The Left Party and its Economics Commission have been conducting for some time now a thorough reflection on the necessary disobedience to existing treaties governing the European Economic and Monetary Union. In 2010 already, the symposium "Governing against banks" organized by Jacques Généreux raised thoughts on ways citizens could keep their banking sector under democratic control. The European and monetary question also led to several contributions from the Left Party, in particular the 2011 euro resolution. The economics commission of the Left Party has always maintained that no sacrifice should be endured strictly for the sake of the euro, and that if we had to choose between the implementation of our program and staying in the Eurozone, we would rather exit than give up on our democratic mandate.
The episodes that followed the rise to power of Syriza in Greece confirmed the rightness of an offensive approach to bring about the desired change in Europe. Negotiations will not succeed without establishing a new power struggle with current European institutions, which is to say without a plan B, both credible and realistic. The five-month negotiation of Alexis Tsipras government was thought to be a reasoned discussion between reasonable parties. The aim was to convince European partners for their error of assessment regarding the origins of the European crisis and how to get out of it.
The positioning of creditors was actually based on a political cost-benefit analysis, and not so much on the economic implications of a break up. The current European Union is a space where technocracy and financial oligarchy now arbitrate policy decisions, as actions taken by the Eurogroup and the ECB have demonstrated it. The maintenance of this oligarchic and technocratic power comes at the cost of increasing economic and social degradation for a majority of European citizens. Without a real confrontation, there is no credible alternative to Ordoliberalism. And without appropriate means to break up the oligarchic domination, any European socialist and revolutionary movement will be forced to give up on its promises.
Popular sovereignty must one more time demonstrate its legitimate power, as according to the current European order "there can be no democratic choice against treaties" (JC Juncker). The immediate use of power struggle in Europe must take precedence over economic reasoned negotiation: current European institutions prevent us from implementing our program and a cooperative solution will only materialize under a new set of rules. The struggle must be carried on to the end, and will happen at the national stage first. Plan B is what enables France to force change in Europe, that is to say to negotiate plan A. In reality,the main lesson of Syriza’ experience is that there is no plan A without a plan B. Plan B will have to demonstrate a deep understanding of the tools used by the illegitimate powers within the economic and Monetary Union (such as banks), so as to limit their strengths against our own political agenda.
Indeed, popular sovereignty plays no part in regulating the financial system, due to its high degree of disintermediation and its dependency on ECB’s decisions. Worse still, finance becomes a weapon against democracy: the threat of a financial collapse that is used by the ECB and the Eurogroup may be as powerful to force people's hands today as military invasions were at the time of the Cold War. We will therefore have to protect ourselves against this threat. To that aim, we would rapidly impose capital controls and recover sovereignty upon monetary creation. These measures represent a founding act of disobedience, leading to a process of change, both in France and in Europe.
After having recalled why we can’t implement our program without disobeying the treaties (part I), we elaborate on the founding act of financial disobedience and its practical and economic impacts (part II). We argue that monetary disobedience does not necessarily imply exiting the euro but will open a new stage: in this transition phase, the euro is no longer a single currency but gets closer to the common currency scheme we are advocating. Typically, other eurozone members will have to adapt to this new economic environment, and they will easily do so through the Target payment system.
At the same time that we disobey the treaties, we will put forward an alternative proposal to our partners: the “Monetary Partnership for Equilibrium”, commonly referred to as “common currency”, and a reshaping of the common market that would introduce specific provisions aiming at a solidarity-based (or cooperative) protectionism (part III).
The possible evolutions between the establishment of a power struggle and a European negotiation corresponds in fact to the entire Plan B, and can potentially lead to an exit from the eurozone. The EU could show positive signs that it is ready to renegotiate treaties (what we call plan A) already in the first month after we come to power, and similarly for the“Balanced Monetary Partnership” (common currency). The EU could also offer France to stay in the euro with specific derogations (opt-out), or France could simply be pushed out of the Eurosystem, which would obviously lead to a complete dismantlement of the latter. To establish the appropriate balance of power, we will consequently make it known as soon as we come to power that we are ready for the two latter outcomes (opt-out clauses and expulsion from the euro). We will therefore design and define measures that would be implemented only in these cases (part IV).