Yanis Varoufakis explains what could be done if his trans-national party, DiEM25, wins control of the EU Parliament. I am skeptical of the likelihood of this happening. But hypothetically, if it were to happen, his post-victory announcements sound like the promises of the Bolsheviks in Russia to act as a vanguard for transforming Russia, except that the Bolsheviks started with a democratic system of people’s councils (soviets), which they subverted into the dictatorship of the Bolshevik party. In contrast, I am under the impression that Varoufakis is promising the reverse of this. He seems to be saying something like: “Give our party power and we will transform countries into a system of bottom-up democratic councils.”
In his post-victory press announcements, he assumes that his party has appointed three new presidents: the president of the European Central Bank, the president of the European Investment Bank, and the president of the European Commission. And how did his party get this power? By gaining a majority in the European Parliament? No, the European Parliament has no such power. To do this, you have to gain power over the governments in the individual countries — not just by getting a majority in the European Parliament.
Contrary to what Varoufakis claims, I believe that countries have to bring about their own individual changes. And what changes do I propose? First, they have to become more like Switzerland, by getting rid of autocrats (i.e., a single president or prime minister); then such countries can reconfigurate power in the EU.
I don’t think of Switzerland, with a Federal Council of seven individuals, as the ideal; but it is the realistically best.
Reasons why I am skeptical
Below is a schematic of the several departments of the 28-member EU. Note that the governments of the several countries decide on everything except for the European Parliament, and the European Commission initiates legislative bills. And for a bill to become law requires the approval of both the Parliament and the Council of the EU; so, even if DiEM25 controls the Parliament, it can at most have a veto power — that is all. So, I don’t see how the EU can be transformed from within. It can be transformed only through the member governments; not through the European Parliament. Major Error in Varoufakis’s speech
In the talk he said that Stalin tried to build socialism in one country. What Stalin had was not socialism, which minimally would have required worker-owned and worker-run enterprises; no, everything was owned and run by the state, which is better called “state capitalism.”