Regulatory exceptionalism: the EU short selling ban

dollar's flow in black hole

A much re­marked upon fea­ture of the Global Financial Crisis (‘GFC’) has been the re­course of gov­ern­ments to per­manent states of ex­cep­tion, pur­portedly jus­ti­fied by the need to pro­tect fin­an­cial sta­bility. We have seen everything from prime min­is­ters being heli­coptered in (Romano Prodi), to mon­et­arist central banks buying up bonds and even gilts, to the decision…

Guantanamo is still there … and the number of Guantanomos is multiplying.

by Banksy

One of the reasons why President Obama’s man­date has fallen many miles short of ex­pect­a­tions is his clear lack of will — let’s dis­pense with eu­phem­isms — to de­liver his promise to close the six dif­ferent camps making up the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay. This is where pris­oners with links to the war against ter­rorism, primarily to Al-​Qaeda,…

A Generation Gaining its Voice


I ended 2013 listening to Glen Greenwald’s key­note ad­dress at the Chaos Computer Club’s 30c3 con­fer­ence in Hamburg. Though Greenwald was con­vinced that change is pos­sible, he was cer­tain it would not arise through polit­ical de­bate or demo­cratic pro­cesses. Instead his op­timism is vested in the skills of his peers, and in en­cryp­tion tech­no­lo­gies such…

Between Repression and Paternalism: European Asylum and Immigration Policy after the Lampedusa Tragedy

Coffins in the Lampedusa airport hangar

Crocodile Tears In the space of just over a week the world watched in as­ton­ish­ment as two ships sank off the Italian coast, giving rise to stag­gering death-​tolls (359 on the 3rd of October, more than 50 on the 11th) and various ex­pres­sions of grief. Among the mourners were those dir­ectly re­spons­ible for asylum and immigration…

Sovereignty Regained? Ireland Exits the EU-​IMF Bailout


The bailout will soon be over. No longer will Ireland have to be sub­jected to the in­ter­fer­ence of ex­ternal powers in its af­fairs. No more hu­mi­li­ating con­di­tion­al­ities im­posed by mild-​mannered Troika func­tion­aries with a stern eco­nomic vision. Instead, thanks to the credit fa­cil­ities sup­plied by KfW Entwicklungsbank, which is mostly owned by the German fed­eral gov­ern­ment, Ireland will…

Euro Stability Mechanism proposes transfer of Greek assets to Luxembourg


The European Commission has been forced to re­buff a pro­posal by the Eurozone’s new bailout fund, the ESM, that Greek as­sets be trans­ferred to a new Luxembourg-​based spe­cial pur­pose vehicle as a part of a wider privat­isa­tion scheme. The pro­posal, mooted by Finland in 2011, and on the radar of the IMF, was aimed at cut­ting through “Greek bureaucracy”…

Immigration Manhunts and British Post-​Colonial Identity

No I will not show you my papers

Last week the British government’s Border Agency (UKBA) pushed its new and con­tro­ver­sial “go home” cam­paign into full ef­fect along with an ac­com­pa­nying, and highly cri­ti­cized im­mig­ra­tion stop and search at sev­eral London tube sta­tions. The vast ma­jority of the cri­ti­cism to UKBA’s cam­paign has been largely fo­cused on the basic premises that the Tories are…

The Dark Shores of Europe


This was August 2008 at Koraka’s Cape beach in Lesvos. A local farmer told me that he saw a pros­thetic leg on the beach. He said that the leg be­longed to a boy, around 13 years old, who ar­rived on a rubber boat with his family. The coast­guard were just be­hind the boat as it was ap­proaching the beach.…

Cypriots Discover the Debt Jubilee

ATM Out of Service

Come again? Cypriots dis­cover the debt ju­bilee? Well yes ac­tu­ally, that is ba­sic­ally how de­pos­itors at Cypriot banks have been treated by the Troika, even if the de­cision to grab up to 9.9% of cash de­posits to fin­ance a bail out of the fin­ance sector is being presented as a tax or levy. To un­der­stand this we…

An Ungovernable Italy: Interview with Bifo


Amador Fernández-​Savater: What is the con­text in which the Italian elec­tions have taken place? Bifo: The polit­ical dis­in­teg­ra­tion of Europe. Europe was born as a pro­ject of peace and so­cial solid­arity, taking up the legacy of the so­cialist and in­ter­na­tion­alist cul­ture that op­posed fas­cism. In the 90s, fin­ance capital’s major centres of power de­cided to des­troy the European…

Blockupy Frankfurt 2013 — appeal for action this spring

Blockupy 2013

“Resistance in the heart of Europe’s crisis re­gime” — under this slogan the Blockupy Alliance is plan­ning re­newed in­ter­na­tional protests in Frankfurt this spring. In a na­tion­wide meeting on Sunday in Frankfurt’s DGB-​200 Active House it was agreed to push on with pre­par­a­tions for the days of ac­tion and issue a written joint ap­peal. We will carry our protest,…

Greece and the Future of Europe

Direct Democracy, Syntagma Square

Delivered at The Southern Europe Crisis and Resistances, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, 25 November 2012. Listen to the free pod­cast. In the summer of 1918, Constantin Cavafy met E. M. Forster in Alexandria. Cavafy com­pared the Greeks with the English. The two peoples are alike, quick-​witted, re­sourceful, ad­ven­turous. ‘But there is one un­for­tu­nate difference.…

#14N: European General Strike


Last month, Portugal’s largest trade union CGTP called a gen­eral strike for November 14 against the “ex­ploit­a­tion and im­pov­er­ish­ment” of the Portuguese pop­u­la­tion. The union stressed the need to change gov­ern­ment policies “for the sake of a better fu­ture” and urged all to join in the protest against the gov­ern­ment and its re­cently an­nounced aus­terity meas­ures for next…

Five reasons why it was a bad idea to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU

Nobel Prize goes to EU in a time of protest

1) The re­porting on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union has been sub­standard in its sim­pli­fic­a­tion of per­spect­ives to a “for or against” binary. It has been as­sumed that a view on the awarding of the prize has cor­res­pond­ingly also been a view on the re­cip­ient: cri­ti­cising the prize is cri­ti­cism of the…

Interview with leader of the Greek Syriza Party: ‘The Euro is a Powder Keg that is Going to Explode!’

Alexis Tsipras

Euro or no euro. That was the grand di­lemma in which Greece, and in par­tic­u­lar, the Syr­iza move­ment that you lead, was framed. How do you ana­lyse the period of crisis that Europe is cur­rently under­go­ing, and which seems to put in ques­tion much more than the sac­rosanct sta­bil­ity of the euro?

I be­lieve the European model has to be re­built from below. We can’t be sat­is­fied with what today is called Europe. The cur­rent crisis is not a European crisis but a global one. Europe today does not have the mech­an­isms to con­front it or con­trol the world­wide fin­an­cial at­tack against its peoples. Hence why Europe be­came a con­tin­ent where the at­tack of the global fin­an­cial sys­tem was fero­cious. We have no defences.

A European State of Prolonged Emergency


If we look at the post-​2008 his­tory of European and Member States’ le­gis­la­tion, we can clearly per­ceive the emer­gence and con­sol­id­a­tion of a dis­course of crisis and ne­ces­sity, which has been used to abandon ex­isting legal con­straints and to dis­mantle the bound­aries provided by the struc­ture of the EU. Fortified by a nar­rative of apo­ca­lypse, il­leg­ality has been trans­formed into lawfulness.

Considering the famous 2009 judg­ment of the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Germany, we can af­firm that ac­cording to the fun­da­mental Treaties:

‘the European Union must comply with demo­cratic prin­ciples as re­gards its nature and ex­tent and also as re­gards to its own or­gan­isa­tional and pro­ced­ural elab­or­a­tion. This means firstly that European in­teg­ra­tion may not result in the system of demo­cratic rule [in Member States] being undermined. […]

Rescue the Greek People from their Rescuers!

Greek Protestors dressed as Prisoners before Parliament

At a time when one in two young Greeks is un­em­ployed, when 25,000 home­less people wonder the streets of Athens, when 30% of the pop­u­la­tion has fallen below the poverty line, when thou­sands of fam­ilies are forced to give up their chil­dren to save them from dying of hunger and cold, when refugees and the newly…

Collaboration… With Our European Partners


On Sunday there were massive demon­stra­tions in Spain, with half a mil­lion people on the streets of Madrid and 450,000 in Barcelona, protesting against the la­bour ‘re­form’ planned by the Partido Popular, the right-​wing party that most closely rep­res­ents the in­terests of the power elites that con­served their po­s­i­tion when the trans­ition from dic­tat­or­ship to democracy…