Commission Debate 3: The global DANGERS that Europeans face from self-centered, ignorant party machines
3, March, 2009
The greed and covetousness of the political party machines will put all Europeans citizens at risk. The new political elites want to undermine the Community system of supranational democracy. By attempting a selfish power-grab, this narrow-minded minority of Europeans is threatening the European economy — and much besides. More than ever, Europeans need a real Community approach to global problems.
One clear example is the financial crisis. This cannot be solved by a top-down approach, as it might in the nineteenth century. Hoping that massive infusions of money will wash out toxic assets from a corrupt system is futile when the system itself is morbidly unhealthy. Another case is the Energy/ Climate Change crisis. This too requires the full mobilization of all citizens. The science may be right and verified but human greed remains a factor than planning won’t eradicate by fiat. No party political programme has resources, the independence or brain-power to solve the extreme complexity of these problems. Human ingenuity will selfishly unravel even a plan for planetary survival. Illegitimate party political control of European institutions is likely to make many matters worse with unforeseen consequences, corruption and low-level compromises. This approach is inadequate for the twenty-first century’s infinitely complex society.
Party political hierarchies encourage hasty, ‘efficient’ decisions, usually leading to unanticipated disasters. Only a Union based on an intense, open debate and the firm agreement at the levels of individuals, all associative organizations of civil society and national governments has any hope of dealing with such all-pervasive dangers. It needs to be based on fair, European rule of law. Europe’s now dozing institutions need to wake up. be active and analytical, and assume their legal role in the original treaties.
The cracks in the replacement system, the top-down approach, are now under increasing strain. Their incapacities are becoming daily more apparent. The ever-more frequent European Council Summits with vaporous results are an obvious danger signal to the public. The leaders cannot solve the problems by international or even inter-governmental measures alone.
To solve European and global problems, Europe needs more democracy, not less. The disdain of the party machines and their ignorance of the original principles of Community democracy of the 1950 treaties will leave all 500 million Europeans in grave danger of economic and political subjugation. This is even more dangerous now in a globalized world with ruthless international entities eager to control from without or devour the Community from within.
The Founding Fathers designed European Communities in the 1950s to avoid wars among member states. www.schuman.info/ceca.htm But they also saw the grave danger that their economies could be taken over piecemeal by powerful foreign entities. In war they had seen the depths of raw, evil, human nature. www.schuman.info/Strasbourg549.htm For this they designed powerfully democratic institutions.
Self-assured politicians have over recent years selfishly tried to whittle away the independent pillars of dormant European democracy. They seem to think they are smarter than these great democrats who founded the most prosperous, peaceful Community and re-established vibrant democracies in all the founding Member States. Modern politicians seem to be little aware of the dangers the founding fathers faced and courageously tackled. These dangers included those identified as the root cause of two world wars.
The so-called reformers are ignorant of the European system, the Community. This Community is Plan Z, Europe’s last chance. It stands out like white against black to all the other national or European plans for peace over two thousand years. All the rest brought war and destruction.
How do I know the party machines are ignorant? Am I being too hard? Well I have never seen one ‘reformer’ politician properly explain what exactly is a supranational democracy. Who most recently told the public how the original Community is supposed to work? No wonder! Ministers are often quoted as saying they do not understand it. Which so-called reformer explained how their proposals will improve its dynamic structure by bringing more democracy to its five institutions? Has any politician of recent date initiated a system that makes war impossible elsewhere in the world?
Let’s ask them an easier question. If they reluctantly concede the facts that the Schuman Plan brought Europe an extraordinary peace and prosperity, why haven’t they described, scientifically and academically, how such a model works and could do the same throughout the world? Even the Commission does not explain how the system was originally designed to work. It would embarrass the present political Commissioners!
A further proof of this ignorance is the practical record. When it comes to the democratic ground rules in the European treaties, the very basis that they now want to change, they have shown no inclination or desire to respect them. Why? Because it will set them on a path for an ever-widening democracy, in Europe and at home!
We have seen in the previous Debates that (1) for more than fifty years governments have been refusing fair elections under the single statute specified in the treaties; (2) these unfair election results distort power structures; (3) the proposed Lisbon Treaty would legitimize an irreversible power-grab by party machines of the Commission; (4) the proposed treaty worsens these distortions and encourages corruption by ruling party machines because NO CORRUPT Commission President will EVER be sacked by the Parliament; (5) a morally fused Commission and Parliament will encourage corruption, try to marginalize legitimate opposition, while encouraging extreme groups with monetary hand-outs.
This was de Gaulle’s system: ignore the European Parliament, subsidize important voting groups in France with European taxpayers’ money to encourage uncritical compliance. It ended in the riots and revolution of 1968. Germany was forced to pay as his price for political rehabilitation. Supported by corrupt Italian and other governments for decades, the agricultural budget with its massive subsidies to voters remained as secret as the nuclear programme. Why? Because the CAP and much of the money flowing ceaselessly to Italy’s south for ‘structural reform’ was corrupt. When these people ‘chloroformed’ the institutions in the 1960s and 70s, the Mafia got fat. The poor stayed poor.
One would have hoped the public had learned a lesson: ‘Chloroform’ the European Community democratic institutions at your peril. You will end up breeding secret committees, secret money networks, and a level of political corruption that is still with us today.
In their wisdom and understanding of human nature, the Founding Fathers of the European Communities created five independent institutions that would assure, justice and democracy in Europe. www.schuman.info/supra5.htm It would make war impossible. They succeeded in spite of the corrupt politicians. In their system all States were equal and none was able to use power politics of the strong to dominate the weak.
Politicians who replaced the Statesmen over the last half-century have endlessly tried to subvert those institutions for their own selfish purposes. The present threat is the attack on the independence of the European Commission, the central institution of the supranational Community system. De Gaulle failed to put the Commission under French national control as a secretariat. The other States had a few statesmen with the sense to insist that the Commission must remain independent. France had its European resistance figures against a return to power politics too.
The present threat comes from a more diverse source, party political machines. They want the Commission as a secretariat in their own sullied hands. They learned the lesson from De Gaulle who had only the powers of one centralized Gaullist State. He could not succeed against the solidarity of the other smaller democratic States. Perhaps, say the party bureaucrats, a multi-pronged attack by all political parties together will succeed, where he failed.
By one perspective they are smaller than the Grand Charles and the French Fifth Republic — they represent only two percent of the population who have party cards. But on the other that two percent includes party members who control the government machines and have enormous influence in society. They promise a plethora of new jobs for the party boys and girls, career prospects, to water the appetite of the more flexible and less-than-scrupulous party followers.
The crux of their proposal is that the European Commission should give up its last pretence of independence. It should be fused to party machines. For what purpose? The ‘reform’ will remove any restraint on budget control.
Who designed this open invitation to corruption? The political drafters of the proposed Constitutional Treaty and Lisbon Treaty foolishly wanted to stitch in the yah-boo, confrontational politics like they have in the trough at home. That’s a 17th Century distortion of democracy. The Community system is a 21st Century super democracy. For Europe it would be like trying to stitch a pig’s head on a human body. Such ideological shouting matches were NOT part of the revolutionary Community system. Instead the original concept requires that the Commission should be an honest broker. The Community works on the basis of pragmatism, tried and tested steps to acquiring wisdom.
But the politicians had invented a clever ruse so beneficial to themselves that even when the Constitutional Treaty was roundly defeated in referendums, they insisted on the same thing in the Reform/Lisbon Treaty. This time they said: No referendums, wherever party machines can stop them. Only one court said NO.
How did the parties explain this power-grab to the public? They said that they wanted the EP elections to attract more public attention. Party politics would make the issues more controversial, they said. They wanted to reverse their decline with public trust. Fewer and fewer Europeans wanted to vote.
So much for high principles! But why don’t people vote? They are disillusioned by tales that politicians are corrupt. One recent scandal alleges a score of multinationals ran an expenses-paid ‘lobby office’ inside the European Parliament. Another, about MEPs’ assistants, involves millions of Euros. MEPs are refusing to publish other, apparently more explosive, auditors’ reports. If the Parliament won’t come clean on rumours involving millions, why should voters trust the ‘usual suspects’ to elect a political pal as Commission President dealing with billions? Their pal would be in cahoots with the political machines. Impartiality and budget control would go out the window.
These billions are taxpayers’ money that will be lavished at home and abroad to fulfill the myopic, ideological goals of a party machine that has taken power in parliament and has thus gained and even more valuable prize — the Commission.
Why do I call the politicians myopic? Firstly the potential instruments of democratic solidarity to solve such problems lie in the letter and spirit of the original treaties. The political class has not only ignored and bad-mouthed these principles.They offered no viable alternatives. They want the alternating competition of the trough.This is barren, even destructive. It is Plan A. There is little chance of having a lasting, honest solution either to the financial crisis or the coming environmental catastrophes by means of the Constitutional Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty.
The instruments in these treaty ‘reforms’, the product of best brains of party machines, are totally inadequate for the gravity of today’s problems! Governments have already returned to secret talks behind the walls of the Council building in the vain hope that inter-governmental agreement will be forged with the democratic control shut out. Vain hope! Our disaster!
The public is being taken for a ride, like an emergency patient being taken to hospital. You are diagnosed with serious brain and heart damage (Commission) and renal failure (Parliament). Arms and legs are broken (organs of Civil Society). What’s more you are blind and need a delicate eye operation (the secretive Council meeting behind closed doors). Arriving at the operation room, you are told that the surgeon is to be … your family butcher. He knows all about body parts, at least in a dead pig. He also knows how to make a soup of the meat (fusing legally independent organs together). But does he know how a human body works and what is needed when it is seriously sick?
Unless the politicians can provide a proper diagnosis and show adequate training, the warning is to keep far away. You are better off without the butcher, unless you want to be part of someone else’s soup!
The next debate will deal more about specific acute global problems that would follow from the party political power-grab of Europe’s democratic institutions.David Heilbron Price