Wednesday, May 30, 2012

German call for renewal of EU


Founding Europe anew!

Frank Bsirske (Ver.di)
Annelie Buntenbach (DGB)
Prof. Dr. Rudolf Hickel (Wirtschaftswissenschaftler)
Dr. Steffen Lehndorff (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Dr. Hans-Jürgen Urban (IG Metall)

Stop the March into Ruin! Overcome 
the Crisis with Solidarity!

This way of austerity cannot and should not continue. The project of Europe is in impasse. Europe finds itself in an existential crisis. Even before the outbreak of the crisis the directions were set in a wrong way, because the Euro-construction was fixed unilaterally on monetary stability and flawed debt- and deficit criteria, through a wrong economic and political coordination and a grave neglect of the social union. The crisis was pushed forward through neo-liberal deregulation politics and unscrupulous greed of the financial elite speculating against countries in crisis and wanted to force a financial market conformity.

With the neo-liberal model of subordination under the dominance of the (financial)markets, the EU does not add to a solution but an aggravation of the crisis. Instead of naming political mistakes and greed for profits as the causes of the crisis, state deficits are
being redefined into at (social) sovereign debt crisis in order to legitimise a disastrous politics. Public expenditures as well as work- and social incomes are radically cut through by injunctions; wage earners, unemployed and pensioners are made to carry the costs of bank saving procedures.

Thereby especially the economic regulations (»Economic Governance«) and the fiscal pact pushed through by the German government follow an agenda which threaten to endanger social democracy of member states in irreparable ways. This kind of politics is irresponsible and must be terminated immediately.  It is economically and politically contra-productive because it strangles private and public consumption as well as public investments and thus growth and development; socially irresponsible because it deepens the gap between member states, also within countries themselves.Its effects on democracy are destructive because it dismisses democratic procedures and attacks achievements of social democracy long struggled for such as autonomy in wage bargaining and social protection systems.

In the case of Greece the catastrophic consequences of this politics are appearing in sharp focus here, the economy was forced into a recession while large parts of the society are impoverished, more and more people turn their backs from Europe with feelings of bitterness, and democracy is choked in the grip of the “Troika”.This development in Greece must be stopped and shall not – by no means whatsoever –  be repeated in other countries! Europe must embark on a new road of development. If it wants to have a future as a project of democracy and solidarity, political directions must be set in completely new ways. As the economically and politically strongest member state, Germany carries a special responsibility. We are demanding from German politics that it may no longer not act as the thriving force of a destructive crisis politics but as a marker of a change of path which is long overdue.

The following economic and political measures are most urgent:  

Financial transactions must be taxed drastically.

Financial market players must, as culprits of the crisis be held accountable 
for the financing of a solution to the crisis.

The financial markets must be regulated and the banking sector must be restructured .  

For government bonds the Euro-zone must jointly guarantee and state finances must be decoupled from capital markets.

European monetary politics has to become entrusted, aside of money-stability as a goal, with targets of growth and employment political goals.

German unions and the political sphere are being challenged. In Germany. Wages must increase again as they have done in previous years, in order to put an end to the steady redistribution in favour of income of financial,bank and shareholder profits and to work against the imbalances within the EU. Equally important is an encompassing re-regulation of the working markets and a reduction of the low- income sector as well as precarious work (working conditions).

However, these measures do not suffice. A change of path has as a prerequisite a set of fundamental changes:  

In order to enable cooperation of differently productive economies under a common roof of
the Euro, it is necessary that the EU develops further into a transfer-union. Equalization
payments help to decrease existing economic imbalances within the Euro-zone. 
Thereby duties and rights of giving- and taking states must be commonly agreed upon.

New developmental perspectives must be opened for states with high debts through aid programs.  Europe needs a democracy-offensive. The EU will have no positive future as a detached elite- project. Political directions of change must be executed solely under the strict adherence toEuropean treaties and institutions. Governments have no mandates to promote crisis politics aside of avoiding parliaments. Europe‘s populations must be involved concerning all core questions.  

Europe must found itself anew! The unification process needs a guiding idea constituting identity. More and more people associate Europe today with state debts, social decline, and bureaucracy .They divert their sympathy and consent from the EU. If Europe is to have a future at all, Europe must work actively for the consent and sympathy of the people. In European public life most main actors have to negotiate the guiding ideas for a social and democratic Europe.

We plead for a European social movement of citizens which embarks on a radical change of path, and acts against the current disastrous crisis politics. A first step on this road must be the rejection of the Fiscal Pact in its current form, and new negotiations on fiscal and political frameworks. We appeal to all main political actors responsible,  to unions and civil society: The path of Europe into ruin must be stopped – through more economic wisdom, social justice, and democratic courage! Europe needs a public debate about a new democratic future of solidarity!


Prof. Dr. Elmar Altvater (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Bieling (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Bosch (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Brand (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Busch (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Frank Deppe (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Dörre (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Christoph Ehlscheid (IG Metall)
Prof. Dr. Andreas Fisahn (Rechtswissenschaftler)
Edith Großpietsch (IG Metall)
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Habermas (Philosoph)
Dr. Dierk Hirschel (Ver.di)
Dr. Martin Höpner (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Dr. Gustav Horn (Wirtschaftswissenschaftler)
Alexander Kirchner (EVG)
Prof. Dr. Birgit Mahnkopf (Sozialwissenschaftlerin)
Claus Matecki (DGB)
Franz-Josef Möllenberg (NGG)
Jürgen Peters (IG Metall)
Klaus Pickshaus (IG Metall)
Wolfgang Pieper (Ver.di)
Prof. Dr. Dieter Sauer (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Armin Schild (IG Metall)
Dieter Scholz (DGB)
Dr. Thorsten Schulten (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Prof. Dr. Michael Schumann (Sozialwissenschaftler)
Michael Sommer (DGB)
Franz Steinkühler (IG Metall)
Ulrich Thöne (GEW)
Dr. Alexandra Wagner (Sozialwissenschaftlerin)
Detlef Wetzel (IG Metall)
Klaus Wiesehügel (IG BAU)
Bernhard Witthaut (GdP)
Dr. Frieder Otto Wolf (Philosoph)
Prof. Dr. Karl Georg Zinn (Wirtschaftswissenschaftler)

Áth Cliath/Dublin 30 Bealtaine/May 2012.

Irish EU Referendum battle intensifies


The Irish Referendum campaign on the EU Austerity Treaty is being fought
tooth and nail in the final days before voting on Thursday. Door to door canvas
will continue until late evening today in all areas. World media have been arriving
in force since last week and citizens are likely to be invited to comment for
Japanese or Swiss television viewers as they go about their business on the
streets of Dublin.

In the past week, solidarity actions have been taking place outside Irish Embassies
In Rome, Lisbon, Helsinki, Madrid, The Hague, Vienna and Brussels where 
statements were handed in urging Irish people to vote NO on behalf of Europeans 
deprived of an opportunity to vote by their own governments in the setting aside of 
democracy which characterizes the current EU.

Tuesday night’s RTÉ “Prime Time” debate on television on the Referendum was a disaster for the ‘Yes’ side. Clare Daly,TD, Socialist Party and Mary Lou McDonald,TD, Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin, fresh from a successful Ard-Fheis (annual conference) in Killarney at the weekend, wiped the floor with the two ‘Yes’ supporters, Joan Burton, TD, Deputy Leader of the Irish Labour Party and Timmy Dooley, TD, of Fianna Fáil, the previous government party ousted in the 2011 general election.

Ms Daly and Ms McDonald pinned down the lies and falsehoods of the ‘Yes’ campaign with forensic detail and demolished the pathetic attempts of the other two to defend the contradictory stance of the pro-Treaty campaigners in wanting to commit the nation to a vicious austerity regime with no democratic accountability while mouthing hollow slogans about “growth and recovery” which can never be provided by such a regime.

Joan Burton, who is also Minister for Social Protection, looked distinctly uncomfortable as she tried to stave off criticism which exposed the glaring contradictions of the government position and her own departmental brief which will become practically irrelevant if the Austerity Treaty is incorporated into Irish law. Mr Dooley, a light-weight in the FF front bench, with no credibility on economic matters, floundered and blustered in a welter of redundant clichés showing no knowledge of the matters being discussed and the absence of any coherent policy by his party, Fianna Fáil, in the wake of their disastrous government performance 2007-11.

Earlier today, in the High Court in Dublin, Sinn Féin leaders launched a challenge to the Referendum Commission’s declaration last week that Ireland could not veto the setting up of
The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) the legislation for which comes before Dáil Éireann after the referendum. It is important that the voters have correct information before the poll on Thursday and as explained here yesterday, Dáil Éireann has every Constitutional right to veto this proposed legislation.


The proposed Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union is in reality a permanent Austerity Treaty. A completely undemocratic attempt to institutionalise austerity across Europe. Its so-called 'Fiscal Compact' would deny the right of Member State governments to run a 'structural' budget deficit of more than 0.5%. This would remove the democratic right of national parliaments to decide national budgets, with that power shifting to the unelected European Commission and European Court of Justice. This would be a fundamental transfer of power away from elected governments.

The demand for “balanced budgets”, and fines of hundreds of millions of euro for countries which breach EU targets, is an attempt to impose austerity regardless of what government is elected or what mass movements against austerity develop. This attack on democratic rights is part of the same process that has seen elected governments in Greece and Italy replaced by ex-bankers, who represent the interests of the powerful and wealthy.

The proposed Austerity Treaty will not revive the economy or reduce unemployment. It would result in a Europe where millions are out of work for years; where welfare and other benefits are driven down; where education, health and other essential services are cut. It would exacerbate the differences between rich and poor, and between the wealthy core and indebted peripheral countries - shifting the burden of the crisis onto ordinary people.

The proposed Austerity Treaty is a means to compel governments to reduce public spending so as to pay public debt. But public debt has grown because banks have been given €billions to stop them collapsing or because the rich paid little or no tax – not because of excessive spending on public services. Yet the banks and financial markets now insist that governments must become more “credit-worthy”: spending cuts are demanded - to ensure that the state can pay debts that were taken on to bail out the banks in the first place.

Cutting public spending on health, education and welfare will only make the current crisis worse. The economy is in recession, yet €billions of accumulated profits are not being invested productively. Instead, money has gone into financial speculation, which is at the root of the financial crisis and has fuelled the growth of huge debt on the part of households, businesses and states. Therefore it can be seen as a clear agenda for the complete dismantling of the welfare state across Europe by disabling democratic decision making in state parliaments and enforcing a bureaucratic regime from Brussels which would be unaccountable and uncontrollable by any democratic means. It wouldn’t matter what government was elected, they would be unable to alter the legally binding Austerity Treaty and would be forced to continue with the right-wing neo-liberal ‘necronomics’ policies of stagnation and public spending cuts which has been the bureaucrats and the financial elite’s plan all along.

In the past, recession and a refusal to invest profits were addressed by state investment in public works. But the Austerity Treaty would prevent states from running deficits to fund public works; it would further reduce economic demand and risks turning the current recession into a long-term depression.

The decision on the Austerity Treaty is about the kind of Europe we want: a Europe for the millions or for the millionaires. The real issue in a referendum will not be the euro or membership of the EU. It will be a choice between accepting an EU Austerity Union, with protection for the wealthy and poverty for ordinary people; or struggling with others across Europe for a People’s Europe, where the priorities are democracy and equality, full employment, social protection and sustainable development.  

What has been imposed on Greece is exactly what is intended for all of 
Europe by the league of Liars, Thieves and Traitors who are 
propagandising  for this Treaty.


Áth Cliath/Dublin 30 Bealtaine/May 2012.


Monday, May 28, 2012



Three opinion polls published last Sunday all indicated that the Yes
side vote has been slipping on a daily basis in the last two weeks of
the referendum campaign in Ireland. The poll results caused panic in
Government circles as it seems their campaign of lies, disinformation,
intimidation and scaremongering was starting to crack as more undecided
voters began to swing to the NO side.

The polls were conducted by Red C for the Sunday Business Post,
Behaviour and Attitudes for the Sunday Times, and Millward Brown
Lansdowne for the Sunday Independent.

However, the outcome is still in the hands of undecided voters. Asked how
they were likely to vote on the treaty, 39% of voters said Yes, 30 % said No,
22% said they did not know, and 9% said they would not be voting.

When the 31 per cent of undecided and non-voters are excluded, support for
the Yes side stands at 57 per cent with No support at 43 per cent. Support for
the NO side has gone up by seven points since last week’s polls and the trend
seems to be continuous.

The number of undecided voters has come down by 17 points since the last poll.
The poll was taken between lunchtime on Wednesday and lunchtime Saturday
among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face
interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is
plus or minus 3 per cent.

The increase in support for the NO side is quite remarkable considering the
level of sheer bullying intimidation and scaremongering emanating from the
Government, Employers, Newspapers and TV, Economists, and loudmouth
individuals dragged out of nowhere to provide soundbites on Radio and TV
on a daily basis while spokespeople for NO have been marginalised and
denied access to mainstream media. The level of viciousness is unprecedented
even by the appalling rhetoric of the Lisbon 2 campaign in 2010.


The Government has relied on this tactic of rubbishing all critics of the
Austerity Treaty while failing on all occasions to discuss the details of
the Treaty itself and the follow-on European Stability Mechanism amendment
Treaty which has been mentioned as if it already existed and the people were
being asked to vote on a proposal to accept the terms of this Treaty in addition
to the Austerity Treaty. This is patently untrue. The ESM Treaty must come before
the Dáil for ratification. The only way we can be legally excluded from access to ESM
is if the Irish Government itself agrees to this blackmail clause in the draft ESM
being accepted by themselves with their majority in Dáil Éireann.This is the BIG LIE
at the heart of the Government’s campaign. The EU cannot force us to accept the
blackmail clause if the Dáil votes against it ! Kenny, Noonan, Gilmore and the rest
are lying to the voters and carrying out the worst deception ever attempted to
be imposed on the Irish electorate. But, the people can defeat this lie and deception
by voting a resounding NO on Thursday next:

Áth Cliath/Dublin 28 Bealtaine/May 2012.



Peeved by the publicity generated by the Sinn Féin Árd Fheis 
in Killarney this weekend and having refused a TV debate with
Party Leaders on the Austerity Treaty referendum to be held on 
Thursday, 31 May, Taoiseach Enda Kenny arranged a ministerial 
broadcast of his own on Sunday night to try to counteract the speech 
given by Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams in the Kerry town on Saturday.  
His government clearly rattled by the slippage of the Yes vote indicated in 
this weekend's opionion polls, Mr Kenny trotted out the tiresome list of 
cliched falsehoods which has been the sole basis of the government 
campaign since the referendum was announced last month.

In his televised address, Mr Kenny admitted the treaty will not solve all 
of Ireland’s problems, but was a step to keep the country moving in the
right direction.

It won’t solve anyone’s problems; it is a puritanical nonsense 
without any economic credibility invented by Merkel’s German
government to stave off debt default which would cause losses to
the big German banks.

“This treaty strengthens the economic and budgetary rules that apply to 
countries like Ireland that use the euro,”

No, it doesn’t, it only re-writes what was in the Masstricht Treaty 
previously with a further reduced limit on government deficits as 
percentage of GDP. The Maastricht rules were breached at will by 
France and Germany when it suited their interests. These rules
have nothing to do with basic economic factors of production but, 
only the administration of government fiscal policies.

“It will create stability in the euro zone that is essential for growth and job 
creation. A strong yes vote will create the certainty and stability that our 
country needs to continue on the road to economic recovery.”

No, it won’t. The instability in the Eurozone will continue as a result 
of structural flaws in the setting up of the single currency at the 
beginning. This Treaty does nothing to correct these flaws only 
interferes with the ability of Eurozone Governments to expand economic development by state investment. Voting for this Treaty cannot create 
anything only the reinforcement of austerity programmes which have already 
failed in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and most of all Greece.


Mr Kenny's collection of threadbare cliches advances no knowledge and
clears no vision of solutions to the actual crisis which engulfs the EU at
present. The crisis is not economic, but political, the result of the
imposition of the blinkered ideology of neo-liberalism, invented in
the USA to allow the creation of massive amounts of unjustified
credit by monopoly finance institutions solely for the scooping up of huge
profits not related to any productive enterprise, which led inevitably to the
property bubble in the USA and here in Ireland and the consequent 
bank and finance capital failures when the pyramid scheme finally 
collapsed at Lehmann Bros in 2008.

Contrary to Irish Government claims, and intransigent noises from Berlin,
the Austerity Treaty as presented to Irish voters is a dead duck, a political
corpse awaiting burial. It is a scandal and a contempt of the Irish Constitution
to propose that voters be asked to consider voting for such a rotting
carcass. The proper answer to this Government's abhorent necrophilia is a
resounding NO vote next Thursday.

Áth Cliath/Dublin 28 Bealtaine/May 2012.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chicago Protests NATO War-mongers!


Culminating a week of activities against the NATO aggressors Summit meeting in Chicago and the G8 Summit in Camp David, near Washington (moved there by President Obama to avoid meeting planned protests by a wide range of groups) thousands of US Peace Activists
and supporters staged the largest protest seen in Chicago for many years on Sunday, 20 May. An estimated 20,000 protesters took part in Sunday's demonstration despite police
terror tactics and city government attacks and slanders on the organisers for months on end
since the protest was announced in January this year.

As protesters tried to move east toward McCormick Place, police tried "kettling" tactics which produced reaction by some protesters being pushed by police. Officers responded by swinging their batons. The two sides were locked in a standoff  for nearly two hours, with police blocking the protesters' path and the crowd refusing  to leave. Some protesters had blood streaming down their faces.

Police were seen making arrests one by one and leading individual demonstrators away in handcuffs. After the clash near McCormick Place, Chicago Police  Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a news conference that the protests of  the NATO Summit resulted in 45 people being arrested and four officers suffering  injuries — one from a stab wound in the leg. 

Police appeared to be using precisely the tactics Superintendent Garry McCarthy said they would — extracting individuals from the crowd and quickly getting them away from the rest of the demonstrators. Several times they were seen pulling protesters into a line of officers, which parted briefly before quickly closing ranks again. Police also used "sound cannons" to
cause psychological shock and disorient demonstrators.Three activists who travelled to Chicago for the summit were accused of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack Obama's campaign headquarters, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home and other targets.
Their lawyers argued that the police had trumped up the charges to frighten away peaceful protesters. They told a judge it was undercover officers who brought the firebombs to an apartment on Chicago's South Side where the men were arrested. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former member of Obama's Government, tried all sorts of bureaucratic tricks and legal manueveres to restrict the right to demonstrate and protest in the city since the beginning of the year.

On Sunday, police said two other men were also in custody on charges they discussed making bombs prior to the summit. Police said the pair were not connected to the earlier arrests, although defence lawyers said all five were targeted by authorities to scare protesters away from the meeting.

New clashes erupted later in the night. Hundreds of protesters gathered late Sunday night near the Art Institute of Chicago as first lady Michelle Obama hosted a dinner for spouses of NATO leaders inside. At least 100 Chicago police officers in riot gear were also at the scene.

At the rally, many military veterans threw away medals they had received from being in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to wild cheers from the assembled crowds. The large demonstration indicated the widespread revulsion in the United States against the aggressive war-mongering of their Governments including the current Obama regime which has increased troop levels in Afghanistan to an all-time high. "Basically NATO is used to keep the poor poor and the rich rich," said John Schraufnagel, who travelled from Minneapolis to Chicago for the march. Since the end of the Cold War, he said, the Alliance has become "the enforcement arm of the ruling 1 percent, of the capitalist 1 percent."

On Monday, 21 May, several hundred protesters gathered outside Boeing Aircraft offices in the City to continue the anti-NATO event. Boeing is one of the largest contractors to the US 
military who profit from the slaughter and destruction wreaked by NATO on innocent civilians
in many countries around the world.

Russia Today reported:

"NATO critics flocking to the city to stage mass protests make no secret of their negative attitude towards the alliance. Demonstrators want the money ($55M) pumped into the summit and its security to be spent on real needs.

RT’s Anastasia Churkina interviewed people on the city’s streets and their remarks about NATO have been overwhelmed by bitter resentment.

“NATO is a US-commanded military alliance responsible for wars and war crimes on a global basis,” one woman told RT.

“NATO as an organization no longer has a mandate. Occupy Chicago denies and demands NATO disband. They have no more purpose. They are spending our taxpayer dollars on wars and to bomb and destroy and murder civilians all over the world,” accuses Occupy Chicago press committee member Micah Philbrook.

“There is a pro-peace majority in the United States. We oppose war. We oppose the world’s pre-eminent war-making organization NATO. And we have a human agenda and a humane agenda that has no place for war,” political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff told RT".

Friday's Protest:

Thousands of protesters also took to Chicago’s streets ahead of the NATO Summit on Friday, 18 May. National Nurses United teamed up with trade unions and the Occupy movement to form a mass rally in the city centre.

The NNU members demanded a Robin Hood tax to be introduced on banks’ financial transactions. That demand was a supplement to the protest against proposals to cut back nurses pensions.

“We’ve worked 30 years for them and don’t want to get rid of them,” said Deb Holmes, a nurse at a hospital in Worcester.

Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist and Occupy activist Tom Morello performed live at the event.

Statement of the Combined USA Peace Groups:

"On May 19-21, Mayor 1% Rahm Emanuel will bring to Chicago military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers.

They meet on behalf of the 1% of the world, the rich and the powerful, the bankers and generals. Their agenda is to continue to impose austerity, or poverty, by cutting social spending for workers and the poor to maintain profitability for the rich and to launch more wars to stop the rise of the poor nations of the Third World.

The people of this fine city do not want these summits. The mayor has his own agenda. In anticipation of widespread opposition to the war & poverty agenda of the NATOG8, Mayor Rahm Emanuel passed a set of first-amendment crushing ordinances, known as “Sit Down Shut Up”, to stifle the exercise of free speech and assembly during the summits. The mayor single-handedly gave himself the ability to issue no-bid security contracts and deputize out-of-town law enforcement while imposing harsh restrictions on parades, marches and demonstrations.

But we will not be silenced. We will stand up to this corrupt system and say enough! Join Occupy Chicago, Coalition Against NATO/G8 (CANG8), the Midwest Antiwar Mobilization and many more as we gather in Chicago in May!

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 is a broad formation that includes labor unions, community groups, anti-war and international solidarity groups and faith based activists. From the CANG8 website:

    Protest the NATO/G8 Summit on Saturday, May 19th, 2012!
    Noon rally at Daley Plaza, then march to McCormick Place!
    Join in a legal, permitted, family-friendly march and rally that will end within sight and sound of the summit at McCormick Place!

At the invitation of the White House, military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers are meeting in Chicago, May 19-21, 2012. To that we say…

   " No to War and Austerity!
 Money out of politics! Represent for the people,        
not the money!
    No to NATO/G-8 Warmakers!
    Jobs, Healthcare, Education, Pensions, Housing & the Environment, Not War!"


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the eight wealthy G8 nations will 
gather in Chicago May 19th to 21st for "summit" meetings to plan future strategies.

They will make plans to continue the war and occupation in Afghanistan and to carry
out an aggressive new nuclear doctrine in violation of international law. They will make 
plans for new wars and occupations in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and 
elsewhere. And they will decide to continue escalating arms expenditures, expanding
the massive imperial system of environmentally destructive military bases around 
the world.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has reinvented itself and now claims the
"right" to conduct military attacks anywhere in the world on decision of an 
“international community” -- the elite One Percent in the NATO nations. Participation
in NATO is leading to increased military capabilities of the European countries and of 
the European Union, which collaborates closely with NATO on military strategy and 
which has been declared in "Strategic Alliance" with NATO.  NATO persists in arrogating 
to itself the "right" to unilaterally initiate a nuclear strike against any perceived threat.

This rapacious militarism benefits only the One Percent. The people of the NATO/G8
countries pay with tax increases, cutbacks in social services, increasing inequality,
poverty, racism, sexism, militarization of schools and loss of youth to war, environmental
damage, and destruction of civil rights and democratic systems of government. The
people in countries victimized by NATO war crimes and occupation pay with the theft 
of their resources and the destruction of their homes, livelihoods, communities, and
cultures - and often with their lives. Though more than 50,000 Libyans died in the recent
NATO intervention, NATO deems that venture a "success" and a model for future

G8 countries comprise only 14% of the world's population, but account for more than
70% of the world's military expenditures. All of the G8 countries except Russia are
members of NATO, and the 28-member countries of NATO account for 75% of world
military expenditures, with the U.S. covering the majority of NATO costs. Just a portion
of this spending could save the lives of millions of people who are in desperate need
and would provide essential resources for education and medical care and to reverse
environmental damage, and much more.

We refuse to accept the NATO/G8 policies of the elite One Percent. We refuse to live
under the terror of nuclear weapons. We demand an end to the nuclear arms race and
the dismantling of foreign military bases. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all
U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan. We demand an end to threats of intervention
in Syria, Iran, and other countries. We demand that international law and civil liberties be
respected and that resources be directed to serve human needs.

We call on all supporters of Peace to join with the US Peace Movement public protests
in Chicago, May 2012.

First Signatories (as of February 21st 2012):
Reiner Braun (ICC No to War – No to NATO, Germany), Claire Chastain 
(ICC No to War– No to NATO, France), Luis Gutierrez-Esparza (ICC No to War 
– No to NATO, Mexico), Kristine Karch (No to NATO Women’s Network, Germany), Tobias Pflüger (ICC No to War – No to NATO, Germany), Elsa Rassbach 
(ICC No to War – No to NATO, USA/Germany), (Lucas Wirl (Germany), 
Michael Youlton (ICC No to War – No to NATO, Ireland).

Áth Cliath/Dublin 21 Bealtaine/May 2012.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Merkel trounced in State Elections




In a startling turnabout, voters in Germany's most populous
federal Land, North-Rhine Westphalia, delivered a shattering blow to
Mutti Merkel's CDU party in last Sunday's state election, returning to
power SPD leader Hannelore Kraft and her Green/Alliance90 coalition
partners with a governing majority and endorsing Kraft's expansionist
State Budget which triggered the election when the CDU oposition 
voted against it.

Merkel’s CDU slumped to 26% in the election compared to 39% for
Kraft’s Social Democrats, bringing Kraft to national prominence and
showing that voters are ready to accept robust challenges to the Austerity
Mania and necronomics of the now defunct and discredited Merkozy era.

"The defeat is bitter and it really hurts," said the CDU's main contender Norbert Röttgen, who is also Merkel's Environment minister. He had faced off against Kraft in the poll, which was triggered after the minority state government unexpectedly fell when the regional parliament failed to pass a draft budget after just 22 months in power. Kraft had argued the need for public savings and focused on jobs, education and nursery places, while Roettgen took aim at the SPD contender for clocking up public debt. Röttgen's campaign ran into trouble when he failed to commit to staying in opposition in the region if he lost Sunday's vote. He later had to backtrack after reportedly irking party allies by saying the NRW vote was a referendum on Merkel's policy on Europe.

The Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper said Kraft had won over people with her social policy.

"That she further increased the deficit despite growing revenues, people did not hold against her, quite the opposite. Obviously, the message from Düsseldorf to Berlin, is that the citizens are tired of the drive for consolidation," it said. The vote was the third regional election in Germany in eight weeks and comes only  a week after Merkel's centre-right coalition lost power in the state of Schleswig -Holstein.

 "Hannelore Kraft is a Merkel in red," wrote the Frankfurter Rundschau. Although their political positions on debt are polar opposites - unlike Merkel, Kraft doesn't have a problem with the government getting into debt. According to the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung in Heidelberg, Kraft has the potential be able to reconnect her party to its traditional values and grassroots ideals of social equality. Kraft "just might be the one to strengthen the Social Democrats belief in their own values. Since Sunday in NRW the SPD has become a party of mass appeal once again."

 The SPD has echoed calls by Hollande to place more emphasis on growth in the fiscal pact and Merkel, who needs a two-thirds majority in parliament to ratify the fiscal pact, will therefore need opposition support. "We put people at the centre," the SPD's incumbent state premier Hannelore Kraft said, who looked set to form another coalition with the ecologist Green Party but, this time, with a majority.


President Hollande arrived in Berlin today, just hours after being sworn in as new French president – something Merkel campaigned against, having had a close working relationship with his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. Diplomatic niceties were observed but, at the press conference when their first official meeting had ended, Hollande shocked Merkel by announcing confirmation and extension of his agenda on renegotiation of the Austerity Treaty and that “everything will be on the table” at the EU council meeting on May 23rd next week.
 A central plank of Hollande’s election campaign was to put a brake on the austerity measures in the fiscal pact, and to add a growth element to it – something Merkel has previously categorically ruled out. Merkel's political position in Germany is now considerably weakened
as she needs SPD support in the Bundestag to get the Austerity Treaty ratified, support which is not forthcoming as the SPD is waiting to see what concessions Hollande can now get from
the EU Council meeting next week.

In only two weeks since the French elections, tables have turned with a vengeance against the former dominant Merkozy agenda resulting in sheer panic and disarray in the “Yes” campaign in the Irish referendum due on May 31. Austerity is now a dirty word in the public discourse here which has heated up significantly this week.

On RTE tonight, Cat Pox, former PD stalwart and serial pensioned 
ex-MEP, was allowed to deliberately misrepresent Hollande's 
stance and suggest that the Austerity Treaty would not be changed 
and further suggest that Hollande would oppose a left-wing Government
 in Greece after the new elections which are now pending there, 
whereas Hollande specifically and catergorically offered solidarity and 
support to Greece in resolving its problems within the EU and Eurozone.

This is just one example of the lies and deliberate misrepresentation of 
events in favour of the YES side in the forthcoming referendum here on 
the Austerity Treaty being propagandised by RTE News on a 
daily basis.

Áth Cliath/Dublin 15 Bealtaine/May 2012.