Monday, June 11, 2012

'Spain’s Blood Wedding, Ireland’s Muted Rage, Europe’s tragedy' (Y. Varoufakis)

Spain’s Blood Wedding, Ireland’s Muted Rage, Europe’s tragedy

Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1932 play The Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre) focused on a wedding that, in the end, never took place. It symbolised the long shadow cast by a hidden crime upon the nation’s dallying with the prospect of deliverance. It also foreshadowed the tragic events that consumed, not just the playwright, but the whole nation, only a few short years later (as captured in Picasso’s Guernica better than by any historian’s pen).  

Today, we have another Bodas de Sangre in the making. A postmodern version. All of the tragedy’s elements are here, except for the splendid prose and poetry of a Lorca. Instead, we have inanities from Mr Rajoy, from Brussels and from Frankfurt. Meanwhile, a stunned audience in Madrid, in Dublin, in Barcelona, in Cork, in Paris, Athens and Rome are watching, listening, eager for some ray of hope. To no avail. For there is none.

Spain treading on Ireland’s shaky footsteps 

Spain’s pain is not novel. It is a carbon copy of Ireland’s. A period of ponzi growth was occasioned by money-capital fleeing the metropoles of financialised capitalism, toward places like Spain and Ireland, in search of higher returns. It found its lucrative returns in a bubble created in the real estate business, aided and abetted by local banks, developers, politicians. Then, Wall Street came crashing down, capital fled (as is its wont at times of financial implosion) and the losses of the banks were passed on to states (the Spanish and Irish governments) which had been, interestingly, running a very tight ship for some time before the Crash. The change in political personnel made little difference. No state, however tightly or austerely is run, can survive (a) once mountains of losses are deposited on it, and (b) when it has no Central Bank of its own to help it remain afloat.

Just like Ireland’s government almost two years ago, so Spain’s now went through the same emotional cycle. First, they refused to accept that the state and the ‘national’ banks were embraced in deadly embrace that condemned both to insolvency. Denial caused angry rejections of the notion that the country would seek EU assistance. However, frustration was bound to follow the realisation that no other avenue was open to them. And, lastly, the bailout was announced in almost triumphant terms – as the road to national recovery and a demonstration of the wonders of European solidarity.

Tragically, of course, Spain’s ‘bailout’, exactly like Ireland’s, will achieve none of that. All that has happened is that proud nations like Ireland and Spain have now joined Greece and Portugal in the Workhouse that is the EFSF-ESM; the Temple of Ponzi Austerity. Structured as a giant CDO, the whole edifice is spearheading the disintegration of the Eurozone, with untold costs for the whole of Europe. If Greece was the canary in the mine, and Ireland the harbinger of a systemic Eurozone-wide crisis, Spain is the portend that Europe’s Reverse Alchemy has now began, dissolving the fabric of countries that, unlike Ireland, are too large to ignore.



Spain could, and ought to, have been the terrain on which to end the deadly embrace of public debt and banking losses that is bringing the Eurozone down. Europe, in its infinite idiocy, decided against such action. The differences between the Spanish and the Irish ‘bailouts’ are real but insignificant. They are real enough to encourage the Irish to question their own bailout’s terms and conditions. But they are not substantial enough to give out any hope that Spain has been helped. Instead, it is abundantly clear that a new Blood Wedding (between banks and the state) is the order of the day in the land of Cervantes, Lorka and Picasso. A Wedding that will never be consummated, courtesy of the unspoken crime that overshadows it. And just like Lorca’s play, it will end up in a blood bath of unwarranted pain and desperation that threatens to consume, just as it did in the 1930s, the whole of Europe.

Read the full article at Yannis Varoufakis blog.

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