The strongest ammunition that political and economic elites have over us is not a threat of police brutality, but our silence. Therefore, with every march, protest or action, we must break our passivity and emphasize our opposition
Writing for the London Review of Books, in 2007, Perry Anderson wrote that ''the emergence of the Europen Union may be regarded as the last great world-historical achievement of bourgoisie, proof that its creative powers were not exhausted by the fratricide of two world wars.''  Just a year later, the outbreak of financial crisis, which soon flooded Europe, revealed the true character of the European half century achievement, the project pompously called the European dream. Today the streets of a European dream are covered with marches of hundreds of thousands of disgruntled, dispossessed and disenfranchised workers, requiring a fundamental change of economic model that has pushed them into existential misery. We are witnessing that in the heart of the European Union is not the prosperity for all its citizens, but only for selected social classes, the ones that insatiably accumulate wealth at the expense of the remaining population. We observe the political plays in which non-elected prime ministers (as in the case of Italy and Greece) are given halo of national saviors, although they only protect the interests of financial capital. But despite everything, masks are slowly falling from their faces and it becomes apparent that in the heart of the European Union was always an existing class antagonism - between the class of capitalists and the working class. And by this I do not mean only manual workers but all those who are forced to sell their labor power to survive: workers in the shops, cleaners, nurses, tradesmen, school teachers, teachers in the kindergarten and the rest of the service sector.
The colonial relationship between center and periphery
Lives of the working class have become particularly threatened and insecure in the peripheral countries of the European Union. The escalating financial crisis, virtual bankruptcy of European banks and the fiscal collapse of Greece fully revealed deeply divided economic structure of the European Union and politically unsustainable design of the euro area. We can no longer ignore that the central EU countries (Germany, France, Great Britain, the Benelux countries) have concentrated industrial and financial power with which economic elites realize trade surpluses. On the other side are less developed countries of the periphery (countries of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe) that serve exclusively as a markets for product placement of the center countries, thereby generating trade deficits. Intermediaries in the creation of this colonial mechanisms are primarily German and French banks. Specifically, the money that German banks lend, Greece uses to buy products from Germany.
When the crisis outbursted, a common currency area became a straitjacket for the countries included in Eurozone. These countries do not have their own currency which they could devalue and thus enhance competitiveness. And discontinuation of the euro flow from the German, French and Italian banks (which are actually bankrupt) emphasized the burden of accumulated debts simply because they are short of money for its servicing.
Political reaction to the crisis
Political and media presentation of the crisis in the European Union has manifested deliberate discourse of completely different interpretation. They utterly ignored the uncomfortable relationship between the colonial center and periphery, and placed focus on racist myths of inherently corrupt periphery and lazy Mediterranean. With this, media designed scenery for a political response to the crisis. After the breakdown of debt, Greece was first to take a hit from European bankers. The people of Greece became a guinea pig in a sadistic laboratory of European elites. The brutal austerity measures have destroyed what Yanis Varoufakis calles ''social economy'': everyday social life and financial exchanges. Broad layers of the population found themselves in a situation of poverty and existential misery, where many people take their lifes out of despair. The number of suicides in period January-May in 2011 has increased by 40% (from 2.8 per 100 000 population before the crisis) compared to same period in 2010 , heroin addiction and prostitution has spread, and because of drastic cost-cutting to health service once extinct disease malaria appeared again and in some areas is becoming an endemic disease.  In two years, Greece has turned into a third world country. In return for implementing harsh austerity measures, Greece received two bailouts from the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, the institution colloquially dubbed Troika. But that money is not intended to encourage the Greek economy, but is immediately forwarded to the accounts of German and French banks, under the further obligation to conduct a more rigorous austerity measures. Thus Greece received the worst of both worlds: the political and economic subordination to European bankers and destructive austerity measures. Richard Seymour writes that the new measures ''reek of ruthlessness born of despair.'' 
Agreement on fiscal stability
Greece is not the only country which implemented austerity measures, but there the content was the most brutal. In the process of implementing these measures, which the European elites dictate to protect their wealth, any semblance of democracy has been rejected: in Greece and Italy the elected prime ministers have been replaced by banking technocrats. There is only one question remainin: how long will the nations in the European Union put up with such developments.
The highest political echelon, disintegrated from any contact with reality, is convinced that the current situation can go on indefinitely. So they decided to codify these measures, which have so far been conducted on national levels, on the EU level, in the form of the Agreement on fiscal stability. All countries except Great Britain and the Czech Republic have signed this agreement so far. Agreement on fiscal stability, which should enter into force on January 1st 2013, is not only a codification of fiscal rules at European level, such as the provision that an annual structural deficit must not exceed 0.5% of nominal GDP, which is actually impossible for any country of the European periphery. This agreement in fact means the subordination of the economic policies of each member country to unelected bureaucrats in the European institutions, who will monitor (European Commission) and sanction (European Court of Justice) violator-countries. Each member country will also have to change the Constitution, bringing provisions from the Treaty on fiscal stability. In reality it will be a formal codification of the colonial relationship between center and periphery, and an attempt to consolidate European capitalist class. In the event that this contract really comes to life, the European monetary and fiscal policy will finally be united by an extremely violent mechanism. Banking circles will become untouchable. ''What the banks have not taken they will. Who the banks have not hurt they will. When is the only question. The Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese and Italians are first up. Soon the French, Germans, British, Americans and Canadians will feel pain of a country banks under control.'' 
Modest Proposal by Yanis Varoufakisa and Stuart Holland
Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis calls this scenario road to European disaster and to the postmodern '30s. Together with British politician Stuart Holland he developed Keynesian draft called Modest Proposal in response to a European crisis.  It is three-step plan for reorganization of existing European institutions to combat the crisis. In the first step they deal with the centralization of public debt through the European Central Bank, in the second step they encourage aggregate demand and reducing trade imbalances through public investment, with the assistance of the European Investment Bank, and in the third step they would recapitalize banks and unifiy banking sector, so the bank are supervised at European level, and not at national level as is the case now, though they are operating throughout Europe. Implementation of these measures should be the basis for cutting Gordian knot of the European crisis.
Although Keynesian proposal for resolving the crisis may seem feasible, Michael Roberts from the Marxist perspective is warning for the problem of falling profit rates in Europe. He states that the existing profit rates cannot grow, if the area for investment is fully utilized, regardless whether the program for resolving the crisis is austerity or Keynesian plan.  Therefore, successful implementation of any Keynesian plan can only work if there will be new productive spheres. What Roberts does not write, but is implicit, is the omnipresent specter that the creation of new productive sphere can not only be realized through their creation, but also through the destruction of existing ones. Just as the Second World War resolved the crisis of capitalism in the 1930s, the shadow of a new global conflict is increasingly becoming dangerous and a real possibility. European capitalist elites so far are expanding productive spheres through privatization of public goods and public services, but these spheres are still limited, even if in the meantime popular rebellion does not occur.
The space of political resistance
The worst that can happen to the left is surrendering to defeatism, apathy, or escape into depression. The strongest ammunition that political and economic elites have over us is not a threat of police brutality, but our silence. Therefore, with every march, protest or action, we must break our passivity and emphasize our opposition. Build solidarity and unity, and denounce the ruling class as a privileged class with whom we shared nothing in common and against who we are organizing. We must not let their well-established manipulation apparatus tear threads that bind us to the uncertain everyday life and fairer future prospects. It is necessary to break the heavy millstone of isolation of mind from the existential misery of the body. This can be achieved only by constant activity, relentless writing, publishing and discussions. We must always emphasize that the first and fundamental identification of the mind must be with the material conditions of our existence. Our conscience cannot exert irreparable skepticism, but steadfast spirit, confident in the ability to change the world. On the wave of organized resistance movements and progressive initiatives, the left has to reclaim the political sphere. Take back what has always been ours. Social. Collective. Give back to the people a voice that has a striking resonance. The work that we have to invest as leftists seems colossal. But it is the only alternative. Each defeat that will happen on this road will be a bitter test of our commitment, such that we will never give up. Until the final victory.
1. Perry Anderson, Depicting Europe, London Review of Books, Vol. 29, No. 18, 20 September 2007, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n18/perry-anderson/depicting-europe
2. Helena Smith, Greek woes drive up suicide rate, Guardian, Sunday 18 December 2011,
3. Lee Moran, Is Greece becoming a third world country? HIV, Malaria and TB rates soar as health services are slashed by savage cuts, Daily Mail, 16 March 2012, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2115992/Is-Greece-world-country-HIV-Malaria-TB-rates-soar-health-services-slashed-savage-cuts.html#ixzz1pMpR6jOd
4. Richard Seymour, The European meltdown: Crisis across the continent, 206, Autumn 2012, http://overland.org.au/previous-issues/issue-206/feature-richard-seymour/
5. Nadim Fetaih, Syntagma suicide, Could this be Greece's 'Tunisia moment'?, http://roarmag.org/2012/04/syntagma-suicide-could-this-be-greeces-tunisia-moment/
6. Yanis Varoufakis, Stuart Holland, The modest proposal for overcoming euro crisis, http://varoufakis.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/a-modest-proposal-version-2-1-for-the-levy-institute-pdf.pdf
7. Michael Roberts, The austerity debate, http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/the-austerity-debate/
|Domagoj Mihaljević is political activist who holds a BA in Economics from the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb.|