Don Quijones: Mutiny of the Lab Rats – Europeans Grow Weary of EU Experiment

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By Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain. His blog, Raging Bull-Shit, is a modest attempt to challenge some of the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media. Originally published at Testosterone Pit

The people of Europe are finally pushing back against the European Super State, if recent polls are anything to go by. Having grown weary of being treated as lab rats in an increasingly dysfunctional economic and political experiment, a large minority of Europeans seem intent on voting for euroskeptic parties in the upcoming European elections.

The prospect is causing jitters not only among the big wigs in Brussels but also among many of Europe’s mainstream political parties, whose oligopoly on political power faces a serious threat for the first time in decades. Calculations by the Open Europe think tank suggest that hardline sceptics could take as many as 218 of the 751 seats available in the European Parliament.

In the UK, poll research shows that the most pro-European Westminster grouping – the Liberal Democrats – is about to have its European Parliamentary representation completely decimated. Indeed, so threatened do the three establishment parties in the UK feel by Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party (UKip) that they hit back this week with a cross-party campaign to condemn it as “Euracist”, an ingenious combination of the two words “Europe” and “Racist”.

The episode serves as a timely reminder of just how dumbed down the inhabitants of Westminster have become. For not only does their latest sound bite imply that Europeans are now a common, unified race – anthropology clearly not being the UK political caste’s strong point – but it also suggests that Farage’s party is actually “racist” towards all members of this new race, including, one would assume, Britons themselves.

Put simply, the act reeks of ruthless desperation. And nowhere is the stench stronger than in Ten Downing Street whose incumbent, David Cameron, has even suggested he would resign if he failed to deliver on his pledge to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership after the next general election. He accepted voters might be “skeptical” about his promise but insisted: “I would not continue as Prime Minister unless it can be absolutely guaranteed this referendum will go ahead on an in-out basis.”

The problem for Cameron and, by extension, his party, is that most people – even many dyed-in-the-wool Tory voters – no longer believe him. Once-bitten, twice-shy voters still remember his “cast-iron” pledge, while in opposition, to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty – a pledge that turned out to be not-quite-so-cast-iron once in government. In short, an increasing number of UK voters no longer believe that any of the three mainstream parties offer any real protection against the EU’s plans for full-spectral dominance of the continent. And it’s not just in Britain: across the continent, voters are looking to the fringes for alternatives to Brussels’ authoritarian, technocratic model of governance.

“Populists”, “Extremists” and “Euracists”

In France, Marie Le Pen’s Front National is on course to humiliate Francois Hollande’s socialists in the European elections, with the latest polls suggesting that her party could gain as much as 24 percent of votes – four percentage points more than Hollande’s champagne-and-caviar socialists. In the Netherlands Gert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party is expected to perform just as well, setting the stage for a far-Right parliamentary bloc of 38 MEPs from at least seven countries, with the Austrian Freedom Party, Belgian Vlaams Belang, Italian Lega Nord, Slovak National Party and Sweden Democrats making up the numbers.

As for Europe’s radical leftist parties, they also expect to secure a larger presence in the European Parliament – primarily through big gains in austerity-hit Southern Europe. Leading the charge is Alex Tsipras’ Syriza party which is currently leading Greek polls. In Portugal, polls predict a 20 percent haul for far-left of centre parties, while in Spain Plural Left, of which the largest component is the communist-led United Left coalition, is hoping to garner over 10 percent of seats in the May 25 elections.

These are the so-called “populists”, “extremists” and “euracists” that will be joining the fray in Brussels once the dust has settled after the elections – and some fray it promises to be! On the one side will be an unruly coalition of far-right and nationalist groups who would like nothing better than to torpedo the European frigate once and for all – while no doubt enjoying the expenses-paid junkets that come with a political life in Brussels. On the other side of the aisle will be a motley crew of leftist parties determined to put an end to the EU’s fetish for austerity measures and bank bailouts.

Tower of Babble

Naturally, all of this will make for more entertaining political theatre in Brussels, as the EU’s stunted Tower of Babel becomes even more of a Tower of Babble. But will it actually make any significant difference in governance terms? Unfortunately, the answer is probably no — for the simple reason that the European Parliament had very limited power or influence.

Like a court eunuch, the Parliament was effectively neutered at birth. Put simply, its main mission in life is to give the wildly misleading impression that democracy actually exists in the EU. In reality, the Parliament cannot overrule the EU Commission nor can it even amend its budget on a line by line basis. Indeed, it cannot initiate legislation and it has no say whatsoever in foreign policy.

The European Parliament has no power to even hold individual members of the Commission to account. At best, it can overturn the entire executive branch, which it has done only once in its lifetime – back in 1999 when, thanks to leaks by commission-insider Paul Van Boetenin, the Parliament learnt of the irregularities, fraud and mismanagement within the Commission.

The real power in Brussels resides in the European Commission, the European Council of national leaders and the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers – three unelected institutions that are subject to virtually no democratic checks or balances.

A New Parliament, A New Commission

The first test the new parliament will likely face is to select the president of the European Commission. The EU’s executive body will for the first time be chosen under the provisions of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which states  that the European Council of EU leaders nominates the candidate “taking account of the elections of the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations”. This does not by any means guarantee that the elected “representatives” of the people will actually have a direct say in the selection.

But even if they do, the chances are that the choices available will not offer any kind of meaningful change in the direction of EU policy. Indeed, the list of candidates reads like a Who’s Who of European establishment politics and bureaucracy. The two favourites for the position are Martin Schultz, the bearded, table-thumping German social democrat who currently serves as president of the European Parliament; and Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime-minister of Luxembourg who in 2011, as president of the Eurogroup, famously said “when things get serious you have to lie.”

Also on the list is the current IMF chief Christine Lagarde, two failed Italian prime-ministers (Mario Monti and Enrico Letta), Spain’s current Minister of the Economy (and former Lehman Brothers’ banker) Luis de Guindos, and former Spanish premier José Luis Zapatero. Granted, the list does include a sprinkling of less compromised individuals, such as Alexis Tsipras and the Swedish Pirate Party’s 27-year-old representative Amelia Andersdotter. However, as the EU’s own website notes, their chances of being selected are pathetically slim.

If there’s one thing that the last five years of European crisis management (if that’s what you can call it) has shown, it is that the EU, like the late Maggie T, is not for turning. As current Commission President José Manuel Barroso has repeated time and again, there is no plan B in Brussels’ agenda. As such, one can expect any changes that do occur to be at best cosmetic in nature. And while there may be more bluster, blather and drama in Parliament and the ferocious rubber stamping of new EU laws and regulations may be slowed somewhat, the real power will remain in the same hands, and the owners of those hands are determined that the experiment will continue — damned the consequences!

As I wrote in “Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Silent Assassination of European Democracy”, the European elite has thus far masterfully exploited Europe’s economic decline and crisis of nation-state democracy and the resultant voter disaffection and apathy to enshrine a new system of rule by bureaucrats, bankers, technocrats and lobbyists. If anything, we can expect this trend to accelerate in 2014 as the Eurocrats seek to consolidate their power grab through the imposition of EU-wide banking and fiscal union. Once that’s done, the quest for the holy grail of full-blown political union will begin in earnest.

However, whatever the eurocrats might believe, it is by no means a fait accompli. The European Dream is one of modern history’s most ambitious (and most deeply flawed) experiments in political, social and economic re-engineering, and for it to work it needs, at least for just a little longer, the continued passive compliance of a majority of the experiment’s subjects – that is, the 500 million-or-so European lab rats whose lives it seeks to transform beyond all recognition — and certainly not for the better.

But the rats are finally wising up to the mad scientists’ devious plans for them, and growing ranks of them are mounting a mutiny in the laboratory. This May’s elections are just the beginning.

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    1. digi_owl

      Voting for one, getting the other.

      Much like they tried to vote their way out of post war depressions and ended up voting their way into another war…

      Right now i think the EU election system is in much the same state as the US, with all options being various degrees of unpalatable.

    2. F. Beard

      There is a way out, based on ethics and justice.

      The population has clearly been cheated but how? Look no further than government backing for the banks and the Euro.

      Things can be fixed since we no longer have to dig gold out of the ground but what may be rarer is a vision that is neither fascist nor communistic – two proven failures.

  1. Hans Suter

    “rats are finally wising up” ?
    I don’t know if the voters of Le Pen, Lega Nord, Wilders, Freiheitspartei, etc are wising up, rats they are certainly.

    1. allcoppedout

      Hans is right Ditto. Some of the fascists are fascists. Others are in protest as with a lot of people voting UKIP in the UK – though even this is clouded by English prejudice against the EU.

      1. Ditto

        if they are voting against one evil by supporting a horrific one, I don’t see room for optimism

        In other words, nationalism only has value if it means “not bat shit crazy”

        Then again maybe the west is voting its true colors

        May be voters are only capable of being emotionally manipulated to support parasites and fascists ?

        1. windsock

          I’m not sure UKIP are fascists. What all of them have in common is hate. Some hate the EU, some hate Islam, some hate anyone who is not white, some hate women, some hate gays (check various twitter comments on all subjects). Not all of them hate the same things, but they all hate something. If a party’s only unifying policy is hatred, our future is grim.

          I can’t believe this article appeared on NC. It is so soft on the far right groups. The EU desperately needs democratic reform, but it won’t get it by being obstructed by the far right. If the EU breaks up, each country will be picked off, one by one, by either USA or Russia.

          I don’t want to live in Airstrip One.

          1. OIFVet

            The EU as a whole is already Airstrip One, with US bases in most member states and states like Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, and the Baltics begging for more in order to demonstrate their obeisance to the American Empire. Its bitterly funny to me how the Eastern Europeans (New Europe in Bush-speak) in particular have learned absolutely nothing and have eagerly prostrated themselves before their new US and EU colonial masters.

            1. windsock

              It’s not quite that simple. I can understand why Eastern Europe wants NATO protection against a resurgent Russia. I think the EU, if reformed properly and integrated intelligently, (yes, I know, as if) would be able to tell both powers where to go. Unfortunately, everyone in power is in thrall to big money and there’s none of that left in the EU.

              1. OIFVet

                As a former Eastern European and a current American I feel far more threatened by American Neocolonialism and the associated bellicose belligerence of an empire in decline. And count me as an Euro sceptic, albeit on the left side of the spectrum. I simply fail to see how the centralization of power in the hands of unelected Eurocrats at the expense of national sovereignty serves anything besides the relentless march of rent extracting neoliberalism and German economic hegemony. My native Bulgaria’s ascension into the EU did nothing for it except destroy domestic production and reduce even educated people into Euro serfdom, picking french produce even as Bulgaria’s fertile fields lie fallow. The sooner the EU is destroyed the better, IMO.

                1. Dan Kervick

                  I simply fail to see how the centralization of power in the hands of unelected Eurocrats at the expense of national sovereignty serves anything besides the relentless march of rent extracting neoliberalism and German economic hegemony.

                  Granted. But how about the consolidation of power in the hands of a radically democratic European union? Surely there must be some in Europe who support a continental democratic revolution in Europe that is an alternative to both the current antidemocratic technocratic liberalism and a devolution back into national autonomy?

                  1. OIFVet

                    I don’t know Dan, “consolidation of power” and “radically democratic” sound like contradiction in terms to me. It may be a consequence of what the current concentration of power has wrought, but I am now exceedingly skeptical of any such concentration; I think that power corrupts therefore diffusion of power is to be pursued.

                    Personally I see return to regionalism as a much more accountable and sustainable alternative, with a central assembly to coordinate things like infrastructure development and cohesive social welfare policies. A large central body, no matter how “radically democratic”, simply fails to account for regional specifics when making policies and that to me is at the heart of the problem with the current alteration of the EU. Even a small country like Bulgaria has rather substantial differences between regions: there are places there where I could not even understand the local dialect. I think Moneta has it right: we must pursue socioeconomic systems on a human scale, systems tailored to fit human needs rather than tailoring humans to fit the needs of the system.

                    1. Dan Kervick

                      Well, isn’t there the possibility of some balanced mix of local governments, regional governments, national governments and a continental government, each with an assigned sphere of responsibilities? Insofar as Europe wants to think of itself as one thing, it seems to be that it needs some more effective democratic institutions to enact those policies which are best implemented continent-wide.

                    2. OIFVet

                      Too many layers to that cake to be either workable or palatable, IMO. Europe can be “one thing” only as a broad recognition that it is comprised of many different regions with their own local peculiarities and as such can never be the homogeneous entity that TPTB want to shape it into. As far as I am concerned free travel is about the only continent-wide policy which needs to exist in order to approach the “one thing” idea, and we hardly need the tens of thousands of eurocrats and other assorted Euro critters that have been spawned by the current iteration of the EU.

              2. ToivoS

                What you call ‘resurgent Russia’ many others would call a Russian that is resisting NATO expansion into its own spheres of influence.

                Georgia,2008, should have been a wake up call that NATO was not going to gobble up Georgia. The lesson was not learned. Today we have a major crisis in Ukraine because the EU did not get that message.

                1. windsock

                  The EU is not NATO. All those countries that were formerly under the Russian sphere of influence asked to join NATO (and the EU), Should they not have that freedom?

          2. guest

            The EU desperately needs democratic reform

            This is the crux of the matter: the EU has been crafted so that there is no possibility for a democratic reform: The EU parliament has no power to initiate any legislative work, citizens have no power to initiate any constitutional work (the most they have is a very restrictive and limited petition right), the mass of treaties can only be amended unanimously in an involved procedure, and core institutions like the ECB, the ESM, the council of finance ministers or the EU council are unelected, unaccountable, and opaque.

            The ideology of EU founders and of current eurocrats is neo-functionalism; as such, the much deplored democratic deficit is actually inherent to the EU project.

            Forget about reform. Just like the USSR, the EU is a case for razing the building completely, and reconstructing something else on new foundations.

              1. OIFVet

                It didn’t emerge in a vacuum you know. The West had a role in it if you care to remember the history. Its pretty recent history so it shouldn’t be that taxing.

  2. allcoppedout

    Don has all this right. UKIP is now leading polls for the EU elections here at 38% compared with Labour 27%, Conservatives 18% and Libdems 8%. This despite 40% of us thinking UKIP racist. UKIP is only polling 14% for next year’s Westminster elections. Most of us see EU elections a a farce.

    Strasbourg is actually the seat of the EU parliament, not Brussels and all votes have to take place there. Almost none of us know who our MEPs are or what they do. The only person we see connected with the EU is Farrage, usually insulting some eurocrat or another. UKIPs only known policies concern a referendum on the EU, immigration and bringing smoking back in pubs. This party is more like the French National Front led by Marine Le Pen, with cross-sectional support from working and quite upper-crust people.

    The EU politicians are seen as even worse than the national ones across Europe. Actual policy is still made by the Commission, seen as a set of unelected cronies. I only know Rompuy (but not his job), Barroso and Ashton. My area elects 8 MEPs including Nick Griffin of the fascist BNP. I don’t know any of the others. There is never any news about them doing anything. It’s a disaster. I’ve won over £10 million in EU funding over the years and never had the slightest help from any MEP.

    So why should any of us care about the EU? The real issue is that politics is now hapless and run by technocrats, I’m voting UKIP as a two fingered gesture to the rest.

  3. Maju

    There’s nothing to cheer if Le Pen goes up. If these Eurocrats are rabid ultracapitalist quasi-fascists, the National Front is the same without the “quasi”. Seeing what is happening in Ukraine (massacres of leftists and other civilians in the name of IMF orthodoxy and the inquistorial “ideal” of a “crusader Europe”, exactly what Le Pen spouses), a victory of the FN could only be the worst possible outcome for Europe. Because France, we like it or not, is the heart of Europe.

    I really have a very bad feeling at the lack of adjectives for the Far Right parties and instead the use of the term “radical” for the only realistic electoral options which are the Real Left. It’s like Don Quijones doesn’t really understand what is at stake here: if the fascists benefit from this crisis, the situation will be even worse, exactly as we are witnessing in Ukraine. It’s good that the Twin Party collapses or at least tends to that but it is really a very bad thing if the fascists benefit from it. Because have no doubt: the fascists are nothing but the second line of the same ugly exploitative system and they know no manners whatsoever: only naked brutality.

    1. Moneta

      I took a class in college on WW2. Of course it started by explaining all the past grievances around Europe and the power plays. Many of these revolved around energy, resources and waterways but it seemed like these variables did not get discussed in the general population at the time. I got the impression that these were only discussed by the leaders behind closed doors and in history classes many decades later.

  4. paul

    Why aggrandise them by referring to them as ‘technocrats’?
    Just use ‘bureaucrats’.
    This a term we have been already been trained to disdain for other purposes.
    It’s a bit like referring to ‘entrepreneurs’ instead of good old fashioned ‘middle men’.

    1. Ulysses

      I agree. The term “technocrat” implies a certain level of competence in solving problems. These Eurocrat bureaucrats only exacerbate problems for the majority, to better allow the unrestricted looting of their kleptocratic masters.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t know. I’ve met many honest and hard working bureaucrats which isn’t to say all bureaucrats, but technocrat is merely code for servant of the MOTU.

      1. paul

        ….But it sounds so much more exciting than plain old ‘bureaucrat’.
        This word has been used to castigate those who were not well suited to the supposed cut and thrust of capitalist endeavour (ie most of us) and shame them for their gentle nature.
        The rise of the ‘technocart’ term is to distract from the modern world’s almost totally bureaucratic nature.
        What are financial,jurisprudential, extractive and ‘social’ industries but bureaucracies?

    3. paul

      Bungling vivisectionists is probably a better term. Amultitude of Doc Benways with their plungers ready.

  5. ambrit

    It sounds like “Pinky and the Brain” with funny accents.
    Bushie: “Gee Cain, what’re we going to do this 9/11?”
    Cain: “Same thing we do every 9/11! Try to take over the World!”

    Euriee: “Alors Le Pain, vat are ve going to do zis election?”
    Le Pain: “Le same thing ve alvays do. Try to take over le World!”

    Now all we need is an Euro-Sceptic politician mention having a Fifth Column in Strassbourg and the scene will be complete.

  6. Skeptic

    After all the Near Misses (Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, etc.) of Revolt, one finds it hard to believe that This Time It’s Different. Why won’t any of these New Faces sell out just like the Old Faces? That is what politicians do; maneuver themselves to positions of power in order to sell off that power for $$$.

    Oh yes and England’s Farage is a City Boy, is he not?

    Real Revolt would be a vibrant Underground Economy where folks start disconnecting from the Transnationals and Conglomerates that support the Superstate.

    1. Maju

      Protests have been growing in size, in Europe and elsewhere. See:

      In Portugal and Spain millions have been rallying only in the last months against the social demolition policies and in neither state seems likely that fascist or fascist-like forces really grow up too much electorally, although it is a fact that fascist aggressions are growing a lot (some sort of death squads in nursery stage).

      I do have some hope for that reason. However this trend is not matched in the larger European states and it seems difficult that change can be driven only by second and third tier periphery countries on their own. Also there’s no reference in Europe nor nearby areas anymore. The closest reference the Left has is in Latin America, and that is a whole ocean away.

      IMO the key-most state is France, where the working class has shown in the recent past ability to paralyze the country, and, if in France Le Pen wins, then the future of Europe is very grim, really.

      Economically also their “protectionism” would only be more of the same with minor changes. Without nationalizing the banks and big monopolies/oligopolies, there’s no way out of this rat trap.

  7. Mark J. Lovas

    Very interesting. Just last night on Czech TV, I heard someone complaining about how the media had managed to corrupt the citizens with anti-EU spirits……Pity I don’t recall who said it, but the Czech representative in Brussels who appeared on the show was very proud of the fact that he belongs to a pro-Austerity party. He seemed to puff out his chest with pride as he remarked that his party was better appreciated in Brussels than at home.

    1. OIFVet

      True comprador of the anti-human neoliberal junta. What is he complaining about, his true masters are happy! To ask the hoi polloi to be happy as well about the royal screwing being meted out is plain greedy and shows the rather fragile ego of a house servant.

  8. Dan Kervick

    I may be wrong here, but my understanding is that the term “euroracist” is not used in these contexts to mean “racism directed against the European race”, but instead means something like “racism by some residents of Europe directed against other residents of Europe perceived by the former as in some way not ‘true’ Europeans”. The term has been around for several years now, no?

    1. Dan Kervick

      In other words, the pro-EU forces are not saying the the euroskeptics are hostile to the “European race”. They are saying that the euroskeptics are dominated by right-wing nationalists who hold racist attitudes toward others.

    2. Moneta

      In my assessment, the localists (vs. globalists) are grasping at straws… their only hope of change is to associate with the radicals who have more nefarious objectives.

  9. Je' Czaja

    UKIP is not racist, it is nationalist. Racism is an institutionalized belief in the genetic superiority of one’s self-identified “race.” Anything less is just prejudice, of which we are all guilty. For example, I see a prejudice against the unwashed masses in using “populist” as a pejorative term. What does it mean? That a leader is supported by most of the people? That is bad because…?

    The EU is opaque, anti-democratic and is taking over the world by smothering it under tons of laws that no one reads or understands. It is the end of nations; it is putting them all in a blender and offering the people an unpalatable smoothie. Is that a good thing? The people do not seem to think it is.

    1. Moneta

      IMO, our systems have to get back to human scale. I call those who vie for this localists. However, our system leaders keep on marching towards ever greater globalism.

      I am afraid that the vast majority are waking up to the needs of smaller systems, I call them localists who are being forced to associate with the radicals who hate.

      1. OIFVet

        I agree on the need to get more local and less centralized. I don’t necessarily think that the localists as you call them ‘associate’ with right wing radicals, I haven’t seen that. What I have seen is reluctant acknowledgement that their goals happen to coincide at the moment.

        1. Moneta

          Well the result is that many are/will be voting for the same parties…that’s the association I was referring to.

    2. allcoppedout

      The father of a friend stood for UKIP last time. He had arrived in Britain when we needed Spitfire pilots and never left. He was white with a dash of Eastern European and a decent friend. Died a few years back. Because of him I met some other Ukipers, nearly all crusty ex-Tories. The anti-European, anti-immigration vote is not tapped by any main political parties in Britain. The Tories used to tap it back in the days of Enoch Powell, but everyone now knows they don’t mean it. The BNP look too much like Nazis to poll more than 10%. UKIP is basically an opportunist party working on this obvious voting segment. I doubt we are serious about them.

      However, the three main parties are useless and politicians are widely seen as unable to ask or answer real questions and dismally corrupt. Our MP is Labour and a horrible piece of work. Staunch red, I prefer our local Tory candidate as a person. Liberals in government have proved as crass as Tories. Former comrades are now sickened with Labour, and this includes Islamic effects if people are honest.

  10. Working Class Nero

    Don is correct; the smart move would certainly be for Europeans to vote for anti-EU parties. But he underestimates how effective the ruling classes use of the trigger word “racism” will be to keep the sheep on the mainstream party pastures. Anti-racism is now the dominant paradigm and will be used just as effectively as anti-communism was used several decades ago. The only difference is that nowadays commie = fascist, pinko = racist, etc, etc. The hunt for racists never ends and the Oligarchs can always count on the undying partnership of most of the Progressive Left in destroying their societies. Sure the Progressive Left likes to jawbone about how they hate the way Oligarchs are slapping them around and treating them like shit. But as soon as any politician shows the slightest inclination to fight the Oligarchs, the fascist or racist label is produced and much of the Progressive Left fall all over themselves to be the first to Stand by their Oligarchs by chanting the required mantra about fascists and racists.

    Marine Le Pen says she supports the following things:

    -“Borrowing” money from the Bank of France at a zero interest rate.
    -A middle road between Free Trade and Autarky that she calls Protectionism.
    -Against privatization of state assets.
    -Advocates for the repeal of GATT and the reintroduction of Keynes’ Havana Charter which would include establishment of Keynes’ bancor idea as an international unit of account.
    -Application of the Glass Steagall Act to France.
    -She is against the Euro and the EU.
    -Nationalization of some deposit banks.
    -In her words; “”the philosophy of the FN’s economic project comes down to some words: construction of a strong, protective and strategist state, reasoned protections at the boundaries, support to the small and medium enterprises, and getting back monetary sovereignty,”
    -She sat out the boring gay marriage debate in France, is pro-abortion, but would allow a referendum on capital punishment.
    -She is fiercely against the Islamification of France.

    Now like all politicians maybe she is full of shit and saying whatever needs to be said to get elected. It wouldn’t be the first time in the history of mankind that a politician lied. But to have Progressive Leftists on the one hand advocating most of the things she supports and on the other hand saying her election would be a disaster is kind of strange.

    One thing is sure, when push comes to shove, and their Oligarchs tell them to jump because there are racists about, much of the Progressive Left are just always gonna say “how high?”
    The irony is that one of Progressive Leftism’s founding mothers was an extreme racist but her views are still accepted and agreed to by most supposed anti-racist Progressive Leftists. Have a look at what the racist Susan Sontag famously said:

    The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.

    Her only subsequent apology was to cancer victims for insulting them by association.

    1. F. Beard

      I used to think the “Mark of Cain” was blue eyes cause:

      1) They are pretty enough to distract one while da white folks unhesitatingly slaughter you thus offering a degree of protection plus “Daddy, don’t kill him! He has such pretty eyes!”
      2) WWI and WWII, mostly blue eyes or at least blue eyes in charge, killed 14 and 50-65 million respectively and dat’s a lot!

      But Sontag best hush-up because blame the victim is quite popular when the banks screw up.

    2. Alejandro

      Susan Sontag was a novelist, essayist and social critic and she wrote that, in NINTEEN SIXTY SEVEN (1967;an important contextual fact… don’t you think?), as a challenge to self-reflection. You know, the difficult and ‘creatively’ avoided task of looking in the mirror. To refer to her as “racist” is pathetically mis-informed or despicably disingenuous. Here is the fuller version:
      “If America is the culmination of Western white civilization, as everyone from the Left to the Right declares, then there must be something terribly wrong with Western white civilization. This is a painful truth; few of us want to go that far. … The truth is that Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Marx, Balanchine ballets, et al., don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.”

      “Her only subsequent apology was to cancer victims for insulting them by association.”

      Did you miss that she subsequently wrote a book (another important contextual fact…don’t you think?);

      1. Working Class Nero

        You are correct, the preamble to her racist comment is very important. Obviously she had a mostly white entourage who she probably didn’t want to insult. So she had to condition her denunciation. To do this she lists what could be read as her exceptions to the white = cancer formula, and depending on how widely you want to read them, they basically exclude the white cultural and financial elite. So if you read Marx, listen to Mozart, go to ballets by Balanchine, appreciate Baroque churches, and support the emancipation of women, etc, then you are what are nowadays called the “right kind of white people” and you are OK because you are basically on the asset side of the white ledger.

        What Sontag did here was basically issue a declaration of war against the “wrong kind of white people” those who have never heard of a Balanchine ballet or visited a Baroque church who are obviously on the liability side, and despite all the best efforts of the white cultural elite, they just cannot balance the harm done by this nasty side of the ledger. She declared war on white working and middle classes in the name of the crimes against other races that were of course for the most part perpetuated by the self same wealthy class she was now excluding from culpability. And so the dismantling of the working and middle classes could begin apace; the wrong kind of white people would pay while the right kind of white people would benefit.

        1. Alejandro

          Huh??? WTF is this rambling? That is a bizarre twisting of facts, or maybe a reading comprehension fail. How do you go from a “challenge to self-reflection” to “a declaration of war”?
          Unless you have a pre-determined agenda, you can only benefit from actually reading her work. Then, even if you don’t agree with her, at least your opinion will be well informed.

          Seems like random wedge-driving…willing or unwitting?

          1. JTFaraday

            “How do you go from a “challenge to self-reflection” to “a declaration of war”?”

            Well, but let’s give this hypothesis due consideration. It is conceivable that after observing this sort of world class persecution complex for a while, somebody somewhere did decide to give “Working Class Nero” something to really whine about.

            I don’t necessarily think that somebody was Susan Sontag though.

            1. Alejandro

              You make an excellent point. I got carried away…maybe a remnant from an exchange on a previous thread.
              Nonetheless, regardless of how one might feel about her, she did have something valuable to say.

          2. Working Class Nero

            Let’s see here, according to you, calling an entire group of people (after first exempting their cultural and financial elite) “the cancer of human history” is a “challenge to self-reflection” while I call it a declaration of war. Sure, I could be erring a bit on the side of hyperbole but I’m going to have to say my interpretation is a little closer to the truth.

            After all, what is there about choosing the metaphor of cancer that leads to self-reflection? Sontag was after all a skilled writer. Cancer is a mortal threat and must be either violently excised from the body politic or doses of chemotherapy must be applied to whither it away. In the years subsequent to Ms. Sontag’s comments, the cultural and financial elite did indeed choose the chemotherapy of globalization to destroy the working and middle classes (of all races). And in this for the most part they were cheered on by the Progressive Left.

            And even today, the minute a politician who rises and (at least rhetorically) proposed policies that would benefit the working classes, choruses of Progressive Leftist shout them down as racists and fascists.

            You know, Donald Sterling’s PR team is looking for some fresh ideas. Perhaps you could run this “challenge to self-reflection” idea past them?

            1. Alejandro

              In PR, as in ‘politricks’, spin and deception are more valued skills. In this, I must concede that jawb interview to you…good luck.

      2. allcoppedout

        Always pay attention to what you say Alej – but though one can take that science and bildung as they flourish in the West (and can be found in some form in all societies) does not excuse the stuff swept under the carpet, I am not at all convinced people like Sontag were not suffering from a sublimation of racism. In her case, this may have come about in a profound sadness concerning what the triumphant do. There is something entirely disingenuous is welcoming other cultures into the lower cultures of one’s own society, or carping about what was done in conditions of great hostility not faced yourself. 1967? She could have been sat in an Attic Tragedy.

        1. Alejandro


          I also always read your commentary and do so with deliberate attention and although I don’t always agree, I do benefit from your particular POV.

          However when you write that you are “ not at all convinced people like Sontag were not suffering from a sublimation of racism”…that certainly is more honest than labeling her a “racist” but aren’t we all, to varying degrees, guilty of this? When you use terms like “what the triumphant do” and “lower cultures” and “conditions of great hostility” aren’t you really rationalizing a vertical hierarchy of existence, i.e., a sequence of “oppression”. Isn’t it disingenuous to condemn her for expressing what she honestly felt, while pretending to venerate the “decent soldiers who fought and died against oppression”? …1967?…” Attic Tragedy”???

          1. allcoppedout

            There used to be a character called Dr Heinz Kiosk in Peter Simple’s ‘Way of the World’. He always used to end up saying ‘We are all guilty’. It is difficult to ground knowledge or even what is fair a lot of the time. I’d be as inclined to listen to a shop girl or dinner lady as Susan Sontag. I’m not sure she would have. And as Alej rightly points out, and as the terms shop girl and dinner lady are examples of, we are stuck with descriptors of a looking down society. I don’t think I was pretending to venerate soldiers or anyone else doing the scut work of society by the way mate. When it comes to anything to do with desire, there is a tendency for it all to come back and bite us in the ass, hoist by our own petard. Wittgenstein said something like, ‘if you doubt everything you succeed in doubting nothing as you have become so certain about doubt’. The attempt to do away with metaphysics is eventually discovered metaphysical.

            I think it’s worse – we are trapped in ancient language at least as old as the ancient Greek tragedies and people like Sontag are in that line of literature and the seduction of words rather than experience. It’s not about wanting to stop Sontag or anyone else having a say, it’s our lack of focus on the anyone else. And what would she be saying to a few ‘cancerous white guys’ like me with rifles between her and boku haram? I never met her, but did meet similar who struck me as not with it and part of the ‘narcissism of tweed’ academe can be at its worst. Once you walk out into the real world the arguments become much more difficult and one needs the ethno-methods to understand what is going on. Political correctness doesn’t allow this and looks a lot like racially superior anthropology of conceited people who have made their minds up before starting research. It is tough though to get much right. I’ve seen cops, judges, juries and lawyers get it all wrong, deceived by conceit, incompetence and all kinds of liars – and you can’t help noticing that a conference of ethnomethodologists is almost entirely white.

            1. Alejandro

              At least with you, an exchange does produce some progress. I agree when you say “WE are stuck with descriptors of a looking down society” and “WE are trapped in ancient language at least as old as the ancient Greek”. Wouldn’t you agree that in this sense, Dr Heinz Kiosk saying “WE are all guilty” applies? Are you familiar with “Science and Sanity” by Alfred Korzybski?

    3. allcoppedout

      I always feel those of us who want real change are being held back by upper-class domination of education and manners, aping them without understanding the evil behind the etiquette.
      Looking at issues like racism I tend to negate upper class considerations of it, and batty one’s like Susan Sontag. It isn’t a white issue, and what Sontag says is an insult to decent soliders who fought and died against oppression. Upper class women often look down on the white grunt, the beer-belly and even the natural languages of ordinary people. And their feminism is only for posh friends. The “torch” of colonialism has been in many different hands, Indian, Persian, Greek, Roman, ‘Barbarian’, African, Turk, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese … Sontag should have been sentenced to life on the Russian Steppe waiting for the next slaving raid by Crimean Turks or Rhadamite Jews. There is, of course, something true in her metaphor – human conquest is a bit like the Borg – we assimilate, our women falling under invaders we can’t match to save our gene line. Susan Sontag’s job and lifestyle were never threatened and taken away by foreign intrusion, either of general immigration or through direct scab labour replacement in ‘How Green Was My Valley’. She knows no history and deigns scant attention to real lives other than her own. She may as well be Any Rand. Posh twerp.

      What do we know of racism as experienced by working-class and poor people? I have Bulgarians next door (super family) and a black friend (two Tests for the West Indies) a couple of houses up. The black guy was once shot at by a white racist. I don’t do racism, never heard any from my black mate, but do hear it from the Bulgarians in conversations about Gypsies. There are still separate Protestant and Catholic schools here. You can find parents, very politically correct doing anything to prevent their kids going where the Asians and Muslims go. Working Class Nero only begins to point to the upper-class prejudice that turned losing jobs, friends, wages, houses and much more to “racism” under the vile classism of political correctness.

      1. OIFVet

        Oh goodness, one can take Bulgarians out of Bulgaria but can’t take the Bulgarian out of them quite so easily. It is a shameful fact that Bulgarians discriminate the gypsies even as they complain about being discriminated against by (insert the goat du jour here). It really reminds me of the insidious racism in the US: you take away or severely restrict the educational and employment opportunities of a minority group and then sit back and complain about them being lazy, criminal, welfare queens who freeload off the white men’s labours. Its like they take Paul Ryan’s latest racist dog whistle, remove much of the subtlety since outright racism is still socially acceptable in BG, and substitute Gypsies for the Blacks.

        1. allcoppedout

          They remain nice people OIF. And one gets used to the way much deeper racism than theirs is spoken in nods and winks, in choice of place to live, sly references at academic table discussing ‘yet another Asian plagiarism case’ (whispered). And we invent speech crimes while doing little about the real ones. Was I racist whilst hiding Asian daughters from forced marriages and passing them on to my sister to relocate in jobs? I cry at the same time when an old white bloke, as harmless as they come, tells me his neighbourhood has been ruined by Asians who he says never become friends. Honesty is long gone from this debate. A few weeks ago, a mate in France (Paris) woke me up and suggested we got on his motorbike and spent a week finding out if any of the real France was left. And he’s Algerian.

          1. OIFVet

            I have a love/hate relationship with the inhabitants of my motherland, that’s for sure. I think that many blacks in the US, particularly in the south, would share your assessment that the outright racism is more honest than the deeper one hidden behind the conventions of the politically correct polite society.

            I just have a hard time dealing with any of it. I am sure you are well aware of what happened to ethnic Turks in BG in the mid-80s. My father grew up in a largely ethnic Turk neighborhood and many of his friends were therefore ethnic Turks. As young as I was I remember the long columns of refugees streaming toward the Turkish border with what few belongings they could load into their cars (and some even on foot), and my father’s private fury and grief at losing so many good friends to racist policies. So the hypocrisy of racist Bulgarians who complain about British discrimination is a bit too much to take, whether they are otherwise nice people or not. Banality of evil and all that.

            1. allcoppedout

              The last pogroms here were around 1911, though we had Northern Ireland too. I knew people in Cyprus who were mates one day sworn enemies the next. Most people here can’t understand the hideous history. My concern is the ease with which we treat, say, the emancipation of women differently than the emancipation of all, always finding some way of reserving a sump of the population as undeserving. After this the cultural relativism breaks in, weirdly expressed in ‘town and gown’ or ‘holier than thou’ terms. Then they send guys as I was into wherever to deal with boko haram, expecting us to feel what about blokes who kidnap women for sex, treating our foul manners with disdain if we come back with trauma. I’m sorry, but of they are culturally relativist, how did they ever send ‘me’? And what is my Bulgarian friends’ racism compared with active Muslim sex gangs, female castration, the Ugandan parliament baying like baboons over homosexuality, the Middle East as destination for an active white slave trade … is my abhorrence racism? Quite a lot of our morality comes from disgust. What we should have done long ago was work out more of those things we were doing right, not have prissy arguments and speech crime inventions.

              Sontag and her ilk might have impressed me of they’d noticed we use racism amongst foreigners to divide and rule, and that immigration was an old trick of the employing class to maintain their rule and depress wages instead of building a sensible economy.

              1. OIFVet

                “is my abhorrence racism” – Not to me.

                ” treating our foul manners with disdain if we come back with trauma” – I can relate to that, I had a rough couple of years following my Iraq deployment.

                I DO agree with your assessments, and I am sure your BG neighbors are otherwise nice people. But when you ask “what is my Bulgarian friends’ racism compared to…” I have to say that it constitutes approval and encouragement for far right neo-nazi hate and it props up the same thieving elites who caused the collapse of the Bulgarian living standards in the first place. I view them as useful idiots who have fallen pray to the divide and rule tactics of the BG powers that be. It is always useful for the thieving elites to point an accusing finger at the minority “other” and blame them for the ills of society, ills caused by none other than these same elites. The people who fall prey to this tactic are useful for the elites and harmful to themselves and everyone else who are actually trying to stand for the emancipation of all. Just google “bulgarian gypsy ghetto” and tell me if the images you see are befitting of an EU member state, much less of humanity.

                The racists will tell you that the gypsies want to and prefer to live like that but that is utter horseshit. A poll came out last year which indicated that the vast majority of Bulgarians would not hire a gypsy and would not want one as a neighbor, yet the gypsies are depicted as lazy bums who don’t want to work or live like “civilized” people. And now that 20+ years of looting on the road to “democracy” and “free market” have reduced the average Bulgarian to slightly better living standards than those of the despicable gypsies something must be done to deflect the ire of the populace from those responsible. So the leaders of parties such as Ataka (no translation necessary) sic their followers against the gypsies, the gays, the turks, the syrian refugees, and whoever else happens to be a convenient target for the ire of the fed up BG citizenry. That allows them to continue to loot unobstructed while mobs of pimply neo-nazi teenagers yell “Render the gypsies into soap” and attack random passerby whose looks are somewhat suspect and un-Bulgarian. So thats what Bulgarian racism is compared to the other abhorrent behaviors you listed. Different, but only in content.

                Sure the Euro elites, those great defenders of racial equality and multiculturalism, might frown a bit and threaten to withhold a symbolic amount of Eurofunds, but then again they won’t make too much fuss lest their own hypocrisy becomes too apparent. Just recall the French expulsion of BG and Romanian gypsies, and the British expulsion of the same as well. Free movement and integration for all but Europe’s gypsies!

                1. allcoppedout

                  Not trying to excuse them and I’ve seen the Gypsy issues close at hand. Treatment of immigrants across the EU, even in Sweden has been bad. I was in Marseilles when the CRS bulldozed a big North African squat many years back. There’s always another side, like Gypsies treating people as slaves or being very intimidating. It’s the posers who make it an abstract issue I can’t stand, especially those who think a diversity class will solve the problem when it’s taught by someone who has not seen what kicks off.

                  And all the time we can’t get even the ball rolling on bringing down the people really causing the problems, usually kleptos.

                  1. OIFVet

                    So we agree then. I am sorry if it appeared that I was trying to call you out, far from it. I was trying to point out that even seemingly harmless racism has serious consequences. And yes, the other side is not always pretty and I will not be caught defending it; you have seen me defend BG and now you have seen me criticize it rather vehemently. Same with gypsies or whatever other minority. Plus, those gypsy squatters in London roasted some of the Queen’s swans!

                    1. allcoppedout

                      Usually good drinkers that lot Skippy. I’d have roasted the Queen OIF.

                    2. skippy

                      If only Hitler had listened… eh… allcoppedout.

                      skippy… tho he was not the only one around that time…

              2. hunkerdown

                It is impossible to get a woman to understand something when her salary depends on her not understanding it. The whole point of identity politics is to obstruct inquiries into class and power.

        2. Maju

          The real problem in most actual elements behind racism is socio-economic destruction affecting more intensely certain ethnic communities. I recall someone from Slovakia arguing that racism was much subdued in the socialist era because everybody had a job and everybody was legally expected to have one. Roma people worked like Gadjos and often in the same industries, what kept racism at bay. When there are no jobs, the minorities are usually the worst affected and this becomes a vicious circle that fuels racism, which works as a scapegoat for the dispossessed members of the ethnic majority, who are misled to think that all is the fault of those minorities, be them native or immigrant.

          Divide et impera: the oligarchies do that via racism and ethnocentrism. Fascist collapse of EU is the fallback line of Capitalism in Europe, let’s not be naive about that, please.

  11. financial matters

    I would keep inviting these people back..

    Michael Hudson: 2,181 Italians Pack a Sports Arena to Learn Modern Monetary Theory – The Economy Doesn’t Need to Suffer Neoliberal Austerity
    Posted on February 28, 2012 by Yves Smith

    “Stephanie Kelton (incoming UMKC Economics Dept. chair and editor of its economic blog, New Economic Perspectives), criminologist and law professor Bill Black, investment banker Marshall Auerback and me (along with a French economist, Alain Parquez) stepped into the basketball auditorium on Friday night

    The audience requested above all more theory from Stephanie Kelton, who gave the clearest lecture on economics I had ever heard – a Euclidean presentation of MMT logic. For a visual of the magnitude, see At the end, we felt like concert performers.

    The size of the audience filling the sports stadium to hear our economic explanation of how a real central bank should operate to avoid austerity and promote rather than discourage employment showed that the government’s attempt to brainwash the population was not working. It was not working any better than Harvard’s Economics 101 class, from which students walked out in protest against the unrealistic parallel universe thinking whose only appeal is to Aspergers Syndrome sufferers who are selected as useful idiots to train to draw pictures of the economy that exclude analysis of the debt overhead, rentier free lunches and financial parasitism.”

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Reading your post made my day, boy did I laugh.

      Great that we can have the truth and actually laugh at it – if only our masters had a sense of humour, none of this bullshite would be happening, that they have no sense of humour, nor sense or irony is what scares me about them.

  12. Jose

    The EU elite has simply followed the model of public opinion control successfully implemented in the USA since time immemorial – but a couple of decades late, as usual (they’re less sophisticated and less pragmatic than their American counterparts).

    It works thus.

    Define a narrow spectrum political “consensus” based on two nearly identical political groupings. Label them, respectively, as center-right and center-left. Have a compliant media promoting the idea that there are substantial differences between these two wings that control the system. And classify anyone outside this ideological straitjacket as “extremist”.

    The ploy worked brilliant in Greece. In 2012, in the middle of a brutal and needless depression imposed by EU-mandated “austerity”, a mild social democratic outfit (Syriza) was ahead in the polls. It was immediately branded as dangerously extremist in the Eurooean media. The Greek electorate got scared and in the end voted narrowly for a right wing (excuse me, center-right) coalition that simply pursued the previous austerity in an even more implacable manner.

    The same trick had worked decades before that in the French referendum on Maastricht. The No vote had the upper hand days before the official poll date. What happened? Messrs Mitterrand and Kohl went on TV scaring the voters with the likelihood of “new wars” between France and Germany (this in the 90s, when Germany was – as it still is right now – a U.S. Military protectorate!) if the Treaty was rejected by the French voters. Again, the electorate got scared and the Yes side won by a narrow margin.

    Thus there seems to be little hope for change in the EU via the ballot box. Likely, only a change in U.S. politics (such as a retreat from global hegemony, including withdrawal of troops from Europe) might perhaps, one day, lead to the unraveling of the European project in its current form.

    1. Massinissa

      Syriza would have just done austerity themselves.

      You may not notice, but Syriza is also part of the straitjacket.

  13. Paul Tioxon

    Just how bad are the right wing European reactionary parties that use garden variety tools of alienation? Target the usual suspects of modern nation state decline to gain adherents: greedy bankers, usurping foreigners, a faceless bureaucracy that does not respond to any democratic process for rethinking and adapting polices that produce bad outcomes. In the face of witless stay the course policies of austerity that could not bring about more destruction without asking US Army Air Force under Gen Curtis LeMay to reprise their bombing back to the stone age punishment, the austerity line is generating political opposition, gathering together everyone who is against the current state of pain. Of course, if, by some stretch of the imagination, inspirational Arab Spring lessons are gleaned for tactics to success at the ballot box, look to Egypt for possible hints for the return to austerity, even if the will of the people takes control of the mechanism of state for a temporary reprieve from the policy makers of austerity.

    Let’s suppose…….

    A Marie La Pen like figure makes her way to the seat of power and immediately makes deep changes that while not comprehensive in scope, are revolutionary within the institutional reach of her office of power. She replaces as many as possible key posts with her right wing party members. The people she needs for a coalition are promised to sit tight and wait for their moment in the sun, which will be soon, very soon, just not right this very minute. Patience, please, we must purge the government of the wrong types and I know the right types who can fill the bill and get the results right away. With a few wins under our belt, the people will know we are the real deal and stand ever more steadfastly behind us. Your, my coalition compatriots, your ideals will then be included.


    In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood went from banned Al Queda fellow traveler to the legitimately elected government of that nation. The Brotherhood purged everyone not in the brotherhood and implemented their laws and then continued with their rule of law based upon their views of appropriate policy to the exclusion of everyone else, including the idealistic, the pragmatic and all of the others who thought they shared a common enemy, and thought that would lead to a sharing of power. The Brotherhood hung themselves, and then, the military had them all out in the open, fully exposed, in government office with all the networks and social connections easily mapped out and then they lowered the boom on the Brotherhood. If a too dangerous class of people gets control, left or right, expect over reach on their part and expect that to be the pretext for mass round ups. See Ukraine or IRA1975 ceasefire, a false peace outreach by the British Government with the aim of disrupting and uncovering underground forces as a method of retaining power in the face of popular uprisings.

    Political Lesson….

    Austerity itself has to be discredited as a means for people with power to retain that power. Putting someone in office who is sincerely a populist, right or left, will not stop austerity, only delay it. And if not sincerely, the most violent reactionary use of power by people with power will be unleashed and the more liberal will take leave for their vacation homes far from the sounds of the screaming. See Kennedy assassination.

    1. allcoppedout

      Good points Paul. I’m convinced we miss the thrust of this all the time. We sometimes tease economics students with ‘You are in 11 Downing Street. Formulate a budget’. Few get to the easy answer – a memo to Civil Servants to get on with their job and send you briefing notes.

  14. bmeisen

    Peaceful cooperation, the principle of identity based on shared values instead of shared race, democracy, an independent judiciary, a free press, shared burden of infrastructure investment. These are not just ideals that have inspired refugees and survivors who have experienced tyranny and who have wanted to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. They are the proven path to prosperity and they are real benefits of membership in the European Union. And they are ignored by the author of this post and by every comment on it that I have read. Are you chosing to be ignorant of the arguments for the Union? Or is it that you just can’t help it?

    1. Calgacus

      Europe was peacefully cooperating well enough before the EU and its predecessors. The war decided things in favor of democracy, free press etc, not the EU. So these things are not “real benefits of membership in the European Union”. Until the Euro, the EU gave a small economic boost to the countries of Europe. But it was trivial in comparison to each country’s decisions to have full employment until the 70s and then to abandon full employment (much more than the USA did) .

      Europe’s current economic difficulties and depressions are caused by the Euro and the tyrannical, anti-democratic way that the EU’s government and treaties have been imposed and sustained. These authoritarian methods and their rotten fruit have shown the existing EU to be “a mistake of the past” – not the solution to them. Perhaps salvageable if the EU decided on a true, democratic, fiscal union or a monetary disunion. But there is nothing but endless misery ahead for the poor people and countries of Europe if one of these choices are not taken.

      1. RBHoughton

        That is absolutely untrue Caligulus. With a pen-name like that you should aspire to do better.

        European history since the Romans has been a constant battle where any hint of weakness by one King invited attack from all his neighbours. Eternal warfare has only been interrupted twice in 1,500 years – during Napoleon’s government of the continent and since the formation of the EU.

        1. Maju

          That’s historically incorrect, Houghton: Napoleon’s rule was one of contast warfare, even if you can argue that caused by others than France in the case of the Revolutionary Wars he inherited, he also invaded quite gratuitously many states only to impose his brother as king or force them to join the “continental blockade” or whatever other “reason”.

          Even if we don’t like it, it was rather the period that followed, between Napoleon’s defeat and WWI, which was mostly peaceful, excepting Crimea War and revolutionary conflicts like 1848, Italian unification and the brief Franco-Prussian War which ended with the bloody repression of the Paris Commune. That was because the reactionary old regime rulers were so scared of the peoples that they agreed to support each other and focus on colonial imperialism in places like Africa and Asia.

          Similarly today war is being prevented by nuclear dissuassion and imperialist alliance systems like NATO, not by EU as such, although it is indeed a tool – or rather it used to be before austerian euro-madness.

        2. Calgacus

          My statement clearly referred to 1945-1957 (or tenuously to 1945-1951 at the earliest) What war did the Treaty of Rome prevent? The common market grew gradually. Were the non-members warring among themselves or with the (pre)EU before they joined?

          What prevented war after 1945 was – the memory of depression, war and misery. The international institutions resulting from the war, the UN foremost. US hegemony, widespread understanding of economics which made sense. The gradual formation of the EU had nothing to do with it, was result rather than a cause, and the times simply don’t match up.

          The EU has become a tyranny that financially wars on the poor of all countries and the poorer or less lucky countries. It foments tensions between nations rather than calming them, and it has already and recently caused more harm than all the good it did.

    2. OIFVet

      What fucking planet do you live on? Based on what you wrote, the shared values of the EU countries appear to be economic cruelty and bold-faced hypocrisy. Where is the prosperity those “shared values” were supposed to lead to? Where is the free press and independent judiciary in BG, for example? What sort of democracy is it which elects people who disregard popular opposition to austerity? The EU is a sham, a tool for mass control, destruction of sovereignty, suppression of dissent, and economic exploitation. There is nothing democratic about the type of one-size-fits-all eurocratic diktats that completely disregard local realities. Those pretty platitudes you shared with us don’t resemble the reality of any place inside the EU, especially the reality in its southern parts. Are you chosing to be ignorant of the very real facts about your beloved union? Or is it that you just can’t help it?

    3. Massinissa

      You realize all those good things you listed existed long before the EU and will exist long after?

      Youre confusing the reality of the EU with its elegant rhetoric.

      1. allcoppedout

        Bravo. The Common Market started to protect Iron, Steel, Manufacturing and Agriculture. That was 1956 and the Commissioners are still unelected. European Law is still largely inaccessible to real people. Even now, I’d rather throw in with the Russians on the basis of a new federal constitution designed green and to encourage fair representation. If this seems idealistic, then I’d rather die trying than continue what we have now. But we need to throw out the political class and the oligarchs with a plan on how to make democracy and sustainability work afterwards. That plan has to prevent a return to business-as-usual.

  15. allcoppedout

    The father of a friend stood for UKIP last time. He had arrived in Britain when we needed Spitfire pilots and never left. He was white with a dash of Eastern European and a decent friend. Died a few years back. Because of him I met some other Ukipers, nearly all crusty ex-Tories. The anti-European, anti-immigration vote is not tapped by any main political parties in Britain. The Tories used to tap it back in the days of Enoch Powell, but everyone now knows they don’t mean it. The BNP look too much like Nazis to poll more than 10%. UKIP is basically an opportunist party working on this obvious voting segment. I doubt we are serious about them.

    However, the three main parties are useless and politicians are widely seen as unable to ask or answer real questions and dismally corrupt. Our MP is Labour and a horrible piece of work. Staunch red, I prefer our local Tory candidate as a person. Liberals in government have proved as crass as Tories. Former comrades are now sickened with Labour, and this includes Islamic effects if people are honest.

    Looking at issues like racism I tend to negate upper class considerations of it, and batty one’s like Susan Sontag. It isn’t a white issue, and what Sontag says is an insult to decent soliders who fought and died against oppression. Upper class women often look down on the white grunt, the beer-belly and even the natural languages of ordinary people. And their feminism is only for posh friends. The “torch” of colonialism has been in many different hands, Indian, Persian, Greek, Roman, ‘Barbarian’, African, Turk, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese … Sontag should have been sentenced to like on the Russian Steppe waiting for the next slaving raid by Crimean Turks or Rhadamite Jews. There is, of course, something true in her metaphor – human conquest is a bit like the Borg – we assimilate, our women falling under invaders we can’t match to save our gene line. Susan Sontag’s job and lifestyle were never threatened and taken away by foreign intrusion, either of general immigration or through direct scab replacement. She knows no history and deigns scant attention to real lives other than her own. She may as well be Any Rand. Posh twerp.

    What do we know of racism as experienced by working-class and poor people? I have Bulgarians next door (super family) and a black friend (two Tests for the West Indies) a couple of houses up. The black guy was once shot at by a white racist. I don’t do racism, never heard any from my black mate, but do hear it from the Bulgarians in conversations about Gypsies. There are still separate Protestant and Catholic schools here. You can find parents, very politically correct moving house, going to church and scrambling to get there kids where the Asians and Muslims ain’t. It would take a book to write-up the intricacies of such “racism”, which includes nearly all fall-back jobs like taxi driving being taken by skin immigrants. And just wait until the next European genocide (probably Ukraine) to see how little skin colour is important. We have white flight here, but this is from culture, not ethnicity.And, of course, whitey has been destroying other cultures by introducing education for girls, banning female castrations …

    The appeal of the new (old?) fascism is complex. Poor, generally white denizens, have been stiffed and find no one listening and lots of grim PC dross coming back like the return of desire to screw them as a minority group as surely as a gay person victim of queer bashers.
    The racism, sexism and deviant cultural practices of the elevated Other go unstopped and unpunished. To cry out ‘I’m getting no help’ amongst those from the class we generally send to war is “racist”.

    I’d hope no one would see me as justifying racism here. We are ethno-centric – the issue is doing better than biological history. And the data is in lived history not upper-class posing by people with sinecures who never live cheek-by-jowl-by-job-loss-by wage-suppression with the issues. We need to get out more on these issues.

    UKIP and various fascist parties (I’m prepared to call them this) appeal by appearing to listen when the mainstream won’t. And where are we anti-neo-liberals in all this? It seems we haven’t even worked out what meaning is possible when poor and jobless. This is nowhere as obvious when we claim “racism” or inflict our education on those who can’t do it as an answer. One wonders if Susan Sontag would ever have fixed odd jobs round a black mate’s house because he has degenerative disease, or frankly could have changed one anyway.

    We shy away from the difficult arguments because we were brought up on easy ones that replace the Bible (and frankly much weaker readings of it than Beard’s) with Jane Austen and the old wives’ tales of upper-class dinner parties. There are societies justifying female castration. Such stuff is wrong. What are our societies justifying and why won’t we get the real matters into public scrutiny? Why can’t we move from decent treatment of women (still incomplete, especially for poor women) to a decent treatment of all? How might we achieve the ability to vote for what we want? And what use is that if we vote white supremacy or pro-ancient-bestial practices?

    My lesser of all evils is a vote as protest for UKIP as against all others. I may yet be saved by a Green on the ticket. I hope this message in a bottle reaches you.

  16. RBHoughton

    What happens in USA and other supposedly democratic countries is the owners of the country direct the elected representatives in their policies. Don Quijones seems to find that admirable although I think a thoughtful person should not do so.

    I cannot see how he distinguishes the European Commission from the owners of America or Britain – the end result is the same in so far as a small group is able to direct the affairs of the nation (s) in a practical and hopefully efficient way.

    Democracy needs direction. America sought to provide it in a Constitution but the more time passes the less foreseeable are the political problems encountered. Constitutions are mainly useful for giving uninformed people a handle on what they should be concerned about. Europe has contrarily used another institution – is that a big deal?

  17. shtove

    Back to working class hero’s comments on Le Pen – here’s her view (2011) on Keynes’ Havana accord and adopting something like the bancor:

    “Si je suis élue, la France portera au niveau international auprès de ses partenaires la Charte de la Havane et l’Organisation Internationale du Commerce, qui devra remplacer une OMC qui a totalement échoué, parce qu’engluée dans une idéologie ultralibérale et antisociale.

    Les propositions de la Charte de la Havane s’insèrent en effet parfaitement dans ma philosophie économique. Je ne vous en cite que quelques unes : intégration du plein emploi dans ses objectifs, accent mis sur la coopération entre les pays, adoption de normes de travail équitables, contrôle des mouvements de capitaux, autorisation des aides d’Etat, autorisation des subventions dans certaines circonstances, interdiction du dumping. Bref, le libre-échange, que nous dénonçons, est remplacé par le juste-échange, beaucoup plus performant.”

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