We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, July 27, 2015

The revolving door: greasing the wheels of the TTIP lobby

Click here to access article by Vicky Cann and Margarida da Silva from Corporate Europe Observatory.

This website is produced by a foundation whose official mission aspires to do good, but within the capitalist system. As such it is a reform organization. They have produced a number of videos in various languages to inform ordinary citizens how their European institutions are serving corporations as a priority. This is all good, but unfortunately they offer the conventional remedy that we in the US have long heard: contact and advise your representatives (in their case, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).  Thus, you will hear at the end of several videos (for example, this) the following statement:
And, so it is that big business capture the policy agenda ensuring that European laws time and time again serve the interests of large corporations above those of the people of Europe. That is, unless those people speak out.
By reading this long article and viewing some of their videos you will learn all the sordid details about how their European system of government works to serve the interests of banking, commercial, and industrial corporations very much like ours do by using revolving doors, heavy lobbying, use of phony front groups to issue fake research reports, promoting secrecy for corporations while permitting their access to private information of citizens. This appears very familiar to what we experience in the US. A coincidence? I think not. I suspect that the US ruling capitalist class advisers were on hand following the devastation of WWII to guide them in setting up these institutions.

However, after reading this article and perusing some of their videos I realized that there was one difference: they did not make any mention of corporate campaign money going to their MEPs! Well, it didn't take me long to find out that they have a problem with this too! From
openDemocracy, a British-based European website, in an article entitled "European elections and campaign finance: show us the money", we learn the following:

Europe's economic turbulence in recent years has led many citizens to question the powers of the European Union and the legitimacy of its politicians. There is much talk of a "democratic deficit" in Strasbourg and Brussels, while issues of accountability and sovereignty are high on the public agenda. The elections to the European parliament on 22-25 May 2014 give these concerns a current political edge. Yet scant attention is paid to the financial rules (or lack of them) that play an important role in the election of MEPs.

This omission is important, for the role of money in European (as in member-state) politics has grave implications at several levels: the integrity of the members elected to the European parliament, the competitiveness of the European political process, the resulting quality of the parliament’s policymaking, and citizens’ perception of all these.  

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