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The fracturing of the European Union

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It is 70 years since large parts of Europe lay in ruins. Great power aspirations, nationalism and fascism made the continent the focus of two world wars, which together claimed nearly 100 million victims. Now, these same tendencies are spreading once again.

The fracturing of the European Union

Originally appeared at World Socialist Website

Everywhere in Europe, the ruling elites are moving sharply to the right. They are boosting military spending, taking part in the imperialist wars in the Middle East and Africa, sealing up borders and inciting xenophobic sentiments against refugees. They are developing authoritarian forms of rule and building up a police state in order to suppress growing social tensions.

After the attacks in Paris, the Socialist Party government imposed a state of emergency for three months, stationed thousands of soldiers on the streets and deployed the military’s only aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf to bomb Syria. The beneficiary of this policy has been the right-wing National Front, which became the strongest party in the first round of the recent regional elections.

In Hungary and Poland, governments openly profess their admiration for the authoritarian regimes of the 1920s and 1930s.

In Germany, leading politicians and academics demand that the country again take on the role of a “hegemon” and “disciplinarian” in Europe and aspire to be a major power in the world, as if the crimes of the Nazi regime never happened. The austerity policies that Berlin has imposed on the economically weaker EU members for years have aggravated social and political tensions throughout Europe.

Even the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who otherwise is a political follower of the German chancellor, criticized Angela Merkel in the Financial Times this week for pushing economic policies that are fanning the flames of populism and damaging incumbent governments across the continent—and are based on double standards favoring Germany and hurting Italy. Governments in Warsaw, Athens, Lisbon and Madrid had lost their jobs because they followed the policy of fiscal discipline without true growth, Renzi complained.

Numerous recent comments in the media focus on the potential break-up of the EU under the pressure of growing contradictions and tensions.

Reuters correspondent Paul Taylor writes under the headline “Europe’s year from hell may presage worse to come”: “The crises of 2015 have threatened to tear the Union apart and left it battered, bruised, despondent and littered with new barriers.”

EU Parliament President Martin Schulz warned in Die Welt that no one can say “if the EU will exist in this way in a decade”. The alternative, he writes, is “a Europe of nationalism, a Europe of borders and walls. That would be devastating, because such a Europe has led our continent in the past repeatedly into disaster.”

An editorial in the Süddeutsche Zeitung even demands a “Plan B” in the event that the EU breaks apart. The main danger comes less from Greece and the refugee crisis or an exit of Britain than from “neo-nationalism”, the newspaper states.

While these and other comments warn of a break-up of the EU and the possible consequences, they do not answer the question of why nationalism and militarism are flaring up again in Europe. Indeed, they do not even pose the question.

Contrary to the claims of official propaganda, the EU has never overcome the conflicts that made Europe the center of two world wars. The EU does not unite the peoples of Europe, but has always been a weapon of the most powerful economic and financial interests against the working class at home and international rivals abroad. It is a hotbed of nationalism, inequality, dictatorship and war.

The EU is living proof that it is impossible to unite the continent on a capitalist basis. The defence of capitalist private property and the free movement of capital and profits, which are the focus of the EU treaties, inevitably have the consequence that the most powerful corporations in the EU set the tone and the strongest states impose their will on the weaker. Instead of alleviating national and social contradictions, the EU exacerbates them to the extreme.

The enlargement of the EU into Eastern Europe a decade ago did not bring democracy and prosperity. The new members have served the major European corporations as a source of cheap labor. Their welfare programs are being destroyed, wages kept low and unemployment high, while a small corrupt elite enjoy prosperity.

The EU, and especially Germany, took advantage of the financial crisis of 2008 to dictate unprecedented social cuts in the name of fiscal consolidation. In Greece, which was made an example, the average standard of living declined by 40 percent in a few years.

The EU and its members have responded to the growing social tensions with militarism and increased repression. The real or supposed danger of terrorist attacks have served as a pretext for further anti-democratic measures.

With the refugee crisis, the consequences of imperialist wars in the Middle East and North Africa have returned to Europe. The refugee issue has further polarized Europe. While large sections of the population react with solidarity, the ruling circles have unleashed a furious campaign against refugees, building up border fences and fighting each other.

The dangers arising from the break-up of the EU are very real. New wars and dictatorships, even within Europe, loom. This danger cannot be prevented by defending the EU, but only in a relentless struggle against it and the capitalist system upon which it is predicated.

The only way to unite Europe in the interests of its peoples, to use its vast resources in the interest of all and to prevent further wars, is through the United Socialist States of Europe. Only the independent mobilization of the European working class on the basis of a socialist programme can halt the impending disaster.

Peter Schwarz

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Full speech of Rabbi Emanuel Rabinovich before a special meeting of the Emergency Council of
European Rabbis in Budapest, Hungary, January 12, 1952 :
my children : You have been called here to recapitulate the principal steps of
our new programme.
you know, we had hoped to have twenty years
between wars to consolidate the
great gains which we made from World War II, but
our increasing numbers in
certain vital areas is arousing opposition to
us, and we must now work
with every means at our disposal to precipitate
World War III within five years.
goal for which we have striven so concertedly
for three thousand years is at
last within our reach, and because its
fulfillment is so apparent, it behooves
us to increase our efforts, and our caution,
can safely promise you that before ten years
have passed, our race will take
its rightful place in the world, with every Jew
a king, and every Gentile a
slave.(Applause from the gathering).
remember the success of our propaganda campaign
during the 1930’s, which
aroused anti-American passions in Germany at the
same time we were arousing
anti-German passions in America, a campaign
which culminated in the Second
World War.
similar propaganda campaign is now being waged
intensively throughout the
war fever is being worked up in Russia by an
incessant anti-American barrage,
while a nationwide anti-Communist scare is
sweeping America. This campaign is
forcing all of the smaller nations to choose
between the partnership of Russia
or an alliance with the United States.
most pressing problem at the moment is to
inflame the lagging militaristic
spirit of the Americans. The failure of the
Universal Military Training
Act was a great setback to our plans, but we are
assured that a suitable
measure will be rushed through congress
immediately after the 1952
Russian, as well as the Asiatic peoples, are
well under control and offer no
objections to war, but we must wait to secure
the Americans.
we hope to do with the issue of anti-Semitism,
which worked so well in uniting
the Americans against Germany.
are counting heavily on reports of anti-Semitic
outrages in Russia to help whip
up indignation in the United States and produce
a front of solidarity against
the Soviet power.
Simultaneously, to demonstrate
to Americans the reality of anti-Semitism, we
will advance through new sources
large sums of money to outspokenly anti-Semitic
elements in America to increase
their effectiveness, and we shall stage
anti-Semitic outbreaks in several of
their larger cities.
will serve the double purpose of exposing
reactionary sectors in America, which
can be silenced, and of welding the United
States into a devoted anti-Russian
five years, this programme will achieve its
objective, the Third World War,
which will surpass in destruction all previous
contests. Israel, of course
will remain neutral, and when both sides are
devastated and exhausted we will
arbitrate, sending our Control Commission into
all wrecked countries.
War will end for all time our struggle against
the Gentiles.
will openly reveal our identity with the races
of Asia and Africa. I
can state with assurance that the last generation
of white children is now
being born.
Control Commissions will, in the interests of
peace, and wiping out “our”
inter-racial tensions, forbid the whites to mate
with whites. The white women
must cohabit with members of the dark races, the
white men with black
the white race will disappear, for mixing the
dark with the white means the end
of the white man, and our most dangerous enemy
will become only a memory.
shall embark upon an era of ten thousand years
of peace and plenty, the Pax
Judaica, and our race will rule undisputed over
the world. Our superior
intelligence will easily enable us to retain
mastery over a world of dark
Question from the gathering : ‘Rabbi Rabinovich,
about the various religions after the Third
World War?’
Rabinovich : There will be
no more religions. Not only would the existence
of a priest class remain a
constant danger to our rule, but belief in an
after-life would give spiritual
to irreconcilable elements in many countries, and enable them to
resist us.
will, however, retain the rituals, and customs
of Judaism, as the mark of our
hereditary ruling caste, strengthening our
racial laws so that no Jew will be
allowed to marry outside our race, nor will any
stranger be accepted by us.
may have to repeat the grim days of World War
II, when we were forced to let
the Hitlerite bandits sacrifice some of our
people, in order that we may have
adequate documentation and witnesses to legally
justify our trial and execution
of the leaders of America and Russia as war
criminals, after we have dictated
the Peace. I am sure you will need little
preparation for such a duty, for sacrifice
has always been the watchword of our people, and
the death of a few thousand
Jews in exchange for world leadership is indeed
a small price to pay.
convince you of the certainty of that
leadership, let me point out to you how
we have turned all of the inventions of the
white man into weapons against him.
His printing presses and radios are the mouthpieces
of our desires, and his
heavy industry manufactures the instruments
which he sends out to arm Asia and
Africa against him. Our interest in Washington
are greatly extending the Point
Four Programme for developing industry in
backward areas of the world, so that
after the industrial plants and cities of Europe
and America are destroyed by
atomic warfare, the whites can offer no
resistance against the large masses of
the dark races, who will maintain an
unchallenged technological superiority.
so, with the vision of world victory before you,
go back to your countries and
intensify your good work, until that approaching
Light when Israel will reveal herself
in all her glorious destiny as the Light of the

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