The long-anticipated “hot autumn” begins as the European economy teeters on the edge of a largely self-inflicted stagflationary depression.
Last Friday (October 7), the 82-year old French writer Annie Ernaux won the Nobel Prize in Literature, for what the panel described as an “uncompromising” 50-year body of work exploring “a life marked by great disparities regarding gender, language and class”. A feminist and politically committed writer, Ernaux is the first French woman to win the award.
The news of her triumph was cause for celebrations, albeit brief, at the Élysée Palace, whose current resident, President Emmanuel Macron, tweeted:
“For 50 years, Annie Ernaux has written the novel of the collective and intimate memory of our country. Her voice is the voice of the freedom of women and forgotten figures of the century”.
Turning the “Knife” on Macron
Ernaux herself responded to the news by describing writing as a political act, a means of opening our eyes to social inequality. To that end, she uses language like “a knife”, to tear apart the veils of imagination. The next day (October 8), she turned that knife on Macron.
Ernaux’s name headed a list of 69 signatories to an open letter in the Journal du Dimanche calling for public support of an upcoming demonstration against Macron’s government, on October 16. Organisers of the demonstration accuse Macron of failing to tackle soaring prices of energy and other essentials while exploiting the ensuing crisis to obliterate what remains of the welfare state and social rights:
For many French people, fear of the end of the month is increasing. The bills are getting heavier. Receipts are skyrocketing. But salaries, pensions and welfare benefits are not rising, while the profits of some of the largest French firms are reaching new heights
This is the shock strategy: Emmanuel Macron seizes on inflation to widen the wealth gap and boost capital income, to the detriment of the rest. To let the prices of essential products and energy soar, and with them the profits of multinationals. To prevent any additional tax on those profits. While taking advantage of inflation so that real wages collapse. By refusing to compensate local authorities, the inevitable demolition of the public services they provide is guaranteed…
Neoliberals have been banging on for 40 years that there is no alternative. Do not let the heirs of Mr. Thatcher destroy hope, and liquidate our social rights. Another world is possible. Based on the satisfaction of human needs, within the limits of ecosystems. Freezing the prices of basic products and rents, increasing wages and social benefits across the board, setting the retirement age at 60, taxing superprofits, pouring massive investments into ecological bifurcation, transport and public services… Everything is only a matter of political will, and depends on our determination.
When it comes to mobilizing large numbers of people for political protests, the French can be pretty determined. Yet there was one word that was conspicuously missing from the open letter: sanctions. Which goes to show, once again, that well-meaning, left-leaning intellectuals are incapable or unwilling to confront the elephant in the room, Europe’s self-harming sanctions against Russia, even as they threaten to plunge the European economy into a deep depression.
Calls for Macron’s Resignation, NATO Withdrawal
Despite no longer having a majority in parliament, Macron is determined to push ahead with an ambitious program of reform, including highly controversial changes to both the benefits and pensions systems. This is one of the reasons for the recent upsurge in political protests, which have been steadfastly ignored in the mainstream press, both in France and abroad. Hardly a surprise given:
- The protests are still relatively small in size though growing in number. The gilets jaunes are still pretty active, it seems.
- The demands of some of the protests, including one in Paris this weekend, have included Macron’s resignation and France’s withdrawal from NATO. Given that France already left NATO’s military command structure once, back in 1966 when De Gaulle was president, this is not a totally idle threat. Needless to say, these are hardly the sorts of ideas the corporate media want circulating in their readers/viewers/listeners’ minds.
At the same time, fuel shortages are rapidly worsening across France as a nationwide strike by workers at TotalEnergies and Exxon refineries stretches into its third week. By Monday roughly a third of fuel stations in the countries were out of at least one fuel product. According to latest reports long queues are forming at gas stations in the Paris region as drivers wait for hours on end to fill up their tanks before yet more pumps run dry. The French people are quickly learning the importance of abundant energy.
This is happening because, as WSWS notes, refinery workers are calling for a 10% pay raise, pointing to inflation and the tens of billions of euros in “super-profits” generated by their employers:
Total refineries at Gonfreville-l’Orcher, La Mède, Feyzin, Donges and Grandpuits are affected, as are Exxon refineries at Notre Dame-de-Gravenchon and Fos. While strike actions at Donges and Grandpuits halted this weekend, it has continued in the other refineries.
Over 70 percent of refinery workers are participating in the strike, according to trade union figures. Striking workers at the Feyzin refinery emphasized the broad impact of the strike in their comments to the press: “There is no exit or entry of products in our entire refinery. This means 200 to 250 trucks per day, without counting barges and train cars, that are no longer entering or leaving the refinery.”’
The irony is that France has the third lowest inflation rate in Europe, at just 5.6%, behind Switzerland (3.3%) and Liechtenstein (3.5%). That compares to an EU average of 10% — the highest level since the single currency’s creation back in 1997. In Germany, where some of the government’s inflation subsidies recently expired, the official inflation rate surged in September to a 70-year high of 10%, from 7.8% in August.
On the European continent as a whole 27 out of 44 countries, including Russia, have inflation above 10%. In six of those (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine Moldova and Turkey) it is above 20%. The three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were the first EU Member States to cease all imports of Russian oil and gas, which they did in early April. Since then the countries’ already high inflation has more or less doubled.
Not only is inflation raging but economic activity is grinding to a standstill. Legions of small and medium sized businesses, still shouldering heavy debts after the lockdowns of 2020, are facing an existential crisis.
The UK is already in a full-year recession, says S&P, while inflation hovers just below 10%. The Euro Area is not officially in recession yet but the widely-watched European Sentix Investor Confidence index, which rates the single currency bloc’s six-month economic outlook, is signalling “a very deep recession” for the bloc. The overall index dropped to -38.3 points in October, the lowest level since May 2020, when the entire Euro Area was in lockdown. The expectations index also took a tumble to -41.0 from -37.0, hitting its lowest level since December 2008, three months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Of greatest concern is the Euro Area’s largest economy, Germany, whose industrial backbone is massively dependent on cheap sources of abundant energy, which no longer exist thanks to the recent rupturing of Nordstream I and II.
“The former economic powerhouse is sinking deeper and deeper into the maelstrom of the energy-policy ghost train that the country has gotten itself into,” said Sentix CEO Manfred Hübner. “The current government, and especially the Minister of Economics, Habeck, do not seem to be up to the magnitude of the task.” As NC readers will appreciate, this is an understatement of incredible magnitude.
“Despite this miserable present,” said Hübner, expectations for the future are even worse, having hit an all-time low of -41.3 points. The punchline: “Politicians have already been relieved of their duties for less.”
Is it any wonder protests are on the rise across Europe?
The Monday Walk
The so-called “Monday walk” is back in full effect in the former East Germany, as thousands of people in towns and cities turn out every Monday to protest against the energy crisis and the soaring cost of living. The movement is more or less a continuation of weekly protests last winter against the German government’s vaccine passport policies and bears echoes of the Monday demonstrations that took place against the government of the German Democratic Republic in towns and cities across East Germany between 1989 and 1991.
The right wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the most visible political presence at these demonstrations. “The government is waging economic war against its own people” is one of its slogans. Inflation is hitting lower-wage Germans in the new federal states harder than those in the rest of the country. They are also more accustomed to economic hardship: in the years after reunification unemployment in the former East Germany reached eye-watering levels of over 20% and has remained stubbornly high ever since.
But protests are not just taking place there. This weekend there were largish demonstrations in both Hanover and Berlin. An estimated 10,000 people turned out in Berlin for a protest organized by AfD who were met by some 1,900 police reinforcements from North German states and Bavaria. The five-word subheading of an article in Die Welt perfectly encapsulated much of the mainstream media coverage: “Theft, Physical Assaults, Hitler Salutes.”
Just as happened with the anti-vaccine passport demonstrations of last winter, the government, with the help of the media, is trying to paint all anti-government protests with the broad brush of neo-nazism, which in Germany has a particularly potent effect. Although it is true that far-right groups have played a role in both the anti-vaccine passport movement and the demonstrations against the EU’s sanctions against Russia, to portray everyone who opposes the current direction of travel — i.e., toward a more impoverished Germany — as extremist is absurd. But it is effective.
At the same time, protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continue to take place. There still appears to be a significant groundswell of public solidarity with Ukraine. According to the Welt article, the AfD demonstration in Berlin last Saturday faced a total of 11 counter-demonstrations.
Other European countries that have seen large-scale protests in recent weeks include*:
- Czech Republic. Anti-government protests have taken place in Prague more or less every weekend since early September. On September 28, an estimated 70,000 people gathered to vent their anger at the government’s handling of the energy crisis and the country’s membership of NATO and the EU. The protests this past weekend were aptly subbed “Five Minutes to Midnight.” As Foreign Policy lamented in a recent article, Central Europe’s “support for Ukraine is caving under the pressure of soaring bills.”
- Belgium. To compound TotalEnergies’ woes, climate activists in Belgium blocked two refineries in Feluy and Liege. According to Euronews, the protests were sparked by the “soaring profits of energy companies amid a global energy crisis that is hitting people across Europe hard.”
- United Kingdom. On October 1, over 100,000 people took to the streets of more than 50 UK towns and cities to demonstrate against the ratcheting cost-of-living crisis. Organizers described the mobilization as the biggest wave of co-ordinated protests to sweep the nation in years. Don’t Pay UK rallies were also held in many cities, attended by protesters who have pledged to join a utility bill strike. As in Italy, many protesters could be seen burning their energy bills. The UK has also witnessed a sharp resurgence of industrial action.
- Austria. Since September Vienna has seen a number of large protests against sanctions on Russia and the resulting oil & gas price-increases. One of the organizers, the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), has called on the government to cap heating prices, suspend VAT on groceries and public transport, lower fuel taxes, and impose a freeze on rents.
- Italy, where waves of protests against the surging cost of living have taken place in recent weeks. With energy bills set to rise by as much as 60%, Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin, Florence, Vicenza, Trieste, Bologna, Livorno, Pisa, Spoleto, Taranto and Cagliari have all seen demonstrations, including in front of the headquarters of some of the country’s largest banks and companies.
Here’s Maurizio Landini, general secretary of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, speaking at a recent protest.
🇮🇹 Thousands gathered in Italy to protest rising cost of living, low wages and inflation. pic.twitter.com/mGkN3VmQkv
— maria ⏳ (@real1maria) October 10, 2022
As economic conditions rapidly deteriorate in Europe in the coming weeks and months, protests are likely to grow in both size and intensity. But they will probably come too late to halt, let alone reverse, the economic fallout of EU sanctions on Europe’s largest energy provider.
* This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is merely a selection of some of the protests I have come across through the limited coverage I can find in the media. Would much appreciate readers’ input if you know of any other protests that have taken place or can provide further details on the countries mentioned.
I heard the same about the refinery strikes in France, from family there. They’ve talked to colleagues who barely have enough “essence” to get from one place to another (and maybe enough for only one trip, anywhere). So, people are really feeling the pinch. I’m not sure what the general mood is toward the strikers, but at least this family is somewhat sympathetic to their situation.
Thank you, Nick. The obvious awful results of ‘mind-dead NATO’ running European policy for America’s oligarchs are coming in fast, with mind-dead media equally out of touch on both sides of the pond. NC, you’re all we’ve got!
Astounding how MSM studiously avoided reporting on protest in Paris this past weekend. But “mind-dead” MSM is anything but moribund, they are actively doing their master’s bidding, putting blinders on the masses, siphoning their attention to the use of pronouns, abortion, celebrity worship, guns, drugs, crime, etc., and of course Trump.
Perhaps if you peel away the layers the media are the seed for all of this–taking on the role that churches once played in shaping mass consciousness. But it’s a superficial version of power when the public’s material circumstances take a turn for the worse.
One wonders how long it will be before all the agitation in Europe spreads to our erratic hegemon.
The same with El País in Spain. They call themselves the “global newspaper” and are part of the “Trust Project” which it is sold as “integrity of news” and I understand that such integrity comes with a CIA seal of approval. Nothing about protests in Europe. In Spain so far it has been reported a small protest by unions (about 400 according to El Pais, 600 other sources) for better salaries to cope with increasing cost of living.
I wouldn’t have noticed if not for Mr. Corbishley’s post. Thank you!
I look at the goolish-Google news feed to check up on the propaganda, and not a single story on the protest. Amazing that we have come to this place. I guess I should not be too surprised. Will it continue to be a hard sell here in the US to get off our butts to attempt change?
It is quite surreal – if you google “bad” Ukrainian actions, Google will proffer ” bad” Russian ones instead e.g. bombing civilians and civilian infrastructure. You would have to conclude that all Ukrainians are innocent and saint-like.
Bad Ukrainian actions?
Article will translate itself (hit icon).
Thank you, Nick.
Further to the UK demonstrations on 1 October, readers won’t be surprised how little coverage they received in the MSM. It was interesting, but not surprising, to hear Observer columnist (and former Guardian business and BBC business journalist and Observer editor) and property empire owner criticise the organisers as being extreme left and hiding their real agenda. Hutton is in the process of organising an astro turf group to triangulate.
I was in France, holiday, and the Netherlands, work, last month. Farmers in Burgundy, Franche Comte and Champagne were complaining about the cost of inputs, being ripped off by supermarkets and loss of markets, not just in Russia, but elsewhere, and the reforms of pensions. Paris / Parisian elites were felt to be on another planet.
At Amsterdam HQ, I fell into conversation with German colleagues pre-pipeline sabotage. They are desperately worried about their own circumstances and detect signs of financial stress in the client base, bottom up and feeding into the mittelstand and large corporates. They are scathing about and, largely, blame the Greens.
In the UK, we are seeing signs of stress in the smaller clients, which tend to be leasing clients.
Further to France, it will be interesting to hear what David and other French based commentators say, especially about this https://www.francetvinfo.fr/politique/parlement-francais/assemblee-nationale/on-essaie-de-ne-pas-y-penser-la-majorite-face-au-spectre-d-une-dissolution-de-l-assemblee-nationale_5399047.html.
They are scathing about and, largely, blame the Greens.
But “die Grünen” actually did not do too bad at the last regional elections in Lower Saxony last week-end.
By the way:
France’s withdrawal from NATO, for what would be the second time since the transatlantic alliance’s creation in 1949.
Under De Gaulle, France did not entirely withdraw from NATO, but from the military command of NATO.
Duly amended. Thanks for that, vao.
Thank you, Vao.
The trio I chatted with are based in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria.
Thanks for the link, Colonel. Macron certainly seems to be playing some interesting mind games with the opposition. Would also be interested to hear what David et al have to say.
Thank you Colonel,
The incredibly foolish Greens don’t even realize that their current policies could easily set back their agenda for decades, not just in Germany. but potentially world wide. For decades before 1917 and for around another decade afterwards, many believed the communist promise that their policies would lead to a “Workers’ Paradise”, a better world based on the rule of the workers and not the venal capitalists. Afterwards, it started to become apparent that communism does not lead not a “Workers’ Paradise”, but to the tyranny by a different set of bosses, the gulag and starvation in rural areas.
For decades before 2022, the Greens promised that “living in harmony with nature” would lead to a better world which would be based on alternate energy, reduced consumerism and mass transit.
It is 2027 or 2032 : The ordinary woman or man is asked on the street: “What do you think of the Greens .” The reply is something like “You mean the people who promised us a better world based on living with nature ? No, thank you, I would rather deal with the uncertainties of rising sea levels or warmer summers, than the certainties of mass unemployment, rolling black outs and freezing winters”
You can’t drive a car if your whole city is drowned due to rising sea levels. Degrowth is the only rational response to the climate crisis, even if it is “deeply unpopular” at the moment partly because people don’t understand it’s actual policies. You can have full employment degrowth, in many cases because the transition to an ecological economy requires transforming the entire urban landscape as well as factories etc. Degrowth is about survival through planning, not merely unplanned reduction in the economy, which capitalism is great at. Capitalisms plan for the climate involves lots of unplanned deaths and the entire economy collapsing under the slightest pressure as we see in this article is a feature, not a bug…
That said, most Greens or many don’t support degrowth and some still believe in “green” capitalism, and instead end up with policies that transform the economy for the worse without the complete makeover it requires.
Note the operative words: “degrowth” and “complete makeover”….. This sounds like regression into something similar to a previous era along with all the inconveniences that will mean. Things like intermittent darkness due to power shortages and shortages of goods due to decreased shipping.
These dogdamned Marxists are at it again, I tell you /s
where is @hunkerdown when you need him :sigh:
Yes, protests do seem to be gaining momentum here in Germany. But the 10,000 in Berlin on Saturday was a national mobilisation by the hard-right AfD. Attracted little support outside own membership. Unions and soft left will demonstrate in six cities on 22 October.
Thanks Meddle for the clarification. Have duly amended the text.
You got this part spot on:
Thank you, Nick.
Back in 2011 you had the Occupy Wall Street movement in many American cities. That is, until Obama organized a 17-city crackdown where the police went in hard and heavy to wipe them off the streets, laws be damned. So I would not be at all surprised to learn that the EU right now is coordinating plans to have an EU-wide crackdown on protesters and introducing laws to justify it on the grounds of national security or anti-seditionism or anything else that can be made up. But what are people going to do if there is a crackdown? Go back to their freezing, dark apartments? So I would furthermore be not surprised to hear the term ‘national strikes’ making the rounds in the next few months. To people in the EU, this is a freakin’ emergency but to the leaders of the EU, I am guessing that they see it as an opportunity to change laws and make ‘reforms’ to get the sort of EU that they really want – a neoliberal paradise.
Surely a neoliberal paradise would mean sourcing everything from wherever on the globe it is cheapest to produce, e.g. gas from Russia. Perhaps “Neoliberalism with (increasingly) Orwellian Characteristics” might be more accurate.
Currently visiting sisters in the UK and middle daughter in Holland (and new grandson for the first time because of Covid restrictions) from Australia. Impressions? After almost four years since the previous visit, everything is much more expensive, but English roads still congested with cars, vans, trucks despite the cost of fuel. The Dutch have the delightful and now very fortunate habit of riding bicycles everywhere, with E bicycles allowed anywhere normal ones are.
The benefits of recreational travel – the stimulation of the new and different, plus renewed appreciation of the advantages of home.
Fingers crossed, the only problem so far was an hour or so wait for checked in baggage to be unloaded at Heathrow (British Airways must have employed Alan Joyce (QantasCEO) to organise their baggage handlers……) Perhaps not – we did actually get our baggage.
Wasn’t there once a saying about British Airways? I think that it went ‘Breakfast in New York, lunch in London, luggage in Dubai.’ :)
But my thoughts on Alan Joyce are not fit to be shared on a public forum. Anyway, stay safe over there.
A neoliberal paradise profits off the spead and f@$king up operational systems increases the spread. The neoliberal is ultimately a great cynic. all for me and none for thee, treating 90% of the global population as garbage, then crying when their “Fee fee’s” (popular cynical neoliberal phrase) get hurt. Crimea river? The orwellian part is where you try to deflect the blame onto something/someone who has supposedly tweaked the neoliberal dreamscape and made it unpalatable. It’s always been unpalatable else the media might report on it.
‘ll add that this is a completely neoliberal construct
The Dutch have the delightful and now very fortunate habit of riding bicycles everywhere, with E bicycles allowed anywhere normal ones are.
The benefits of recreational travel – the stimulation of the new and different, plus renewed appreciation of the advantages of home.
Geez what do words even mean anymore. I Googled virtuous and it meant a kind person. It also talked about morality and ethics. But obviously tegnost means it in a slanderous way…
I really don’t understand how tegnost equates what was said with neoliberalism and virtue signaling. We can’t describe the goodness of things anymore? It seems like sour grapes to me.
I’m really confused right now, perhaps it’ll make sense to me when I read this over again later… after coffee
Thank you Expat,
The basic gist derived from my impression of tony’s comment, which I may or may not have interpreted properly, was that neoliberalism was maybe suffering from orwellian descriptions that degrade it’s positive features. I read this as “because markets, go die” is one such unfair description when, and maybe i am reaching here, neoliberals may contend that blowing up the pipeline, which is a psycho act done for control, is actually good because, well we need people to switch to electric bikes anyway, so it’s all good, thus assigning itself virtue. I hope that clarifies, and apologize if I’ve misinterpreted.
Perfect neoliberal logic. A new product comes along, much more expensive than the standard version, and therefore more profitable, and they are pretty much dumped onto the roadways and sidewalks with zero input from the public. Chaos ensues.
Those E-bikes go much faster than a pedal bike, are silent even when they are zooming along, and are heavier with the batteries and bigger loads they can move. This model can go 45 mph:
Bottom line: they are much more dangerous to pedestrians and other bicyclists. They have proliferated like roaches here in NYC, it’s not uncommon to be walking along and suddenly a delivery guy flies, and I mean flies, by you without any warning. They are almost completely unregulated:
Also, where do the lazy SOBs who can’t be bothered to pedal a bike think all their e-juice comes from? I thought we’d gotten over that fad, but a month ago a whole bunch of those stupid e-bikes showed up in racks all over my city. I suspect we’ll find them at the bottom of the harbor or stolen and used by the homeless for transport within a a couple years. At least in the latter case they’ll have some use.
I really shouldn’t be hoping for some huge electromagnetic pulse that wipes out all digital systems, but now that I have enough of a library to keep me entertained until my eventual demise, I am.
According to CBS News, 41 (count them 41!!! In the whole USA!!)) deaths have been caused by e-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards in a 3-year period (2017-2020) and a lot of them seem to be of rentals. We here in Toronto see that number of deaths for pedestrians and cyclists from cars every year. As a cyclist in Toronto, I have been annoyed by e-bikers (like the time I put out my and to signal a right lane-change and smacked a guy on a scooter in the face), and menaced by cars (like the guy who, his family* in the car, who rode me off the road while I was on Hwy #2 going to Hamilton) and the TTC bus that, three days ago, slid across the bike lane to the bus stop, *WHILE I WAS IN IT* (the bike lane, not the bus). Sorry, ‘scuse caps, I haven’t yet gotten rid of all the adrenaline yet.
I am OK with small-scale e-mobility, but not so much with e-cars. A Tesla weighs from 2,723 to 5,390 pounds, which is more than an average ICE car, mainly due to the weight of the batteries, which is many times more that the weight of the driver. Does it not seem that a good portion of the power is to move the vehicle and its batteries from A to wherever? Whereas, the mini-electric stuff could, and in some (many?) cases is powerable by human feet, so not a big drain for just moving the vehicle. Human-power is, at best, around 1/4 HP. A Tesla is 1000 or more HP. Of the many e-bikes and such I see here in TO, many have large backpacks, labeled Skip the Dishes, DoorDash etc. So, not recreational trips, IMHO. I also see a lot of e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboards, e-single wheels (of which I am in awe!! How do you get on those things? How do you get off?) w/o logos etc, concentrating around 7-9am and 4-6 pm. Commuters, I conclude.
The cost of electricity for them is small and could be generated using Tiny Technology (eg., pinwheel-sized wind turbines, little waterwheels that harvest energy from downspouts, exercise machines that generate energy rather than using it). Ifaith, I canna see much problem with’em.
*as a fair witness, I must admit that I am assuming, I don’t actually know whose family it was.
The problem with them is that they are, at least in NYC, pretty much unregulated. They just cut them loose onto the streets. And the city isn’t bike friendly, I worked as a bicycle delivery guy for a while and it’s a pedal to the metal free-for-all. Riders are emboldened to take to the sidewalks at their convenience. What regulations that are in place are pretty much unenforced, unless you run over a cop’s foot on one. These numbers tell a worrying tale:
ELECTRIC BIKE AND SCOOTER ACCIDENTS ON THE RISE IN NYC
According to NYC OpenData, there have been 5,770 e-scooter and e-bike accidents since 2020, which is about seven or eight accidents per day. As e-scooter technology advances, the scooters become faster and more powerful, posing a serious risk of injury or death to cyclists and pedestrians. Scooters are legal to ride on streets with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less and in bicycle lanes.
(I tried to go to the source at NYC OpenData but I cannot figure out how to use the site to find bicycle injuries/deaths.)
Injuries Using E-Scooters, E-Bikes and Hoverboards Jump 70% During the Past Four Years
There were more than 190,000 emergency room (ED) visits due to all micromobility products from 2017 through 2020. ED visits had a steady 70% increase from 34,000 (2017), 44,000 (2018), 54,800 (2019) to 57,800 (2020).
Much of the increase between 2017 and later years was attributable to ED visits involving e-scooters, which rose three times as much, from 7,700 (2017), to 14,500 (2018), to 27,700 (2019) and 25,400 (2020).
Injuries happened most frequently to upper and lower limbs, as well as the head and the neck.
CPSC is aware of 71 fatalities associated with micromobility products from 2017 through 2020, although reporting is incomplete.
E-bikes show distinct pattern of severe injuries
E-bike injuries were also more than three times as likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian than either scooter or traditional bike injuries, the researchers report in the journal Injury Prevention.
“We don’t know a lot about the overall risks and benefits of electric-powered scooters and e-bikes,” Charles DiMaggio, the study’s lead author, said in an email.
Collisions and close calls: The e-bike boom is getting increasingly dangerous, creating a push for stricter cycling rules
No one tracks the number of e-bike accidents specifically. But in many communities, they are being linked to increased collisions. The bikes can hit top speeds of over 25 mph, much faster than street bikes. When careless riding and inattentive bystanders are mixed in, the outcome is often bloody for everyone involved.
segueing to the contentious ‘river’…weaving together the wizardry of geo, the Orwell, finally rendering M. McLuhan his due as the messianic messenger. Capturing the gist of 21st century economics. Fun Stuff.
Great job putting this together giving the MSM self-censorship – thanks, Nick. There appears to be a half-sentence missing at the end of the Belgium bullet.
Thanks, Irrational, for your kind words and heads up. The half-sentence is now sorted.
The revolting thing is how the ruling class of these European countries got themselves into an entirely self inflicted crisis. It hasn’t dawned on them yet – they need Russian energy and resources more than Russia needs them. They are using increasingly authoritarian measures to protect their power.
At some point, the protestors will have nothing left to lose. That’s when the ruling class should be the most worried. I hope that the guilty ruling class are removed from office.
Telling them to go back home won’t work. Home will be freezing and an ever decreasing percentage of the population will be able to afford food. Once the problems reach a certain magnitude, the mainstream media blackout is not going to be possible because there will be so many people in the streets.
Right now the best thing the ruling class can hope for is a mild winter. Even that will not solve all their issues and doesn’t solve the challenge of the following years.
I don’t think that most people in Europe truly understand how bad the situation is right now and how tough a colder than normal winter will be.
I can’t imagine they haven’t thought that far ahead, and have brutal repression measures lined up, but who knows? Nothing about this seems to have gone according to any sort of rational plan I can see…
I’m sure our own ruling class has assured the Euro 1%ers and their servants in office that we have adequate muscle to help crush those protestors.
Maybe we’ll get our first glimpse of those Boston Dynamics robot dogs with mounted rubber-bullet-guns shooting protestors in Berlin or Paris?
The German govt, has already passed laws allowing the army to patrol the streets, so all is well.
Eventually the government might fall when the military refuses to take up arms against their own citizens.
That’s often the case in many authoritarian regimes. The military ordinary troops may say, those are our people and our families are cold as well, not to mention starving.
Fortunately they’ve been anticipating social unrest and so have had time to hire and train additional jackboots.
As Nick mentioned in the article, AfD protesters are easily dismissed in the MSM as crackpots or nazi adjacent. And addmitingly, the anti vaccine demonstrations were infiltrated by nazi groups and contrarians who are against everything by default. It doesn’t bode well that during the latest election in Lower Saxony (West Germany), the greens actually gained votes ( as did the AfD). A substantial fraction of the populace appears to be completely on board with the sanctions, because they erroneously assume that they will be immune to the economic fall-out.
“The Euro Area is not officially in recession yet…”
Exhibit A: the BS of so many “official” metrics.
They deny it is raining until all the umbrellas are gone.
Thanks for this excellent report, Nick.
Seems like things are moving as-expected; the fringe grumbles first, then the common pain ratchets up enough for the center to … possibly .. show up.
I found the “Monday Walk” idea very interesting, as it’s got a social-outing aspect to it, and that can take the edge off the “they’re wackos” labeling. It’s tough to call the protesters extremists when Grandma’s holding the flag in the lead row of the parade.
The big question, of course, is how good is the media programming?
We’ve seen this play so many times, and I’m getting a sense that things are changing at the ground-level. To wit: using two airplane conv’s (out of 4) on a recent trip, looks like the plebes have a pretty good handle on the bezzle. They know they’re being played, and they know who’s doing the playing. Interviewees were student 19 yrs old, couple 45 years old.
Clearly the U.S. pain is not yet anywhere sufficient to create a protest movement. They know, but aren’t acting.
Blaming the Greens in Germany is a curious thing. Is it an example of “transferance“?
The Greens are certainly responsible for shutting down nukes and coal plants, no question. But not for the Big Kahuna, the shut-down of gas from Russia. Seems like that was a gov’t-wide decision, with all political parties apparently on-board. Please set the record straight if I got that wrong; I don’t recall hearing a ruckus coming from the German parliament.
It seems as though the Germans are reluctant to put the blame where it actually resides (the U.S.), because…why? Too big a fish? Too many uncertainties (who will protect us .vs. the Russians?). What do you think is the emotional reason? (emotions trump reason every time. Let’s go where the action is).
I’d be very interested to hear from any EU-based readers, to try to parse out the emotional reluctance to call a spade a spade. The US’ destruction of the NS1 & 2 pipelines has got to be playing a role in the German people’s thinking.
This next section is spoken from the perspective of a German-American (me, of course).
Here in the U.S., the Mighty Wurlitzer is genning up more Holocaust beatings to keep anyone who might be sympathetic to the Germans from speaking up. These beatings occur regularly, but the intensity has certainly increased lately. The timing is not coincidental.
The Holocaust-shaming is a terrific crowd-control mechanism – a mainstay for 70 years here in the U.S. And it’s one of those Abominable Snowmen whose teeth are going to need to be extracted if we German-Americans are ever to advocate for our interests.
We German-Americans have our own emotional hills to climb, and I for one am about at the crest of the hill. I’m ready to move on.
And I speak these things aloud because I think there’s a correspondence between how U.S. German-Americans are managed, and how the Germans are managed. It’s the same tool-set, and the same therapy is going to need to be applied in order for us to heal ourselves. This helps explain why we’re so easily manipulated.
There are about 45 million of us German-Americans, but you’d never know it.
Perhaps it clarifies matters to remember that the House of Windsor is actually the House of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha.
Clear as mud.
Are you saying that the (tiresome and self-destructive) England-Germany antipathy (long-since injected into the U.S.) is sibling warfare?
Please elaborate. Tks.
It is certainly true that all parties in the German parliament except for the AfD and parts of the Linke were for the sanctions, the Greens, however, occupy 2 prominent positions within the government, the foreign ministry with Annalena Baerbock and the ministry of economic affairs and climate action (!) with Robert Habeck. In the public perception they are synonymous with the sanctions. And not a single word of criticism came from them regarding burning more coal or getting dirtier LNG gas from the US or undemocratic regimes in the Middle East. Initially, there was hardly any push to accelerate the adoption of greener energy. Nuclear energy seemed to be off limits. All was OK as long as it punishes Putin, regardless of its efficacy and the economic blowback which they underestimated considerably.
The notion that the US might have anything to do with blowing up NS 1&2 is considered a crackpot conspiracy theory, even though nobody can coherently explain what rational motive Russia could have to blow up its own property, but this is not really required since evil Putin is capable of anything. It is odd, however, that the NS pipelines practically vanished from the news.
Judging from the comments section of, say, Der Spiegel, most people seem to be still on board with the sanctions. The recent gains of the Greens in Lower Saxony are also indicative of this. More comments, however, voice criticism lately which is not immediately labeled as coming from Putin trolls, even though this is still frequently used as a riposte. The economic pain has not reached a sufficiently large fraction of the populace yet.
Your remark that:
is not consistent with my reading of commentary on other blogs that have Germans who speak English commenting. The comments from Germans that I’ve read are livid. Many curses to the U.S.
For an interesting contrast, I refer you to the oft-mentioned piece by Tucker Carlson, a popular figure in Fox New’s constellation of political commentators. He made no bones about asserting, with absolute certainty, that it was the U.S. that did it.
This differential between what U.S.-based Fox is willing to say, and what’s permissible to say in German MSM is quite telling. Can anyone explain that dichotomy? Why does the deep state have more control in Germany than it apparently does here in the U.S.?
Sure, there are Germans who don’t buy the idea that Russia blew up its own property and you can find these views expressed, but not often in MSM comments sections. I also believe that such views are actively being suppressed. My somewhat contrarian views seem to disappear in moderation hell a little too often in “Der Spiegel “.
I’ve seen the referenced Tucker Carlson piece and while I share his doubts in this case I am somewhat hesitant to believe in his sincerity (I doubt he would hold such views if, say, Trump engineered the sanctions instead of Biden. It was Trump after all who gave weapons to Ukraine, probably to spite Obama).
And in the liberal part of the American MSM Tucker is considered a Putin tool whose views can be dismissed without further evaluation.
Futility: That was a great post, I learned a lot from it. Thx.
And while I am not that much a fan of anything delivered through the Fox system, or any other blatantly profit-seeking, pandering-to-a-segment outlet … which, to be fair, characterizes all MSM, so far as I can tell – I do know that Tucker has about 3 million daily viewers consisting of many nationalists that are fairly enraged and appear to be spoiling for a fight.
I’d take them more seriously as an adversary if I was trying to control the messaging narrative.
And the fact that Tucker called out the NeoCons, named names, showed a good bit of their history…I was a little bit amazed at that. I had not seen its like anywhere else on MSM waterfront, and I interpreted it as a signal of emergent divisions.
And then Tulsi Gabbard departs the Democratic Party, and just hammers the NeoCon / fin elite as Reason Number 1.
I have to say again, I’m seeing some daylight appearing in that big ‘ol wall.
Now if the Germans would lend a helping hand….maybe we could get something new and better.
Luongo on Kunstler recent pod was pretty graphic about who the parties are who sabotaged the pipelines, including the one which writes the James Bond scripts.
Jeffrey Sachs recently, too.
Gonzalo of course having a field day with it.
I am with Poland here. I don’t think Germany has fully payed for its actions in WWII. Maybe they have saturated the Jewish holocaust victims’ market with all kinds of goodies, but all the other countries invaded, plus the unleashing of the Soviet Union and the instauration of uni-party systems in Eastern Europe for a couple of generations have received little compensation. I am watching with glee the sinking of Germany. Which seems to be part of the old plan (Morgenthau Plan?) to defang Germany. After all, who wants competition in the arms industry. Not the US…
As I understand it, and maybe I got this wrong, but a great deal of repression of Jews occurred in Poland, with plenty of indigenous Polish assistance.
Has Poland made reparations?
Next: the West provided massive amounts of financial and material support to the USSR during the second world war.
If anything, the Nazis weakened the USSR.
How do those two facts – and they’re easy to verify – comport with your story that Germany unleashed the USSR?
And as Poland steps up to serve as the newest agency of the NeoCons, it may be their revenge will be short-lived.
Ancient hatreds. Keep them, and you’re welcome.
Has Poland made reparations?
Is Israel making reparations to the dispossessed Palestinians? Has Britain made reparations to India for centuries of theft? Has the entire West made reparations to China for its long-running extractive occupation? Did the Akkadians make good the losses they inflicted upon Uruk?
Or is there some sort of statute of limitations that places a temporal boundary on the acceptability of claims?
But we don’t need to go to the history books – there is one power today responsible for vast damage and enormous dispossession across the globe, more indeed than the rest of the world’s nations combined. Are they making reparations to any of their victims.. does such an idea exist even in alternative circles?
The Poles have never taken any responsibility for collaborating!! The official myth at places like the Auschwitz museum is that the Nazis did this without Polish collaboration, nor awareness. The actual documentary record totally contradicts that!! (PS– they are good Catholics, & still mostly hate gay people, unlike the Irish. That is of a piece with denying WW2 responsibility– after all one of the wartime popes was not secretly pro-Nazi, since they valued “the home”, subjection of women and other traditional values.)
I think your was not is supposed to follow after all
I don’t know man. As a Romanian I know that because of Germany, Romania had to relinquish northern Transylvania to Hungary (recovered) and Bessarabia (Republic of Moldova) and Northern Bucovina (in Ukraine now) to USSR because of the Molotov Ribbentrop pact of non-aggression. Which Germany broke and dragged Romania into it – to recover the territory lost to USSR, which was occupied because Germany said ok.
That, plus 10 years of reparations paid to Russia, plus the abolishing of monarchy and instauration of communist party and all that. And 800,000 German Romanian citizens emigrating in Germany (that is a big loss) in the 1970s.
If Germany wouldn’t have started WWII and more than that, attacked USSR, USSR would have collapsed much, much, much sooner.
So, from where I stand, Germany has not paid enough for its sinful past. And seeing how much a vassal is to the US nowadays, I wouldn’t mind Germany industry collapsing.
You already know that I respect your opinion; I’ve responded at one point or another to your prior posts. Let’s set that as a baseline.
Furthermore, I think it’s wise of us all to listen to one another, and maybe even learn something from the push-back we get from our various assertions.
And I’ll also state directly that all these “ancient hatreds” generally have some, maybe a lot of legitimacy. There’s that.
There’s also the reality that we little people – of all nationalities – have been rused and abused since day one, pitted against one another by the perennial predators in our midst. They have centuries of divide-and-conquer experience.
Time to ID the real problem – sociopathic greed – and knock it down. That takes teamwork.
I am in agreement with you that little people should join forces as much as possible.
It is not that I have a bone of contention with Germany and I want ill will for its people, but it continues to disappoint (not that other countries are necessarily better – While Germany is behaving like a vassal, France is just a cheap whore masquerading as Madame de Recamier).
The Poles gave the einsatzgruppen often enthusiastic assistance, sometimes even participated, in the Jewish genocide especially in the countryside although not everyone, nor everywhere; that the Nazis intended to have the majority of the Polish population also exterminated is interesting.
The Nazis and the Soviets almost destroyed enough of Poland to make it a failed state. The Poles helped with the Holocaust. What the Nazis did to the Soviet population was horrific and they had planned to exterminate most of the population between Germany and Russia, which would have included Ukraine. What the Soviets, Poles, and Czechoslovakians did to the ethnic German civilians during and after the war was almost as horrific.
The Second World War was just a series of atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity from start to finish; all the combatant states were guilty of them. So, when the Poles are bleating about reparation and lost territory, ignore them.
I like the word “instauration” (assuming it means many countries in Eastern Europe were uniparty to begin with). On the other hand, it was founding of NATO and especially not including Soviet Union in it which veered Eastern Europe towards establishing uniparty control over it. It was a process that took many years, and never happened in some countries.
Korean war (or the fear it woould spread to Europe), and especially West Germany joining NATO, ended any possibility of political freedoms in Eastern Europe. Which – we may say with some newly gained insight – delayed the current situation for 80 years.
You can’t talk about the economy without talking about stuff in the future – and this is serious stuff,” Dimon told CNBC at a conference in London.
“These are very, very serious things which I think are likely to push the US and the world – I mean, Europe is already in recession – and they’re likely to put the US in some kind of recession six to nine months from now,” he added.
As regards France, there are actually three different things going on. One is the revival of Macron’s plans for pensions and benefits “reform.” In the absence of a parliamentary majority, it’s not clear whether he can find enough votes on the Right to ram his proposals through. These proposals are widely disliked, and Covid in fact disrupted mass protests against them. The only reason Macron is carrying on now is that he wants to look like a strong leader, and has nothing but contempt for ordinary people and their interests. Moreover, as a technocrat, this is the only kind of politics he really understands and is comfortable with.
Second there are protests and strikes against increases in the cost of living which have little to do with Ukraine, but a lot to do with distribution problems and opportunistic price increases. It’s not unusual (it happened to me this week) to have somebody spontaneously complain in a supermarket about massive price increases in everyday goods. Again, this is not a new problem: Macron anointed himself some time ago the Purchasing Power President, but all he’s done is to diminish it. This is what the current strikes are about, and there have been others, and will be others, because people are fed up with rising prices and declining services.
Finally, there are the first whispers of problems resulting from sanctions blowbacks. So far, there have been few direct effects, and that’s not what these protests are about. But already there’s talk, not only of heating problems in the winter, but of wider effects as well: some schools and universities will probably close for longer this winter, for example, and I just heard today that one major University has shut down the central heating system, and turned all the photocopiers off, to save energy. This will get worse, of course, but for the moment it’s mainly a threat.
None of this has anything to do with the war as such, and active resistance is very limited. Quite frankly, people have too many other things to worry about. Indeed, rather than opposition to the war strengthening worries about being cold, the reverse is likely to be true, and politically that’s a good thing. The French will come out into the street over blowback from sanctions: they won’t over the war in Ukraine. So if I were the Opposition, I know which I would focus on.
In the absence of a parliamentary majority, it’s not clear whether he can find enough votes on the Right to ram his proposals through.
The lower chamber of the French parliament just approved Macron’s reform of pensions, with support from right-wing LR representatives — who actually managed to push through a toughening of the reform!
Not a surprise, such reforms were an objective of previous right-wing governments. I just cannot fathom why you stated that the support of right-wing parties was uncertain. Now the discussion moves on to the French Senate.
It’s a vote on only one part of the proposals – on unemployment insurance- and the result was widely expected. Most of the other parts will be the subject of “consultations”, which are just getting under way. Of course the Street will have something to say as well.
I can attest that albeit it is not comfortable, one can attend school or university in an unheated classroom. Romania in the last part of the 1980s was no paradise. We lived. But 50% of the population was in the countryside and raising pigs, and chickens and geese, and turkeys and potatoes and beans (plus getting eggs and milk), which they shared with their relatives in the city.
See how things will unfold. Shortages of bread and hard winters have brought the French and the Russian Revolutions… Europe does need a new revolution…
Protests that aren’t organized and don’t make clear and non-negotiable demands of those in power will only ever amount to expressions of disgruntled outrage. Slogans and vague demands (“lower prices now!”) won’t get people manning barricades for weeks on end or risk police violence, jail and losing their jobs.
There is no substantial anti-neoliberal opposition party or movement to rally the masses akin to the left wing protests of the 20th century. Certainly not the AfD. Die Linke (The Left Party) has a robust anti-neoliberal/anti-NATO wing led by Sara Wagenkknecht but it is tiny compared to the mainstream of the party and its influence is limited.
Until a movement arises that can articulate a popular alternative to neoliberalism and the new not-so-cold war, the establishment can easily dismiss protesters as extremist crackpots and smash them at will.
Yes, precisely. Very well put. There is no credible alternative. The AfD is full of neoliberals itself and the Sara Wagenknecht wing might even be forced out of the Linke.
On the subject of “movements”… by now you’ve all heard that Tulsi Gabbard has quit the Democratic party.
What’s interesting is her explanation of why.
I sent her money. I rarely contribute to politicians, since “they’re all the same”.
But the behavior – just the simple explanation of why – was indeed different, so I responded with some positive feedback (money) that she can use to get her message out.
She’s going to be actively repressed and diffused, etc. and will need help.
I voted for her in the 2020 Virginia primary. Ours is a small rural precinct. The day after I checked the results and out of exactly one thousand votes, only mine and one other vote for her was tallied.
I have a great deal of respect for her as one of the very few pols who shoot straight enough to call things by their proper names and not shy away from taking a ‘controversial’ stance. There are issues and there are times when ‘consensus’ pols and compromisers are necessary, but equally there is in a crisis a requirement for forceful application of a common sense which, while driven by convictions of right and wrong and wise vs unwise, plays no heed to party lines, the left/right dichotomy, conventional wisdom or the interests of the 1%.
There is a shrewd, independently-minded steeliness in this cleanskin outsider we could use at the top right now. I cannot see anyone in the mainstream Western firmament more suitable to deal with Putin and Xi and Modi etc as an equal, to lower the temperature in order to manage a face-saving off-ramp for the US from the dangerous situation the neocons have engineered and then to perform the vital public service of cleaning out the Augean stables they have occupied for a generation.
Didn’t the French enthusiastically vote for macron? 😄 if they expected him to help them out they are to blame themselves
No, most of the electorate abstained, and most of those who voted for Macron in fact voted against Le Pen. I’m not sure Macron has realised this yet.
French PM is calling for 10% reduction in overall energy consumption but just why does that not feel like enough?
As a German living in Berlin, I am eager to join in any meaningful protest. I traditionally vote left, but am very disappointed with the Left Party’s attitude to government policy. Demanding the lifting of sanctions is a problem for this party. After the Monday demonstrations began, I wrote to my constituency MP (from the Left Party) asking him to take a stronger stand – I also sent him a couple of links with useful argumentation (including articles by Michael Hudson on NC) – because I feared that the economically dissatisfied would turn politically to the right, to the AfD. It would even be easy to address the role of neo-Nazis in Ukraine. But I got only a short reply from a staff member, mainly: Thank you very much for your mail with the extensive information. Regardless of whether it is true, it in no way justifies a Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. It seems to be some kind of religious mantra.
I participated in a peace demonstration at the beginning of October, organized by the classical peace movement and with good speeches. Most of the politically organized participants were from the DKP (Communist Party of Germany) – a small far-left party that is being monitored by the domestic intelligence service.
Although I really want to help the government coalition break up quickly and stop Germany’s self-destruction, I can’t possibly demonstrate with the AfD because I hate their stupid hostility towards gender diversity. It’s really a messy situation.
Same here, living close to Stuttgart. It seems akin to a religious dogma of our elites to rebut any argument why the war must end as soon as possible with Putin cannot get away with it.
It’s not just hostility to gender diversity what is wrong with the AfD. It is a neoliberal astroturf group financed by millionaires.
“It is a neoliberal astroturf group financed by millionaires…”
That playbook is being run all over the world.
Big demonstrations across Spain last week by wildland firefighters who are as impoverished and undervalued as they are in the US.
And 7000 demonstrators surrounded the UK parliament calling for the release of Julian Assange (who TeleSur reports is now in solitary with covid – being treated with paracetemol).
Protest, strikes, uprising and general civil ‘disobedience’ are the only ways this Russophobic madness can be stopped. Europeans need to realise the extent to which they, and their governments, are being manipulated and used as proxies in the US war against Russia.
The USA has long used its so-called allies as proxies to maintain its aggression against those countries that it can’t subjugate, but has now resorted to attacking its allies’ infrastructure (example: Nordstream) in order to weaken them and prevent them from seeking peace.
Wake up, Europe!
Wondered what paracetamol is and found a warning:
Hope both doc and pharmacist live by “do no harm.”
The paracetamol note above
is a response to a comment that Assange has Covid
and is treated with paracetamol.
The Assange bit may have been removed
over relevance considerations.