Finance & the Economy

Blockupy plan to disrupt ECB opening


The opening of the new European Central Bank headquar­ters should not take place without protests across the board in 2014. The Blockupy Alliance has called for dis­rup­tion of the opening, planned for some­time in December 2014, with a fore­taste coming with a week of ac­tion in May 2014. Around 450 Blockupy sup­porters met at the weekend in Frankfurt…

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…

Critical Finance Law

Finance is Enlightenment's reenchantment of the world - within its labyrinthine corridors lie such becomings-animal that would devour our future imperfect.

Finance and tele­ology Critical fin­ance law is the study of one of the most sig­ni­ficant teloi of the modern era: the set­tle­ment of debt. Why is the set­tle­ment of debt a telos? Well it is per­haps no sur­prise that just as the Scholastic concept of the causa fi­nalis, or final cause, was being ques­tioned and would…

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”…

The Reactionary ‘Freeman-​on-​the-​land’ and a Political Fracture

Sean Keating

The Irish Times re­ports over 100 ‘Freeman’-style ar­gu­ments used in the Irish courts this year, citing the Law Society Gazette [for the tra­di­tional legal re­sponse see here and here]. Last Tuesday, Francis Cullen (36) was sen­tenced to an­other three months in Mountjoy Prison for re­fusing to re­cog­nise the court’s jur­is­dic­tion. He claimed, ac­cording to the…

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…

A Bailout of the People by the People – Will it Work?

You're not aloan

From 15 November 2012, a part of the Occupy Movement in the U.S. led by Strike Debt will be op­er­ating a “Rolling Jubilee” which their web­site de­scribes as:

“A bailout of the people by the people.

We buy debt for pen­nies on the dollar, but in­stead of col­lecting it, we ab­olish it. We cannot buy spe­cific in­di­viduals’ debt — in­stead, we help lib­erate debtors at random through a cam­paign of mu­tual sup­port, good will, and col­lective refusal.”

David Graeber, for ex­ample, has been tweeting about this en­thu­si­ast­ic­ally and the Rolling Jubilee Facebook page has a pic­ture of Slavoj Zizek holding the linked “Strike Debt” logo and a state­ment claiming that he too sup­ports the cam­paign. My ini­tial re­ac­tion to the plan was open-​minded be­muse­ment and a ques­tion which I see keeps re­cur­ring on the Rolling Jubilee FB page: “How does this work?.”

Another Greek Myth: Freedom of the Press

Kostas Vaxevanis 28 Oct 2012

A war­rant for Greek journ­alist Kostas Vaxevanis’ ar­rest was is­sued today [Ed. 28 October 2012] for the al­leged crime of “vi­ol­ating pri­vacy le­gis­la­tion” re­lated to his bi-​weekly magazine HOT DOC which pub­lished a list of 2,059 names and as­so­ci­ated pro­fes­sions of Greek na­tionals from the client data­base of HSBC in Switzerland. So, what does the Greek government…

In Germany insolvency law becomes financialised


The Amendment of the German Bankruptcy Act,1 which came into ef­fect six months ago, has opened the door to wide­spread abuse al­leges the in­dustry as­so­ci­ation VID, which claims to rep­resent more than half of li­quid­ators. “A few in­flu­en­tial and wealthy cred­itors now threaten to dom­inate pro­ceed­ings”, the VID chairman Christoph Niering said in Berlin. “In addition,…

After the Indignation: A Speech from within the Spanish Resistance


Last 25S (25th of Sept) we called to sur­round the Congress of the mem­bers of par­lia­ment to rescue it from the kid­nap­ping of the pop­ular sov­er­eignty car­ried out by the Troika and the fin­an­cial mar­kets. An oc­cu­pa­tion ex­ecuted with the con­sent and col­lab­or­a­tion of most of the polit­ical parties. Besides the con­stant threats, the manipulation…

LIBOR (and other mythical beasts)


Martin Wheatley, British fin­an­cial reg­u­lator charged with solving the LIBOR crisis, has re­turned from his Crusade car­rying, we are told, a splinter of the True Cross which he as­sures us is cap­able of pro­curing mir­acles. Not common or garden mir­acles in­volving the lame, Galilean fish stocks, or talking asses, no. Something really im­pressive: an­noun­cing the actual…

Finance’s contribution to GDP — another sleight of hand?

Man Ray - Hands

Yesterday’s pub­lic­a­tion of fur­ther dismal GDP data for the UK is an op­por­tunity to re­con­sider its basis as the jus­ti­fic­a­tion for many as­pects of the cur­rent neo­lib­eral order. Bracketing out the ques­tion of whether eco­nomic growth is a valid lode­star for any just so­ciety, there comes the old but under-​frequented ques­tion1 about what con­sti­tutes growth and…

Securitisation outfit fined USD125m for obtaining false credit ratings

Mizuho Bank Head Office in Tokyp

In my pre­vious post I asked some­what rhet­or­ic­ally what else banks had felt able to do during the credit crunch if the be­lief had arisen that “market sta­bility” (sc. bank sur­vival”) trumped crim­inal law. The U.S. Securities and Exchnage Commission (“SEC”) has ob­li­gingly provided an ex­ample. Yesterday (19 July 2012) the Securities and Exchange Commission charged…

LIBOR: City absolutism and raison de marché

Peter the Great shaves his courtiers

What’s the dif­fer­ence between Monaco and the City of London? One is a micro-​territory gov­erned by ab­so­lute fiat, hol­lowed out by prop­erty spec­u­la­tion, gambling, and the con­ceal­ment of great crimes of wealth, and the other is Monaco. In case your won­dering, Monaco does have branches of HSBC and Barclays, and, if you need any­thing tricky sorting out,…

Investment Arbitration: Restricted Area

Investment Arbitration – Restricted Area

With a Procedural Order is­sued on June 26th, an ICSID Arbitral Tribunal has made a de­cision con­cerning an amicus curiae pe­ti­tion filed on 23 May 2012 by an en­semble of Petitioners formed by an in­ter­na­tional NGO and four Zimbabwean in­di­genous com­munities. Reversing the re­cent trend to­ward trans­par­ency and par­ti­cip­a­tion in in­vest­ment ar­bit­ra­tion, the Panel has denied the…

The legal market has its Lehman Bros. moment

A lawyer leaving Dewey & LeBoeuf's New York offices for the last time

As part­ners and as­so­ci­ates of 190 equity partner US law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf filed out of their 6th Ave. New York of­fice, card­board boxes of desk clutter in hand, one could not help no­ti­cing the sim­il­ar­ities with the im­ages of the col­lapse of Lehman Bros. The su­per­fi­cial sim­il­arity is not merely os­tens­ible, how­ever; the…

SYRIZA Proposal: The Exit from the Crisis on the Left


1. Creation of a shield to pro­tect so­ciety against the crisis • Not a single cit­izen without a guar­an­teed min­imum in­come or un­em­ploy­ment be­nefit, med­ical care, so­cial pro­tec­tion, housing, and ac­cess to all ser­vices of public util­ities. • Protection of and re­lief meas­ures for in­debted house­holds. • Price con­trols and price re­duc­tions, VAT re­duc­tion, and ab­ol­i­tion of VAT

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. […]

The New Irish Constitution


Following the Irish Government’s de­cision to modify the con­sti­tu­tion of 1937 fol­lowing a new con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion, the Ice Moon Blog — which has con­tacts in the highest places in the Irish State — has been able to ob­tain a secret gov­ern­ment memo with a full mock-​up of the new con­sti­tu­tion to be amended after the Fiscal Compact Referendum. The fol­lowing are the…

What follows farce?


At this week’s UK Treasury Select Committee hearing on the Budget of 2012, at­tendees were in­vited to draw par­al­lels between George Osborne’s view of eco­nomics and the mil­itary stratagems of Field Marshall Haig. It seems that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer has fol­lowed Haig in be­lieving that the best way to con­found one’s enemies…