Posted in Human Rights | Leave a comment

Stop the TTIP, TPP and TISA!

Barcelona is declared a free TTIP and CETA zone.


Here is a link to their important website:

What is the problem?

The EU soon intends to sign two far-reaching trade agreements: one with Canada (CETA = Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and one with the USA (TTIP = Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The official line is that this will create jobs and increase economic growth. However, the beneficiaries of these agreements are not in fact citizens, but big corporations:

Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS): Foreign investors (i.e. Canadian and US companies) receive the right to sue for damages if they believe that they have suffered losses because of laws or measures of the EU or of individual EU member states. This can also affect laws which were enacted in the interest of the common good, such as environmental and consumer protection.
Groups of companies are intended to be included even during the elaboration of new regulations and laws if their trade interests could be affected. The name for this is: “regulatory cooperation”. It means that representatives of big business are invited to participate in expert groups to influence new draft laws, even before these are discussed in the elected parliaments. This undermines democracy!
Big business had, and still has, excessive influence on the secret negotiations relating to CETA and TTIP. Alone in the preparatory phase for TTIP, 590 meetings took place between the EU Commission and lobby representatives, according to official statements. 92% of these meetings were with representatives of companies, while only in a few cases there were discussions with consumer and trade union representatives. And also during the negotiations, representatives of industry are exercising influence. Some formulations in draft texts which have filtered through to the public originate directly from the pens of company lobbyists.
The negotiations are conducted in secret. Even our public representatives know little if anything about their progress. They receive the results in the form of long agreements (the CETA agreement, for example, has about 1,500 pages) only after conclusion of the negotiations, and are therefore able only to either accept or reject the whole agreement without being able to ask for amendments.
Employee rights are coming under pressure, and jobs in numerous industries are endangered. In the USA, only a few basic rights for employees are recognised (only two out of the eight ILO core labour standards). In agriculture and in the electrical industry, massive job losses could occur because of the tougher competition from abroad.
Liberalisation and privatisation are intended to become one-way streets. The return of public utilities, hospitals, or waste collection to the public sector once they have been privatised would be made more difficult or even impossible through CETA and TTIP.
The EU and its member states are falling under pressure to allow risky technologies such as fracking or GM technology.
Foodstuff standards and consumer protection for cosmetics and medical products threaten to be set at the same levels as US standards. However, we need higher rather than lower standards of protection, whether they apply to the use of pesticides, factory farming, or clean sources of energy. Regulatory cooperation and ISDS would make this more difficult or impossible.

CETA and TTIP want to increase the power of multinationals at the expense of democracy and the general good. We must not allow this to happen! Please sign our European Citizens’ Initiative!
Together we can stop TTIP and CETA!

Posted in TTIP - Free Trade agreement | Leave a comment

TTIP: Attack on Democracy and the Constitutional State

TTIP: Attack on Democracy and the Constitutional State

Call to a Mass Demonstration on Saturday Oct 10 in Berlin!

to read the articles by Elisabeth Beer and Thilo Bode, click on


The free trade agreements TTIP, TPP, CETA and TISA threaten to undermine and suspend democracy and the constitutional state. A parallel private ad hoc arbitration system is created that will meet sometimes in hotels and are ruled by corporate lawyers. Corporations can sue states but states cannot sue corporations. Through ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement), labor and environmental protections can be called trade barriers. Corporations can sue for lost profits before private 3-judge tribunals whose decisions cannot be appealed and the public is excluded.

On Saturday Oct 10, a mass demonstration is called in Berlin against this Orwellian inversion of language and law. Do we live under Humpty Dumpty, words mean what I say they mean? Are citizens sovereign? Do corporations have responsibilities as well as rights?

Posted in TTIP - Free Trade agreement | Leave a comment

Video: 97% Owned – Economic Truth documentary, 59 min

The system is inherently unstable through the financial elite and their something out of nothing ideology.


Published on 30 Apr 2012

To join the campaign to democratise money see http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/97per…
Watch the sequel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5Ac7…

When money drives almost all activity on the planet, it’s essential that we understand it. Yet simple questions often get overlooked – questions like: where does money come from? Who creates it? Who decides how it gets used? And what does that mean for the millions of ordinary people who suffer when money and finance breaks down?

97% Owned is a new documentary that reveals how money is at the root of our current social and economic crisis. Featuring frank interviews and commentary from economists, campaigners and former bankers, it exposes the privatised, debt-based monetary system that gives banks the power to create money, shape the economy, cause crises and push house prices out of reach. Fact-based and clearly explained, in just 60 minutes it shows how the power to create money is the piece of the puzzle that economists were missing when they failed to predict the crisis.

Produced by Queuepolitely and featuring Ben Dyson of Positive Money, Josh Ryan-Collins of The New Economics Foundation, Ann Pettifor, the “HBOS Whistleblower” Paul Moore, Simon Dixon of Bank to the Future and Nick Dearden from the Jubliee Debt Campaign, this is the first documentary to tackle this issue from a UK-perspective, and can be watched online now.

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism | Leave a comment

Memorandum 2014: Alternative Economic Policy


Both Germany and the US follow an economic policy without enlightenment. Slight economic stimulation will not solve problems of mass unemployment and corporate welfare. Tax evasion of corporations, tax cuts for the super-rich and trillions for the banks lead to suffering and a revenue crisis. The financial sector must be shriveled and the public sector expanded.


No Enlightenment – Economic Policy on the Old Paths

By Study group on Alternative Economic Policy

[Since 1994 the Bremen study group on alternative economic policy has presented a memorandum every year. The short version of the 2014 memorandum published in April 2014 is translated abridged from the German on the Internet, www.alternative-wirtschaftspolitik.de.]


Germany after the Election
Old Political-economic Thinking, Old Economic Problems
Europe: More Aggressive Competition will End the Crisis
Free Trade Agreement with the US Will Increase Growth and Competition
Problems on the Financial Markets Not Solved
Slight Economic Stimulation in Germany does not Solve Problems
Program for an Alternative Way of Development

Posted in 2014, Alternative Economics, Neoliberalism | Leave a comment

Neoliberalism Blames Individuals for Inequality by Patrick Schreiner

Neoliberalism Blames Individuals for Inequality
by Patrick Schreiner, March 13, 2014

In neoliberal theories, social justice is not a meaningful category and social inequality is a necessary result of market processes. Performance justice is a necessary illusion. Responsibility for poverty and misery is often shifted to individuals with the worst genes. To neoliberals, the first strategy for becoming really rich is to seek out the right parents. The market and market society are released from responsibility for social inequality.

more at www.kickitover.org, www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org and www.onthecommons.org

Posted in Austerity, Neoliberalism, trickle-down economics | Leave a comment

The Useful State

The Useful State by Robert Misik, July 10, 2015

“With slogans like “Less State, More Private,” the state was run down for years. Neoliberal ideology managed to present it as a bureaucratic monster that lives off the economy with high taxes, dubious economics and waste… Banks were bailed out… In the emergency, the most wicked neoliberal becomes the state fan…

The whole history of great innovations from the railroad revolution and the massive exploitation of water power to basic research leading the way shows that the state could take enormous risks…A successful innovative capitalism always needed a strong activist state… Wealth is not produced by private enterprise businesses and then unjustly appropriated by the state via taxes. In reality, wealth is produced socially.”

more at www.openculture.com, www.booktv.org, www.therealnews.com, www.onthecommons.org, www.citizen.org, www.nextnewdeal.net and www.foreffectivegov.org

Posted in Political Theory, Roosevelt and New Deal | Leave a comment

The Middle Class Abolishes Itself: Cornelia Koppetisch

The Middle Class Abolishes Itself. Interview with sociologist Cornelia Koppetisch.


Middle class citizens with a little wealth who invested this on the stock exchange are responsible for certain jobs becoming more and more precarious. When businesses are increasingly controlled by shareholders and funds, they become oriented in short-term profit possibilities and try to lower labor costs…

Many economists argue market forces regulate themselves and society doesn’t need to intervene. Sociologists argue no capitalism can exist in a social system without bonds… Letting social inequalities become great is disastrous because this endangers the social integration and civil society doesn’t function any more.

more at www.openculture.com, www.kickitover.org, www.citizen.org, www.worklessparty.org, www.booktv.org, www.onthecommons.org and www.storyofstuff.com

Posted in Neoliberalism, Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

“The Great Transformation Has Begun”: Interview with Fabian Scheidler

“The Great Transformation Has Begun” : Interview with Fabian Scheidler, author of “The End of the Mega-Machine: History of a Failed Civilization” (2015)


The core of this system, its over-arching law, is the endless accumulation of capital. That is its main goal to which everything else is subordinated. Persons and nature are used to make more money out of money. Therefore we are degraded to little wheels in this machine…

Resistance, the will to freedom, begins in the head. We can see how faith in the system slowly crumbles and partly collapses…

Neoliberalism, flight into low-wage countries, tax havens, financial speculation and so forth, restored the profits of big business and the class power of the top one-percent. However people do not have the money to buy all the goods and services… Debts must be piled up everywhere to keep the system going… Debt bubbles burst some time or other as in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. As a rule, states take over these debts and shift them to the population`. The financial crises become state crises and political crises as in the euro crisis.

Posted in 2011 | Leave a comment

Farewell to Homo Oeconomicus


Capitalism is not running so well. Is this because people are judged wrongly with misguided models? We must listen to our social side, says researcher Tania Singer

The model of homo oeconomicus is antiquated and over-simplified. Dominant economic models are not based on a realistic picture of humans… In the economic model, we act as egoistic beings who are only interested in optimizing our own advantages. The model does not know different human motives that could be differently activated depending on the context… We are more complex, more contradictory and more changeable than the homo oeconomicus.

“The old narrative must be replaced with a more realistic view of the person based on psychological and neuro-scientific findings which could encourage more pro-sociality and global cooperation,” Singer says. The question is only how these values can be strengthened in our present economic systems and a politics that moves economic and financial interests in the limelight.

How important it would be if children in school could cultivate their sympathy and pro-social conduct alongside learning leaping, geography and the xylophone! If children would learn how they could react without pre-judgments to foreign conceptual and faith systems and simultaneously had in hand a method that helped them cope better with difficult emotional situations and daily stress. How important would all this be for persons working in health care systems, schools and war zones or who find themselves in muddled family constellations! How path-breaking it would be for our politics if these abilities were promoted and included in its decisions.

If an investor is found, a social business will arise out of the ReSource Project to bring the developed exercise methods into the world. “A simple meditation app without a teacher and training is impossible,” says Tania Singer, “even if everyone wants this. Our project has nothing in common with the so-called McMindful attitude that can be seen everywhere in Silicon Valley.” A little sympathy training and reducing stress only to be more efficient cannot be the point. Altruistic alternatives must be discovered besides the service motivation. That is one of Tania Singer’s goals.

Posted in 2011 | Leave a comment

Living and Working Differently and Self-Optimization

to read the articles by Ulrich Brand and Wilfried Gaum, click on

Excessive consumption of natural resources destroys the environment and fuels climate change. The weaker members of society and regions are impacted by this climate change. Far-reaching use of renewable energy is imperative.

Good life for all is a political challenge and does not only have a cultural dimension of changed lifestyles. Decisions between alternatives are made amid power and interests. Employees and their organizations play a central role. The rebuilding process must be politically organized. This should not be left to investors and businesses and their political representatives.

The drivers of growth must be tackled. How can power be contained and how can democracy be developed? For a long while, the dominant experience of most people is that society cannot be organized. Others sit at the levers of political, economic and cultural power.

The challenge of neoliberalism took an offensive form in the countries of the global North with Thatcher’s 1979 election victory in Great Britain and Reagan’s 1980 presidency. This history has been written often enough. Still both Thatcher and Reagan came to office in elections in parliamentary democracies. No coup and no dictatorship were needed to gain mass loyalties and mass support for carrying out the political ideological hegemony of neoliberalism. How did neoliberal policy gain a mass influence? To neoliberalism, we must soon oppose a great alternative narrative of freedom, democracy and solidarity before the social dislocations neutralize the positive resources amid a collapsing world climate.

Posted in Alternative Economics, Neoliberalism | Leave a comment