Nothing to Celebrate?

May 11, 2022

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by James Tweedie

On May 8, when Victory in Europe (VE) Day is celebrated in the West, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that Russia had “nothing to celebrate” on its own Victory Day on May 9.

Her reasoning, faithfully transcribed on the US mission’s website, was that “They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians.”

Given that Victory Day and VE Day both specifically commemorate the allied defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Thomas-Greenfield’s comments were like saying the US, Britain and France had nothing to celebrate this year because they got chased out of Afghanistan by the Taliban last August.

The ambassador is either an apologist for Nazism or merely too ignorant to do her job. She should at least read some objective reports about the conflict in the Ukraine.

In fact Russians had two immediate military victories to celebrate that Monday. Russian and Lugansk People’s Republic troops captured the town of Popasna, a lynchpin in the Ukrainian army’s defensive line that it had held for eight years.

Meanwhile Kiev, apparently desperate for a victory of its own to rain on the parade through Moscow’s Red Square, launched an airborne and marine assault on the now-famous Zmeinyy (Snake) Island off the coast of Odessa oblast.

Some sources say the Russians withdrew their small force holding the island as bait for a trap, but either way it went horribly wrong for the Ukrainians. They lost four jet fighters and strike aircraft, up to 10 helicopters, a corvette and three infantry landing craft. More than 60 of their personnel were killed, of which 27 were abandoned on the island.

The Ukraine is like a bull elephant that has been shot right in the heart in mid-charge. The beast keeps on bellowing and rampaging around, not yet realising that it’s already dead.

It becomes clearer by the day that the Ukrainian army attempting to occupy the remains of the Donbass republics, newly recognised by Russia just as the West ‘recognised’ its creations of Kosovo and South Sudan, is dead on its feet.

Its navy, air force, artillery, tanks and transportation are almost destroyed. Its casualties are replaced with boys and old men press-ganged off the streets of Kiev and Lvov, some without proper boots. Its senior officers are fled or dead.

Meanwhile the collective West, dominated as always by the Washington, pours in its hodgepodge of arms that belong in a museum, not on the battlefield. The latest arrivals are the 90 much-vaunted 155mm howitzers donated by the Pentagon — and made in UK, because the US military-industrial complex seemingly can’t produce a simple towed cannon any more.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin insisted on April 28 that the artillery pieces would prove “decisive” in the war with Russia. The former Raytheon executive can’t stop speaking in his arms industry sales patter. 90 guns is about what the Ukrainian army is losing every week. What use are they anyway against Russia’s hypersonic missiles, with a range of hundreds of miles and an accuracy radius of seven metres?

Pouring random assortments of arms into a country and expecting it to win against a well-organised and equipped opponent is just as incoherent a strategy as the war of attrition the US waged in Vietnam, or sending a whole army into a frontal assault on a mountain pass defended by a thousand.

Who is going to operate all this stuff if most of the experienced weapon and vehicle crews have become casualties or prisoners? How is it even supposed to get to the front when Russia has air superiority over the country and stand-off weapons that can reach right out to the border with Poland and kill hundreds of foreign mercenaries?

“Ukraine clearly believes it can win and so does everyone here,” Austin told his NATO counterparts at the Rammstein airbase a few days earlier, in a touching display of mass delusion on a US-occupied piece of Germany. “Ukraine needs our help to win today and they will still need our help when the war is over.”

In a pre-recorded virtual address to the Ukrainian parliament on May 3, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made similar exhortations. “The so-called irresistible force of Putin’s war machine has broken on the immoveable object of Ukrainian patriotism,” Johnson declared triumphantly. “Ukraine will win, Ukraine will be free.”

Kiev is claiming it can rebuild its exhausted, demoralised, bled-white army in the west of the country — or better yet, in NATO-member Poland — and march east in a great wave of self-righteous retribution to reclaim the Donbass and Crimea.

This is accompanied by bizarre fascistic artwork of crusader knights, flying the 30-year-old Ukrainian flag, slaughtering Russian army orcs — literal fantasy role-playing game orcs with the letter ‘Z’ marked on their foreheads. And Western leaders are actually taking this stuff seriously.

Austin believes that fighting this war the last drop of Ukrainian blood will weaken the Russian military enough that it won’t be able to fight another war for years to come. Not so long ago this retired four-star general publicly referred to present-day Russia as the Soviet Union, whether by accident or on purpose we do not now.

Perhaps Austin should read a little history and discover that the USSR lost 27 million human lives in the war against Nazi Germany and its many European fascist allies, all now current or prospective NATO members.

Six million Soviets soldiers and partisans fell on the battlefield. Three million more were murdered by the Nazis as as prisoners of war, along with 18 million civilians.

Yet the Soviet Union emerged from that cataclysmic war stronger than ever, as the superpower that counter-balanced the US in the post-war order.

Like Germany in 1945, the Ukraine is marching fanatically towards its terrible Götterdämmerung, leaving a trail of footprints in its own blood. And NATO is standing behind, cheering it on and prolonging the death-agony.

Growing up Yellow Vest: Seeing French elites, not French people, conquered by neoliberalism

May 08, 2022

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By Ramin Mazaheri

World War II saw massive political gains by the lower classes and average person, but only via their own mass-murder. Many socio-economic demands which go back to 1789 and which animated the Revolutions of 1848 were put in place, finally.

(This is the ninth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

The three biggest changes were that socialism was now firmly implanted on the global scene, women got the right to vote in France in 1944 and that the Western Liberal Democratic elite were discredited worse than ever.

That forced Western elite, who were now allying with fascists to forestall further socialist and anti-imperialist victories, to make political and economic concessions which they had resisted for a century. These subsequent 30 years – from 1945 to 1975 – are known as the “30 Glorious Years” in French history. During this period a broad economic stability was founded upon the stability, productivity, joy and long-sightedness which can only be provided by worker rights and influence, and by socialist-inspired levers and organisations.

The brief era of “Social Democracy” was officially terminated by the introduction of the euro (1999) and then the European Union (2009). EU citizenship was introduced in 1992 but its official installation was not until 2009, with the elite-only ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which amended the constitutional basis of the EU, the Maastricht Treaty (1992) and the Treaty of Rome (1957). The Yellow Vests would be the flaming leftist economic and political reaction to this political-economic regression away from Social Democracy. The introduction of this version the pan-European project was a major regression in the threat of modern political history: to reduce the autocratic rights of elite and to increase the empowerment of the average person.

Sadly, it was only 30 years – one generation – before the autocratic and oligarchical elite began to retake power. When they do this effort is called “neoliberalism”, even though the first “neoliberalism” was with the start of 3rd Republic (1871-1940), which restored the immediately discredited and popularly rejected Liberalism of the 2nd Republic (1848-52). The goal of today’s “3rd-liberalism” is to end the Social Democracy era and to redistribute its gains back to the Liberalist 1%.

This book ignores the upheaval of 1968 in France – when a General Strike attracted 8 million workers in a country of 50 million people – for this reason: This is a book is about political changes, and the rebellion of 1968 only produced cultural changes. It was indeed a cultural revolution, but because it was not state-sponsored, as in China, where cultural changes were embraced by leaders like Mao Zedong, the Western Liberal Democratic elite successfully broke any chance of fully democratising from Social Democracy to Socialist Democracy. There’s no denying that this era’s cultural revolution (note the lower case) won advances in everyday culture but that is not the same as formal political-economic changes.

The political failures/cultural gains of this era would eventually reveal the continued rightward shift within the elite of the French left, and this can be illustrated by the path of Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the most prominent of the student leaders in 1968. In his memoirs he wrote that he was not seeking Marxist-inspired equality but simply more control over his personal life. These freedom of expression types of changes can perhaps be encapsulated in the freedom of students to now question their teachers in class. Cohn-Bendit would quit the Trotskyists, switched to the Green Party, became a devoted Europhile, reject the Yellow Vests and is now a close advisor to Emmanuel Macron – it’s an incredibly representative political trajectory of this era. Ecology is a subject completely neutered of class politics (even though the idea of a capitalist/competitive solution to ecological issues, and not socialist/cooperative solution, is an obvious absurdity) and thus is the political outlet most encouraged by contemporary Western Liberal Democratic elite.

However, we should note that for many decades already French socialism was primarily intellectual, and dominated by right-wing socialists: “Before the war of 1914-1918 only 20% of socialist deputies were workers while they had been 80% of the German socialist party (SPD), and they represented the totality of the English Labor party. The socialism of Jaures and Blum is, when it comes to leaders, a socialism of intellectuals and liberal professions,” wrote Romaric Godin in La guerre sociale en France (The Social War in France – 2019). Jean Jaures and Leon Blum were the right-leaning socialist leaders of their respective generations. Jaures is notable in that both Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy both claimed to be continuing his legacy. Also notable is that whether worker or intellectual – 20th century West European socialists failed.

Between the USSR’s fall (1991) and China’s rise (starting in 2008) the French left’s economic ideology was in disunity and disarray at best and total betrayal at worst. Many also went whole-hog over to neo-imperialist culture, espousing right-wing “universal values” and embracing neo-colonial wars in the former Yugoslavia and the Muslim world.

The change began in 1974 with the death in office of President George Pompidou, Charles de Gaulle’s successor in the 5th Republic (1958-today), just a month before the presidential vote.

Neoliberalism starts to win over elites from Paris to Moscow, but the French keep protesting

Pompidou’s death effectively ended Gaullism, which had helped win World War II, presided over the “30 Glorious Years” and insisted on French sovereignty. The closet election in French history saw the victory of the aristocrat Valerie Giscard d’Estaing, a politician who was thus extremely familiar but also a new breed: Giscard d’Estaing was liberal on social issues, rejected Gaullist Euroscepticism and was extremely close with high finance – he served as Minister of Finance twice. We see how the “Bankocracy” has gone from not existing in 1789 France to running the executive branch. He marks the start of the third restoration of extremist Liberalist thought.

Liberals had been waiting decades to restore firm control, and they salivated at the prospect of dividing up the spoils created by the 30 Glorious Years. Using the excuse of inflation cased by a rise in oil prices in 1973, free competition was reimposed after decades of abandonment, austerity was imposed for the first time, salaries were frozen, compulsory salary taxes soared ten points to nearly 30% and the despised CDD work contract was created. (The despised contrat à durée déterminée is a temporary employment contract which renders life in France extremely difficult and unstable. It’s usual length is one month and then it is renewed endlessly, without ever becoming a long-term contract. As the French do not have hourly wages, the CDD can perhaps be thought of as “part-time work”.) Seigniorial dues and tithes were not restored.

It would not be until 2016 that a team of economists at the International Monetary Fund would release a paper which admits that austerity doesn’t work. The economic massacring of the lower and middle class which is austerity would be the reason for the upcoming years recession, although the mainstream history is that it was entirely due to the rise in oil prices.

France was not alone in its first steps towards the restoration of Liberalism. The United States responded to energy inflation with the “Volcker Shock” in March 1980: a huge rise in interest rates which gutted the average person’s primary asset class – the housing market. The UK and Germany turned to wage suppression. It’s vital to note that the same elite capture was also occurring in the USSR. By Christmas 1991 it would be imploded from the top: their elite infamously ignored a high-turnout referendum in March in which 80% of the nation voted to preserve the USSR.

Unsurprisingly, the French voter rebelled: Giscard d’Estaing was voted out in 1981. A socialist-communist backing of Francois Mitterrand’s economic platform – the most socialist economic plan ever promoted in the non-Eastern Bloc Europe – was a repeat of 1936. However, by 1983 he infamously made his U-turn back to austerity (more on this shortly) – French elites had fully accepted the terms of Liberalism.

Yellow Vest: “I worked from the age of 14 until the age of 60, and in my entire life I accepted only 1 month of unemployment insurance. And yet, in the last 4 years I have seen my pension lowered from 1,150 euros to 1,050 euros. My rent is 800 euros a month, so I cannot afford to live, and I will never accept this injustice.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

By 1986 French neoliberalism was in full swing: the abolishment of price controls, the end of controls on exchange rates and the deregulation of financial markets in order to do what modern Western financial markets do – divert the wealth produced by people who actually work into the bank accounts of the 1%. Mass de-nationalisations began: General Electric Company, Suez, Paribas and Société Générale (banks), Saint-Gobain and Matra (industrial giants).

The average Frenchman would not accept the death of Social Democracy as complacently as in the rest of the West, and that fact is certainly in keeping with the line of West European history since 1789 – the Yellow Vests only confirm this line further. The French responded to the restoration of Liberalism over socialist-inspired ideas with massive, broadly-encompassing and successful social movements: protests against proposed university reforms in 1986 and rail reforms in 1987. The “Touche pas à mon pote” (Don’t touch my buddy) movement marked the introduction of French Muslims into French political movements.

Godin, who is also the economics reporter for France’s top media, Mediapart, wrote: “The error of (then prime minister) Jacques Chirac in 1986 was to think that he could force through a new culture which could sweep away the past, as Margaret Thatcher did across the Channel. However, the French showed their capacity to resist the complete destruction of their social model.”

In France from 1986 until 1995 efforts at restoring liberalism were stopped by massive social movements: against worse work contracts in 1994, retirement and social security cutbacks in 1995. The 1995 General Strike was the largest since 1968, and the political introduction for a new generation. Starting in 1992, the excuse of the need to “qualify” for the euro currency – and thus right-wing rollbacks were needed – was unconvincing to the average Frenchman as well.

From 1995-2007 the attempts at major neoliberal reforms were less ambitious and, crucially, began to offer some monetary redistribution efforts as compensation for right-wing deforms. This is partially explained by the inflation which immediately followed the introduction of the euro in 1999. The reforms of 1994 would fail again in 2006 when they were attempted to be rammed through, due to more protests.

But by 2002 the leftist voter had partially revolted against the traitorous French left – the National Front made it to the 2nd round at the expense of the ever-more un-socialist Socialist Party. The far-right party – totally neoliberal in economics – was led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, a former intelligence officer in Algeria. Like with Cavaignac in 1848, once again Algerian colonisation has provided the entry point for the most extreme-right and anti-socialist elements in French domestic politics.

The National Front’s advancement to the runoff was precisely due to the left’s now two decade-long embrace of neoliberalism despite the rejection of neoliberalism by its constituents. The French mainstream media like to blame Mitterrand’s party-gerrymandering, but that’s a distant secondary reality from the fact that voters opposed this third return of liberalism. However, unlike in 1852 there was no Bonapartism to send Liberalists packing, and unlike in 1945 liberalists had not yet had a long-running economic crisis deep enough and/or war to fully discredit them.

The 2005 French European Constitution referendum was essentially a referendum on neoliberalism, and it lost by a 55-45% margin. The majority of the French Socialist Party would vote yes, and that effort would be led by future president Francois Hollande. Three days later the Netherlands would also vote no, by a 62-38% margin. Aghast, Western Liberal Democrats decided that this would essentially be the end of putting the concept of the European Union to popular votes.

Yellow Vest: “The government doesn’t listen to us at all. The economic situation keeps getting worse, the prices are rising, and the government’s response is to attack the Yellow Vests to keep us from telling the truth.”

In May of 2007 neoliberalism made a huge inroad in France with the election of Nicolas “l’Américain” Sarkozy, the son of a Hungarian nobleman. Sarkozy was the first French politician since World War II to break totally with even lip service to being an anti-monarchist in style and ideology. Giscard d’Estaing at least made regular and often poorly-received efforts to shed his aristocratic pretensions and appear close with the average person. The pernicious influence of monarchy was still grasped in France then, but the new millennium has seen Western culture re-cultivate the idea that greed is good and that the aristocracy are our betters.

Sarkozy would make France the first major European power to approve the new Lisbon Treaty, which put the installation of the European Union into the hands of the elite: the Maastricht Treaty was reformed to allow the installation of the EU via the approval of national parliaments and not popular referendums. French Socialist MPs overwhelmingly voted in favor of this coup in plain sight.

The method (oligarchical approval) and context (an economic collapse unseen since 1929) of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty cannot be stressed enough, as it unmistakably reveals that in the history of Western Liberal Democracy the installation of EU was the latest in a never-ending line of autocratic decisions by their oligarchical elites. Again, by understanding modern political history (which began in 1789) as a move away from autocracy and towards democracy we see how the EU is a regression and not a progression.

Only Ireland was able to achieve a popular referendum on the Lisbon Treaty: when the first vote produced a rejection a re-vote was forced the following year, when it passed. Every other member approved the installation by a vote in their national parliaments, as well as six royal assents.

This is a precise repeat of when the parliamentarians of the French 2nd Republic, the continent’s first Western Liberal Democracy, committed coups against the people via voting to submit the 1848 Constitution to the majority approval of parliament, and then to gut the primary advance of the 1848 Revolution, universal male suffrage. The populist reaction then was the democratic approval of the re-installation of Bonapartism in 1852, with Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who restored universal suffrage and ended the disastrous first foray of Western Liberal Democracy.

The vast majority of nations would ratify the Lisbon Treaty between February and July of 2008, a disastrous year. The collapse of Lehman Brothers investment firm that September is the official start of the Great Recession, but the US Federal Reserve held its first emergency weekend meeting in 30 years back in March, to negotiate the shocking collapse of the Bear Stearns investment group. Thus, it’s not as if European elite weren’t aware of major issues brewing. Four countries, including Germany, would not fully ratify the treaty until after the fall of Lehman Brothers. We can certainly call it an amazing coincidence: how the elite Liberalist politicians successfully forced through the European Union mere weeks before economic collapse struck?

The Treaty would be fully ratified in November 2009 amid mass bankruptcy, home foreclosures, unemployment and that slogan which is the essence of British conservatism: “Keep calm and carry on”. The pan-European project was now complete and – as we’ll see – largely unchangeable. The European Union thus joined only Saudi Arabia, Israel, San Marino and the UK Commonwealth as having citizenry but no constitution.

The European Union thus was born amid the Great Recession – it has never been willing or able to end it.

The next chapter will deal with three related events – the Great Recession, the European Sovereign Debt Crisis and the Age of Austerity – which left the French populace too skeptical, resentful and experienced to allow the extremist Liberalist policies and autocratic personality of Emmanuel Macron to go uncommented upon, as he apparently had assumed.

This chapter has thus far shown how the French people, but not the elites, successfully fought the 3rd restoration of liberalism which so many other countries embraced even before the implosion of the Soviet Union. We should now turn to these new Liberalist structures.

I should note that in this era of Socialist Democratic collapse the last great progressive revolution of our contemporary times – the Iranian Islamic Revolution – victoriously emerged from the ashes of the Western-imposed Iran-Iraq War in 1988. They found very few sympathisers to the socialist-inspired country it had just forged, and then 9/11 would create not just skepticism but violent animosity towards seemingly all things Islamic.

The European Union – capitalist cartel or France’s idea of a progressive & united continent?

Yes, it’s pathetically easy to dismiss any discussion of the European Union as being merely an extension of aristocratic autocracy: since 1992 there have been eight national referendums which rejected key aspects of the European Union only to be either ignored or subverted by oligarchical elites. Nonetheless, if we insist (rightly) that another version of the pan-European project is possible then we need to see how France has repeatedly proposed an alternative vision of a united Europe, and one which wouldn’t have been embraced by the liberalists of 1848 or 1871.

Just as Lenin saw that the principal feature of modern capitalism is monopoly, so the EU began in 1951 as an undemocratic cartel to fix prices for coal and steel. The European Coal and Steel Community also included a multinational bureaucracy which was empowered to ignore national parliaments and laws.

Was the EU always intended to be just a capitalist cartel? It’s possible, but we cannot completely ignore France’s historical trend since 1789, which is to be more often than not at the progressive forefront of the West.

In the WWII postwar reckoning France was excluded: de Gaulle was famously not invited to the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Thus, France immediately saw that the US and UK liberalists were only dealing with the head of Western leftism since 1917, the USSR. After the Labor Party defeated Winston Churchill in July 1945, just two months after the defeat of the Germans, the rabidly anti-socialist US called off the in-progress plan to de-industrialise Germany and instead tapped West Germany for their imperial collaborators in Europe. That is why Germany is the industrial powerhouse of Europe today even though they provoked and lost WWII: Western Liberal Democracy’s alliance with postwar fascists couldn’t be more clear. This was a crucial historical decision which laid the foundation for German domination of the Eurozone and EU today. Many would add that it is a US domination of the Eurozone and EU, and via their longtime dependant in Germany.

By the 1960s French elites were well aware that they could not compete industrially with America’s creation of a German Frankenstein, so in their conception of a pan-European project they wanted to join with – not conquer – Germany. In some ways this is a continuation of the Franco-German elite alliance in 1871, but there is a very different factor this time: the imperialist United States.

Historically, no country’s elite has pushed harder for European unification than France, and that’s because the European Union was seen by many French elite as something which could serve as a Franco-German bulwark against imperial domination – that of the United States. The idea of total French enmity with Germany since 1871 is a short-term view – the two neighbors share a tremendous number of cultural similarities, values, multiple regions and several millions of Franco-German citizens in Alsace, Lorraine and in Alpine regions. France uniquely combines both the cultures of Latin/Mediterranean Europe and Northern Europe, after all. Some further add that France is a Latin country but run by a Northern elite. European unification was seen by many in Paris as an effort to preserve the sovereignty of both nations and to create a counterbalance to the obviously domineering US. In this way we can say that the European Union was the latest in two centuries of effort by France to unite Europe in a more progressive way – the problem is the awful, undemocratic structures which this version of a pan-European project would ultimately adopt.

The foundational Élysée Treaty of friendship between France and Germany, signed in 1963, was a clear attempt to separate West Germany from the Anglosphere. The US was livid at France’s attempt at undermining the US-imposed postwar order: “I can hardly overestimate the shock produced in Washington by this action or the speculation that followed, particularly in the intelligence community,” said top US diplomat and banker George Ball.

The French understood that the 1944 Bretton Woods monetary system (when accounts began being regularly settled not in gold but in dollars) was not meant as a balanced system of international trade and financial flows but as an instrument of US domination via the dollar. Europe’s participation meant it supported American living standards and subsidised American companies. That the US could print unlimited dollars for unlimited imports was famously deemed an “exorbitant privilege” by France, but postwar France could do nothing about it until 1965.

The US deficit exploded in the mid-1960s, mostly due to their imperialist wars in East Asia. France and de Gaulle openly demanded a reform of the Bretton Woods system, a return to the gold standard and began repatriating French gold from New York City banks. “Perhaps never before had a chief of state launched such an open assault on the monetary power of a friendly nation,” wrote Time magazine in February 1965. In 1967 France was the first to withdraw from the West’s London Gold Pool, hastily constructed in 1961 to defend Bretton Woods. Unlike the UK and Germany, France was not always so subservient to the United States.

The truth which financial media never wants to tell is that France had a genuine commitment to a pan-Europeanism guided by a mixed socialist/pro-growth/not-rabidly-capitalist economic plan. This mirrors France’s own postwar “Mixed Economy” model, in which the state gives short- and long-term targets for industry to meet, and aids them to achieve it. There’s planning and state ownership – not at the level of a communist state but enough to enrage liberalists. There is also a commitment to a social safety net because endless austerity is simply not sustainable if French elite wish to avoid further revolutions. France’s Mixed Economy is also not at the level of Japan, where the state’s role was much larger (until the Plaza Accord of 1985, signed by Japan, the US, France, West Germany and the UK), and where economic success was spectacularly greater.

France’s contemporary effort to fight far-right economics and austerity did not begin with Francois Hollande’s 2012 election campaign campaign but began three decades earlier. So why did Mitterrand’s anti-3rd liberalist “Common Project” culminate in a U-turn in in 1983? Of course, just like in 1936, 1871 or 1848 the primary reason is that Western Liberal Democracy is an oligarchy which refuses to listen to the majority will of the people (as in a normal democracy). But in 1983 the power of a completely united globalist rich class – one undivided by royalist squabbles or support for the national sovereignty proposed in fascism – could be wielded as one. This same tool – the “Bankocracy” of international high finance – would also be used to provoke the 2012 European Sovereign Debt Crisis.

Despite a huge democratic mandate to end Giscard d’Estaing’s austerity and restore growth polices, France was immediately foiled by high finance and currency speculators. Capital flight from France to Germany immediately took place and long-term borrowing rates (10-year bond) went from 9.6% in March 1979 all the way to 17.3% in May 1981, when Mitterrand was elected. Government bonds, as Marx foresaw, are the indispensable lifeblood of the biggest economic actor in any capitalist country: the government. After devaluing the franc three times Mitterrand was forced into submission. He made his U-turn and by March 1986 10-year bonds were at 9.3%.

Yellow Vest: “The British have shown us that it is possible to obtain a referendum on leaving the European Union. However, the French media refuses to ever discuss the issue at all, but many in France will not stop demanding a Frexit.”

What happened was that Germany and the Bundesbank, knowing that Western high-finance was philosophically in their corner and willing to destroy France’s democratic will with every dollar they could borrow, joined with global high finance and professional currency speculators to strangle France into backtracking on socialist-inspired policies. If high finance cared at all for democracy they would have supported France’s anti-austerity plan. However such an idea is as absurd today as it was to socialists, fascists and even the apolitical in the 1930s, and also to those opposing the nouveau riche backers of the House of Orleans in 1830’s July Revolution.

France could not boldly defy high finance and keep devaluing their currency until growth took hold for another crucial reason: they would have had to abandon the 1979-inaugurated European Monetary System (EMS), the financial predecessor of the euro. This was an adjustable exchange rate agreement which linked 10 Western European currencies to prevent large fluctuations. It was France’s brainchild for their long-term goal: wooing Germany away from the US and towards a genuinely European integration. Preferring to stay in the EMS meant violating the people’s democratic will demanding an anti-austerity agenda – this process would obviously be repeated ad nauseam.

By 1993 the European Union would begin, which replaced the European Economic Community, which in 1957 had replaced the original European Coal and Steel Community. The euro currency would arrive six years later – the new structures would fully end the Social Democracy era.

In 2012 Hollande was the hope of an entire “Latin Bloc” against Germanic austerity, once again, but he would do the exact same U-turn. However, he showed far less resolve than Mitterrand and faced far less pressure: 10-year bonds stood at 2.75% when Hollande was elected and and they fell immediately – high finance seemed to know the longtime Europhile Hollande’s anti-austerity promises were election nonsense. French 10-year bonds stood at 0.81% when he left office, in total disgrace and with the Socialist Party perhaps permanently smashed.

More important than the EU – the Eurogroup

Part of the problem of talking about the “pan-European project” is that you have multiple bodies which overlap. You also have some nations which are part of one, but not another. Or which pay into one body, but abstain from another.

The Eurozone is more important than the European Union because it controls the money in the world’s second largest macro-economic bloc behind the US (in 2008). By comparison, the EU is mainly a regulatory body, and their modest annual budget – about the size of Denmark’s – reflects that.

All serious studies of the eurozone – from Nobel Prize-winning economists, such as Joseph Stiglitz, to those with insider knowledge of how it operates, such as former Greek Finance Minster Yanis Varoufakis – stress that there is nothing in its structure which allows for the possibility for change. That’s a pretty vital and damning conclusion to be consistently reached, especially when post-1991 Europe loves to stand on its hind legs and lecture the rest of the world about democracy. Objective studies reach another regular conclusion, and it’s one which is shared by the lower- and middle-class: the euro has totally failed in its promise to bring about prosperity and economic security.

The Eurozone was a clear replication of the German Zollverein, led by Prussia during the 19th century, which was the world’s first example of independent states creating a full economic union without also creating a political union. Germanifying an area of German-speaking peoples and cultures is one thing, but trying to replicate that for all of Europe has only led to dramatic inequalities.

The Eurozone thus embodies the victory of Germanic economic ideology in tandem with the victory of English oligarchic parliamentarianism in political ideology – this is perhaps the simplest essence of Western Liberal Democracy: England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688 combined with the Germanic commitment to the economic autocracy of the elite. The French are often called the intellectuals of Europe, but it’s far more accurate to call them the ignored intellectuals of Europe: the history of Europe since 1789 is the defeat of French intellectual egalitarianism and the victory of the aristocratic thought of Anglo-Germanic intellectuals.

To examine the Eurozone you have to bring up something which mainstream media is instructed to ignore – the Eurogroup.

The Eurogroup rules the Eurozone and its 19 member states, and it also governs the “bailouts” to member nations like Greece. The Eurogroup is, at face value, an informal monthly meeting of the finance ministers of the euro member countries.

However, it is no exaggeration to say that the Eurogroup is the banker cabal hidden in plain sight. It is truly the expression of the autocratic and oligarchical forces which go back to 1788. Gone are the Bourbons and Orleanists, though of course they remain on the boards of banks and hedge funds.

In his 2017 book And The Weak Suffer What They Must? Varoufakis provided a wealth of insider knowledge on how the Eurogroup operates.

“Moreover, the Eurogroup, where all the important economic decisions are taken, is a body that does not even exist in European law, that operates on the basis that the ‘strong do as they please while the weak suffer what they must’, that keeps no minutes of its proceedings, and whose only rule is that its deliberations are confidential – that is, not to be shared with Europe’s citizenry. It is a set-up designed to preclude any sovereignty traceable back to the people of Europe.”

What can we say of Western Liberal Democracy when their most advanced economic achievement is governed by an entity with no rules, no records, no democratic process and no democratic accountability? It is truly a return to 1788 – the time when the average person had no say in politics or economics. Every French person should be able to recognise in 21st century Western Liberal Democracy the autocratic domination which even the many European kings of today recognise is no longer unacceptable.

Thanks to the whistle-blowing of Varoufakis we also know that there is also essentially no discussion at Eurogroup meetings: The Troika (the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission) initiates, dominates and outlines the terms and then the finance minister-members vote. The overwhelming majority of participants in this group which governs eurozone economic policy (and thus social policy) are bankers, former bankers or intimately tied to high finance.

When bankers run economic policy, one shouldn’t be surprised if the resulting social policy is for the benefit of bankers and their biggest aristocratic clients. Yes, the EU is obviously a Bankocracy, but Bankocracy is simply the modern form of rule by an oligarchy of the rich and powerful. It is as if the new banker class in 1830’s France didn’t just put the House of Orleans on the throne and boot out the House of Bourbon, but as if the new banker class assassinated all Houses, restored serfdom and declared that they had a divine right to rule. Their obvious goal is the rollback of mere Social Democracy, and to reattempt a destruction of any Socialist Democracies.

The Eurogroup is not an EU institution and cannot declare any legally-binding decisions. It can never be blamed for a bad decision, nor held accountable, because it is not answerable to any parliament or body politic whatsoever. Many are increasingly asking in France and Europe: What’s the point of voting for any national or EU politician if they have little to no chance of influencing policy? Many don’t even realise that the highest level of policymaking is actually the Eurogroup.

Yellow Vest: “In France’s 5th Republic when someone is elected president they can do whatever they want for five years because we truly have no way to influence them. This is why the Yellow Vests are insisting that Macron accept regular citizen referendums on his policies, because he is destroying French society.”

(Of course, what will occur when citizen referendums oppose the decisions of the Eurogroup? The European Union will step in and either totally ignore the referendum, call it illegal or regulate them away.)

It is self-evident that that when politics does not rule – where there is no law or regulation – the rich are the rulers. It is also self-evident that in a climate of total deregulation the richest nations and persons will benefit the most, thus inequality will increase. It is also self-evident that when billionaires and hedge funds own the bulk of a deregulated and denationalised media there will be very little discussion of the Eurogroup in the mainstream media. This is what has happened throughout the history of the Eurogroup, which operated without formal recognition until the Lisbon Treaty.

Unsurprisingly, the US pioneered the concept of mass deregulation in the early 1980s, which they foisted on Europe as much as possible when their academics, think tanks and intellectuals helped oversee the writing of the new structures of the pan-European projects. It is thus no exaggeration to say that – coming after the so-called “end of history” and Liberalism’s alleged total victory following the fall of the USSR – the Eurogroup has achieved the American dream of total deregulation even more than in America.

For the Eurogroup to become remotely democratic and not autocratic/oligarchic a Eurozone constitution would have to be created, an executive would seem useful, a legislative branch would be indispensable and approval power over national budgets would seem necessary. Only the last is already in existence, but why would they add any Liberal or Socialist Democracy to this Bankocracy? Answer: they never will create this in any sort of equitable format.

Such facts make it clear why the Eurogroup cannot be considered compatible with democracy, and thus cannot be supported. One might support creating a new Eurozone or changes to the Eurozone structure, but supporting the current Eurozone is simply indefensible. The European corollary to the post-1991 dictum of TINA (There Is No Alternative (to imperialism and liberalism)) is that there is no alternative permitted to this version of a pan-European project.

Because change is impossible the elites’ goal is thus forced ignorance and silence, and when that fails, deflection: “To believe that Europe’s problem was debt. Not the architectural design of the Eurozone. Not its unenforceable rules. But debt. Debt was never Europe’s problem. It was a symptom of an awful institutional design,” wrote Varoufakis.

From 1999 until 2007 it’s said that the Eurozone had a short period of success in redistributing wealth. This is based on the fact that rich Eurozone countries decided to loan to their Eurozone brethren in poorer countries. As is always the case in capitalist countries, and as was seen in previous recessions, and as is evidenced in the history of countless Western Third World client states – once economic troubles hit these loans were called in and could no longer be repaid, creating even more crisis.

Liberalism fully restored for the third time – exact same result: immediate failure

The 2009 European Sovereign Debt Crisis will go down in history as the time when the EU both started working and then immediately started dying. The response to the crisis by Brussels and the newly rammed-through governmental structures made clear that the economic solidarity which would be required of richer nations to make “more Europe” work simply does not exist.

The parallel of its literally-immediate democratic discrediting with France’s 2nd Republic should be striking to all readers of this book, and should remind that Western Liberal Democracy has only produced failure. This is especially true when the outlet of imperialist war is not an option for this structure – France’s 3rd Republic (when Liberalism was re-imposed) took advantage of this option to the maximum, as the 3rd Republic’s imperial empire was one of history’s most expansive.

As the European Sovereign Debt Crisis turned into the Age of Austerity Europe’s richer nations got what they wanted from weaker Eurozone countries – ports, airports, water departments, laws favouring their own industries against local industries, etc. They did this all while claiming that Western Liberal Democracy was so much more just than any ideological competitors!

Pro-capitalist American media may be persuaded by the German accusation of profligate smaller countries, but most of Europe saw the democratic will of nation after nation get strangled until their national politicians surrendered. Around the continent (and the UK) many realised that the EU and Eurozone was sucking the lifeblood of White locals the way White colonialists used to suck the lifeblood of Brown locals. Some understood that the forcing of the governments of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and other weak countries to assume the private debts of French and German banks was simply a repeat of what happened all over the 3rd World since the late 19th century – neo-imperialism was not just for Brown puppets anymore, but White puppets too.

2009 thus became the historical bookend to 1871’s siege of Paris, when the elite of France and Germany colluded to destroy the first flowering of Social Democracy and Socialist Democracy in the Paris Commune. French and German banks were the most leveraged in Greece; are the two biggest funders of the European Central Bank; were the most insistent that promises of borrowers to their bankers are sacrosanct while the promises of national politicians to their voters are not. The victory of the neoliberal and neo-imperial EU empire was thus fully imposed, and – amid the heat – Bismarck and Thiers looked up and smiled.

None of this was missed by the as yet unformed Yellow Vests.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: July 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

For the weekend: May 9th, The Real Story Behind D-Day (and current rumors)

May 06, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

On Trotsky in ‘Leon Trotsky on France’ in order to reclaim Trotsky from Trotskyists

May 02, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

Turning to Trotsky to help analyse the Yellow Vests is indispensable not because I am a Trotskyist but because Trotsky is the foremost socialist architect, describer and critic of the actual waging of political revolution.

(This is the seventh chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

In October 1917 Trotsky was elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, the revolutionary centre of Russia. He directed the organisation of the October Revolution’s uprising against the Provisional Government, which had followed after the monarchy’s toppling in the February Revolution. Trotsky knew what he was talking about, and perhaps more than anyone of his era he could accurately say what a revolutionary group needs to do to actually seize power.

The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism. He rejected making his name synonymous with the actual waging of progressive revolution, almost bewilderingly lamenting: “To reaction and its agents ‘Trotskyism’ is the international menace of the socialist revolution.”

The two are not and must not be synonymous. Trotsky would surely berate his 21st century adherents for the primary complaint leftists make against his followers: To modern Trotskyists it’s not “revolution” unless it’s “Trotskyism” and only “Trotskyism”.

The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism, it’s Trotskyists.

If Trotskyism used to be synonymous with revolution but it no longer is – which is certainly the case – then who should be blamed more than the followers who take his name? French presidential elections inevitably feature multiple Trotskyist candidates – they even cannot get along with each other, much less other leftists.

Trotsky is different from his modern followers in that he saw conditions in the 1930s as ripe for revolution – even overripe – and he was shocked that others couldn’t see that what he helped effectuate in Russia was actually possible elsewhere, and right then. From November 2018 until June 2019 the Yellow Vests undoubtedly agreed that conditions were – at a minimum – ripe for a major break with the mainstream practices of Western Liberal Democracy, and they were also shocked that French leftists couldn’t see that.

Yellow Vest: “We have to bring France to its knees, because that is all that our governments understand. We will block the entire economy for as long as it takes. The fight against capitalism is heating up around the world, so the Yellow Vests are not the only ones demanding huge changes.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

A big reason for their absence from the most revolutionary situation in France since 1968 is that today’s Trotskyists are so discredited that they wouldn’t have been welcomed by the Yellow Vests.

Today’s Trotskyists seemingly live in a state where it is perpetually September 1917 – they cannot possibly support the few global nations who have selfishly “jumped the gun” and taken power in their own country without the Trotskyists, and allegedly at the expense of the global revolution. If Trotskyists could realise that monarchy still plays a huge role in the world they would realise that living in a state where it is perpetually January 1917 would be far, far more useful in actually pushing socialism (and not just Trotskyism) forward.

What I will call Trotsky’s definition of a revolutionary country is concise and clear, and any country fulfilling these requirements obviously deserves the fullest support:

“Meanwhile the hypothetical government (Trotsky is referring to a Western Liberal Democratic government which actually stood up to fascism) would give nothing either to the workers or to the petty-bourgeois masses because it would be unable to attack the foundations of private property; and without expropriation of the banks, the great commercial enterprises, the key branches of industry and transport, without a foreign trade monopoly, and without a series of other profound measures, there is no possible way of coming of the aid of the peasant, the artisan, the petty merchant.”

Above is the most basic condition for socialist-inspired revolution on behalf of the people, and yet Trotskyists all over France and the West perpetually condemn any country which has made this critical first step on the road to citizen empowerment. Please note that Iran has not given up the Iranian people’s control over all the “profound measures” listed above. Please also note that today’s French Trotskyist groups usually incorrectly lump small merchants in with CEOs, instead of with the proletariat and farmers, while the Yellow Vests do not make that mistake.

Perhaps the most common word with Trotsky is “expropriation”. Without the expropriation of the private property of the 1% then there is no movement which can make any type of socialism – or the barest amount of Socialist Democracy – possible.

This definition is so useful because it illustrates how the establishment of banking power fits into the economic history of Europe since 1492. With the start of Western Liberal Democracy in 1848 and the establishment of France’s 2nd Republic all wealth joined together to “become bourgeois”: royal landed wealth, commercial & New World colonisation wealth, and industrial & Old World colonisation wealth (such as from Algeria beginning in 1830) had united their political forces in oligarchy. Their economic forces became united in the power of the modern bank. By the 1930s “the banks” of oligarchical Western Liberal Democracy had become first on the list of Trotsky’s opponents of progressive politics, and both the socialists and the fascists came to power by promising to gut their power. Fascists then joined with Western Liberal Democrats after World War II, with many of their key ideas becoming subsumed in Western Liberal Democracy just as the ideas of royalism have been subsumed in Western Liberal Democracy. One of the fascists’ ideas would be encapsulated in the structures of today’s pan-European project, as the coming chapters will illustrate: fascism’s alliance of autocratic political power with corporate/banking power.

Non-socialist readers may be alarmed by Trotsky’s phrase “attack the foundations of private property”, as though they alone had a trade monopoly, a key branch of any industry or a great commercial enterprise. Such persons simply like to fancy themselves budding bourgeois, and thus don’t want a ceiling to limit their all-but-certain rise, as bourgeois culture inculcates them to want to do. Giving the masses control of these key mega-economic entities – and not control over your home and the objects inside, nor your small business – is what modern socialism is, and it’s also what it takes to win stability, control and peace for the masses.

Today’s Trotskyists are not on the front lines, and they don’t support any serious fronts anywhere

Trotsky today would surely demand a redefinition of what “Trotskyism” is because for modern Trotskyists it apparently doesn’t include demanding control of the means of major production or armed anything. Trotskyism in the 21st century has become subsumed by Western Liberal Democracy because they now limit themselves to working within it, not against it.

More than any other aspect of his personal thought these remarks he made in 1935 when talking of France encapsulate what Trotsky was fundamentally all about:

This is why the most immediate of all demands must be for the expropriation of the capitalists and the nationalization (socialization) of the means of production. But is not this demand unrealizable under the rule of the bourgeoisie? Quite so! That is why we must seize power.” (emphasis his)

Any discussion cannot gloss over that point or this one below, which today’s Trotskyists certainly ignore, seeing as how they reject any country which has actually enacted socialist-inspired revolution and nationalisations, such as China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc.:

“How can one come to soviet (workers’ committees) power without an armed insurrection? How can one come to an insurrection without arming the workers? How can one defend oneself against fascism without arms? How can we achieve armament, even partial, without propaganda for this slogan?”

Trotskyist propaganda today is totally devoid of such propaganda, and this is even though Trotsky’s writing is full of denigration for peaceniks who refuse to fight for their rights. Such militarism is, of course, very different from a militarism which clamours for invasion:

The more successful the anti-militarist agitation becomes, the more rapid will be the growth of the fascist danger. Such is the actual and not fanciful dialectic of the struggle.” (emphasis his)

By the 1960s the Western left had adopted anti-militarism as an almost iron law. Such history-ignoring nonsense translated into political nonsense which ultimately amounted to: reformism of the status quo at a snail’s pace and with the ephemeral quality of a flower’s existence. Western “Flower Power” didn’t change the social pyramid, and Trotsky would not have been surprised at the political impotence of switching away from anti-militarist agitation while trying to win socialist-inspired changes.

A fundamental question which must be posed is: Why did Trotskyists never come out in favor of arming the Yellow Vests for their own self-defense? Every one knows they were getting attacked every Saturday by police. If today’s Trotskyists are merely content to be tiny, ineffectual parties within Western Liberal Democracies, can’t they at least promote a defensive militarism to defend the mere rights of Liberalism, such as freedom of assembly? Surely this would be the bare minimum Trotsky would have promoted as regards to the Yellow Vests.

This is a question which requires far more reflection because it strikes at the hypocritical heart of Western Liberal Democracy, which is truly more accurately called “Western Liberal Autocracy”. The Yellow Vests show how the West refuses to accept even the barest Liberal Democratic rights of 1789, and in addition to rejecting all the egalitarian measure promoted by Socialist Democracy. It will be discussed in the chapter What the Yellow Vests can be: a force which can protect Liberalism’s rights, at least.

A perfect time for France’s Trotskyists to provide defensive assistance was during the Yellow Vests attempted establishment of a permanent camp near the Eiffel Tower in March 2019. Of course, they also needed defensive help every Saturday for months, as well.

The primary propaganda organ of Trotskyism – the World Socialist Web Site – never made such calls to action even though they are based in the United States and thus out of the reach of French intimidation and repression! The WSWS did correctly stress the need of the Yellow Vests to remain apart from the totally-discredited political establishment, such as parties and unions, (though this point was already non-negotiable to the Yellow Vests) but only to finally insist that they needed to be led by the political perspective of a Trotskyist vanguard provided by the International Committee of the Fourth International. Reject everyone else but me – it’s typical modern Trotskyism.

Trotsky would have disavowed his namesakes for failing to seize the once-in-century moment provided by the Yellow Vests, and this is proven by his own writings.

For example, in 1936 Trotsky appeared to be apoplectic with France’s leftists: 1.5 million out of 10 million French people voted communist and – to a guy who made a revolution with much less – that should have been enough to make a revolution in France.

“When one and a half million voters cast their ballots for the Communists, the majority of them mean to say thereby: ‘We want you to do the same thing in France that the Russian Bolsheviks did in their country in October 1917.’”

In the West the Yellow Vests are the first popular political force operating on essentially socialist-inspired ideas since 1936. They are the first political force willing to operate under repressive and hotly-debated conditions since 1936. They are the first French progressive political force to have even more popular support than the combined leftists did in 1936: polls showed the Yellow Vests as having 75% approval rating and always – even after so much propaganda and repression – as having a majority approval rating in a country where such popularity is considered unachievable.

In 1936 Trotsky dismissed the vote results for not only the Radicals (it’s a misleading name – they were “Reformists” of Western Liberal Democracy) but the further left Socialists as well: he didn’t care about their score because they were not a working class party in composition or policy like the Communists were. The Yellow Vests are working class in composition and policy, but where were/are the Trotskyists? The Yellow Vests’ fault was not being openly Trotskyist, obviously.

Trotsky would diagnose the problem today as one of poor leadership, which was his most common refrain. However, the worst leadership among Western leftists is among the Trotskyists because they clearly do not even champion the essentials of Trotskyist thought.

Yellow Vest: “So many of these types have been bought off by Macron and are happy to stay in his pocket. Pensioners, the jobless and public workers have been marching for seven months and our so-called intellectuals spit on us! We are getting beaten and gassed, and they criticise us!”

In 2022 I believe Trotsky would have backed countries like Iran because of to whom he pointed his vast criticism when discussing France: the proponents of Western Liberal Democratic measures, and those who seek appeasement via measures which fall short of expropriation. From the multiple French Trotskyist parties to the US-based WSWS they spent more time boosting their own parties than the Yellow Vests, which is to say that they are totally committed to working within the framework of Western Liberal Democracy.

Western Trotskyists are not revolutionary – they are waiting for that laughable “hypothetical government” which Trotsky himself noted would fail even if ever installed, and he was proven right by the failure of France’s 1936 Popular Front, as the previous chapter discussed. Marxist-inspired analysis of history make it clear that the Western Liberal Democratic framework will never create permanent programs which guarantee a permanent redistribution of political power and wealth which aims at boosting the lower and middle classes – not in wartime, pandemic-time or any other hypothetical time.

The absurd contradictions and hypocrisies of the modern Trotskyist movement pale so enormously when held up with the actual achievements of Stalinist-inspired (i.e. USSR-inspired) movements which Trotsky famously rejected.

We should not blame heroic and committed Leon!

We should wrest him away from today’s declared Trotskyists, as they refuse to actually put into practice his ideas while claiming his mantle, and we should redefine Trotskyism to describe more accurately what his necessary contributions were to leftism.

Trotskyism: A line of socialist thought which emphasised the need of a politically-advanced vanguard party to encourage taking power, while always remaining in dialogue with the masses, by force from Western Liberal Democracy in order to expropriate their political power and economic wealth for the benefit of the masses.

The above definition retains Trotsky’s beloved notion of a vanguard party, but it can clearly include Cuba, China, Iran, Hezbollah and others – this is how Trotsky can be wrested from Trotskyists. Trotsky didn’t want his name becoming synonymous with socialist revolution, but he sure wouldn’t want it affiliated with today’s totally unTrotskyist Trotskyists!

As with Napoleon Bonaparte, the well-being and understanding which socialist analysis has to offer insists on the political rehabilitation of a person whose adherents have distorted and disgraced him. The revolution does not have to eat its young, as counter-revolutionaries insist. By first fully dispatching the oldest enemy of Socialist Democracy – the autocratic oligarchy embodied by monarchy, whose ideals have been subsumed by Western Liberal Democracy – we will first clear the way to end arrogant imperialism and elitism, and indispensable first step towards demanding socialism at home.

But we should wrest Trotsky not just from the adulation which he himself opposed but also from Trotsky himself. Consider the perspective of W.E.B. Dubois, certainly the greatest African-American political writer of his era and maybe ever:

“He (Stalin) early saw through the flamboyance and exhibitionism of Trotsky, who fooled the world, and especially America. The whole ill-bred and insulting attitude of Liberals in the U.S. today began with our naive acceptance of Trotsky’s magnificent lying propaganda, which he carried around the world. Against it, Stalin stood like a rock and moved neither right nor left, as he continued to advance toward a real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered.”

Trotsky believed that Stalin had no sincere care for the working class, only for the “bureaucracy” – that’s false. The Trotskyist blame towards Stalinism for abandoning the Western workers/leftism totally ignores his and the USSR’s decades of leftist agitation, as the previous chapter detailed. The blame goes towards the forces of just-ended autocracy and the oligarchy of Western Liberal Democracy, not fellow communists and socialists.

In his consternation that others were not as ardently revolutionary Trotsky rejected the comparatively minor intra-socialist compromises which allowed for a continuing “advance towards a real socialism”, even if only in one country at a time. Trotsky’s war on the USSR – on “Stalinism” – is often viewed as a betrayal of the socialist movement, and today’s Trotskyists make this same mistake as regards to China, Iran, Venezuela and – if they progressed further – probably the Yellow Vests, too.

What socialism cannot lose from Trotsky is the idea that armed revolution is the only path to an actual revolution in the aristocratic elite’s property holdings – what it can lose is “flamboyance”, “exhibitionism”, acting as though one is “ill-bred” and being “insulting”. Trotskyism seduced the individualist West in large part because both over-rely on the individual singularity of a vanguard party. There is an anti-democracy inherent in Trotsky’s most constant complaint – the poor leadership of the leftist movement – as though if only Trotsky were still in charge, then all of Europe would be socialist today. The disregard of Trotsky’s primary ideas has led to a situation where the far-left on the Western political spectrum has comported itself with the faux-noble airs of the far-right, i.e. aristocrats, which Trotsky himself was accused of.

I have presented a balanced view of Leon Trotsky here because a history of leftist movements is not possible without Trotsky, but a leftist history where Marx, Engels and Trotsky are the only leftists is an ineffectual and distorting absurdity. A history where Napoleon Bonaparte is not a leftist, where the 1848 Revolutions were not the Counter-Revolutions of 1848, where the rise of fascism is both socialism’s fault and yet has nothing to do with socialism, where the Yellow Vests are not French leftism reborn, etc., are ineffectual and distorting absurdities.

Both those extreme views are dangerous because the parallels between France today and the 1930s is of vital importance, and thus recalling Trotsky’s assessments of France provides us with the wealth of parallels which are necessary to make in order to show how the problems of Western Liberal Democracy today are unchanged since 90 years ago, just as re-reading Marx reminds us the problems are unchanged since 170 years ago.

Trotsky’s failure to see Western Liberal Democracy as unable to subsume the ideals of fascism

Trotsky has so much right – above all, his refusal to concede anything to Western Liberal Democracy – but let’s focus on the few things he got quite wrong.

Trotsky’s writings unmistakably reveal that he really thought Western Liberal Democracy/parliamentarianism/free marketism was truly dead. To Trotsky the only fight remaining was against fascism. It’s a mistake many leftists have made since 1850 – incorrectly assuming that Western Liberal Democracy is dead.

Apparently Trotsky thought fascism really was a “third way” – it was neither autocratic Western Liberal Democracy nor Socialist Democracy – but in the 1930s no non-Westerner would agree that jingoism, racism, authoritarianism and the myriad petty dictatorships of their leader class is something which only came to the fore in the West during their fascist era of the 1930s? Of course, they had been experiencing it in their own colonised countries! To non-Westerners the oligarchy of monarchism, Western Liberal Democracy and fascism is distinguished only in style and not function.

The lack of emphasis on the socio-cultural effects of industrial-era imperialism caused Trotsky to underestimate the jingoism, racism, social and economic regimentation, oppression of dissent and “dictatorship of the leader class” (i.e. the five features of the commonly-accepted definition of fascism) in Western Liberal Democracy, and to falsely assume these were only attributes of fascism.

Another problem may have been that socialists in the 1930s were aghast that fascists were using Marxist tools to accurately critique Western Liberal Democracy – this unneeded concern was discussed in the previous chapter. Today we see that socialists should have been lumping fascism and Western liberal democracy in the same boat, and some did. Stalin correctly said that fascism and Social Democracy (i.e. reformists of Western Liberal Democracy) were twins, and we are now correct to say that fascism, Social Democracy and Western Liberal Democracy are triplets.

It’s no facile exaggeration – all three of these political schools of thought clearly united themselves after World War II against Socialist Democracy. The squabble between fascism and Western Liberal Democracy was even more short lived than the squabble between the houses of Bourbon and Orleans! All the rich factions of 1848 France famously “became bourgeois”, per Marx, to unite in the new “Party of Order”, just as fascism and liberalism unites in contemporary Western Liberal Democracy.

Western Liberal Democracy survives because of its ability to unite in adapting its right-wing solutions – its brutal version of class warfare – and in contrast with the left’s inability to unite while operating out Western Liberal Democrats. They are much more effective at class warfare in large part because they have so many fewer people to organise/collude.

What Western Liberal Democracy took from fascism is that economic planning must be limited to the military, its obsession with security and its emphasis on xenophobia in order to distract from open discussion of its obvious pro-aristocratic class warfare. The two ideologies already agreed on anti-socialism, competition (one largely fixed at the beginning) and elitism, which are also three long-time beliefs of autocracy and oligarchy. The only real squabble was between choosing a cosmopolitan globalist elite, dominated by new money, or a sovereign national elite, dominated by old money.

Proof that Trotsky didn’t understand the existing similarities between Western Liberal Democracy and fascism is encapsulated in his complaint about Stalinist/Comintern communism in 1936. I think every reader will be shocked at either his naiveté or his impossible demands upon the USSR: “If the Soviet trade unions had given a timely example by boycotting Italy (for invading Ethiopia), the movement would, like a prairie fire, have inevitably embraced all of Europe and the whole world, and at once become menacing to the imperialists of all countries.”

The entire world was going to get set alight over Ethiopia, really?

Again, we cannot blame Leon: he is truly personally alight over the invasion of Ethiopia. But Trotsky is a progressive humanitarian and politically-active person – nobody else really cared about Ethiopia. Today neither Palestine, nor chemical weapons used against Iranians in the 1980s, nor the starvation of Yemen, nor any other blatant Western imperialist violence is setting the world alight. As the incredibly hypocritical double-standards regrading the 2022 refugees from Ukraine proves – the West only cares about White people, and even then only when either useful or of the proper class.

From 1789 to 2022 non-Europeans see the same racism, deadly abuse of power and privilege, haughty disregard and disinterest, and closed opportunities in both Western Liberal Democracy and fascism. Trotsky goes on to complain, as usual, that this is a proof of failure in revolutionary leadership – but the leaders are not the problem but the people: the good people of the West have been governed by Western Liberal Democracy for too long, and thus by it’s false, elitist, over-competitive and bigoted precepts.

Trotsky also failed to foresee the monarchical-like expansion of the 21st century Western executive branch (initially justified, as in 1830, by a need to dominate Muslims), which makes it even more similar to authoritarian fascism.

It was perhaps myopia – being too deeply within Western culture and too unexposed to the non-Western viewpoints of the colonised. A Third Worlder didn’t feel any real change in policy before, during or after the Western fascist era – the violence is less brutal in its cultural presentation, but the violence is still brutal. A Syrian heard about the victory over fascism in Europe on May 8,1945, but he certainly more deeply felt the shells which Charles de Gaulle dropped on him on May 29, in order to forestall any independence (freedom) movements. The French waged the Sétif and Guelma massacres in Algeria on V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day – May 8, 1945), and aided by the American army. How is this morally superior to Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia?

“Is it not too late? No, everything shows that it is not too late. In France there is no powerful fascist party. Indeed, in France there will not be an organisation as large as Hitler’s party even before the conquest of power: it is against the traditions and customs of the country.” That was not a Western Liberal Democrat talking about the West’s superior values – that was Trotsky in 1935, and he would quite soon be wrong about half the country, i.e. Vichy France.

Trotsky was especially wrong in the first part – how can a country occupying Algeria (making it “France”) not have a powerful fascist party? Is it not “fascism” because it’s happening to non-Europeans? He was also wrong in the second part: there is no fascist party in France, the UK and the US because their Western Liberal Democracies were already quite fascistic. The idea that their traditions are anti-fascist is nonsense to those they were currently colonising.

That quote is not Trotsky being racist, because of course he was not, but merely of Trotsky both succumbing to European ethnocentrism and to not realising that France’s traditions and customs were also filled with elitist, racist autocracy. The French Revolution was overthrown by European monarchs, Leon!

Trotsky was quite disproven, and almost a century later our goal is to explain why: He did not realise that France’s impressive but relatively minor experiences with social revolution have been drastically outweighed by the fascism inherent in the “traditions and customs” of monarchy and, after 1848, Western Liberal Democracy.

As coming chapters will demonstrate, the rights and redistributions won by the Western masses in the postwar period (1945-1975) have been under constant attack in the third restoration of Liberalism (1975-today) and thus serve as an exceptional era in the anti-worker history of Western liberal Democracy.

The idea that there has been neither revolution nor fascism is the trick of Western Liberal Democracy, which openly allied with fascism’s supporters against socialism immediately upon the cessation of WWII hostilities in order to fight Socialist Democracy around the world. It was absurd – Jim Crow-era United States assumed leadership of the “free world” while also being an Apartheid state – but imperialist Western Liberal Democracy controls the means, therefore they have the tools to employ and pay for the massive propaganda to uphold this idea.

How can Trotsky’s great leaders lead a leaderless movement?

What’s certain is that Trotsky would be somewhat at a loss with what to do with the leaderless Yellow Vests because he did not live in a leaderless time.

The Yellow Vests insist that they could not have sprouted successfully if they had acclaimed a leader precisely because all of France’s leadership (Trotskyists included) are so discredited. However, this did not preclude France’s Trotskyist parties nor the Trotskyist partisans in their several other prominent leftist parties from humbly, patiently and methodically forming a bond with the Yellow Vests. The problem is entirely in the domineering attitude of today’s Trotskyists.

Trotsky would have likely said this, and I am forced to agree: The Yellow Vests are a “pre-revolutionary movement” which will be routed.

They were definitely routed every Saturday, and they were a revolutionary movement in ideal, but they have not yet progressed to the actual waging of revolution, nor have they fully grasped that only a revolution away from Western Liberal Democracy can ever allow them to achieve their core demands.

The Yellow Vests are thus a harbinger of coming revolution, we can safely predict.

What the Yellow Vests are doing is creating political enlightenment at every rural roundabout, urban march and Facebook page, and Western Trotskyists must either get on board or declare that they are not in favor of Socialist Democracy but Western Liberal Democracy. If they continue to work more with Western Liberal Democracy than with the Yellow Vests then they are not Trotskyist, who wrote, and the emphasis is his: There can be no greater crime than coalition with the bourgeoisie in a period of socialist revolution,” and this is what they done so far during the Yellow Vest era.

Because they live in a leaderless times the Yellow Vests are the ones introducing clarity into the political consciousness of the struggling masses – I believe Trotsky would have called them the vanguard party of France today, and not France’s Communist or Trotskyist parties.

If the Vesters lack one thing it’s in fully knowing that, “Without a complete overturn in property relations – without concentration of the waning system, the basic branches of industry, and foreign trade in the hands of the state – there is no salvation for the petty bourgeoisie of the city and country.” There is no salvation because, again, the era of 1945-75 appears as a short anomaly compared the modern eras of 1848-1944 and 1976-2022 – the short era of Social Democracy in Europe was easily overturned.

The USSR, China and Iran overturned property relations, but this overturning is actually not among the Vesters’ demands, which were first made public in December 2018. Of course, many Yellow Vests knew that nationalisation is the only way, even if only instinctually.

Yellow Vest: “How Macron has handled these privatisations reveals exactly what we have been denouncing since the start. How can Macron sell off our national inheritance without even consulting the opinion of the people? This is exactly why we are demanding regular citizen referendums. Why are we selling something like the airport of Paris now, when it will certainly be worth much more in the years to come, and especially if we invest some money into it? Despite what the government is saying, we are losing money with this sale, and with other privatisations.”

In their bones and in their deeds the heroic Yellow Vests are revolutionary – it’s the fault of other Western leftists to not have joined them, and to have feared joining them starting after the incredible police brutality and intimidation on May Day 2019.

The Yellow Vests suffer from a similar defect as Trotsky did: without a disciplined bureaucracy there is no way to institute the practical demands of the revolutionary masses. Trotskyism refused to support just such a bureaucracy in the USSR, and for that people like DuBois admired Stalin, the USSR and “real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered” – the “sham” being revolution without a bureaucracy to install or preserve it.

Trotsky and his scourge of bureaucratism is similar to the Yellow Vests insistence on being a leaderless movement which also makes a boogeyman of establishing a formal bureaucracy. The fault in both is that they think everyone is as politically advanced and committed as they are when they are not – they are vanguards.

Make no mistake, the Yellow Vest movement was ultimately not checked by poor leadership or a disdain for disciplined bureaucracy but by total war against it. Had this war been waged by a President Marine Le Pen it would have been called “fascist”, but because it was waged by a President Emmanuel Macron it was whitewashed. This absurdity can be easily recognised by seeing that Western Liberal Democracy is fascism, has allied with fascists for nearly a century, has subsumed key tenets of fascism into contemporary liberal democracy – is fascism.

Trotsky really thought “imperialist democracy” and “parliamentary democracy” was totally discredited and smashed for good in 1939 – it was not.

It is ultimately most accurate to say that Trotsky correctly saw, but did not correctly describe, that Western Liberal Democracy and fascism were interchangeable and needed to be discredited and smashed for good – why don’t you see this?

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: July 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Aux armes, citoyens: dissecting the stage-managed French elections

April 27, 2022

Macron’s second presidency was as calculatingly managed by France’s liberal elite as his first. As the country’s economic and geographic schisms widen further, yesterday’s Yellow Vest protests will seem like a tea party by comparison.

Emmanuel Macron now has a second term, courtesy of France’s urban elites. But the magnitude of the problems he faces, both domestic and external, will ensure indefinite strife in the country. Photo Credit: The Cradle

Macron’s second presidency was as calculatingly managed by France’s liberal elite as his first. As the country’s economic and geographic schisms widen further, yesterday’s Yellow Vest protests will seem like a tea party by comparison.

The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar,  

In the end, it happened exactly like the French establishment designed it. I called it last December in a column here at The Cradle.

These are the essentials: Certified Arabophobe Eric Zemmour, who is of Algerian origin, was manufactured by key establishment players of the Institut Montaigne variety to cut off the populist right-wing candidacy of Marine Le Pen. In the end, Zemmour’s electoral performance was dismal, as expected. Yet another candidate pulled off a miracle intervention and was even more useful: ambitious egomaniac opportunist and so-called progressive Jean-Luc Melenchon.

‘Le Petit Roi’ Emmanuel Macron generates less than zero empathy across France. That explains the huge voter abstention of 28 percent in the second round of votes.

The numbers tell the story: There are 48,803,175 French citizens registered to vote. Macron got 18,779,809 votes. Marine Le Pen got 13,297,728 votes. Yet the most eyebrow-raising performance was by the Abstention/Nullified/Blank candidate: 16,674,963 votes.

So the president of France was re-elected by 38.5 percent of voters while the real second place, Absention/Nullified/Blank got 34.2 percent.

That implies that roughly 42 percent of registered French voters bothered to hit the polls basically to bar Le Pen: a brand that remains toxic in vast swathes of urban France – yet hardly as much as before – and even with the whole weight of oligarchic mainstream media engaged in Two Minute Hate campaign mode. The five oligarchies who run the so-called ‘audiovisual landscape’ (PAF, according to the French acronym) of campaign messaging are all Macronists.

Madam Guillotine meets the working classes

Who, in fact, is this illusionist Petit Roi that qualifies at best as a messenger of transnational plutocracy?

From the bowels of the system, arguably the sharpest verdict comes from Mathieu Pigasse, informally referred to in Paris as “the punk banker” because of his infatuation with the British punk-rock band The Clash.

When Macron was a mergers & acquisitions banker at Rothschild & Company, Pigasse was working for the opposition, Lazard Freres. It was Macron who convinced Nestlé’s interests to be handled by Rothschild, while Pigasse was representing Danone.

Pigasse also happens to be one of the major shareholders of Le Monde – which used to be a great newspaper up to the 1980s and now is a shallow carbon copy of the New York Times. Le Monde is Macronist to the core.

Pigasse defines Macron as “the purest product of French elitism, in terms of the Parisian microcosm.” Although Macron is a provinciale from Amiens, he perfectly fit into the Parisian beau monde, which is in itself a quite rarefied, and yes, equally provincial universe, like a village where everyone ‘that matters’ knows everyone.

Pigasse also identifies the establishment characters who invented Macron and placed him at the top of the pyramid – ranging from avowed eugenicist Jacques Attali to Serge Weinberg (ex-CEO of Sanofi), Francois Roussely (ex-president of EDF) and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, a former minister under disgraced former President Nicolas Sarkozy and then number two at the Elysée Palace under the supremely incompetent Francois Hollande.

Attali, incidentally, describes Macronism as a “pro-European modernization, engaged, liberal and optimist. That corresponds to a center-right of modern France” – and then Attali himself gives away the game – “which is not necessarily the whole of France.”

“Not necessarily the whole of France” in fact means the majority of France, if one bothers to leave a few tony Paris arrondissements to talk to people in Pas-de-Calais, Bourgogne or the Var. This ‘real’ France identifies the “social market economy” extolled by Attali and promoted by Macron as a gigantic fake.

It would be too easy to paint the current national divide between, on one side, the elderly and the very young carrying a diploma, living in comfort; and on the other side, the 25 to 60 year olds, without higher education and barely making ends meet. That is, the working class masses.

It is more nuanced than that. Still, the two most important factors in this election are that close to one third of voters didn’t even bother to show up – or nullified their vote (even here in Paris). And that the gullible Melenchon horde handed it over to Le Petit Roi, assuming their leader will become a de facto ‘prime minister.’

The working classes will be literally exterminated throughout another five years of hardcore neoliberalism. France’s until recently stellar social welfare system will be decimated. Retirement age will be extended to 65 years old. Smaller pensions will be barely enough to live on. The super-wealthy will pay much lower taxes while the common worker will pay much higher ones. Education and healthcare will be privatized.

France will merrily catch up with the fast decaying casino capitalism of the US and UK. And don’t forget further travel restrictions and food and fuel shortages.

Islamophobia will not dissolve into a mellow woke rainbow. On the contrary: it will be instrumentalized as the perfect scapegoat for serial Macronist incompetence and corruption.

Meanwhile, in Azovstal…

If we add the spectacular performance of the Absention/Nullifed/Blank candidate plus people who didn’t even bother to vote, we have something like a silent majority of 30 million people who instinctively feels the whole system is rigged.

The winners, of course, are the usual suspects: the BlackRock/McKinsey/Great Reset/weapons industry/EuroNazicrat axis. McKinsey virtually run French government policy – bordering on fiscal fraud – a scandal corporate media did everything to bury. For his part, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, a very close ‘consultant’ of the Elysee Palace, must have popped a few extra bottles of Krug.

And then, there’s France as Great Power. Leader of great swathes of Africa (fresh from receiving a punch in the teeth from Mali); Leader of West Asia (ask the Syrians and Lebanese about it); Leader of the Great Resetting EU; And deeply embedded in the NATO war machine.

Which bring us to the top invisible story before this election, totally buried by corporate media. Yet Turkish intelligence picked it up. The Russians, for their part, have kept themselves deliciously mute, in their trademark ‘strategic ambiguity’ mode.

Denis Pushilin, the head of Donetsk People’s Republic, confirmed once again early this week there are roughly 400 foreign ‘instructors’ cum mercenaries – from NATO – huddling in the bowels of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, with no way out.

Turkish intel maintains that 50 of them are French, some of them high-ranking. That explains what has been established by several Russian sources – but not acknowledged at all by Paris: Macron has placed a flurry of frantic phone calls to Putin to set up a “humanitarian corridor” to extricate his valuable assets.

The measured Russian response has been – once again – trademark geopolitical judo. No “humanitarian corridor” for anyone in Azovstal, be it Azov neo-Nazis or their foreign NATO handlers, and no bombing them to oblivion. Let them starve – and in the end they will be forced to surrender.

Enter the still unconfirmed yet plausible Macron directive: no surrender by any means.  Because surrendering means giving Moscow on a silver plate a series of confessions and all the facts of an illegal, secret operation conducted by the ‘leader of Europe’ on behalf of neo-Nazis.

All bets are off when – and if – the full story breaks out in France. It might as well happen during the upcoming war crimes tribunal to be set up most probably in Donetsk.

Aux armes, citoyens? Well, they have five years down the road to hit the barricades. It may happen sooner than we think.

Macron re-election win no win for Iran, JCPOA or Muslims

April 27, 2022

Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2 on Twitter) is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. His new book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘ Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

The re-election of Emmanuel Macron is being celebrated by Brussels, high finance and his “bourgeois bloc” of core French supporters, but Macron’s record shows that Muslims and Muslim nations anticipate little reason to celebrate.

After Macron’s victory the Iranian foreign ministry called for face-to-face talks to resume on the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program “as soon as possible”. The talks were paused on March 11 due to the unrest in Ukraine, but Iranians would be mistaken to imagine that a second term of Macron will lead to less Western-dominated policies from him.

Just to show how far Macron is willing to go in order to defend the interests of Brussels and Washington, simply look at his position on Russia: He is completely on board with years of sanctions on Moscow no matter how badly they bankrupt the average French individual, household or business. His stance is designed to benefit supranational interests, not French ones.

In a race which was a dead heat two weeks ago Macron’s stance seemed like electoral suicide. Marine Le Pen took the opposite tack – she insisted that Russia sanctions not encompass energy imports nor negatively impact the average French voter.

It was even revealed just several days before the second round vote that Brussels was waiting for the French election to finish in order to announce a total ban on Russian energy imports. Mere days before the runoff France’s Foreign Minister was forced to admit that Macron was indeed in favor of such a ban. There was no hiding it: if French voters were voting with their pocketbooks Macron was going to cost them, and for years.

Macron was truly willing to lose his re-election in order to put Western globalist interests in front of France’s well-being.

However, in between the first and second rounds of voting any criticism of Macron’s policies or record in office was pathetically shouted down as “support for fascism”. Macron won a 58-42 victory, though the total masks the same problem as his 66-34 win in 2017: the obvious lack of a clear mandate for his proposals.

So if Macron is not going to stand up for France as regards to Russia, why would he do so for Iran?

His record on the JCPOA is already clear: five years of stalling, refusal to go against Washington and the clear failure to uphold France’s side of the deal.

Now that he’s re-elected the man who inspired the phrase “liberal strongman” will feel bolder, stronger and more willing to violently forge a tighter-knit Europe, not less willing. Untethered from re-election concerns the rabid Europhile Macron now has even less incentive to look out for the average person’s well-being. So no matter how much ending the sanction war on Iran would benefit France it must be understood that this is simply not a major factor in Macron’s political calculations.

Iran is forced to rely a lot on the French president to influence the West. Macron’s role has been to play the “good cop” to the “bad cop” of Washington and London, who are unable to conceal their anger for Iranian Islamic revolutionaries. Berlin silently holds its purse while Brussels insists that their pragmatic politicians are always just on the cusp of finding a solution to all things – of course they never have. The other JCPOA signatories – China and Russia – are not the problem to finding diplomatic solutions, of course.

Like with Donald Trump, nobody is really sure what Marine Le Pen would actually do if she ever took office, but at least there was hope that there could, maybe, possibly, perhaps be a voice in Paris for sovereign rights and mutually-beneficial cooperation. But the idea that Macron is going to turn into Charles De Gaulle and stand up to Washington and London is worse than wishful thinking. It’s definitely not based on his record, ideology or stated desires.

So don’t be surprised if Macron starts his second term with strong demands on Tehran.

The question is: how long will Iran put up with even more waiting for the West to fulfil their side of the JCPOA? Macron probably doesn’t realise that patience across all of Iran wore out at the end of February. If Macron thinks he can engage in his usual ineffectual diplomacy for another year before he has to get serious, he’d be quite wrong – Iran’s patience with the JCPOA is at an end.

Unlike with the US in 2020 there was no change in power so there’s no justifiable reason for any delays. Macron better get to Vienna immediately or his record thus far on the JCOPA will become etched in stone: failure.

Macron has been the most pro-Zionist French president in recent memory. He passed a bill which falsely and shamefully equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, something which epitomises the lack of intellectual rigour and duplicity in Macronian politics. The former Rothschild banker has been routinely described as out of his depth in international affairs, and he has always relied on more experienced advisors. He shuttles diplomatically because that’s the longtime role of Paris in Western international affairs – Macron, who married his high school drama teacher, is playing his assigned role.

Domestically, Macron has done things which Marine Le Pen would simply have never gotten away with. A stunning (but rarely reported) fact is that Macron’s government ministers openly criticised Le Pen for being “soft on Islam”. That was from the right-wing of Macron’s government – the less reactionary members of his cabinet regularly railed against the alleged perils of “Islamo-leftism”. Macron is against any leftism, of course.

Macron immediately took Francois Hollande’s multiyear state of emergency and legalised it, with Muslims the clear targets.

How did that affect Islamophobia in France? I can’t tell you, because in 2020 Macron forced the French Collective Against Islamophobia, an essential NGO for the nation, into exile in Belgium.

His so-called “anti-separatist law” of 2021 tried to ban the hijab for minors, and yet Macron hypocritically scored international points by opposing Le Pen’s proposed (and unenforceable) ban on the hijab in public spaces. I argue (and not at all to defend a Marine Le Pen who has gotten even worse than in 2017) that Le Pen had to go to these absurd lengths simply to appear as the more anti-Islam candidate opposite the extremely Islamophobic Emmanuel Macron.

But this is the first week of Macron’s second term – if we can’t be optimistic now, when can we be?

France’s ‘robust’ ties with “Israel” keep Georges Abdallah in prison

April 25 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Ahmad Karakira 

The French government claims it respects human rights and condemns the Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories, yet it shakes hands with “Israel”, turning a blind eye to all its crimes.

France’s ‘robust’ ties with “Israel” keep Georges Abdallah in prison

Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron is elected President for a second term, winning 58% of the voter turnout.

Macron and his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen had led the polls during the first round of the French presidential elections with a slight lead for Macron, who won 28.1-29.7%, around 5% more than Le Pen’s 23.3-24.7%.

The other candidates, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Eric Zemmour, Valerie Pecresse, and Yannick Jadot received 20.1%, 7.2%, 5%, and 4.4%, respectively.

The President has garnered support from several opponents, mainly left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came in third place and called on his supporters and the French public to pivot away from the extremist.

“We know who we will never vote for… Not a single vote must go to Mrs. Le Pen,” Melenchon said at his party headquarters in Paris, though he did not explicitly ask his supporters to back the incumbent President.

Another boost for the President also came from his other opponents. Communist Party candidate Fabien Roussel, Socialist Anne Hidalgo, Yannick Jadot of the Greens, and right-wing Republican candidate Valerie Pecresse said they would vote for him to prevent the far-right leader from coming to power.

Only fellow far-right candidate Eric Zemmour urged his supporters to vote for Marine Le Pen on April 24.

“I don’t make a mistake over who my opponents are. I call on my voters to vote for Marine Le Pen,” Zemmour told supporters following his elimination from the electoral race.

In parallel to the presidential election battle between Macron and Le Pen, the main question remains: What will the results hold for Palestine in light of the strong French-Israeli relations?

“Robust” relationship with “Israel”

France was one of the very first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Israeli occupation on May 11, 1949.

The French Foreign Ministry brags on its website that Paris has established a “robust” relationship with “Israel”, “marked by constant commitment to its existence and security” and contribution to its military power.

Along with “Israel” and Britain, France attacked Egypt in October 1956 in what was called the Tripartite Aggression against Egypt after then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

But following the Six-Day War on Egypt in 1967, which saw “Israel” occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights, France adopted the United Nations Resolution 242 that calls on “Israel” to withdraw “from territories occupied.”

Ever since, France’s official policy is a combination of supporting the Israeli occupation’s so-called “right to exist and right to security,” supporting the two-state solution, and allegedly condemning “Israel’s” unlawful and illegal policy of settlement-building in occupied Palestinian territories.

The French Ministry of Foreign considers that “the annexation of Palestinian territories, whatever the scope, would be a violation of international law, and particularly the prohibition of acquisition of territories by force.”

According to the Ministry, the annexation of Palestinian territories “would aggravate tensions and seriously compromise the two-state solution, and would be contrary to the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Europeans and the wider the international community.”

It also claimed that annexation “could not go unanswered or be without consequence for the EU’s relations with Israel.”

Despite France’s claims of respecting international law, during the May 2021 Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, French Interior Minister, Gerald Darminin, announced a ban on protests in solidarity with Palestine.

The Paris police also issued a decree deeming such demonstrations illegal, claiming that they could lead to “risky elements aimed at provoking violent confrontations with the police.” 

In addition, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed during a phone call on May 14 with then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his “unwavering attachment” to “Israel’s” security and condemned the Palestinian Resistance.

Economic collaboration

According to the French Ministry of Foreign, “The bilateral relationship between France and Israel is also supported by the presence in Israel of a large French community (150,000 people), while France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish community.”

France is “Israel’s” 12th largest supplier and 10th largest customer.

In 2017, approximately 100 French companies established themselves in “Israel”, creating 5,530 jobs and generating an estimated €534 million in revenue.

According to Bank of France data, the stock of French foreign direct investment (FDI) in “Israel” reached €2.9 billion at the end of 2017, representing a 6% annual increase since 2012.

Scientific & technical cooperation

France is “Israel’s” fifth-largest scientific and technological research partner. Academic collaboration, including the joint laboratory of INSERM Nice and the Technion-“Israel” Institute of Technology in Haifa, and the exchange of young researchers underpin this collaboration.

The French-Israeli High Council for Research and Scientific and Technological Cooperation has ensured this cooperation since 2003.

Secret military agreements

A research article called France and the Israeli occupation: talking the talk, but not walking the walk? revealed that “in the 1950s, France was the main supplier of military equipment to Israel through a number of secret deals that included aircraft, tanks, and ammunition.”

“It also played a crucial role in Israel’s acquisition of nuclear capabilities through the provision of know-how, material and technology,” the article added.

“In a secret agreement signed in 1956, France committed to helping Israel build a nuclear reactor and to providing uranium,” the research article mentioned.

In the same context, US military historian Warner Farr had highlighted that “cooperation was so close that Israel worked with France on the pre-production design of early Mirage jet aircraft, designed to be capable of delivering nuclear bombs.”

Farr revealed that “French experts secretly built the Israel reactor underground at Dimona, in the Negev (Naqab) desert… Hundreds of French engineers and technicians filled Beersheba (Beer Al-Sabe), the biggest town in the Negev (Naqab).”  

Longest-serving political prisoner in Europe

When mentioning the strong ties linking France with the Israeli occupation, we can’t but shed light on the just cause of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, former leader of the Marxist-Leninist Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions (LARF). Abdallah is accused of establishing the LARF.

Georges Abdallah at the heart of the French presidential elections

The LARF fought to stop the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and targeted several senior US and Israeli figures involved in the war. All the LARF members were released except for Abdallah.

The Factions have also claimed responsibility for the operations in response to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Abdallah has been imprisoned in southwestern France since 1984, despite completing the minimum term of his sentence in 1999.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for his alleged involvement in the 1982 killing of US military attaché Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yakov Barsimentov in Paris, as well as in an assassination attempt on Robert O. Homme, a US consul in Strasbourg. 

The revolutionary never responded to the list of accusations and considered that the French judicial system is “despicably” taking the resistance action out of context.

It had been possible to release Abdallah in 1999, but French authorities denied his nine parole requests.

In November 2003, the entity that grants parole in the city of Pau – where Abdallah is detained – gave the green light to one of Abdallah’s release requests. 

Why hasn’t he been released yet?

However, then-French Minister of Justice Dominique Perben appealed the decision, describing the case as “extremely serious”, which kept Abdallah in prison, and his file was transferred to another court.

Abdallah’s May 2009 request for release on parole was rejected by a Paris appeals court that claimed the prisoner was “a resolute and pitiless militant” who might resume his “combat” again in Lebanon, citing a 2008 French law.

A Paris judge approved Abdallah’s release on Thursday, January 10, 2013, and set the date of his extradition to Beirut on Monday, January 14.

However, the decision was delayed due to a government appeal. White House Spokesperson Victoria Nuland at the time, had declared that the US – “Israel’s” biggest ally – was still discussing with the French government how to stop the decision.

A Wikileaks document about former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s leaked emails revealed that between January 10-14, she sent an email to former French Minister of Foreign Laurent Fabius, saying that “although the French Government has no legal authority to overturn the Court of Appeal’s January 10 decision, we hope French officials might find another basis to challenge the decision’s legality.”

In other words, the US ordered the French government to stomp over its legal system and over the principle of separation of powers.

Hillary Clinton’s email to French Minister of Foreign Laurent Fabius regarding Georges Abdallah

Abdallah’s lawyer, Jean-Louis Chalanset, told French media that the Lebanese authorities have repeatedly said they were ready to receive Georges Abdallah in Lebanon, where he is perceived as a political prisoner.

Chalanset said a decision to release the defendant would be political before being judicial. He believes that keeping him incarcerated is a “lack of courage” and “subservience” from Paris.

Over the years, leftist MPs and human rights organizations such as the Human Rights League (LDH) and even the French intelligence chief called for Abdallah’s release.

Melenchon supports Georges Abdallah

In relation to the French presidential election, leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has expressed, on many occasions, his solidarity with Georges Abdallah’s cause.

According to the Collective for the Liberation of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Mélenchon’s party – La France Insoumise (LFI) – regularly participates in the protests demanding the immediate release of the Lebanese revolutionary.

In parallel, Mélenchon’s campaign had said he is ready to back sanctions against the Israeli occupation over its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and its imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The leftist leader had pledged to cancel the so-called “Circulaire Alliot-Marie” French Ministry of Justice memorandum instructing prosecutors to crack down on BDS movement activists. On the other hand, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed in 2017 that “the French state condemns BDS and all boycotts.”

“I must be clear that this will continue if I am elected president,” he added during an interview with Beur FM radio.

How does Abdallah spend his time in detention?

In detention, Abdallah spends his time as a revolutionary political prisoner reading books and newspapers in five languages, writing political statements and analyses about imperialism, capitalism and colonialism, as well as replying to solidarity letters from across the world.

The Lebanese revolutionary exchanges letters with Palestinian prisoners and initiates hunger strikes in support of other prisoners, the latest of which was on April 16 in demand of the release of Sibel Balac and Gokhan Yildirim from Turkish prisons.

  • Georges Abdallah’s letter announcing a hunger strike in support of Sibel Balac and Gokhan Yildirim in Turkish prisons

His latest views

In France, Abdallah considers that popular revolts and movements of the popular masses like the Yellow Vests are partially challenging capitalism.

According to Tom Martin of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Solidarity Network, Samidoun, Abdallah sees with a good eye the unwavering resistance of the Palestinian people and the Lebanese people in the face of imperialism and Zionism. Nevertheless, he thinks that resistance organizations must intensify their actions and aim for a radical, clear anti-Zionism and anti-imperialist program.

In his only statement in regard to the war in Ukraine, Abdallah underlined the hypocrisy of the imperialist camp, notably by turning a blind eye to the presence of neo-Nazi Ukrainian battalions, while criminalizing pro-Palestinian movements.

He believes that the Ukrainian people are victims and that the solution to this crisis would only depend on their efforts that should be away from all imperialist forces.

Where the West is stuck: The fascism of the 1930s and the ‘fascism’ of the 2020s

April 23, 2022

Source

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

by Ramin Mazaheri

Starting in 1917 the same reactionary European nations which attacked in the 7 European Wars Against the French Revolution now transferred this same refusal to make peace with the Soviet Union. The problem has always been an idea – anti-autocracy, the idea from which Socialist Democracy flows (and the Yellow Vests) – not a particular nation.

(This is the seventh chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

There is a clear moment when France definitively handed over its longtime leadership of European progressive politics. It is not 1914, when, unlike the Soviet Bolsheviks, French socialists went along with World War I: it is the creation of the Popular Front (Front Populaire) following the death of 15 people in a right-wing riot in 1934. The idea that committed socialists must be united with everyone from fake-leftists to right-wingers in order to fight fascism proved to be a total catastrophe.

Yet this idea remains the policy of Western leftism today, and it is still producing catastrophes.

The European lesson of the 1930s is that the working and middle class handed power to the socialists and communists – who immediately gave power back to the bourgeois!

Ever since the Brexit vote against the neoliberal and neo-imperial European Union Western democracies are perpetually stuck in 1936: constantly warning of “fascism” and constantly producing failures as bad as the original Popular Front in France.

However, because there is a total misunderstanding of what “fascism” is it is critical for us to end the Western propaganda on the rise of Germanic National Socialism in order to properly understand European history then and now. It is “Germanic” and not just “German” because their adherents were from Austria, Hungary, Prussia and other longtime German language/culture areas.

Germanic National Socialism had something vital in common with socialism: a clear rejection of Western Liberal Democracy, which was first installed in France’s 2nd Republic of 1848. Without elucidating the common thread of post 1789 political history — that Western Liberal Democracy is an oligarchy which has been barely modified from autocracy – European history makes no sense in 1936 or after. We may as well say Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t a leftist revolutionary!

We move from the Paris Commune to 1936 because what occurred in 1936 was extremely similar: In February 1936 the electoral victory of a Popular Front coalition in Spain led to a legal take-over by socialists and anti-monarchists, only to see an international coalition of reactionaries arise to prop up the dictator General Francisco Franco and to foment civil and international war.

The Popular Front in France actually created the disastrous policy of “nonintervention” – the French left created it order to not intervene in the neighbouring Spanish Civil War. Nearly all of Europe signed up to diplomatically isolate and economically blockade the Spanish Republic. Indeed, Western Liberal Democracy wants to talk honestly about the Spanish Civil War as much as they want to they want to talk honestly the Paris Commune, 1848 or the 7 European Wars Against the French Revolution.

In May 1936 what would become the final elections of the French 3rd Republic were held. Amid the Great Depression the centre-left and left finally won control of the government, with 60% of the vote, and via campaigns expressly against the unprecedented power of the historically-new banking oligarchy. In July the Spanish Civil War began, and despite massive French support for the Republican leftists France’s allegedly left-wing government colluded with the British on the policy of non-intervention. Viewed from the new center of progressive politics – Moscow – the Popular Front’s non-intervention confirmed to the USSR that Western Europe was never going to have a socialist revolution; that such an idea had been a fool’s errand for over three decades; that Western Europe was going to side with fascism and go over to it, as Vichy France soon would. The USSR and Mexico would be the only nations to provide armed support to the Spanish Republic.

The Popular Front and Leon Blum, the first Socialist to be Prime Minister in France, would do a U-turn on the promised domestic reforms he was elected to implement. This is exactly what the Socialists François Mitterrand and François Hollande would do in 1983 and 2012, respectively. 1936 marks the point when Western leftists indisputably proved that they have abandoned Socialist Democracy in favor of Western Liberal Democracy – a fundamentally right-wing ideology rooted in monarchism, autocracy and oligarchy – and are thus right-wingers on the global political spectrum.

In April 1938 France’s Popular Front collapsed after failure in almost every sense. Its colossal disappointment after such huge progressive excitement caused massive disillusionment and directly led to the establishment of fascism in France two years later. The Popular Front provided the death knell for Western Liberal Democracy. Rather it should have, but by 1946 fascists, royalists and Western Liberal Democrats would – to steal a phrase from Marx regarding a similar melding for all classes of wealth in the 19th century – “become bourgeois”, i.e. all meld into one in order to stop Socialist Democracy.

This is where the West remains today.

They are totally against Socialist Democracy at home and abroad, and claiming Popular Fronts are needed to elect fake-leftist candidates who inevitably prove to be tools of long-running oligarchies.

In September 1938, now led by the Reformists (this is the most accurate term for the very misleadingly named “Radical Party” of France), the Munich Pact saw France stab the USSR in the back on the Franco-USSR pact of 1935, which stipulated joint military action against German belligerence. The Munich Betrayal, as it’s also known, saw France and the United Kingdom collude with fascist Germany and Italy to hand a huge chunk of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Instead of combatting Germany’s war on Czechoslovakia the Popular Front preferred “appeasement” with fascism.

The collusion would continue: France and the UK recognised Franco in February 1939, even though he held just two-thirds of the country and not Madrid. (The army Franco originally led to start the war was the Spanish Army of Africa, based in Morocco. Much like France with Algeria in 1848, we see the pernicious domestic political effects of Europe’s Old World imperialism once again.)

Because we have located the start of neoliberalism and European neo-imperialism with the Paris Commune we see how these collusions make sense: these are Western Liberal Democratic countries, thus run by an oligarchical elite, thus opposed to any socialist-inspired country. They will always wage war against socialistic ideas which oppose oligarchical Western liberalism which, thanks to the domination of the banker class by the start of the 20th century, is more “globalist” than inter-marrying monarchs ever were. Popular Fronts are inevitably proven to be useless – they are mere safety valves for genuine leftism.

By June 1939 national polls showed that 84% of Britain favored an Anglo-French-Soviet military alliance – Britain’s Western Liberal Democratic politicians had no choice but to give the appearance of an effort. After six weeks of negotiations it became clear to Moscow that Britain’s appallingly minor representations were not interested in any sort of alliance with Socialist Democracy.

Only two days after they left a German delegation arrived in Moscow and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (a non-aggression pact and not any sort of alliance) was concluded precisely because the USSR saw that Western Liberal Democracies would never allow peaceful relations with socialist-inspired systems. Just as the revolutionary Napoleon Bonaparte wasted time in a burnt-down Moscow trying to make peace with an autocrat who never wanted it, so the USSR wasted time trying to make peace with autocrats and oligarchs.

Yellow Vest: “What I want for Christmas is for the Yellow Vests to join France’s social movements to stop Macron’s neoliberalism. But it would be even better if the whole world would become Yellow Vests to stop the ravages of high finance and globalisation.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

Western leftists (mostly Trotskyists) howled that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a betrayal of leftist ideals. That’s a stunningly opportunistic and hollow claim, considering just how much France’s Popular Front and Western Liberal Democracies failed to defend Spain, and also how Western nations refused make peace with Moscow. Moscow had waited for 19 years for any other European country to turn socialist, but European progressive political thought was spent in Western Europe after 150 years.

Thus the USSR had given up, as it was clearly the eve of war. The Stalinists would certainly be proven right that fascism would sweep Germany, Austria, Spain and France – history clearly exonerates them, and indicts Western Liberal Democracy.

The USSR made a non-aggression pact with Germanic socialism because at the time so many assumed that fascism was going to fully replace totally discredited Western Liberal Democracies. That may seem hard to believe today, but the idea that Western Liberal Democracy was totally dead was a fundamental assumption of leftists, such as Trotsky.

It’s vital to understand this proper timeline of European history leading up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact because it is entirely in keeping with the overarching theme of European history since 1789: collusion by oligarchical elites to rule in autocratic fashion, and in order to suppress Socialist Democratic ideas.

Of course Western Liberal Democracy has always tried to obscure this history, and they still do: a resolution adopted by the European Union in 2019 stated that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact “paved the way for the outbreak of World War II”, in a shameful rewriting of history. I don’t expect the EU to pass resolutions for the 7 European Wars Against the French Revolution, the failed Revolutions of 1848 or the Paris Commune anytime soon….

The West’s elite is fighting for Western Liberal Democracy, and thus they do not permit honest discussion and honest critiques of Western Liberal DemocracyThis explains why there is no admission regarding the historical reality that Nazism and 1930s European fascism won power precisely because so many people grasped that Western Liberal Democracy was nothing but awful oligarchy.

Denying this historical reality is why Western politics has stopped making sense to the average Westerner: They simply cannot understand what fascism was, what it is, or how it arose – it arose via fascism’s successful, popular condemnation of Western Liberal Democracy.

The problem is that socialists don’t stress this point enough, in their nonsensical fear of being seen as colluding with fascism.

Knowing what ‘fascism’ truly is, and why socialists shouldn’t disavow it completely

Just as monarchy and feudalism was totally discredited to the average European by 1848, so Western Liberal Democracy and “debt feudalism/Bankocracy” was totally discredited by 1939.

This successful condemnation is why it’s simply inaccurate and absurd to say things like the “Nazis had no socialism”. To do so is tremendously counterproductive and simply false. Mussolini was the editor of Avanti!, the official voice of the Italian Socialist Party, and was once a leading Italian socialist. Socialists do not want to admit these things, but the failure caused by not explaining fascism’s relationship with socialism is that we cannot understand Western political history if we relinquish the incredibly necessary democratic criticism of Western Liberal Democracy and “Capitalism With Western Characteristics” as evidenced by fascism’s rise.

Hitler, reader of Marx, summed it up the initial similarities himself in 1922: Without his alleged “essential principle” – race – Nazism “would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground”.

However, instead of dispossessing a noble class via class politics he dispossessed races to creat a new noble class… and that is not really socialism, nor anything advocated in Marxism.

Why should socialists fear admitting the Marxism in Germanic socialism? If they do it’s probably because they seek the approval of Western Liberal Democrats. It’s clear that by including race – this is… not truly Marxism or socialism, but something different.

Or when Hitler rejected the class struggle, vital to socialism, by saying: “There are no such things as classes: They cannot be. Class means caste and caste means race.” Well, Nazism may include some Marxist analyses of political and economic historical development but this is… not really socialism, but something different.

Making an alliance with corporate powers, instead of appropriating from the greedy expropriators… this is not really socialism, either.

Choosing central guidance instead of central majority ownership… this is not really socialism.

Hitler was also the least internationalist politician you can think of – he totally rejected the internationalism of the class struggle and replaced it with a “community of the volk”. He only wanted to protect Teutonic citizens in his all-Germanic nation.

We can go on and on pointing out these differences.

But the rejection of Western Liberal Democracy – due to its decades of failures by an oligarchical, corrupt, plutocratic leadership barely different from 18th century monarchy – that actually is the same as socialism. The rejection of Western Liberal Democratic economics – due to the decades of failures by free market capitalism (i.e. the economic component of liberalism) – that is the same as socialism.

The Western Liberal Democrats of today simply do not want to talk about their often democratic rejection by people who feel its failures intimately.

Yellow Vest: “Our media have lost all credibility. Everything that you see on the mainstream media, and all of their reporters are under the boot of the government. For them the Yellow Vests don’t even exist anymore, on both the private and public stations.

So what was German National Socialism and Italian Fascism? It is socialism minus the hopeful egalitarianism and the internationalism, and replaced with pessimistic Darwinian elitism and racism. It’s a right-wing socialism whose only virtue is that it openly opposes the rich-are-smarter-and-should-rule ideology of Western Liberal Democracy, which opposed most of the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, won the counter-revolutions of 1848, laid the foundations of the neo-imperial European Union in 1871, colluded to create World War I in order to forestall socialist revolution and which was ruining society in the 1930s just as it does today.

But proponents of elites who rule through a Bankocracy don’t want people to understand that fascism and Germanic National Socialism came to power by opposing the domination of international high finance and liberalism (whether “neo-”, “ultra-” or sans-préfixe it’s all the same: free markets, unregulated capitalism, rights only for those who can afford it), which forever is ultimately cover for an autocratic oligarchy.

So it can’t be stressed enough: Socialism has nothing to fear from free, honest, patient examination of the Nazis’ relationship with socialism. What needs to be rectified is the total disavowal of fascism which excludes its criticisms of Western Liberal Democracy.

However, Western Liberal Democracy has much to fear regarding true discussions of their relationship with the Nazis. They, over and over, allied with fascism against socialism in the 1930s; they colluded with the surviving Nazis and fascists after 1945; they encouraged 3rd-generation Nazis in places like Ukraine in the 21st century. Thus since the 1930s fascism and Western Liberal Democracy has been cooperating for more often than they have been fighting.

Where does fascism fit in the course of European economic development since 1492?

The fascists ultimately came to power by claiming they were different in their economic aims than Western Liberal Democrats.

By the turn of the 20th century industrialisation was no longer a novelty but the defining economic force. Landed wealth, Old World colonisation wealth, sea-trading wealth and mid-late 19th century industrial-financial wealth had been melded together into a banker-dominated financial system in which – of course – old money was predominant. The new banking system they created controlled the means of production and usuriously owned the land on which serfs recently lived. This is a clear timeline of economic history – it is not hard to understand, nor is it eternal.

Fascists promised to expropriate the wealth now held in the stewardship of banks and to do it via a new class – that of the magistrate; of individualist political power.

The word “fascism” stems from “fasces”, which is a bundle of sticks wrapped together topped by an ax. It’s originally an Etruscan symbol which symbolised the power of – not the people wrapped together – the magistrate. What was the magistrate in Rome? He was a high-ranking officer with both executive and judicial powers. Whatever the wealth or justice which Roman magistrates allowed to “trickle-down” was entirely up to them. It was an elitist, 1%-centered system and fascism’s advance was (allegedly) making the 1% class open to competition (which they said begins in one’s DNA) and cutting out the longtime aristocracy and new bankers. We see this is exactly like in Western Liberal Democracy today, and we now see why these two forces have allied together. The seal of the United States Senate, an aristocratic house of lords, features two crossed fasces.

Beyond autocratic powers for a non-monarchical elite, Western Liberal Democracy also mostly agreed with the key plank of the fascist’s economic program. “Central planning” does exist in modern Western countries – it is based around the military. For example, in the United States their economy is guided by the Pentagon, the world’s largest employer. The Pentagon hands out the fruits of their taxpayer-funded research to private companies; enriches their native bourgeoisie with hugely corrupt contracts; provides jobs for the masses terribly ineffectively; but it very effectively enriches their 1%.

Fascism was never for the people but dedicated to the power of those in power; for the status quo; for submission to essentially autocratic magistrates and politicians; against the redistribution of wealth and political power. It is only socialism which reduces the power of the magistrate, who makes him accountable and who improves the person of the magistrate by making sure he is not solely drawn from the elite, grasping class.

Fascism is different from the globalist class of Western Liberal Democracy by insisting on nationalist competition and national sovereignty. The arrival of the European Union, the euro and the Eurogroup, which will supersede national laws without any concern for ideals of democracy, will render these desires essentially irrelevant. The main sin of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, or of Marine Le Pen, is that these two fascist politicians both seek to restore some aspects of national sovereignty.

Trotsky wrote: “Fascism, as we know, is born between the union of the despair of the middle-classes and the terrorist policy of big capital.” Yet the West never takes a class view and elevates big capital to the status of demigods – this is why to them fascism must always be solely race-related and never economic-related. It’s simply a half-truth, and not understanding and combating this dooms Western politics – and their own history – to total misunderstanding.

The 1% and their lackeys immediately called the Yellow Vests fascists because it was a union of the lower and middle classes – like in the Paris Commune it also included a union of the lower class and the proletariat with the petty bourgeois small shopkeeper.

Yellow Vest: “For 10 years we have only created instability. 75% of France has serious economic difficulties. We have closed hospitals, nurseries, schools – everything is being closed, and this can’t go on!”

Due to there insistence on elitism, fascism could have only ever allied with Liberal Democracy – the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact is as far as it ever could have gone. However, if they had somehow allied with the USSR against Liberal Democracy what would they have permanently smashed? Answer: the Bankocracy which rules today.

It’s vital to recognise that, because the current usage of “fascist” completely lacks this historical-economic component.

The fascism of the 2020s is even more right-wing than the fascism of the 1930s

Due to the refusal to honestly talk about fascism – on both the Western left and the Western right – Western politics today are simply a catastrophe of nonsense and misinformation.

Their lack of knowledge allows them to obscure the fact that modern Western “fascists” are even more right-wing than Hitler, who was quite reliant on the Marxist explanation of 19th century history and economics. However, the modern right wing has expunged Marxism, and thus they cannot be actual fascists. Racism and fascism cannot be mere synonyms for each other – unless the goal is to neuter them of all meaning.

Being more right-wing than Hitler… that seems like something which should be understood, no? However, Western Liberal Democracy doesn’t want anything but propaganda regarding other systems and regarding its own failures and treasons.

The best term for today’s alleged “fascists” would be “Nalis” – Nationalist Liberalists: they have all the jingoism, militarism, authoritarianism and imperialism of 1930s fascists but combine it with right-wing Liberalist political structures, economic inequality and historical analyses.

It’s a simple and accurate political description, but only socialist-inspired countries which have fully rejected Western Liberal Democracy would ever apply the term “Nali”: Just as uninformed socialists don’t want to admit any ideological similarities with Nazism, so uninformed Western Liberal Democrats don’t want to admit that they are actually fighting internecine wars with their “National Liberalist” brethren. The use of “Nazi” or “fascist” is a way to distance themselves from each other despite the obvious similarities between each other.

And what do Western Liberal Democrats care if calling far-right Ukrainians “Nazis” in 2022 unfairly tarnishes socialism and spreads misinformation – both wings of Liberalists (one nationalist, the other globalist) are united in their anti-socialism.

Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen are two example of open Nalis, but so are two enemies – Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky. The Russian military operation in Ukraine has been a catastrophe of misinformation on both sides regarding who is a “fascist” and who is a “liberal”, and precisely because neither can admit that fascism and liberalism coincide and almost always ally, historically. Thus this battle between two Nali states is either a historical anomaly or, as I predict, Russia’s invasion will mark a step away from their Nalism since 1991 and back towards Socialist Democracy. If Russia continues to insist that “Russophobia” totally equates with “Nazism”, then this will herald their failure to return the fold of progressive politics.

In France, by 2017 the Great Financial Crisis – just the latest periodic failure of liberalism – had inflamed the masses too much for every single politician to ignore: Marine Le Pen thus dropped the Reaganism of her father and made it to the second round of the presidential election. She defended economic ideas which were both similar to the French left and to the Germanic National Socialists of the 1930s. In the 2022 campaign Le Pen reverted back to far-right economics, dropping all her promises for things like a “Frexit” vote within six months of election and for repudiating banker debt, yet the mainstream media called her “fascist” throughout the entire time.

The modern French and Western model was essentially created from 1928-1945, and what it took from fascism and Germanic National Socialism is that economic planning must be limited to the military, and that xenophobia, identity politics and security are spectacles just big enough to dominate the headlines, and thus to ignore liberalism’s failures. To put it in 2022 presidential candidate Eric Zemmour’s terms: France’s economic problem is Muslim welfare, not banker welfare. It’s a pathetic intellectual analysis. When the unrest in Ukraine began France immediately realised that and Zemmour’s popularity quickly halved.

Yellow Vest: “If you look around here you see people of all colours and religions. For me it goes beyond questions of origin – it’s really a question of social justice, regardless of someone’s ethnicity or religion.”

During the 2022 campaign the convicted racist Zemmour said he was, “here to save the French people and France…not here to save the world.” It’s a telling, semi-messianic remark because it is truly straight out of Adolf Hitler’s platform in the 1930s.

But such a comparison was never made by the mainstream media, and it could never be made. Many have heard of Godwin’s Law, or the rule of Nazi analogies: an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches. However, an important corollary is that whenever someone compares someone or something to Nazism – that person has lost the argument and/or the argument is summarily over.

Essentially, the world is to accept that all discussions of Western politics cannot discuss the anti-Western Liberalism ideology which was Germanic Nazism.

Thus it was impossible for them to accurately describe a 2022 French election where the four top candidates were all on the far-right – either economically, politically, culturally or all three. In the two-week interim between their two rounds of voting any criticism of Emmanuel Macron’s record was immediately shouted down in the mainstream media as “support for fascism” – voters wondered which candidate they were referring to. The failure to delineate fascism from Western Liberal Democracy means that we also cannot understand where they have reconciled a century later, just as how liberalism and monarchy eventually reconciled.

The Western right is stuck in falsely believing that the right of 2020 is the same as in the 1930s, despite all the anti-racist gains made since then; the Western left is stuck in falsely believing that their “Popular Front” tactic is actual leftism, despite being neutered of Marxism and socialism. This is why Western versions of history and their political discourse today simply make no sense. It only makes sense if we remember that obscuring political truths is a hallmark of Western Liberal Democratic history, and thus their versions are not truthful nor complete at all.

Not wanting to accurately define fascism or liberalism, but certain in their rejection of Socialist Democracy, after the first round vote in 2022 all the losing candidates (except Zemmour) immediately called for a Popular Front against Le Pen, just as they did in 2017. What’s vital and new is that the Yellow Vests empathically refused this form of class-collaborationism. The People’s Front tactic must be seen for what it is: not an effort to fight fascism but as a way to cement fake-leftism.

Trotsky wrote: “The racists pillage the Marxist program, successfully transforming certain of its sections into an instrument of social demagogy. The ‘Communists’ (?) as a matter of fact refuse their own program, substituting for it the rotten refuse of reformism. Can one conceive of a more fraudulent bankruptcy?”

Trotsky wrote that in 1935 but anyone can see that this is where the West is stuck, still:

Racists reject certain sections of Western Liberal Democrat economics in order to preserve White citizens from the united Bankocrats, while left-wingers hysterically prop up right-leaning moderates who only seek to refine Liberalism into an ever-more unequal system. Can you conceive of a more fraudulent ideological bankruptcy than modern Western politics?

If “Nali” ever did catch on one thing is certain: it would be a huge improvement.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Algeria: Dotting the I’s in France’s colonial history

April 22 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Karim Sharara 

France’s colonial history is a barbaric one that extends from the 16th century until the liberation of Algeria in 1962. Millions of people have died, countries have had their wealth plundered, and France still refuses to recognize its dark past.

France’s 132 years of colonial presence in Algeria resulted in the deaths of millions of people and the plundering of the country’s riches

It wasn’t completely unlike Macron to deny that Algeria was ever a nation. It was surprising to hear such a statement uttered against a sovereign country in what is supposed to be a post-imperialist world order (evidently not so), but to say outright that a country that France had occupied for over a century and whose culture it helped destroy was truly flabbergasting.

You can take the colonial out of the colony but not colonialism out of the colonial, the mentality indeed persists.

It seems somewhat perplexing that France, whose Zemmours, Le Pens, and Macrons are all radically attempting to preserve what they consider to be essential to French identity by coercing Muslims into conforming, are also denying the identity of the very country they occupied, whose riches they stole, whose people they killed and posed next to their decapitated heads neatly arranged on spears, and whose culture and identity they transformed by force and coercion.

How did France’s colonial history begin and unfold, and what led it to its 100+ year occupation of Algeria?

France’s colonial empire

France’s earliest trials at colonialism happened during the 16th and 17th centuries and were part of the ongoing competition that was taking place at the time between European powers (France, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal), the main goal of all of whom was to find new routes to the East Indies in an effort to secure these routes for themselves in an attempt to monopolize the spice trade.

France first began its incursions into North America with the establishment of small colonies. The presence of French missionaries, coupled with colonization efforts, further exacerbated matters as they upset the sociological makeup by drawing Native American men into Christianity with promises of land, and then telling them they must cultivate crops, which to their societies was women’s work. These “redefinitions of manhood prompted many women to resist Christianity” and generated conflict within their communities.[1]

The Caribbean was also a region where competing European powers constantly clashed with one another. By 1697, France had colonized portions of North America stretching to the Caribbean and snatched Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti) from Spain in that same year. Most of the island’s indigenous population had died during Spain’s incursion for gold. France turned their colonies into plantations for sugar, coffee, and spice, and used slave labor on the islands, to such an extent that by the late 18th century, slaves outnumbered European colonists by 8 to 1, thus greatly transforming the demographic makeup of the region.

Amid the struggle for global empire-building between France and Britain, the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) took place between the two powers and their allies in Europe. The war resulted in a decisive win for Britain and a loss for France and Spain, and the 1763 Treaty of Paris saw a number of land exchanges in order to appease Britain. France ceded all of Canada in order to retain the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe and their valuable sources of sugar and remained somewhat inactive until after the French Revolution of 1789 and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte who returned to the task of empire-building.

France’s imperial incursions into West Asia and North Africa date back in large part to the year 1798, as Napoleon was rising in power and conquered Egypt, and then continued on when the French Empire later colonized Algeria in 1830.

After his successes in Italy, which culminated in the Treaty of Campo Formio, Napoleon turned his attention to the British Empire, France’s perennial enemy, and tried to see whether a landing on the British isles was possible; after two months of planning, he found that it was not, as the British Navy was far superior to the French. However, one thing Napoleon could do to harm the British would be to threaten their trade with India.

Napoleon’s fascination with Egypt

Another end goal envisioned by Napoleon would follow the occupation of Egypt, whereupon he would send a force to the Kingdom of Mysore in South India in order to reinforce them, as they were also enemy of the British and were fighting against their presence in India[2].  

For Napoleon, this mission also held a personal dimension, as the 29-year-old general (in 1798) had been a longtime fan of the Orient, and he always referenced Alexander the Great and Egypt in his writings and conversations. “Thus, the idea of reconquering Egypt as a new Alexander proposed itself to him, allied with the additional benefit of acquiring a new Islamic colony at England’s expense.[3]

Although Napoleon’s ships were being pursued by the British Royal Navy, he successfully evaded them, managed to land on Egypt’s shores, and defeated the Mamluk army in the Battle of the Pyramids. However, Napoleon’s armies suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of the British Navy only days later, which resulted in the decimation of Napoleon’s ships, left him stranded in Egypt, and ended his dreams of conquering West Asia. After a three-year campaign and a series of defeats, Napoleon went back to France and launched his coup d’état, leaving him in power[4].

Algeria’s story begins

France’s aspirations of colonization in the MENA region would be left unachieved until after Napoleon’s fall, and during the reign of Charles X. Although Algeria had stood by France during its difficult times, when it was shunned by all of Europe in the 1790s, Algeria had lent it money and allowed it to receive supplies from its ports. Both countries’ relations were somewhat constrained during France’s three-year invasion of Egypt, as the Ottoman Sultan requested that Algeria declare war on Egypt, which it did, but relations returned to normal as soon as the invasion was over.

Despite Algeria’s good relations with France, Napoleon had (prior to his fall) been looking for a reason to invade it because of its strategic position, the superiority of France’s fleet, and his want of a colony on the Mediterranean to strengthen France’s position. He threatened Algeria repeatedly over the years on a number of different occasions, but the plans to invade it never materialized, as he was busy with campaigns in Europe. Nevertheless, some of his commanders did go to Algeria in the early 1800s to scout it and assess how best to capture it.

The main reason behind France’s invasion of Algeria is that France did not wish to repay its debts to the Algerian Dey and Algeria’s Jewish merchants (who had come to the Dey complaining that France is refusing payment). The debt had been accumulated by France during its invasion of Egypt in 1798. France only used an incident that took place between the Algerian ruler and France’s consul (who was implicated in the affair and had received payment from the merchants in exchange for helping secure a portion of their debt, none of which found its way back to the Algerian treasury), in order to launch the war against the country and occupy it in 1830, during the reign of Charles X[5]. The incident in question came to be known as the Fly Whisk incident.

The merchants had promised France’s Foreign Minister and its consul in Algeria a portion of the funds if they managed to secure payment of France’s debts to them, which in fact happened. However, the merchants were also indebted to the Algerian state, but by the time they were paid, France paid them directly, and not through the Algerian treasury. Moreover, one of the merchants had secured French citizenship, and another Italian citizenship, and so the Algerian state was unable to pursue them for payment. 

France’s consul, as French newspapers revealed at the time, was paid two million Francs by the merchants in return. When Algerian authorities caught wind of the news, they knew the consul, who is thought to have made up the incident, was in on it, and was refusing to cooperate with Algeria in order to avoid France having to repay its debt[6].

The occupation

During the course of Algeria’s 132-year struggle for independence, nearly 5 million people were killed, and hundreds of thousands were injured. It took France nearly 70 years to gain control of Algeria after it first occupied it on July 5th, 1830, and Algeria only gained its independence after fighting a fierce war in which nearly 1.5 million Algerians lost their lives.

As far as the looting of Algeria went, France made sure to profit off the land as best it could. Even though the Treaty of Surrender signed between Algeria’s last Dey, Hussein Dey, and France included a condition that Islamic endowments not be violated, France realized that these endowments may become a source of income and confiscated them and looted them in 1843.

France’s colonial administration went a step further in 1871, enacting the Indigenous People Law, which helped them plunder Algeria’s resources by granting European settlers ownership of the lands, while Algerians working them only received 20% of the production. The Algerians could also only travel after seeking permission from colonial authorities and had their movements restricted.

Another law issued by colonial authorities was the Cremieux Decree in 1870, which turned Muslim Arabs and Berbers effectively second-class citizens, while Algeria’s Jewish population was granted French citizenship.

In terms of precious metals, more than 110 tons of Algeria’s gold and silver were stolen by the French, which are estimated today to be worth over $180 billion in today’s money.

France only recognized Algeria’s war of independence as an actual war in 1999. Today’s France, however, is still dragging its legs in recognizing Algeria’s right to reparation. In 1961, before gaining their independence, Algerians took to the streets of Paris to protest a curfew imposed on them, but a French crackdown turned the protest into a massacre, with more than 200 people being killed and scores of bodies being dumped in the Seine River.

Today, France continues to treat its Muslim population as second-class citizens who must conform, by force, to a very restricted idea of French identity. Instead of accommodating them, France is trying its best to exclude its citizens, just as it tried to force Algerians to conform to its own norms. The reasoning before was that of the White Man’s Burden, backwardness, cultural inferiority, or any number of excuses. Today, these excuses have all been repackaged under a nifty new branding called French identity.

Sources:

  • [1] Benjamin, Thomas, and Macmillan Reference USA Staff. “Encyclopedia of Western colonialism since 1450.” (2007).
  • [2] Amini, Iradj, “Napoleon and Persia”, Iran, vol. 37 (1999), British Institute of Persian Studies, p. 109-110.
  • [3] Said, Edward. “Orientalism Penguin Books.” (1978), p. 80.
  • [4] Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A life. Penguin, 2014, p. 188-230.
  • [5] Abu al-Qasim Sa’d Allah, Muhadarat fi Tarikh al-Jaza’ir al-Hadith (Bidayat al-Ihtilal), Al-Jaza’ir: Al Sharikah al-Wataniyyah li-n-Nashr w-at-Tawzi’, p. 13-33
  • [6] Mubarak bin Muhammad al-Mili, Tarikh al-Jaza’ir bayn al-Qadim w-al-Hadith, vol. 3, n.d, Maktabat al-Nahdah al-Jaza’iriyyah, p. 271-276.

French presidential debate: Le Pen goes mainstream, proving Yellow Vests right

April 21, 2022

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by Ramin Mazaheri

What a difference five years makes?

I wish I could report differently, but the long awaited French presidential debate was a total dud. Just like the whole election campaign was. And now, just like both candidates, too.

I wasn’t sure if I was watching Marine Le Pen or Sarkozyist candidate Valerie Pecresse, that’s how mainstream Le Pen appeared.

It was a total 180 from the 2017 debate, which was full of fireworks and a knock-down, drag-out brawl between a Rothschild banker and perhaps the continent’s best known far-right figurehead. It was over serious issues too: a Frexit vote, repudiating banker debt, possibly leaving the euro, austerity, etc.

Back then, my debate reaction column was how Le Pen clowns at debate instead of taking anti-austerity seriously. There wasn’t a quip she left unsaid, a false claim made by Macron which she let slide and a personal attack which hadn’t already been bandied about French cafes for months. She lacked moral seriousness, though – she was playing to the gallery and merely content to play the role of the joker. It was a major let down, because who else did we have in France who was going to end the Era of Austerity?

As a result she lost 2 to 1, and she expressed regret over her performance. Which is what it was – a performance – but politics is not art but morality.

In 2022 the only way I can explain what happened is this: For the past five years Le Pen has been a parliamentarian in France’s National Assembly. Prior to 2017 she was mainly hobnobbing only with far-right extremists, left-wing pariahs and various castaways who reject the mainstream’s nonsense. This is the only explanation I can give for what a radically different person she appeared to be.

She was Mutti – Germany’s mother, Angela Merkel – and not Marine. Macron was on the attack the whole night – hunched over, head in his hands, interrupting as a clinch every time Le Pen was scoring points – and Le Pen looked downright nice the entire time. She never took the bait, and she never really seemed like herself. Even on her bread and butter issue of security – on which she’s as bad as Macron – she looked like she had to fabricate some passion, finally.

Maybe the plan was for her to appear poised and presidential, to win over the centrist voter? What I saw was something similar to 2017: this is not someone who really “wants it”.

I wrote in 2017 and it still holds up – so even though it sounds strange you’ll just have to admit that the 2022 debate proves I was right. Heck, I even made it the lede sentence back then:

Unlike most Western countries, French politicians do not really do personal attacks. That sounds surprising, but they don’t even criticize each other’s programs with virulence.

The big surprise the day after the debate is how Le Pen did not attack Macron’s record, now that he actually has one and not just a program. It was really mind-boggling. It’s the advantage of every challenger and the disadvantage of every incumbent – a record.

I’ve extensively documented Macron’s record in columns, and I’m also doing so in my (currently being published in serial format) book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values, so I can say with confidence: Macron has an awful record.

I’m not going to waste time: All I can say is that Macron has proven himself totally unfit to hold public office if only via his weekly repression of the Yellow Vests. There’s much more than that, of course: corrupt ministers, inequality, authoritarianism as a way to pass laws, total rejection of transparency, etc. I’d give anyone else a chance to govern before he got second chance because you just can’t do what he did and get re-elected as a public servant.

My point is: Le Pen could have talked for the entire 2 hour and 50 minute debate just about the things which Macron has done which most voters don’t like. She didn’t.

What she did was play by that strange rule’s corollary: she talked about her program – the future, instead of the past.

Macron knows this corollary because he knows the game I have described: the final minute of his two minute summation was a bunch of seemingly-improvised pap about “protecting the children”.

People will say I’m too biased in their favor, but Le Pen only made two quick references to the Yellow Vests. (Of course Macron would never bring them up.) Why would she ignore them when every voter knows that for six months France saw blood in the streets every Saturday?

The answer: like all mainstream politicians, she disavows them, too. She won’t deign to touch them even if it will help her get elected. She’s totally on board with total suppression of them.

The Yellow Vests were right all along: Le Pen is a mainstream politician.

Even though when they first began the mainstream media insisted that they were Le Pen’s voters, they always told me they reject voting for her. I’d say what I heard from them is that 85% supported leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon and 15% supported the (pseudo) outsider Eric Zemmour. To a Vest they told me that Le Pen was part of the problem – she was a mainstream politician.

It’s a sophisticated analysis, because none of the mainstream media here sees it that way – they genuinely view Le Pen as an outsider and danger – and last night she was as mainstream as a baguette.

There was none of her outsider mentality on display in 2022, and that’s a real shame. French voters detest mainstream politics, but the mainstream is just too strong here.

The post-debate polls show that the debate didn’t sway anyone, and how could it? It was two politicians boring people with their plans on enormously broad concepts like schools, the environment, retirement, etc. All empty promises in the sky – nothing about the lives people have lived for five years. You saw what you wanted to see, because all they did was present themselves and their plans… yet again. They may as well have been in separate rooms.

And so instead of gaining a 5 point debate victory swing – as Macron did in 2017 – and making the polls deader than a dead heat, the post-debate polls are unchanged: roughly 54-46% in Macron’s favor.

Once again Le Pen blew it.

However, this time there was no illusion that she’s anything but a mainstream candidate now. She will likely only get more mainstream as the years go by. If she somehow wins it’s because enough voters say: “Boy, she really sounded sensible.” And she did – her proposals are only radical in the sense that they are pro-French sovereignty in the age of the European Union, euro and Eurogroup.

I wish I could have reported on this campaign differently because I hate to think I am depressing people, but this was simply a depressing, empty, absent and disappointing campaign. The issues at play were not at all as vital as in 2017. The debate epitomised this reality – it fit this campaign perfectly.

The reality is that in French politics the only interesting, necessary and vital movement is the Yellow Vests. However, their rebirth relies on the average person overcoming their fear of repression and re-donning the Yellow Vests.

The final vote is Sunday – which far-right mainstream candidate will win?


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The Paris Commune: The birth of international neoliberalism and EU neo-imperialism

April 17, 2022

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by Ramin Mazaheri

(This is the sixth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

One hundred and fifty years later it’s clear that the Paris Commune of 1871 was four things, and only one – the last on this list – is widely understood in 2022.

  1. A reverse of the American Civil War: In France it was the slaveowners and slave traders who – as opposed to initiating it – forbid and fought down a rebellious secession. I think Marx would have been more effective in his description if he had compared France with the situation in the US, as it’s an interesting reverse parallel.
  2. For rightists: It’s interesting that they never look at how their victory over the Paris Commune furthered the right’s ideology and goals. It’s almost as if the champions of liberalism don’t want to admit that armed treason with Bismarck was the reason for their victory in France?

Too bad for them – there’s no doubt that’s what it was. 1871 marks the restoration of liberalism after the voter-approved coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1852. But the Third Republic created in 1871 is no longer a “French” government based on liberalism – as in 1848-52 – but a new type of liberalism based on collusion among the international elite: thus, it is truly “neoliberalism”. If we’re going to call anything “neoliberalism” – even though it’s all fundamentally just the same old “liberalism” – this is the most accurate place in history to add that prefix. Most add it over a century later, incorrectly.

  1. If the Commune represents such a major advance in global leftism because it’s the first sustained example of the dictatorship of the proletariat – for two months -, then the armed victory of an international elite class over such a major advance must herald something equally significant, no? It does: The Commune represents the very neo-imperialist dictates, with their first troops, of what would eventually be instituted as the European Union.

The definition of neo-imperialism is not simply the replacement of direct rule by Western colonisers with Westerners’ indirect rule via local Brown puppets – neo-imperialism also includes Westerners waging imperialist war on their own Western people for the benefit of an international 1%. The first modern example of this intra-European class warfare (not merely feudal class warfare) started with the Commune. The European Union is the bureaucratic expression of these forces which defeated The Commune.

  1. Lastly, there is total understanding that, for leftists, all we need is Frederich Engels’ famous concluding remarks on the 20th anniversary of the Commune: “Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” This is the most widely understood understood of the four assertions.

The Commune is a big deal, but we need to make it a big deal for the victors, because they – rightly – are ashamed of it.

The objective history: The Commune was defeated by the armed collusion of the French 1% with the German 1%

Marx’s writings on the Paris Commune came in truly real-time. It’s incredible journalism that he got it so right but also so quickly, but what’s more shocking is what actually transpired:

The Paris Commune came after the capture of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The average person was fine with this ignominious end to the Bonapartist imperial era – the modern executive branch had been discredited. In 1852 France had democratically sanctioned the self-coup of the executive branch against the usurping, unrepresentative and already disgraced legislative branch of Western Liberal Democracy, and by 1870 France was ready to let go of the world’s most progressive monarchy. They wanted something new – Socialist Democracy – but the Western Liberal Democratic elite was happy to push aside Bonaparte and re-usurp power, exactly as they did from 1849-51, when the National Assembly subverted the 1848 constitution to the majority will of parliament and gutted universal male suffrage. To achieve this re-conquering of the French people it took German troops to put them back into power; it took months starvation, censorship and totalitarian controls around Paris; it took the total rejection of any democratic will… but this is “neoliberalism” – should we be surprised?

A hastily-assembled French government of the rich colluding with Bismarck’s occupying Germans to bombard and siege Paris, what?

“The conspiracy of the ruling class to break down the revolution by a civil war carried on under the patronage of the foreign invader… culminated in the carnage of Paris.”

That’s from Marx, but it’s not a “a history” – it’s “the history”.

How can this be anything other than treason? How can this be anything other than forcing political regression onto France? How can the success of such a faction be anything other than ultimately anti-France? How can this be anything but a “not national war” as it has nothing to do with “national peoples” but everything to do with elites/emperors/bankers/slaveowners/industrial barons?

These unanswered questions from supporters of the West add up to a major theme of Western history: the covering up of the early crimes of Western Liberal Democracy, which hypocritically loves to endlessly focus on the early errors of a far more moral and democratic movement – socialism.

It’s truly accurate to call these post-1871 war French legislators the “anti-Resistance” of French history, because instead of fighting with autocratic Teutons they colluded with occupying Prussia to subvert the democratic will of Paris and, above all, to ring-fence them from the rest of the nation to keep Paris’ victory of Socialist Democracy from spreading.

Yellow Vest: “We didn’t score very well in last month’s European elections, but remember that we had only a few months to get everything organised, unlike all the other parties. What the Yellow Vests have hammered into people’s heads is the reality that, our purchasing power is never going to rise, our debt to high finance can only keep rising, and that tax evasion will only continue to rise unless voters fight for our cause.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

You likely have no idea whose these legislators are, and nor does the average Frenchman. The treasons of Western Liberal Democracy are as hushed up as they are rewarded – the head collaborator, Adolphe Thiers, became the first president of France’s Third Republic.

A major difference between the French Revolution of 1789 and the Commune is the lack of violence in Paris – until, that is, the forces of liberal democracy showed up and slaughtered as many in Paris (30,000) as had died in the entire nation during “the Terror” (1793-4). Of course, all one hears about is the Terror of 1793-4 and never this far worse Terror – it’s far worse because the victims included far more women, children, poor and innocent, who were all executed without trial, as opposed to the many unrepentant elite of 1793-4. “The Terror” in the Western world is that rich people got tried and sentenced to death – poor people executed without a trial is no problem for Western Liberal Democrats, of course. This faux-reality is because the winners write the history books, but there’s no doubt that as socialism prevails over Western Liberal Democracy the true terror will be rightly named more and more.

Not a ‘slaveowners rebellion’ but a true reversal of the US Civil War

Marx, in his writings on the Paris Commune, repeatedly dubs it a “slaveowners rebellion”, but it’s actually the inverse – Paris rebelled, not the ruling slaveowners, and after months of siege Parisians called to secede and to establish a new republic.

France had banned slavery, again, in 1848, but the Western Liberal Democrats conniving with Bismarck to establish their mutual control over the masses of Paris contained many former slave-traders; contained families whose wealth was based on centuries of slave trading; contained members whose financial dealings with countries who had not yet banned slavery, thus Marx is entirely justified to call them “slaveowners”.

There is also major significance that the opposition to the Paris Commune was first landed at an assembly in Bordeaux: it’s a port city built on the slave trade. The elite of Bordeaux, which is located within the department of Gironde, were consistently among the most reactionary, pro-slavery, anti-democracy elite in France (even more than almost English-sighting Brittany, the only region which sent troops to conquer The Commune).

Thus “slaveholders” did not secede against France, like in the US in 1861, but instead colluded with foreign occupiers and the slaughterers of French soldiers in order to contain a rebellious attempt at a new governmental structure. The Civil War in France, the name of Marx’s famed pamphlet on the Commune, was caused by the restoration of popularly-rejected Western Liberal Democracy, and only via a treasonous siege did it remain a “Paris Commune” and not a “Second French Revolution”.

Having established what transpired and the unpopular role and ideology of the slave-traders/Western Liberal Democrats who prevailed, we can move on to what these colluding traitors of the nation’s largest city established.

The restoration of liberalism = neoliberalism = anti-democracy, censorship & oligarchy

Even if the people of France were done with monarchy and empire, aristocracy and autocracy, false meritocracy and unrepresentative faux-technocracy, the liberalists, constitutional monarchists and autocrats alike were not.

The elections for the first legislature of the new Third Republic were with Prussians in half the country – should we be surprised that neoliberalism’s birth came under totally undemocratic voting conditions? Two-thirds of its members were either Orleanists or Bourbonists – yes, royalism and autocracy has prevailed in an alleged “Third Republic” built on mass murder in the capital.

Yellow Vests: “There has been so much police brutality today and in recent months. It’s clear that the 5th Republic is dead, and that we must change not only the Macron regime, but our entire system. The French people are being ruled by thieves.”

It cannot be stressed enough how the Paris Commune relates to the overall historical trend of fighting monarchy and autocratic mindsets: 100 years after the French Revolution the Third Republic was a “republic” mainly run by royalists! This is no longer a “French” government based on liberalism – as in 1849-52 – but a new type of liberalism based on collusion among the international elite: it’s neoliberalism.

As the years passed in the Third Republic these royalists would have to renounce their royalism – seeing that it was totally rejected by the French people – and thus they would switch their allegiance to the new neoliberalism. The result was clear to much of the new “Third World”: With the fig leaf of republican and democratic institutions France’s overseas empire would now become the world’s second-largest. The idea that Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte or his uncle represented an “empire” more venal than that of the Third Republic is a totally unsupportable fiction.

Marx notes how the Commune differed from the 1%-er desires of Western Liberal Democrats: in The Commune the worker and lower classes were joined by the petty bourgeois, just like with the Yellow Vests. What united them was the debt-producing and rent-seeking of liberalists.

“And yet, this was the first revolution in which the working class was openly acknowledged as the only class capable of social initiative, even by the great bulk of the Paris middle class – shopkeepers, tradesmen, merchants – the wealthy capitalist alone excepted. The Commune had saved them by a sagacious settlement of that ever recurring cause of dispute among the middle class themselves – the debtor and creditor accounts (via the postponing of debts for 2-3 years). The same portion of the middle class, after they had assisted in putting down the working men’s insurrection of June 1848 had been at once unceremoniously sacrificed to the creditors by the then Constituent Assembly. But this was not their only motive for now rallying around the working class. They felt there was but one alternative – the Commune, or the empire – under whatever name it might reappear. The (2nd) empire (of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte), had ruined them economically by the havoc it made of public wealth, by the wholesale financial swindling it fostered, by the props it lent to the artificially accelerated centralisation of capital, and the concomitant expropriation of their own ranks.”

To champion Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte over the first class of Western Liberal Democratic politicians is one thing, but we should see here why our modern leftist support must be limited for Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte: He failed to stop, as President or as elected Emperor, the modern home-based debt-slavery which remains rampant in the West today:

“In the eyes of the French peasant the very existence of a great landed proprietor is itself an encroachment on his conquests of 1789. The bourgeois, in 1848, had burdened his plot of land with the additional tax of 45 cents, in the franc; but then he did so in the name of the revolution; while now he had foment a civil war against revolution; to shift on to the peasant’s shoulders the chief load of the 5 billion of indemnity to be paid to the Prussian. The Commune, on the other hand, in one of its first proclamations, declared that the true originators of the war would be made to pay its cost.”

So we see the roots of neoliberalism both politically and economically: multinational autocrats and elite bourgeois against all workers and the modern, essentially precarious middle class (petty bourgeois).

(In a parenthetical from the larger point of the shift from serfdom to debt-serfdom in France: Here we see the cause of the reparations which France demanded after World War I. These reparations are always historically portrayed as unjustified and as a major cause of Germany’s hyper-inflation and the rise of the Nazis. Again, we see how the refusal of Western Liberal Democracy to honestly examine its formative years from 1848-1914 has led to total historical ignorance. Germanic people will also point out that this debt load reflected the same debt load Napoleon put onto Germany, but the differences are enormous: France fought defensive war after defensive war from Prussian-Austrian-Hungarian aggression, and France was also received as liberators from feudalism – 1871 is not liberation at all!)

1871 is popularly portrayed as a localised and extremely radicalised movement (even immoral: from Wikipedia, and without explanation or justification – “The principles underpinning the Commune were viewed as morally degenerate….” ) and not “The French Civil War of 1871” only because of censorship tactics used against it.

The Rurals (i.e. the Bordeaux Assembly) – this was, in fact, their chief apprehension – knew that three months’ free communication of Communal Paris with the provinces would bring about a general rising of the peasants, and hence their anxiety to establish a police blockade around Paris, so as to stop the spread of the rinderpest.”

In the 21st century we see how Western Liberal Democracy, after realising what devolving the “power of writing” via digital social media can do, has responded with vast censorship against their “rinderpest” classes of today. Of course, Western Liberal Democracy has brutally repressed socialist thought for nearly two centuries.

While the Versailles government (the Bordeaux Assembly would relocate to Versailles, the seat of autocracy, in March 1871), as soon as it had recovered some spirit and strength, used the most violent means against the Commune; while it put down the free expression of opinion all over France, even to the forbidding of meetings of delegates from the large towns; while it subjected Versailles and the rest of France to an espionage far surpassing that of the Second Empire; while it burned, by its gendarme inquisitors, all papers printed at Paris, and sifted all correspondence from and to Paris; while in the National Assembly the most timid attempts to put in a word for Paris were howled down in a manner unknown even to the Chambre introuvable of 1816 (The ultra-royalist and uber-reactionary Chamber of Deputies of the Bourbon Restoration); with the savage warfare of Versailles outside, and its attempts and corruption and conspiracy inside Paris – would the Commune not have shamefully betrayed its trust by affecting to keep all the decencies and appearances of liberalism as in a time of profound peace?”

It’s the same problem as in 1849: Western Liberal Democracy does not even protect the democratic freedoms described in liberalist thought. There is never a free marketplace of ideas if the ideas discuss eliminating the oligarchic parliamentary style of government which dominates the West. Similarly, Iran, Cuba, China and other socialist-style democracies censor calls to counter their popular revolutions, but there are two key differences: Western Liberal Democracy hypocritically claims to be more tolerant when they are not, and Western Liberal Democracy’s popular support is a false construction.

Because of the cutting off of communications – as well as because of the massive bloodletting when the siege was broken – the French Civil War remained a limited affair: it was the working people of Paris, and the politically progressive there, against the nation-wide banker-lawyer-landlord-aristocrat elite who were colluding with occupying Germans. It could have been the third progressive national revolution in 82 years, but it was massacred before it reached that level.

Yellow Vest: “They are using even harsher tear gas on us, and people are dropping to the ground left and right. Our demand is for a more equal and more democratic society, and this does not merit such inadmissible violence. The government must listen to the people of France.”

It remains clearly a class war, and an international one, and that’s why the Commune is so vital. Whereas a century earlier it was royals colluding against their own people the Commune saw foreign-backed liberal politicians doing that.

It’s truly the birth of the principles of the European Union.

The Commune as the birth of EU neo-imperialism

Returning to the theme of European political history I set out in my Introduction chapter, 1871 represents a vital step beyond Europe’s original imperialism, which started with the Columbian era of Old versus New World, and then also a step beyond France’s occupation of Algeria in 1830: The refusal of a huge proportion of France to refuse support for armed war on Paris forced Bismarck to release hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war, who were used to reconquer Paris.

“This army, however, would have been ridiculously ineffective without the instalments of imperialist war prisoners, which Bismarck granted in numbers just sufficient to keep the civil war going, and keep the Versailles government in abject dependence on Prussia.”

These represent the first-ever shock troops of European neo-imperialism. If Western Liberal Democracy was truly honest about its elitist individualism these men would be lionised as the first neo-imperial EU foot soldiers. Should we see a “Frexit” similar troops might be mustered if financial war fails to force them back into the EU neoliberal empire.

The Third Republic was formed amid German occupation, in the hastiest of a wartime vote, in order to approve a peace plan with Germany, but also – critically – to put the most unfit, unpatriotic, pro-neoliberal 1% people into power. It’s a hallmark criticism of Western Liberal Democracy that their politicians are incredibly distrusted and the puppets of big money – the same goes for the first representatives of neoliberals, per Marx.

“The population could not but feel that the terms of the armistice rendered the continuation of the war impossible, and that for sanctioning the peace imposed by Bismarck the worst men in France were the best. …. There is but this difference: that the Romans had no mitrailleuses (volley machine guns) for the despatch, in the lump (sum), of the proscribed, and that they had not ‘the law in their hands’ nor on their lips the cry of ‘civilisation’.”

We see here that the faux-moralism of Western Liberal Democracy truly began in 1871 as well.

“That, after the most tremendous war of modern times, the conquered and conquering hosts should fraternise for the common massacre of the proletariat – this unparalleled event does indicate, not, as Bismarck thinks, the final repression of a new society up heaving, but the crumbling into dust of bourgeois society.”

What Marx misses is that – by his own analysis – the petty bourgeois/small traders/true middle class was also massacred i 1871. The Yellow Vests alliance with this class – as opposed to the general leftist contempt for even the most near-bankrupt shop-keeper – is thus a significant broadening of leftism and also a return to what actually worked.

Yellow Vest: “The G7 is spending 30 million euros over one weekend to give rich ministers champagne, caviar and lobsters, while people in France don’t have money for food or electricity. They talk about saving the environment, but only after flying here in their private, first-class planes. France’s billionaires see their fortunes rise every year, whereas the minimum salary France is forced to stretch more and more. We need a real redistribution of wealth.”

The socialist Paris Commune lost. What up-heaved was not socialist society but a new form of liberalism – one where Western elitist-imperialists turned on Westerners themselves in massacres formerly reserved for Brown peoples. It also marks the start of where liberalism began its war to eradicate socialist societies, a war of eradication which was as brutal and as highly-censored as the monarchical war against liberalism was before the two began colluding in 1871.

Paris Commune: The start of what 1917, 1949, 1959 and 1979 carried

To summarise simply:

It was essentially a working class government, the product of the struggle of the producing against the appropriating class, the political form at last under which to work out the emancipation of labor. … The Commune was therefore to serve as a lever for uprooting the economical foundation upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class rule.” (emphasis mine)

And if we aren’t working for a classless society, then why are you reading this? Go out and rob, cheat and steal to join the upper class, and then join in their suppression the working, middle, pensioner, student, youth, female, minority, etc. classes.

There’s a lot of nonsense emanating from France on the Commune – four months of siege will do that to you, perhaps – and it’s on the side of the anarchists.

The Commune is considered by anarchists to be their heyday – a day when the stages of socialism and communism were leapfrogged (who needs development?) – and the immediate repression didn’t give a chance to push aside these deluded bores. The only thing duller than, the founder of collective anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin’s self-referential writings on the Commune are his metaphysical thoughts. The certainties of the Commune’s anarchists are as full of false “universal values” as much as any Western Liberal Democrat. Marx and Trotsky detested their generations’s anarchists as much as the Yellow Vests refused to hand any sort of political leadership to Black Bloc or Antifa.

Western Liberal Democrats love to focus on the most individualistic, fantastic and nonsensical ideas espoused during The Commune – again, four months of siege will produce some of that – because it avoids any talk of the actual politics which was discussed, and allows for caricatures such as “morally degenerate”. They want to make The Commune like May 1968, but the former was not just a movement for individual rights but about the political right to form a new type of government. As time goes on the unity of the Yellow Vests and their political goals became more apparent – not 68ard individualism but 1789 class and cultural warfare. The Yellow Vest are a class warfare group.

Yellow Vest: “There has been enormous repression never seen before in France. Even in 1968 it was not as bad as this. But this has been the policy chosen by the president in order to break the movement. We will keep improvising new solutions to win our demands.”

But the biggest problem leftists must unlearn from the Commune’s legacy is that it was totally Parisian. It’s led to a veneration of urbanites as outdated as the veneration of factory proletariat – rural people, cubicle dwellers, pensioners and other groups must be in the vanguard, too.

Here’s an interesting thought: if we are to accept that – at 1871’s time of rural domination – that the urban areas were the political vanguard, then perhaps we should consider that today, when most societies are urbanised, that rural areas are now the political vanguard? With the Yellow Vests this generalisation appears to hold generally true.

What’s interesting is that the Paris Commune proved Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, correct regarding the way Western Liberal Democracy, in its ultimate goal of federalism (seen in the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and many Western monarchies are allegedly “unitary”), centers everything around the capital and thus ultimately creates fragmentation and disunity. Federalism is opposed in socialist democracy because Western Liberal Democratic federalism serves to weaken society by weakening the power of government and thus increasing the power of the rich individual – it allows for capitalists to “divide and conquer”.

Burke foresaw this: “You cannot but perceive in this scheme that it has a direct and immediate tendency to sever France into a variety of republics, and to render them totally independent of each other without any constitutional means of coherence, connection or subordination, except what may be derived from the acquiescence in the determinations of the general congress of the ambassadors from each independent republic.”

More importantly, Burke would’t have been surprised one bit by the elite’s response in 1871 to the democratic rejection of Western Liberal Democracy:

“Neither they have left any principle by which any of their municipalities can be bound to obedience, or even conscientiously obliged not to separate from the whole to become independent, or to connect itself with some other state. … To this the answer is: We will send troops. The last reason of kings is always the first with your Assembly.”

Indeed: become Western Liberal Democratic or die, be sanctioned, etc.

Burke sees a more modern Western problem – capital domination – but agrees that Western Liberal Democrats must control the capital above all.

“All you have got for the present is a paper circulation and a stock-jobbing constitution; and, as to the future, do you seriously think that the territory of France, upon the republican system of eighty-three independent municipalities (to say nothing of the parts that compose them), can ever be governed as one body or can ever be set in motion by the impulse of one mind? When the National Assembly has completed its work, it will have accomplished its ruin. These commonwealths will not long bear a state of subjection to the republic of Paris.”

Because the “republic of Paris” in 1871 was socialist the rest of France had nothing to fear from the capital – quite the reverse in modern Western Liberal Democracy. The smothering of local cultures via an ethnocentric capital is something expressly opposed in Socialist Democracy.

In order to forestall incorrect anarchists about Marx, we should note his recognition of the need for centralisation. “The centralisation of government, required by modern society, rises only upon the ruins of the military and bureaucratic governmental machinery that was forged in contrast to feudalism.” (emphasis mine)

Above all the Commune represents what neoliberalism requires: armed rule is what keeps Western Liberal Democracy going.

We would do well to remember that Engels believed the biggest mistake of The Commune was to not attack the real heart of Western Liberal Democracy: its Bankocracy.

“The hardest thing to understand is certainly the holy awe with which they remained standing respectfully outside the gates of the Bank of France. This was also a serious political mistake. The bank in the hands of the Commune – this would have been worth more than 10,000 hostages. It would have meant the pressure of the whole of the French bourgeoisie on the Versailles government in favor of peace with the Commune.”

At Tahrir Square in Egypt I saw that the first place protesters went to was the television media centre: The main problem is not persuasion, but financial – the people will always admit that Western Liberal Democracy has failed. They should have taken over the banks, just as the Western invaders of Libya knew – they looted the authoritarian form of Islamic Socialism of so much gold that it’s been called the “biggest heist in the world”.

The Commune ends nearly 100 years of French leadership of progressive politics, as Russia and Eastern Europe would take the reins in the next generation.

What started with the Paris Commune would be bookended in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War. Spain was a non-wartime, legal and national Paris Commune, but neoliberal and neo-imperial Western Liberal Democracy chose war just like in 1871.

Understanding the 1930s, an era as shrouded in Western propaganda as 1789-1917, is the only way to understand post-Great Recession politics. This is truly, Where the West is stuck: The fascism of the 1930s and the ‘fascism’ of the 2020s.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

What is ‘The Russian World’?

April 14, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Whenever empires crash, the question arises as to what can be saved from them. Thus, after the Second World War, all Western European colonial empires crashed. For example, the French Empire crashed, notably in Indo-China, which led among other things to the US invasion of Vietnam and to the no less tragic Franco-Algerian War, but also left a mass of African ‘independent’ dependencies and leaders, to be toppled by the French military and assassinated by French spies. At the same time, the bankrupted British Empire crashed, leaving Israel in charge of Palestine, the bloody tragedy of Indian Partition, the ‘Commonwealth’ and more significantly the White Commonwealth, now called the Anglosphere, but under US control. This is what The Saker rightly calls ‘The Anglo-Zionist Empire’.

In 1991, the Soviet Empire crashed, leaving chaos in Eurasia, which the Western-inspired sticking plaster of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) did nothing to remedy. Unlike Western European colonial empires, the vacuum left by the USSR covered one contiguous landmass. Moreover, the space vacated had history, going back hundreds of years to the Russian Empire, fallen in the British-organised palace coup of 1917. As nature abhors a vacuum, it was clear that such a vacuum and its chaos could not prevail for long. After the alcohol-hazed and gangster-crazed years of the Harvard-puppeteered Yeltsin and the ensuing genocide and suicide of millions in the old Soviet Union, in the 2000s, sense, order and hope slowly began to re-emerge.

It arrived in the quite ancient concept of ‘The Russian World’ (‘Russky Mir’), which was first officially used in its modern sense in 2007, when President Putin decreed the establishment of the government-sponsored ‘Russky Mir Foundation’. From here on, this term became more and more common and is notably widely used by the multinational Russian Orthodox Church. However, what does this term actually mean?

For some, the term ‘The Russian World’ means wherever Russians live. If it means only that, then this is a purely nationalistic project. It would mean that the remaining elitist oligarchs inside Russia, the Euro-Atlanticists, who as fifth columnists co-operate with CIA agents inside and outside Russia, belong to ‘The Russian World’. It would mean that the corrupt and treacherous aristocrats/oligarchs who after 1917 moved mainly to Paris and since 1991 have moved mainly to London, Tel Aviv and New York, also belong to ‘The Russian World’. Do they?

For some, the term ‘The Russian World’ means the Russian-speaking world. If it means only that, then this is a purely linguistic project. And yet there are many all over the world, from China to Venezuela, from New Zealand to Scotland, who strongly identify with Russia and her aims, but who do not speak any Russian. Are they then excluded?

For some, the term ‘The Russian World’ means wherever Orthodox Christians live. If it means only that, then this is a purely denominational project. Given some 500 fringe intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals, who formally belong to the Orthodox Church and who compiled a Declaration on the ‘Russian World’ Teaching on 13 March 2022, calling it an “ideology”, “a heresy” and “a form of religious fundamentalism” that is “totalitarian in character.” So do they belong to ‘The Russian World’?

For us, ‘The Russian World’ means something else, far broader. It means wherever live those who are opposed to the exploitative and manipulative Western/Anglo-Zionist/Nazi/NATO/Globalist/Capitalist ideology and project. Although we mainly live in Russia, China, India, Africa, Latin America, the Muslim World, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, we exist all over the world, even within the conquered heartlands of the Evil Empire, in the USA, Canada, the UK, Israel, the EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. We are those who resist the carefully-orchestrated campaign of slander of the elite, which arrogantly calls itself ‘the international community’. For those who live in the virtual world and who fly the made-up Lower Austrian flag of the made-up Ukraine, of whose history and geography they know nothing, the lies of that elite seem real. For us who live in the real world, the Russian world, they are both absurd and evil.

Since 24 February 2022, when the peoples of the Russian Federation, Belarus and the Donbass were forced to defend themselves from NATO aggression, we have known that the world will never be the same again. The ‘victory’ of the Western world over Western Communism in 1991 has turned out to be a defeat, a self-imposed one. For in its ‘end of history’ hubris the Western world excluded reality. If I can draw a Tolkienesque parallel, we, the true international, that is multipolar, community of the peoples of the Shire, are quite happy together. And therefore we reject the attempts of Unipolar Mordor, with its insatiable need for our capital, labour and resources, to destroy us.

Bretton Woods III: the new Big Bang – “suicidal Europe saved by gold ?“

April 13, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

The unstoppable momentum behind Russia´s new Bretton Woods III finances added to the lack of official gold data available worldwide last week prompted The Saker article NATO´s internal gold war” to publically ask

(1) how hard would it be for most countries to repatriate their now much-needed gold — theoretically still safely vaulted in ´custody´ at the Bank of England — specially if many of them tried to do it at once as most probably would happen…?

(2) why isn´t the current price of gold anywhere near its genuine market value ? Is it due to silent daily central bank interventions that hinder true free-market price-discovery mechanisms? [Ref #1: http://thesaker.is/natos-internal-gold-war/&nbsp;]

Gold matters

The above is terribly important vis-á-vis the spanking-new payment system for Russia´s much-needed oil & gas and other essential produce now per Western “sanctions” only buyable either with rubles or gold. With rubles thru yet-not-so-clearnor-yet-vetted banking procedures of unknown sustainability not been tried out even once yet — think revoking clawbacks…or ´artificial defaults´. While with gold it´d be thru old-fashioned sale of tangible bullion. Furthermore, in order to substantially increase its purchasing power, it would be highly meaningfull to be able to sell such gold – possibly with the buyer taking physical delivery — with a genuine market-reference price most probably very significantly above today´s sharply downward-manipulated quotes thru constant central bank interventions since time immemorial. Thus, we would avoid the coming chaos as the “blitzkrieg sanctions” imposed on Russia are not only not working but visibly having the opposite effect. Stubbornly opposing deeply immature EU wishfull thinking, the ruble today is even stronger than before the Ukraine armed conflict. The Anthony Quinn ´gold in Aqaba´ scene in “Lawrence of Arabia” brightly comes to mind [Ref #2: https://off-guardian.org/2022/04/08/despite-sanctions-the-ruble-is-stronger-than-before-the-war-why/%5D

The hungry 800-pound gorilla

So clearly Europe is not only shooting itself in the foot right now but rather both feet, plus knee-caps and elbows… and very soon in the temple (both sides) as exquisitely described by Pepe Escobar in “The Saker” per link below.

So this article would be Part II of NATO´s internal gold war … or, in other words, a tentative draft Plan to AVOID the terrorizing scenario now looming the Old World. This means that the political adults in the room must immediately stop the EU self-shooting spree and face off this hungry 800-pound gorilla with no good intentions in his purposefull mind.

Beware

Agreed, time is of the essence…and the schedule for this draft Plan to succeed may impress as too demanding and/or politically difficult. True enough, it requires careful massaging and political buy-in… and obviously LOTS of hard work, energy, good will and effort from every stakeholder involved. But please beware that this Plan has two huge advantages i.e. (1) having no visible competition and (2) counting with the automatic UK approval as the Brits will not survive without a relatively healthy EU to sell to. Yes, it´s TINA once again…but for a very different Big Bang

Skeptics

If you believe otherwise please just sit back and get the memo from Pepe Escobar re “Europe commits suicide

[ Ref #3: http://thesaker.is/sit-back-and-watch-europe-commit-suicide/&nbsp;http://thesaker.is/the-total-war-to-cancel-russia/ ]

So this Plan could very well be the only chance for the Western world to literally avoid many millions of its people from starving or freezing to death amidst an economic devastation and scarcity of basic staples that no war has ever inflicted so widespread. There are no brilliant ideas to look forward to with a worsening outlook as we speak, with ever more serious infighting and unsolvable conflicts throughout Europe ´AWKI´ and very soon elsewhere too. Tourism is 25% of EU GDP but without A/C and typical food & essential fuel it´d be dead on arrival at the border.

Europeans, this is it

In a nutshell, right now our Western Graeco-Roman Judeo-Christian millenary culture needs to rise to the occasion. Dear “Europa”, as the cradle of Western civilization that you are supposed to be, please be advised that this is it. Otherwise, not just our culture but also our species could soon become functionally disabled. Or, in financial terms which technocrats enjoy so much, we can soon become a forever ´non-performing asset´ a.k.a. wasted garbage.

The Plan

Accordingly, this draft Plan attempts to AVOID the UK-EU Armageddon that “NATO´s internal gold war” would necessarily bring about. And also please be advised that our success would be the only way at hand to prove the Davos agenda wrong which actually was what brought us to the situation we are now facing in the first place.

The philosopy of The Plan

The basic philosophy behind this über urgent project is probably best represented by a photograph taken at Verdun in 1984 wherein French President Francois Mitterand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl are firmly holding each other´s hand like two school children both looking straight at the camera for the whole world to see. These two most serious, intelligent and very powerfull elderly statesmen were silently screaming something instantly understood by everyone after French and Germans had killed, maimed and hatefully destroyed each other for decades. Say no more

The math of The Plan

Lacking public domain data, let´s accept a spitball yet trustworthy “back-of-the-envelope” guesstimate of 5000 tons of gold deposited by EU members for custody at the Bank of England. So, if such tonnage were now physically available at today´s ultra low central-bank-manipulated prices it would pay for all of Europe´s oil & gas imports for one full year …while if gold were priced at USD $ 5000 per ounce Troy it would pay for 2,5 years of Europe´s oil & gas needs… And if gold were priced at USD $ 50,000 per ounce (something quite possible if genuine price-discovery mechanisms were set free without central bank manipulation…) those 5000 metric tons of gold at current oil & gas prices (which could be lower due to deflationary pressures) would pay for 25 years of EU´s fuel needs, or more.[Ref #4 https://www.gata.org/node/21861 ] [ Ref #5 https://www.bullionstar.com/blogs/ronan-manly/central-bank-gold-at-the-bank-of-england/&nbsp;]

2022 goals of The Plan

Goal (A) is having all countries being able to gradually repatriate their gold bullion now theoretically in custody at the Bank of England if they so desire with a serious and foreseeable schedule in place to be unequivocally complied with.

Goal (B) being able to sell such gold bullion even with buyers taking physical delivery but always at a genuine market price most probably very much higher than today´s fully manipulated quotes thru central bank daily interventions.

Governance & Management of The Plan

1. Arbiter Czar

Immediate appointment of a high caliber Arbiter Czar — with proper staffing & facilities + open budget + funding both in London and Brussels – preferably of non-European or US origin, irrefutably knowledgeable and impartial to be duly followed by UK & EU leaders and institutions in the implementation of this Plan as per guidelines herein. Both the UK and EU Parliaments must immediately approve the political appointment of this Czar ( and substitute sub-Czar ) under these terms with unequivocal and unmitigated support behind his/her role.

2. Full legal open-ended amnesty

Full legal amnesty & indefinite end-of-story “forgiveness forever” to both UK and EU on this topic reconfirmed by ECJ + ECB + BoE + British Judiciary & BIS Basel III thru specific legal homologation by July 1 while setting this topic separate from pending Brexit negotiations with plenty of shared UK + EU blame all around.

3. UK & BoE gold bullion all-inclusive official public domain status Report

Full-disclosure UK & BoE transparent gold-holdings & historical evolution Report + Audits Stages #1 & #2

4. UK official public domain gold bullion transparent Repatriation Plan

Proposed fully-descriptive UK official gold bullion repatriation Plan with time-table & schedule per (3) above.

1. Gold at real free-market price

Definitive and conclusive end to Ponzi scheme derivatives & option futures and central bank interventions etc etc etc allowing gold price to freely reach its own price-discovery + elimination of VAT and other taxes etc

2. “Financial Equivalence” Protocol

Financial Equivalence” Protocol approval under normal Brexit mechanisms already foreseen.

3. Political reconfirmation and legal homologation

EU Parliament + UK Parliament + BIS Basel III + ECB + BoE + ECJ + British Judiciary of points (2) + (4) & (5).

The all-losers “blame game” (… which badly requires amnesty…)

“ALL-losers”… ALL as in ´everyone´ so don´t even think of it … so just please hold your nose and stick to The Plan.

But to clear the air and thus never coming back to this aspect ever again, let´s leave on record that there was plenty of shameless blame BOTH sides of the English Channel, fog or no fog. Clearly, they were both non-compliant. The UK of course, but also EU members which faked to “trust” the UK while playing parallel games to reap huge benefits from

  1. EU membership, economics & subsidies despite clear non-compliance with Maastricht inclusion criteria.
  2. a full euro “free ride” with no questions asked despite the fact that EU financial strategy was unsustainable from get-go like a bunch of drunken sailors coming out of a pub very late at night leaning on each other.
  3. so they all swept it under the rug, whistled the mess away, and “one hand washes the other” so to speak
  4. both sides played hardball “for keeps” the only problem being that Russia has now taken their ball away…

Per reknown internationally published experts, everybody that mattered knew and knows — ECB and BIS included – that Western central banks deploy daily surrepticious derivatives & options interventions in the futures market to control commodity prices and protect government fiat currencies against the public’s recognition of their devaluation.

Thus, for decades the price of gold was artificially maintained at ULTRA low levels so nobody in the EU cared much…

Now Russia has changed all that with a BigBang commodities-based Bretton Woods III deal and suddenly gold bullion matters lots because it buys oil & gas and everything Russian that Europe badly needs, or else…. So there was

  • NO due diligence nothing meaningful done by the EU or the UK, sheer negligence & carelessness.
  • NO world-class fully independent full-scale & depth public domain audits from anyone nor UK nor EU.
  • The ´Authorized Custodian´ incurred in guiltfull non-compliance of known tasks, duties & malfeasance
  • With deceitfull impunity, BOTH sides always irresponsibly stonewalled every question, doubt or query.

Initial schedule of The Plan

To be expanded and modified on the fly under the leadership and directions of the all-powerfull Arbiter Czar in order to achieve Goal (A) + Goal (B) described before by November 30, 2022.

May 1

Meeting to be held in London between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission and President Charles Michel of the European Council in order to

  1. officially submit candidates for Arbiter Czar + substitute both to be agreed upon by mutual UK-EU consent.
  2. discuss and agree on the general framework of the tentative draft plan outlined herein as possibly modified.
  3. discuss and agree and formally approve the tentative procedures and schedule for execution + open budget

June 1

Both the UK and EU Parliaments must have already approved the political appointment of the Arbiter Czar + substitute under the terms of this outline thru an over-arching Law superseding and over-imposed above any other law, ruling, treaty or order. The above should also include proper staffing & facilities + open budget + funding both in London and Brussels plus objectives, goals and procedures to be followed per (A) + (B) + (C).

July 1

Approval of full legal amnesty law & indefinite end-of-story “forgiveness forever” concept for both UK and EU and everyone else on this topic, as approved simultaneously by ECJ + ECB + BoE + British Judiciary & BIS re Basel III with specific legal homologation from whomever else is needed while setting this matter completely separate from any possible pending Brexit negotiations.

Repeat

Granted The Plan is very tight and politically difficult. But there is no other plan for the EU-UK survival as we know them, unless with BoJo´s help we readily welcome the very angry pitchforks to come inside the Palace and warm up

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Jorge Vilches is proud to have been introduced many times as “ the quintessence of the independent columnist ”.

Former op-ed contributor for The Wall Street Journal – New York and other financial media, has studied this topic in depth for the past 20 years. WSJ-NY “The Americas” column, editor David Asman today Fox Business News anchor.

Le Pen-Macron: finally, a vote where the people can decide if it’s war or not

April 13, 2022

Source

By Ramin Mazaheri

From 1792 to 1815 there were not one but seven “Coalition Wars” which involved most of Europe. It’s an era which should be properly termed the “7 European Wars Against the French Revolution”. Think the average European was thrilled about gutting their own economies – for 23 years! – in order to get involved in what was truly a civil war in a faraway land?

Even in England, the only nation which participated in every coalition fighting for counter-revolution, there were popular protests to finally end belligerence, and they occurred long before the start of France’s “Continental Blockade” against England’s intractable monarchists. Objections of unjust meddling in the sovereign affairs of another nation were even finally raised in England’s oligarchical parliament. It was all to no avail, because back then foreign policy was entirely decided in the royal courts of Europe. War went on, regardless of popular objections.

It’s not any different today.

The West still goes to war despite public opinion because the process is still dominated by the choices of the elite.

So it’s quite in line with historical trends: In 2022 the average European is being told to gut their economy for years in order to sanction Russia over the unrest in Ukraine, and of course there is no vote on this warmongering foreign policy. Europe’s leaders – usually working with the approval of actual royals – blithely tell their subjects to let them wear sweaters if heat has become too expensive.

Foreign policy is something which Western democracy has no tools with which to bring it under the aegis of the people. It relies on politicians which are willing to cede to public opinion. If that makes Europeans shudder, it should: The European Union is infamous for its constant disregarding of public opinion. Indeed, this is the primary political leitmotif since the Great Recession began.

Thus the upcoming 2nd round vote in France is so historically rare and valuable in that voters know if they pick one side war will continue – as sanctions (blockade) are an act of war – and if they pick another then war is likely to be averted.

Poll show the Macron-Le Pen race is a dead heat all of a sudden. It has surged from irrelevance to importance so quickly that major historical trends and institutions may topple so quickly that the royal courts of today cannot act quickly enough to stop it.

I believe the decisions French voters will make will come down to this: After a Great Recession, and an Era of Austerity, and the Yellow Vest Civil War era, and the Coronavirus Era… do you want a Russian Sanctions Era to gut – mentally, socially and economically – your already gutted standard of living?

It’s not just voting with your pocketbook and your national passport – it’s also voting with unprecedented foreign policy heft.

Macron on Ukraine – the straw that breaks the French voter’s back

Le Pen has opposed sanctions on Russia since 2014. She knows that those sanctions have had very tough effects on French farmers.b

Given the war hysteria she has no choice but to be in favor of some sanctions on Russia but she’s emphatic that they cannot include energy, and that includes coal, because of the impact it will have on French households. Last month in European Parliament she was one of the few dissenting votes on a resolution which called for a “total and immediate” embargo on all Russian energy imports.

“The only thing I don’t want is sanctions on raw materials which will have heavy consequences on the French and on the rest of the world, ” she said.

Throughout the campaign she’s accused the other candidates of not caring about the effect of sanctions on the average person, and these accusations will only grow louder when pointed solely at Macron.

“I do not want the French to commit hara-kiri on the grounds of sanctions decided by our leaders and which would not relate to the daily life of our compatriots,” she said in mid-March.

Last week she went much further:

“We have another choice. In reality, all the sanctions that have been put on the table and decided today are sanctions that have been designed to protect the interests of the financial markets and the real war profiteers,” she said. “All these sanctions are hitting our companies and individuals.”

What Ukraine has done is to drastically redefine Le Pen’s “M la France” 2022 slogan (M – aime – la France, get it?): it’s gone from being one of national identity to household solvency, and while still retaining the “national sovereignty” theme of 2017.

Frankly, it’s incredible: the European Union just can’t help but make sovereignty – either national or popular – the underlying issue of France’s elections. In 2012 Francois Hollande was going to end Germanic-imposed austerity, and in 2017 Le Pen was going to hold a Frexit vote within 6 months of her victory. “This election is also a referendum on Europe”, recently said Emmanuel Macron, because the EU is so unworkable and so resented that its existence is constantly called into question.

Le Pen has abandoned her 2017 Frexit vote stance even though recent polls showed 2 out of 3 French people were favourable to holding a vote on Frexit. It’s just too easy to caricature.

But as I wrote – ‘Remaining in the EU means peace’ – Ukraine explodes that Bourgeois Bloc idea. Endless Russia sanctions over Ukraine has discredited this Europhile bloc which is the base of Macron – they can afford to pay the knock-on inflation effects of years of Russia sanctions but the average voter cannot.

In a France which has had a series of chaotic eras I predict the threat of Ukraine spillover will primarily drive French voters. It’s a need for protection, and Le Pen is playing to exactly this need: “My obsession is to protect the French. I don’t want them to lose their jobs, to find themselves unable to heat their homes, feed themselves or drive to work.”

I had hoped that the French would realise Macron simply has to go: based on his record he should be totally discredited. If one has any respect for democracy they’d elect a ham sandwich before they’d re-elect Macron. I had hoped that French voters would realise that the arguments of 2017 were kaput: Macron proved to be more authoritarian than Le Pen could ever get away with, and almost as xenophobic. Ukraine has not replaced these ideas – it will hopefully be the coup de grâce which brings down lofty, arrogant, autocratic Macron.

It’s certainly not 2017 for 5 reasons:

  1. Macron is now the “mainstream”: In the 2017 second round this was the primary reason Macron’s voters said they voted for him – to sweep out the corrupt mainstream. The second reason was to block Le Pen, and the third reason (24%) was Macron’s actual policies and personality. We see from the first round vote total that he has barely been able to persuade anyone to his side. This is because:
  2. Macron has a record now: He’s not the neophyte Rothschild banker on whom you could project your unrealistic hopes. It’s an awful record, too: neoliberalism, authoritarian repression, autocratic style of governance, setting the record for ministers ousted for corruption just halfway into his term. This means that:
  3. Nobody will be duped by his “centrism”: This is something I warned of constantly in 2017. His neoliberalism implied far-right economics and a far-right style of governance, and it turns out he was even more willing to legalise Islamophobia than his two predecessors. The absurd and failed Trump- and Brexit-style PFAXIsm (Popular Front Against Xenophobia but for Imperialism) which was based on Macron’s alleged centrism simply will not work as effectively as it did in 2017. What’s more, people do not fear the alleged political extremes because:
  4. The Trump effect – he showed who the real extremists are: In France’s 2017 election Trump had only been in office for less than four months. Fear-mongering that dangerous politicians were going to start World War III was rife, and this had a major effect on the French voter back then. Five years later we know that if World War III is going to be started it’s by mainstream politicians and in:
  5. Ukraine: Want years of energy-caused penury? Want war to possibly spread to French borders? Then vote Macron. It’s not something he can hide from at all. Expect him to deflect and deflect on this issue until the debate, which is truly when the election will be decided.

The difference between Trump and Le Pen, so far, is this: Trump actually wanted it. After their debate in 2017 I wrote Le Pen clowns at debate instead of taking anti-austerity seriously because her behavior made it clear she didn’t care if she lost or won. Trump clowned mainly after taking office – he never stepped up and took on the Deep State – but he was a true competitor, at least.

Le Pen is learning from the failure of the now-retired leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who ran 3rd: she is courting the Yellow Vests, promising to install “RICs”, or citizen-initiated referendums. This was a top-3 demand of the Yellow Vests, and even the most important demand for some. I think many have put way to much emphasis on this – Switzerland has it and it’s hardly a democratic game-changer – but it will sway many Vesters to join her.

And joining Le Pen is something they do not want to do: The Yellow Vest program was the most similar to Melenchon’s, and the second candidate I heard them talk about the most was the (pseudo-) outsider Eric Zemmour. They are not Le Pen fans at all. People who haven’t set their boots in France for a long time may not realise that not only is Le Pen viewed by many as “mainstream” but that there is also a huge antipathy to the National Front in general.

If old people are voting for Macron in 2022 it’s because of this longstanding antipathy. Back when he expected an easy victory Macron gallingly and arrogantly promised to raise the retirement age to 65 this fall – he’s backtracking now, but this could prove to have been a fatal mistake.

The Yellow Vests emphatically reject Le Pen, but what can you do? Macron and Le Pen are the choices, and Macron has proven that he refuses to govern by consensus and only by autocracy.

The only alternatives are abstention (expected to be the highest since 2002, and around 30%), or a blank/spoiled ballot (expected to be a record, around 15%). Add the numbers – the true turnout will thus be around 55%.

Assuming every one of Macron’s 27.8% of first round voters turns out, that leaves 27.2% – it’s a dead heat, but all the trends clearly favor Le Pen. I crunched the numbers: she’ll gain a few hundred thousand more votes than Macron from those who voted for a losing first round candidate. It’s a dead heat there too.

Le Pen said at her first post-first round press conference: “By ferociously repressing popular protest movements like the Yellow Vests or social movements like the demonstrations against pension reform, Emmanuel Macron has installed the idea that nothing can be debatable, amendable, reformable.”

If you can quote the rules you can follow them – Le Pen is thus the “hope” candidate. Contrarily, a Yellow Vest at Macron’s campaign HQ (where I reported from on the night of Round 1) would have been immediately arrested.

These issues within French domestic politics have not become secondary to Ukraine – Ukraine has simply added to Macron’s obvious lack of democratic and patriotic bonafides.

The West can’t have both – war in Ukraine and Macron re-elected.


Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

April 13 2022

By Al-Ahed News

In April, 1996, the “Israeli” entity waged a 16-day aggression on Lebanon. The “Israelis” called it “Operation Grapes of Wrath”, to us it is known as the April War. 146 people were martyred. 300 civilians were wounded. Four Lebanese soldiers were martyred and eight wounded. Two Syrian soldiers were martyred and five wounded. 14 Resistance fighters were martyred, among them eight who were on military duty. The rest were martyred in strikes.

Below is the series of events detailing every day of those 16 days of aggression.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day one of the April 1996 Aggression: April 11

It was at this time of year, back in 1996, that the “Israeli” enemy launched its military operation “Grapes of Wrath” against Lebanon, committing massacres, killing children and displacing many families.

The aggression was faced by the Resistance which was prepared to respond and confront; this Resistance overturned existing equations placing “Israel” in a tough position, forcing it to reconsider its calculations and, for the first time, take into account the existence of this “Resistance and its Mujahideen.”

All along, the United States backed “Israel” in its April aggression, on all levels.

US President Bill Clinton wanted Sharm al-Sheikh Conference of March 1996 held under the title of “Anti-terrorism”, to undermine resistance in occupied Palestine and Lebanon, to pressure the opponents of any negotiated settlement, and to give a lift to his ally, “Israeli” Prime Minister Shimon Peres’ tumbling ratings in the “Israeli” entity.

Shimon Peres, at the time, was eyeing the military option as the only way out of his domestic predicament.

And so, on April 11, 1996, “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] began to evacuate the settlers’ population from occupation settlements in north occupied Palestine, as a prelude to its “Grapes of Wrath”, which the enemy began with an air raid on a hill west of Baalbek City, followed by constant shelling of Sujud and Rihan Heights, and Rafi’a Mountain.

Zionist shelling also targeted a Lebanese army checkpoint, wounding two of its personnel. And for the first time since the “Israeli” invasion in 1982, occupation forces shelled Beirut’s southern suburbs wounding a number of civilians.

With persistent Zionist shelling of the villages in the South and Western Bekaa, and Beirut’s southern suburbs, better known as Dahiyeh, the Islamic Resistance retaliated by bombing “Israeli” posts and those of its collaborators.

That evening, Hezbollah Secretary General announced that the Resistance would respond harshly to that attack, stressing that the “Beirut – Kiryat Shmona” balance of terror is unacceptable.

As the days of aggression unfolded, “Israeli” bombing pace, harshness and intensity increased, and with it the Resistance response as well.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day two of the April 1996 Aggression: April 12

The Zionist war machine continued its aggression using its artillery to systematically bombard villages and towns in the south and western Bekaa.

Shelling of Dahiyeh continued for the second day, and a Syrian officer was martyred when a Syrian army post came under attack in Raml al-Aali area, near airport road.

The first brutal mass crimes committed under the title of “Grapes of Wrath” were on this day when the southern town of Suhmur was targeted, and consequently, a massacre occurred.

People had been out stocking up on goods between curfew warnings, when without warning the “Israeli” occupation army – always thirsty for blood – did not honor the lifted curfew it had declared itself, and started shelling the town killing nine martyrs, including a child and three girls, and wounding another nine.

The Islamic Resistance in Lebanon responded to the aggression by raining down Katyusha rockets on enemy occupation settlements, in particular the settlements of Kiryat Shmona and Metula.

With the commencement of the rocket retaliations, a political message was also delivered to “Israeli” leaders connotatively stating that Hezbollah will continue to respond and confront the aggression, and maintain the vigor, pride and dignity of the Lebanese people and nation.

Zionist brutal actions and their targeting of unarmed civilians drew Lebanese, regional and international reactions of condemnation of the military operation.

Meanwhile, the steadfastness of the Islamic Resistance and its successful response to the aggression rallied wider popular support, and with that began the first steps toward over turning the existing equation in the confrontation, which, in the absence of deterrents or confrontation in Lebanon called “resistance”, had, until that moment, always been in “Israel’s” favor.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day three of the April 1996 Aggression: April 13

After the Suhmur massacre on the second day of the April aggression, al-Mansouri massacre followed on the third day.

Six people were martyred and seven wounded when the ambulance they were riding in, believing it would be exempted from “Israeli” shelling, was a bombing target for enemy helicopters.

The six martyrs were two women aged between 28 and 50; the remaining were children aged between 2 and a half months and 10 years old.

“Israel” continued to shell the villages and towns of Adsheet, Jibsheet, Haruf and Mayfadun. It also attacked a Lebanese army position in Habbush and carried out attacks on the districts of Tyre and Nabatiyeh.

In parallel, the Mujahedeen resistance shot down an Apache helicopter on the verge of bombing civilian homes, and a resistance rocket hit a Merkava tank in al-Dabshah enemy post, killing and wounding all its crew.

In the meantime, Katyusha rockets rained down on “Israeli” occupation settlements, Nahariya, Gideon and Kiryat Shmona in particular.

The Resistance response prompted “Israeli” Foreign Minister Ehud Barak to admit that “Hezbollah, despite ‘Israel’s’ military operations, is still capable of launching Katyusha rockets at any moment into the Galilee.”

With the aggression and targeting of civilians continuing, it was high time to mobilize the Resistance forces. The Secretary General of Hezbollah His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, addresses the Mujahideen in a speech, saying, “Let us rise up to lift humiliation from our nation, killing from our people, and occupation from our land, and let’s be ready to meet God and His Prophet and the Imams [PBUT].”

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Four of the April 1996 Aggression: April 14

As the “Israeli” aggression on Lebanon ran on, April 14 witnessed the commencement of diplomatic talks, especially after the Mansoury massacre which revealed to the world the cruelty of those who caused it.

Bombardment continued on villages in south Lebanon and the western Bekaa. Meanwhile, the resistance kept the pressure on the enemy’s outposts.

Diplomatic calls between Egypt, Syria, France, Iran, US, the Zionist regime, Russia, and Lebanon were taking place in order to try and achieve an immediate cease-fire.

On the fourth day of the aggression, Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, made his way towards Arab countries and France. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s representative to the UN filed a complaint regarding the “Israeli” aggressions on Lebanon.

Although supportive to the “Israeli” entity, after Lebanon’s complaints, the US suggested an initiative that was more of a basket of “Israeli” demands.

In the meantime, the US initiative was faced with a French initiative which was tipped more to the endorsement of Lebanese’s expectations, despite requiring a few amendments.

As diplomatic talks were taking place, Lebanon preferred neither to accept nor reject any of the two initiatives.

The Islamic Republic of Iran had a prominent role in diplomatic talks, where it considered the Lebanese’s resistance truly countered the dark face of the “Israeli” enemy. Iran also sent aid and medical relief to Lebanon.

On the battlefront, “Israeli” bombardment continued, and the resistance’s response continued, marking it as the day with the greatest amount of Katyusha rockets, fired towards “Israeli” settlements. An “Israeli” officer stated, “The Katyusha rockets fired were so many we didn’t even count them”.

The major event of the fourth day of April aggression was the scene of 70 Islamic Resistance fighters broadcasted by al-Manar Channel, showing their sacrifice and will to take revenge from the “Israeli” enemy.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Five of the April 1996 Aggression: April 15

Day five of the 1996 April Aggression was momentous due to the heavy bombing of the cities of Tyre and Nabatiyeh in South Lebanon in an “Israeli” bid to force the civilians who had remained in those areas to migrate north.

Some four hundred 155- and 175-mm caliber bombs of were fired on Nabatiyeh that day.

Military analysts in “Israeli” Haaretz daily revealed at the time that the “Israeli” army failed to force the migration of the people of Tyre, saying, “It’s not that easy that people leave this city”.

In an escalation of aggressions, the “Israeli” army broadcasted a statement via the enemy agents’ radio station [“Israel’s” collaborating army, the then Lahd army, had a radio station at the time which used to broadcast the “Israeli” army’s threats to Lebanon’s citizens], saying that they considered the expanding their assaults, including the evacuation of Zahraneh area, as well as the southern city of Saida.

In the afternoon, the Zionist artillery fired villages in the western Bekaa as “Israeli” warplanes executed nine raids with more than forty 500,000-pound bombs, in addition to vacuum missiles.

Three citizens were killed and scores were wounded in the raids.

Warplanes repeatedly targeted vital civilian facilities and buildings. A partial blackout occurred after abolishing the Bsalim electricity plant which provides electricity to Beirut, Mount Lebanon, North Lebanon, and the Bekaa.

“Israeli” raids also hit a two-story house in Mrayjeh in Beirut’s southern suburb, wounding eight. In addition, night raids took place on Soghbin in western Bekaa, abolishing a house and killing one civilian and wounded his wife and children.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Six of the April 1996 Aggression: April 16

The “Israeli” aggressions went on.

Hostilities started at 4 a.m. when two planes struck the Palestinian official Mounir Makdah’s house in Ein al-Helwe refugee camp in southern Lebanon. The raids targeted the house directly. Makdah’s eight-month-old son was the victim.

Between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., 700 bombs and rockets of different calibers were fired on southern and Bekaa areas.

The enemy agent’s radio station continued broadcasting statements and warnings; and on this day, it warned, “‘Israeli’ troops will prohibit any movement on the way South, will consider any vehicle on that road as hostile, and will immediately strike.”

A Zionist warplane hovered over a civilian car with two Lebanese army soldiers in Bazouriyeh, South Lebanon. The soldiers, taking notice of the chopper, hid in a deserted house, but the plane bombed the house, killing the soldiers.

At noon, warplanes struck consecutive raids on Jmayjmeh village, destroying two houses and a shelter with forty citizens; Ayda Obadi, Fatima Ali Hamza [25 years old], Fadel Atwi [25 years old], and wounded ten other civilians.

At 2 p.m., “Israeli” warplanes struck Beirut’s southern suburb, firing fourteen rockets at the airport and Hay el-Sellom, where four-year-old Israa Lakies was the victim.

In Bekaa’s Temnine Tahta village, an air raid killed a woman, Sanaa Khatib, and destroyed several cars.

At 5 p.m., “Israeli” warplanes raided over Borj Kalaway twice, killing a civilian, and wounded others.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Seven of the April 1996 Aggression: April 17

The seventh day of the April 1996 aggression witnessed a clash on the diplomatic front between the American and French initiatives. Meanwhile, the operational situation remained unchanged with the occupying forces continuing to bomb villages and towns, leaving a number of martyrs and wounded among the civilians.

The Islamic Resistance countered this bombardment by pounding enemy positions and occupation settlements with Katyusha rockets, which continued to pour down on settlements in the North [of occupied Palestine] to the extent that conflicting reports on the number of missiles started to circulate inside the Zionist entity.

That day, “Israeli” warplanes bombed the cities of Tyre and Nabatiyeh, as well as surrounding towns. Two houses were bombed in Shakra town, where about 50 people were sheltering. Divine providence saved another blood bath from occurring, which would have been added to the “Israeli” enemy’s rich record of massacres, especially those of the April 1996 aggression.

In parallel, “Israeli” helicopters resumed bombing of ambulances in what appeared to be a daily habit of the occupation. Crew members of an Islamic Health Society vehicle were injured when their vehicle was bombed.

In response at this time, the Resistance Mujahideen continued to pound “Israeli” artillery positions that were bombarding our villages and towns. They Resistance also attacked “Israeli” occupation soldiers positions, inflicting their ranks with casualties.

On the diplomatic front, debate evolved on the French and American initiatives to the point of a clash between Washington and Paris. Moves made by former French Foreign Minister Ervé de Charette between Tel Aviv and Cairo, Damascus and Beirut, raised ire in the United States, especially with the Islamic Republic of Iran putting its full weight, in these consultations with the French.

The pace of the seventh day of the aggression was similar to the two preceding days – the 15th and 16th of April, 1996 – except for a most horrific scene ever witnessed by the Lebanese and the world. Thursday, April 18, was turned black when the Zionist forces committed a massacre in Nabatiyeh Fawka suburb and another massacre in Qana.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Eight of the April 1996 Aggression: April 18

On Thursday morning on April 18, 1996, the Zionist enemy dropped its loads of bombs and hatred on Nabatiyeh town, to wipe out the entire al-Abed family, as they slept in their house. Zionist fighter jets turned the 3-story home to rubble, mixed with the flesh of a mother and her seven children, who were sleeping on the first floor; without a single utterance by the United Nations…

Successive massacres… Qana washes its children with blood…

At about 2 p.m. on Thursday April 18, 1996, southern families taking shelter from “Israeli” shelling, packed the Fijian contingent’s center, which was operating within the United Nations Interim Forces [UNIFIL] in the southern Lebanese village of Qana.

They came from all the surrounding villages of Jibal al-Butm, Qana, Rishkaniyeh, Seddiqine and many other villages in the Tyre district.

An estimated of 500 civilians were taking shelter in two sheds, only tens of meters apart, at the UN center when the massacre took place.

At 2:05 p.m., a bomb landed near one of the sheds… then a second, at which time everyone in the sheds tried to leave, when a third bomb landed on the first shed… and the massacre began.

Then artillery shells rained down on the center, specifically in blocks where dozens of refugees were sheltering.

The source of the shelling was determined, enemy sites of “Hamid” and “Rchaf” recorded the highest number of shells fired. “Spy planes” flew overhead, correcting the shelling target to wipe out all who took refuge in the two sheds.

More than one hundred martyrs fell in five minutes and before the eyes and ears… while the UN, and the Fijian contingent radio operator “howling” for this mad bombing to stop…But all fell on deaf ears.

At the end of April, the number of martyrs of the Qana Massacre reached 106. The remains of 18 martyrs were not identified. Among the martyrs, were two Christian females, who were buried with the rest of the Qana martyrs at the request of Christian religious reference authorities… by that making Qana the candle of national unity.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Nine of the April 1996 Aggression: April 19

On the 9th day of the aggression, pictures of the bloody Qana Massacre – committed by the criminal bloody hands of Zionism – laid a heavy shadow over the world, generating waves of international reactions of condemnation and sympathy.

On the following day, after the Qana massacre, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Guardian Sayyed Ali Khamenei sent Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah a telegram of denunciations and condemnation of the US-backed bloody events perpetrated by the “Israeli” enemy.

Since denunciations and condemnations did not deter the “Israeli” enemy, or put a limit to its aggressiveness, the Resistance and its Mujahideen avenged the martyrs of Qana and Nabatiyeh with a barrage of Katyusha rockets on occupation settlements, lasting from the eve of April 18 until morning of April 19.

Avenging the Nabatiyeh and Qana Massacres, Resistance groups bombed occupation settlements of Kiryat Shmona, Kafarborom, and others. The “Israeli” occupation authorities banned any transmission of the information describing the state of these settlements that were scorched du to the impact of the Katyusha rockets.

On the diplomatic front, Qana Massacre opened the door wide for international parties to escape embarrassment by the US, since the massacre proved that “Operation Grapes of Wrath” without a doubt was an operation against civilians.

Parallel to these reactions, Damascus was crammed with diplomats and foreign ministers at the time, all using the common phrase “cease-fire”.

Hezbollah’s presence in Damascus with a delegation headed by Party Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was akin to his continuous presence in the confrontation fields of the south and western Bekaa, with the same objective in mind, to make sure “Israel” is deprived the opportunity of politically exploiting its aggression.

The French initiative was welcomed and supported, while that of the United States was met with a blocked wall, especially, given that the Lebanese diplomatic movement – coordinated with Syria – did not spare efforts to give the Europeans an important role, while turning their back to US initiative.

With continued “Israeli” bombardment of villages and towns, the Resistance continued its retaliatory response.

Day after day and little by little, the scene was becoming clearer, the Resistance had overturned the balance of “Israeli” equations to impose a new equation based on the “balance of terror”.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Ten of the April 1996 Aggression: April 20

After a marked decline of hostilities on April 19, renewed Zionist shelling and intensification of bombardment by battleships at sea was witnessed on April 20. Shelling continued at the average of two shells every five minutes throughout the entire day, leaving three civilians wounded, one car scorched and 4 cars careered out of control.

At dawn, 4:30 a.m. saw intermittent bombing from Jibchit to Adsheet on to Harouf and Shakra, one home was destroyed on the head of its occupants – the Abu Jaafar Murrah family.

At 7:30 a.m. “Israeli” warplanes and helicopters launched three raids on the villages of Ma’liyeh, Haniyeh, and Qlaiah in Tyre, leaving four martyrs and several others wounded.

Zionist warplanes intensified their attacks on villages and major highways, preventing International Emergency Forces food aid convoys from reaching villages where civilians refused to leave their homes despite Zionism’s brutality.

On this day, no village was spared from the raids of hate, which also targeted a Lebanese army check point in the Mansouri town, causing the martyrdom of Sergeant Ali Diab of Bourj Shimali and soldier Hussein Remmo of Baalbek, and wounding Sergeant Munir Hayek from North Lebanon, Sergeant Abdullah Mohsen of Aitit, and a third soldier. A civilian car near the checkpoint was also scorched.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Eleven of the April 1996 Aggression: April 21

Failing to curb the firing of Katyusha rockets into its occupation settlements, the “Israeli” enemy continued to carry out raids of hatred on civilians and destructive shelling on villages and houses.

Its heavy machine gun firing on Habbush wounded army conscript Abbas Haidar Jaber, while a Zionist battleship hit a passing car on the coastal road, and the crew of an ambulance tending the hit car was scorched.

Warplanes and helicopters raided the town of Shakra, targeting Abu Reda Saleh’s house where a number of elderly people were taking shelter. Two citizens were wounded in the attack, Hadi Saleh [90 years] and his daughter Alawiyeh [65 years]; others survived and were rescued from the rubble.

At 3:00 p.m., enemy war planes attacked a civilian car on the road to Adsheet, wounding its five passengers Ali Khodr, Abbas Dhia, Najeeb Akhdar, Youseph Diab and Rabah Yassin.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Twelve of the April 1996 Aggression: April 22

Today, April 22, Lebanon was in mourning for the souls of the martyrs who perished in the “Israeli” massacres.

Meanwhile, enemy attacks were stepped up at dawn by seven raids on the town of Sultanieh. Warplanes struck the town’s drinking water supply tank, which feeds dozens of villages in both the East and West regional sectors.

Fawwar Bridge, linking Halousiyah and Bediyas was hit by four raids that completely destroyed it.

Off the Zahrani shores, enemy battleships resumed heavy shelling of the Awali area coastal road wounding six people. A civilian vehicle was directly hit in the shelling of al-Zahrani-Adloun Road, its owner was martyred and an army recruit was wounded.

A UNIFIL Force convoy delivering food to the people of Kafra and surrounding villages was surrounded with “Israeli” firepower of raids and artillery shelling and prevented from moving for several hours.

At 3:00 p.m., warplanes conducted raids lasting for an hour and a half, at a rate of 1 raid every 7 minutes.

These raids targeted humanitarian centers of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in the Na’ameh Hills, dropping nearly 30 rockets in the assault.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Thirteen of the April 1996 Aggression: April 23

Heavy Zionist artillery resumed heavy bombardment of villages in the south and western Bekaa, while warships continued targeting passing cars on the coastal road. One car was hit at the Awali Bridge; the three passengers onboard injured in the attack were Muwafak Sayyed, Omar Dali, and a third from al-Baba family.

“Israeli” warships focused their attacks on the Zahrani area, particularly the stretch between Khayzaran, Adloun and Abu al-Aswad towns, bringing traffic to a complete halt.

Meanwhile, a hostile helicopter raid on Samma’aiyeh town injured Hassan Khalil. Elsewhere, Mahmoud Qna’a was wounded during bombardment of the towns of Khirbet Silim and Yatar and the area between Mahrounah and Jwayya.

Shortly after mid-night, hostile aircraft launched three raids on the town of Maaroub, and cut the road leading to the villages of Bint Jbeil in the central sector.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Fourteen of the April 1996 Aggression: April 24

The pace of the conflict remaining the same, the 14th day of the April Aggression witnessed diplomatic steps that were noticeably determined on seeking an understanding.

New York city and Lebanese town of Shtura were the center of diplomatic efforts between Lebanese President Elias Hrawi and US President Bill Clinton met in NY, and the Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in Shtura.

A unified Lebanese stand in both places stressed the need to stop the aggression and for the “Israeli” enemy to implement resolution 425 and withdraw from all Lebanese territory.

In the meantime, the situation remained unchanged in the field with continued “Israeli” bombardment on one side and Resistance Katyusha retaliation on the other.

A three-year-old child was martyred on this 14th day of this aggression, when he fell from a building due to pressure caused by “Israeli” warplanes breaking the sound barrier. Two other citizens were also injured in bombardment of the vicinity of Nabatiyeh city, and the vicinity of Tyre city.

In a new aggression policy, hostile warplanes began to cut road-links between villages. Meanwhile, with the aggression persisting, occupation settlements of Kiryat Shmona, Sasa, Rishon and others continued to be pounded by resistance Katyushas, and its artillery, which targeted the occupation’s outposts in Izziyah and Barasheet. A Lahd military vehicle was destroyed in the process, wounding and killing its crew.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Fifteen of the April 1996 Aggression: April 25

In its campaign to isolate villages, the occupying forces hit primary and secondary roads between towns and villages with large rockets leaving huge craters along the road networks.

Roads linking the following areas were cut off: But’m Mountains-Kafra, Siddinkin – Cana, Sultanieh-Tibnin, Der Antar- Bir Salasel, Hannoweih-Ain Baal, and Musharraf farm- Mahrounah.

Resumed Zionist air strikes wounded 4 civilians in Yatar town, they were transferred by an armored Nepalese UNIFIL forces carrier to Tibnin Hospital, and another citizen was injured on the Awali Bridge, when a shell fired from a warship exploded.

Helicopters returned to targeting Yatar town in the afternoon again, to hit a house that belonged to Ibrahim Amin Kurani, destroying it completely and wounding nine civilians that were sheltering inside. Among the wounded were 2 children Amin and Hussein Kurani.

Failing to curb rocket attacks, the enemy carried out an air strike on a Popular Front-General Command outpost in the Bekaa Valley. The raid hit a military vehicle, a bulldozer, fuel cargo trucks and three Bedouin shepherds’ tents, five hundred hives and a water tank transporter were also destroyed.

Diary of the ’Israeli’ April 1996 Aggression

Day Sixteen  the End of the April 1996 Aggression: April 26

The April aggression reached its sixteenth day with the enemy immersed in defeat… At dawn of Friday, 26 April 1996, the enemy bombed the vicinity of Markaba town using its artillery power, with the early morning hours the shelling, under “Israeli” Air Force cover, reached Jabour Hills, Abu-Rashid, Qatrani Forest and the Litani River.

This was followed by two air raids along the road linking Jibsheet-Harouf and areas along the Litani River… In the meantime, the Islamic Resistance bombarded Kiryat Shmona occupation settlement leaving destruction and devastation that shocked the occupier. Later Haaretz quoted senior officers of the so-called northern front that military intelligence erred in its evaluation of Hezbollah’s rocket firing capabilities…

The Islamic Resistance response rate increased as the Zionist aggression continued, particularly the resistance Katyusha rocket bursts, which reached a level that the last volley of Katyusha rockets was falling on settlements in the occupied Galilee only minutes before the April understanding was declared, marking the victory of the eighth war – when the “Grapes of Wrath” was undone by the hands of the Mujahideen.

Louis-Napoleon: The revolutionary difference between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy

April 11, 2022

Source

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

by Ramin Mazaheri

(This is the fifth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

For Marx all of society was divided into classes – classes which played political roles. What’s unfortunate is that he fundamentally believed that the average rural person – 85% of mid-19th century France – was incapable of playing a political role. It’s a major blind spot which seems to defy common sense, but it was actually a common mistake back then.

It’s a common mistake even now: Rejecting the part played by the rural voters continues to be a 175-year problem for Western leftists.

Yes, in 1848 Marx was a working socialist who was going to fight, write and lobby for socialism – and denigrate all the other parties vying for influence in the new 2nd Republic (1848-52) – but in 2022 we can see that his disregard for the rural masses was also a major factor in his rejection (and rather slandering) of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who was elected France’s first president in 1848.

In the previous chapter I noted how two crucial facts are always left out of any discussion of the 2nd Republic and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup against the legislative branch (and subsequent establishment of the 2nd Empire: 1852-70):

1) the legislative branch voted to subordinate the 1848 constitution to the majority will of parliament – thus they made a coup against the people’s constitution, and 2) the legislative branch gutted 1848’s progressive advance of instituting universal male suffrage, thus they made a coup against the people and millions of new voters. Thus, it is the oligarchical parliament which made the first coup – the Bonapartist coup was a reaction to these outrages. Critically, it was approved in a referendum so large it was then the world’s largest referendum.

The simplest definition of “Bonapartism” is accepted as, “A political movement associated with authoritarian rule, usually by a military leader, supported by a popular mandate.” Of course I am not arguing for Bonapartism being progressive in the 21st century, but from 1799-1870 the Bonapartes were the only elected chief executives in Europe, and that certainly was progressive! The failure is in obscuring the Bonapartes’ historical context and judging solely by 21st century standards – which is ludicrous and dooms us to never understanding history and repeating the same mistakes.

Without embracing the will of a mainly rural French electorate intent on keeping the spirits of 1848 and 1789 not just alive but actually partially implemented via their election of the Bonapartes, we are stuck with siding with awful absolute monarchs or awful Liberal Democrats. It’s unfortunate that France has never selected Socialist Democracy, but that doesn’t mean Bonapartism wasn’t an advance over the other two.

By denigrating both Bonapartes leftists agree with conservatives that not only was 1848 a failure everywhere including the one place it reportedly succeeded – France – but that the French Revolution was a failure as well. This forces us to lose the thread of political history: moving away from unelected, theocratic autocracy and towards greater self-empowerment and democracy.

So, Marx got Louis-Bonaparte all wrong. He’s not as thrilling as his uncle, but he should no longer be portrayed as the “farce” in Marx’s famous history repeated as farce idea from his essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

What’s farcical is that people keep championing ruinous, repugnant Western Liberal Democracy even though it was voted out after just three years in France.

From Burke to Marx to ‘deplorable’ Brexiteers & Yellow Vests – both left and right have been biased against rural people

Marx’s Brumaire, a title which referred back to the similarly bloodless and similarly voter-ratified coup of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799, clearly tried to obscure crucial truths: He waited until the absolute end of his famous essay to explain that Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s elevation to emperor was democratically approved and justifiably rests on his insistence on 1848’s unprecedented implementation of universal male suffrage.

(Louis-Napoleon) Bonaparte represents an economic class, and that most numerous in the commonweal of France – the Allotment Farmer. As the Bourbons (ousted 1815) are the dynasty of large landed property, as the Orleans are the dynasty of money, so are the Bonapartes the dynasty of the farmer, i.e. of the French masses. Not the Bonaparte who threw himself at the feet of the bourgeois parliament (as Marx notes Louis-Napoleon did repeatedly from his election in 1848), but the Bonaparte who swept away (made a coup against) the bourgeois parliament is the elect of this farmer class. For three years the cities had succeeded in falsifying the meaning of the election of December 10 (1848, Louis-Napoleon’s election as president), and in cheating the former out of the restoration of the Empire. The election of December 10, 1848, is not carried out until the ‘coup d’etat’ of December 2, 1851.”

Marx asserts what the Yellow Vests assert and what this book asserts: the parliaments of Western Liberal Democracy refuse to implement the will of the average voter, and we have known this since at least 1848.

Marx’s vital analysis of democratic denial by parliament only comes after scores of pages of denigrating Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte as personally unfit for office. However, 175 years later, we can see it clearly right there: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte partially confirmed the people’s victory of 1848 just as Napoleon Bonapartism partially confirmed the people’s victory of 1789 – both upheld the democratic will and opposed oligarchs.

The “allotment farmer” is the rural proletariat, whether they own their own small holdings or are sharecroppers. 1789 broke up the large estates of the church and created these small holdings, which was really the main economic blow to end French feudalism. It is facile to falsely slander the land redistribution post-1789 as something which only profited the richer peasants and professionals, because as the Revolution went on poor peasants were undoubtedly buying land. By the turn of the century 70% of land buyers were peasants and only 30% were noblemen, dealers, merchants and lawyers. Even if poor peasants could never afford their own land the French Revolution’s ending of tithe, seigniorial dues and primogeniture represented an enormous leftist leap for the lives of all peasants. One shouldn’t have to be a Maoist to grasp that finally giving peasants property and economic freedoms at the expense of the elite and an elite-infested clergy was a spectacular advance in its day. To not see all this as historical progress – even if not ideal – from feudalism is to lose the thread completely. In order to maintain it French farmers used arms, then the guillotine, then votes. The fear of a return to feudalism – especially in the context of a total failure of the 1848 Revolutions everywhere else across Europe – was a real, regular fear for the French peasant in the 2nd Republic.

Marx continues, and it’s clear that he sees the formally feudal masses as being incapable of embracing socialism; of a need for an urban vanguard party; that he could be describing the Yellow Vests 170 years later:

“The allotment farmers are an immense mass, whose individual members live in identical conditions, without, however, entering into manifold relations of one another. Their method of production isolates them from one another, instead of drawing them into mutual intercourse. In so far as millions of families live under economic conditions that separate their mode of life, their interests and their culture from those of the other classes, and that place them in an attitude hostile toward the latter, they constitute a class; in so far as there exists only a local connection among these farmers, a connection which the individuality and exclusiveness of their interests prevent from generating among them any unity of interest, national connections and political organisation, they do not constitute a class.”

If rural farmers – in the breadbasket of Western Europe and in Europe’s then-richest and most politically advanced country – cannot constitute a political class (even with a vote for the males, even!) then Marx necessarily sees French politics as limited to urbanites and non-farmers. It’s an incredibly English-influenced view of politics: suffrage would be excluded for Britain’s agricultural workers until as late as 1884, until the Representation of the People Act. We see that the rural-urban divide in the Anglophone world, and their view that ruralites are second-class citizens who should be excluded from politics, is not since Brexit or the Yellow Vests but extends deep into the roots of even Socialist Democracy.

Yellow Vest: “What we have in common is that we share a feeling of injustice, about climate, about fiscal, about work. They are making laws about retirement, unemployed people, everything – so there is a lot of different people here today, but what we all have in common is a feeling of injustice.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

Marx continues: “Consequently, they are unable to assert their class interests in their own name, be it by a parliament or by convention. They cannot represent one another, they must be represented. Their representative must at the same time appear as their master, as an authority over them, as an unlimited governmental power, that protects them from above, bestows rain and sunshine upon them. Accordingly, the political influence of the allotment farmer finds its ultimate expression in an Executive power that subjugates the commonweal to its own autocratic will.”

Because around 85% of France is incapable of political action (even with a vote for males!) for Marx, and only appreciates absolute autocrats (Then why did they fight for the French Revolution! Then why have Chinese farmers embraced a vast Party?!), then the only alternative is for political life be limited to a vanguard party drawn from urban classes. This urban snobbery is still rampant today across both sides of the spectrum, but the left rarely examines this “acceptable” prejudice they often display.

However, we need to stress that Marx was not at all alone. Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism, shared the same incorrectly dim view of rural political capabilities as Marx. Interestingly, Burke also wrote in his Reflections on the Revolution in France that this new Western Liberal Democracy would perpetually depend on those classes which oppress the rural masses. He notes that it would be dominated by what I have often written about: not a vanguard class inspired by Socialist Democracy but Bankocracy.

“The whole of the power obtained by this (France’s 1789) revolution will settle in the towns among the burghers and the monied director who lead them. The landed gentleman, the yeoman, and the peasant have, none of them, habits or inclinations or experience which can lead them to any share in this sole source of power and influence now left in France. The very nature of a country life, the very nature of landed property, in all the occupations, and all the pleasures they afford, render combination and arrangement (the sole way of procuring and exerting influence) in a manner impossible amongst country people. Combine them by all the art you can, and all the industry, they are always dissolving into individuality. Anything in the nature of incorporation is almost impracticable amongst them. Hope, fear, alarm, jealousy, the ephemerous tale that does its business and dies in a day – all these things which are the reins and spurs by which leaders check or urge the minds of followers are not easily employed, or hardly at all, amongst scattered people. They assemble, they are, they act with the utmost difficulty and at the greatest charge. Their efforts, if they can be commenced, cannot be sustained. They cannot proceed systematically.

It is obvious that in the towns all things which conspire against the country gentleman come in favor of the money managers and director. In towns combination is natural. The habits of burghers, their occupations, their diversion, their business, their idleness continually brings them into mutual contact. Their figures and their vices are sociable; they are always in garrison; and they come embodied and half disciplined into the hands of those who mean to form them for civil or military action.

All these considerations leave no doubt on my mind that, if this monster of a constitution can continue, France will be wholly governed by the agitators in corporations, by societies in the towns, formed of directors of assignats, and trustees for the sale of church lands, attorneys, agents, money jobbers, speculators and adventurers, composing an ignoble oligarchy founded on the destruction of the the crown, the nobility and the people. Here are all the deceitful dreams and lies of the equality and rights of men.”

They are always in garrison… a sycophant, yes, but Burke was also a great writer. He also foresaw that Western Liberal Democracy was going to culminate in an “ignoble oligarchy” formed of “agitators in corporations”, land speculators, “attorneys, agents, money jobbers, speculators and adventurers”. Who today would not admit that this is what it is?

What Burke failed to foresee is that Marx, Lenin, Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and others would create new systems which would wrest control from both monarchs and this group – which rules along with monarchs in Western Liberal Democracies – and give it to the masses.

So Marx was not alone in thinking that the rural masses are difficult to wrangle into politics, but the weekly roundabout protest and the Facebook page – where freedom of assembly and speech/writing are enjoyed (or at least they were at one point in the internet’s history) – has definitely ended the isolation of the rural class. This class, which was created by 1789 let’s recall, had to wait a very long time to challenge the capital’s death-grip on governance. What is the capital’s 21st century response? To both accuse this rural class of racism while at the same time promoting mainstream politicians who have explicitly pushed imperialist racism.

In 1852 socialism was not sufficiently developed. Ruralites understandably turned to Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte after just 3 years of trying out bourgeois Western Liberal Democracy – the alternative was a return to feudalism, autocracy and the total death of 1789.

“The rooted thought of the Nephew becomes a reality because it coincided with the rooted thought of the most numerous class among the French.”

Marx was right to champion socialism, but 175 years later we can champion Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte for his popular democratic legitimacy, something which Marx knew, but refused to grudgingly champion:

If the bourgeois have no values at all, then not only does liberalism have no values but neither does the first years after 1789

Also coming at the end of his analysis, Marx has rather tossed in this defense of half the country.

“But this should be well understood: The Bonaparte dynasty does not represent the revolutionary, it represents the conservative farmer; it does not represent the farmer who presses beyond his own economic conditions, his little allotment of land, it represents him rather who would confirm these conditions; it does not represent the rural population, that, thanks to its own inherent energy, wishes, jointly with the cities to overthrow the old older. It represents, on the contrary, the rural population that, hide-bound in the old order, seeks to see itself, together with its allotments, saved and favoured by the ghost of the Empire.”

Yet Marx is wrong all over the place, in this effort to portray Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte as the candidate of only the far-right farmer. Marx is wrong about who was a “conservative”: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected at a time when royalism was dominant across Europe and still a major part of France’s own political spectrum. To imagine that in 1848 all of France’s farmers had been converted to republicanism/anti-monarchism is certainly false – there were still plenty of royalist farmers, and they are the true conservatives. Furthermore, Marx is implying that farmers who want to preserve the gains of 1789 (which is hardly an “old order”) but are skeptical of 1848 are hidebound reactionaries even though this farmer and his family are the only ones to have thrown off the chains of autocratic feudalism in all of Europe. It’s tortuous logic, indeed.

What Marx failed to admit here is that the desire to hold on to a little allotment, at a time when Anglo-Germanic-Russian autocracy offered only continued feudalism, contains plenty of socialist revolutionary sentiment. It’s surprising that Marx fails to admit this, because in the Communist Manifesto Marx is clearly not against the property of the allotment farmer: “The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. … Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations.”

Yet it’s clear: upholding 1789 was still a revolutionary act in 1848 Europe. I believe Marx was playing politics – he could not make a tactical support of Louis-Napoleon because he wanted the socialists to win.

Yellow Vest: “The Yellow Vests won’t stop until we get citizen-initiated referendums. We need some real democracy in our system, but the Yellow Vests can’t do it alone. I’m glad more help from other sectors is on the way next week.”

As in the previous chapter, Marx proves that Liberal Democracy does not even offer or defend the bourgeois rights of mere liberalism, but Marx goes too far in saying that the bourgeois have no virtues at all when compared to monarchists.

Marx differentiated between royal & bourgeois money and classes, but not between the differences between royal & bourgeois virtues

Marx views the rule of the bourgeois in the 2nd Republic as absolutely terrible, but it’s not really clear if he views them to be as absolutely terrible as monarchy: he truly hates them both. He also truly hates Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. Marx is only on the side of socialism, which is fine, but he underestimates the non-royalists in how they reject the social order of the royalists, and this is a fundamental trend of history:

“All classes and parties joined hands in the (1848 uprising) June Days in a ‘Party of Order’ against the class of the proletariat, which was designated the ‘Party of Anarchy’, of Socialism, of Communism. They claimed to have ‘saved’ society against the ‘enemies of society’. They gave out the slogans of the old social order – ‘Property, family, religion, order’ – as the passwords for their army, and cried out to the counter-revolutionary crusaders: ‘In this sign thou wilt conquer!’”

I think we all get where Marx is coming from. He is also describing what the last chapter focused on: The February Revolution of 1848 was sold out over and over, culminating in the exclusion from power of all classes but the royalists, bourgeois wealth and the upper professionals.

But if we take a longer view of history we see that those were actually new slogans, as they come from a new liberalist republican mindset – those slogans are not the slogans of monarchy at all!

Autocratic monarchy doesn’t respect “property”: they confiscate and bestow at will. They don’t respect “family”: they enslaved your family, forced you to work in their self-glorifying projects and some had the right to rape your wife on your wedding night. They don’t respect righteous “religion” and good works: they conflate religion with praise of their person and total obedience to them, not God. They don’t respect “order”: the “order” in the mind of one king or queen, i.e. their despotism, is “disorder” to everyone else, as they live in fear of that one mind in charge.

Marx does not see that these 2nd Republic slogans have an actual force among liberalist republicans which was new in human history, even if their definition was misused by the royalists. Marx is making politics and thus was, fairly, more concerned with socialism winning power than delineating a progression of history.

In 2022 no socialist-inspired country is against “property”: it does certainly expropriates from the appropriator those goods which the public needs (i.e. electricity, transport, schools, hospitals, etc.). Socialism does not break up the “family”: it undoubtedly promotes the family with tax breaks for children, state-run nurseries, maternal and paternal leave, etc. Socialism is not against “religion”: the USSR proved that this was an immoral failure, and thus religion coexists in places like Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, etc. Socialism is not against “order”: it enforces an order based around equality, whereas the order of Western Liberal Democracy is based around the violence needed to prop up an oligarchy.

So the problem with the “Property, family, religion, order” upheld by Western Liberal Democracy is that these four things are of the conception held by a 1% who either champions or is still a part of the monarchical legacy, and not for and of the masses. Losing property to the 1%’s usury, losing family to the 1%’s hospital bills, losing religion to the 1%’s worship of individualistic sensation, losing order to the 1%’s idea of “slightly less despotism is offered by rule by our class” – this is not socialism, but it clearly is Western Liberal Democracy.

What the Party of Order did was subvert these ideals which liberalism and socialism, both born in 1789, agree are necessary. What they disagree is in the conception of them.

Where they agree is in a negative view of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

It’s notable that he is so contemptible to Marx yet his Louis-Napoleon’s enemies (François Guizot) said of his coup: “This is the complete and definitive triumph of socialism.” A reassessment of Marx’s animus is clearly needed to clearly understand “the nephew”.

Marx disliked Louis-Napoleon the way a working socialist politician today dislikes Donald Trump

Marx spends an inordinate amount of Brumaire both suppressing the role of the rural masses and elevating the importance of the urban areas, as I have noted. He also repeatedly condemns Louis-Napoleon as the president of the “slum-proletariat”, or what he calls the “La Boheme” social classes: people without merit and without any desire to acquire work skills, combined with pseudo-artistic types, outright criminals and addicts.

And yet Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte seemed to be a man after Marx’s own leftist-writer heart? Sadly, he had the fortune/misfortune of being a Bonaparte. Louis-Napoleon was the son of whom the Dutch called “Louis the Good” – Napoleon’s brother Louis, who headed French Revolutionary Netherlands.

Louis-Napoleon clearly saw his political ideology as perpetuating the middle-of-the-road revolutionary path of Napoleon Bonaparte, which is based around ideas that government exists to serve the masses, stability while implementing progressive political changes, and a healthy and not jingoistic patriotism. A fuller, uncredited definition is: A popular national leader confirmed by popular election, above party politics, promoting equality, progress, and social change, with a belief in religion as an adjunct to the State, a belief that the central authority can transform society, a belief in the “nation” and its glory and a fundamental belief in national unity. I note that Iran’s revolutionary concept of what I term a “supreme leader branch” shares a lot of these characteristics.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s path was quite similar to his uncle’s, and with similar conflicts – he started as a revolutionary republican, fighting Teutonic autocracy in Italy. But his personal attempts at revolution – himself at the head of a Bonapartist revolt – landed him in prison. It’s there that he starts to be much like a Marx – a widely-read socio-economic historian of a leftist variety. An major part of his 1848 electoral popularity is based on his works like The Extinction of Pauperism, which reveal his concern with the general good of the average French person – this puts him in stark contrast with the royalists and elite seated in the 2nd Republic’s first National Assembly in 1849. His philosophy is ultimately not socialism but Bonapartism, with himself obviously at the head – and for this Marx cannot ally with him.

However, equating Bonapartism with absolute monarchism or unelected authoritarianism is as foolish as it was in the era of Napoleon Bonparte. It also cannot be equated with Western Liberal Democracy.

I would like to ask Marx: How bad can Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte be when on October 10, 1851, he announces plans to restore universal suffrage and on October 16 his executive cabinet resigns over it? Marx commented:

Marx quotes Louis Napoleon, who concludes with a perfect analysis of the 1849-51 rule of Western Liberal Democracy, but still with no credit from Marx. I think it’s precisely because he, like so many Western leftists and unlike so many modern Muslim leftists, totally forgets the influence of monarchism:

“With such unhoped for successes, I am justified to repeat how great the French republic would be if she were only allowed to pursue her real interests and reform her institutions, instead of being constantly disturbed in this by demagogues, on one side, and on the other, by monarchic hallucinations. The monarchic hallucinations hamper all progress and all serious departments of industry. Instead of progress we have struggle only. Men, formerly the most zealous supporters of royal authority and prerogative become the partisans of a convention that has no purpose other than to weaken an authority that is born of universal suffrage. We see men who have suffered most from the (1848) revolution and complained bitterest of it proving a new one for the sole purpose of putting fetters on the will of the nation.” (emphasis mine)

Modern Iranians certainly know what it means to be disturbed by “monarchic hallucinations”. Marx failed to appreciate Louis-Napoleon’s railing against the royalist threat even though that is exactly what the average voter in France (a farmer) wanted to hear, because a return to feudalism was horrible to them and quite a real danger. Nor did he appreciate the average voter’s the brand-new goal: ending the self-interested oligarchy which is Western Liberal Democracy.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is an advance in global political history because he is against the total domination of the bourgeois, here in the form of a parliamentary republic, which ended universal suffrage and which dominated in many ways more thoroughly than in absolute autocracy as Marx himself said.

Like his uncle, Louis Napoleon is far from a perfect political hero, but he is no Western Liberal Democrat, nor is he an absolute monarch, nor does he disbelieve in the ideals of 1789 – for that they elected them emperor.

What’s needed in 2022 is not a new emperor, but the reforms which make representative democracy truly representative across the West, and an ousting of all royal/aristocratic/technocratic “hallucinations” of their supposed superiority over people like the Yellow Vests.

Yellow Vests: “Yes, there are many Yellow Vests who are poor and unemployed, but there are countless Yellow Vests who have stable jobs. We are all together regardless of our ethnic or religious background, because the Yellow Vests are the true representative of a united France.”

Appreciating Bonapartism over Western Liberal Democracy isn’t being blind to its failures

Marx’s recap of the historic vote approving Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s self-coup here, which admits that his primary electoral support was the democratic mass:

“Suffice it here to say that it was a reaction of the farmers’ class, who had been expected to pay the costs of the February (1848) revolution against the other classes of the nation: it was a reaction of the country against the city. It met with great favor among the soldiers, to whom the republicans of the ‘National’ (a bourgeois republican newspaper – started by Adolphe Thiers) had brought neither fame nor funds; among the great bourgeoisie who hailed Bonaparte as a bridge to the monarchy; and among the proletarians and small traders, who hailed him as a scourge to Cavaignac. I shall later have occasion to enter closer into the relation of the farmers to the French revolution.”

I began this chapter where Marx concluded – the relation of the farmers to French politics.

At the end of the previous chapter I stressed the importance of Western Liberal Democracy’s first imperialist strongman, Louis-Eugène Cavaignac. He went from being the governor of Algeria to leading the repression of urbanites (“proletarians”) in the June Days of 1848, and thus was despised. The army’s rank and file was full of lower-class men who lacked better job offers precisely because the elites who would staff the 2nd Republic’s unicameral parliament abolished the National Workshops, a fundamental demand of the the revolution, which is what then set off the June Days uprising. So of course they approved of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and opposed the warmongering Cavaignac, probably just as the rank-and-file Western soldier probably opposed Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Indochine, Korea, the Falklands, etc. and etc.).

What Marx wants to stress, necessarily, is that Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was allied with both the rural masses as well as the new rich bourgeois. It’s the same failing of “the uncle”: neither were sincere Jacobins, i.e. socialists; it’s the same virtue – opposing the royalists.

“I have already indicated that, since the entry of Fould (a banker representing the stock exchange) in the Ministry that portion of the commercial bourgeoisie that had enjoyed the lion’s share in Louis Philippe’s reign, to wit, the aristocracy of finance, had become Bonapartist. Fould not only represented Bonaparte’s interests at the Bourse, he represented also the interests of the Bourse with Bonaparte.”

Marx also relates that this new “aristocracy of finance” had also grown to include government bonds – i.e the taxes and money of the people – which remain the lynchpin of the Western economic capitalist system today. The French stock exchange wasn’t until Napoleon Bonaparte – it was a new and slowly growing leviathan, and by 1848 it was able to leave the Bourbons and Orleanists behind.

Marx is relating how by 1851 the financial-industrial-imperialist wealth which had backed the House of Orleans coup in the 1830 Revolution (commonly referred to as the July Revolution) had continued to grow in power to the point where many broke free from the Orleanists to back Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. These two groups worked together, with the rural masses, to push out the Bourbons and the Orleanist monarchical autocrats out of power once and for all.

(I did not cover it in this book, but the July Revolution is often called the Trois Glorieuses in French (“Three Glorious [Days]”). Both terms are less descriptive and more purposely opaque than a contemporary term: the Second French Revolution, as it inspired revolutions in Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and led to the independence of Belgium. The political advance of the July Revolution was slight: replacing the ultra-royalist Charter of 1814, which provided a short bill of rights within a strong monarchy, similar to the UK, with the Charter of 1830, which barely expanded suffrage and loosened press controls. Popular dissatisfaction with the July Monarchy was constant, producing a week of revolution in 1832 (the June Rebellion of 1832/Paris Uprising of 1832), which was the subject of Hugo’s Les Miserables, and then the Revolution of 1848.)

Vitally, Marx believes the experience of the 2nd Republic proved to one and all that Western Liberal Democracy was a total failure, and thus they, too, approved of the self-coup! This is an entirely rational conclusion drawn from his experiences of the time, and in concordance with class warfare – the new royalists + bourgeoisie simply wanted to get back to business, and Western Liberal Democracy was not yet skilled enough to efficiently aid the oligarchy:

“It (the leaders of the “bourgeois republic”) declared unmistakably that it longed to be rid of its own political rule, in order to escape the troubles and dangers of ruling.”

So Marx reported that Western Liberal Democracy went down without a fight.

Marx quotes The Economist from Feb 1851 on Louis-Napoleon’s coup: “Now we have it stated from numerous quarters that France wishes above all things for repose. The president declares it in his message to the Legislative (National) Assembly; it is echoed from the tribune; it is asserted in the journals; it is announced from the pulpit; it is demonstrated by the sensitiveness of the public funds at the least prospect of disturbance, and their firmness the instant it is made manifest that the Executive is far superior in wisdom and power to the factious ex-officials of all former governments.” (emphasis mine)

France was becoming a modern Bankocracy, but royalist hallucinations were slowing this down.

From The Economist in November 1851: “The President is now recognised as the guardian of order on every Stock Exchange of Europe.”

Like in 1799 a Bonaparte was going to win democratic approval by finding a propertied ally against the royalists. In 1799 it was those whose profited from the sale of the assignats – in 1851 it was those who profited from industrial-financial-imperialist wealth. In both cases the peasants and proletariat supported the Bonapartists, even if Marx claims that only the slum-proletariat (and thus not the honest workers and artisans) supported “the nephew”.

Thus the essence of Louis-Napoleon is similar to his uncle’s: A France advancing politically too far ahead of the rest of Europe in 1848 and garnering total enmity, thus acquiescing to only a moderate revolution by 1852. The compromise gives the average Frenchmen unparalleled rights but with a price of not neutering a new, usurious aristocracy.

Thus we now have the essence of Louis-Napoleon: one half is the righteous rejector of Western Liberal Democracy (a parliamentary bourgeois republic) and unelected monarchy in favor of universal suffrage, but the other half is a refusal to tax the wealthy, prohibit the usurious methods of the new financial class against the recently-propertied allotment farmers, resume the National Workshops (which would have reduced the power of the industrial class), or confiscate the wealth of the landed royalists – all the things which 1917, 1949, 1959 and 1979 would do.

Because Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte did not stop the financial oligarchy this happened, Marx wrote in 1871:

“The Second Empire had more than doubled the national debt, and plunged all the large towns into heavy municipal debts. The war had fearfully swelled the liabilities, and mercilessly ravaged the resources of the nation. To complete the ruin, the Prussian Shylock was there with his bond for the keep of half a million of his solders on French soil, his indemnity for 5 billions, and interest at 5 percent on the unpaid instalments thereof. Who was to pay the bill? It was only by the violent overthrow of the (Paris Commune) republic that the appropriators of wealth could hope to shift on to the shoulders of its producers the cost of a war which they, the appropriators, had themselves originated. Thus, the immense ruin of France spurred on these patriotic representatives of land and capital, under the very eyes and patronage of the invader, to graft upon the foreign war a civil war – a slaveholders’ rebellion.”

That is a stunning historical passage which sums up much in 1871, and is addressed in the next chapter on the Paris Commune.

It’s about knowing the real enemies – it is not the Bonapartes

This chapter requires so much Marx because the birth of Western Liberal Democracy was such a rapid failure that it appears complicated. With Marx’s tremendous journalism its lifecycle was made clear.

Facing a reign of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the rural will, the socialist Marx writes:

“All the same, the revolution is thoroughgoing. It still is on its passage through purgatory. It does its work methodically. Down to December 2, 1851, it (the revolution) had fulfilled one-half of its programme, it now fulfils the other half. It first ripens the power of the Legislature into fullest maturity in order to be able to overthrow it. Now that it has accomplished that the revolution proceeds to ripen the power of the Executive into equal maturity; it reduces this power to its purest expression; isolates it; places it before itself as the sole subject for reproof in order to concentrate against it all the revolutionary forces of destruction.”

Marx understood what many have covered up: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte expressed and achieved the total failure of the legislative branch in Western Liberal Democracy – your faith in Congress or the National Assembly or the Parliament of the United Kingdom is a total waste.

We see the reason that Western Liberal Democracy does not wish to remember the 2nd Republic – it was a total failure which saw parliament commit coups agains the constitution and the voters. It took an elected emperor to preserve the progressive idea of expanding democracy. Western Liberal Democracy hasn’t politically allied with the average person from its very beginning.

That passage also reveals Marx’s slandering of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte – he is “the sole subject for reproof” left. For Marx elite English parliamentarianism and been totally discredited – all that was left to do was to discredit the monarchical executive.

Yellow Vests: “People are angry because Macron has only represented just the interests of the rich class, billionaires and the bankers. Last year alone 500,000 more people fell under the poverty line in France, which is a direct result of Macron’s policies.”

Marx, as we will see with Trotsky, believed passionately that monarchy and Liberal Democracy had discredited itself – they were both right, but not enough agree with them. Who knows how many Emmanuel Macrons it will take?

It would take nearly 20 years, not just 3, for Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte to discredit himself and to be replaced by the Socialist Democracy of the Paris Commune.

Louis-Napoleon Bonparte’s real virtue is that he was fighting with the people against the dominant part of the oligarchy – the Bourbons and Orleanists, with all their accumulated wealth and influence. Of course Macron, the “president of the rich”, only fights against the people – he is totally bourgeois, and thus likes any and all rich people.

Macron is thus not like Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, and surely he never aimed to be such a populist. Macron more resembles the key figure from 1871, Adolphe Thiers, who also colluded with foreign powers to weaken France. But that is for the next chapter.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

French Muslims betrayed by ‘centrist’ Macron as Le Pen surges to a dead heat

April 10, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

In 2017 two out of three French voters were on the side of the nation’s Muslim citizens – for two weeks.

In between the first and second round presidential vote the incredible repression which Marine Le Pen was going to wage on Muslims was constantly cited as a reason to vote for Emmanuel Macron, who was presented as a “centrist”.

As the largest Muslim country in Europe the Muslim vote matters: In 2012 French Muslims decided the election. More than 2 million Muslim voters voted for Francois Hollande to the tune of 93% against Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande prevailed by just 1.1 million votes, or a 51.6% to 48.4% margin.

Hollande immediately sold out the Muslim vote by refusing to take a zero-tolerance approach to Sarkozy’s inauguration of France’s normalisation of Islamophobia.

The start of open attacks on Islam with Sarkozy has only backfired in every way, because since his election polls show that French Muslims have only gotten more devout in their practices. The reason is obvious: the constant accusations that Islam is bad pushes French Muslims to look more closely at their religion – they do, and they realise how wonderful Islam is, thus they become more devout.

For France’s non-Muslims it has tragically backfired as well. Many in France don’t realise that the insulting Islamophobia, which results in humiliating domestic oppression, comes on top of two centuries of colonial and neo-colonial domination, plus foreign wars in places like Mali, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Seemingly every Muslim attacker in France since 2008 who wasn’t clearly insane cited France’s wars in Mali and Syria, specifically, as justification for their attacks.

Hollande manipulated the attacks to gain approval for state-sponsored Islamophobia, which became his trusty “Islamo-diversion” tactic to deflect from his unpopular enforcing of far-right economic austerity. In his tenure some 4,000 warrantless raids on Muslim homes, mosques and properties only led to six suspicions of terrorism. The handful of the court cases were won, and I cannot unearth even one conviction from Hollande-era raids.

France’s fake-left assumed they have the Muslim constituency in their back pocket in 2012. In 2017 the threat of the National Front forced them into Macron’s camp. 2022 is a changed place.

Many French Muslims have told me they will do what was unthinkable to them previously – vote for the National Front (now rebranded as the “National Rally) in the second round.

Why the change? The insidious deception that Macron is a “centrist” and not a willing manipulator of Islamophobia has been totally disproven – the lower class and the Muslim class have paid the price for five years.

Sarkozy brought French Islamophobia into the mainstream, Hollande got it approved, but Macron institutionalised it. Macron took Hollande’s multiyear state of emergency and legalised it, with Muslims the clear targets and practically the only victims. Only the Yellow Vests and a small number of leftist and environmental activists have ever been impacted.

From not apologising for various massacres and atrocities against Algerians, to keeping Europe’s oldest political prisoner and the “Arab Nelson Mandela” Georges Ibrahim Abdallah in prison, to falsely and shamefully enacting legislation which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, to a “cyber-hate bill” which targets pro-Palestinians and Yellow Vests – Macron did very little in the past five years which did anything but hurt Muslims.

Have Islamophobic acts increased during the Macron era? We don’t know – Macron forced the closure of the French Collective Against Islamophobia, seemingly the only and certainly the best Muslim NGO committed to tracking this problem.

His so-called “anti-separatist law” of 2021 was the definite legalisation of Islamophobia, and was so heavy-handed even the United Nations and English-media widely criticised it. It tried to ban the hijab for minors and clearly violated constitutional protections for the freedom of association, worship and politics. In recent months nearly 100 mosques have recently been raided by the government, with at least two dozen shut down so far. (Who says Macron doesn’t care about far-right voters?)

Just this week a new report from Reuters came out: The mosque closures were based merely on “secretive evidence” which violate the right to fair trial and equality before the law. “Secretive” is simply another word for “false”, of course.

As his record clearly now proves, Macron is on the far-right economically (austerity and neoliberalism), politically (with his repression of the Yellow Vests), in his governance style (it’s a completely top-down style befitting a monarch and not an elected public servant who must listen to others and compromise) but also culturally – he’s Islamophobic.

The error is exactly as I wrote in 2017 – in agreeing with the Mainstream Media’s insistence that Macron was a “centrist”. The past five years proves he is authoritarian, pro-economic inequality, and Islamophobic.

Much like with the absolutely brutal repression of the Yellow Vests – Marine Le Pen would have never gotten away with half of the Islamophobia Macron did. People would have been on guard from the day she took office – similar to the response to Donald Trump’s election in the United States. A Le Pen victory would have sparked organised progressive resistance groups – something like a George Floyd response or #MeToo but à la française.

The handful of French media oligarchs who decided to give a political neophyte (he was previously a Rothschild banker) like Macron such glowing press coverage in the run-up to the 2017 election also decided to hand the 2022 election campaign agenda to convicted racist Eric Zemmour. The reason? Primarily this was done to spit the far-right vote for Sunday’s first round vote, but Zemmour also aids Macron by making Macron look more falsely “centrist”. Look at his record – Macron needs that assistance.

Making Islamophobia the 2022 election’s primary campaign issue will backfire – record abstention is widely predicted. It’s actually good news in this way: Islamophobia may still propel French politicians but the French people are bored by it – they wanted to go back to discussing real issues.

A very recent poll actually has Marine Le Pen beating Macron 50.5% to 49.5%. Other recent polls have her just 3 points down from Macron – that’s within the margin of error, and thus it’s a dead-heat. Her Hungarian “right-nationalist” counterpart just won a huge victory even though polls predicted a much tighter contest. French polling agencies are not just staffed by politicians – the biggest one is owned by a politician. Thus the odds of a 2nd round win by Le Pen seem much, much higher than many claimed in the previous months.

A Le Pen victory will be no picnic for France’s Muslims but at least everyone will be on guard against her. Macron, foolishly, was given a huge leash, and he went so far against Muslims that he broke the chain.

But mostly, France’s Muslims will do what a record number of French people will likely do: tune out the mainstream media hate factory and not vote. Abstention will hurt France’s left wing candidate – Jean-Luc Melenchon, who opposed the anti-separatism bill – but in France even the left wing is often as Islamophobic as the right wing.

One thing is certain: the alleged “centrist” Macron was no solution for France’s anti-Muslim problems.

********************************************************

List of articles covering the 2022 French elections.

Please check out my new book France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values, which is being published for free in chapter-by-chapter format.

Catastrophe since 2017: How to cover France’s presidential election? – November 22, 2021

Le Monde’s circus invite: ‘France is a leftist country which votes right’ – January 27, 2022

Le Pen now wants in the euro & no Frexit – should the Left want her in? – February 2, 2022

France’s conservatives cry out for National Socialism – Zemmour’s response? – February 10, 2022

Islamophobia didn’t interest French voters – war hysteria will? – March 14, 2022

France apathetic about politics? Has corona gutted voter energy, or Macron? – March 31, 2022

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. His new book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘ Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

NATO Fails to Ship Evacuation of their ‘Military Advisors”‘ …Russians ‘Send them to Hell’

 April 9, 2022

By  VT Editors

First this letter from VT Damascus to Macron on his personnel serving with Azov in Mariupol:

Open letter to the French President Emmanuel Macron and the French citizens

Mr. President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, you have made several phone calls to the Russian President Vladimir Putin in the last few days. I don’t know what you talked about, but since NATO officers, possibly French, are in the Mariupol combat zone, French citizens can ask the French president what French officers are doing in Mariupol, where Ukrainian Nazism is being fought. Didn’t General De Gaulle fight against German, Hitlerian Nazism, when France was occupied by Nazi troops? Wasn’t there the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France, where 190 men, 247 women and 205 children were killed by the SS Nazi troops?

And what is your French army doing in Mariupol, Volnovakha, and other cities of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and now they are trying to hide, to escape from Mariupol? Citizens of Great France, you will soon elect the President of France. French voters, ask yourselves if France needs a president like Emmanuel Macron, who sent citizens of France to help and eventually fight in Ukraine side by side with Ukrainian Nazis? The blood of hundreds of civilians in Odessa, Kharkov, Mariupol, Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities and villages of the former Ukrainian Socialist Republic is on the hands of these Ukrainian Nazis.

I also address to the French presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Éric Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse, Nathalie Arthaud, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Yannick Jadot, Anne Hidalgo, Jean Lassalle, Fabien Roussel, Philippe Poutou, to the French voters, does your army need to kill peaceful civilians, CHILDREN? The parents of the French officers, their wives, their children, ask President Emmanuel Macron, why he sent these officers to die in Mariupol? For what, for whose interests are your husbands and children going to die in Mariupol in the Azovstal factory?

 Mr. President of France, you have met with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, and you will probably meet again and there is no need to threaten Russia with sanctions or war, our Russian people know what war is in our country. The genocidal war against the people of Donbass has been going on for eight years. And this war started by criminals, the Ukrainian Nazis.

Mehti Logunov, 88 years old, political prisoner of Nazi Ukraine*.

* I was arrested by the Ukrainian Gestapo, the security service of Ukraine. I, an old man, was subjected to sophisticated harassment and torture for 12,312 days and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, based on false accusations.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation spoke about another unsuccessful attempt for the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to save the commanders of the Ukrainian Nazis and foreign mercenaries.

The criminal Kyiv regime made another attempt to evacuate the leaders of the Ukrainian Nazis from Mariupol, this time by sea. This was told to journalists by the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov.

According to him, late yesterday evening, the Ukrainian dry cargo vessel “Apache” under the Maltese flag followed in a caravan of ships from the Taganrog Bay to the Kerch Strait, after which, 30 km southeast of Mariupol, it abruptly changed its course and tried to break through to the blocked port of “Mariupol”, ignoring demands of Russian border ships to get in touch.

The dry cargo ship continued to move even after warning fire from the Russian fleet, so to block the ship it was necessary to open fire to kill.

“From 22.53 to 23.30, the ship of the Black Sea Fleet and border patrol ships opened artillery fire on the Apache dry cargo ship. As a result of a direct hit on the ship, a fire broke out in the stern of the ship,” Konashenkov said.

Only after that did the dry-cargo crew get in touch and confirm their readiness to fulfill all the requirements of the Russian sailors.

“After the inspection, the Ukrainian dry cargo ship Apache with the crew is being escorted to the port of Yeysk,” the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry added.

* Extremist organization banned in Russia

VT Editors

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

Sit back and watch Europe commit suicide

If the US goal is to crush Russia’s economy with sanctions and isolation, why is Europe in an economic free fall instead?

April 07, 2022

Washington’s competition with rising power Russia is so fierce, it is willing to sacrifice Europe.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The stunning spectacle of the EU committing slow motion hara-kiri is something for the ages. Like a cheap Kurosawa remake the movie is actually about the Empire of Lies-detonated demolition of the EU, complete with subsequent rerouting of some key Russian commodities exports to the US at the expense of the Europeans.

It helps to have a 5th columnist actress strategically placed – in this case astonishingly incompetent European Commission head Ursula von der Lugen – with her vociferous announcement of a crushing new sanctions package: Russian ships banned from EU ports; road transportation companies from Russia and Belarus prohibited from entering the EU; no more coal imports (over 4.4 billion euros a year).

In practice, that translates into Washington shaking down its wealthiest western clients/puppets. Russia, of course, is too powerful to directly challenge militarily, and the US badly needs some of its key exports, especially minerals. So, the Americans will instead nudge the EU into imposing ever-increasing sanctions that will willfully collapse their national economies, while allowing the US to scoop everything up.

Cue to the coming catastrophic economic consequences felt by Europeans in their daily life (but not by the wealthiest five percent): inflation devouring salaries and savings; next winter energy bills packing a mean punch; products disappearing from supermarkets; holiday bookings almost frozen. France’s Le Petit Roi Emmanuel Macron – perhaps facing a nasty electoral surprise – has even announced: “food stamps like in WWII are possible.”

We have Germany facing the returning ghost of Weimar hyperinflation. BlackRock President Rob Kapito said, in Texas,“for the first time, this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want.” African farmers are unable to afford fertilizer at all this year, reducing agricultural production by an amount capable of feeding 100 million people.

Zoltan Poszar, former NY Fed and US Treasury guru, current Credit Suisse grand vizir, has been on a streak, stressing how commodity reserves – and, here, Russia is unrivaled – will be an essential feature of what he calls Bretton Woods III (although, what’s being designed by Russia, China, Iran and the Eurasia Economic Union is a post-Bretton Woods).

Poszar remarks that wars, historically, are won by those who have more food and energy supplies, in the past to power horses and soldiers; today to feed soldiers and fuel tanks and fighter jets. China, incidentally, has amassed large stocks of virtually everything.

Poszar notes how our current Bretton Woods II system has a deflationary impulse (globalization, open trade, just-in-time supply chains) while Bretton Woods 3 will provide an inflationary impulse (de-globalization, autarky, hoarding of raw materials) of supply chains and extra military spending to be able to protect what will remain of seaborne trade.

The implications are of course overwhelming. What’s implicit, ominously, is that this state of affairs may even lead to WWIII.

Rublegas or American LNG?

The Russian roundtable Valdai Club has conducted an essential expert discussion on what we at The Cradle have defined as  Rublegas – the real geoeconomic game-changer at the heart of the post-petrodollar era. Alexander Losev, a member of the Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, offered the contours of the Big Picture. But it was up to Alexey Gromov, Chief Energy Director of the Institute of Energy and Finance, to come up with crucial nitty-gritty.

Russia, so far, was selling 155 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe each year. The EU rhetorically promises to get rid of it by 2027, and reduce supply by the end of 2022 by 100 billion cubic meters. Gromov asked “how,” and remarked, “any expert has no answer. Most of Russia’s natural gas is shipped over pipelines. This cannot simply be replaced by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).”

The risible European answer has been “start saving,” as in “prepare to be worse off” and “reduce the temperature in households.” Gromov noted how, in Russia, “22 to 25 degrees in winter is the norm. Europe is promoting 16 degrees as ‘healthy’, and wearing sweaters at night.”

The EU won’t be able to get the gas it needs from Norway or Algeria (which is privileging domestic consumption). Azerbaijan would be able to provide at best 10 billion cubic meters a year, but “that will take 2 or 3 years” to happen.

Gromov stressed how “there’s no surplus in the market today for US and Qatar LNG,” and how prices for Asian customers are always higher. The bottom line is that “by the end of 2022, Europe won’t be able to significantly reduce” what it buys from Russia: “they might cut by 50 billion cubic meters, maximum.” And prices in the spot market will be higher – at least $1,300 per cubic meter.

An important development is that “Russia changed the logistical supply chains to Asia already.” That applies for gas and oil as well:  “You can impose sanctions if there’s a surplus in the market. Now there’s a shortage of at least 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. We’ll be sending our supplies to Asia – with a discount.” As it stands, Asia is already paying a premium, from 3 to 5 dollars more per barrel of oil.

On oil shipments, Gromov also commented on the key issue of insurance: “Insurance premiums are higher. Before Ukraine, it was all based on the Free on Board (FOB) system. Now buyers are saying ‘we don’t want to take the risk of taking your cargo to our ports.’ So they are applying the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) system, where the seller has to insure and transport the cargo. That of course impacts revenues.”

An absolutely key issue for Russia is how to make the transition to China as its key gas customer. It’s all about the Power of Siberia 2, a new 2600-km pipeline originating in the Russian Bovanenkovo and Kharasavey gas fields in Yamal, in northwest Siberia – which will reach full capacity only in 2024. And, first, the interconnector through Mongolia must be built – “we need 3 years to build this pipeline” – so everything will be in place only around 2025.

On the Yamal pipeline, “most of the gas goes to Asia. If the Europeans don’t buy anymore we can redirect.” And then there’s the Arctic LNG 2 project – which is even larger than Yamal: “the first phase should be finished soon, it’s 80 percent ready.” An extra problem may be posed by the Russian “Unfriendlies” in Asia: Japan and South Korea. LNG infrastructure produced in Russia still depends on foreign technologies.

That’s what leads Gromov to note that, “the model of mobilization-based economy is not so good.” But that’s what Russia needs to deal with at least in the short to medium term.

The positives are that the new paradigm will allow “more cooperation within the BRICS (the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that have been meeting annually since 2009);” the expansion of the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC); and more interaction and integration with “Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran.”

Only in terms of Iran and Russia, swaps in the Caspian Sea are already in the works, as Iran produces more than it needs, and is set to increase cooperation with Russia in the framework of their strengthened strategic partnership.

Hypersonic geoeconomics

It was up to Chinese energy expert Fu Chengyu to offer a concise explanation of why the EU drive of replacing Russian gas with American LNG is, well, a pipe dream. Essentially the US offer is “too limited and too costly.”

Fu Chengyu showed how a lengthy, tricky process depends on four contracts: between the gas developer and the LNG company; between the LNG company and the buyer company; between the LNG buyer and the cargo company (which builds vessels); and between the buyer and the end user.

“Each contract,” he pointed out, “takes a long time to finish. Without all these signed contracts, no party will invest – be it investment on infrastructure or gas field development.” So actual delivery of American LNG to Europe assumes all these interconnected resources are available – and moving like clockwork.

Fu Chengyu’s verdict is stark: this EU obsession on ditching Russian gas will provoke “an impact on global economic growth, and recession. They are pushing their own people – and the world. In the energy sector, we will all be harmed.”

It was quite enlightening to juxtapose the coming geoeconomic turbulence – the EU obsession in bypassing Russian gas and the onset of Rublegas – with the real reasons behind Operation Z in Ukraine, completely obscured by western media and analysts.

A US Deep State old pro, now retired, and quite familiar with the inner workings of the old OSS, the CIA precursor, all the way to the neocon dementia of today, provided some sobering insights:

“The whole Ukraine issue is over hypersonic missiles that can reach Moscow in less than four minutes. The US wants them there, in Poland, Romania, Baltic States, Sweden, Finland. This is in direct violation of the agreements in 1991 that NATO will not expand in Eastern Europe. The US does not have hypersonic missiles now but should – in a year or two. This is an existential threat to Russia. So they had to go into the Ukraine to stop this.  Next will be Poland and Romania where launchers have been built in Romania and are being built in Poland.”

From a completely different geopolitical perspective, what’s really telling is that his analysis happens to dovetail with Zoltan Poszar’s geoeconomics: “The US and NATO are totally belligerent. This presents a real danger to Russia. The idea that nuclear war is unthinkable is a myth. If you look at the firebombing of Tokyo against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more people died in Tokyo than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These cities were rebuilt. The radiation goes away and life can restart. The difference between firebombing and nuclear bombing is only efficiency. NATO provocations are so extreme, Russia had to place their nuclear missiles on standby alert. This is a gravely serious matter. But the US ignored it.”

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.


The ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’ stillborn child: Western Liberal Democracy

April 07, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

(This is the fourth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

The primary cause of the Revolutions of 1848 was the fact that it took 50 years for the sociopolitical ideas of the French Revolution to spread in a Europe dominated by autocratic monarchs. That’s how radical 1789 was, and how slow political history moves.

The secondary cause was the economic changes caused by the refusal to end feudal mindsets anywhere in Europe but in France, and amid the start of industrialisation. 1789 had changed all Europeans, but all monarchs – including the two dynasties in post-Napoleonic France – refused to govern according to the entirely new needs and demands of their citizens. It’s expressed in the primary slogan of 1848, “Bread and work, or lead!”

The primary result of the 1848 Revolutions was total failure everywhere but France. 1848 provided new upheavals to replace Europe’s memories of the Seven European Wars Against the French Revolution (1792-1815), and what replaced them was even worse absolute monarchies. Political gatherings and demonstrations were outlawed, censorship was not just rampant but total – in short, all European political life was back to where it was in 1847: underground, publicly nonexistent and ruthlessly repressed. There was no revolution – an accurate reading of European history would call this period the “Counter-Revolutions of 1848”.

So why isn’t it called that? For the same reason behind this long historical preface before an analysis of the achievements of the Yellow Vests: Western mainstream history and education is a catastrophe of elite bias and propaganda.

The secondary result of the Revolutions of 1848 was the very first establishment, and immediate popular rejection, of what we can finally start calling Western Liberal Democracy. It would last just three years before a coup against it was popularly approved 11 to 1 in what was then the largest democratic vote ever in history. It took just three years for Western Liberal Democracy to prove to voters its total, eternal inability to care for the masses and not for an elitist oligarchy.

This chapter will make that conclusion perfectly clear not only because we have 175 years of hindsight, but because we have the world-shattering journalism and analysis of one Karl H. Marx. His on-the-ground analysis of the actions of 1848 would shape politics for over a century, and inspire both true socialists and socialists-turned-fascists into breaking with Western Liberal Democracy.

Napoleon always draws the crowds – his nephew? Few even know he had one who was important. In between Napoleon’s demise and World War One there is an abyss of historical understanding in the West. In fact, they are instructed to not think of this era as significant at all – this chapter hopes to explain why.

Marx on France: The only country that mattered in 1848… and 1849

Simply look at the results:

Italy carried the torch of 1789 the most. After initially giving false hope, the Pope openly said that the Papacy could not be the leader of a unified Italian state. His refusal to mix religion and politics, even in a country which was so overwhelmingly of the same religion, was a major error. After 1848 the Papacy became totally anti-liberal, anti-national and supportive of absolutist regimes.

Hungary gave up after their ethnic-based revolt failed to take root – unsurprisingly – with the rest of the extremely multiethnic Hapsburg empire. Indeed, many seem to think that Germanic racial elitism was founded by Adolf Hitler?

Revolutionary France had ended the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, but the autocratic Hapsburgs held on after 1848 – the counter-revolutionary victory was primarily theirs… it’s a common theme.

Tsarist Russia was not affected by 1848. They would, in large part to keep Prussia weak, prop up their Austrian autocratic brethren.

Just like in the aftermath of Russia’s 1917 success, and the 1930s, and the Great Recession, Germany totally disappointed. The Germans were especially brutal in repressing their revolutions, and it would require World War One to finally end German despotism, at least in the monarchical form.

Yellow Vest: “We were so numerous in the beginning, but when people began to see how violent and ferocious the government repressed the Yellow Vests, then many got too scared to protest. The government did everything they could to make us disappear, just so they can govern us according to their selfish whims.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

The broad outline of what happened across Europe in the year of 1848 is simply this: The nouveau riche, professional, and managerial classes were always quite content with mere liberal reformism, which was opposed by the monarchists. Those three groups initially allied with the artisans and students to push back against Anglo-Germanic-Russian enforced absolutism and repression. When this “bourgeois” triumvirate got the mild reformism they wanted (i.e. rights for themselves) these “liberal reformists” would no longer support the artisans and students – of course they never wanted to ally for long with the peasants and proletariat. They instead supported repression of the artisans, students and lower classes, and thus we have the Counter-Revolutions of 1848. These liberal reformers never wanted a revolution, but merely a bill of rights for rich people against autocratic monarchy. As all mere reformists do, they refused to incarcerate, confiscate or execute the counter-revolutionaries, and thus the counter-revolution won, as it always will when facing half-hearted reformism. 1848 stands as proof that the alleged heroes of liberalist reformism are actually right-wingers opposed to actual democracy.

The tertiary result of 1848 was the growth of nationalism, but rarely pointed out in the Anglo-Saxon world is that this nationalism was required to expel Anglo-Germanic theocratic autocrats. We certainly can’t blame the French revolutionaries who departed decades ago, but after planting the seed of anti-feudalism, anti-monarchism and patriotic pride. The rebellions across Europe were against the poor governance of the aristocratic oligarchies who had colluded to wipe out 1789. Some leftists see this rise of nationalism as a bad thing, but they have totally lost the thread.

1848 addressed the “political question”, of how governance should be arranged, and everywhere but France failed to install something which anyone could call “progressive”. Furthermore, France’s revolutionary victory also allowed for the first political discussions of the “social question” – how shall we transfer socially from feudal monarchy: liberal capitalism or socialism? – to be addressed and fought out in their new political structure. At least it was assumed at the start of 1848 that this would be a fair fight!

It took France 33 years (the length of a human generation), from the fall of Napoleon until 1848, for the French to get rid of an unelected executive – once again they were alone in this achievement. Universal (male) suffrage was also spectacularly achieved for the first time, as was the founding of a “right to work”. While all other Europeans gave up achieving any move away from pathetic monarchy France founded the 2nd Republic.

French history from the fall of Napoleon, and thus the end of the French Revolution, until 1848 can be quickly summarised: In 1815 Napoleon was imprisoned on St. Helena, and the Bourbons returned after having fled, again. The Bourbons only ruled until 1830, when Louis Philippe I of the House of Orleans was installed during that year’s “July Revolution”. For France 1848 was the result of 18 years of awful neglect from the Orleanists, who cared only about bleeding the country dry at the behest of the burgeoning financial elite, as it was this “bourgeois” who helped push the House of Orleans into power. 1848 deposed the House of Orleans, and France looked forward this new system we term “Western Liberal Democracy” – they would be disappointed.

In a country with universal male suffrage you would think the new parliament would endeavour to represent the interests of the masses, no? If so, you misunderstand who Western Liberal Democracy aims to serve. Marx summarised the Second Republic thusly, and according to his ideas of political progression: “Under the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe only the bourgeois republic could follow; that is to say, a limited portion of the bourgeoisie, having (from 1830-48) ruled under the name of the king, now the whole bourgeoisie was to rule under the name of the people.

Western Liberal Democracy inevitably turns out that way, but the revolutionaries of 1848 had certainly expected some power and wealth to be devolved to them. In a truly post-feudal France former serfs now had higher opinions of their value to society, their right to earn bread to eat, wanted the necessary stability provided by central planning, social welfare, etc. However, while the souls of the French serfs had grown, the power of the new financial-oriented class had grown at a usurious rate! This is thanks to the start of industrialisation, but also to the usurious abuses of the serfs-turned-sharecroppers. I say “start of industrialisation” because at the time of Napoleon the average workshop had just four workers and the only large businesses were arms manufacturers – not so 30 years later.

As the short-lived 2nd Republic progressed it became clear that this new form of governance was only there to benefit the old landed royalists, the post-1492 corporate trading enterprises and these new “bourgeois” industrialists and rentiers. The 2nd Republic is the start of when powers began to slowly stop being royal and start being monetary powers – when power became corporatised. This is what makes 1848 France so vital to understanding the 21st century.

Yellow Vests: “Our system has become totally rotten. They make the laws to suit their own needs, or the needs of corporations, and they have done nothing to resolve the huge problems of the average person. This is why the Yellow Vests will keep marching in the streets.”

It took the French three years to learn this, then to clear a path for 1848’s popularly-elected president to bloodlessly abolish the always-oligarchical parliament of Western Liberal Democracy. That president was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose father was Louis “the Good” Bonaparte, who was appointed King of Holland in 1806 in a failed bid to make the Batavian Republic less subject to monarchical attacks.

The above analysis which condemns Western Liberal Democracy is why this chapter is needed: The mainstream historical analysis of 1848-52 France places way too much emphasis on economic changes – i.e. the industrial revolution – and the alleged dictatorship of a guy who was elected because stupid French hillbillies thought an elderly Napoleon had broken free from St. Helena. This faulty analysis exists because it allows for the sidestepping of what actually happened politically: the mismanagement of France’s first Western Liberal Democrats, their obvious bias against the bottom 90%, and the eventual rejection of this form of governance which only entrenched inequality and created regular crises.

On the social level what they were pushing for in 1848, but what the 2nd Republic failed to legislate, is what postwar Europe looks like! The revolutionaries of 1848 were proven right, and that can’t be disproven.

1848-1948 was an awful century for the European masses, but also the masses everywhere else – European imperialism created the tragedies, famines and inequalities which literally moulded a new “Third World”: prior to 1848 a peasant in Europe was in the same socioeconomic condition as a peasant in India, China, Latin America, etc.

Yellow Vest: “The movement will hold firm in the future. It will not disappear because their demands are so very solid and true. There are real reasons for a revolution in France, and we will always continue to play our part.”

Learning how the 1848 Revolution got off-track in the country where it had its greatest success is a major key to understanding governments of today, because it is this form of government which has ultimately prevailed despite instant and lasting popular disapproval!

Thus, the ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’, indeed.

Marx’s genius: tying together 1848 and 1789, which is the only way to understand 1848

There are three critical contributions Marx made to the understanding of France’s 1848-52 period. They are so critical because they illustrate how Western Liberal Democracy starts with fake-leftism and ends in oligarchy over and over and over. It should be considered quite important that the complaints of the 2nd Republic are the exact same as the ones heard today!

Firstly, Marx condensed the economic evolution of France in a time when society and economics were changing rapidly even without the complications of a successful 1848 revolution. He laid out how class economic interests twisted the 2nd Republic into something which nobody who was actually at the barricades would have fought for.

Shortly after the February Revolution of 1848 forced the abdication of the House of Orleans the “June Days” uprising scared the royalists and bourgeois republicans (i.e. anti-monarchists) to unite into the “Party of Order”. The Bourbons – who represented the power of landed property, the oldest basis of money – finally ended their royal squabbles with the Orleanists – who were installed to defend the increased power of nouveau riche industrial/financial property. This new unity is what Marx meant by writing, “…landed property has become completely bourgeois through the development of modern society.” Gone were disputes of old or nouveau – it was just riche versus poor. Thus, 1848 in France is the birth of modern class warfare – and the rich started it!

Secondly, Marx condensed what actually took place in the hectic few years after the 1848 Revolution, which culminated in the popular vote which sanctioned the coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte against the unicameral National Assembly. Marx’s charted the lifecycle of this new political structure, and how it discredited itself via the same oligarchical flaws which are eternally apparent in this system.

Thirdly, Marx showed how the new professional politicians, doctors, small-town lawyers, bank managers and other professional-types, who are the cadres in this new Western Liberal Democracy, joined with the richer categories of wealth (royalist, usurious, landed wealth and financial, means-of-production wealth) to engage in a style of governance which put all their own interests first and demonised the interests of anyone else as “socialism!”. Yes, as epitomised in the awful politics of the United States 175 years later, Marx was flabbergasted to see even calls for the most basic reforms and moves to reduce inequality tarred as “evil socialism” at the very first implementation of Western Liberal Democracy. Marx goes even further to permanently indict Liberal Democracy as being far inferior to Social Democracy. This is an old debate, and it should have been decided in the latter’s favor by 1852 France.

By succinctly condensing – in just the one paragraph below – Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the voter-backed coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1852, all three historical contributions will be made clear.

An uprising truly led by the people (i.e. a popular revolution) in February 1848 forced out King Louis Philippe of the Orleanists, but the modern leftist demands of the people would be betrayed by June. The people’s hopes for a “Democratic and Social Republic” were sold out by the Social Democrats, mostly the small traders who were content with cementing the unprecedented achievement of universal male suffrage. However, the Social Democrats were soon sold out by the bourgeois republicans – those richer cadres of Western Liberal Democracy – who don’t really want universal suffrage but merely liberal rights for the upper class only. However, the republican bourgeois are sold out by the “Party of Order” coalition in parliament, half of which still wants a royalist restoration and the other half of which wants a republic but cares not much for liberal rights, and especially universal suffrage. This faction prevails and eventually guts universal suffrage, and votes the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – i.e. a true legislative coup against the people. Good news! After three years of inefficiency, grandstanding and state-sponsored looting of the country’s natural, social and labor resources the “Party of Order” is sold out by the Bonapartist party – the National Assembly is dissolved, and what is restored is a Bonapartist idea of a popularly-elected emperor who puts the will and good of the nation first.

This is why Marx famously wrote his opening lines in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (18th Brumaire is the French revolutionary calendar date for the coup of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799of history repeating itself as farce: instead of the revolution trending upwards in the first several years with leftist successes, as in 1789-94, a similar time period in 1848 sees sees failure. “Accordingly, the revolution moves on a downward line. It finds itself in this retreating motion before the last February-barricade is kicked away.… ”

Having condensed Marx’s timeline of 1848, his comparison with the timeline of 1789 will be especially illuminating of both 1789 and 1848. This book does not dissect the pre-Napoleonic events of 1789-94, in large part because they have been perfectly analysed by Marx in one paragraph. I include in parenthetical my explanations of key 1789 terms/parties which may not be fully known by the average reader (Marx is in bold)

In the first French revolution, upon the reign of the Constitutionalists (i.e., the start of the French Revolution via forcing the king to accept a constitution and to renounce total autocracy. Napoleon Bonaparte’s commitment to constitutionalism is precisely what made him a true political revolutionary of his day.) is succeeded by the Girondins (Truly the early martyrs of today’s Western Liberal Democrats. Most were from the department of Gironde, home of France’s slave-trade capital – Bordeaux -, and were committed to the free market, decentralisation and imperialist war. It’s decapitating them which Westerners call the “Reign of Terror”, precisely because neo-Girondins are what still rule in the West in the modern era. Napoleon Bonaparte clearly supported the Jacobins’ right to govern, fought against these rebels for years, was friends with Augustin Robespierre, etc.) and upon the reign of the Girondins follows that of the Jacobins. Each of these parties rests upon its more advanced element. … Just the reverse in 1848.”

It’s clear why outside of France the “Revolutions of 1848” are such a failure, but why is the French Revolution of 1848 such a failure for Marx? It’s because he was so very anti-Bonapartist. Marx was living in Paris during this era, after all, so we can understand his bias – we, however, do not. In 2022 it seems like a major mistake which loses the thread of political history: moving away from autocracy. I’ll deeply criticise his overly-strong condemnation of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in the next chapter, but what’s needed first is his analysis of France from 1848-52 – it’s critical because it is so reminiscent of Western politics today!

Both revolutionary eras fought against the very same political principle: autocracy, anti-democracy and the rule of an aristocratic elite. The Yellow Vest fight in the exact same way, even if the autocracy is only slightly less barbaric, although you should tell that to one of the many mutilated Yellow Vests.

What happened to France’s progressive revolution of 1848, then? Western Liberal Democracy happened!

The short answer is that Marx places the blame for the failure of 1848 on the half-revolutionary actions of France’s left wing in 1848, as well as the role played by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the above section I related in one paragraph Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the popular coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. A bit more information is needed on the major political events in between that start and finish.

The February Revolution of 1848 re-ended monarchy, but April’s voting results saw the new constituent (temporary) Assembly filled with royalists, elite and professionals who did not incarnate the socialistic demands which had propelled the popular revolution: the opposition to free markets and the demand for government works to create jobs. National Workshops had been immediately created in 1848 in order to fulfil the “right to work” and thus introduce governmental central planning into the economy.

So one should imagine the hundreds of thousands of workers now trying to ply a trade in Paris while, concurrently, the new temporary parliament to draw up a new constitution is full of capitalistic Western Liberal Democrats. Naturally, the people saw they were getting left behind. On May 15 a leftist demonstration entered and dissolved this temporary National Assembly. The National Guard – which had always played the decisive role in French revolutionary affairs – sided against the protesters. The ardent republicans and protest leaders were arrested; a banker would be installed as the new Paris Chief of Police; a lawyer would now head the restored Assembly.

In June the conservative National Assembly announced that the National Workshops would be closed, and the newly-unemployed workers could either join the army or go back home to the provinces – this sparked the June Days uprising. We see here how Western Liberal Democracy is never – not from it’s very earliest days – going to allow anything but an “invisible hand” to guide the economy, and also that imperialist war (which is not at all revolutionary war) is its primary answer to the economic question. Over 10,000 people were massacred, or 60% as many as were guillotined during the “Reign of Terror” (but without any trial). It also marks the last time French Catholic clergy tried to play a role in elections: The Archbishop of Paris literally entered into the Paris street fray as a mediator – he was shot, almost certainly by the conservative forces. The popular revolution was thus ended: death, prison and exile to Algeria for the leftists.

Yet the trader-class Social Democrats did not condemn the repression – they threw their weight behind November’s Constitution of 1848, which granted universal male suffrage. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected in December, and like his uncle he took a middle-of-the-road pro-revolutionary approach: he was neither like the leftist socialist candidates, nor the anti-socialist/pro-republican army chief who led the June Days repression, nor a liberalist lawyer. Marx was unwilling to reconcile with Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who was also a leftist writer – his most famous book was the pro-working class The Extinction of Pauperism, which undoubtedly helps explain his massive victory.

After Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected 1850-onwards was an ineffective and nation-destroying combat between the executive and the legislative branch:

The legislative branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – lost all popular support by rejecting to represent the populace and not just the upper class. The popular, bloodless coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would be deemed “fascism installed by country rednecks”, and Marx’s own analysis is very similar to that, sadly.

The executive branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – would jealously fight to acquire as much autocratic, dictatorial powers as it could, and employ jingoistic, imperialist wars to win popular opinion while mostly advancing the needs of the elite.

It took only three years to realise such a system was unworkable, and yet is this not still the alleged apex of governmental structure and efficiency for Western Liberal Democrats of today?

Yellow Vest: “After three years nothing has changed, except for the fact that things have gotten even worse for the average French person. Life has gotten so much more expensive, but Macron doesn’t care. Macron doesn’t see the demands of the Yellow Vests, or even the French people, as worthy of his attention.”

Weak leftism against a strong executive – France has the same problem today

In May 1849 the first National Assembly of the 2nd Republic was officially seated. This Assembly would eventually go on to approve total non-support for any other popular revolution sweeping Europe; to ban the reborn Sans-Culottes and other political parties; similar to Macron today, they would end the longtime practice of the National Assembly hearing petitions from grassroots special interest groups.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would immediately use foreign war to establish to the “Party of Order”, which had 64% of seats, that he, too, was a mighty man of (executive) “Order”. Even before the new parliament sat he violated the new constitution’s prohibition of military interference in the freedom of other nations by bombarding Rome to prop up an exiled Pope. This was at the expense of the nascent but doomed Roman Republic, which did not have popular support – it would have been nice if the Marxists had won, but it just wasn’t possible until 1917. This does not make either Bonaparte the equivalent of an absolute monarch, one must point out. France had arrived expected to be received as liberators, and also sought to prevent an invasion by Austria.

The opposition Mountain Party, with 26% of seats, who were republicans and neo-Jacobins, boldly voted to impeach Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been elected by a whopping 75% landslide. Propping up the Pope was popular among the average person, and now France’s “left party” (though actually petit-bourgeois small traders and minor professionals) were taking on an extremely popular president?

What cannot be disputed is how ineffectually the Mountain Party fought their fight. Marx’s superb analysis will remind people of the halfhearted, non-revolutionary struggle of fake-leftist parties across Western Liberal Democracy. We should remember that Marx was living in Paris at this time. He surely must have hoped that the Mountain were genuine leftists – after all, “fake-leftism” in a Western Liberal Democratic context had not yet ever been seen!

Following the Mountain’s impeachment vote the unarmed protests of June 1849 were held. The National Guard was there – in uniform, but unarmed. This pacifistic decision was fatal: they had no way to defend themselves from the subsequent army attack. The demonstration ended in total failure – it was the last “Revolutionary Day” of the 2nd Republic – and there were no casualties. Marx writes: “The chief error of the ‘Mountain’ was its certainty of being victorious.” (emphasis his). I don’t think France has had an official “Revolutionary Day” since, and probably because most French don’t know this history either?

Marx saw that the real leftism had been chopped out of the Mountain by the June Days of 1848 and replaced with smug, ultimately conservative, sense of false certainty. He saw these fake-leftists were doomed precisely because they accepted Western Liberal Democratic terms:

“If the Mountain wished to win in parliament, it should not appeal to arms; if it called to arms in parliament, it should conduct itself in a parliamentary way in the street; if the friendly demonstration was meant seriously, it was silly not to foresee that it would meet with a warlike reception; if it was intended for actual war, it was rather original to lay aside the weapons with which war had to be conducted. But the revolutionary threats of the middle class and of their democratic representatives are mere attempts to frighten an adversary….”

This certainly describes France’s union-led demonstrations and the “walks in a park” which are other European Social Democrat-led demonstrations. This same entrapping logic is what the Yellow Vests are told to submit to and what they still so bravely faced down Saturday after Saturday.

Yellow Vests: “France is waking up. The government continues to accuse all of us of being Black Bloc or thugs to make the country turn against us. But we are all united to prevent the destruction of France, and this unity will continue to increase.”

The “superstitious spell” the National Guard had on the French imagination – i.e. its ability to sway the army to back the people and the elite – was crucially broken here. They would be suppressed under Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and then banned at the start of the Third Republic in 1871, when Western Liberal Democrats would wrest back control from the Louis-Napoleon and the Bonapartists, who also existed in the interim between the two Bonpartes.

A clear difference between imperialist Liberal Democracy and anti-imperialist Social Democracy: the former clearly uses foreign war to gut the possibility of a marital spirit which would protect the rights of the people domestically. It also uses perpetual imperialist war to insist that such domestic rights are not convenient, and that such discussions certainly cannot involve anything but words.

The subsequent crackdown caused the remaining true leftist politicians, including many in the Mountain Party, and journalists to be arrested or go into exile – Marx went to London. With the real left gone the new Mountain Party was no opposition. The National Assembly embarked on a series of right-wing measures which turned everyone against them.

On June 13, 1848 they voted the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – it was a coup against the constitutional rights of the people.

So, indeed, did the republic understand it, to-wit, that the bourgeois ruled here in parliamentary form, without, as in the monarchy, finding a check in the veto of the Executive power, or the liability of parliament to dissolution. It was a ‘parliamentary republic’, as Thiers styled it.”

Thus we see the true emergence of the unstated dream of Western Liberal Democracy: a country ruled by a parliament of the rich; an expansion of absolute monarchy to a tiny coterie of aristocratic elite.

The last straw would come on May 31, 1850, when the assembly would vote to drastically undermine universal suffrage by millions of voters. Marx wrote, “The law of May 31, 1850, was the ‘coup d’etat’ of the bourgeoisie.” Against the voters, he means.

Thus the first coup in the 2nd Republic was actually made by the parliamentarians and not Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte! Bonaparte would restore universal suffrage, to his great credit.

Those two crucial facts are always left out of any discussion of the 2nd Republic and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” (a coup where a legally-elected executive dissolves the legislative branch). In 2022 they should drastically change our assessment of him, and break from Marx’s negative, rather biased view.

That requires the next chapter – Louis-Napoleon: Confirmation of the revolutionary difference between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy.

From the beginning Western Liberal Democracy showed what it wanted: A country ruled by a parliament of and for the rich

Marx writes in summation of the political discussion permitted in the first Western Liberal Democracy:

“Whether the question was the right of petition or the duty on wine, the liberty of the press or free trade, clubs or municipal laws, protection of individual freedom or the regulation of national economy, the slogan returns ever again, the theme is monotonously the same, the verdict is ever ready and unchanged: Socialism! Even bourgeois liberalism is pronounced socialistic; socialistic, alike, is pronounced popular education; and likewise, socialistic national financial reform. It was socialistic to build a railroad where already a canal was; and it was socialistic to defend oneself with a stick when attacked with a sword.

This was not a mere form of speech, a fashion nor yet party tactics. The bourgeois receives correctly that all the weapons which it forged against feudalism thorn their edges against itself; that all the means of education which it brought forth rebel against its own civilisation; that all the gods which it made have fallen away from it. It understands that all its so-called citizens’ rights and progressive organs assail and menace its class rule, both in its social foundation and its political superstructure – consequently have become ‘socialistic’. It justly scents in this menace and assault the secret of Socialism, whose meaning and tendency it estimates more correctly than the spurious so-called Socialism is capable of estimating itself and which, consequently, is unable to understand how it is that the bourgeoisie obdurately shuts up its ears to it, alike whether it sentimentally whines about the sufferings of humanity; or announces in Christian style the millennium and universal brotherhood; or twaddles humanistically about the soul, culture and freedom; or doctrinally matches out a system of harmony and well-being for all classes. What, however, the bourgeoisie does not understand is the consequence that its own parliamentary regime, its own political reign, is also of necessity bound to fall under the general ban of ‘socialistic’. (Emphasis mine)

If you still believe in Liberal Democracy, may I suggest you read that again.

Not only does Marx show that Western Liberal Democracy refuses to protect the rights which Western Liberal Democracy claims to have created and to believe in, but that Western Liberal Democracy is a phoney “third way”: there is either socialism or autocracy/oligarchy/fascism.

“Accordingly, by now persecuting as Socialist what formerly it had celebrated as Liberal the bourgeoisie admits that its own interest orders it to raise itself above the danger of self government….” Western Liberal Democracy is not a resolution to class warfare, like Socialist Democracy claims to be, but the permanent institution of class warfare with the express goal of government by an elite.

“The parliamentary regime leaves everything to the decision of majorities – how can the large majorities beyond the parliament be expected not to wish to decide?” The parliamentarianism of Western Liberal Democracy is false and unrepresentative, culminating in rule by parties which are controlled by the elite. This is unlike the parliaments in Socialist Democracy, where cobblers become parliamentarians, as in Cuba’s 2018 legislative vote.

No wonder Western schools don’t want to discuss this era!

By examining the era of 1848-52 we see that Western Liberal Democracy totally discredited itself out of the gate, and that we have the same problems as we did 175 years ago: it is autocracy improved into aristocratic rule, but never popular rule. Western Liberal Democracy is so undemocratic that it is not even worthy of the moniker “Western Liberal Democracy”!

Thus the Revolution of 1848 in France was a success – ouster of an unelected king, universal male suffrage, installation of a new political system. It culminated in the 1852 referendum on Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” against parliament, and the replacement of the 2nd Republic with the 2nd Empire, to be headed by the new “Napoleon III”. It was approved by 97% of voters with 80% turnout. Over 8 million Frenchmen wanted to vote, and they only could in 19th century France by agreeing that the Bonapartist vision of the French Revolution was the only way to maintain the gains of the French Revolution amid a continent of absolute monarchy and failed revolutionaries AND by rejecting the Western Liberal Democracy of the 2nd Republic.

1848 succeed in France precisely because voters rejected Western Liberal Democracy entirely. Four years to figure it out is not so bad at all?

Thus the period between the 2nd and 3rd Republics is falsely slandered as being equivalent to all the other monarchies of the time. We have been through this before: we are talking about an elected Bonaparte, who naturally was detested by his autocratic contemporaries everywhere else in the region. History is repeated as farce in the modern leftist rejection of both Bonapartes, not in the difference between 1789 and 1848.

Without embracing the will of the inherently progressive French electorate – inherent because there was no other mass electorate at this time – and their eventual selection of the Bonapartes, we are stuck with siding with awful absolute monarchs or awful Liberal Democrats.

Absolute monarchy reigned long after 1848. The slighted Western Liberal Democrat, with all their arrogance, remained non-plussed, as Marx noted: “At all events the (social) democrat comes out of the disgraceful defeat as immaculate as he innocently went into it….” In 1871 the collusion of these two forces with Germany against both Social Democracy and Bonapartism/French Revolutionism led to the traitorous sieging of Paris (the Paris Commune) and then the restoration of Western Liberal Democracy, sadly.

However, in 2022 we must reject Marx’s condemnation and consider the Revolutions of 1848 a success in France. The preservation of universal male suffrage was a spectacular advance from the rest of Europe. This advance alone allows us to clearly see that the ideals of 1789 and the movement away from autocracy still progressed.

But 1848 was an advance for an even greater reason: it allowed the first implementation of modern Western Liberal Democracy… and its endemic flaws were immediately revealed. It became clear that Socialist Democracy was the only true solution – thus the Paris Commune – if one wants broad prosperity, stability and equality for the average person. Those who don’t realise that are stuck in a useless doom loop of 1849-52.

The rise of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is not as thrilling as that of his uncle’s – the former merely came to power via the vote. He is a modern politician, with plenty of flaws, but the French at the time knew he was a progressive option compared to absolute monarchy or Western Liberal Democracy.

The Algeria section

Before we get into Marx’s failure to appreciate the achievements of France’s 1848 Revolution and the rule of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in opposition to Western Liberal Democracy, we must briefly analyse Marx’s failure to take account of the role the conquest of Algeria played on the French mainland’s politics in 1848.

Marx’s focus was more on banking and industrial systems, instead of imperialism. It’s a significant omission: the treasures, resources and stolen wages of imperialism are enormous – we are talking of the gains of impoverishing an entire country. But where Marx really failed was in not noting the enormous political-cultural impact of being a coloniser.

What the events of 1848 proved, and which Marx failed to note, was how Western Liberal Democracy works hand in hand with militaristic imperialism to repress their nation’s own masses. This is an incredibly important analysis to take from 1848 because the French army went from being a Revolutionary Army in 1789 to an imperialist army in 1830.

The colonisation of Algeria was of an entirely different order than the colonisation of the New World, and we must delineate this difference: the colonisation of a Mediterranean space which saw Marseilles and Algiers socially interact for over two millennia is not at all the same thing as a (ignorant) Western perception of heathen savages who need to be converted. Yes, France had other imperialist domains but we cannot underestimate the power of French Algeria in French history from 1830 until today.

Algeria was invaded in 1830 to distract from and eventually legitimise the take-over by the House of Orleans, which ended the Bourbon Restoration since 1815 – this invasion happened at precisely the same time as the fall of Algiers. The finances and internal prestige of Louis Philippe I was enormously supplemented domestically by the occupation of Algeria. This new “imperialist class” was too ignored by Marx in the French events of 1848.

A proof of the political-cultural impact of this new “imperialist class” is found in the person of Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, who went directly from being governor of Algeria to quelling the June 1848 uprising. He was as vital a player in 1848 and beyond as anyone save Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom he finished second in the 1848 presidential election. As Marx noted: “Cavaignac, the General of the bourgeois republican party, who commanded at the battle of June, stepped into the place of the Executive Committee with a sort of dictatorial power.” The election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in December would end this dictatorship, but not before the imperialist Cavaignac ruled over the drafting of the November constitution which gave the elite class ruling power over France. This is not a small thing!

The person of Cavaignac thus represents the new capitalist-imperialist rot which would turn against its own people, like a CRS riot cop who aimed his rubber bullet gun at the faces of Yellow Vests. Marx fails to emphasise that it is the imperialism against Muslim Algeria which provided this muscle to topple 1848. Or that the beloved National Guard was sapped by this imperialist deployment. Or that French culture had certainly become hardened by a war which was not waged at all for progressive revolution.

Romaric Godin, economics reporter at top French media Mediapart, in his book La guerre social en France (The Social War in France) recognised Cavaignac’s import (even if Godin does not recognise the importance of imperialism) as both a new type of politician and its clear parallel with Emmanuel Macron. Godin wrote: “Democratic authoritarianism is that of Cavaignac in 1848 and Adolphe Thiers (the future president of the 3rd Republic who colluded with Bismarck to siege Paris) of 1871: that which uses the entire legislative capacity to repress opposition. This sort of abuse is sanctioned by the law and thus is perfectly legal.”

Western Liberal Democracy actually begins with Cavaignac, who suppressed those calling for Socialist Democracy, the National Workshops and a role for the peasants and the proletariat in politics in June 1848. We can draw a straight line from him to Macron’s crushing of the Yellow Vests, and both men are garlanded by Western Liberal “Democracy”.

Indeed, more and more seem willing to call 21st century France “democratic authoritarianism”. Muslim Algerians knew it back in 1830, and by 1848 everyone knew that authoritarianism is what Western Liberal Democracy has always truly been.

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Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

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