Commission Debate 4: Look who is giving away the Keys to the European Home and leaving the back door open to Burglar-Cartels!
15, March, 2009
Ignorance of history brings repetition of errors, sorrows and subjugation. For lack of vision the people perish. Weary of war, worn out by forced labour under Hitler and Stalin, with populations exterminated by so-called ‘science’ gone mad and toxic ‘modern economics’, surviving Europeans after World War Two wanted a sane and just solution. They wanted a real democracy. Relying on eternal principles of justice, honesty and esteeming one’s neighbour, Robert Schuman proposed building a fortress against war and evil, a palace of peace for prosperity. He provided an outline plan for real democracy.
Today’s politicians want to reform the system. How? By opening up the back-door of the fort to rapacious foes. Either by ignorance or lust for power, the political class think they will make friends by writing on the walls of the palace (that does not belong to them alone): “Welcome burglars!” or “Come in all you gangsters!”. Do they think evil does not exist? They want to overturn the Community system that can reform the mad economics we are still suffering from! They are offering to supply the keys to the treasury and all the rooms to our worst enemies! Instead they should be dealing with their obligations and democratic duties in the treaties. The haven’t dealt with some for more than FIFTY years now!
Why did Europe create the Community structure? What was the problem it solved? How was it solved?
The political parties show no inclination to answer these questions. The fact that the founding fathers insisted on creating the European Commission — a body unknown in other governance systems — is one clue. The second is the founders’ insistence that it must be independent of all private interests, including, even especially, the political parties. The European Community was designed to make war impossible. The solution in simple terms was that a Commission must exist and be INDEPENDENT.
What was the war/ economic/ moral problem that happened around the time of the Schuman Proposal in 1950 to make it necessary?
Before WW1 industrialists in cartels made a laughing stock of governments. The iron and steel barons in different countries created an armaments cartel. These so-called patriotic firms worked together to fool governments. One firm created an armour-piercing shell, another in collusion developed an armoured steel to defend it. A third (or the first) created a shell that would penetrate the new armour and so on. The first firm persuaded one country to upgrade its armies and navy with new weapons. Then it declared that it needed a new defensive steel to defend it. And so on. This cartel of arms manufacturers led to the arms race. Who were these rascals who milked French, British, German and other peoples of their taxes to build up armies?
They were the great patriotic names of national industries, Schneider du Creusot of France, Armstrong, Vickers of Britain, Krupp, Stumm of Germany, Terni in Italy and major firms in USA and Russia. They colluded to dupe governments in the armaments ring. Not only did they create armies; they fomented wars between their client states abroad. Selling arms to two potential foes seemed good business. The second usually buys more than the first! Who was evil? The foes or the merchant? Then came the consequences, like giving fireworks to unsupervised, untrained children.
The result? British were massacred by British weapons in Turkey. Austrians were killed by Austrian bullets fired by Russians. Krupp supplied munitions to 52 countries who used them against Germans and their allies. During the war German barbed-wire defended the French from German soldiers at Verdun. British nickel for German shells was supplied via Sweden directly or exported as Swedish arms for Germany. After the war, UK’s Armstrong Vickers paid Krupp for the use of Krupp patents in all the shells that they manufactured. The victims of the shells were not considered in this deal.
In the period between the first and second World Wars, cartels were controlling the European economy in many other areas, including chemicals, patents and petroleum. These had a stranglehold as the most vital products in the world for industrialized countries.
Such mindless ideologies, incorporating the technological search for greater destruction and the correspondingly toxic economics, were no advantage of the European people either as workers, consumers of the goods or even the industries, which were destroyed by bombs of steel and coal-based chemical explosives. It brought blood, toil, sweat and tears. The cartels were at the origin of worldwide calamities, modern slavery and extermination programmes. Cartels — that is ‘respectable’ businessmen, entrepreneurs and industrialists — leased slave workers from Hitler’s SS and their comfortable, white-shirted accountants estimated they would die after nine months’ starvation work. The SS got a few marks a day for each. The European slaves got nothing but death.
Cartels in general lead to a rip-off, sometimes even blackmail, of the consumers, exploitation of workers and huge uncertainties for industrialists who were also cheated by each other and by other cartels.
In 1951, things changed for the better. The European treaty of the Schuman Plan created the world’s first international anti-cartel agency. That was at first confined to coal and steel. Coal was not only the major source of energy but also the feedstock for the chemicals industry. Iron and steel output statistics set the measure for an industrialized nation.
These anti-cartel and anti-trust powers were gradually extended to some but not all aspects of Europe’s single market. Those years marked the most prosperous in Europe’s history. That was accomplished because the Commission as the anti-cartel buster remained INDEPENDENT of the interest groups (whether industries, unions or consumers). It repulsed control from any interest including political parties and national governments.
Today, while petroleum, patents and chemicals still define western societies, the information economy predominates. Cartel problems remain. Cartels on these and everything from beer, bananas to bathroom fittings cheat the customer.
So what are political parties doing about assuring the independence of Europe’s anti-cartel agency? They are doing EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what they should be doing. They are opening up the post of anti-cartel referee of the Single Market to the highest bidder! They are thus selling cheaply Europeans’ liberty.
This is not just selling the office of a free-market judge, it is far more lethal. The Lisbon Treaty proposals about the Commission become of existential importance when one turns to the Commission’s rôle as Europe’s anti-cartel agency. Robert Schuman’s original innovation — that the Commission should be totally independent of party politics — was essential to correct pre-World War abuses. Why? Because the same powerful coal and steel cartels involving Krupp, Schneider, IG Farben, Thyssen ‘bought’ political parties, banks and newspapers. The massive inter-penetration of shareholdings, banking, acquisitions and mergers, made it difficult for citizens and governments to know how they were being taken for a ride and by whom. It still does. That’s why it was clear to Schuman after WW1 that a new system of democracy was urgently needed. This would give greater powers to civil society.
Such interests subsidized political parties directly or covertly. With multiple industrial, financial and economic instruments, they were able to control policies in line with their essential interests. The steel-making de Wendel family or Schneider, owned major publications and was customarily represented in Parliament, in multiple companies and at the Bank of France as one of the ‘Regents’. What qualifies a rich steel magnate more than a poor but honest economist to run the money supply?
In Germany where they had some of Europe’s best resources it was much worse. Trade took the form of forced barter, little different from blackmail. The steel and armaments industry was not only seen as representing national interest; it was also the means to control the entire European economy.
A worldwide empire of cartels under IG Farben with some 400 German cartel firms and 500 foreign firms under its control, became the world’s most powerful chemical and energy trust. Patents and restrictive trade agreements became the instruments for global dominance. Then the cartels came up against a political gangster named Adolf Hitler. It is still not clear who won.
Fritz Thyssen’s book is entitled: ‘I paid Hitler’. The armaments, steel and coal barons believed they could control any political party, including the Nazis. The international cartels led an independent life, made their own judgements, often totally devoid of morality. Even at the height of WW2, they had powers to seriously hamper war production in the USA and elsewhere. They built their own privatized concentration camps. IG Farben constructed one at Auschwitz. Many other firms asked the SS to lease them slave labour; it was rarely forced on them. Cartels did survive after Hitler committed suicide and millions died. At the end of WW2, some of these industrialists (who ended up with trivial periods of imprisonment) said they wanted to fight another war within a couple of decades!
Cartels do not serve customers they exploit them to death. Given a chance they employed the vilest slavery. The public, their customers, suffered not only price hikes from cartels, but the ravages of two world wars. The weak link in combating cartels was and remains the political parties. It is a crazy idea to subordinate the Commission, the anti-cartel agency, to political parties. Given Europe’s history it is criminal.
THE LESSON OF HISTORY IS THAT ‘INFLUENCING’ POLITICAL PARTIES IS EASY-PEASY FOR ANYONE WITH MONEY OR CORRUPT POWER. That seems to be a universal law from England’s seventeenth century to this day. Any political party will tell you about how powerful interest groups corrupt political parties, but usually only about its opponents or in a neighbouring country!
Thus the selfish and ignorant reforms now before us are undermining the very Community on which we depend for safety, peace and prosperity.
How will Europe, its entire economy and all Europeans be exposed to dangerous threats under the proposed Lisbon Treaty? The two or three political parties who can control the Commission will be so tempting a target to any powerful or moneyed group, they will become practically an open INVITATION to CORRUPTION. In fact any cartel from lamps to lifts will make an effort to manipulate them. And yet citizens may not even be aware that they (and the Commission therefore) have been taken over by alien interests.
Under Schuman’s original system this would be practically impossible, because the Commission and other bodies would come under too much democratic scrutiny and legal action!
You can read the details in my letters to
- all Members of the European Commission,
- all Member States representations,
- the President of the European Parliament and members of the Constitutional Committee,
- the Presidents of the Economic and Social Committee and the
- Committee of Regions.
An answer to what is probably Europe’s most serious problem is URGENTLY required. This is a FATAL FLAW in the treaty. It is due to ignoring the principle of SEPARATION OF POWERS in the five democratic institutions of the European Community.
I am still waiting for a reply to the letters! (All the presidents and other addressees are of course members of political parties.)
Today the problem is not just for one industrial group to dominate a part of the Continent of Europe. What is at risk is that an internal or external group will seek to undermine the Commission, the world’s first international anti-cartel agency. Controlling the Commission, even covertly, is tantamount, to controlling the largest commercial entity in the world! This fatal flaw will expose us all to dangerous external attack, as lethal as a military defeat.
Today, Europe is vulnerable to major foreign energy entities (oil and gas) with multiple billions, even trillions of dollars at their disposal. Some, like sovereign state funds, are particularly dangerous because a handful of people control them with little supervision. Many multinationals also seem to be a law to themselves. Then there are many private, leveraged operations, bringing together clandestine financial operators in the secrecy of their internet webs.
In the past it was the Ruhr coal barons who controlled prices for the special coking coal used in steel-making, and hence had a throttle-grip on the entire economy. Do Europeans wish to sell their heritage, lives and interests to Russian gas interests or Arab oil? But the threat does not only come from the traditional sectors of energy. Other specialized cartels too would like to illegally exploit Europe’s wealth — see www.schuman.info/Warning.htm .
Take the example of the information economy. One US multinational was recently fined 900 million Euros. It had not only created a software cartel but had refused to obey both the Commission’s anti-cartel decisions and the European Court judgement, which confirmed the Commission judgement telling it to stop this illegal practice.
If you were the boss of such a multinational and even less scrupulous than Microsoft, would you prefer to pay fines totaling multiple billions or spend just a few millions ‘fixing’ the election of the European Commission president and hence controlling the policy of a world economic super-power? Europe’s first treaty made clear that the Commission President has to be of such sterling character of honesty, independence and impartiality that he would not buckle under pressure. The office must be proofed against corruption engineered by any powerful ‘public relations’ campaign. That is precisely why the office must be held by the most honest and independent, experienced person available among all European citizens.
We are faced with much more intense globalization now than last century. Under present treaties, anyone of proven honesty and solid character among Europe’s 500 million people could in law be chosen as Commission president. It is still possible. Honest lawyers, businesspeople, engineers, professors, NGO leaders could apply. The Commission must be stronger to oppose new global hegemonies.
Tomorrow with the proposed reform of the Lisbon Treaty, discredited political cartels will pick the president. They will short-list the public’s choice to two or three individuals. These compliant candidates are selected via opaque political machines, vulnerable to ‘deals’ political, ideological, financial or otherwise. That is, if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified by all 27 States.
NOW YOU KNOW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HOW THE COMMUNITY BROKE CARTELS AND COMBATED EVIL, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO STOP THIS IGNORANT FOLLY? THE BLOOD OF EUROPE’S DEAD CRIES OUT FOR YOUR ANSWER!
In the next debates we will deal with proposals about electing the Commission, not in secret but as one should expect in democratic states, worthy of the name.David Heilbron Price
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