Fri Jun 09, 2023
June 09, 2023

Response to the Manifesto: “What to do about the Debt and the Euro?”

Halt the social catastrophe: fight for a Europe of the workers and the peoples

It has just been published the manifesto “What to do about the debt and the euro?” [1], “driven by a number of economists from the left”, among which it stands out Francisco Louçã, former congressman of the Left Bloc in Portugal and member of the International Committee-IV (formerly United Secretariat), together with Catherine Samary and Michel Husson, of France, and the Spanish Daniel Albarracin. The manifesto is presented by the alternative left as the strategic proposal to tackle the debt crisis, which has condemned the outlying countries of Europe to a social catastrophe and ruined their sovereignty.

The manifesto, in fact, is nothing but a kind of last ditch for the defense of the EU and the euro at a time when large and growing sectors of the masses have already proposed to break with these instruments of the capitalist Europe and when this demand has been getting space on the left.

According to the signatories to the manifesto, “the social and popular alternatives to this crisis require a daring refoundation of Europe”, needed “for the reconstruction of the industrial pattern, the ecological sustainability and the employment structure”. However – they lament – “as such a global refoundation seems out of reach in the immediate relationship of forces, the exit from euro is proposed as an immediate solution in different countries”. But, this is a “false dichotomy”, they state: “to remain in the European Union (EU) and the euro should not be questioned at all. Rather,it should be conformed a “leftist government” to negotiate with the EU “the debt restructuring” (i.e. keep paying). For the signatories to the manifesto, “a viable political strategy” is inconceivable without adjusting it to their parliamentary strategy in the context of the EU adapting itself to the demands of the outlying bourgeoisies.

From our part, we turn to the organizations and trade union activists, to the youth platforms and movements, those who struggle incessantly against the cuts and for a public and of quality health and education; against labor reforms and pay cuts; in short: to those who resist the social catastrophe.

The only feasible solution is the massive mobilization of the working class and the youth against those who have sunk us in the catastrophe, which cannot be detained without knowing against whom we are fighting: the capitalist Europe and the bourgeoisie of each of our countries.

The capitalist Europe has led us to the catastrophe and has been sinking us deeper and deeper, and there is no possible reform for the EU. It is necessary to break up with it, it is required that the working class take their destiny into their hands and then open the road to a united Europe of workers and the peoples. This is our struggle.

A clear and explicit refusal for any kind of class characterization

The signatories to the manifesto explain, just like any bourgeois economist would do, that the EU crisis is due to “the lack of homogeneity” among its members and their different “positions in the world economy”. In no time they have thought about characterizing the EU as an imperialist machine against the continent’s working class aiming at to impose to this working class a historical setback, as a tool of plundering and submission of the outlying countries for the benefit of the financial capital of the European central countries and the U.S. They sell us a bourgeois conception of the EU as a “neutral” institutional apparatus. Similarly, the euro would be a “neutral” monetary instrument and not a weapon at the service of the main imperialisms, particularly the German one.

It is only as from this EU and the euro “neutrality” that they can justify their reactionary utopia of “refounding”, this attempt to confuse the activists with the impossible perspective of turning this  awful weapon of social war and of  plundering, namely the European imperialist bourgeoisies, into a “progressive”  instrument at the service of the European peoples.

A “leftist government” … to continue paying the debt

The manifesto correctly defines the EU governments’ policy of “nationalizing private debts turning them into sovereign debt, imposing the austerity and transfer policies to pay them”. We are undoubtedly facing one of the largest capitalist expropriations, which combine the dismantling of the workers’ historical achievements with the plunder and devastation of the outlying countries, whose governments have become thugs of Troika.

To face this catastrophe, the manifesto suggests a “government led by the leftist parties” with a “viable strategy”, summarized in “three ruptures with the euro liberalism”.

The first “rupture” proposed “in the short term and as an immediate step”, is to “find ways to finance the budget deficit out and away from the financial markets”. This first “rupture” (if it is possible to call it so) would not represent, as acknowledged by the signatories, any change in the debt and its interests. The only thing that would change would be its financing, “with its back to the financial markets”, through other means, although some of them are “forbidden” by European rules. All round an entanglement of words which can be summarized in one sentence: keep paying the debt.

The “second rupture” would not be in the short term: “The long-term alternative, then, is the following: either an endless austerity or a debt cancellation policy or an immediate public debt moratorium”. This would be followed by a “Citizens’ Audit of the Debt to determine the legitimate debt”, which, in turn, would pave the way for a “debt securities exchange zeroing much of this debt as necessary. This is a second “rupture”. There would have, finally, “a third rupture with the neoliberal order: the control of the  international transactions of Capital, credit control and the financial system socialization”.

But it is necessary to separate the chaff from the wheat, because of these three “ruptures”, only the first one is operational, the one that intends “in the short term and as an immediate step”. The others however are in the “long term”. The signatories make a wording deliberately confusing in order to hide that their “government led by the leftist parties” does not include, by no means, the debt payment suspension, let alone “the financial system socialization” as an “immediate step”. Such measures must be separated because otherwise, they would divert the “government led by the leftist parties” of its single purpose: to renegotiate the debt.

In their camouflage operation, the manifesto signatories conceal the huge price that the working class and the peoples would have to continue paying for a debt renegotiation policy within the EU. In addition to their false realism, the “viable strategy” is nothing but a search for the “lesser evil”; a policy to turn more digestible the Troika plans for plundering and devastation.

An important oblivion: the working class exploitation 

Everyone knows that the debt of Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain are unplayable debts. It is not just the public debt, but also the global indebtedness, whose fundamental point is in companies and banks and, particularly, in their indebtedness with the German, French and American financial system.

Financial capital applies two combined measures to block the indebtedness crisis: the deep and drastic cut in the public budget (e.g., dismantling and privatization of public services and pensions) and the brutal increase of the workers’ exploitation, through demotion wages, increase in the daily working hours, injust dismissal, revocation of collective bargaining. This process, carried out with brutality, is the fundamental anchor of their plans, referred to prolong indefinitely the looting.

Nothing will ever be as before within the EU.The debt is a tool to achieve this structural change. Therefore, the struggle for immediate suspension of the debt payment goes hand in hand with the struggle to expropriate the financial system, to halt and reverse the dismantling of public services, to defeat the labor reforms and redistribute the labor. That’s what the working class expects from a true “leftist government”, but such measures would entail to break with the EU.

The solution to the crisis: to break with the EU, to apply an emergency anti-capitalist program, to open the way for an Europe for the workers

The ultimate goal and the main rationale for the manifesto is to prevent that, starting from the left, the rupture with the euro and the EU is assumed by the masses. The signatories justify saying that the exit of the euro will lead us to the abyss: rising debt, breach of the banking system and a high inflation that “will eat” salaries and pensions, all that without the country even win in sovereignty. Louçã makes this clearer, if it is possible, in Le Monde Diplomatique (Portugal: Leftist Parties Government to beat the debt), “the exit from the euro is the worst solution and can only be imposed by the European directory will. Now, well, one can only accept the worst solution when there is not, by no means, any other solution; when exhausting all alternatives, when survival so requires”.

It is a line of argument that does not stray one iota from the governments’ and bourgeois economists who threaten us with the hell if we leave the euro. It is also a recognition that, for the signatories, there is nothing to do except “soften” the horrors of the Troika.

But those who can argue this way are only those who accept the rules of capitalism and expressly give up the revolutionary struggle to put an end to this system. Their horizon does not extend beyond claiming for “a new architecture of Europe: a broader European budget, financed by a common tax on capital, which boosts the matching funds and social and environmentally useful investment”.

It is obvious that to break up with the euro and the EU is absolutely necessary. Without it there is no solution to the crisis. But this rupture will solve nothing if it is not accompanied by the necessary basic anticapitalist measures to defend the country from foreign boycott: to expropriate the financial system, to nationalize industries and strategic businesses under workers’ control, to establish control of capital movements, to establish the monopoly of foreign trade, to reorganize the economy and reinstating closed businesses and abandoned agricultural fields, and distributing the work among unemployed workers. And what is more important: to organize solidarity and joint struggle to the workers and peoples of the European southern countries and throughout Europe. Because, without destroying the EU and without building in its place a socialist Europe of the workers and peoples, no isolated country will have salvation.

The real dilemma

The EU is the platform of the central European imperialism, under the hegemony of the German capitalism and is a business partner of U.S. imperialism, in which the peripheral capitalist countries are doomed to a miserable role of minor and subaltern partners. The conditions of international competition and the labor social division within the EU and, having in view peripheral countries location in the world market, makes it compulsory for such peripheral countries to remain within the EU and in the euro, if they want to survive. But the price of this permanence is huge: it is the complete submission to the Troika commands, a massive unemployment and the imposition of a new level of exploitation that does not cause envy to any semi-colonial country.

The Manifesto program does not recognize this reality of the EU because it is not willing to face the bourgeoisie of the peripheral countries. The Manifesto is not defined by its social class option, but by euphemisms such as the “viable” and “progressive” program.

It is no coincidence that its major reference is Syriza, which currently refuses to use the great support it was given by the Greek workers in the elections to call the mobilization and overthrow the puppet government. It does not advance a single inch beyond the institutional boundaries of Greek regime, which was transformed into a parody of democracy and a belt drive of Troika. When they renounce to call the mobilization to halt the social catastrophe in our countries, the Manifesto limits our goal just to a parliamentary winning of majorities and therefore proposes a “viable” program that fits into the current system of domination.

The “false dilemma” with which they start the Manifesto is only a smoke screen to hide the real dilemma: what has been happening between the proponents of keeping the Europe of the capital and those who advocate the mobilization of the masses in order to destroy it and build upon its ruins a United Socialist Europe for workers and peoples. They have already made ​​their choice: the EU, in which they want to implement the “refounding” cosmetic surgery.

MAS (Portugal)

Corriente Roja (Spanish State)

PdAC (Italy)

European Coordination of IWL-FI

[1] –


Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles