Tag Archives: refugees

Stop the Wars to End the Refugee Crisis

By Ramzy Baroud

Europe is facing its most significant refugee crisis since World War Two. All attempts at resolving the issue have failed, mostly because those charged with doing so have ignored the root causes of the problem.

Furthermore, on June 11, Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, blocked the Aquarius rescue ship from docking in Italian ports. It was carrying 629 refugees and economic migrants. A statement by Doctors without Borders (MSF) stated that the passengers included 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women. Continue reading Stop the Wars to End the Refugee Crisis

The Hijacking of France (from Donald Trump to Marine Le Pen)

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (*)

“I am the last President of France. All the next presidents will be accountants,” François Mitterrand once said.

But he would not have been able to imagine the unexpected, tortuous routes that History, or those in need of accountants, would have chosen  to approach their goal.

Perhaps not even a Machiavelli could have imagined them. It would have taken the perverse genius of a Joseph Fouché.

The unthinkable, which they have been preparing for so long, may now be about to happen. Foreshadowing, like so much else that is now occurring, an era of major global shocks. .

In France, the country of Voltaire and Robespierre, of the French Revolution and the Commune, of Charles De Gaulle and Jean-Paul Sartre, in France, the daughter of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the mother of modern Europe and its culture, or whatever remains of it, Marine Le Pen, today’s – admittedly mutated but nevertheless authentic – descendant of a political current with its origins in the disgrace for France that was the regime of Vichy, is about to cross the gate of the Élysée Palace.

But the founder of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, is not laughing as he sees the movement he himself created coming so close to power. Nor even that his own offspring, for whom he paved the way, could be about to become the President of the  Fifth Republic.

Jean-Marie Le Pen is weeping bitter tears.

An abyss separates the present writer’s ideas from his. But in the day that is dawning it is not only the distinctions of Left and Right, of Communist and Fascist, of atheist and believer, of Christian and Muslim, that are significant. It is also of great importance whether an individual belongs to those who have some kind of identity, ideology, religion, ethics or those who have none: the homines oeconomici,  the creatures of putty, the contemporary Fausts who would sell their soul if they had one.

It is in the unusual, the rare, that the information is to be found, was the belief of  Shannon, inventor of the homonymous theory. What is it that Jean-Marie knows or understands that we possibly do not?

Pourquoi Pas?

The National Front has its origins, totally or partially, in the Vichy regime. This, for Marine, is one of the facts she cannot get away from, however hard her “strategist” Philippot tries to sever every link with the Front’s past, whether it be Vichy, the torture of militants, in the attempt to keep Algeria as a French colony, something that cost  hundreds of thousands of Algerian lives and brought their country to ruin.

The Ancient Greeks taught us the meaning of Truth (Alitheia) through the way they constructed the term to describe it, which in Greek means No Lethe, no oblivion. Important things are not to be forgotten.  .

The Vichy regime was imposed by the Nazi boot and was made possible by the vote of the majority of the elected members of the National Assembly, in the casino of this spa town, in 1940, long before we arrive at today’s “casino-economy” and “casino-politics”.

“No, this is a coup”, said General de Gaulle and he fought it, along with his Free French. He fought it, along with the maquis, with Greeks, Serbs, Britons, the fighters of Moscow, of Leningrad, of Stalingrad until, having paid a terrible price, the Soviets and their Red Army raised their flag over the Reichstag.

At that time France retained the memory of the decapitation of its kings. De Gaulle put on trial the leaders of Vichy, the World War I hero Marshal Petain and his prime minister Laval, whom the judges in their turn sent to the firing squad. They executed Laval to enable France and its Republic to live. France won the right to sit at the table of the victors of the Second World War and to become one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Now, in a way, Vichy has made its comeback. Not praising itself, not defending itself, half-condemning itself, depositing wreaths at the grave of de Gaulle, even trying, more or less ostentatiously, to claim the legacy of Napoleon himself. This is particularly true of Marion Lepen, the family’s youngest and very beautiful political star.

How is it possible that History (or its would-be proprietors) could have made possible such an amazing turnabout?

The suicide of the Socialists and of the Gaullists.

Much water has flowed in the Seine to get us where we are now. The three major post-war political families of France, the Right, the Communists and the Socialists (not to put on the list the Trotskyists also,  who never became a large organized political force but nevertheless played a very important role) gradually, through the choices they made,  cancelled out key elements of their own identity and raison d’être.

I remember, as a young student in France in the 1980s, seeing Jean-Marie bantering on television, accusing everybody of stealing his ideas: socialists taking Atlanticism, the Right-wing liberalism, Communists his immigration policy (a Communist mayor had just sent in bulldozers to demolish immigrant shacks).

He was not entirely wrong, though the most he was really able to do was to highlight their contradictions. The reason they were appropriating some of Le Pen’s ideas was that they were increasingly retreating under the pressure of capital (and the Americans).  For decades, both Socialists and the Right did just what they were asked to do. By the end of this process, politicians had been transformed into employees. They had lost  their usefulness, both for those who voted for them and those who utilized them.

Liberalism and Atlanticism

Mitterrand’s leftist experiment with the economy lasted a year before the Socialists changed their course entirely and began to implement in exemplary fashion the most orthodox liberal management of the French economy, exactly what “the markets” wanted.

The Socialists pursued pro-American policies, in contrast to Gaullists, and very typical for European social democracy. It was not until he felt his own end approaching that François Mitterand confessed “we are at war with America, but the French do not know this.’’ They do not know because no-one has told them.

Up to the time of Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, who took sides with Schroeder and Putin against the war in Iraq, Gaullism retained at least some of its independent reflexes. In 2003 Chirac’s Prime Minister Villepin became the mouthpiece of all the civilized world, denouncing before the Security Council like a latter-day Demosthenes the proposed US-British invasion of Iraq.

But not long after this they appeared to have taken fright at their own courage, perhaps subjected to huge pressures and blackmail, which they lacked the courage of a De Gaulle to resist. They hastened to bury, with even greater alacrity than the way they had announced it, every plan of truly independent European defence. For the rest of his term Chirac dispatched a special envoy to Washington, every week, to avoid any new “misunderstanding”.

Shortly before the end of his term, deeply disillusioned by Sarkozy winning the race to succeed him, he invited representatives of four international newspapers to his presidential Palace to warn of the terrible dangers of a war against Iran. They presented him as someone who had become unhinged.

As for Villepin, by the end of Chirac’s term in office he had already fallen. Not for what he had said in the Security Council but for failing to understand that Gaullism and neoliberalism are incompatible. He provoked a real social uprising in 2006 and was helped to fall through a collegial shove from behind by Sarkozy.

De Gaulle himself understood much earlier the contradiction between Capital and the Nation. Having defeated the revolution of May ’68, he tried to introduce profound changes in the administration of enterprises. The French bourgeoisie concluded that the General had lost his marbles, and overthrew him.

Now we have the lamentable Mr. Fillon, who launched his election campaign with announcements of layoffs, shooting himself in the legs.

From politicians to employees, from employees to actors (The global rise of Finance)

At this point, before proceeding with our examination of the French situation, we deem it useful to include some more general thoughts on international developments, above and beyond events in France. The hope is that this will help us to gain better understanding of what is happening in that country. Readers can choose to continue reading this section, or else skip it.

With the passage of time quantitative change became qualitative change. At first the political forces merely compromised with the powerful, that is to say with unbridled financial  capital.  By the end of the process they had become its employees.

Their very nature underwent alteration, imperceptibly, by virtue of their choices and the dramatic increase in the global power  of financial capital,  which went from being a strong component of the system to being the system itself!

Finance has now become a kind of superpower, without acquiring the conventional characteristics of states in the older sense. It has simply bought almost everybody, including political elites, “intellectuals”, media, both mainstream and alternative, information and cultural production, the discoveries of science and technology.

It does not send planes and missiles to impose its will. It sends “the markets”, and also sends the appropriate signals to friends and rivals, to deceive them and set them on the course it wants them to take, in a world where economic power has become more important than military power, intellectual more important than economic. “How many divisions has the Vatican?” Stalin once asked sarcastically. The Vatican is still in its place whereas Stalin’s once so seemingly powerful state has disappeared.

Since the collapse of the USSR, Finance has had less need of states, even the USA. It subordinates them to its logic. It does not comply with theirs. Freed from any restrictions, having abolished the distinction between investment and savings banks, it finds now new ways to reproduce itself through the derivatives industry. Through debt it forces exponential increases in the demands it makes on people, societies and nations. In European integration it has found the instrument par excellence for institutionalization of its domination.

Finance acquires, because it is able to buy,  unprecedented means for controlling humans, beginning from our DNA  and moving up to our thoughts and feelings, which are produced by armies of researchers at major universities and research centres, every day, every month, every year, without any social control or regulation. This has been going on since World War II and its aftermath.

In 2011 one of the rating agencies warned the US government and the Congress that they would have their credit rating downgraded if a compromise were not found on the budget. The warning was also the clearest of indications of the correlation of forces between Finance and the strongest state on earth. The assets of the world’s ten largest financial institutions is approximately equal to the total sovereign debt of all nations.

The most stunning of the latest revelations by Assange is not the way in which we are being monitored in our homes.  It is the ease with which these methods were channeled by the CIA to individuals. In Israel there are accusations that millionaires have tried to buy entire arrays of functions from Mossad, one of the best secret services in the world because it has a strong ideological core. In the end Finance will even be able to buy itself because almost everything and everyone can be bought. Turned into property they cease to perform the functions they once performed. Exactly the same as occurs with cancer cells.

It is noteworthy that the exponential increase in the indirect political and social role of Finance has become a source of great confusion (and misapprehension) in so far as our brains are accustomed to analyzing a world where they players are visible states and major powers. We are used to looking upon them, not the powers that may be using them, as the subjects of history.

At the time of the collapse of the USSR, a columnist with the Financial Times suggested that we should go from citizens’ democracy to the democracy of enterprises. Easier said than done.  Finance is not legitimized as power is.  It must mislead in order to be able to govern. Its power also must remain invisible so as not to be put at risk.

To the same extent that it is freeing itself from any restraint from state or society and losing its last productive functions, finance is turning into a kind of cancer, transforming neoliberalism into a slave economy and “disaster capitalism” (e.g. Greece), transforming the classic imperialism of conquest, control and containment into an imperialism for demolishing peoples and countries (the Arab/Muslim world), and capitalism into a variety of post-modern feudalism.

The program of cancer is death and death has not yet acquired the capacity to be a political program. In order to achieve its aims, a policy of death must hide them. It must, as happens with autoimmune diseases, turn the same cells of the organism that are responsible for its defence against the organism itself. Because we want to live and because we know we are going to die, we need hope and meaning. So, deception, inversion of truth and reality, the use of identities against their real meaning (e.g. socialists destroying societies, nationalists destroying nations) tend to become the dominant political practices and methods. At least until or unless we get to the point described by Kafka in The Trial where we seek our own death as salvation. .

This is why in our world we usually have to invert the words of a politician to discover what he is really trying to achieve. As we do with the impressions that the mainstream and alternative media and the  public opinion pollsters are seeking to create.

In this new world information is not what is said. It is what is not said. It is expressed not in the visible, in the Presence, but in the unseen, in the Absence.

Perhaps it is because it is some time since Mr. Barroso submitted to the test of an election, perhaps it was merely from stupidity, that he allowed himself to say: “We all know that the next generations will live worse lives than the present generation.” It is  not possible to win elections saying such things.

Neoconservatives invoke the realism of Hobbes to justify the wars they started in the Middle East. But in fact they are trying to use the philosopher’s “realism” to disown his own objectives. It is not the naivety in the Kantian vision of Perpetual Peace that bothers them but the vision of peace itself. As for Soros, History will deny him the title of philosopher, not because he lacks the intellectual capacity of his teacher Karl Popper but because his financial practices belie the motivations underlying the work of the Open Society’s prophet.

What all of them try to hide behind their analyses is the real moral choice behind their actions and their ideas. They prefer greed to generosity and the god of War to the god of Love. It is as simple as that. They present their choice as the only realistic one. In fact they are writing a requiem for humans and for life in general.

Clashes between civilizations were prophesized (or prepared) by Huntington, and even conflicts between Hispanics and “whites” in the US, long before Trump announced the plan for his wall. Democracy has no future, said Huntington, because of the physical limits to growth. Of course he was not able to come up with anything better than the spectacular explosion of inequalities and the virtual reintroduction of slavery, the transformation of human beings into nomadic animals like the refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Africa (or the refugee scientists from southern Europe who leave their countries by air) to solve the problem. The Exxon of Mr. Tillerson, who dreams of melting the Arctic ice, striking a perhaps fatal blow to life, is symbolic of the logic to be found behind the chaos. They would like to induce us to come of our own accord to them, the people that have caused the problem, and ask them to establish a dictatorship, so gaining ourselves a temporary reprieve and saving our skins, albeit as slaves.

Three clarifying examples (perestroika, Middle East, Greece)

The collapse of the USSR provides us with an example of great importance for understanding how these new forces are acting. There were of course very serious problems affecting this state; otherwise it would not have collapsed. Still, this was a necessary, not sufficient, condition. The USSR was not defeated by foreign intervention in 1919 and 1941, or by the military pressure of NATO. It did not collapse because of a revolution. It collapsed through the actions of its own leadership, who committed a kind of (guided) suicide.

The USSR did not collapse beneath the “hard power”  of foreign armies, nor  even the “soft” power of advanced capitalism, but rather the “smart power” of its rivals.

It happened because the Soviet reformers had been persuaded that their enemies had become friends, and they entrusted them with the production of much of their own reform agenda, an action which by itself transformed the USSR into an object. The ideology of perestroika was developed at Michigan State University. The best informed analysts attribute the architecture of glasnost to George Soros.  The West seems to have cooperated with a faction of the Soviet leadership to send Matthias Rust to land unhindered in Red Square, thus offering Gorbachev the perfect pretext to decapitate his own army (as Stalin did in the ‘30s with the help of German Nazi secret services). In the end, the Soviet regime became the first in history to be brought down by its own television, having lost its desire to survive.

President Bush in autumn 1991 even said, commenting on events in Ukraine, that he rather favoured maintaining the USSR, so as not to interfere in the slightest with the process of Soviet suicide. He probably knew by that time that he would be receiving a phone call some weeks later from Boris Yeltsin announcing that the Russian president had taken the initiative to dissolve the Union.

Ten years after Huntington a series of wars began in the Middle East. The United States is accused of starting them but it is doubtful to say the least that these wars were really in the national interest of the USA. The strategic decision to launch them was not taken by the American state. It was taken by the forces that created a range of neocon lobbies and took control of the American state, in the process even bypassing what had been that state’s established mode of functioning.

It is not difficult to discern the influence also of the “Empire of Finance” in the strategic decisions taken by both the German and the Greek governments after 2010, shaping not only the way the EU has responded to the financial crisis of 2009-10 but also determining the very future of the European project. One of the architects of the Euro, Otmar Issing, is the main German authority on monetary policy. In the spring of 2010 he was also one of the fiercest protagonists of the line “Not one euro to the Greeks”, as he wrote in Financial Times Deutschland (10.3.2010). What he omitted to say in his article is that he was also a paid advisor to Goldman Sachs Europe, the bank that contributed heavily to creating the Greek debt bubble in 2000-01 and then organized,  in alliance with the German government, the attack by “the markets” against Greece, while being paid for its services by the government of the victim of the attack.

Is it a German project or a World Finance project that Mr. Schäuble  has implemented against  Greece, dealing a very serious blow to German political capital and the EU itself?

Perhaps it is time to heed the advice of Plato in his Republic and find the strength to see and face the real reality of our world.

From Sarkozy to Hollande

In every country taxi drivers are one of the best sources for a journalist trying to understand what is happening. In Paris in 2007 one of them told me, “But Monsieur, is it serious? We voted “No” in the referendum (on the European constitutional treaty). Now, six candidates of “No” have presented themselves for the presidential elections, to ensure a “Yes” President will win”.

Sarkozy won finally. The rejected Treaty was ratified as the Treaty of Lisbon by the National Assembly, without any new referendum.

Before the election Sarkozy had laid wreaths at the grave of de Gaulle, perhaps fearing that the General would wake up and hunt him down.  Once elected, Sarkozy got France back into NATO. He did what he could to destroy the last remnants of the social democratic historic compromise of the Communist and Gaullist resistance. He also reversed the entire Middle Eastern policy of France, spearheading the destruction of Libya, on behalf of those who had used the neocons to destroy Iraq.

Hollande won the next election, declaring that his real adversary is Finance (not even  Robespierre had said such things). Once elected, he appointed Rothschild’s banker Macron to his ministry. His economic policy was tantamount to the suicide of the Socialist Party.

Macron sent Hollande into retirement and is now the presidential candidate who, on current  indications, barring surprises, will confront Le Pen.

Both Socialists and “Gaullists”, in the absence of any other credible alternative, opened wide the gate for Le Pen to become the chief expression of popular discontent, painting them with the colours of the French tricolor, channeling it into an amorphous opposition to the EU without any serious proposal for the future of Europe and with a slightly disguised but essentially pro-war preference for the Middle East.

Marine’s weapons

Marine won an important recruit: Florian Philippot. Formerly right-hand man to Jean-Pierre Chevènement, leader of the left wing of the Socialists and of the “souverainistes”, Philippot became Marine’s chief strategist, just as Steve Bannon became chief strategist to Donald Trump. Le Pen is said to take almost no decision without asking Philippot.

Philippot has put at the service of the French extreme right the weapons and the rhetorical flair of the French left, imitating its Cartesian methodology. He is no Jaurès, but he does not need to be in so far as he is playing without an opponent. Impressions overwhelmingly favour him when he is competing on television with the modified mutants of postpolitics who string together commonplaces and appear to have no more resistance to the extra-institutional factors than butter has to a knife.

Philippot has another achievement to his name. A homosexual himself, he has solemnly reconciled the enemies of “permissiveness” with the mighty “LGBT community”. The political strategy of Le Pen is masterly. She has managed to have a homosexual as her chief advisor at the same as the former communist fathers and grandfathers are pushing their children and grandchildren in the direction of the National Front so as to get away from, or wage war against, the “homosexuals” of the Left! So Madame Lepen now embodies macho, tough-minded politics, friendly acceptance of homosexuals and the image of being a dynamic woman. No mean feat!

Le Pen also managed,  in spite of being the representative of France’s only notable anti-Semitic current, to become, like the vast majority of far right-wing movements in Europe, a good friend of both Jews and Israel. This is a phenomenon that requires serious analysis, not least from Jews themselves.

Needless to say, all this would be impossible if critical thinking had not long since been suppressed by various means, including control of universities, mass media, “intellectuals”, the main method being that of buying them off in one way or another. Of course formal freedom of speech still exists in France, but not the real possibility of any critical thinking, in the European country which par excellence, pioneered it and was proud of it. While war was raging in Algeria and de Gaulle’s advisors were urging him to apprehend the Communist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, supporter of the Algerian rebels (who were being tortured at that time by Marine Le Pen’s father) De Gaulle replied: “One does not arrest Voltaire”.

Of course imprisonment and censorship are part of an outdated methodology. The decision makers are confident today that through the noise of virtual news and analysis they can now drown out everything worth hearing.

During the Cold War Le Monde published the texts of Alexander Solzhenitsyn as a means of promoting anti-Soviet propaganda. Today, parodying itself, it publishes front page articles by oligarchs such as Khodorkovsky, to discredit Putin!

Marine’s tactical maneuvering provokes reactions within the National Front, which has its own purists. They have repeatedly gone to find her in order to protest. She listens to them and tries to reassure them: “we are doing this in order to win power, and then we will see how our ideas might be implemented”. The reassurance apparently fails to convince but the prospect of power and the amorphous character of the National Front – indeed of all modern parties now that one mentions it, which in many ways no longer resemble the political parties of the past – are enough to reduce the opposition to silence.

France is the country of Revolution. Through whitewashing its image, as much as possible, and expunging both her own personal past and that of the National Front, raising the banner of struggle against globalization, Madame Lepen has succeeded to a significant extent in harnessing the popular resentment that the Left has been unable or unwilling to express.

She has brought together two fundamental identities of France: the Nation and the Revolution. She has even been able to co-opt, through her own undeniable talent and the Leftist contributions of M. Philippot, the old and strong underlying currents of France’s socialist popular culture.

With her claim to represent the Nation, the Revolution and the People, Marine Le Pen is now entering the final straight.

The golden gift of the Banker to Mme Lepen

The armoury of weapons listed above may or may not be sufficient for the purpose. Who can tell?

There is another weapon, so far unmentioned, and that is her opponent.

Through his decision to stand for election,  M.  Emmanuel Macron, a Rothschild banker, provides the ultimate proof, if the French still need proof, that Lepen, as the opposite of Macron, is the candidate to support.

It is only against the hated symbol of the bank of the banks (and also of the EU and globalization) that Marine Le Pen stands some chance of prevailing.

And Macron too can win only against a Far Right candidate!

In all casinos, including the casino of Vichy, the casinos of Trump, the economy casino and the politics casino, there is a fundamental law. The casino wins in every game.

In the case of the French presidential elections, it seems that the French people are invited to choose between Globalization and the Nation.

But their real choice appears to be between two alternative models of financial domination of French state power.

If Le Pen wins, Capital will seek through her to replace the now prevalent model of domination with another one, or least modify the “globalist” model that is now  dominant. If it fails to accomplish that, the extreme right will relegitimize the existing globalist model.

But the cards are marked and Le Pen can collude with the dealer. It is much easier for her to address France’s popular strata, whereas M. Macron’s constituency is confined to the politico-ideologically limited and socially depressed base of “bobos”, the bourgeois bohemian urban middle classes.

Nothing is left to chance.  One day Fillon criticized the bankers gathering in Switzerland for decisions to the detriment of French and German banks and the next day went to Germany and said that the sanctions against Russia should be lifted, proposing what amounted to a political axis between France, Germany and Russia!

Immediately the Canard Enchaîné discovered problems between him and his wife. It was nothing to write home about, but it became a grand and terrible scandal from the way it was presented by the oligarchic pro-Macron media.

All things being equal, this will mean exclusion of Fillon in the first round, taking Macron into the second and conceivably ensuring Le Pen’s victory. In the second round a minority of Fillon voters will vote Macron in order to defeat Le Pen, but the temptation will be great to vote for Le Pen as punishment for the forces that excluded Fillon.

For over a year now the big French media have been helping Marine, without directly supporting her, which it would be naïve to do. They do it by framing discussion of the presidential elections as a discussion about who will be in best position to confront Le Pen in the second round. They thus appear to take it for granted that she will be among the winners of the first round. And by leading people to believe that she is more or less unacceptable to them, they encourage the French popular classes to believe she is their friend.

The possibility cannot of course be excluded that all the above represent the workings of chance. We have no proof that what is involved is implementation of a project. .

But if it is indeed God that is behind this scenario, He is evidently keeping all options covered. He also seems to be less than a reliable friend to the bankers, who may have been foolish to stand one of their own against the radical Madame.

Huntington against Fukuyama

Could it be that Marine Le Pen is a reincarnation of Joan of Arc? In any case her slogans against globalization seem to be more or less of the same calibre as those of the outgoing president Hollande-Robespierre (or perhaps Hollande-Babeuf), against Finance. By the way, it was Fouché who promoted Babeuf in his campaign, and made use of it, before  sending him to the guillotine.

She is most probably the mask Finance believes it must wear, at least in the case of the most radical of its parties, which, perceiving that the survival of globalization is in no way guaranteed, have devised the medicine for the disease they themselves provoked. They resemble the industrialist who, seeing demand for his old products shrinking, decides to launch new ones.

It is now quite possible that the French, thinking they must choose between Nation and Globalization, will choose one of two forms of domination of Finance.

One of these forms draws inspiration from the ideas of Fukuyama, the faded dream of benign globalization, the mixing together of nations in the cauldron of neoliberal politics and Ipad culture.

The other is inspired by the ideas of Huntington and the clash of civilizations. Not the merging of traditions but organization of the division and conflict between nations, using one against the other as in the old Roman custom of Divide et Impera, through violent demolition of entire countries and nations in continuous war and chaos. .

The difference between the first and the second reflects differing assessments of the balance of power between the parties.

On the way to becoming an empire, Rome lost its own republic. The repercussions of its civil wars were felt all over the known world of that time.

The same is occurring today with the two wings struggling for predominance in the very centre of Imperial Power. That is the meaning of the ferocious struggles between Obama and Merkel for instance, on one side, and Netanyahu and Trump on the other. And who can know what is happening on the Olympus of finance, between the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds?

The Crisis of Globalisation

With their vote against the European Constitutional Treaty in the 2005 referendum  French citizens overthrew the ideological domination of “Euroliberalism” in their country, delegitimizing the Maastricht Europe, symbol of the new globalized world run by Finance.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers in  2008 exposed the economic impasse of neoliberalism, inaugurating the third similarly profound crisis in the history of capitalism, following those of 1873-96 and 1929. We are still very much within the environment of the 2008 crisis.

The crisis of 1873-96 led to the First World War and the October Revolution. The crisis of 1929 led to the reorganization of America by Roosevelt, to Hitler, to the Second World War, to the Chinese and anti-colonial revolutions. This is the scale and intensity of the events we can expect and which, in reality, have begun to unfold.

The European Left failed miserably to respond to the challenges of 2005 and 2008. It does not have a satisfactory plan for the reorganization of Europe, nor the determination to implement any such plan.  It is conservative, not radical. It is permanently in error in the way it engages the question of the nation. It remains committed to the national framework in which its parties operate, incapable of constituting even a rudimentary European political subject.

US society tried with Sanders to give a first answer to the 2008 crisis, but it has not succeeded for the time being.

Nature abhors a vacuum. The solutions that societies cannot provide are now being proposed by a part of the Establishment itself, employing revolutionary slogans to implement domestic and international counter-revolutionary tasks. There is nothing original in the method. It was used by German National Socialists and Italian Fascists before the war, for all the important differences between them and contemporary far right radicals of the Le Pen or Trump type.  .

Why Le Pen and Bannon need Islam

A few days before the regional elections in France in 2015, ISIS with its Bataclan attack, performed Le Pen a great service.

“We must confront the new totalitarianism,” Le Pen proclaims. But do not imagine that the reference is to the banks.  No, “totalitarianism” means the jihadists. The same is taking place in the USA. Prior to his election Trump was accusing Clinton of being in the service of Goldman Sachs and of starting, or wanting to start, wars. After his election what did he do? He appointed Goldman Sachs to rule the United States directly, without being obliged to enlist the services of its corrupt political class. Then he issued a decree banning the citizens of a number of Muslim states from entering the USA. Those states were not the states from which the terrorists originated. They were the states included in the list of states to be demolished, drawn up by the Neocons in 2000.

Listening to what many politicians and media say about Islam nowadays, one could get the impression of living at the time of the fall of Constantinople, the battle of Poitiers or the siege of Vienna. One could end up believing that it was not the West that flattened with missiles, bombers and mercenaries, around a dozen countries of the Arab and Muslim world. What is happening is that the Arabs are bombing Europe, and sending new Crusaders in the form of refugees, who drown, along with their children, apparently because they like taking risks, not because their homes are being bombed and destroyed.

Once again, it is masterly. The globalists propose, as a solution to the problem created by Western military policies and IMF world-wide practices, that we should welcome in our countries as many of the displaced populations as possible.

The adepts of Soros and Fukuyama who abet these scenarios are paving the way for Trump, Le Pen and Huntington, offering them the needed enemy, to be exploited both domestically and internationally.

They are preparing the ground for wars inside Western countries, a considerable proportion of whose population is of Muslim descent, and at the same time a new war or wars in the Middle East. They are using the situation not so much to fight against ISIS, which is first and foremost  the creature of the secret services of the USA and its allies, but to curtail political rights and freedoms of the popular classes in the West, making it easier to attack their social gains and employing the Islamic threat to fuel its aggressive agenda in the Middle East.

Speaking three years ago to his “radical right” friends in the Vatican, Trump’s chief of staff Steve Bannon outlined with disarming clarity his international agenda of uniting Christians and Jews against “radical Islam” (**)

A fake friendship with Russia

Bannon also said some other very interesting things. A former employee of Goldman Sachs, he  appeared to want to represent healthy against corrupted capitalism, in which Russia and China were also included, thus indirectly but clearly treated as enemies. Russia may not be first priority for the list of enemies, because Bannon’s own President at times styles himself a friend of Putin. Τhough a colleague of Milo Giannopoulos, Bannon does not seem opposed to the idea of a temporary alliance with the Russians on the basis of “conservative values”.
Mr. Bannon also proved in another way, indirectly but very clearly, in the same speech, that he considers Russia to be an enemy. He presents the 2nd World War as primarily a victory of capitalism, which, as he says, helped the Soviets to survive, completely ignoring the fact that this victory was achieved by the sacrifice of more than twenty million Soviet people. In his description there were only Poles, Italians and Englishmen among the Europeans fighting Nazis. No mention is made of the two nations that put up by far the fiercest resistance to Hitler and Mussolini: the Greeks and the Serbs.

Bannon is courting ridicule when he claims that the 2nd World War, a war to a large extent between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, was a war between Christians and atheists! But the reasons he has for courting the ridicule are not ridiculous.

Distorting the past, he also revealed the future he wants. The Middle East is important not only for what it is, or for its oil, but because it is a privileged space for the exercise of Imperial Power. The defeat of Arabs and Muslims sends a powerful signal to the whole planet, and in particular countries such as Russia, China and India, and even to Europe.

The future of Europe

Le Pen is not wrong in her many criticisms of the European Union and the Euro. The problem is not the criticism but the answers to the question of what might replace the existing European order.

It is already clear to a large percentage of the European population that the existing European Union is an unacceptable structure. What is not clear is what the possible alternatives might be. The fact that it is unacceptable and in urgent need of reform does not mean that by destroying it one will be left with a better and not a worse European order.

Is the dissolution of Europe into a galaxy of small and medium states, competing among themselves to acquire a part of a shrinking global demand, the best way to ameliorate the situation in the continent?

Is it a way to achieve national independence or a way to justify even bigger attacks against the social welfare state, or what it remains of it, in Europe?

Will European societies, states and nations  be stronger or weaker as a result, as they face the colossal power that has been accumulated by international Finance? Will they be more or less dependent?

An important Russian intellectual and advisor to President Vladimir Putin, Sergey Glazyev, rightly explains that the two World Wars were in their way European civil wars.

The division of continental Europe has always been the prime weapon of outside forces that sought to dominate the continent by taking advantage of its contradictions. The aims of the British were to defeat France. The aims of the Americans were to subjugate the continent. They supported European integration only in so far as it sealed the division between the East and West of the continent and the domination of its western part by the USA.

Their absolute headache would have been the realization of De Gaulle’s dream of a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, or from Ireland to Vladivostok, if you prefer.

Only the creation of such a Europe can provide a basis for resisting the catastrophic ecological, socio-economic and geopolitical trends dominating our world.

This is the great responsibility of the forces that insist on being called leftist, social, ecological, or pacifist. Do they have a vision for Europe and the world? Do they have a strategy and the determination to face a challenge as great as the one that is objectively placed before mankind? Do they have the necessary independence and the courage to fight against the power of Finance? Or do they represent the light of a star that died, ushering in a long night in the history of mankind, a world that, in the glow of its technological achievements, nevertheless remains more prehistoric and barbaric than ever?

Will other alternative centres besides the West, usually conservative in their psychology but obliged to resist, be able to develop the radicalism that is required of them by such a radical objective situation?  Will they be able to solve their own internal problems by proposing ideas of a more general nature for the solution of humanity’s problems?

We cannot answer this question for the time being.

Fake Radicalism

Both Trump and Le Pen are similar in many ways to pre-war totalitarian movements. But there are also significant differences. .

In his poem about Greece and Europe, Günter  Grass noticed that Hitler’s soldiers sent to occupy the Acropolis of Athens had the poems of Hölderlin in their haversacks.

Schäuble cannot be compared to Hitler, whatever the catastrophes both have inflicted on the Greek people.  Nobody can imagine Hitler implementing the prescriptions of Goldman Sachs and Otmar Issing, while pretending to be a German nationalist.

When Noam Chomsky was asked in an interview whether Trump can be compared with Hitler, he answered that there is a big difference. Hitler and his companions really believed in their ideas, they did not just pretend to believe them.

Those who are using their enormous power and influence to create fake subjects risk discovering in the end that they cannot use them the way they might use real ones.

Published in Defenddemocracy.press

 

Notes

(*) Journalist and writer

(**) http://www.defenddemocracy.press/this-is-how-steve-bannon-sees-the-entire-world/

For a more developped presentation of the above ideas, you make look to the following article in French

AFTER THE EU….WHAT?

I must admit that I have been very hesitant about writing the article that follows. I remember that when I went to Moscow to work as a foreign correspondent it took me two years to understand the extent of my ignorance of Russia. I try not to laugh or lose my temper when so many of our foreign friends who come to Greece with good intentions do not seem so interested in asking questions, but nevertheless have answers for everything!

My knowledge of Britain is very superficial and I would like not to have to write about the country in question. If I do so it is because I want to share some thoughts which have emerged out of following the referendum debate, but also because the questions being raised now in Britain concern every European citizen. I admit that I have drawn extensively on my experience from three other referenda that I followed much more closely: in Cyprus (2004), France (2005) and Greece (2015). But I am ready to accept any criticism of having extrapolated from some of the tendencies I have discerned in other cases and then applied these findings to Britain.

In any case, I don’t believe I am in a position to give definite answers. I would be very happy if this text could be considered just once contribution to a wider, and very necessary, debate. If there are mistakes in it, even they could stimulate further discussion. 

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (*)

 “To be or not to be?”, was the question that tortured Hamlet. “To be or not to be in Europe?” is the question the British put to themselves time and time again, usually only to avoid giving an unambiguous answer. For the French writer Andre Maurois, England is a country “alone but not isolated” (insulaire mais pas isolée). “We should always remember that we are neighbours, but not part of continental Europe”, was the advice of Bolingbroke (and De Gaulle would be in complete agreement!) And a top secret memo prepared for MacMillan on the post-imperial strategy for Britain, was very clear: “We should not come into a position where we would have to choose between one of the two Atlantic coasts”.

This “ambiguity” is also a dominant characteristic in other fields of the British “collective subconscious”, where coexist the memories of the Empire, but also of the Trade Unions, born in Britain in their modern form, and of its huge workers and socialist movement.

The British “revolt” against the EU is quite similar to other “revolts” in Europe. Cypriots, French, Dutch, Irish, Icelanders, Danes, Greeks etc. have repeatedly expressed their outrage at European institutions and both national and European policies (national elites are, after all, also strictly controlled, as are European institutions, by the “Empire of Finance” and by NATO and the USA, but the mechanism of control has not achieved the totalitarian perfection of the EU). And all those “revolts” included social, political and national elements.

But the British revolt seems also quite different from the previous European revolts, in some important aspects.

For instance in most of the other referanda-revolts people were not refusing European Union, they were implicitly asking a different Union. There was more clarity and less confusion in the debate. Usually, but not always, the ideas of the Left were dominant in initiating and shaping the debates. In the case of the British referendum, a split inside the British ruling class seems to have met a current of unspoken popular reaction to where Britain and the world are going. Those currents are still articulated around ideas created under different conditions, and this is probably one of the reasons there is so much confusion around the British referendum. I wonder for instance, if the strong underground currents which propelled Corbyn into the leadership of the Labor Party are not in fact very similar to the ones that legitimized suddenly some rather marginal rigth wing politicians, propelling them to champions of a national cause. (the same happened also in the United States with Sanders and Tramp supporters some times hating each other but also sharing some common element of anti-establishment revolt.

It is not Corbyn in the Left, or Farage and Johnson in the Right who can create “radicalism”. Radicalism exists in some form and is usually marginal in any given society, until many people feel they need it, either to replace an order they cannot tolerate any more or to defend themselves against a coming, unacceptable and threatening order. We are in the second scenario. People feel it deeply, before they are even able to spell it. They feel it by an instinct of imminent danger all humans (and indeed all animals) we dispose and which, in critical times, can be far superior than any intellectual analysis. Of course, what will happen afterwards, depends very much on the “subjective” factor, on how “radical” politicians are navigating in the sea of conflicting currents, if they want to serve or just to sell ideas they adopt at a given moment. The revolt is grown out of human reaction to what people perceive as a threat or a hope. What will happen with a revolt depends much on the politicians and intellectuals who will be propelled in central roles.

In Greece for instance people did not vote for SYRIZA because of what SYRIZA was, but in spite of what it was. They felt they needed an instrument to save themselves and their country and SYRIZA was the only available. They did not vote No in July 5th, 2015 because they were persuaded by any campaign (nearly all campaign was for a Yes vote).  They did not do it out of any thoughts and rational arguments or calculations. They did it because they felt deeply inside them they had to protect their own dignity, which remains still a basic human need. The fact that sometimes dignity and other moral qualities get in the way of modern politics is, by the way, a source of deep confusion for most established politicians and pollsters, as they are not well acquainted with such notions.

The roots of all recent revolts

European revolts are social in character because of what is called Globalization.

The term is in reality misplaced. We are not facing some kind of “neutral” internationalization, or just a decay of states and nations. We are facing the advent of a global dictatorship of Finance, in alliance with big multinational corporations and the US military-industrial complex. This particular kind of globalization (and of European integration, which is not so much a means of defense against it but rather a way of implementing it), is clearly threatening living standards, post-war social welfare system and any democracy everywhere. It is doing that even in the countries which seem to be its own capitals and the pillars of modern military and financial imperialism, like Britain and even the United States!

European revolts are political because no person in his right mind in the Western world in any way trusts its politicians and Eurocrats, who, even when they are still formally elected, seem in fact to have been selected and appointed by the Empire of Finance (with NATO probably also having a say on whether an appointment should be consented to or vetoed). Everybody understands that popular sovereignty has evaporated. This is happening on the national level and even more so at the level of the EU.

Invoking the necessities of integration, European decision makers are moving more and more powers away from the member states, not for them to reappear at any federal level, but for them to be “lost” in the Brussels bureaucratic labyrinth. The extremely well paid Brussels bureaucracy is intellectually and ideologically completely at odds with what most European citizens believe. The Commission for instance is a machine programmed always to do two things:  “liberate the markets” and “enlarge” the Union indefinitely. The strategy is defined (by whom?), the personnel are educated to implement  it and the politicians are needed to deflect popular opposition from what they are doing! This is why they prefer the term governance, which means governing the masses, as opposed to government, which means the people governing its fate, be it on the national or the European level.

(French citizens voted overwhelmingly in May 2005 to reject the European Constitutional Treaty. In the aftermath of the referendum I asked two friends who held rather high posts in the OECD and the EU how French people working there had voted. They told me that everyone  had expressed an opposite view to the majority of the French population and were even ashamed of the way their compatriots had voted)

This is the EU’s famed “democratic deficit”.  But there is not any power deficit. The national parliaments’ power of decision making is being siphoned off to the Brussels institutions. And it is not staying with the executive branch. It is going to the real decision makers, Goldman Sachs and a number of other mega-banks, the IMF, a handful of multinationals, NATO etc. When a group from the Left in the European “Parliament” asked to be informed about the negotiations on TTIP (a Treaty affecting all fundamental conditions of life for hundreds of millions of citizens), it was allowed to send one deputy in a room to read the relevant documents, without the right to take notes! I doubt that even the CIA is applying such a procedure for US Senators. And by the way, if they are preparing something so good for humanity, why they are hiding it in this way?

European revolts are also national ones. Of course European nations are today a shadow of what they once were but they still represent a formidable psychological and ideological reality, which is not going to change just because some believe it is obsolete. Humans feel the need to belong somewhere and also the need to give a meaning to their existence. The former need is especially strong in a context of massive crisis. The latter pushes people back to their traditions, as all modern paradigms, including the promise of prosperity, of Europe or of socialism have either collapsed or are suffering very serious crises. (The fact that very often some feelings and ideas are just kept in the personal and collective “unconscious” and they are not usually expressed, does not weaken them. On the contrary, being unconscious they are not subject to logical control and if they find the necessary conditions they may escape from where they are with great force and rather primitive character).

Read also:  TTIP – Putting Europeans under the rule of Big Business and USA

But the reasons for people everywhere going back to their national identities are also very real and practical. There is not any other level than the national one in which they can hope to exercise some control over the powers that rule them and enjoy some kind of social protection.

The Left and the Nation

 It is now that the difficulties begin to appear. A large part of the Left, having been incorporated into “globalization”,  has obediently followed the liberal discourse on nations and even legitimized it. It has demonized or devalued the very notion of the nation and does not know how to handle the question when it arises.  It even overlooks the fact that nearly all leftist revolutions of the 20thcentury were of course social but also, and very much so, national revolutions! Its attitude often remains unaffected by the fact that nations are not giving way to some sort of democratic or progressive international structure – they are just being swept away by world financial totalitarianism.

SYRIZA during its rise was something of an exception to this. It was able to adopt a rhetoric incorporating – implicitly, not explicitly – the national with the social and the European element. Tsipras was able to do this by copy-pasting ideas originating from outside his party and in this way acquiring the ability to claim power.  You can secure hegemony only if you have solid national backing, only if you can propose a project for your nation. As it is said in America “all politics is local”.

They are local, but they are also very much global.  This is the limit of nationalism, as a reaction to nowdays threats, and this why European leftists a long time ago should have elaborated a regional and international strategy. The EU is already halfway to being  a state, but also most economic protections of a given policy have been abolished on the international level. You cannot make policy disregarding the national factor (what many leftists like to do), but you also cannot make policy pretending there are still nation-states as we knew them in the past (this is what both leftists and nationalists are often doing).

Only people blinded by “political correctness” and “left” or “right” liberalism could  believe that historic, ex-imperial nations such as Britain or France, (or nations who have resisted Hitler as few in Europe, like Greece), would not react, sooner or later, one way or another against both the Brussels dictatorship and German ambitions. The British, as is often the case with nations exercising trade, cherish their freedom. Britain was able to enjoy more freedom, and for much longer, than most European nations, because the Channel and the Royal Navy protected it from outside threats. The islands were never occupied after 1066.

Even if their politicians would not say so, the British, and everybody else, have also been witnessing how Berlin has been acting since the beginning of the crisis, reserving to itself the right for the final shaping of European policy, behaving like owners of  the European Union, deciding which countries deserve to remain, or not, inside the Eurozone (tomorrow the EU), and even which countries will be completely destroyed or just subjected to pressure.

The fact that the leaders in Berlin hide their nationalism behind “economic reason”, moralistic discourse and the alliance they have forged with Goldman Sachs and the IMF, does not improve anything. It makes things worse. Nobody needs to go through Berlin or Brussels to arrive in the orbit of Washington and New York. There are direct flights.

None of this is usually present in the “official” public debate, it erupts there only rarely. Most people are just in a state of panic and don’t in any way wish to cross swords with the devils that destroyed Europe twice in the past century. But those devils will not disappear just because we don’ talk about them. They will reappear, and indeed they are reappearing, sometimes in the most ugly and destructive forms. In today’s “Animal Farm” that the European Union has become, some animals are certainly more equal than others. But there are also animals that will never accept the status assigned to them.

If some kind of European integration or even co-operation is to be preserved, that cannot mean the abolition of existing nations, especially in crisis conditions. It must mean clear arrangements between the existing European nations, with respect for every one of them.

To attribute the whole situation to the influence of Johnson or Farage is not only an aberration; it is also an enormous gift to the British right and extreme right. In fact we should not overestimate the role they have played. For the political collapse of the European Union, whatever role was also played by the defeat of the European Left in Greece in 2015, the essential responsibility lies with European national and EU leaders. The EU political leadership intervened massively in all referenda to advise people how to vote and frighten them with the consequences to be suffered if they ignored the advice. In all cases this was more than enough to persuade people to do the opposite of what they were being advised to do! Nobody could be more effective than Donald Tusk, or Wolfgang Schaeuble or the IMF to persuade the British to vote for Exit.

In fact, it seems that if Bremain wins finally, very strange as it will be, it will happen not because of the campaign its supporters are doing, but because somebody, who normally would wish the opposite result, has murdered the young and distinguished militant and MP Jo Cox. We live definitely in interesting times.

Corbyn is too recent to be sure about the way he will handle the question of the “nation”. But up to now all “national” questions were the domain of the Right, which was left to play alone. It is more useful to analyze the reasons of the problems, than discuss the sometimes unpleasant or even disgusting results.

Of course it is much more easy to defend your nation if you are for instance a Greek leftist, as Greece is now clearly a nation suffering from a post-modern form of foreign occupation and oppression. Britain and France are nations which are somehow oppressed by the system, but in the same time they are very much part of its center. If their Left is to succeed it has to find a way to address the whole nation, in the same time avoiding to make compromises with its imperialistic characteristics, which would alter its very nature. Easy to say, difficult to implement. (This is also true for Germany, where its history and the role its leaders claim in Europe makes things even more difficult. But the remark is also valid for Germans and Germany).

In this context came the refugee question, which is a very difficult one, reflecting as it does the difficulties the Left has with Nation and Identity. Our full solidarity with the victims of the war we, Europeans and North Americans, have started, is a demand of elementary human dignity. We should try to help them where they are now. But mass immigration of millions of people to Europe is no solution to anything. Even if some believe the refugees have the right to establish themselves wherever they wish, Europeans will not accept it. And such emigration would consummate the ruin of their countries of origin.

The only possible answer to this problem is of course to take care of people in need, but also completely to reverse Western policy in the Middle East, organizing a huge Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of the countries our air forces and proxies have all but erased from the map.

Is the radical Left radical?

The collapse of USSR was a terrible blow to Leftist ideas worldwide, even for forces that  were hostile to the Soviet Union’s bureaucratic regime. It facilitated the replacement of  socialist ideology by “Europeanist” ideology, by the ideology of human rights and by support, sometimes, for supposedly democratic imperialistic interventions. (There was another tendency, a minority one, but one that is getting stronger by the day, especially in France, for socialism to be supplanted by uncritical nationalism).

Some people may still refer to the works of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci; they may wear  T-shirts with the portrait of Che Guevara on them, but their real psychology and mentality is the total opposite of that of these figures to whom they pay lip service.  Deeply inside themselves, they believe in the stability of the system. They are  conservatives even if they call themselves radical. They want European capitalism more or less to be preserved. They don’t believe that something radically different could replace it. Their inner ambition is to humanize and reform it and the role they reserve for themselves is to constitute its conscience.

Read also:  The face (and the fate) of Europe

History is playing very painful jokes on humanity.  Twenty years after the implosion of the Soviet Union, interpreted as the “End of History” by some Western ideologues (of very poor intellectual background, by the way), the economic and geopolitical forces that  triumphed in 1989-91 have entered their own very serious crisis, which is in fact the most serious since 1929.

It is this crisis that is provoking the EU’s crisis, not the other way around. But who in Europe is radical enough to draw the appropriate conclusions and adapt his policy to this environment of crisis. Sometimes it seems that only bankers are!  Leninism has migrated from the Left to the upper echelons of a world power concentrated as never before in history.

Their terrible illusions about the EU and inner belief in the system was also one of the main reasons for the failure and devastating defeat of SYRIZA in Greece. SYRIZA was right to try to find a compromise, a solution permitting at least some stabilization of the country, given the international correlation of forces and the situation in Greece. But it avoided, at every point, even trying to imagine the prospect of a clash in the event that such a compromise could not be found.

(We should notice at this point that if the majority of the Left clings desperately to the EU, even when it seems very likely that this structure is doomed, there is also a smaller ultra-leftist tendency which believes that everything will be automatically fixed if a country leaves the euro, returning to an impossible paradise of nation-states.  The lack of a real transitional program, belief in one’s capacity to implement it, and the will to try, is compensated for by hoisting the national flag.)

 British nationalism, its character and its contradictions

 It is impossible nowadays to defend your society without defending your nation. This is the mistake typically made by the Left. But the opposite is equally true. You cannot defend your nation without defending its people. After all, the nation is not an abstraction.  It consists of real people. And that is true not only of nations like Greece that are patently under neocolonial rule. It can often also be true of nations much higher in the geopolitical-economic pecking order.

It is obvious that a part of the British ruling class believes it can obtain more of the advantages of globalization from being outside the Union. It is using the “anti-globalization” and “democratic” element of the revolt, not to put in any doubt “globalization”, but to claim for a different set of arrangements for Britain inside the globalization. For the time being this seems a tiny minority in the international establishement, as Obama, NATO, Soros and Rotchild were blunt: They need London inside, not outside the EU.

This could change in two cases. One is the scenario B. If the EU and the neoliberal order is going to collapse, without a different a more democratic European order replacing it, then national antagonisms will be used to dominate the continent, to legitimize authoritarianism, go on with social regression and prepare outside wars against Russia, Islam, China later etc.

Now there is a problem. Can you have a vision for your nation, without having a vision for the world? The nation is nowadays admittedly under ideological attack, but this is not the crux of the matter. The fact is that the nation is also under very practical, material attack from Finance. Brussels “dictatorship” is one form of rule by Finance. But the same rule is organized also for countries outside the EU.

British nationalists say they are anxious about the “invasion of refugees”. But they tend to forget that these refugees are the direct product of NATO bombings and the support Wahhabis receive from the main Western powers! Successive British governments bent over backwards to follow the Middle Eastern policy of the most extremist forces inside the international establishment. Britain participated in all interventions in the Middle East, even when the Germans and French were opposing them, and even when Obama himself indicated some reluctance, as with Libya.

Some British Tories say they are afraid the inclusion of Turkey in the EU will result in millions of refugees coming to Europe. But again it is London that has been, along with Washington, the most stubborn supporter of enlargement of the EU to include Turkey, in order to destroy Europe as a political project, multiply US Trojan Horses inside the EU, “stabilize” the role of Turkey for Middle Eastern interventions, incorporate its cheap labor into European markets and put an end to  European agricultural policy. Are they now protesting about the results of their own policies?

I don’t know if British jobs, social infrastructure and salaries are threatened by these unfortunate refugees. They are certainly threatened by neoliberalism, which will use refugees to reduce workers’ rights and lower their living standards. But again, it has been London all along that has insisted in imposing the most extreme neoliberalism on the EU. It is London that refused any tax or social harmonization in the EU, which was hostile to the agricultural policy and which has struggled very successfully to transform the EU into a mere free exchange zone. This is also the stated aim of Cameron in his Bremain campaign.

Finally, the main question that nationalists and pro-Europeans, leftists and rightists, not only in Britain, but in all Europe are not answering satisfactorily: how can a given nation or a group of nations be protected from the formidable economic and political forces of globalization?

(By the way, it may not be useless to underline the following, because it is of great political importance: the European Union is not yet an accomplished totalitarian structure. It is in the process of transformation from a democratic to a totalitarian structure, both on the level of its functioning and in terms of its ideology. The right of national veto, for instance, has been retained for a number of cases, in theory making even possible a policy like the one to which De Gaulle resorted at one point. In such a situation it makes sense, at least in theory, to push for “reform” rather than proceed directly to “revolution”. The time for revolution is when reform has already proven impossible. Many people believe Greece has proved that this is impossible. Probably yes, but this is still a prediction. Nobody knows what would have happened if the Greek government was prepared not to capitulate. Brussels, Berlin and Washington knew what Tsipras would finally do and this provided them with the certainty they were not taking enormous risks. We don’t know if Mrs. Merkel, the other European leaders, the financial and NATO establishment would be ready to take the risks (political, financial, even geopolitical) of a protracted conflict. They behaved like they behaved because they were sure they were controlling already enough the SYRIZA leadership, at least in a degree to neutralize its capacity to resist, even if it chose to do. Anyway, the problem is not so much to make safe predictions about future crises. It is rather to acquire a sound political strategy. SYRIZA was absolutely right not to advance slogans for the exit from Euro and the EU (especially given that debt and the Memoranda have been more tangible threats than participation in Europe, which provided also Greece with political and institutional weapons it could use if it had the will).  But it should have been prepared to quit the eurozone and block all EU functioning if the EU insisted on capitulation. Events in Britain have taken a different turn, for various reasons, one of them the defeat of the European Left in 2015 and the subsequent fact that the initiative for the present British referendum has come from the Right.

The politics of confusion

All the above contradictions are reflected in the extremely confused and incoherent way that the British debate has taken place, in sharp contrast to what happened in France for instance, in May 2005, leading to the rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty and the end of neoliberal-euroliberal ideological domination in this country.

The French debate of that time was an authentically Cartesian debate, with people even in backstreet restaurants in working-class suburbs discussing questions that nobody would expect anyone but very educated economists and specialists to debate. They were able all the relevant information from analyses of very high quality found throug Internet. The decision that the French people took at that time was an absolutely conscious one.

Confusion is historically bad and worrisome. It is a sign that societies are unable to confront the real problems in a way that is both meaningful and acceptable.

Take for example the debate over whether the British economy will be better in or out the euro. Every side takes it for granted that the international economic (and political-geopolitical) environment is going to remain more or less stable. But that is not the way it is going to be, because we are still very much inside the biggest crisis world capitalism has seen since 1929.

A crisis of this severity has never ended before without a major war. That is not an absolute indication of an inevitable future, but  it remains a dark reminder from the past. Given that the international financial and political system has enormous and unprecedented potentialities for control and manipulation, behind the seemingly chaotic automatism of the “markets”, it has been able to transform the crisis of the financial sector in 2008 into a crisis of the EU and then unload all the economic costs onto the backs of the PIGS, especially Greece, for which this policy has spelt ruin.  The method in question is the politico-economic equivalent of a technique used in modern civil engineering, having been developed in the context of the theory of catastrophes. A huge building inside an urban center can be demolished in a matter of minutes, without there being any necessity even to stop the traffic in the area. One of the reasons the IMF and the German government are arguing about Greece, is that in Washington there is greater understanding of the fact that at some point the destruction process must be attenuated and some of the cost transferred to other European countries. Mr.  Schaeuble prefers to continue destroying Greece at full speed and does not want to accept any transference of the cost.

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By controlling and postponing solution of the crisis, they will not avoid it. They will merely make it worse. The crisis of the EU is not the reason for the underlying economic crisis; it is its reflection. Unfortunately, most discussion of the Euro and EU nowadays is a debate about institutions, carefully segregated from consideration of the coming economic and financial tsunamis.

The EU was accepted as a vehicle for prosperity and democracy, plus – for some – independence. It is in the process of collapse because the liberal post-national order is not able to  secure achievement of these aims. As a result, it is being de-legitimized politically, beyond the point of no return. This has become obvious in the past year, as confirmed in research by the Pew Centre, in the wake of the crashing of Greece and subsequent refugee crisis.  In such conditions everybody tries to save himself, and revolt against Brussels or Berlin becomes generalized. We should not underestimate the explosive significance of the message that was conveyed last year to every person watching the TV coverage of the Greek crash. Even those who don’t like Greeks and/or are indifferent to their problems have seen European Union crashing one of its members. No Union in history has survived the destruction, colonization and looting of one of its members. By crashing Greece the European Union has also destroyed its political raison d’etre. When the next wave of the financial (or anyone) crisis will come, the whole structure is ready to collapse (or reform radically, as there is at least in theory such a possibillity, but it needs somebody to prepare it and there is nobody at sight.

The existing European Union seems hardly sustainable in the medium term. If the poor were unable to explode it, the rich will do it. The real question is not to support in any sense the EU, because the structure seems anyway doomed to a very probable collapse. The real question is what will be the new status quo in Europe. We witnessed what happened to the Soviet Union twenty-five years ago. It was an unacceptable structure for many people but its disappearance, the way and in the direction it was done, represented a huge step backwards, not forwards. It led to the decomposition of the Soviet economy and society, it has made possible all the catastrophic wars in the Middle East. Not many people in states like Moldova or Tajikstan, formally independent though they may be, are today enjoying their independence. They would just lough if you asked them how they feel havinb gained such independence.

The same is possible for the European Union.  A possible collapse of it will not necessarily lead to anything better. It could lead to something much worse, with different countries competing for their shares of a shrinking demand and resorting to social dumping and authoritarian “nationalist” regimes to achieve it, all the while being more than ever at the mercy of International Finance and the USA.

We don’t describe such a worst case scenario as a meansHow toi of persuading anyone to stay in the EU, which is in any case collapsing under the weight of its inner contradictions. Only very deep and radical reform could save and there is no sign of anyone having made serious preparations for any such thing. What we wish to do is underline once more the necessity for building a national and international force able to advance a program that would be acceptable for most European peoples, or at least for a group of them.

The Soviet Union by the way collapsed to the direction it did, because there existed no political force with a sound strategy to reform it to a different direction.

How to unite Europeans

In 2011 I had a meeting with Mr. Tsipras and Mikis Theodorakis. I told them that it will be impossible to face the attack we receive as a nation, only based on our own forces. The Financial Empire had chosen Greece as the first target in a gigantic project of “regime change” in all Europe. We were in the first line of the attack, so we should become also the ones to take the initiative to organize the defense and the counter attack. They were both enthusiastic about the idea and they entrusted me with drafting an appeal to all European peoples, meant as a tool for organizing a large front of international resistance. It was signed by dozens of politicians, personalities and intellectuals around Europe, including the leaders of the German and the French radical left. Tsipras took it with him and read it at a Linke Congress in Germany, receiving also there an enthusiastic welcome. I believe this appeal greatly him to construct an international image.

The main underlying idea was that Finance is transforming its own crisis into a political crisis between European nations. As for national identity, its emergence was unavoidable in crisis conditions, the strategic question was not if national identities would be awakened, but rather to which direction this resurgence, and sometimes revolt of nations would be channeled. We should advance an opposite project, trying to unite European nations against the Finance, perceived as our common enemy. A common enemy is very useful for a union, but a union would be more solid if it had also a common vision. In the appeal there were the very broad outlines of our main aims.

“There is an urgent need for an immediate, cross-border coordination of action by intellectuals, people of the arts and literature, spontaneous movements, social forces and personalities who comprehend the importance of the stakes; we need to create a powerful front of resistance against the advancing “totalitarian empire of globalization”, before it is too late.

Europe can survive only if wepromote a united response against the markets, a challenge bigger than theirs, a new European «New Deal».

– We must immediately stop the attack against Greece and other countries of the EU periphery; we must stop the irresponsible and criminal policy of austerity and privatization, which leads directly to a crisis deeper than the one of 1929.

– Public debts must be radically restructured across the Eurozone, particularly on the expense of the private banking giants. Banks must be recontrolled and the financing of European economy must be under national and European social control. It is not possible to let the financial keys of Europe in the hands of banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UBS, the Deutsche Bank etc. We must ban the uncontrolled financial derivatives, which are the spearhead of the destructive financial capitalism, and create real economic development, instead of speculative profits.

 

  • The present architecture, based on the Maastricht Treaty and the WTO rules,hasestablished a debt production machine in Europe. We need a radical change of all Treaties, the submission of the ECB under political control by the European peoples, a “goldenrule” for minimum social, fiscal, environmental standards in Europe. We urgently need a change of paradigm; a return to the stimulation of growth through the stimulation of demand, via new European investment programs, a new regulation, taxation and control of international capital and commodities flows; a new form of smart and reasonable protectionism in an independent Europe, which will be the protagonist in the fight for a multipolar, democratic, ecological, social planet”.

There is an urgent need for an immediate, cross-border coordination of action by intellectuals, people of the arts and literature, spontaneous movements, social forces and personalities who comprehend the importance of the stakes; we need to create a powerful front of resistance against the advancing “totalitarian empire of globalization”, before it is too late.

Europe can survive only if wepromote a united response against the markets, a challenge bigger than theirs, a new European «New Deal».

What we did after proclaiming all that and stating the urgency of the situation inb order to realize them. Near to nothing! (A remarkable exception, as Kate Hudson indicated me recently, was Tony Benn, one of the noblest figures of post-war British and European socialism. Inspired by this appeal he made another one for the founding of the Greece Solidarity Campaign in Britain, which has raised and send many thousands of pounds to Greece for Medical Aid to Solidarity Clinics etc.)

If we had done something maybe the result of the 2015 crisis in Greece could be different and the European questions put now in a different form. Anyway it is never too late.

Athens, 21.6.2015

(*) Journalist and writer, ex-Secretary of the Movement of Independent Citizens, ex-Member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA, member of the editorial board of “DefendDemocracy.Press”

http://www.defenddemocracy.press/after-the-eu-what/

A NEW DUTCH “REBELLION” – AND ITS HISTORIC IMPORTANCE

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Two weeks ago, the majority of the Dutch voters have provoked big troubles for European governments, the European Union and, also, for the US government and NATO, by rejecting the ratification, by their country, of the EU-Ukraine agreement.

But now, they are preparing an even more serious blow to the forces of “financial totalitarianism” dominating both European national and EU institutions – and also US administration and international financial institutions.

The Socialist Party of the Netherlands, is taking the initiative to collect signatures for a second referendum, on the TTIP this time! Some 100,000 Dutch citizens have already signed a petition demanding a referendum on TTIP. 300,000 names are needed to trigger a non-binding vote on the issue, as was the case with the Ukraine plebiscite.

The Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij) which is pushing for the referendum was founded in 1977 as the ‘Communist Party of the Netherlands/Marxist–Leninist’ and it won 15 out of 150 seats (10%) in the elections in 2012, equivalent to just under 910,000 individual votes. In 2005, this party had played a great role in the rejection of the proposed European Constitutional Treaty by Dutch voters. In contrast to many other parties and movements in Europe, claiming of the “radical left”, this party seems quite successful.

The referendum is not binding. Still no government or parliament can ignore it without paying a huge political cost and without contributing further to the massive de-legitimization of European political elites and the EU.

And even if they ignore it, the idea of holding a referendum is helping bring the attention of the public to TTIP, a treaty which may have colossal consequences for democracy, national sovereignty, health of the population and the environment. Essentially the treaty gives unprecedented powers to multinational corporations and financial organizations to overcome the will of the people as expressed by national parliaments and governments.

We are speaking about a huge “regime change” in the West, both in the United States and in Europe. Multinational corporations and the politically coherent wind of the international financial capital have already an unprecedented influence on supposedly elected national political bodies and the unelected governing bodies of the European Union, other international organizations, official “intellectuals” and the media system. With the TTIP they try to formalize and institutionalize their previous successes.

Modern West was based, at least in theory, on the principle of popular sovereignty. This principle has replaced the monarchic system of government which was basing its legitimacy on religion. The new system was based, at least in theory, to the free will of the people. In order to impose the new regime, the French decapitated their kings. Now, it is International Finance which tries to “decapitate” European and North American societies, in order to impose its own regime. They want to deprive Europeans and North Americans (and everybody else for that matter) of political ideas, political leaders, of any legal means to resist the globalization order and, even, of their states.

They did a huge progress in this direction in the last 20 years – a look to the way most European governments are behaving and on the main mass media of the continent is sufficient to persuade you. Now they want to capitalize on this and institutionalize the new political order, the order of the New Totalitarianism, of the Empire of Globalization.

Look carefully to the images of these desperate refugees from Syria risking their lives to come to Europe. Look to this small child crying “Mama, do not leave. I will die”, as her mother has to be transported to a medical emergency. Study carefully those images. It is maybe your personal future, your personal fate, if you let the forces dominating the world to follow their destructive work, turning all human race into nomadic animals.

This is why this new Dutch “rebellion” bears a really historic significance for all Europe.

April 24th, 2016

published in www.defenddemocracy.press

Globalization as permanent war

Only some months ago Europeans were busy discussing EU crisis and the question of Greece, a member-state of the Union, literally destroyed by European governments, European Commission, ECB and IMF, under the guidance of world Finance.

Now, all Europe is discussing the threat that refugees and Islamic terrorism is putting to our societies, while nuclear armed NATO and Russia are one step from the most serious escalation of military tension among themselves, after the “end” of the Cold War. Voters in Europe are shifting massively their preferences out of consideration for these threats and democratic rights all around Europe are once more curtailed.

But there are some extremely disturbing questions. What, for instance, are the relations between secret services of western or pro-western states and those terrorists? Because, as a matter of fact, it seems that the most reactionary forces in the West have a real “profit from the crime”, more real than any gain of the Islamic State itself that we could imagine!
 
Ok, this is not a proof, ok, it is correct that we should not rush into conspiracy theories, still we can’t become idiots and avoid at least to put important questions, just in order to be politically correct. The price of continuing to be blind to what is happening outside our borders and how it is used inside them, may be the destruction of our societies, of European democracy – and of world peace.  

And of course, if we move from the terrain of criminology into that of politics, how can we avoid speaking of the obvious link between what is happening today with refugees and terror and what US, France, Britain and others have done in the Middle East since 2001, if not after the First Gulf War, that is nearly erasing or helping to erase the main Arab states!
 
Globalization seems definitely not so “happy” and “peaceful” as described. It is rather revealed as a state of permanent war against nations and societies, against Democracy and Nature, against Man, to put it simply.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-supports-the-islamic-state-isis-saudi-arabia-turkey-qatar-uk-france-usa/5490271
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos