My book: The Battle for Europe

The Battle for Europe – published in 2014 by Pluto Press, one of the UK’s foremost progressive academic publishers, and distributed in the US by the University of Chicago Presso – brings into sharp focus the historical importance of the current political, economic and social turmoil in Europe. It explains what has happened in Europe following the financial crash of 2008 as a classic case of economic shock doctrine – and the first instance in history where such ‘therapy’ has been applied to an entire continent. 

In the book, I argue that the EU’s insistence on pursuing austerity – despite its failure as policy and the creation of human suffering – shouldn’t be viewed simply as a case of political and ideological short-sightedness, but as an attempt by the wealthy elite to do away with the last remnants of the welfare state and complete the neoliberal project. In other words, as a form of class war. 

As well as offering an urgent critique of the EU and monetary union as currently constituted, The Battle for Europe showcases a programme for progressive reform (drawing on the experience of a wide range of movements and popular left parties) and argues that the best hopes for the citizens and workers of Europe lie in a radical overhaul of these institutions – not in their rejection. 

Praise and reviews

Europe is experiencing today a moment not dissimilar to President George W. Bush’s ‘mission accomplished’ speech onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Our leaders are also celebrating the end of the crisis when, in reality, the battle for Europe is raging on the ground. Thomas Fazi’s book, poignantly entitled The Battle for Europe, narrates this war for the European Union’s integrity and basic values and devastates the vicious claim that ‘there is no alternative’ to our present march toward collective misery

Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister and Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens 

Everyone should read Thomas Piketty’s book, of course. But Thomas Fazi’s book, The Battle for Europe, deserves an equally high place in the charts.

Henk de Vos, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Groningen

Thomas Fazi’s compelling history shows how flawed institutions, a weak tax system and bank-friendly financial codes produced the eurozone crisis, and then how that debacle was transformed, country by country, into a crisis of public debts and an assault-by-bailout on Europe’s social model. Fazi thus builds a case for radical reform to save Europe from two lethal threats – the return of a vicious right-wing nationalism and the blindness of its own rulers

James K. Galbraith, Professor of Government and Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, senior scholar at the Levy Economics Institute and chair of the Board of Economists for Peace and Security 

Thomas Fazi’s The Battle for Europe combines the best tradition of investigative journalism with profound scholarly insight and splendid writing. Among the works about the origins of the financial crisis and its specific form in the EU currently in print, this book has the combined advantage of accessibility without leaving out any structural aspects. It names all the names, and conveys a welcome sense of history in the making. I was myself drifting to saying goodbye to the EU altogether but reading Fazi’s book convinced me that the progressive option must be followed instead. I hope this book will be widely read and translated. 

Kees van der Pijl, fellow of the Centre for Global Political Economy and Professor Emeritus at the University of Sussex 

In The Battle for Europe Thomas Fazi takes us to the front line in the struggle for progressive change in Europe. Those seeking pedestrian half-measures for reform will not find them in this book. Fazi goes to the heart of sickness of the European Union and proposes the fundamental changes required to achieve a Europe fit for working people. This is an essential book for anyone seeking an escape from the current dysfunctional austerity policies. 

John Weeks, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of London

There is no book as comprehensive as this. The quality of Fazi’s writing and the scope of his arguments make this an exceptional work – a must read!. 

Steve McGiffen, Assistant Professor at the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy (AGSIRD) 

The book really is very, very good. I am particularly grateful for Thomas Fazi’s analysis, and for placing on record the development of the crisis in Europe and its causes. But I am also grateful for the author’s insistence that the Left must rise to give political leadership to a new reformed, Europe. 

Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME) 

The Battle for Europe is a timely and valuable addition to the existing literature on the crisis of the euro zone. Fazi offers us a lucid and tightly-argued explanation of the roots of the crisis and its evolution, culminating in a call to action. The Battle for Europe deploys the elusive combination of pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will with great force, making for a compelling read. 

David Lizoain, economist and former economic advisor to the Cabinet of the President of Catalonia 

If you want to read a first hand testimony on how the financial crisis came to explode and how policy makers reacted to it, then read Thomas Fazi’s book. It describes how the elites in Europe, after having poured thousands of billions into a bankrupt financial system, have systematically rewritten the terms and the framework of the policy discussion and this with one single aim in mind: getting ordinary people and workers pay for the failure of this system of finance capitalism. A must read. 

Ronald Janssen, economic advisor to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)