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The Left Case Against the EU

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The Left Case Against the EU

Costas Lapavitsas

ISBN: 978-1-509-53105-9 October 2018 Polity 160 Pages

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Description

Many on the Left see the European Union as a fundamentally benign project with the potential to underpin ever greater cooperation and progress.

If it has drifted rightward, the answer is to fight for reform from within. In this iconoclastic polemic, economist Costas Lapavitsas demolishes this view. He contends that the EU’s response to the Eurozone crisis represents the ultimate transformation of the union into a neoliberal citadel that institutionally embeds austerity, privatization, and wage cuts. Concurrently, the rise of German hegemony has divided the EU into an unstable core and dependent peripheries. These related developments make the EU impervious to meaningful reform. The solution is therefore a direct challenge to the EU project that stresses popular and national sovereignty as preconditions for true internationalist socialism.

Lapavitsas’s powerful manifesto for a left opposition to the EU upends the wishful thinking that often characterizes the debate and will be a challenging read for all on the Left interested in the future of Europe.

Ch. 1. The European Union and the Left

1.1 Fragmentation and retreat of democracy

1.2 The challenge for the Left

Ch. 2. The evolution of the EU since Maastricht

2.1. Neoliberalism and hegemony in the EU – drawing on Hayek

2.2. Neoliberalism and state monopoly over money

2.3. Creating the euro: A lever of neoliberalism and conditional German hegemony

2.4. The “architectural flaws” of the euro

2.5. The broader context of conditional German hegemony

Ch. 3. The ascendancy of Germany and the division of Europe

3.1. A distinctive financialised economy

3.2. The defeat of German labour in the 1990s

3.3. The competitive advantage of Germany and the creation of the Southern periphery

3.4. The unstable core of the EMU and the Central European periphery

Ch. 4. The Eurozone crisis: Class interests and hegemonic power

4.1. Crisis erupts

4.2. Imposing a neoliberal agenda

4.3. An unstable and fraught equilibrium

Ch. 5. Greece in the iron trap of the euro

5.1 The proximate causes of the Greek crisis

5.2 Long-term weaknesses of the Greek economy

5.3. The lenders impose bail-outs and bring disaster

5.4. Class and national interests in the Greek disaster

5.5 The political debacle of SYRIZA

Ch. 6. Seeking democracy, sovereignty, and socialism

6.1. Democracy and sovereignty in the EU, once again

6.2 The impossibility of radical reform

6.3. A class-based stance for the Left

6.4. What to do?

‘For those wanting a clear and concise summary of the left case against the euro and of the misrepresentation of German European hegemony as the consummation of the “European idea”, there is no way around this book. Nowhere has the political economy of the common currency and of German ascendancy in Europe been more clearly exposed.’
Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

‘Costas Lapavitsas is the most important commentator on the EU and its current crises, including Brexit. This is one of the most significant books on modern politics to appear in the last decade, and virtually the only one fully to grasp the nature of our present situation.’
Richard Tuck, Harvard University

"Important and timely”
E-International Relations

'In 2015, a left-wing government in Athens was wrestling with Berlin and Brussels.  Two prominent economists took part in the scuffle: one, Yanis Varoufakis, became Minister of Finance; the other, Costas Lapavitsas, was a member of the ruling party, Syriza.  The first was a Europhile who viewed the capitulation of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as an invitation to struggle for "another Europe".  The second, always the sceptic, saw his views confirmed by the debacle.'
Le Monde Diplomatique

'Expedient, informed and lucid.'
LSE Review of Books