotiations in any field but it is valid nonetheless. In this country there is no one right or left among the ministers who have ever represented Ireland at the Council who is now a eurosceptic nor is there among the ranks or former diplomats or officials or even in the ranks of the IFA despite the latter’s play acting last time around.

It is precisely because the consequences are so profound of a second No for Ireland that the vote is being re-run. The last vote was respected but the political class including the Labour Party know how important this is for us. Let it be put a second time to make sure Ireland really still says No. It’s not good to have a re-run but it’s because it’s so important it has to be done. The stakes could not be higher. Ireland would be throwing its economic future away if it did this and would be going back to the insularity and economic and social feebleness of past decades if we go down this road.

author by Roger Cole - PANApublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 00:20author email pana at eircom dot netReport this post to the editors

In response to "lefty2.

The democratic vote of the Irish people in the Republic of Ireland was not respected. If it had been respected they would not be forced to vote again on exactly the same treaty. My core point remains. A person who does not respect the democratic will of the people after it has been expressed in a democratic referendum is by definition not "left wing".

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by Etainpublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 08:08Report this post to the editors

I would argue that any person (or any group of people) who refuses to respect (and accept) the democratic will of the people of the Republic of Ireland, as expressed last year in connection with the Lisbon Treaty Referendum held in the Republic of Ireland, is not a democrat.

I would further argue that any person (or any group of people) who refuses to accept last year's democratic decision, by demanding re-runs of the Lisbon Treaty referendum election until they get the particular type of result they want, is a tyrant at heart: and that there is no amount of verbal gymnastics which will alter that basic fact.

In fact, and as far as I'm concerned at least, the verbal gymnastics make things much, much worse, because their sole purpose (as I see things) is deception.

author by Pete.publication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 08:13Report this post to the editors

"The separation of powers, also known as trias politica, is a model for the governance of democratic states. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the uncodified Constitution of the Roman Republic."

Huh.

Rome was a highly militaristic imperialist dictatorship.

"Pax Romana" meant keeping the colonies down by brutal military force.

The great Celtic leader Boudica comes to mind:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica

Uniquely in European history,since even before the Romans, this is NOW true:

No two Western European armies have clashed with each other in living memory.

That is saying something.

Thanks to the EU.

That ALONE means it gets my support.

.

author by Etainpublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:57Report this post to the editors

To Pete @ Wed Jul 15, 2009 08:13

The "Separation of Powers" safeguard against tyranny only works if it is put into practice, and then only for the duration of the period that it remains in use.

If, among the governments of the world who have it built into their constitutions in a major way (which includes the Republic of Ireland), the "Separation of Powers" principle gets cast to one side for any reason, such as rampant corruption in the case of the overall Government of ancient Rome for example, then it is simply not there to provide any protection (by definition), and decent and decline into tyranny and lawlessness -- often fraudulently and cunningly disguised verbally as "democracy and the rule of law" by the tyrants involved -- is the usual result.

In the case of the European Union structure, and as I have stated earlier, the "Separation of Powers" mechanism appears to me to be virtually absent (in practice) from the basic structure (by design); and, if it is not part of the basic structure in the first place (to any significant extent), then how can it ever sensibly be expected to prevent tyranny in the European Union?

"No two Western European armies have clashed with each other in living memory."

That's true since World War 2 perhaps (which is well within living memory incidentally).

However, that does not mean that some or all of those "standing armies" who are largely idle at the present time are not itching for a really good fight, or, that they won't join forces (with the help of the Lisbon Treaty) to get involved in some huge combined military conflict "down the road": such as, for example, an all-out Christian versus Muslim military confrontation for instance; which, with due regard for the fact that Pakistan (a Muslim state) is known to have nuclear weapons, could conceivably leave billions dead -- were such a war ever to get started (as some people perhaps might love to see happen). This will be my main reason for voting "NO" to Round 2 of the Lisbon Treaty Referendum, and to Round 3, Round 4, ..., Round 24, ..., -- or whatever number of reiterations we have to endure.

author by Platterspublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:28Report this post to the editors

If you want to get people like me to vote yes, you did not do a good job in your last post. The fact is that the no vote has not been respected and your ascertain that it was is adding to that disrespect. And again more disrespect when you use the same old argument about throwing our economic future away if we vote no.

Please argue your points on the merits of the treaty, because your tactic of scaremongering is adding to the disrespect.

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 15:39Report this post to the editors

one of the many points that has not been explained to the Irish people is that there already is an EU army linked to NATO, which includes the Americans.http://www.eurocorps.org .
If the yes side can not provide honest factual information on what the EU intentions are on all the aspects of the Lisbon treaty in a plain and understandable way , how will you justify your deciept when your fellow citizens are conscripted to fight a war on behalf of the larger members? The larger members all have an economic dependency on the arms industry and ther histories show that they are not averse to getting what they want what ever it takes to do it.
We have already witnessed a war instigated by our fellow nieghbour Britain and the Americans in Iraq and Afganistan, with another on the menu for Pakistan or South Korea, not fogetting Iran.Also the murder of defenceless palastinian families in the most horrific way by the Israelis, without sanctions from the EU.
AND WE ARE EXPECTED TO TRUST THESE PEOPLE
VOTE NO AND NO AGAIN , DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR LIES.

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 17:44Report this post to the editors

It is not disregarding the last vote re run the poll. The poll was respected in that the treaty was not ratified. The great majority of opinion in the Oireachtas is that this issue is so important that it must be re run at least one more time. Its not scaremongering or a exaggeration to say otherwise we are undermining ourselves enormously.

It is doubtful in any case of a particular referendum can be regarded as the last word on something unlike an election where offices are filled by the poll. People can be manipulated at least once which is a reason why other states don’t do referenda. An example is the way the Murdoch press and Daily Mail took a stridently anti Treaty line last time reflecting well the anti treaty sentiments of their owners. Too much attention was paid to the views on one businessman McAvady and one sports pundit Mr. Dunphy. Also we had Ganley appear from nowhere with a huge budget. Now he is revealed as a momentary thing and his movement has collapsed into a shambles. It was Libertas that was the decisive factor last time in my view not SF or Youth Defence or PANA. It would be tragic if the issue of the Irish membership were to be settled for ever on the basis of the 2008 vote when it was the machinations of a strange right wing business man which swung the vote then. That would be to capitulate to Libertas. Besides even in a year the circumstances have changed greatly in a number of respects and this makes a rethink timely.

I am not seeking to persuade all diehards to vote yes - they won't. All I am putting is that there is an alternative and mainstream social democratic view - one supported by Michael D Higgins and Ivana Backik who are hardly pro American neocons. Otherwise people reading this site may get the impression that the Irish left is anti treaty which it is not. It is groups like the IRSP/INLA and Eirgi which are anti Treaty and these are unrepresentative compared to the Labour Party for example.

author by Roger Cole - PANApublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 18:47Report this post to the editors

Pro-Lisbon Lefty continues to refuse to accept the democratic will of the Irish people. If people do not accept the democratic will of the people as expressed in a referendum the are not left wing.

There is too long a history of people who think that they are so much more intelligent than ordinary people and who regard themselves as left wing such as Pro-Lisbon Lefty. What they really believe is that there should be no referendums at all. Certainly the vast majority of social democrats refused to agree to hold referendums in their own country, the British Labour Party being the obvious example.

author by pucapublication date Wed Jul 15, 2009 18:47Report this post to the editors

Lefty, there is nothing legitimate or democratic about the bosses (political or otherwise) deciding that the electorate got it wrong and need another chance to get it right. FF could say the very same thing if they lose the next election and call out the army. And those who feel FF should be in power might agree with them because in this particular instance the outcome is more important than the process or principle. When the ruling class over ride the clearly stated will of the people, its properly called a coup d'etat. And youre not the first proposing to be a leftist who has an ingrained superiority complex. You should check that at the gates of the gulag.

But todays news that Blair will definitely run for president of the EU 'once' the Irish approve lisbon should remind us all how totally fuc*ed Europe will be once the lisbonites get their way. If its approved there will be some literary quality to our first president being a lying scumbag war criminal.

author by pucapublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 00:28Report this post to the editors

A simple question then, if the Irish had voted yes to Lisbon would there be another referendum?

You ask if the referendum should be the last word on an issue and the answer which we learn from a cursory knowledge of constitutional history is no. There have been several referendums on the issue of abortion/information/travel etc, in each case the question being distinct from those previously presented. But a referendum on a particular treaty which people reject has no need to be run again. Except of course if those who lose are in power and in a position to run it again and again looking for the result they want. That is the tyranny of minorities. It amazes me that you state that referenda can be manipulated (eh its called democracy and it is in a constant state of manipulation by various vested and powerful interests) and then you promote the idea of running it again to get the right answer. That would be the definition of manipulation. Instead of focusing on bending the will of people perhaps your energies should be put into figuring out how the EU can evolve without concentrating power into ever decreasing circles of influence. You betray your elitist political ideas by arguing that those who opposed the treaty are somehow illegitimate because they are not the government and by the view that voters are basically unreliable (they voted for Hitler). Your ideas are not left, they are bourgeois.

And the anti war hard left...youre tripping. A huge majority of the population are anti war and anti Blair. He is detested as a sleazy tridentine reptile.

author by Roger Cole - PANApublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 00:31author email pana at eircom dot netReport this post to the editors

Pro-Lisbon Lefty continually says he respects the will of the people. He does not. He agrees that they should be forced to vote again on exactly the same treaty they rejected a little over a year ago. He does so in the context of the decision of the government to abolish the National Forum on Europe because it organised public debates on the Lisbon Treaty throughout the country and at those debates it was clear that the advocates of the treaty lost the arguments. I would recommend that he reads article six of our Constitution which clearly states that:
"All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the state and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good."
One therefore wonders just exactly what part of the word "final" does "lefty" not understand?
Lefty is however right on one point. PANA does not represent the people. But then PANA never , ever claimed to represent the people. It is only an alliance of groups and individuals that advocates that Ireland should have its own independent foreign policy, that neutrality should be restored as a key component of that policy, which should be pursued primarily through a reformed United Nations.
I would also have to say that lefty clearly mixes in differnt circles than I do. Blair was a great supporter of Bush's imperial war on Iraq and I had understood most members of the left even those in the social democratic wing of the Labour Party or otherwise did not support that war. That "lefty" has such a high regard for Blair comes as no surprise and ony provides extra confirmation that "lefty" is not left wing.
I have made my point now enough times, so its time to move on.

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by We the Peoplepublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 01:29Report this post to the editors

The real wording of Article 6 and which is more powerful than the diluted version reads as ....

'It is from the People, under God, that every power of rule, both legislation and fulfillment and judgment, , comes and it is the People who have the right to appoint the rulers of the State, and it is up to / rests with the People finally to settle every question regarding the policies of the Nation in accordance with what is necessary for the welfare of the People'.

Phrases like 'common good' does not take on board the rights of the individual. We are led to believe that the above phrase is better than the 'welfare of the People'. This is false. Hence ,the unavailability of the original text draft for the People to read up on , especially active activists like ourselves.

Politicians are elected into office to govern , not into power to rule.

The People hold the Power through the Constitution which prevents them (ALLEGED AUTHORITY) from acting in an ultra vires manner.

It Lisbon / EU Constitution is ratified ,our Constitution is overruled.

Related Link: http://www.wethepeople.ie
author by Topperpublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:44Report this post to the editors

"It is groups like the IRSP/INLA and Eirgi which are anti Treaty and these are unrepresentative compared to the Labour Party for example."

This is just pathetic - the spectrum of people who oppose the Lisbon Treaty includes Sinn Fein, the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance, the Workers and Unemployed Action Group (the last three groups now have more councillors than the Green Party), the UNITE trade union, and members of the Labour and Green parties - but you pretend to believe that the only ones who oppose it are the IRSP (who have an armed wing with a murky record) and Eirigi (who have been accused by the O'Reilly press of involvement in violence - without evidence I might add). You are clearly trying to mislead people and convince them that the only people who oppose Lisbon are dodgy paramilitary types with no support in Irish society. Not for the first time on this site, you have exposed yourself as a con artist. So far as Lisbon is concerned, the people you denounce are clearly more in touch with public opinion than you.

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 21:36Report this post to the editors

Topper these are all far left groups often micro groups. This very site has posted long pieces from the IRPS and Eirgi against the Treaty. Generally the more violent a groups is or the more violent it’s past the more it will be against the Treaty. This is true also for SF which was violent until not so long ago. The IRA’s European dimension in the past was trying to blow up UK soldiers in their barracks in Germany or shoot them on nights out in Holland.

Art 6 of the constitution invests final power in the people but this could not be construed as preventing the vote being re run. It does not mean that all questions have to be settled finally by one referendum only. The Oireachtas and Courts have delegated authority from the people to make decisions. If the Government decides it’s in the national interest to re run a referendum and the Oireachtas agrees there is nothing unconstitutional whatever about that. Check with a lawyer.

Roger – the people are not being forced to vote again – it is a voluntary poll. The Treaty may be the same but it has to be read in conjunction with its protocols and declarations – that is how the courts would read it and the protocols have legal force. These have been changed. Again the people being final arbiters does not mean that the issue cannot be re visited. That is to wilfully distort things. There are plenty of fine lawyers in the Labour Party who would be first to cry foul if such a fundamental breach of the law were to take place. You are plain wrong on this and you don’t have legal back up. You have arrived at an interpretation to fit your political stance. You are right in saying that PANA does not represent the people but the Government and the Oireachtas whom you decry so much do and they have lawful authority to re run to poll if they see fit. You are trying to somehow argue that the people are being undermined by those who elected them and that you are somehow standing up for them. You have no basis in fact or law for this stance which is in fact pretentious and self regarding stuff from a very small micro pressure group.

Blair was very much engaged in Irish affairs during his time in office and he was very well received when he addressed the joint houses here. That is the other side of the Blair coin which is worth saying.

Pucca asks “A simple question then, if the Irish had voted yes to Lisbon would there be another referendum?” No because then the Treaty would have been ratified at all stages at national level and there would have been no conflict between the Government’s view and the outcome of the referendum. But if some material changes had taken place the government could have declined to ratify even if the poll had said yes! The crucial point is that the power of initiative in these matters is reserved to the Government under the constitution.

author by Etainpublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:05Report this post to the editors

You say "There are plenty of fine lawyers in the Labour Party who would be first to cry foul if such a fundamental breach of the law were to take place."

As this is your view, I wonder how you would explain all of the problems we seem to be having with legislation (being produced here in the Republic of Ireland) which some people fear is unconstitutional, and which they cannot have checked in practice, even though facilities do exist in theory?

For further information on the string of difficulties in question, please see July 5th 2009 e-mail Dr Anne Jeffers (which was copied to several senior lawyers) at: http://www.humanrightsireland.com/DrAnneJeffers/5July20...l.htm

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 15:15Report this post to the editors

I gave pro lisbon lefty the benifit of the doubt in the belief that he had logical points to make on his wanting the referendum rerun.
A statement like = we are not being forced to vote again- it is a voluntary vote, is either a futile effort at making a joke or the ranting of someone that has lost his reason .
Debating with this person is obviously a waste of time. It is obvious that he has no valid explanation for disrespecting the will of the people.
I would recomend that he joins the Fianna Fail party they also claimed to be left and are experts at twisting reality.

VOTE NO AND NO AGAIN You have been ruled by idiots for long enough

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 21:00Report this post to the editors

Etain,

This is an amendment to the constitution not mere legislation. If it were so unconstitutional as has been argued here by Roger Cole I am sure the President being a constitutional lawyer would refer it to the Supreme Court for a test. Ivana Bacik is also an eminent lawyer and she has not objected to this. Neither has the Attorney General. If it were unconditional to resubmit an issue to a second poll then Nice 2 would have been so as well as the second PR referendum. Precedent favours a rerun.

The kernel of the issue is that it is in no way illegal. It is a political decision to resubmit it and the Government is within its rights to do so. You may not like the political decision

author by Sarahpublication date Sat Jul 18, 2009 09:29Report this post to the editors

Pro Lisbon Lefty-Just to point out that many groups on the No side last time including our own,decided to work from nothing but the text of the Lisbon Treaty and in fact brought it with us canvassing to show people where the passages that we objected to were in black and white. The media and the yes side invented all sorts of things that we were saying about conscription etc but not one of us here in this neck of the woods ever raised either reproductive rights or conscription as issues.

Sure I agree that the european elites have decided that this is going through whether we like it or not, and sure I agree that misinformation was flying everywhere, but substantially the problem with a principled opposition to something like the treaty is that you can’t accept parts of it piecemeal.

So if you are opposed as I am, to the increased militarisation,(states shall use ALL means in their power to assist another member state that faces the THREAT of terrorism their territory), the retrospective legitimisation of the European Defence Agency (a glorified lobby group for the arms industry), and the commitment to prioritising competition and deregulation within the EU and in our dealings with third countries - (a more right wing economic doctrine than any that is exigent in the world today that mandates prohibition of ALL restrictions on the free movement of capital!!) then you have to campaign against this treaty tedious though it is.

Most of us are balanced enough to know that the EU has had positive effects on aspects of Irish legislation but as we are not allowed to single out the progressive aspects of the treaty and accept those individually then we have to reject it. As we are disenfranchised from effecting substantial change within the EU at any other point and can’t influence the policy direction of the Commission or the ECB at any other point in the whole EU system we can only reject the whole treaty if it contains policies we don’t agree with. And I agree that this is a pity.

author by Etainpublication date Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:01Report this post to the editors

"Government is fully within its rights to propose a rerun"

While I respect your viewpoint on this issue, I personally do do not agree with it.

From my viewpoint it appears that, by arrogantly thinking (and acting) in a manner which shows contempt for Bunreacht na hEireann (The Basic Law of the Republic of Ireland), our present Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) has effectively (and unlawfully) amended our Constitution so that Article 6.1 now reads like something along the following lines:

"All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under tin-gods in the legal profession and the global banking community, whose right it is to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of their own particular interests."

I'd much prefer to see Article 6.1 left as it is; and, far more importantly, ACTED upon as it is so very clearly stated in writing for all to see, which is as follows:

"All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good."

The words "final appeal" seem very clear to me.

In the "final appeal" the people of the Republic of Ireland said "no" to the Lisbon Treaty last year, and that should have been the end of the matter (as far as I'm concerned).

However, and as I see things at least, it appears that the tin-gods could not accept (or respect) the "final appeal" of the people of the Republic of Ireland; and, that armed with a vast array of wonderful excuses, but no good reasons, they have then proceeded to unconstitutionally usurp our Constitution -- as is the way of tin-gods for thousands of years down through the troubled history of mankind -- by thrusting a re-run of the whole Lisbon treaty business back onto the people for a second time, and which may of course be just the first of many more times that they will repeat this same process: until, that is, they somehow get the particular result they feel they absolutely have to have, and entirely regardless of what the people of the Republic of Ireland have already said they want (in last year's referendum on the matter).

author by punterpublication date Sat Jul 18, 2009 15:31Report this post to the editors

The government and two opposition parties interpret "final appeal" to mean when the voters change their No to Yes. It isn't final until that happens. They're looking for a 60:40 vote in favour of Yes. That could be the last EU referendum we'll have as there is a self-amending process built into the Lisbon Treaty.

author by Pro on Lisbon Leftypublication date Sat Jul 18, 2009 21:32Report this post to the editors

It’s you guys who are misinterpreting “final appeal”, not the Government or main opposition parties. It is you who are mistakenly equating “final appeal” with a referendum. This is an error based on a lay interpretation of the constitution or is deliberate mischief making. The entire weight of legal opinion, practice and precedent is to the contrary.

Sarah: Any proposal will usually be a package including the Irish constitution – that is what political process and negotiation is all about. It is my contention that the Lisbon package greatly is in Ireland’s interest – the ordinarily people interests.

Also it is not true that we cannot influence the EU. Most Council Decision are by consensus – our elected government it the one at the table. Most decision are intergovernmental not made by the Commission fiat. Our elected EU Parliament must approve all legalisation. It is not difficult especially in this country for an interest group to have a meeting with a Minister. Many of the main interest groups like consumers, trade unions, farmers etc have a permanent lobbying presence in Brussels. There is the right of representation and of protest at all levels. It is not difficult for people to get a meeting with Commission officials if they wish. In short there are many chances to influence the process including highlighting issues in the press.

As for neutrality etc see this interesting piece in today’s Irish Times by the former head of Irish CND.

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0718/1....html
author by Sarah - napublication date Sat Jul 18, 2009 23:12Report this post to the editors

And here was me being nice and reasonable-

There is NO right of representation enshrined in the existing or proposed treaties. The Commission is the only body that can initiate legislation and when that happens - as has been the case since the 1979 Cassis De Dijon descision from the ECJ was used in a form of commision activisim to justify legislation decreeing market supremacay, the EU is acting as a supranational institution not as you say as an intergovernmental consensus making forum. Two examples of where trade unions were excluded from the whole process but capital was not are in the formulation of Merger Control Legislation (MCR ) and the formulation of the Merger Task Force .The commission and capital represented by both multi national corporations and the ERT drew up legislation that they had designed to accomodate mergers and increase competitiveness, on the basis that the liberalising thrust of conservative Britan would support this at council level. in previous supranational agreements securing Britain's agreement had been seen as a deal breaker so this policy was created with the terms of their agreement built in. I repeat that the Unions were not consulted in this process and to quote from the existing EU supportive literature ' Furthermore, organised labour - arguably the ones who would suffer most given the downsizing that usually occours after a merger- was not invited to partake in the process when negotiation surrounding the MCR occurred'(PG 102 Understanding EU policy making Raj S Chari et all).

On the constitution and packages of policies, I would also oppose changes to our own constituition that mandated the supremacy of capital over people and the creation of a Supranational quango like the EDA that has no democratic responsibility or oversight and is free to accept lobbyists from where-ever its unelected officials deem necessary ie the Arms industry!.

If you want to brush up a bit on the influence of lobby groups in the EU and the EU Parliment's failed and thwarted attempts to rein them in I suggest that for a start you check out either Freinds of the Earth's report from earlier this year or Oxfams 'Foreign Territory' on the internationalisation of EU asylum policy 2005 and come back to us when you are informed.

The article on neutrality certainly was interesting but if you or the author think that that is necessary to end the traditional but much undermined policy of Neutrality in Ireland then join us in calling for a constitutional referendum and let the best side win- or do you prefer to sneak it in through the creeping militarisation of the EU as a whole and not risk losing the argument?

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Sun Jul 19, 2009 17:06Report this post to the editors

The Commission is governmentally appointed and is overseen by the EP. It has power of initiative only – any other power is delegated to it. It’s a model that works – no other body has been remotely as successful. The AU does nothing and had done nothing for the average African. Attempts to set up a community of nations in Western Europe after the war failed until the Commission concept was brought in. Unions are extensively consulted in decision making but not in every case is it appropriate. That does not mean we have to throw the entire project overboard. The role of unions in community governance are defined in the Treaties. If there was a widespread desire on the part of the governments to give them a bigger role that could be done but there does not seem to be at present. We are used in Ireland to unions having vetoes over policy decisions but this model is not widely copied elsewhere and in decisions re mergers and acquisitions and competition policy in Ireland unions are not consulted by the regulators. We can hardly blame Lisbon for not doing something we don’t do ourselves.

author by Peterpublication date Sun Jul 19, 2009 18:39Report this post to the editors

The Lisbon Treaty

1. Would be a power-grab by the Big States for control of the EU by basing EU law-making post-Lisbon primarily on population size.This would double Germany's voting power in making European laws from its present 8% to 17%, increase Britain's, France's and Italy's from 8% to 12% each, and halve Ireland's vote to 0.8%. How does having 0.8% of a vote in making EU laws put Ireland/ "at the heart of Europe"/ ? Taoiseach Brian Cowen's "guarantees" do not explain how having half as much influence in the EU as Ireland has today would induce the other Member States to listen to our concerns on unemployment and help to resolve the economic crisis in the interest of Irish companies, workers and farmers.

2.Would copperfasten the Laval and related judgements of the EU Court of Justice, which put the competition rules of the EU market above the rights of Trade Unions to enforce pay standards higher than the minimum wage for migrant workers. At the same time Lisbon would give the EU full control of immigration policy (Art.79 TFEU).

3. Would permit the post-Lisbon EU to impose Europe-wide taxes directly on us for the first time without need of further Treaties or referendums (Art.311 TFEU).

4. Would amend the existing treaties to give the EU exclusive power as regards rules on foreign direct investment (Arts.206-7 TFEU) and give the Court of Justice the power to order the harmonisation of national indirect taxes if it decides that this causes a/ "distortion of competition"/ in the market (Art.113 TFEU). These changes could undermine our 12.5% corporation profits tax, which is the principal attraction of Ireland for foreign business.

5. Would abolish our present right to/ "propose"/ and decide who Ireland's Commissioner is by replacing it with a right to make/"suggestions"only, leaving it up to the incoming Commission President to decide (Art.17.7 TEU). Our No vote last year secured us a commitment to a permanent Commissioner, but what is the point of every EU State continuing to have its own Commissioner post-Lisbon when it can no longer decide who that Commissioner will be?

6. Would give the European Union the Constitution of an EU Federal State which would have primacy over the Irish and other national Constitutions. This post-Lisbon EU would for the first time be legally separate from and superior to its 27 Member States and would sign international treaties with other States in all areas of its powers (Arts.1 and 47 TEU;/ Declaration 17 concerning Primacy/). In constitutional terms Lisbon would thereby turn Ireland into a regional or provincial state within this new Federal-style European Union, with the EU's Constitution and laws having legal primacy over the Irish Constitution and laws in any cases of conflict between the two.

7. Would turn us into real citizens for the first time of this new post-Lisbon European Union, owing obedience to its laws and loyalty to its authority over and above our obedience and loyalty to Ireland and the Irish Constitution and laws in the event of any conflict between the two. We would still keep our Irish citizenship, but it would be subordinate to our new EU citizenship and the rights and duties vis-a-vis the EU that would attach to that(Art.9 TEU).

8. Would give the EU Court of Justice the power to decide our rights as EU citizens by making the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding for the first time(Art.6 TEU) This would give power to the EU judges to use their case law to lay down a uniform standard of rights for the 500 million citizens of the post-Lisbon Union in the name of a common EU citizenship in the years to come. It would open the possibility of clashes with national human rights standards in sensitive areas where Member States differ from one another at present, e.g. trial by jury, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,/ habeas corpus,/ the legalisation of hard drugs, euthanasia, abortion, labour law, succession law, marriage law, children's rights etc. Ireland's Supreme Court and the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights would no longer have the final say on what our rights are.

9. Would abolish the national veto Ireland has at present by handing over to the EU the power to make laws binding on us in 32 new policy areas,* including public services, crime, justice and policing, immigration, energy, transport, tourism, sport, culture, public health, the EU budget and international measures on climate change.

10. Would reduce the power of National Parliaments to make laws in relation to 49 policy areas or matters, and increase the influence of the European Parliament in making EU laws in 19 new areas (See euabc.eu for the two lists).

11. Would be a self-amending Treaty which would permit the EU Prime Ministers and Presidents to shift most remaining EU policy areas where unanimity is required and a national veto still exists - for example on tax harmonisation - to qualified majority voting on the EU Council of Ministers, without need of further EU Treaties or referendums(Art.48 TEU).

12. Would enable the 27 EU Prime Ministers to appoint an EU President for up to five years without allowing voters any say as to who he or she would be - thereby abolishing the present six-monthly rotating EU presidencies (Art.15.5 TEU).

13. Would militarize the EU further, requiring Member States/ "progressively to improve their military capabilities"/(Art.42.3 TEU) and to aid and assist other Member States experiencing armed attack/ "by all the means in their power"/ (Art.42.7 TEU).

TEU Treaty on European Union/ as amended by the Lisbon Treaty
TFEU Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union / as amended by the
Lisbon Treaty

author by Sarah - N/Apublication date Sun Jul 19, 2009 19:30Report this post to the editors

Don't worry I'm less exasperated today-I have established from your various comments that you believe Lisbon as a package is in Ireland's best interests, I conclude from that and other comments that you are less pro European than I. I think that the Lisbon Treaty is not in the best interests of the people of Europe and is now being used as a symbol of co-operation rather than being debated for its policies which have, due to the global recession been displayed even to those that espoused them, as out of date and clinging to a flawed ideology of market supremacy.

I am not arguing here from a nationalist perspective but from an internationalist one. If there was a democratic and accountable institution that had social justice as it's remit then i'd be happy to pool our sovereignty to them and away from the current bunch who are destroying our country. I would gladly support a Europe that taxed corporations proportionately, even if it threatened our 12.5 per cent tax rate, and one that excluded the arms industry from being involved in foreign and security policy making and that harmonized it's external trade policies with its overseas aid policies. I would like to belong to a Europe that focused on job creation rather than the jobless growth that it indulges in at present. Lisbon takes us further and further from that hope - I will campaign against it.

With regard to your other comments; on the Parliament and Council,

I used the example in my earlier comment above to demonstrate how the Commission used an ECJ interpretation of one narrow case (Cassis de Dijon) as a lever to make the parliament and council accede to its demands by maintaining the result of the ECJ case demonstrated that the member states had already pooled this particular area of sovereignty. This is just one instance of how this was so- I expect Ruffert, Viking and Laval cases will all be used in just this way by the commission in the future.

It is interesting to note the trends from the last 20 years -on economic policy the Eu mostly issues directives -(legally binding) and on social policy we get mostly non binding measures (ie not justicable).

Also -I think it is perfectly fair to expect the EU to do something we don't do in Ireland- the yes side uses repeatedly the fact that equal pay for women was as result of EU directives on equality as a reason to continue to support it.

Anyone who has been involved in EU lobbying knows that the bigger your wallet the greater your access to providing inputs to the commission. Sure we can lobby away at our MEP's but you'll note that they have failed to impact even on the fact the EU breaches it's own rules with regularity. One example of this can be found in the association agreements with Israel where the EU continues to fail to impose any trade sanction or even the threat of trade sanctions with a regime that consistently ignores and deliberately flouts its human rights obligations. Not only have we not imposed sanctions, in fact we have extended preferential trade arrangement to that country.

Under Lisbon the commission would not be 'Governmentally Appointed’ (a nice way to describe getting rid of politicians that have become unpalatable to national audiences ie. Charlie Mc Creevy) they would be 'governmentally suggested'- doesn't that sound great. I haven't given up the hope that Europe could be a force for good in the world in it's trade with third countries, in its foreign and security policies and even in its protection of the rights of workers. Since Thatcher's era however the EU has veered further and further from what any committed left wing social justice activist could entertain and this is indisputable. For example the Single European Act and its accompanying social charter does not refer to wages, nor the right to strike. The Stability and Growth Pact influenced / gave license/ actively mandated to governments to pursue anti - inflationary policies rather than anti unemployment ones. The effects of this included the dismantling of social welfare systems in countries that had previously had high levels of social protection and exposed us all to the insecure positions we are now in at the beck and call of capital flows. It was one factor that relegated national governments to a role of facilitators of capital rather than democratic representatives of the needs of their citizens. Sure we get to vote them in and out but we don't get to change who calls the shots.

author by Sarahpublication date Sun Jul 19, 2009 21:57Report this post to the editors

Pro Lisbon Lefty- This is an interesting emerging conflict between the German Parliment and the EU, on subsidiarity- the recent court judgement in Germany reserves their right to decide whether the subsidiarity clause of the proposed treaty has been observed which brings it into direct conflict with the ECJ;

''ECJ case law has established the supremacy of community law over national law and the court has the last say on interpretation of EU law. To date, its judgements have led to a series of integrative steps in the bloc. This is because the court rules often in areas where member states have competences. It does this by basing its judgements on the principle of upholding the integrity of the internal market, an elastic category.''

From EU observer article 17/5.09 pondering the ramifications on Germany's recent court decision on the legality of the Lisbon Treaty

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:34Report this post to the editors

Sarah
The implications of the German Constitutional Court's ruling have yet to be worked out but it would seem to well informed commentators to have implications more for the next Treaty if there is one than the Lisbon Treaty. There are also possible implications for the governance of the Eurozone.
But there is nothing in all of this that would make a second no vote in Ireland advantageous to us particularly as the Federal Government for Germany - one of our staunchest friends - is very keen to ratify.
If anything those who are concerned about too much power being exercised by the ECJ would be reassured by the German Judgement as it may lead to a greater ultimate role for national administrations vis a vis the ECJ.
There is nothing to fear in the Lisbon Treaty from Ireland’s standpoint. On the contrary it is very much in the economic and political interests of Ireland. Particularly as we are now in such economic difficulties we don't want to isolate ourselves. Had we continued on our Celtic tiger growth trajectory in a linear fashion we might have been twice a rich as Switzerland in a generation and could be choosey about what aspects of the EU we like or not. But the opposite has happened.

Don't jump out of the ark just when the flood is at is worst.

author by Mark Cpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:57Report this post to the editors

There an interesting debate about this article on the author's blog between the author and Frank Andrews:

"Frank: The default position of returning economic decisions to national democratic governments has a number of flaws. Any serious analysis of the nation states of the EU would reveal massive democratic deficits in many of them. Even the ones which appear democratic in a formal sense are compromised by political establishments which are capable of undermining any popular movements which threaten bourgeois interests.

Steve: Agreed, to a degree. In fact I made the same point to comrades in the NO2EU initiative, in my Morning Star column. These political establishments are the ones which must be tackled, and whether this is done at European level, where there is almost no popular input, or at national level, where there is a varying amount of such (a great deal in Denmark and the Netherlands, almost none in the UK, for example, which may colour your view) is purely a tactical question, for me at least, and involves no principles. But you have to ask yourself why the bourgeoisie wants the European Union, and in answering this it is possible to glimpse its real nature."

Continues at link...

Related Link: http://www.spectrezine.org/weblog/?p=670
author by plutokratie isn`t democratiepublication date Sat Sep 26, 2009 15:24Report this post to the editors

Boykott to Intel and Rynair
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93837

Money shouldn`t vote !

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIzfZvKWOVw&hl=de
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