The Long Goodbye of Social-Democracy

The Long Goodbye of  Social-Democracy

November 17, 2020

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

The ongoing process of political degeneration which has been happening in the UK Labour Party is basically part of a deep-going movement which has been taking place in all left-of-centre parties in Europe. In political/ideological terms, they have been swept away by the rampaging neo-liberal globalist forces – circa 1980 onwards and have, like good little boys and girls, trimmed their sails to the globalist agenda. This, straight betrayal has been justified by the usual TINA cliche. The roll-call of the sell-outs has included the SPD (Germany) the PS (France) Pasok/Syriza (Greece) the old ex-communist party of Italy, (now rebranded as the Democratic Party) PSOE (Spain) not forgetting the Democratic Party in the US. This historical betrayal has given the militant right a chance to attack the very real sell-out of the centre-left parties and publications which includes the Guardian, New York Times, Economist, Washington Post, . L’Express, La Figaro, Der Spiegel – the list is extensive.

THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY

The Guardian newspaper had long been a supporter of the Labour Party but more recently has been the trend-setter in this ‘liberal turn’ if we may call it such. There has taken place an unseemly metamorphosis from centre-left to the Blairite right. Going back to earlier days the Manchester Guardian, as it was then called, steered an honest social-democratic course under the leadership of C.P.Scott famous for his catchphrase, ‘’Comment is free but facts are sacred.’’ was the ultimate statement of values for a free press and continued to under-pin the traditions of good newspapers throughout the western world, (but sadly of course this is no longer the case, not by a long shot).  Looking back, Scott and the then Manchester Guardian resolutely opposed the British war against the Dutch settlers (Boers) in South Africa (1899-1902). For his pains Scott’s home was physically attacked by jingoistic mobs and he required police protection, as did the property of the Manchester Guardian which was also attacked.

That was then, this is now.

The rot in the current Guardian newspaper began with the conversion of what was once a campaigning left-of-centre political publication into a straightforward business journal with a centre-right political orientation; this happened earlier in this century when the Scott Trust was rebranded as the Scott Trust Limited, along with the Guardian Media Group – GMG – both of whom became registered as a commercial company by decamping to the tax haven of the Cayman Islands British Overseas Territory, for tax reasons – i.e. tax avoidance.

THE CORBYN AFFAIR

As for the whole ‘anti-semitic’ brouhaha surrounding ex-leader of the Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Labour Party itself, this was engineered from both internal and external sources. It should be understood that anyone who is anyone in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and who entertains political and occupational preferment in the PLP is a member of the ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ – this is mandatory. The same is true of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats. So we have here a situation where an ostensibly sovereign state, the UK, has been penetrated by another sovereign state, Israel which in effect is selecting who and who shall not be members of the Labour Party’s policy and decision-making processes. This blatant process was caught by a mole planted by the Kuwaiti TV Station Al Jazeera and televised under the name of ‘The Lobby’ where the mole in question interviewed a member of the London Israeli embassy – Shai Masot – about the ‘taking down’ of pro-Palestinian politicians and spreading Zionist influence inside independent political groups active in the UK. This TV interview showed Mr Masot – who was blissfully unaware of being televised – discussing with his interlocutor how to cause embarrassment to pro-Palestinian politicians deemed to be detrimental to Israeli interests.

Students and campaigners told a reporter posing as a pro-Israel activist they had been given funding and support from Israel’s embassy in London to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. When asked whether he had ever “built a group”, Mr Masot replied: “Yeah, I did several things like that, yeah…in Israel and here. Nothing I can share but yeah.’’

“It’s good to leave those organisations independent, but we help them actually.”

The UK National Union of Students said it was investigating alleged attempts to influence last year’s leadership election, which saw its first black, Muslim, female president Malia Bouattia voted in.

Following claims that opposing NUS members held “secret meetings” with activists supported by the Israeli embassy, a spokesperson for the union said: “The NUS takes these allegations seriously. We are looking into them and, when we have all the information available, the behaviour of NUS officers will be reviewed, and appropriate action taken.” (1)

This seemed outrageous, but such is the influence of extra-national political configurations in British politics. This was instanced in the manner in which the now ex-leader of the Labour party – Jeremy Corbyn – was subject to a relentless but bogus assault internally from the Blairites, the media and also Britain’s Jewish opponents on the basis of his ongoing support for Palestinian rights. Of course anyone who in Zionist terms is a supporter of Palestinian rights is ipso facto an anti-Semite. On absolutely no evidence Corbyn was suspended from the leadership of the party which was now under the leadership of one (Sir) Keir Starmer QC, who doesn’t seem to have any political views at all, apart from his unconditional support of Israel, which of course befits yet another political carpet bagger on the make. ‘What are my politics?’ What would you like them to be?’

Of course the same scenario also applies to the United States – a fortiori. This latter case of organized Jewish influence both internal and from outside (Israel) is so open, widespread and obvious that it barely needs mentioning. (2) Moreover, socialism in the United States, or even social-democracy, has, never, since the days of Eugene Debs been anything other than a minor curiosity and led by a leadership so venal that it collapses at the first serious challenge. Such was the fate of Bernie Sanders, who managed to capitulate to the DNC powers-that-be not once but twice.

But to return to the Labour Party, this political hollowing-out of what was once a mass and proud reformist party has by now been pretty much neutered and in keeping with centre-left conditions just about everywhere. The list does not make pretty reading. Currently there is no centre-left party, in western Europe at least, worthy of the name, the capitulation seems complete. As follows:

GREECE. THE RISE AND FALL OF SYRIZA

On its accession to power Syriza laid great emphasis on trying to convince their opponents that their proposals were financially sound and of benefit to all in the long-run. This is one of the characteristics of social-democracy. It is an approach based upon ‘the truth’, as they understood it, and rationality of their approach and compared favourably to the mistaken beliefs of their political opponents. What Syriza did not understand, however, was that the social virtues and heritage of social democratic reform was now history, buried deep under the refuse pile of new neoliberal values.

The political imperatives of SYRIZA’s position consisted of an adamantly committed policy to stay in the eurozone and the euro regime; but this was a regime of structural flaws which only benefitted the elites rather than ordinary folk. Concurrent with this the Greek people were consistently indicating in various polls taken that they did not want to leave the eurozone either. Like Syriza they wanted to end austerity and stay in Europe and keep the euro. Neither thus understood that the root of austerity lay in the neoliberal euro regime that they wanted to keep. One would have thought that following the crowd in this instance was a dereliction of duty on the part of the Syriza leadership who should have known better, but it is so much easier to take the easy way out than actually lead.

Syriza wanted a European version of the US 1930’s New Deal, but there was no FDR on the horizon, and, moreover, this was 70 years later, and history was not about to repeat itself.

The upshot of this sad historical nemesis was when Syriza took the road of least resistance. The European base of neoliberalism required the arrangement of goods and services and free movement of labour and capital which had indebted Greece (and other peripheral economies) and ensured some form of perpetual austerity. But this was precisely how the system was designed to work.

‘’Over the course of the third debt restructuring negotiations in 2015, Syriza would at first deny and then resist this reality, then concede in steps as it retreated from its positions and its Thessaloniki programme. In August 2015, it capitulated. Like its political predecessors, New Democracy in 2012, and PASOK in 2010, Syriza would also eventually settle into the ‘caretaker’ role for the neoliberal Troika.’’ (3)

FRANCE – LE PARTI SOCIALISTE – ABJECT FAILURE.

In late 2016, French President Francois Hollande became the first leader of the 5th Republic to announce that he would not seek re-election leaving his Parti Socialiste to find another candidate for the April 2017 presidential election. The five years of Hollande’s presidency had not been kind to the ruling party. Terrorist attacks, a shift to the right on domestic matters, persistent unemployment, internal party divisions, and even an illicit love affair, eroded confidence in Hollande’s government and left the Socialists with little in their playbook that remained popular with voters.

Hollande’s choice for economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, created new problems for the president right from the start. Just 36 when he was appointed in 2014, Macron was a former investment banker at a firm owned by the Rothschild family – an unusual choice for a president who once declared that the world of finance was his “enemy”.

Macron soon angered the Socialist’s left wing with his criticism  of the 35-hour work-week and by calling for the deregulation of the French economy. Socialist deputy Yann Galut spoke for many in his party when he accused Macron of “disowning all the values of the left”. But then what else from an investment banker did the party expect?

The pro-business reforms, known as the “Macron laws”, included allowing stores to remain open  on Sundays and late in the evenings. A more wide-ranging labour code 5, made it easier for firms to hire or fire and to extend employee working hours, soon followed suit. The proposed reforms prompted months of sometimes violent protests  over the summer from students and unions who were angry over diminished labour protections. Yes it was all straight from the neoliberal policy manual. Hollande’s government controversially pushed the bill  through parliament in June 2016 without holding a vote, igniting a new burst of outrage.

Macron was not the only member of Hollande’s cabinet to anger the party’s leftist base. Manuel Valls, 54 – the French Tony Blair – who served as interior minister and then prime minister before resigning to announce his own presidential run, has proved that even a Socialist Party can have a right wing.

As protests against labour reforms spread across France last summer, Valls once again took a hard line, moving to ban further demonstrations in Paris after sporadic outbreaks of violence. It was the first time since the 1960s that union demonstrations had been banned in France and it sparked outrage across the political spectrum, including within the already divided Socialist Party. After a weeklong stand-off, the unions were eventually allowed to hold a protest march via a different route.

Valls has said he wanted to ‘modernise’ the Socialist Party, even suggesting that it rename itself because the term “Socialist” is too “old-fashioned”. He says that a revitalised party could unite all of the country’s “progressive forces” into one movement. Valls’ brand of ‘right-wing Socialism’ (i.e., a neoliberal party) highlighted the quandary the party faced. If Hollande is seen as representing the traditional yet ineffectual left, its more dynamic members now look like the centre-right.

As unemployment continued to hit record highs, Valls infuriated many by saying more needed to be done to encourage the unemployed to get back to work. Macron, for his part, had said that the costly system of unemployment benefits needed to be revised, blaming the unions for deadlocking negotiations.

Statements such as these, coming as record numbers of French citizens struggled with a lack of job opportunities, have heightened resentment among much of the public and divided those within the Socialist party. And they seem more like admonishments that would come from the right-wing Les Républicains party than from the fresh new faces of France’s left. But after the erratic Hollande years, the party now faced the task of reinventing itself as a movement that combines traditional leftist values with a fresh dynamism that is ready to meet the challenges of the future. In short, the PS had to change into a neoliberal outfit. After all – TINA!

Humiliated, unloved, and threatened to be plundered by Macron’s movement, the French socialists stood shivering at a crossroad. Hardly unexpected of course. France was, after all, being corralled into the neoliberal sheep-pen.

France has predictably followed the universal neoliberal economic prescriptions and rewarded with the wholly expected failed outcomes. After growing at an estimated rate of 1.7% in 2018, GDP grew by an abysmal estimated 1.3% in 2019. Minimal growth rates needed to overcome this economic standstill needed to be at least 2% to make any impact on what has become a secular stagnation. This has had political ramifications.

The European elections of May 2019 saw the victory of the National Rally of Marine Le Pen (far right), gathering 23% of the vote, compared to 22% for the Republic in March of Emmanuel Macron. On the international scene, the president intends to strengthen the integration of the euro zone by revitalizing the Franco-German partnership. But Macron’s delusions of grandeur are simply swimming against the stream here with unemployment at 10%, trade figures all negative, private debt to GDP at 227% and Sovereign debt at 98%. Unquestionably France is in a deep structural political/economic crisis.

From Gaullism in 1945 consisting of independence and distrust of the Anglo-Saxon bloc, to the current force feeding of neoliberalism and an unquestioning loyalty to NATO. Mission accomplished? Not quite. And then comes the emergence of the Gilet Jaunes. What next for France?

GERMANY: THE SPD

The oldest, Social Democratic Party in Europe, the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, can be traced back to the 1860s, and for much of the 20th and 21st centuries it has represented the centre-left in German politics, although not the far left politics of the pre-war KPD (Communists) and SAP (Socialist Workers’ Party’ where Willie Brandt was once a member). Nevertheless from 1891 to 1959 the Party at least theoretically espoused Marxism. Of course this all changed in the main due to Cold War but more importantly for the need for political deals and coalition governments which were made the sine qua non for the formation of governments in Germany. At the present time, the SPD is in a fragile coalition government together with the conservative CDU/CSU and the SPD, the Grand Coalition as it is called.

THE EUROPEAN POWER-HOUSE:

In economic terms Germany had always been the economic powerhouse of Europe and possibly even the world. It’s dynamism came from a globally competitive industrial base, pivoting on automobiles, chemicals, and machine tools. Its exports enabled it to command vast surpluses on current account thus providing the wherewithal to lend globally.

Whether this Teutonic pre-eminence was a conscious policy choice on the part of Germany, or merely a policy-drift due to the internal structure of Germany’s post-war policy configuration seems debatable. Germany had certainly bucked the Anglo-American trend of de-industrialisation and financialization which had become de rigueur internationally as a result of the putative ‘efficiency’ of the Anglo-American model. Germany had not deindustrialised, had a smallish stock market compared with other developed states, eschewed as far as possible a system of equity funding and maintained a traditional reliance on bank funding for industry since long term relations were easier to develop among corporations and banks and the internal structure of corporations is not driven by the desire to placate stock markets. Moreover, the German banking system had a multitiered and competitively structured organization which included a raft of smaller and medium sized banks, the Sparkassen, which operated with a local focus. This stood in stark opposition to the oligopolistic banking monoliths of the Atlantic world.

Additionally, there were further reasons why Germany emerged as the EU hegemon. Primarily, Germany did not sacrifice its world class industrial-export sector on the altar of deindustrialisation. But instead adopted and adapted its own variant of financialization while at the same time protected its industrial sector by manipulating its exchange rate to protect exports. The German manufacturing sector is highly productive, export-oriented and has maintained relatively strong union representation in the wage formation process compared to the rest of the private (domestic) sector which has modest productivity and relatively weak unions in comparison with other EU countries.

In the domestic economy, however, Germany was able to restructure (i.e., lower) wage costs and working conditions with the imposition of the Hartz reforms – a set of policies arrayed against German labour which pushed down costs through the implementation of ‘flexible’ labour markets. This gave Germany a competitive first-mover, edge in intra-European trade resulting in an ongoing surplus on its current account. And when one state achieves a (recurring) surplus on current account other states must record a deficit on current account. In this instance this was the southern periphery. If this smacked of neoliberalism –that’s because it was.

In sharp contrast to the southern periphery the eastern periphery of central Europe was not part of the eurozone which means that they were not ensnared in the Iron Cage of EMU and enabled to keep their own currencies. But heavy German investment in this area produced a core-periphery relationship where low-wage, semi-skilled assembly work was farmed out to Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. That is the usual pattern of FDI supply chains. High-end production, including R&D was kept at Home Base.

Additionally, Central European peripheries have come to depend heavily on Germany for technology and markets. If Germany faced a severe recession so would probably be the whole of Central Europe.

Thus, Germany was to become the overseer of an increasingly neo-liberal order precisely at the time when the 2008 blow-out was to cross the Atlantic and usher in a quasi-permanent period of instability for the whole EU project. The main actors in the future development of the EU were the ECB the EC and the IMF, the infamous Troika. The ECB in particular was the paragon of Banking, monetary and fiscal rectitude. This was underlined insofar as it was domiciled in Frankfurt as was the Bundesbank and was heavily influenced in policy terms by this particular institution.

Then came the 2020 derailment. Prior to this, however, growth rates had been zero to miniscule at less than 1% per quarter since 2018. Then came the yo-yo bounce in 2020. Ten Year Bunds Yields were at -0.53 (that’s a minus sign BTW), unemployment was beginning to rise, inflation was at -0.2% which means that it was actually deflation, interest rates were at zero, consumer confidence was at -3.1, retail sales at -2.2%, Sovereign Debt-to-GDP 68%, Private Debt-to-GDP at 154% (but these latter private figures were based upon 2018 statistics).

THE SPD VANISHING TRICK:

And where was the SPD during all this time? It was following the trend of course. The then party leader and Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, defended his counter-reformist ‘Agenda 2010’ and praised Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ as a successful example of ‘modern’ social democracy. At the same time, up and down the country, some 90,000 workers responded to a call by the Trade Union Federation, the DGB, and demonstrated against attempts to dismantle the welfare state. In East Germany, 84% of all steel workers organised in the IG Metall voted in favour of industrial action for the 35-hour week which had been introduced in the West back in the 1990s.

Horrified by high unemployment (4) and fear of recession and even depression, Schroder and his think tanks were doing what they had always accused the previous Helmut Kohl government of doing: they were attacking the unemployed and not unemployment. They claimed that dismantling the welfare state and massive tax reductions were to the benefit of the employers and the rich but in general would open the path towards economic growth and a new jobs miracle. In doing this, they could count on the applause of the bourgeois media and politicians who kept pushing them further and further down that road.

But later developments in 2019 have led to a new inward turn of the SPD which will give the already rapidly changing party system a further push. Both the CDU and SPD have lost dramatically during recent European and regional elections. The winners have been the ‘woke’ Green party and the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD). The Green party, also led by a new team since January 2018, has been a clear beneficiary of the rise of the urban middle-class and the weakness of the two governing parties. The Green party is now solidly number two in the party system and highly likely to join the next government, either with the CDU or the two parties on the ‘left’, the SPD left centrist and Der Linke the old East German Communist Party.

CONCLUSION

Throughout Europe the Social-Democratic tradition has been in crisis since the 1980s onwards and is heading rapidly toward marginalization and oblivion. Having prostrated itself before the deities of neo-liberalism and globalization, and swallowed the holy dogmas whole there seems no way back. And if anything the situation in the southern and eastern peripheries are even more dire than those in Western Europe. The political structures in Europe now range from outright fascist, right and centre right, and an allegedly centre-left that acts like a centre-right, a Guardian-style liberal woke party. That’s it folks. Europe seems to be heading to a turbulent and ugly future

NOTES

(1) The Lobby – Al Jazeera – The Independent newspaper – London 12-January-2017

(2) The Israel Lobby – John J Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt – passim.

(3) Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges – Jack Rasmus – passim.

(4) The story of the German jobs miracle is misleading. It is true that the number of people in employment increased by more than 10 percent between 2003 and the end of 2016 from 39 to 43 million. But this was achieved mainly by replacing full-time jobs by part-time and mini jobs. In fact, actual working time did not increase at all up to 2010; the work was just spread over more people.” And also since the economic climate improved in 2011, the volume of work has been growing much more slowly than employment and is still below the levels of the early 1990s. And that is why in 2016, 4.8 million people in Germany were living entirely from mini jobs. A further 1.5 million are working against their will in part-time jobs. And then there are around 1 million contract workers and more than 2 million self-employed without employees, and most of them do not have enough work.

The “industrial reserve army“ of the unemployed, as Karl Marx once called them, “was reduced in size at the price of a growth in the reserve army of the under-employed in part-time work and the over-employed who have to do several jobs to get by.”

Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

October 04, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Since 1996 Americans have proven that they know their own country: polls show they have correctly picked the winner of the popular vote every time. Even though Trump’s approval rating is under 50% and poll aggregates show he trails by 8%, Gallup just asked who they think will win and 56% of Americans picked Trump, including 24% of Democrats, while just 40% picked Biden.

That’s a big spread, but it confirms what everybody tells me from small towns to Chicago, and I ask everyone. It’s pretty pathetic to see the fear in the eyes of some Biden supporters – you aren’t Afghans planning a wedding party during the Obama era, ok?

Given the extraordinary economic disaster and mass unemployment (in a country with no social safety net) it seems totally impossible for any incumbent to survive, but we should not forget that Democrats are the half of the duopoly which is paid to lose: they are here to provide a safety valve against real leftism (they are Bernie Sanders writ large), and to divert people away from leftist solutions to America’s lack of a social safety net with fake-leftist divisiveness.

Trump has caught coronavirus, and – I’m sure he’s saying – it’s the biggest, most stupendous, most world-famous case of corona ever! It is – Trump is finally not over-selling. But so will be the recovery, no? A recovered Trump (and a 74-year old man has just a 3% chance of dying after contracting corona) who doesn’t make Biden’s willingness for even more devastating, unbearable, technocratic lockdowns a top-two issue would prove that corona does indeed cause lasting brain damage.

The Deep State and their proxies have obviously done everything – fair or foul – they could to stop Trump, and yet I haven’t seen anyone discuss the idea that the White House corona outbreak was injected there on purpose? If anybody could and would do it – and then see Trump survive and overturn their best-laid plans – it would be US Democrats, no?

Trump has the good fortune of running against a Democratic Party which – the ousting of Bernie Sanders and the elevation of Kamala Harris shows – is dominated by a tiny cabal of well-connected Clintonistas, the corporate board members residing in one of the world’s biggest tax havens (the state of Delaware, home of Biden) and Hollywood media liberals who will get incredibly upset at my upcoming use of the term “Frenchmen” instead of “Frenchx”.

Indeed, the biggest achievement of US liberals since 2016 may merely be forcing people to use “Latinx” instead of “Latino/a”. At the “China: Isn’t It Time to Turn To Us?” first presidential debate I don’t recall Biden uttering the word “impeachment”, and he definitely didn’t talk about Russiagate – Democrats can’t possibly run on their own pathetic record?

Yes, the US is such a politically-ignorant country that Trump can accuse “Corporate Joe” Biden of being a “radical socialist” and actually find believers, but Western fake-leftist parties are increasingly being punished by voters for their “right-wing economics and right-wing foreign policy but with political correctness” platform.

It’s amazing that the Clintonista faction wasn’t forced from power after stunningly losing to a reality show star in 2016, but if they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again will there finally be a fair reckoning?

Could defeat in November break up the ossified, out-of-touch and certainly ineffective Democratic Party?

There is a recent Western precedent for such an abrupt exit: the Socialist Party of France.

In 2017 they were rejected so emphatically that their perpetual post-WWII duopoly-dominance became quickly irrelevant; the fact that in 2012 they won both the presidency and 36% more seats than any other party in Parliament became quickly irrelevant. What cost the Socialist Party was the patsy Francois Hollande’s appalling backtracking on his campaign promise to end austerity – it finally became totally clear to Frenchmen that the Socialist Party should be called the “Neoliberal Party of Brussels”.

The French left remains in total disarray, as they should be, given how they refused to listen to their constituents and how they proved themselves to be elitist, duplicitous and amoral technocrats. The trend in France is for the Green Party to be given a chance next, as they are the only other not-yet-discredited option other than the tiny true left and the “paper tiger” far-right.

Yes, unlike the US the French political spectrum contains more than just two parties, but the bigger difference is that the French voter was smart enough to be out for blood in 2017: the #1 reason people voted for Emmanuel Macron was to block Marine Le Pen, but the #2 most-stated reason was to sweep both mainstream parties out from entrenched power – it worked spectacularly well against the Socialist Party.

The United States is far more more prone to hysterical fear-mongering than the cool and politically-experienced French, and “never Trump derangement syndrome” does help explain why there isn’t a similar “cast your vote to kill the mainstream party” movement like France had in 2017. Of course, votes for Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries were made for precisely this reason – this is totally forgotten/covered-up/ignored/misunderstood in 2020 USA.

Such a movement is certainly good sense (which American leftists rarely have), though, as well as political justice.

Yet it seems impossible to imagine someone like Nancy Pelosi – eating her $13 ice cream while getting an illegal high-class haircut – wouldn’t be made the fall-guy (“fall-guyx”?) for yet another Democratic debacle, but was there any change whatsoever after Hillary’s loss?

Is there any doubt that a Biden win wouldn’t see Hillary taking a top cabinet post, replete with royal re-coronation media coverage? Hillary’s certain return is never, ever discussed here because it would obviously turn many voters away from the Democrats in disgust, even though she’s already said she’s ready to join Biden’s administration. A vote for Biden is indeed a vote for Hillary.

But when did Democratic Party leadership ever care about being popular among the masses?

They don’t have to care because the reality is that the American system is incredibly undemocratic at the upper level. Maybe at the local levels we can talk about a face-off between a small town’s two richest lawyers as being a marginally democratic election, but at the top the American system is a most-rigid Politburo dominated by politicians, lobbyist-connected generals and billionaires who never even paid lip service to ideals which weren’t grasping Western individualism, self-righteous arrogance and realpolitik greed.

Forty years ago Democrats in Detroit and in the farming Delta may have said things which condemned those obvious flaws in the neo-aristocratic (bourgeois) US model, but now Democrats only say such things at election time. Take, for example, the discussions about African-American reparations during the Democratic primaries – LOL, no top Democrat has talked about that since Biden’s victory, and they won’t again… until 2024.

Cynically insist all you want that the Democratic Party, the oldest voter-based party in the world, is too entrenched, too privileged and has had too long to game the system in order to ever pay the price for such phony politics, but history says otherwise – just ask France’s fake-leftists.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He 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.

French general strike starts: 3 weeks for victory like 1995, or more Austerity Era failure?

Members of the Yellow Vest movement are being evacuated by the gendarmerie after trying to occupy the Pont de L'Etoile A52 highway tollbooth in Aubagne, southern France, on November 17, 2019, to celebrate the first anniversary of the movement. (Photo by AFP)

Members of the Yellow Vest movement are being evacuated by the gendarmerie after trying to occupy the Pont de L’Etoile A52 highway tollbooth in Aubagne, southern France, on November 17, 2019, to celebrate the first anniversary of the movement. (Photo by AFP)

Wed Dec 4, 2019 10:16AM

By Ramin Mazaheri

Image result for ramin mazaheri

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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 the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

 

Over the decade I have lived in France I have never seen a social protest movement win their economic objective.

Wait… that’s not true: in 2015 Francois Hollande gave in to the demands of protesting police even before their protest ended. That was pretty pathetic.

And then we also have the exception of exceptions, the ever-constant Yellow Vests. They have won a small portion of their economic demands – a tiny amount of direct financial relief, no austerity budget in 2020 and preventing the government from privatizing the airports of Paris (at least temporarily).

They won by doing something which was unprecedented in France: protesting, instead of vacationing, over Christmas. They surprised everyone, including me, with their self-sacrifice, which ultimately grew to incredibly admirable proportions due to their steadfastness amid constant repression.

However, Yellow Vests are now being forced into the back seat.

Unions are leading an unlimited, general strike starting on December 5 to try and stop President Emmanuel Macron’s radically right-wing pension “reforms”.

Will their general strike work?

France’s ‘independent’ unions: if it’s good for members, who cares if its bad for the nation?

It’s so amazing how very quickly a general strike can win that it’s amazing that anyone thinks another tactic in the labor playbook is even required?

But as France’s #1 union leader, the CGT’s Philippe Martinez, told me years ago: “I don’t have a button marked ‘general strike’ which I can press.” LOL, unfortunate but true.

Again, I have never seen a social protest movement in France win their economic objective… unless we are talking about a few union members whom the government bought off with targeted concessions.

The French illustrate why “independent” labor unions might be good for a member but bad for the nation, and also why the world’s most truly progressive models don’t have labor unions which are independent from their government structure.

Since 2010 France has seen enormous, broad protest movements against wave after wave of austerity measures, but they have never succeeded in stopping them. The reason is the same old imperial logic – divide and conquer. Time after time I have watched French strikes fail because the government can quite easily give targeted concessions to just a few sectors of the workforce, and even to just a few unions within one sector of the workforce. This always has had the intended result: to reduce strike participation and provoke anger, resentment and selfishness among those who are still striking so that the movement is inevitably abandoned. France, already the land of the evil eye, has only grown more embittered and suspicious over their many failed labor movements during the Great Recession.

The Yellow Vests have totally rejected union involvement until now, and for the reason I have explained: France’s unions are self-interested, whereas the Vesters obviously promote self-sacrifice for the national good. Just like France’s political groups and NGOs, the unions are fundamentally allied with a corrupt establishment which is geared towards the pro-neo-imperialist 1% and their money-grubbing immorality.

In 1995 right-wing reforms (pushing – you guessed it – right-wing pension rollbacks) lasted three weeks and the government backed down. There were minor goods shortages, and people lost some wages, but national unity against a government’s totally unjustified, 1%-enriching policies was easily victorious.

Almost two-thirds of the nation does not trust President Emmanuel Macron to lead any sort of pension reform, so there is unity again. The reality is that Macron has a support base of just 25% which approves of whatever he does. Clearly, his remaining supporters on the pension issue are daredevils who merely want to see what the world’s very first universal, one-size-fits-all pension program will actually look like.

Such a program is totally unjust because bending rail tracks in the cold, hoisting garbage cans and – I’d say – teaching 30 kids for 8 hours a day is not something which a 64-year old person can do without serious consequences for their health and future. In a West, which makes an idol of youth and dismisses the elderly, this idea – that old people deserve a future, too – is rarer than an igloo in Ecuador.

If recent history is any guide: If Macron gives just a few crumbs to a few unions they will push past the strikers and be “scabs” to the rest of the nation with zero scruples.

This strike is perhaps a final test of union power in France: Unions have become more fragmented since 1995 – and thus less powerful – and if they fail to win here the Yellow Vests will be proven right to have excluded and denounced them.

Macron: Won’t rest until every Frenchman is an American in Paris

No nation has a universal pension system and the French government themselves truly don’t know what they are doing. No worker knows how much their new “points” will be worth upon retirement, including Macron himself. It is clear that Macron only wants to smash the current system and replace it with something more Americanized. I write that because this has been his modus operandi ever since taking office.

Macron’s policies don’t need public approval because he is not trying to get re-elected – he is trying to merely win by default in 2022, when Marine Le Pen will again serve as the scare tactic. Even if he loses he is guaranteeing himself a lifetime of lucrative speech-making in Western nations by destroying the bad example which has always been the French “mixed-economy” model.

Macron is not like Hollande in that he did not backtrack – he warned France of what he was going to do. This gives him a mere fig leaf of democratic justification (in the classic Western-model style): he claims to have won a democratic mandate for his far-right economic plans, but every adult in France knows what I just wrote – his base of support in the 2017 vote was just one-quarter of voters, because everyone else voted to block the far-right (culturally, not economically) Marine Le Pen and also to sweep out the two hated mainstream parties.

In 1995, the largest French social movement since 1968, what tipped the scale was public transport workers: they bought movement to a halt for three weeks, and they are threatening to do the same this month.

What did not tip the scales in favor of worker-class justice is France’s media.

France’s “private” media, whose editorial lines are decided by a handful of billionaires, keeps pushing this willfully stupid point about Macron’s false “mandate” which insults the intelligence of their readers and viewers. Similarly, every report about the pension reforms begins with raising the issue of the “special regimes” – which are mainly for public service manual laborers who work in conditions which no sexagenarian should endure – in an obvious ploy to create support for the far-right reform via provoking jealousy, anger and exasperation, which cannot possibly be the foundation for the proper “reform” of anything.

Not much should be expected from France’s public media, either: even though their salaries are derived from taxpayer dollars only Iranian and Russian media have been covering the Yellow Vests from the street for the past five months.

Another group which also did not tip the scales is what, “Remember ’68, man?!”, French Boomers falsely believe will do so this time around – students.

It is only via cutting off profits to the 1% that France’s leaders – in their aristocratic/bourgeois Western democracy – will ever be forced to back down. It is workers and determined adults who can and must play the deciding factor in politics. I have no idea why the youth-worshipping West thinks baby-faced students are a safer bet than tough rail workers?

Another battle which will be decided is the “blowhard” French model of influencing government – simple, often alcohol-fueled protests.

For the past decade the French have gone to a protest, taken a selfie (without smiling), gone home early and – as I’ve stated – lose. They are simply shocked to find, no matter how often it has occurred, that a government which keeps resorting to executive orders does not at all listen to public opinion when formulating public policy. The French love for self-expression may be self-satisfying, but it is a regular political failure.

Returning to the tactic of a general strike will hopefully show France that the only solution is economically hurting the 1% whom the Western liberal model seeks to protect from any possible economic losses.

Of course these failed bets – on “independent” unions, on the “independent” private media, on emotional and unsteady youth, on protests which lack the basic knowledge of the class struggle and the majority’s embrace of neo-imperialism in  the French culture – all help explain why nearly no socio-economic movements have won since 1995.

What is different this time around?

Nobody can really tell, because it all depends on the willingness of workers to sacrifice their pay checks to win something they won’t touch for decades in the future. Every society has immediate needs to satisfy, but does France have a culture which encourages thinking about the far, unknowable future?

Everybody is making the comparison with 1995, but there is no doubt that the economic and democratic condition of the average citizen is far, far worse since then.

Anti-austerity feeling has routinely been sky-high during the Eurozone’s Lost Decade, and the French keep losing their purchasing power, government services, working conditions and the social rights it has taken a century to wrest from most decidedly un-Islamic high finance. Maybe this will tip the scales?

Is France willing to walk to work for just 3 weeks, like in 1995? If not, they should be prepared to work two extra years in their old age, and for a monthly stipend which is far less than what the elderly get now.

Footnote: Two weeks after the 1995 “victory” the far-right nature of the aristocratic/bourgeois Western model asserted itself – parliament voted to allow the social security reform via executive order. In such a model the 1% is guaranteed to win and is always the primary beneficiary of government policies and tax dollars. If the French weren’t confronted by this reality before, the Yellow Vests have changed that.

Or maybe they haven’t changed that? If the strike fails, the way the Western aristocratic model inevitably betrays the lower and middle classes – and the apathy, alienation and selfishness it necessary provokes among the mass of the citizenry- will be the primary reason for failure, although this reason is never cited in the West.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

 

Why are Western leaders gawd awful bad and China’s so darn competent? Part I.

July 30, 2019

Why are Western leaders gawd awful bad and China’s so darn competent? Part I.

By Jeff J. Brown for The Saker Blog

30 July 2019

Crosslinked with:

https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/30/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-part-i-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190730/

https://youtu.be/855RwhFvvv8

https://soundcloud.com/44-days/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-parti

Pictured above: it’s the Beavis and Butt-Head Show. Or is it Butt-Head and Beavis? Does it really matter? They, like all Western political leaders are suborned from the get-go, by global capitalist 1% elites.

Every time I come back to the West, this time in France, comparing Eurangloland and China just slaps me in the face. I’m getting to talk to many European citizens about life here and their impressions of Sinoland. I will first talk about Western governance and leadership. In Part II, I’ll compare it to China’s.

Following how Boris Johnson got “elected” Britain’s newest prime minister was surreal to say the least. Best as I can tell, the citizens were not even involved. It was all done behind closed doors, among Conservative Party cronies, with all the corrupt wheeling and dealing you can imagine. It reminded me just how undemocratic their parliamentary system can be, with the people voting as much for a political party as a person.

With Donald Trump, we now have on the global stage a real live Beavis and Butt-Head duo to laugh at and mock. It’s shockingly humiliating that two of the West’s most representative “democracies” can actually be led by a former reality TV star and slum lord billionaire (Trump) with another megalomaniac, media-hungry former TV host, who loves to be an outrageous buffoon in front of the camera (Johnson).

These two carnival-barking clowns are what passes for “global leadership”. I can’t stop laughing while I write.

Not that other Western “democracies” are any better. France’s “two-to-the-final-round” system assures that no one threatening the entrenched capitalist order can be elected. Emmanuel Macron is another Wall Street-whore, anti-99% austerity Trojan horse, like François Hollande (I can’t believe I voted for that deep state Manchurian son of a bankster!), and his campaign (Macron’s) was bankrolled by the American billionaire Henry Kravitz (https://www.voltairenet.org/article204276.html). Thus, my wife and I voted for the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélanchon in the first round of the last presidential election. Mélanchon got really close, but in the second round, we were left with “destroy the French working-middle class” Macron and the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, who actually has a very progressive social agenda. So, to do anything to keep Manchurian Macron from getting elected, we voted for Le Pen.

We are not the only people who voted the same, “anybody but Macron” way, as we have talked to French friends who did the same thing. How democratic is a system where you are forced to vote from one political extreme to another, to avoid a neoliberal train wreck, who is hellbent on making working class people suffer even more than they did during the totally corrupt, previous “socialist” Hollande administration, who was nothing but a Washington slut?

Is this what our supposedly “superior, noble, Western ‘democracy’” has to offer, as a “shining white temple on the hill”, for the rest of the world to emulate?

Boris Johnson replaced feckless Theresa May, who was a human jellyfish. Before her and going back in time, the world suffered David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher. Every one of them were wealthy elites who worked overtime to serve the interests of the Fortune 500 and Western global empire, totally subservient to Big Daddy Yankee. All during this time, working- and middle-class British folk got the shaft buried deeper and deeper into their backsides. What kind of future do their children have? It’s bleak to say the least. The UK’s wonderful National Health Insurance is being turned into a sausage factory, students have unpayable university loans, lots of subsistence level training jobs and low pay temporary contracts.

Do you really want me to catalogue US leadership? Before Trump, we had the quintessential CIA-puppet Barack Obama. I totally exposed his and his family’s deep state allegiance in The China Trilogy (see below). Other than his half-black skin color, speaking skills and pushing for gay marriage, his administration was indistinguishable from his predecessor’s, the boy-idiot, “always pulled from the jaws of failure” George W. Bush. Before intelligence-challenged “W”, we had pedophile Billy Clinton, who made several trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s “rape a minor” Lolita Island (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/11/19/china-versus-the-west-another-shocking-comparative-vignette-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171119/). Billy Boy carried water for the banksters and Wall Street like a firefighter overdosed on crack.

At least we knew Bushie Boy’s father was a CIA White House plant, having been the spy agency’s director before. Ronald Reagan was a Grade-B Hollywood actor, who made millions promoting hatred of communism, and was probably suffering from dementia during his later years in the White House. The deep state tried to assassinate him for making peace with those boogey-Russkies, so give him credit for that. Jimmy Carter was vilified for thinking past the 24-hour new cycle, by talking to the people about – capitalism forbid – conservation and learning to live with less. Off with his head! He’s been vilified ever since, just like Bush 41 for passing the American Disability Act. If those gimps and retards can’t walk into a building, too fucking bad, as every true capitalist will tell you.

We have close friends in France and the husband has had a managerial post for 20 years with a big US oil company. He is shocked about how cruel and inhumane the attitude of every Stateside visitor is who comes to work here, and there are many of them: older, younger, men and women. Their contempt and disgust for their country’s fellow citizens who are poor or sick is always manifest, as is their hatred of “that black president”. While France is being neoliberalized into poverty for the middle and working classes, most of the citizens here still have a strong sense of solidarity, the ideal that fellow citizens should help those in need.

I can go on and on back in time. Gerald Ford had the IQ and finesse of “W”, sort of a temporary duty Theresa May. Richard Nixon was a delusional megalomaniac, likely addicted to Dilantin and got kicked out of office by the deep state for wanting to end the profit spinning genocide in Southeast Asia. This, after he and Henry Kissinger led the extermination of millions of innocents in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. When asked why he was resigning, Nixon famously told the truth about Western “democracy”, I don’t want to go out like Jack!, knowing that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by his own government for fighting the 1% elites. In The China Trilogy, I wrote about Obama admitting the same lament.

Nixon’s predecessor, Lyndon Baines Johnson did level the socio-economic playing field, by pushing through his Great Society, voting and civil rights legislation, thank you, but sold his soul to the Devil by playing a key role in the murder of JFK. Don’t believe me? William Pepper has sworn affidavits proving the case (http://noliesradio.org/archives/118087). No wonder LBJ died a broken man, with a double guilty conscience for palace high crimes and sending millions of US and Vietnamese citizens to their early graves.

The last US president who actually tried to be presidential was John F. Kennedy and he paid a heavy price for standing up to America’s capitalist owners: he got his brains very publicly blown out all over Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, Texas.

President Dwight Eisenhower could see that the military-industrial-legislative complex was already an octopus vampire squid in control of the government and economy, but like every other president before and after him, was powerless to tame this ever-growing, insatiable capitalist monster. His presidential farewell warning speech fell on national deaf ears (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBNmecVtdU).

Before Ike, there was poor Harry Truman, the only non-millionaire to be US president, going back to at least the beginning of the 20th century. He was much, much worse than the UK’s Theresa May, as he was warm putty in the conniving paws of the CIA, NSA and Joint Chiefs of Staff, he having signed the law to create these agencies of death. Truman also oversaw the racist incineration of millions of “yellow niggers” in Japan and Korea (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/15/dirty-dark-secrets-of-d-day-france-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190715/).

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was surely the United States’ greatest president and since he worked for the 99% at the expense of the 1%, was very probably poisoned to death, (http://reformation.org/assassination-of-president-roosevelt.html and https://yankophobe.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/was-roosevelt-poisoned-by-churchill/ and http://falsificationofhistory.co.uk/false-history/the-assassination-of-franklin-delano-roosevelt/), after the failed fascist, Wall Street coup d’état against him in 1933 (http://www.truedemocracy.net/hj32/19.html and http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/Coup.htm and https://larouchepub.com/other/2006/3332morgan_coup_plot.html). W’s grandpa, Hitler and Nazi loving Joseph Bush was one of the main culprits in that plot. Once the elites got socialist Vice-President Henry Wallace deposed and replaced by jellyfish Truman, Roosevelt’s days were numbered. Starting with Andrew Jackson in the 1830s, every US president who has been against the big private bankers and/or the capitalist imperial Wehrmacht was killed, attempted to be killed or officially died in office. This startling statistic is glaring among Western “democracies” (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2015/10/01/dr-moti-nissanis-interview-on-44-days-radio-sinoland-the-bank-cartels-death-spiral-for-humanity-15-10-1/ and http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/04/13/pillars-of-american-democracy-cloak-and-dagger-case-studies/).

British leadership has not been much better, although white supremist, genocidal Winston Churchill was the man of the hour during World War II, if we can ignore tens of millions of mostly dark-skinned colonial subjects, who were exterminated like rats in the Crown colonies.

France had a truly great leader in Charles de Gaulle, who summed up what almost never happens among Western leaders,

In order to become the master, the politician acts as the servant.

And,

The (final) word is the people’s. What the people wish is the duty of the leader.

And that’s exactly how he governed. No wonder the CIA tried to assassinate de Gaulle six times. Serving the 99% at the expense of the socialist-hating, warmongering 1% is a capitalist crime punishable by death. Just ask JFK. The CIA even tried to turn France into a dollar denominated puppet state, because they knew de Gaulle represented the interests of his people, and not the bankster war machine (https://mondediplo.com/2003/05/05lacroix). François Mitterrand on the left and Jacques Chirac on the right paid attention to common French folks’ concerns, but the total takeover of French governance by American elites was a fait accompli, with the election of “I wannabe the French Kennedy/Reagan” Nicolas Sarkozy, whose father was a known CIA agent. Like father, like son (https://www.voltairenet.org/article157821.html). Hollande and now Macron have shown just how low French “democracy” can sink. These latter two should be tried and hung for treason, as agents in service to US elites, along with Sarkozy.

And so it goes in Western “democracy”. To understand Eurangloland’s governance, you just have to ask the simple question, Do the leaders and legislators honestly represent the interests of the 99% or the 1%? Wade past all the identity politics, race baiting, fearmongering false flags, wars – and going back centuries the answer is obvious. Western governments almost always work for the benefit of the wealthy elites, at the expense of poor, working and middle classes.

When it looks like the Capitalist War Party may lose control, like with the Great Depression and in postwar Europe, our owners give us just enough table scraps to nip any revolution for economic and social justice in the bud. Why did Euranglolanders get social security, the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, paid sick and vacation leave, and labor unions which were briefly given a seat at the table of establishment power? Because of the genuine popularity of communism and socialism among a broad section of the populations. Why did Europeans get much better benefits, like universal health care, unemployment benefits and subsidized childcare? Because postwar countries like the UK, France and Italy had communist and socialist parties that were winning elections. Populist movements and parties were already demonized and destroyed in the US by the end of World War II, with 1950s McCarthyite witch hunts being the Capitalist War Party’s icing on the cake.

This is not a modern phenomenon. Every civilization has had to choose whether to support the interests of the rich or the masses. Most have and continue to slavishly work for the 1%. Using limitless financial resources, the elites slowly coopt all branches and levels of government, using the usual Imperial Toolbox: bribery, blackmail, extortion, false flags and when all else fails, assassination.

In their private writings and conversations, US presidents going back to George Washington all lamented how the 1% made being truly presidential impossible. They and every elected official, judge and cop have had to and must continue to serve the elites’ demands, first, second and third – then maybe the needs of the 99% might be taken into consideration, but not for long if it threatens their profits, which is why all those postwar benefits are being clawed back across Eurangloland, under the banner of neoliberal austerity.

The vast majority of the 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian King Hammurabi’s Code concerns protecting the land and chattel property interests of the elites. Emperor Nero pulled off one of the earliest known false flags, by burning down one-fourth of his own city, Rome. Jesus Christ was killed for attacking wealthy bankers, and these latter pushed the Roman government to do their dirty work, to make an official example of him.

Julius Caesar was not assassinated for being a dictatorial tyrant. He was murdered by his peers because he was mandating laws to redistribute land and social wealth to the poor and farmers. He was threatening the riches of the Senate’s oligarchic families, who “governed” Rome like a criminal enterprise, and in fact, the modern Mafia families we know today in Italy descended from these same “democratic” thugs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IO_Ldn2H4o). Douglas Valentine so graphically lays out this capitalist nexus between Western governments, mainstream media, organized crime, supposed “law enforcement”, Jesus’ banksters, the Roman Senate’s rich and powerful families, who have evolved into today’s Wall Street and warmongering military contractors (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/02/douglas-valentine-on-china-rising-radio-sinoland-the-cia-is-global-capitalisms-secret-gangster-army-190702/).

Business in the West has been going great guns since the Old Testament and billions of innocent men, women and children have been slaughtered and enslaved to keep that bottom-line fat with genocidal lucre. The only change over time being the evolution of technology, which has made the elites’ resource stranglehold go global, excepting communist-socialist-anti-imperialist countries, like China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia, Syria and on and on.

So, there you have it. It’s painful to accept that Western democracy is a giant fig leaf, an illusion hiding government sponsored organized crime and an ersatz “free press”. Our politicians can’t do the right thing, cannot really be leaders of the 99%, because they are suborned to the dictates of the wealthy 1% elites. That is why Eurangloland almost always gets mediocre to bad leaders and very corrupt governments, The 1% wants all those seats of supposed power filled with minions who can be bribed, blackmailed, extorted and if that doesn’t work, like Lincoln, Roosevelt, JFK and others, they just kill them to resolve their belligerence.

In Part II, we’ll compare and contrast Western governance with China’s.

 

Bio: Jeff J. Brown is a geopolitical analyst, journalist, lecturer and the author of The China Trilogy. It consists of 44 Days Backpacking in China – The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass (2013); Punto Press released China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations (2016); and for Badak Merah, Jeff authored China Is Communist, Dammit! – Dawn of the Red Dynasty(2017). As well, he published a textbook, Doctor WriteRead’s Treasure Trove to Great English (2015). Jeff is a Senior Editor & China Correspondent for The Greanville Post, where he keeps a column, Dispatch from Beijing and is a Global Opinion Leader at 21st Century. He also writes a column for The Saker, called the Moscow-Beijing Express. Jeff writes, interviews and podcasts on his own program, China Rising Radio Sinoland, which is also available on YouTubeSoundCloudStitcher RadioiTunes, Ivoox and RUvid. Guests have included Ramsey ClarkJames BradleyMoti NissaniGodfree RobertsHiroyuki HamadaThe Saker, and many others.

Jeff can be reached at China Risingjeff@brownlanglois.comFacebookTwitter, Wechat (Jeff_Brown-44_Days) and Whatsapp: +86-13823544196.

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Ramin Mazaheri interviewed by Sputnik about the “Yellow Vests” and Macron

February 05, 2019

Ramin Mazaheri interviewed by Sputnik about the “Yellow Vests” and Macron

Macron Won’t Put Question of Resignation Up for French Referendum – Journo

You can listen to the full audio of the interview here:

The first referendum in 14 years could take place in France in May as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the ongoing series of weekend ‘yellow vests’ protests. The newspaper Journal du Dimanche reported that Macron was planning to organise the vote on the same day as European parliament elections: on May 26th.

According to the publication, one of the questions the French would be asked is whether they want to reduce the number of national lawmakers — a campaign pledge by Macron, as well as whether they favour imposing term-limits on legislators.

Radio Sputnik discussed the possibility of France holding its first referendum in 14 years with Ramin Mazaheri, PressTV’s Chief Correspondent in Paris.

Sputnik: What do we know about this proposed referendum and how likely is it to happen in your opinion?

Ramin Mazaheri: The Yellow Vests have no clear programme; there are literally dozens and dozens of demands which are associated with them and the reason that there are so many demands is because France has submitted to the dictates of Brussels for eight years and they have embraced far-right economic austerity, and austerity has totally created a lost decade of economic growth, high employment and suppressed wages, and reduce government services. So, you know, we should see why the Yellow vests have so very many demands. Austerity accumulates; it’s been eight years, so you always have to keep that in mind.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. November 30, 2018

But the idea of more referendums, that this something that truly has risen to the top of the list of their demands… why is that? It’s because in the past decade, it has become painfully clear to the French that their politicians just don’t care a bit for the popular will. Macron, you know, he’s totally done away with the false promises of his predecessor, Francois Hollande, because he openly says he doesn’t care about public opinion at all. He says that public opinion will not affect his policy decisions whatsoever. This is obviously contrary to the modern idea of democracy. So this new demand for a referendum has to be viewed as a reaction to the dominance of the French elites in policy-making. The French people want more power in policy-making.

We have to keep in mind that out of all of the Western governments, the presidency of France has the most power, and we have to combine this reality with another one, that Macron has more power than any [French] president in recent memory, and that’s because he has an absolute majority in Parliament and because he also has total control over his own party, which is full of political novices, they owe their entire careers completely to Macron.

Macron is known for ruling like a Roman God, Jupiter; he’s also known as the president of the rich. So a referendum would reinject democracy into France’s Fifth Republic, that’s the background for this demand for the referendum. The French want direct democracy because their elected leaders, in their indirect democracy, they’re not only not succeeding, they’re not even listening to public opinion. There hasn’t been a referendum in France in 14 years, not since 2005, and French voters then rejected the Lisbon Treaty on the European Union Constitution, and what happened? The vote was totally ignored. So it’s important to keep in mind that Many Yellow vests view a referendum as some sort of cure-all for the French democracy. History proves that that’s not necessarily the case in France. The only country which seems to have incorporated referendums in an effective manner is Switzerland, and France clearly wants to emulate their neighbour in this respect, but these are two very different countries with very different political systems, so it’s not really that simple.

Macron has stated that the idea of a referendum is being discussed, it will be held on the same day as EU elections, but it’s not a done deal. I would say that a referendum is likely to happen because it’s avery attention grabbing way for Macron to say, “Look, I’m not ruling like Jupiter, I am being democratic.” However it’s something which, depending on the issues which are being voted on, this is something which could have very little political risk for Macron.

Sputnik: Let’s talk in greater detail about these issues that could be deliberated?

Ramin Mazaheri: Well that’s really the key question here, right? I mean, if you listen to the Yellow Vests, the most popular question would be: Should President Macron resign? But I think we can all agree that there is no way that Macron is going to put that question up for referendum. It’s really very ironic that Macron, I’m sure he’s going to refuse the hold new elections, because that is exactly what he ordered Venezuela to do. Macron and other EU leaders, they gave Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro just eight days to hold new elections or they will recognize someone else, someone who’s never received a presidential vote, as Venezuela’s new president, so it’s really a case of hypocrisy from France, but that is nothing new at all.

French 'red scarves' (foulards rouges), critics of violent 'yellow vest' (Gilets Jaunes) protests demonstrate in Paris on January 27, 2019.

So what the government is proposing right now about the referendum is to have just one question and that’s to ask voters if they want to reduce the number of parliamentarians and limit the number of terms they may serve. I think that all of our listeners will immediately grasp that this is not a major interest for the Yellow Vests. It will not affect their purchasing power, it will not touch austerity, and we should see that this is really quite a neoliberal idea once again, because it’s a way to reduce the size of France’s government. So we see that Macron is actually trying to use the referendum, and it’s not decided yet, this is what he’s floating in the media, to push the very same neoliberal agenda. He’s not talking about putting up ideas which the average French person cares about, so it’s really a tone deaf move if he goes forward with just this one question, and France’s politicians have said exactly that. They’ve said that if this is the only question on the referendum, it’s going to be a total failure. Reducing the number of legislators actually is one of Macron’s campaign pledges, so it’s amazing that despite his massive unpopularity and the massive protests that have really undermined his international image, he’s on the precipice of sticking with pursuing his very, very unpopular political agenda.

Sputnik: What the Yellow Vests envisioned for a referendum is obviously going to be quite different. They want questions on a number of socioeconomic issues.

Ramin Mazaheri: You know, for example, Macron has rushed through many, many sweeping reforms which are so very unpopular and all of which are designed to make France more in line with the American system, the English system, the German system, and what is on the docket for this year is major right-wing roll-backs to the unemployment system and the social security system. So the Yellow Vests, they would want ideally those types of issues to be on the referendum, to really talk about public policy and the policies that really affect the average French person, the average French household, the pensioner, everybody.

The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

The Return of Louis XVI: Emmanuel Macron, Roi de L’Ancien Regime

The Return of Louis XVI: Emmanuel Macron, Roi de L’Ancien Regime

MARTIN SIEFF | 29.12.2018 | WORLD / EUROPE

The Return of Louis XVI: Emmanuel Macron, Roi de L’Ancien Regime

It is easy to imagine ridiculous young President Emmanuel Macron of France as his fellow-free trading liberal King Louis XVI. Macron’s extraordinary pretensions to “dignity” and being a “king” far from elevating him have stripped him of all the bogus credibility that the corrupt, servile and stupid mainstream media of Europe and the United States tried to give him.

Far from raising the embattled Fifth Republic to new heights of achievement and success, it is already clear that Le Jeune Macron is destroying it. The contrast with the founder of the Republic, the great and truly regal Charles de Gaulle could not be greater.

The 1.96 meters tall De Gaulle towered over his nation in many ways. Twice he was his country’s literal savior: First as the leader of the Free French Resistance against the Nazis and as President of France from 1944 to 1946. And then returning to power in 1958, De Gaulle saved his nation from disintegration and civil war.

He ended the long ferocious conflict in Algeria, survived at least six assassination plots on his life and rebuilt his nation into the most powerful and prosperous state in Western Europe. He also defied the United States repeatedly, courageously criticized US conduct of the Vietnam War and built a lasting relationship of friendship and understanding with the Soviet Union.

Macron is physically not a small man, standing at 1.78 meters: He only acts and looks that way. Only a year into office, it is now irreversibly clear that young Macron is fated to make a mockery of every great achievement of De Gaulle, Le Vieux, including the Fifth Republic itself.

Ridiculous young Macron has inflicted ruinous new hardships on the long-suffering French people in the name of his global financial masters. He has loyally proved to be Washington’s poodle in petty-minded and destructive attempts to impose yet more economic sanctions on Russia.

Far from withdrawing France from needless ruinous wars in the Arab and Muslim worlds as Le Grand Charles did in Algeria, Macron continues to eagerly support and promote the disastrous Western interventions in Syria and Libya.

The true parallel to Macron is not De Gaulle, who restored the wealth, stability, dignity and pride of his nation but of the hapless, witless, very internationalist and liberal King Louis XVI, last monarch of L’Ancien Regime.

Like Macron Louis was an eager, arrogant and idiotic young technocrat. Like Macron, he was an internationalist revolutionary and a free trader. He supported the American colonies in their successful revolution against the British Empire.

It never occurred to Louis, just as it never occurred to Macron, or his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande that supporting revolutionary wars thousands of miles away could ever come back to haunt them at home. But that is exactly what happened. The collapse of ordered societies in Syria and Libya unleashed of millions of immigrants into France and other European nations with dire social consequences.

Louis suffered “blowback” too. American revolutionary Benjamin Franklin set up underground societies in France that within a decade toppled the most powerful kingdom in Europe.

Far from being the reactionary he has been caricatured as for more than 200 years, King Louis was one of the leading fashionable liberals and technocrats of his time. He especially revered English free-market economist Adam Smith, whose book “The Wealth of Nations” was published in 1776 (the same year as the American Revolution). So only a decade later, Louis fatefully signed his own 1786 Eden Free Trade Treaty with neighboring Britain.

As I noted in my own 2012 economic history “That Should Still Be Us”, the treaty proved to be a catastrophe: Cheap industrialized goods from the more advanced British economy flooded into France while the British cannily retained barriers of their own against French agricultural and other exports.

The French economy collapsed. Millions of people were thrown out of work. They and their families starved. Within three years the Great Revolution had exploded and the monarchy was toppled.

Louis, like Macron today, was convinced his advanced economic theories were more important than petty human suffering. It took the French Revolution and the loss, first of his crown and then of his own head to teach him otherwise.

Like Louis, Macron has shown no understanding or sympathy for the sufferings of ordinary people crushed beneath his absurd, unnecessary policies. Like Louis, his mask of liberalism and civilized compassion vanished as soon as his own people dared to disagree with him. Like Louis his only answer now is repression. Like Louis, he does not have a clue.

The Yellow Vest protestors are not going away. The French people are heartedly sick and tired of the 50- percent real unemployment, wide open immigration borders, slashed welfare programs and breakdown of law and order that Macron and the European Union elite has foisted on them., The Latest French Revolution is not over: it is only beginning.

Macron has ignored the ominous lessons of history. Now he is doomed to repeat them.

Photo: Flickr

Who does Emmanuel Macron owe?

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Emmanuel Macron did not feel destined for a career in politics. As a young man, he hoped to become a philosopher, then a senior civil servant, then a business banker. To help him on his way, he frequented Uncle Sam’s fairy godmothers – the French-American Foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

It was in this milieu that he met Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, in their residence on Park Avenue in New York [1]. The Kravis couple, unfailing supporters of the US Republican Party, are among the great world fortunes who play politics out of sight of the Press. Their company, KKR, like Blackstone and the Carlyle Group, is one of the world’s major investment funds.

« Emmanuel’s curiosity for the ’can-do attitude’ was fascinating – the capacity to tell yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. He had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to understand how things work, but without imitating or copying anyone. In this, he remained entirely French », declares Marie-Josée Drouin (Mrs. Kravis) today [2].

Bearing the double recommendation of the Kravis couple and Jean-Pierre Jouyet [3], he integrated the closed circle of François Hollande’s campaign team. In an e-mail addressed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Director of political planning Jake Sullivan named the four principal members of the Socialist candidate’s campaign team, including the unknown Emmanuel Macron. He specified that Macron would probably become the Director General of the Treasury (« the top civil servant at the Finance Ministry ») [4].

However, when François Hollande was elected, Emmanuel Macron became the assistant General Secretary of the Elysée, a more political function. It seems that he had ambitions to succeed Jean-Pierre Jouyet as Director of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (the Deposits and Consignments Fund), a post which was entrusted in May 2014 to the General Secretary of the Elysée. A few days later, proposed by the Kravis couple, he was invited to the Bilderberg Club, where he delivered a violent intervention in perfect English against his boss, François Hollande. When he returned to Paris, he resigned from Hollande’s cabinet.

The Kravis couple are among the main pillars of the Bilderberg Club, which is administered by Marie-Josée Drouin-Kravis. Contrary to a commonly-held belief, the Bilderberg is not a place where decisions are made. Its archives attest to the fact that it was created by the CIA and MI6, then became an organ of influence for NATO, which directly looks after its security [5]. Since Macron’s intervention had been well received, he became one of NATO’s men in France.

Having left politics, he had no desire to return. He explained to his entourage on a number of occasions that he wanted to become a university professor. With the help of essayist Alain Minc (admitted to the Bilderberg Club in 2008), he obtained a post at the university of Berlin and another at the London School of Economics, but was unable to find a place at Harvard.

However, in August 2014, three months after having « left politics », and on a proposition by Jean-Pierre Jouyet (admitted in 2009 to the Bilderberg Club), he was named by François Hollande as Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Technology.

In a book published in 2018, François Hollande assured that this choice had been his idea [6]. That may be, but would suppose that he had not been informed about Macron’s intervention at the Bilderberg meeting – although one of his Ministers and close friend Fleur Pélerin had also been present.

In December 2014, Henry Kravis created his own Intelligence agency, the KKR Global Institute. He nominated at its head the ex-Director of the CIA, General David Petraeus. With the Kravis couple’s private funds (the KKR investment funds), and without referring to Congress, Petraeus pursued operation « Timber Sycamore » which had been initiated by President Barack Obama. This was the largest weapons traffic in History, implicating at least 17 states and representing many thousands of tons of weapons worth several billion dollars [7]. As such, Kravis and Petraeus became the main suppliers for Daesh [8].

The French President of Bilderberg, Henri de Castries, invited the Deputy Mayor of Le Havre, Edouard Philippe, to the annual meeting, which on this occasion was held in June 2015 in Austria. Philippe was to be re-invited in May 2016, this time in Germany. During the presidential campaign in France, both Henri de Castries and Edouard Philippe supported François Fillon, but dropped him as soon as Jean-Pierre Jouyet [9] handed the Canard Enchaîné the financial documents collected by the Inspectorate of Finances concerning the suspicious employment of Madame Fillon [10]. They then joined Emmanuel Macron’s camp.

In April 2016, Emmanuel Macron founded his political formation En Marche!, whose marketing strategy was copied from that of Kadima (Forward!), Ariel Sharon’s pretended non-right, non-left party. As for Macron’s programme, it was built on the notes of the OCDE [11] and those of the Institut Montaigne, of which Henri de Castries was president. In fact, En Marche! was created in the offices of the Institut. But Castries fooled Fillon into believing that this was pure coincidence , and that he did not support Macron. He continued for months telling Fillon that he was ready to become his Prime Minister.

Initially, the financing of En Marche! was not supervised. It was a simple association which was allowed to receive gifts from abroad. The names of the sponsors were not revealed to the Tax Office. Arch-billionaire Henry Kravis was one of them.

During his campaign, Emmanuel Macron regularly met with the ex-President of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (« DSK »). These workshop meetings were denied until they were revealed by Le Parisien, much later, when his reputation as a sexual pervert had died down. DSK (admitted to the Bilderberg Club in 2000) brought both the support of senior government officials and that of French company management – the sociological alliance which had supported the collaborationist régime of Philippe Petain and reformed again in the 1980’s around the Fondation Saint-Simon.

In June 2018, the Minister for Youth and National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, was invited on the proposition of Henri de Castries to the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Club, which was held this time in Italy. This lawyer, a specialist in Constitutional law, has always linked political science and education. He was one of the three central directors of the Ministry for Education, then director of the prestigious Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC). He has known Castries for many years, frequenting him at the Institut Montaigne.

When the Yellow Vests crisis began in France [12], it quickly became evident that this was a profound problem which could only be resolved by addressing the question of global finance, which President Macron can not do. During his electoral campaign, he surprised sponsors at a dinner in New York by making accusations against the financialisation of the economy. It was no more than electoral rhetoric. He was taken to task by the Mr. and Mrs. Kravis – financialisation is the system that enables them to operate the « leveraged buy-outs », which have made them what they are.

Faced with the Yellow Vest movement, President Macron will have to sacrifice his Prime Minister as an expiatory victim during the next elections (the European elections of May 2019, which will certainly be lost). But apart from the fact that he has to hang on for five more months, who is there to replace him? When you owe the financing of your electoral campaign and the choice of your Prime Minister to NATO, it is unthinkable to replace him without first referring to the Alliance. The ideal candidate for the job would therefore be Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] This meeting probably took place in 2007. Thereafter, Emmanuel Macron systematically visited the Kravis couple whenever he was in the USA, and Henry Kravis welcomed him in his offices on Avenue Montaigne when he visited Paris.

[2] «Quand Emmanuel Macron découvrait l’Amérique à 29 ans», François Clemenceau, Le Journal du Dimanche, 22 avril 2018.

[3] Jean-Pierre Jouyet is a personal friend of François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. He directed the General Inspectorate of Finances from 2005 to 2007. He was then Emmanuel Macron’s hierarchical superior.

[4] «Hollande Team», e-mail by Jake Sullivan, May 10, 2012. Source : Wikileaks.

[5] “What you don’t know about the Bilderberg-Group”, by Thierry Meyssan, Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 9 May 2011.

[6Les leçons du pouvoir, François Hollande, Stock, 2018.

[7] “Billions of dollars’ worth of arms against Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 18 July 2017.

[8] “Seize the transnational corporations to rebuild Syria?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 14 August 2018.

[9] Jean-Pierre Jouyet remained friends with Henri de Castries at the end of their studies at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA, Promotion Voltaire). It was there that they met François Hollande.

[10] Contrary to the official version, the information published by the Canard Enchaîné was not the fruit of a journalistic investigation. The entire dossier was handed in one delivery to the weekly newspaper by Jean-Pierre Jouyet, in violation of financial secrets.

[11] The Organisation de Cooperation et de Développement Economiques (OCDE) is one of the two organisms born of the Marshall Plan. The other is NATO.

[12] “How the West eats its children”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 4 December 2018.

France’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years

December 07, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker BlogFrance’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years

The most important thing to understand about France’s Yellow Vest movement is that the Mainstream Media wants you to view it as an isolated incident which exists in a vacuum, when we are much better served to look at in a continuum.

When the Yellow Vests started I was not foolish to say: “So what?”

After all, the Yellow Vest movement is dwarfed by France’s first major anti-austerity protests in the fall of 2010. When Nicolas Sarkozy backtracked on a promise to raise the retirement age France saw 7 marches in 8 weeks with (conservatively) 1.5 million marchers each time. Over just one week there were three different marches with perhaps 3 million people! The three Yellow Vest marches – and all are on Saturdays, to make it easier for people to attend – only reached 300,000 demonstrators one time. So we’re talking 10 times smaller than in 2010 per protest, and something like 30 times smaller if we compare the two movements overall.

Unsurprisingly, I have yet to read of this “ancient history” in any of the Anglophone Mainstream Media coverage of the Yellow Vests. It’s “vacuum versus continuum” in terms of journalistic approach.

I summarise the “continuum” approach in an original saying about journalism (at least I think it’s original): “A journalist without experience is just somebody with a notepad and a pen.”

Some Mainstream journalist who doesn’t know about 2010 – do they really grasp what the Yellow Vests are about? Because the Yellow Vests were definitely there back in 2010…but they remained in the car (Reflective yellow vests in your car are required by French law: in case you get a flat tire or something, you have the vest to put on for safety from oncoming traffic.).

So, if we believe the living-in-a-vacuum Mainstream Media then the Yellow Vest protests are finished: President Emmanuel Macron just canceled the diesel tax hikes. The protests are no longer necessary, right?

Wrong.

There is no reason why AFP, AP, Reuters and everybody else spent all that time saying “diesel tax, diesel tax, diesel tax” other than: they are either purposely misleading people by viewing the diesel tax in total isolation from previous policies, or they are a bunch of inexperienced newbies, or they just want to be proven right for repeatedly making this absurd diesel tax claim. My point: it’s all bad journalism.

Second-most important thing to realize about austerity: it has accumulated

I hear and read stories about the French in 2018 similar to what I used to read about Greece in 2012 – because austerity is cumulative.

It is not just one tax / measure / policy / reform: it is all of them combined. And we are talking about 8 years’ worth.

“Ramin, you are usually awfully long-winded. Do you get paid by the word? Even in your funny columns, you could use an editor. Just explain what you mean about this in real-world terms!”

Fine – hear ya go:

French inflation, according to my calculations, has increased by 14% since 2008: therefore, people have effectively taken a 14% wage cut in 10 years. This helps explain why “decreased purchasing power” has been the number one concern of the French year after year after year.

Salaries in France are already low to start with:1,700 euros is the median net salary, which is far lower than Anglo-US-Germanic countries.

Ok, so you have a lousy salary to start with, which has lost 14% of its value in the last decade. But inflation is not caused by the policy of neoliberal / trickle-down / austerity economics, of course.

But France does have austerity, so 14% is not the only reduction: we must account for the impact on salaries of 8 years of cuts to social services, because a key plank of austerity is reducing the size of the government. This means YOU foot the bill for many services the government used to totally provide or subsidise.

So let’s say, conservatively, because it really depends on the size of your family and what their needs are, that this has effectively lowered your yearly salary 5% overall during the Age of Austerity. Your salary is now actually worth about 20% less than in 2008.

Now let’s add in the new taxes imposed by austerity, because austerity means that the French state taxes workers and not capital, and more than ever. Did you expect that high finance would pay for their failed bets? Ha ha, you are funny – you probably say things like “France is socialist”, too. For example: two years ago they increased my council tax (the annual tax I pay for renting an apartment, so that I avoid things like getting rained on and assault-while-sleeping) by 60%. I don’t know how that’s legal or morally defensible, and I was enraged, but how could I stop them? It went from to €1,285 in 2016 to €2,134 in 2017.

So let’s say, conservatively, that the increased taxes imposed by austerity have taken just 5% of your salary over the last 10 years: your salary is now down 25% from 2008.

Of course, losing 25% of your wages in 10 years is no problem IF your wages have increased 25%.

In 2008 the government claimed the median salary was €1,580 per month for a full-time worker. In 2015, which is this year’s data from the government (why are they so behind schedule, probably because austerity means firing/not replacing government workers), the median salary was €1,692. This means that the median salary has only increased 7%.

So we can conservatively estimate that the median citizen has lost 18% of their salary in real terms since 2008, all thanks to following austerity economics.

For people making €1,700 per month in 2018…losing €306 per month is a huge, huge problem. For childless, former Rothschild bankers who married elderly chocolate heiresses/statutory rapists…€306 only means skimping on the wine tonight.

But wait, it’s worse!

Not only has austerity taken this huge cut out of your already-meagre salary, they have made it significantly more likely that you will lose your poorly-paying job due to long-standing, near-record unemployment levels in France.

This pressure exists because another plank of austerity is the reduction of and/or the refusal to spend government money on job-creating infrastructure PLUS the insistence on giving tax breaks to corporations and businessmen WITH zero strings attached (such as the promise of jobs).

And, the coup de grace, austerity means reduced safety conditions, making firing easier and loosening oversight rules – as a way to encourage hiring – so your poor-paying job is even more disagreeable.

And who has arrived on the scene immune to these pressures, and thus just oozing life, but “old Mackie” Emmanuel Macron. Well, when the shark bites with his teeth, babe, and the scarlet billows start to spread – Mackie’s got them fancy gloves, so there’s never a trace of red. Never a trace of policy-sweat, either: he controls his brand-new political party, which has an absolute majority in Parliament. France is Macron’s little austerity laboratory, and he doesn’t care about public opinion and nor does he have to.

So the “real-world terms” in France are: major cuts in take home pay, combined with job insecurity, combined with a mad neoliberal scientist who doesn’t believe he was elected to reflect the popular will but to rule as he technocratically thinks best.

Can you hear the Mainstream Media shouting to drown me out: “The problem is just the diesel tax, just the diesel tax I tell ya!

Let’s be real journalists and do the math, and give the context, and recount the history

Want me to quickly debunk Macron’s rationale for the diesel tax, which is dutifully placed at the top of every Mainstream Media report?

France’s auto industry made a failed bet on diesel in the 1980s. Result: a whopping 80% of French passenger cars now run on diesel. Pretty clear why the diesel tax is so widely unpopular, no?

Diesel is dirtier than regular gas, but has always been cheaper – until old Mackie came along. But Macron’s “this tax is needed to pay for a necessary ecological transition” is pure bull: Instead of taxing stockholders, corporations and car dealership owners for this failed bet (i.e., the ones who profited) Macron is capitalistically taxing labor (workers, households). There are myriad other ways to make the necessary auto-ecological transition than taxing the average person…but not in capitalism.

People think France is “socialist” because they have a great social safety net, but it remains a capitalist country because they tax labor and not the 1% / management to pay for this safety net. That is the reason the median salary is so low compared with other Western nations. The diesel tax is not the only example of this – ALL French taxes are: It’s so bad that in 2018 all the wages of the average French worker from January 1 until July 27 went to the taxman, to give some real-world context. (In Iran, being so heavily socialist-inspired, 50% of the population pays zero taxes, including every farmer – the money comes from oil revenue (socialistically state-owned) and businesses.)

That’s some context for the latest austerity measure – the diesel tax -which is no different from a banker bailout because Macron wanted to capitalistically make the average person pay for the failures of high finance / alleged technocrats / the rich bosses once again.

But what about the many austerity measures which preceded this one? That laundry list is long and stinking, but I’ll make it brief because I think it matters:

The first austerity cuts were rushed through in 2011, with 2012 serving as France’s first official austerity budget. The reason: the confidence fairy” and France’s AAA bond rating. Did the People want them? Sarkozy became the first French president not to be re-elected in 30 years.

I remember when Francois “The Ultimate Patsy” Hollande came along in 2012. He was a formerly-fat, witty, jovial, (alleged) Everyman from rural France. Surely HE would understand the popular will and do what he promised: break with the Austerity Party line enforced by Brussels, as his campaign was built around a promise to renegotiate the Orwellian-named EU Stability and Growth Pact. I really can’t express how high optimism was in May 2012 – evil Sarkozyites were traitors, and France was truly going to lead a Latin Bloc La Résistance against the arrogant Germans, Dutch and usurious Northern bankers.

Instead, Hollande broke the Socialist Party.

He backtracked on ending austerity on November 6, 2012, by announcing another round of it, and which contained basically all the neoliberal, economically-regressive measures proposed by Sarkozy during the presidential campaign. It was Obama turning into Dubya Bush à la française. The very next day Hollande announced the approval of a draft law to legalise gay marriage and adoption. Funny how I never read about this connection in the Mainstream Media, ever, even though it was a simply atrocious act of societal and political manipulation of the media agenda. That alone was enough to turn many French off of politics for years.

Yellow Vests were thus diverted to enormous anti-gay rights marches, instead of being at anti-austerity marches, but the vests still remained in the car.

How much time do you have to discuss incredibly repressive anti-government protests during the Hollande era? How about after the State of Emergency was imposed? How about the “France has free speech except for pro-Palestinians, whose marches we ban”? What about the 2014 months of protests, led by the rail workers – I dutifully filled up my car with gas (it’s such a fancy car that I was able to buy it entirely with €1 and €2 coins, LOL) in order to help provoke fuel shortages, which have only just barely begun in the current, far-weaker iteration of fuel depot blockades. What about the 2016 Labor Code reforms, when it was all-out war on Hollande?

I never did discover a Western presidential incumbent who was so unpopular that he couldn’t even run for re-election. Feel free to finally provide me with an answer to that trivia question, because for now Hollande is that punchline to that joke.

But Hollande sure did punch – protesters, that is. I don’t know what NGOs are doing but it’s not compiling this data, so off the top of my head – and after asking other journalists – I would estimate that at least 15-20,000 citizens were arrested at anti-government protests during the Hollande era, with 20-30,000 hurt (and truly countless tear-gassed and harassed by cops). Hey, you had 4,000 protesters taken to court by the government during the 2016 protests alone – how many got arrested but were not given court cases? And how many more would have been arrested had not over 600 demonstrations been banned by “liberté-loving” France during the 2-year State of Emergency, with countless others strangled in the cradle? The anal rape of a young Black man by cops with their truncheon in 2017 isn’t necessarily economic austerity-related, but it is evidence of emboldened state repression: my headline sums up the Hollande era when it comes to “Frnce’s love for freedom of assembly”: Cop violence at Paris demo against cop violence.

And how much time do you have to discuss incredibly repressive anti-government protests during 18 months of Macron? The labor code part 2 reform, the rail reform, the education reform, hospital reform, normalization of the state of emergency reform – all have been met with majority-opposition from the People and the same state violence.

So when 400 people got arrested and over 130 anti-government protesters were hurt at the Arc de Triomphe protests last week – this is not seriously different from many other violent protests over the past 8 years!

I admit, I have never seen the Arc de Triomphe tagged with graffiti, but that’s the only real novelty – the violence is totally de rigeur in French political life and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

Or they are hypocrites, because violence against anti-government protesters is apparently ok…in Western countries. Since 2011 I have been saying on PressTV: “If this was Iran, Cuba, China or Venezuela the West would be calling for a humanitarian intervention to save the people from such anti-democratic aggression.”

I eventually stopped saying it – I just got tired of it, ya know? Rather, the West’s hypocrisy just got acceptable. Terrible journalism on my part.

I guess I also stopped being upset over people getting hurt at demonstrations for the same reason – it became mundane, normal. More bad journalism – and bad humanity, and bad citizenship – on my part.

However, I didn’t do what the Anglophone media simply loves to do: I never blamed French protesters for the violence. My God, the Anglophones and their “Keep calm and carry on” worship of law and order at all they costs…what a bunch of sheep, eh? They wouldn’t revolt under any circumstances, I’d say.

Of course, unlike those idiot commentators I have been at innumerable violent protests and choked down litres of tear gas. Fact one: if the cops fail to stop violence it is the fault of the cops, as that is their primary job. Fact two: if the government provokes violent protests, it is the fault of the government, as it is their job to promote policies which do not inspire citizen rebellion. Fact three: France’s armed-to-the-teeth riot police are inherently provoking to the increasingly-poor and increasingly-repressed Frenchmen who come to protest the government and not to get intimidated by it, so their whole plan is designed to fail…and purposely – we talk about the violence and not the reasons nor the past. More “politics in a vacuum and not a continuum”.

Future of Yellow Vests – going on vacation, I’m betting

Of course the Yellow Vesters are going on vacation shortly – it’s December 6. The past 10 years of French history ALWAYS shows that the protesters – no matter how hot, blue and righteous – prefer taking a vacation to sustaining their political momentum. Nothing must stand in the way of several weeks off in December-January and August!

This is, of course, is why they keep losing.

So here’s a real easy test for you to see if the Yellow Vests are different: If the French are seriously protesting on the couple days on either side of Christmas or New Year’s Eve – that would be a revolution in political norms.

But I’ve seen it year after year, so I predict the protests will stop after December 16, and then re-start in January but necessarily weakened. The French sure do make it easy for the politicians they truly despise.

But maybe not so weakened upon restarting….

Beyond the Arc de Triomphe graffiti, I am seeing things I’ve never seen before – like a motorcyclist in rush hour wearing a Yellow Vest with “General Strike – Let’s Stop It All”. Anybody who knows anything knows that a general strike – the only demonstration which actually hurts the pockets of the 1% – is the only way to get any true political change anywhere in the world and at any time (barring outright revolution and rebellion).

Maybe this is the year Santa Claus is not the priority?

People outside of France ask me: will there be a revolution? Here is my stock answer:

No: a huge percentage of French are just as insanely committed and prideful about their outdated, 19th-century based system as the Americans. This is the true legacy of imperialism – unmerited arrogance about your system. Iranians use “arrogance” and “imperialism” interchangeably for very logical and obvious reasons.

But, once again, maybe not so arrogant after 8 years of austerity….

The far-left (true left) and far-right are making unprecedented calls for new elections, for referendums, for things which are rather radical. Let’s not forget that in the 2017 presidential first round vote 19.5% of the electorate voted for Jean-Luc Melenchon (just 2 points less than Marine Le Pen), whose platform included abolishing the 5th Republic. So in France you have an inordinate amount of arrogant jingoists whose parents grew up in French Algeria, but there definitely is a sizeable part of the population which knows things are fundamentally wrong about France’s Liberal-and-not-Socialist Democracy-influenced structure.

And the problem is definitely structural – it is not just the price of diesel.

Any true “Yellow Vest Revolution” would have to include a drastic rewriting of the rules of the European Union and especially the Eurozone, or else a Frexit. Both of those institutions were constructed in the heyday of the fall of the USSR , and thus at a time where socialism was at its absolute nadir. Their birth chart is significant because the two are designed with 1%-safety hatches to escape anything close to true popular democracy. The structure of these two institutions are truly the triumph of “Americanism”, and their neoliberal, self-cannibalizing socio-political thought. Indeed, the US runs on a system inspired by the English, French and Europe, but Continental Europe runs on a system inspired by the US…ironic. And unfortunate.

If the Yellow Vest movement proves to be different it will be largely because of this: they have, and they allow, no leaders or spokespeople. The Prime Minister admitted that he cannot meet with any Yellow Vests, because the ones he arranges to meet with keep getting death threats from fellow Yellow Vesters.

The reason this is so important is: the government cannot co-opt or buy off the movement.

Take French unions for example – there are nine big ones. There was a span lasting from 2010 to 2018 when they didn’t march together once, even though their members all hate austerity. Obviously, they are not united at all. What I have seen year after year in France is: there are anti-austerity strikes and hopes are high…but then the government buys off one or two of the unions with targeted concessions. Those unions say, “We’ve satisfied our members, as is our duty,” and they pull out. Thus, the strikes are now less impactful on the pockets of the 1%, and they are emboldened. Those still striking feel betrayed and see the lack of solidarity, and the strike soon collapses because too many people went back to work. It’s all as easy as pie for the ruling technocrats and 1%, whereas all an increasingly-poor average worker can say each year is: “This time it will be different.” It likely won’t be – French unions have signed off on every major austerity measure, after all.

All of that should go a long way in explaining why socialist countries like Iran, Cuba and China ban independent trade unions – for them the state IS the union.

You can be sure the Yellow Vests are certainly aware of the failure of the philosophy underpinning Western unionism, and thus they are trying to prevent being similarly co-opted or sold out. The death threats and opposition to any leadership are now given context: radicalization and the demand for new methods has accumulated, due to the accumulation of austerity; it is not merely the presence of (politically over-idealistic and step-skipping) French anarchism.

The Yellow Vest Movement also doesn’t even have a program or a list of clear demands which could be satisfied…and I say “right on”.

Their list of demands should be SO long and SO varied that it would take months just to compile it…because their demands are the combined demands of 8 years of anti-austerity protests.

Who are the Yellow Vests, after all? They are all those workers, students, pensioners, teachers, hospital staff, etc. who have been protesting and gotten only tear gas and failure for their efforts. They all have ignored demands which must be addressed, no?

So they don’t need a short & clear program which creates a quite fix because France’s problem is – just like the EU and the Eurozone – structural, cultural and endemic.

Is this a Yellow Vest Cultural Revolution, or just another failed anti-austerity protest?

People will mock me, but something like a Chinese or Iranian Cultural Revolution is clearly needed: several years of shutting down institutions and having major public political discussions in order to have both a huge rethink on societal structures and to get “Rebel Red Guards/Yellow Vests” into local positions of power.

Disagree? Ok, then answer this: How long can this go on?

I don’t mean the Yellow Vest protests – I mean citizen acceptance of anti-democratic austerity. Anything is possible, after all – give me a real figure, please: The Eurozone has had a Lost Decade (which the Mainstream Media never openly admits): will Eurozone citizens tolerate a Lost Score, like the Japanese did?

I say no: Japan is an island, ethnically and culturally homogenous, and they own their debt and cannot be foreclosed on. The Eurozone has none of these advantages.

Here’s another issue I’d like an actual answer on: How long can France have a president and a government which believes public opinion only matters once every five years? One more presidential election? Maybe you believe three more? I admit, anything is possible.

Again, I say no. The Socialist Party is smashed, the mainstream conservative party was routed almost as badly, and Macron’s party – at this rate – will be just a blip in France’s political history books, because they are even less popular than Hollande was at the same point in his term. So who is the party which will be running in 2027? We have no idea in France, much less in 2022.

So when I say that new people in local positions in power are not just needed, that is an understatement: they appear absolutely inevitable.

Another question requiring an actual answer: Where is the political party or grassroots movement which can tangibly implement the Yellow Vests’ will, once that will is known? I am not being obtuse – what is the political pathway for them?

The only alternatives which are not smashed (or soon to be discredited) and still within the realm of possibility are Le Pen and the far-left (real left).

But I don’t think such a Red-Brown alliance can happen in France, however: hatred for the National Front cannot be overestimated, and Le Pen permanently lost many by clowning against Macron in their 2017 debate instead of realising she had a chance to win. Uber-intense anti-Le Pen / Rassemblement National sentiment is the only explanation that France chose a 40-year old Rothschild banker 6 years into austerity. And we can’t overestimate the anti-leftist feeling in France: France neo-imperialist, France capitalist, France Islamophobic, etc. Melenchon came so very close in 2017, but he has the entire media landscape against him, and for many his past as a Socialist Party member until as late as 2008.

Therefore, a real political option – but only by default – is that the Yellow Vests turn into Italy’s Five-Star movement, because they lack any other route to translating their political will, when declared (or if declared, given French anarchism).

But Five-Star took 8 years to coalesce and win power – the Yellow Vests are still in month #1.

However, as my headline notes, this has essentially been the same protest for 8 years, going on 9, so maybe France as a whole is “there”? Maybe the timeline is speeded up in the digital age, too? That’s a significant psychological consideration, but Italy does not give us much hope for 4G political speed in France.

Given the 90,000 cops to be deployed on December 8, it appears that the Yellow Vests are still in “smash” mode, as they should be. Austerity has accumulated after the Great Recession, so there is much to demolish: namely, received wisdoms such as France is democratic, functioning well, rather-socialist, sovereign, etc; there’s also the pan-European ideas (beloved by the French elite) that these new institutions have been beneficial, successful, are the only thing preventing European War III, etc. Lotta nonsense to bring down to earth.

They say we can never predict a revolution, but we do know what precedes successful revolutions: years (if not decades) of nationwide, constant, family-splitting political discussion and involvement combined with drastic measures of self-sacrifice. That was the case in Russia in 1917 and in Iran in 1979 – thus their Revolutions were more aptly-termed bloodless “Celebrations”.

France is a long way from celebrating anything but Christmas, but I can report that all anybody is talking about is the Gilet Jaunes. However, we are truly only on the 6th day of this nationwide ferment, though, so…some perspective.

But, as far as my 2 centimes, I predict they will take Christmas and New Year’s off. And when they come back the same problems will be there. This is a very cynical and depressing point of view – maybe after 10 years here I have become French? – but those are the facts and the historical pattern.

What is also a fact is that the Yellow Vests may or may not change things, but that things in France and the Eurozone simply must change. And they will – someday. See, I’m not that French – I’m optimistic!

And for damn sure I am a Yellow Vest. So is everyone else I’ve talked to, and that means something big…at least for now.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Macron upset that Assad claims France has supported terrorists in Syria (which they have of course)

‘Syrians have one enemy and he is called Bashar Al-Assad’ – Macron

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BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:10 P.M.) – French President Emmanuel Macron called Assad’s comments about France supporting terrorism in Syria ‘unacceptable’, during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris on Tuesday.

“If someone has been fighting and can win the war against Daesh by the end of February, it’s the international coalition”, Macron said.

“These Syrians have one enemy, and he is called Bashar Al-Assad”, he added.

Stoltenberg asserted that “France is also playing a key role in the fight against terrorism.”

“We are now looking into how we can step-up our efforts to train Iraqi forces to help them stabilise their own country” he added.

The French President received NATO’s secretary general at the Elysee Palace, where they discussed security and EU-NATO cooperation.

M/S French President Emmanuel Macron receiving NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Elysee Palace in Paris

SOT, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO general secretary: “I strongly believe that one of the best weapons we have in the fight against terrorism is to train local forces, is to build local capacity, to enable locale forces to stabilise their own countries. And that is exactly what NATO is doing in Afghanistan, in Iraq and also what we have done before in the Balkans, and as a member of the global coalition to defeat ISIS or Daesh. We are now looking into how we can step-up our efforts to train Iraqi forces to help them stabilise their own country.”

SOT, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO general secretary: “France is also playing a key role in the fight against terrorism you have a significant presence in Sahel and you play a very important role in the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria.”

SOT, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO general secretary: “As you mentioned, we also addressed NATO-EU cooperation. And I welcome the fact that we were able to lift NATO-EU cooperation up to a new level and that we are working together on many issues, including hybrid, cyber, fighting terrorism and also military mobility.”

 

SOT, Emmanuel Macron, President of France (French): “I do not personally believe that we can build a lasting peace and find a political solution without Syria and the Syrians. I also don’t believe Syria is just (President) Bashar al-Assad. On the military front we have a priority – the war against Daesh (Islamic State). That’s why his (Assad’s) comments were unacceptable. If someone has been fighting and can win the war against Daesh by the end of February, it’s the international coalition. All others have been ambiguous. All others have had (other) priorities, which was targeting political opposition and not the terrorists. We were coherent from the start, we have one enemy, that enemy is Daesh.The Syrian people have an enemy, there are millions of Syrians way from Syria in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, across Europe, in Canada, the United States, these Syrians have one enemy, and he is called Bashar Assad.”

SOT, Emmanuel Macron, President of France (French): “And if we want to build a political peace process that will lead to stability in Syria, we must gather all the different sides around a table and build a transition that will not lead to a status quo because that would mean millions of political opponents who fear for their lives will live outside the (Syria’s) borders.”

 

SOT, Emmanuel Macron, President of France (French): “That is why what we want to work on with our partners – and in an inclusive manner – is a process that will include representatives of Bashar al-Assad because he is today at the helm of the country.”

M/S Macron and Stoltenberg leaving press conference

The Syrian curse اللعنة السورية

The Syrian curse

يونيو 9, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It seems that the Gulf crisis which has the title of punishing Qatar towards overthrowing its Prince or subduing him an outcome of the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the region, but surely it is not an outcome of the campaign of fighting the terrorism and stopping its funding, in which Qatar along with its Gulf partners led by Saudi Arabia are equal according to the Congress’s reports about the sources of terrorism and the speech of the Vice President John Biden in front Harvard University, so it can be said that the losses of the war on Syria are distributed by the strongest in the war alliance on the weaker and the weakest.

It is impossible to read Trump’s visit and what happened in isolation from Trump’s words about considering the punishment of Qatar an outcome of the visit on one hand, and what he got of Saudi money on the other hand. Washington behold Saudi Arabia the losses of the Gulf through Trump’s contracts and commitments. Saudi Arabia was authorized to distribute the losses among the Gulf countries in money, influence, and politics. But at the same time Trump’s visit cannot be read out the context of the arrival of Donald to the presidency, relying on a speech based on the failure in the war on Syria, even it can be said that Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton strongly by the defeat of her party in the war on Syria and his claiming that he has the ability to get his country out of this war and to reduce the losses not to win in it.

Trump is as the new French President Emanuel Macron who belongs to the same camp from which his former President François Hollande came politically, but he became a president to prevent the arrival of competitors who were planning to take France out the European Union to a civil confrontation due to the impact and the repercussions of the war on Syria, So Macron was the anticipated president to reduce the losses not to win profits, knowing that the permanent issue is the war on Syria which the administration of Hollande and the administration of Nicolas Sarkozy were active partners in it.

It is not hidden to say that the curse of Syria follows everyone who was involved in the war on it, what has happened with the former Prince of Qatar and his Prime Minister was not far from the outcome of this curse, as well as what has happened with Bander Bin Sultan and what affects the Turkish President Recep Erdogan whether regarding his aggravated relation with Washington or his fear from the birth of Kurdish entity on the borders of his country which only Syria and the Syrians can stop it. It is enough to have a quick look at the names which were insolent against Syria, its President, and its army while they were foreshadowing the immanent fall of Damascus and talking about the matter of few days, to notice that the scene included UN envoys, presidents, Foreign Ministers, heads of governments, kings, princes, and sheikhs. Today we wonder about their fate after they went out from the general scene humiliated not only from the war.

It is a real curse that chases all those who were involved in the war on Syria. In the concept of the history-industry and its laws these are the consequences of the defeat in a war which its launchers have made their involvement in it in fate and presence in a way that leads to repercussions that are difficult to overcome. It is clear that none of those involved will be safe whatever they give offerings  to avoid the destiny, as the Saudi are making today with the Qataris. It is clear as well that those who are threatened of fall by the force of the Syrians’ blood and their sufferings which chase everyone involved will not find a lifeline but to apologize from Syria, to atone for what they did, and to pay the bills which can satisfy Syria if there is still an opportunity to appease it.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

اللعنة السورية

يونيو 7, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– تبدو الأزمة الخليجية التي تتخذ عنوان معاقبة قطر وصولاً لإسقاط أميرها أو تطويعه، نتاجاً من نتاجات زيارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب للمنطقة، ولكنها ليست بالتأكيد ثمار حملة لمكافحة الإرهاب ووقف تمويله، الذي تتساوى فيه قطر مع شركائها في الخليج، وتتصدره السعودية، وفقاً لتقارير الكونغرس حول مصادر الإرهاب ولخطاب نائب الرئيس السابق جو بايدن أمام جامعة هارفرد، بحيث يمكن القول إن ترصيد خسائر الحرب على سورية يتم توزيعها من الأقوياء في حلف الحرب على الأضعف فالأضعف.

– تستحيل قراءة زيارة ترامب وما جرى فيها بمعزل عن كلام ترامب نفسه حول اعتبار معاقبة قطر من ثمار الزيارة من جهة، وما حصده من مال سعودي من جهة ثانية، فواشنطن حمّلت السعودية رصيد الخليج من الخسائر بمال حمله ترامب عقوداً والتزامات، وفوّضت السعودية بتوزيع نصاب الخسائر بين دول الخليج مالاً ونفوذاً وسياسة، لكن لا يمكن أيضاً قراءة زيارة ترامب خارج سياق وصول ترامب نفسه للرئاسة مستقوياً بخطاب مؤسس على الفشل في حرب سورية، حتى يمكن القول إن ترامب هزم هيلاري كلينتون بقوة هزيمة حزبها في الحرب على سورية، وإدعائه القدرة على إخراج بلاده من هذه الحرب وتخفيف الخسائر وليس الفوز بها.

– مثل ترامب حال الرئيس الفرنسي الجديد إيمانويل ماكرون الذي ينتمي للمعسكر ذاته الذي جاء منه سياسياً الرئيس الأسبق فرانسوا هولاند، لكنه وصل إلى الرئاسة منعاً لوصول منافسين كانوا يزمعون أخذ فرنسا خارج الاتحاد الأوروبي وإلى مواجهة أهلية، بتأثير وتداعيات الحرب على سورية، فكان ماكرون رئيس الوعد بتخفيف الخسائر وليس تحقيق الأرباح، والحاضر الدائم هي الحرب على سورية، التي كانت إدارة هولاند وقبله إدارة نيكولاي ساركوزي شريكاً نشطاً فيها.

– ليس من الغيبيات القول بلعنة سورية تلاحق كل الذين تورطوا في الحرب عليها، فما جرى مع أمير قطر السابق ورئيس وزرائه ليس بعيداً عن نتاج هذه اللعنة، ولا ما أصاب بندر بن سلطان، ولا ما يصيب الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، سواء بتأزم علاقته بواشنطن أو بذعره من ولادة كيان كردي على حدوده لن يحول دونه إلا سورية والسوريون، وتكفي نظرة سريعة على الأسماء التي تتالت وتنافست على التطاول على سورية ورئيسها وجيشها وهي تبشّر بقرب سقوط دمشق، وتتحدث عن ايام معدودة، ليضم المشهد مبعوثين أمميين وقادة دول ووزراء خارجية ورؤساء حكومات وملوكاً وأمراء وشيوخاً، ونتساءل عن مصيرهم اليوم لنشهد خروجهم بصورة مهينة من المشهد العام، وليس من الحرب فقط.

– هي لعنة حقيقية تلاحق كل الذين تورطوا في الحرب على سورية، وبمفهوم صناعة التاريخ وقوانينه هي تداعيات الهزيمة في حرب جعل أصحابها تورّطهم فيها مصيرياً ووجودياً، بصورة ترتب على الفشل تداعيات يصعب احتواؤها، ومن الواضح أن أحداً من المتورّطين لن ينجو منها مهما افتعل القرابين لتفادي بئس المصير، كما يفعل السعوديون بالقطريين اليوم، بل الواضح أن المهدّدين بالسقوط بقوة دماء السوريين وعذاباتهم التي تلاحق كل متورط، لن يجدوا حبل نجاة إلا الاعتذار من سورية والتكفير عما ارتكبت أيديهم، وتسديد الفواتير التي ترضي سورية إن كان لا يزال لاسترضائها فرصة.

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Et tu, Macron? Hollande the Betrayer Outdone by His Protégé

by Ramin Mazaheri

May 17, 2017Et tu, Macron? Hollande the Betrayer Outdone by His Protégé

The Hollande era has ended, and the Macron era has begun –one must look to Brussels to find many who are happy about it.

This is not a column about Hollande’s reign, and reign is the right word for a man who leaves the country in an 18-month state of emergency, i.e. a police state dictatorship. But it would be too long to list all of Hollande’s crimes against France’s humanity and France’s humans, legal citizens and otherwise.

That is a column for another day.

It’s absurd to read the mainstream media’s coverage of the undearly departed Hollande: They are trying to convince us that he “didn’t deserve his unpopularity”, that he was “misunderstood” or that he “will be appreciated later”.

All of these false narratives arrogantly and shockingly whitewash his four years of record unpopularity, and they also show whose side the mainstream media is truly on: the side of power, and not the people.

If you are on the side of the French people you do not write such revisionist hagiographies of such a flagrantly undemocratic president – you condemn; you reflect the judgment of the people. That’s the only way a journalist should be able to cash their paycheck with a clear conscience.

Hollande betrayed his promises to fight for the rights of his people so scandalously that it is absolutely justice that he was betrayed in the end: Macron appears to have manipulated Hollande perfectly.

I’ll drop the repugnant Hollande with this clear statement: Hollande did not deserve any better than this – to be betrayed by the unknown he plucked from the chorus, groomed for power, and whose name was on the handle of the knife in his back.

Who is this kid we’re stuck with?

A fundamental question which will likely dog Macron: Is Macron an authentic person?

I covered the recent passing of Fidel Castro for Press TV and I heard from everyday people over and over – many of whom had met Castro – that he was an “authentic person”. I thought: “I hope people say the same for me when I pass on.”

But I am a nobody and I do not seek power over others – if I am an inauthentic person the circle of people I hurt will be limited. An inauthentic president, however, ruins entire nations.

Macron’s wife is a good indication that he may not be an authentic person. They met when she was his high school drama teacher: How can any actor ever be considered an “authentic person”? Actors pretend to be anyone but themselves, after all; they are people who perfect the craft of lying in public.

Trump was an amateur thespian, and I don’t think he even stops for five minutes to ask himself who he really is.

The fact is that since the advent of moving pictures politicians increasingly have nothing to do with intellectual accomplishments, ethical standing or even military discipline/selflessness – they simply know how to lie with poise after reading the polling data, which they throw out once in office.

A word about France’s new first lady, Brigitte Macron, née: Brigitte Trogneux: She was not just a simple drama and French teacher, as is commonly reported. She is also an heiress of the Chocolaterie Trogneux family. The former failed politician is not as rich as Theresa Heinz Kerry, but many are at a loss to explain America’s love for ketchup.

I’ve known plenty of 39-year olds who “kept it real” – the jury is out on Macron.

So far the MacronLeaks have not turned up much. To be honest, we journalists in France need more time – we have been busy with the transfer of power. However, Macron is from the new generation which grew up with home video games and computers in his private schools – he’s not dumb enough to leave digital evidence of malfeasance, one assumes.

So far the biggest thing has been that the Macron team paid hundreds of thousands of euros for polls. Obviously, this needs to be probed deeper, but I bring it up because Macron has just announced his prime minister.

The old lady, or ladies, who would be prime minister (ministerette?)

A front-runner for Prime Minister was Laurence Parisot, who is now the head of the national bosses union – yes, even bosses get a union in France, and they are almost supremely powerful in the political-business sphere, as you can imagine. Parisot owns and runs perhaps the top polling firm in France, IFOP, the French Institute of Public Opinion.

This intersection between polling and politics should worry any citizen. Of course, market research firms sell polls – that’s what people who are too dumb to be journalists and too uncreative to be advertisers do – but the obvious temptation to manipulate public opinion with false polling should preclude someone from holding office in a normal democracy.

However, Parisot was passed over. Many assumed it would be current IMF chief Christine Lagarde. It was not.

Many assumed it would be some old lady – any old lady – because the 39-year old Macron married a 64-year old woman, so he clearly works well with the elder female generation.

People are asking: “When will they stop bringing up his wife’s age?” They won’t, at least outside of France. That’s because most everyone assumes there is a moral component to sex, love and marriage. A winter-summer romance, especially on the flip-side of the usual gender, is going to provoke questions and that’s life in the public eye.

But this, however, is France. Mitterand had a secret family which the press dutifully covered up; Hollande secretly dated an actress. If Macron has certain needs – however varied his may be – that 39-year old men have…well, he’s in the right country to keep it under wraps.

Or maybe he’s already found that mistress that every French president seems to have: Angela Merkel.

Hey, shortly after appointing his Prime Minister that’s who he flew off to see…but my imagination insists on keeping visions of that meeting purely work-related. It’s bad enough Merkel has damaged so much else!

Is Macron even capable saying “no” to Merkel? Regardless of any possible attraction, it’s much more likely this generation’s Margaret Thatcher will act as the inexperienced Macron’s guru, and all we can do is just groan yet again.

As Marine Le Pen said in the lone presidential debate: “In any case France will be governed by a woman: either me or Madame Merkel.” Ouch!

But, for form’s sake, Merkel was not appointed French Prime Minister

The new prime minister is 47-year old Edouard Philippe.

Who? Well, that’s not such a bad response – maybe Macron is going to do what he promised: totally regenerate France’s pool of politicians. Polls said that was the 2nd most-popular reason why voters chose Macron over Le Pen. Neither the Socialists nor the party of de Gaulle advanced to the 2nd round for the first time ever in large part for this important reason.

The new PM may not even last a month, however – it all depends on the “Third Round of the Presidential Elections”: next month’s legislative elections.

Macron’s list of legislative candidates is also pleasantly surprising, in this vein – there are only a few dozen recycled Socialists among his first 430 of roughly 580 candidates. Half are new to politics (probably businessmen, I imagine). We’ll have to wait for the final list, but now is the time to be optimistic: Maybe there really will be new blood in the halls of French power? Maybe the Socialists will get the punishment they deserve? Maybe the Conservatives won’t keep getting ghost jobs on the taxpayer dime?

It would be very easy for Macron to blow up the system: He has already said that he is not envisioning a career in politics. His hope appears to be to stay president for 10 years and then go back into the private sector and make more Rothschild-type of money.

As I wrote, this is good in the sense that it reflects the democratic will of the people – well, at least one current of it. However, there are clearly drawbacks to having your country run by mercenaries.

It is very easy to blow up public service when you have no intention of recreating a better public service. Isn’t this the overarching goal of neoliberalism? Reflect on this at your leisure….

The goal of Western politicians is not to create a better government, but to end social services and become billionaires. Look at the Clintons; look at Barack Obama, who is somehow planning to own an NBA team on the salary of a university professor and presidential pension.

There is no guarantee that Macron’s party will win a majority in Parliament – that’s actually opposed by 61% of the public – but bringing in political neophytes also has a nefarious advantage: they will be easy to control and whip into line. Hollande’s far-right “deforms” – not “reforms” – suffered from too many Socialist “rebels” (LOL) who refused to back them. Macron saw up close how Hollande had to bypass Parliament, threatening it with dissolution, in order to pass the right-wing labor code rollback known as the “Macron Law”.

It sucks to be ruled by a Westerner – welcome to the 3rd World

Here is what the new prime minister thought of Macron – per an interview with French centrist paperLibération, dated January 18 of this year:

“Who is Macron? For some, impressed by his ability to seduce and his reformist rhetoric, he will be the natural son of Kennedy and Mendès France. We can doubt this: the first had more charisma and the second had more principles. For others, he will be Brutus, the adoptive son of Caesar.”

Wow…was this the best buddy Macron could find to be his number two? Can’t Macron play nice with people his own age? Compare me to Brutus and I wouldn’t hire you to run my lemonade stand.

“Macron, who takes no responsibility but promises everything, with the ardor of a youthful conqueror and the cynicism of an old truck-driver. If I dare to say it, he acts like a used-car salesman.”

Sweet Mary, whose side are you on?! Why on earth are you going to work for such a man, then? Do you just want money and power, is it? Who is worse – you or your boss? Sheesh….

The luckiest countries – whether they know it or not – have revolutionaries as leaders instead of politicians. Ho Chi Minh, Sankara, Khomeini – all were simple people who lived simply, with no desire for material wealth. You might not agree with them, but damned if they weren’t authentic people.

In the West it’s nothing but total phonies running the show. There’s no metric for it, but the effect this has on increasing individual alienation must be astronomical.

Who with a normal salary would really rather have a Hillary or a Macron instead of a Castro? All Cubans want is the West to lift their blockade – they don’t want Western culture. Of course, Westerners assume the Coloreds surely want both: Excuse us while we either bust a gut laughing or an eye vessel from excessive rolling.

Well, Brutus lasted only a year in power. Macron appears likely to be the 3rd consecutive 1-term president in France – such turnover is great for established capitalists and terrible for the long-term management of society’s needs.

But we should not be cynical from the beginning: The owl of Minerva flies at night. That’s a dramatic way of saying that we can’t properly judge until time has run its course.

But it is midnight for Hollande, and the very real victims of austerity hope it comes crashing down on him like the thunder of hell.

I’m getting pretty dramatic here, eh?! Macron and his wife would likely applaud.

Best of luck enjoying your Macron era!

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Are the French elections a turning point? هل الانتخابات الفرنسية نقطة تحوّل؟

Are the French elections a turning point?

مايو 11, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Winning the French presidency by Emmanuel Macron has been given a big international and regional importance to the extent of describing it with the big transformation in policies, many considerations were dedicated for this idea, as the recall of the partisan project of Macron which was born a year ago, it was linked with renewing the democracy, which France forms one of its bases. Some people have shown the decline of the traditional historical parties especially the Republican and the Socialist Parties which shared the political history of France for half of a century and more. The modernizing electoral platform of Macron at the economic or the political levels made some of the followers of Macron halt at it, it talked about new situation that based on combining the capitalism with the socialization economically, linking the French nationalism with the globalization politically, and the reliance on the youth and the social media in a new structure that is described as revolutionary at the level of the partisan work.

At the first systematic verification of the campaign of Macron intellectually, politically, and economically, all the arguments are dropped. Macron emerged as a candidate, who meets the aspirations of banks and the major French companies on one hand, and the alliance which is represented by the Saudis and the Israelis in the regional policies on the other hand, a candidate who supersedes Francoise Hollande. After the attempts of tempting the Republican party to bring a new Jacques Chirac or a new Nicolas Sarkozy who can meet these policies have failed in front of the accumulative challenges that affect France and its political independence in the time of the US weakness, and the risks of displacement and the terrorism in the light of the war on Syria, the recession, and the unemployment in the light of the failure which affected the European project after the fall of the bets on weakening Russia as an indispensable  source of gas, and the controlling of the resources of the Chinese energy by subjugating Iran. But the campaigns led by America and then by France to achieve these goals failed. The allies’ front has started to regress after the exit of Britain out of the EU, and the attempt of the un-globalized fund in America to take the role of the global policeman along with the adoption of the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House before he was trained and tamped by the globalization institutions in America.

Macron represents the policy of denial which is practiced by those concerned about globalization after their defeat, so in order to ensure their winning they brought the appropriate opponent. An opponent that it is easy to be invested to make the French people in front of the two choices; the fear or Macron after the Republican Francois Fillon was alienated in an invented way, although the observers meet on ensuring his wining in presidency, but for the campaigns which were against him and led to his failure in reaching the second stage, if he was allowed to continue he would win presidency versus Macron or Le Pen, the ensuring of the winning of Macron was in accordance with restricting the competition between him and Le Pen, while the French would be responsible for the rest. Marine Le Pen’s project was foreshadowing the French people with the fear of the unknown within a discourse that threatens of civil war among the French people depending on the color of their skin, and their religion, moreover it grants the terrorism an incubating environment that contains five million Muslims who will be exposed to torture if Le Pen wins, in addition to another unknown that is represented by the impossibility of the exit of France from the EU without destroying it. Knowing that it is in the center of the Union, and it is no longer has its special currency as Britain. So it is logical that France chooses between the unknown and the continuation of the previous situation, not a preference for him but to prevent the reach to the unknown, so Macron wins with fewer voices than Chirac in 2002 versus his father.

What will Macron do in confronting the French challenges; the economy and the war on terrorism in particular? France is burdened with burdens which Macron did not have responses for them despite the improving aspects promoted by the followers of Macron, as revitalizing the economy by reducing the taxes on the major companies as a recipe for the globalization, but it is an experienced failed recipe, because it will not encourage but only the money and the real estate companies and the barters, while the productive sector which needs for customs protection will continue regressing and the labor sectors will supply the unemployment with new figures, here is the importance of Fillon’s proposal of reformulating the EU according to the variables of the national economy and its protection, while in confronting the terrorism. Macron’s project is to continue following Hollande’s recipes which based on turning France to a follower of the US policies, and following Saudi Arabia and Israel and the cooperation with the Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood. These two teams were vowed by Fillon to ban their presence in France in case of his winning.

The legislative elections will take place along with a parliament that will make it difficult for the president to form a government that is similar to him whatever there will be fierce promoting media campaigns and whatever how much money  and media will be spent. The parties which obtained in the first round a closer proportion of twenty percent are three; the radical left led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the extremist right led by Marine Le Pen and the Republican party with its new leadership after the stepping down of Fillon will share the 60% which they won in this session, while Macron will share with his allies in the Socialist party and some of the small parities the remaining 40%. The trade unions which received Macron with the general strike are continuing, they know Macron very well and he knows who support them, the danger of terrorism is remaining and the developments in Syria are resolved no matter if the French presidency changed, although Hollande himself who is Macron’s reference was unable to change them, which means that the first year of Macron will disclose him gradually in front of the French people to reach to the proportion  of 7% which Hollande reached after years.

Macron is repetitive copies of Hollande but with industrial coat that soon will be removed and the forged goods will be revealed.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

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هل الانتخابات الفرنسية نقطة تحوّل؟

مايو 9, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– أُعطي فوز إيمانويل ماكرون بالرئاسة الفرنسية حجماً دولياً وإقليمياً كبيراً لدرجة وصفه بالتحوّل الكبير في السياسات، وحُشدت لصالح هذه الفكرة اعتبارات من نوع التذكير بمشروع ماكرون الحزبي الذي ولد قبل عام ورُبط به تجديد الديمقراطية التي تشكّل فرنسا واحدة من قلاعها، كما استعرض آخرون تراجع وضع الأحزاب التقليدية التاريخية، خصوصاً الحزبين الجمهوري والاشتراكي، اللذين تقاسما تاريخ فرنسا السياسي لنصف قرن وأكثر، ووصل بعض الماكرونيين للتوقف أمام ما وصفه بالبرنامج التحديثي لماكرون سواء على الصعيد الاقتصادي أو الصعيد السياسي، متحدّثاً عن وسط جديد يستند إلى جمع الرأسمالية بالاشتراكية اقتصادياً، وجمع الوطنية الفرنسية بالعولمة سياسياً، والارتكاز على الشباب ووسائل التواصل في هيكلية جديدة وصفت بالثورية على مستوى العمل الحزبي.

– لدى أول تدقيق منهجي بالحملة الماكرونية فكرياً وسياسياً واقتصادياً تسقط كلّ الحجج المساقة، وينكشف ماكرون عن بدل عن ضائع لمرشح يلبّي تطلعات المصارف وكبريات الشركات الفرنسية من جهة، والحلف الذي يمثله السعوديون و«الإسرائيليون» في السياسات الإقليمية، يخلف فرنسوا هولاند، بعدما فشلت محاولات ترويض الحزب الجمهوري للمجيء بجاك شيراك جديد أو نيكولا ساركوزي جديد، يلبّي هذه السياسات، أمام تحدّيات متفاقمة تطال فرنسا واستقلالها السياسي في زمن الضعف الأميركي، ومخاطر النزوح والإرهاب في ضوء الحرب على سورية، والكساد والبطالة في ضوء الفشل الذي أصاب المشروع الأوروبي بعد سقوط الرهانات على إضعاف روسيا وترويضها كمورّد للغاز لا بديل عنه، والتحكم بموارد الطاقة الصينية عبر إخضاع إيران، وقد باءت الحملات التي قادتها أميركا والتحقت بها فرنسا لبلوغ هذه الأهداف بالفشل. وبدأ تداعي جبهة الحلفاء بخروج بريطانيا من الاتحاد الأوروبي، ومحاولة الرأسمال غير المعولم في أميركا الانتفاض على دور الشرطي العالمي مع تبنّي وصول دونالد ترامب إلى البيت الأبيض قبل أن تطوّعه وتروّضه مؤسسات العولمة في أميركا.

– ماكرون ممثل سياسة الإنكار التي يمارسها المعولمون بعد هزيمتهم، لذلك كي يضمنوا نصرهم استجلبوا الخصم المناسب إلى الحلبة، خصم يسهل وضع الفرنسيين أمامه بين خياري الذعر أو ماكرون، بعدما أبعد بطرق مفتعلة الجمهوري فرنسوا فيون الذي يُجمع المراقبون على ضمان فوزه بالرئاسة لولا الحملات التي استهدفته، وأدت إلى عدم بلوغه المرحلة الثانية ولو وصل بوجه ماكرون أو لوبان لضمن الرئاسة. وكان ضمان فوز ماركون وفقاً على حصر المنافسة بينه وبين لوبان، ويتكفل الفرنسيون بالباقي. فمشروع مارين لوبان كان يبشر الفرنسيين بالخوف من مجهول مع خطاب يهدّد بحرب أهلية بين الفرنسيين على لون بشرتهم ودينهم ويمنح الإرهاب بيئة حاضنة قوامها خمسة ملايين مسلم سيتعرّضون للتنكيل مع وصول لوبان. هذا عدا عن مجهول آخر يتمثل في استحالة خروج فرنسا من الاتحاد الأوروبي من دون هدمه، وهي في قلب الاتحاد وليست على طرفه، ولم يعُد لديها عملة خاصة كحال بريطانيا، ومنطقي أن تختار فرنسا بين المجهول واستمرار الحال السابق بقاء القديم على قدمه فيصل ماكرون بأصوات أقلّ من التي جاء بها شيراك عام 2002 بوجه والد لوبان، ليس تفضيلاً له بل منعاً لوصول الخوف من المجهول.

– ماذا سيستطيع ماكرون أن يفعل في مواجهة التحديات الفرنسية. فعلى صعيد التحديين الأهمّ الاقتصاد والحرب على الإرهاب، تنوء فرنسا تحت أعباء لا يملك ماكرون لها أجوبة رغم الفذلكات التجميلية التي يسوقها المروّجون للماكرونية، تنشيط الاقتصاد بتخفيض الضرائب على الشركات الكبرى هي وصفة العولمة، وهي وصفة مجربة وفاشلة. فهي لن تشجع إلا شركات المال والعقارات، والمضاربات، بينما القطاع الإنتاجي الذي يحتاج لحماية جمركية فسيستمرّ بالتراجع وقطاعات العمال سترفد البطالة بأرقام جديدة. وهنا تكمن أهمية طرح فيون بإعادة صياغة الاتحاد الأوروبي وفقاً لمتغيّرات الاقتصادات الوطنية وحمايتها، أما في مواجهة الإرهاب فمشروع ماكرون مواصلة السير في وصفات هولاند القائمة على تحويل فرنسا ذيلاً للسياسات الأميركية والسير وراء السعودية و«إسرائيل»، والتعاون مع الوهابية والإخوان المسلمين، وهما الفريقان اللذان تعهّد فيون بحظرهما في فرنسا في حال فوزه.

– ستأتي الانتخابات التشريعية وتحمل برلماناً يصعب على الرئيس تشكيل حكومة تشبهه مهما خيضت حملات إعلامية تسويقية ضارية، ومهما أنفق من مال واستهلك من إعلام. فالأحزاب التي نالت في الدورة الأولى نسباً متقاربة بحدود العشرين في المئة، وهي ثلاثة، اليسار الراديكالي بزعامة جان لوك ميلنشون، واليمين المتطرف بزعامة مارين لوبان، والحزب الجمهوري بزعامته الجديدة بعد تنحّي فيون، سيتقاسمون الـ60 التي حصدوها في هذه الدورة. وسيتقاسم ماكرون مع حلفائه في الحزب الاشتراكي وبعض الأحزاب الصغيرة الـ 40 الباقية، ونقابات العمال التي استقبلت ماكرون بالإضراب العام باقية على طريقها تعرف ماكرون جيداً ويعرفها هو ومن ورائه حيتان المال، وخطر الإرهاب باقٍ، والتطوّرات في سوريا محسومة الاتجاه لا يغير فيها تغيير الرئاسة الفرنسية التي كان أستاذ ماكرون هولاند نفسه عاجزاً عن تغييرها، ما يعني أن سنة ماكرون الأولى ستتكفل بتعريته تدريجياً أمام الفرنسيين لينال نسبة الـ7 التي وصلها هولاند بعد سنوات.

– ماكرون نسخة مكرّرة عن هولاند مع ماكياج بطلاء صناعي سرعان ما يزول وتنكشف البضاعة المزوّرة.

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Je Suis Charlie to MacronLeaks? France’s ‘free press’ takes credibility hit

May 07, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriJe Suis Charlie to MacronLeaks? France’s ‘free press’ takes credibility hit

I don’t understand: I thought the French were passionately in love with liberty of the press?

That’s what they said when they just HAD to publish pictures of the Prophet Muhammad in Charlie Hebdo. And some of these pictures were absolutely pornographic, let’s not forget – they were not respectful, tolerant or even neutral. Heck, one showed Prophet Muhammad actually filming a porn movie.

But I thought it was a question of the responsibility of the press to be brave and publish what may get them in trouble? And the right to political speech? And of personal freedom?

That’s what was self-righteously proclaimed by one French media after another, after another, after another and after another to anyone who would listen around the world.

The common Frenchman, too: I’ve never seen more people in one place than the 4-million person demonstration in support of Charlie Hebdo. I asked some tough questions there in my work as Iran’s Press TV correspondent, despite the pleas of my cameraman to think of our own skin.

And yet it seems the first rule of MacronLeaks is: Don’t talk about MacronLeaks.

The morning after the hacked emails of the Macron campaign were released the French Electoral Commission menacingly warned that nobody was permitted to publish to the contents of the leaks. The leaks were tens of thousands of emails, notes, bills and internal discussions.

What was inside? Can’t tell ya – I’m a journalist.

It wasn’t as if the French people didn’t have access to this information: MacronLeaks are all over Twitter and social media.

So this 11th-hour election twist means that France is living in a state of forced denial, and this denial is forced by the state. A good word for that is “authoritarian”. Hey, due to the ongoing state of emergency (18 months and to be extended by either presidential candidate) this is officially a “police state dictatorship”, after all.

Authoritarianism has become old hat for us in France!

But if this was Russia and it was Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor instead of Francois Hollande and his chosen boy Emmanuel Macron, what would the French media be saying? Stupid question: They’d be screaming “censorship, censorship, censorship”.

It’s appalling: There hasn’t been ONE French media willing to courageously publish when no one else will.

Leaks just don’t sell as many newspapers as naked cartoons, I guess? What happened to the infamous French provocateur? I’d even settle for one of those annoying types right about now.

Imagine if Marine Le Pen was up 62% to 38% instead of Macron? I’m sure SOME media would have published LePenLeaks, and justified it by “standing up to fascism”.

But the French don’t stand up to capitalism. Certainly not when they seem about to elect Rothschild banker and pro-austerity Macron in about 8 hours. Certainly they don’t stand up for communism anymore.

But boy oh boy, don’t they talk a lot of stuff about their love of a free press? And when you don’t back it up….

Censoring will have the opposite effect of discrediting the media & the election

It’s crucial to know there is not one major media in France which is pro-Le Pen.

This is very different from Brexit, where newspapers made explaining the Brexit rationale a daily occurrence. It’s also different from the US, where Trump at least had Fox News to give his side. Seemingly everybody with power, money and influence – and I mean everybody – is against Le Pen.

Le Pen supporters already had cause to claim, 100% fairly, media bias: The MacronLeaks self-censorship will be also fairly viewed as just another step in this direction.

Whether you agree with the decision or not, the fact is that nearly 40% of voters are expected to vote for Le Pen. Add in some abstentionist sympathizers and we can accurately predict that half the country is going to view France’s media as being in total collusion against their candidate.

They are turning to the “Fourth Estate” for guidance and what they found at the top of the France 24 website was this story: Reproduction of whales and dolphins in captivity banned. How can France’s media not lose credibility with such nonsense?

That’s why Twitter Francais was full of condemnations like this one: “The oligarchy will be scandalized by its methods. This is why people go elsewhere than the mainstream for information. This is all that the journalists of BFMacron can do?” (BFM is one of the two top TV news channels here.)

The French establishment is trying to protect its election (or its preferred candidate, perhaps), but half the country is going to see this self-censorship as undermining the credibility of the election itself. Also from Twitter: The censoring of the French media on the MacronLeaks revelations before the decision of the French people is a reason to invalidate the vote.

This is the anti-Macron camp on Twitter, and they are right.

The pro-Macron camp on Twitter encouraged each other to post pictures of cats. This was in order to bog down Twitter in feline stupidity and not allow their fellow citizens to see what the future president was up to.

So why didn’t I publish the contents – I’m a journalist in France?

That’s an honest question, and I’ll give an honest answer:

That decision was above my pay grade.

Like many journalists, I am not in charge – I’m just a worker. I can decide for myself, but I cannot decide for my media. My views on it appear to be clear.

I think the point of view of Press TV is that: We have already been banned by France’s state-run satellite company during the Hollande administration…what do we need even more harassment for?

After all, I could barely find anybody in France to stand up for Iran’s right to freedom of the press at this censorship. Even the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders refused to give an interview to me to attack this ban and to defend Iran’s rights. LOL at that NGO’s “apolitical” reputation. LOL at their hypocrisy.

I’m not trying to sound “tough” – I was very conflicted about MacronLeaks and it’s not certain I would have revealed the contents if the choice was mine to make. What made it much harder was that, for sure, I would have been the first.

I am a foreign journalist – why aren’t the domestic media leading the way?

They have all the contacts, all the ability to fight in courts, all the language-skills to explain to a judge, all the reasons to defend their press. It is their country, after all – I’m not even a citizen.

So I understand Press TV’s view.

But there are certainly many French journalists who feel disappointed with their publishers and their colleagues, and they should feel that way.

Rules are made to broken – failing to do so leaves only questions

Ok, 36 hours is not much time to verify the veracity of the leaks, but I ask you: Which media refused to publish the allegations about conservative candidate Francois Fillon and “Penelopegate” over these very same alleged concerns?

Or which media refused to publish the allegations concerning Marine Le Pen and her EU ghost jobs scandal?

The answer is, “none”. So why is Macron getting preferential treatment?

If the answer is, “Because it’s too close to the election,” I find that very unsatisfying. Truth, justice, transparency and the peoples’ right to know does not have a date.

If the answer is, “Because it’s the law,” I find that unsatisfying as well. However, I did not realize just how anally-retentive about the law the French were until I moved here – it goes against the common stereotype. They have been, as we all inevitably are, greatly influenced by their neighbors, the anal-retentive kings – the Germans. France has not fallen far from that tree.

If the answer is, “Because foreigners are trying to influence our election,” I find that unsatisfying as well. Learning the truth about a candidate is the most important – have we not seen how badly Hollande lied and backtracked to the French? Learning the truth is the best safeguard to democracy – the source of the truth and their motives are totally irrelevant.

Macron and his team are asking to serve as public servants: How does transparency not trump their right to privacy? Mustn’t elected officials be held to a higher standard?

This censorship cuts both ways, including against Macron’s rights: By denying all discussion, how can Macron clear his name? Surely some will say that Macron is guilty by suspicion, and that is not fair either. Of course, with a 20+ point lead he just wants to tread water and say as little as possible – this has been his election strategy all this time, in fact.

Ultimately, it is the public which must be made king: Otherwise you have an oligarchy. The media’s complicity in the MacronLeaks affair will only increase accusations that this is the true nature of France.

Plenty of proof that France censors only when it wants to

The fact is that assuming these leaks were some sort of “disinformation campaign” is not based on any proof.

WikiLeaks, who was not behind the leaks, said that they appeared credible. When is the last time such a big leak proved out to be false? Whistleblowers like this have a very good record.

But if the whistleblower thought this would have an effect like in the United States, he was sorely mistaken. The French are not going to go hog-wild over conspiracy theories like the Obama Birther Movement in the US.

What’s more likely is that the whistleblower had the data, and realized he had no smoking gun. So he waited until the campaign ended, hoping that innuendo would do what his hacked data could not.

Am I even allowed to print that? Dear Paris prosecutors, please note I am only hypothesizing that there is no smoking gun, maybe there is!

I have had to make that same half-serious, half-pathetic plea for other cases in France recently: covering “apology for terrorism” cases. That’s another example – hundreds of examples – where France clearly cared nothing for freedom of speech: you had minors, drunks and mentally ill citizens accused by hearsay, jailed, tried and sentenced over just a few days.

French media doesn’t like to make a fuss about that, either.

Back to MacronLeaks: By releasing this so close to the election there’s a fair case to be made that this is not whistleblowing but manipulation, and those are two different things.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. But the first rule of MacronLeaks is that we can’t talk about them….

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

France caught up in terrorism, victim of her own NATO allies

by Thierry Meyssan

France has just become the victim of a new terrorist attack, three days before the first round of her Presidential election. For Thierry Meyssan, Paris needs to stop talking rubbish and realise the importance of what this means. International terrorism, in which France herself participates, is commanded and used – even against her – by certain of her NATO allies.

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Attack on the Champs-Elysees, 20 April 2017.

At the beginning of 2017, we were informed that jihadists were preparing actions which were intended to force France and Germany to postpone their elections. It was not easy to discern:

- whether the aim was to postpone the French Presidential election (April-May), or the French parliamentary elections (June), or both;
- whether France was a target in itself, or if the actions in France were a preparation for future actions against Germany.

Among the candidates for the Presidential election, only François Fillon and Marine Le Pen have criticised the support offered by France to the Muslim Brotherhood. Fillon has even made it one of the recurring themes of his campaign.

Speech at Chassieu (Lyon), 22 November 2016.

We alerted our readers that the Press campaigns and the legal affairs launched against Donald Trump in the United States, and against François Fillon in France, were commanded by the same groups. We wrote that according to Messrs. Trump & Fillon,

« … it will not be possible to restore peace and prosperity without first putting an end to the instrumentalisation of Islamic terrorism, without freeing the Muslim world from the ascendancy of the jihadists, and without attacking the true source of terrorism: the Muslim Brotherhood. » [1]

At that time, the French, believing wrongly that the Muslim Brotherhood was just a movement within the Muslim religion, did not react. Later, I published a book , Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump, whose second part describes in detail, and for the first time, how this secret organisation, created and controlled by MI6, is run by the British secret services. It is this Brotherhood which, since the Second World War, has been attempting to transform Sunni Islam into a political instrument. All the leaders of jihadist groups without exception came from the Brotherhood – from Oussama Ben Laden to Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi.

On 26 February, without explanation, François Fillon published a communiqué which was widely criticised:

« We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation: less than two months from the Presidential election, we are in a state of quasi civil war which is disturbing the normal course of the campaign (…) I say again that we are in a state of emergency, and yet the government does nothing (…) Today, in my rôle as ex-Prime Minister, as an elected member of the Nation, I solemnly accuse the Prime Minister and the government of failing to guarantee the conditions for a serene exercise of democracy. They have a very heavy respnsibility in allowing a state of almost civil war to develop, and which can only profit the extremes (…) Whoever the candidates are, they must have the right to express themselves, and the government must take the necessary measures so that the rioters and the enemies of democracy cease disrupting the Presidential campaign » [2].

On 17 April, the Police Nationale informed the four main candidates that there were threats to their security, and reinforced their protection.

On 18 April, M. (29 years old) and Clement B. (23 years old) were arrested while they were preparing an attack during a meeting in support of François Fillon.

On 20 April, a policeman was killed and two others seriously wounded during an attack on the Champs-Elysées.

François Fillon and Marine Le Pen cancelled the journeys they had planned for the 21 April. Following the movement, and althought here was no real threat to him at all, Emmanuel Macron did the same.

The responsibility of the next President of the French Republic

The security of the French people will be a central issue for the next five-year Presidential term. This question is all the more complex in that the recent terrorist attacks perpetrated on French soil have implicated three of France’s NATO allies – the US deep state, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

I have widely covered the question of the attacks in Paris (13 November 2015) and Brussels (22 March 2016). [3]. In my latest book, I indicate that while the responsibility for these attacks was claimed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Press, they were carried out by « independent commandos, with the exception of a common operator, Mohammed Abrini of MI6 » (p. 231) [4].

For years, the successive governments of Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppé, and also the government of François Hollande and Laurent Fabius, have hidden their criminal activities from the French people, and the consequences for which they are responsible – terrorism intra muros.

It is absurd to believe that al-Qaïda and Daesh could be in possession of so much money and weaponry without the support of major states. It is absurd to believe that France could have participated in the remodelling operations in the « Greater Middle East » without suffering the counter-attacks. It is absurd to believe that it will be easy to fight international terrorism when it is commanded by our own NATO allies.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

CrossTalk: Le Pen vs. Macron (ft. Pepe Escobar)

The French scuttle their own ship

by Thierry Meyssan

We are witnessing an historical reversal in France, where the ancient political spectrum is exploding into pieces as new fractures appear. Because of the intensive storm of media propaganda which has recently almost drowned the nation, the French can now perceive nothing more than the essential markers, and cling to red lines which no longer exist. However, the facts are clear, and certain evolutions are predictable.

| BEIRUT (LEBANON) | 25 APRIL 2017

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Private soiree at La Rotonde – congratulated as the new French President, Emmanuel Macron welcomes personalities from the CAC40 and the entertainment world on the evening of the first round of the election. Seen here with his friend, the banker Jacques Attali.

After a very agitated electoral campaign, the French chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen for the second round of the Presidential election.

Already, almost all the losing candidates, with the exception of Jean-Luc Melenchon – and that’s no accident – have appealed to their followers to support Macron, who should then be easily elected.

The two major historical parties which have governed France since the beginning of the Fifth Republique – Les Republicains (ex-Gaullists) and the Parti Socialist (ex-Jaurèsians) – have been beaten. A newcomer, En Marche !, has made it to first place on the podium, facing the Front National.

Is there fascist candidate?

This is not the first time that this sort of cleavage has occurred in the history of France – on one hand, a partisan of an alliance with what seems for the moment to be the world’s greatest power (the United States), and on the other, a movement seeking national independence – on one hand, the totality of the ruling class, without notable exceptions, and on the other, a party cobbled together of various bits and pieces, composed mostly of proletarians, two thirds of whom come from the right wing and one third from the left.

Evidently, the next French President will be Mr. Macron – a man from the Banque Rothschild & Cie, now supported by the totality of the business leaders of the CAC40.

However, whether our prejudices like it or not, the unanimity of the power of money is the fundamental characteristic of fascist parties.

This unanimity of Grand Capital is always accompanied by a National unity which erases the differences. In order to become equal, we must become identical. This is what President Hollande began with the law « Marriage for all », in 2012-13. Presented as establishing equality between citizens, whatever their sexual orientation, it posited de facto that the needs of couples with children are the same as those of gay couples. And yet there were several other more intelligent solutions. The opposition to this law led to a number of very important demonstrations, but they unfortunately failed to provide any other proposition, and were sometimes mixed with homophobic slogans.

Identically, the attack against Charlie-Hebdo was celebrated to the chant of « I am Charlie ! », and those citizens who declared that they were « not Charlie » were prosecuted.

It is a shame that the French people do not react either against the unanimity of Grand Capital, nor against the injunctions to use the same judicial techniques and to favour the same slogans. On the contrary, they insist on considering the current Front National as « fascist », with no other argument than its ancient past.

Can a fascist candidate be resisted?

In the majority, the French think that Emmanuel Macron will be a President à la Sarkozy and à la Hollande, men who will pursue their political beliefs. They therefore expect to see their country increasingly decline. They accept this curse, thinking that in this way, they will evacuate the menace of the extreme right.

Many of them remember that at its creation, the Front National gathered together the losers of the Second World War and the losers of the social politics of the colonisation of Algeria. They focused on the figures of a few men who had collaborated with the Nazi occupier, without seeing that the Front National of today has absolutely nothing in common with those people. They persist in holding Second-Lieutenant Jean-Marie Le Pen (Marine’s father) responsible for the Algerian tragedy, and exonerating from their responsibilities the Socialist leaders of the time, particularly their dreadful Minister of the Interior, François Mitterrand.

No-one remembers that in 1940, it was a Fascist minister, General Charles De Gaulle, who refused the shameful armistice with Nazi Germany. This man, the official heir apparent of Marechal Philippe Petain (who was his daughter’s godfather), charged into the Resistance alone. Struggling against his education and his prejudices, he slowly gathered around himself, against the wishes of his ex-mentor, French people from all horizons to defend the Republic. He linked up with a left-wing personality, Jean Moulin, who, a few years earlier, had secretly embezzled money from the Minister of the Marine, and trafficked weapons with which to support the Spanish Republicans against the fascists.

No-one remembers that a colleague of De Gaulle, Robert Schuman, wrote his signature on the armisitice of shame, then, a few years later, founded the European Economic Community (currently the European Union) – a supra-national organisation based on the Nazi model of the « New European Order », against the Soviet Union and today against Russia.

The Obama-Clinton model

Emmanuel Macron has recieved the strong support of ex-US President Barack Obama, and has gathered a team for foreign policy composed of the main neo-conservative diplomats. He makes no secret of supporting the external politics of the US Democratic Party.

Barack Obama, although he presented his foreign policy with a rhetoric which was diametrically opposed to that of his predecessor, the Republican George W. Bush, in practice followed his lead in all points. The two men successively continued the same plan for the destruction of the societies of the Greater Middle East – a plan which has already caused more than 3 million deaths. Emmanuel Macron supports this policy, although we do not yet know whether he intends to justify it by speaking of « democratisation » or « spontaneous revolution ».

If Hillary Clinton was beaten during the US election, Emmanuel Macron had to be elected in France.

Nothing proves that Marine Le Pen will be capable of playing the rôle of Charles De Gaulle, but three things are certain :
- Just as in 1940, the British, choking back their disgust, welcomed De Gaulle to London, today Russia could support Le Pen.
- Just as in 1939, only a few Communists braved the orders of their party and joined the Resistance, there will only be a few of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s partisans who will take that step. But as from the Nazi attack on the URSS, it was the whole Communist party who supported De Gaulle and formed the majority of the Resistance. There is no doubt that in the years to come, Mélenchon will fight side by side with Le Pen.
- Emmanuel Macron will never understand people who resist the domination of their homeland. So he will not understand any better the people of the Greater Middle East who struggle for real independence alonside Hezbollah, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Le Pen &Trump aren’t even close – are we stuck with Emmanuel Macr-Obama?

April 24, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

It’s not that the National Front has changed since the 1980s – it’s that the other parties have changed so much for the worse.

C’est ça – that’s the point, as the French say, and which translates into English rather ineffectively.

Nobody should be happy about having to vote for Marine Le Pen, but please tell me what economic policies has Emmanuel Macron espoused which will end the systemic anti-Muslim, anti-Colored racism in France?

Got nuthin’? Of course you don’t.

And that’s why it is intolerable to hear French people say that a vote against Le Pen is a vote against racism: Racism is not just pretty words but concrete actions – it is the government installing a Black family next to yours to promote equality.

Don’t fancy that: congratulations, you are not a leftist!

But Emmanuel Macron is the epitome of today’s “fake leftism” – leftism which has a “non-racist” and “minority-friendly” face, but which is neutered of any economic or social policy that would actually improve the lives of any minority.

What good is having gay marriage in France if you can’t afford the marriage certificate because you are both unemployed?

Gay marriage typifies the misplaced priorities of the West’s fake leftists – the show over substance –which must make the Ho Chi Minh’s of the world roll their eyes and mutter, “This is the Left I sacrificed for?”

While preparing to cover the first round of France’s election I was reviewing five years of news reports I made while covering the Francois Hollande era for Press TV. I was reminded that November 7, 2012, is a day which must not be forgotten.

On that date Hollande announced he was breaking the essence of his electoral campaign: He cut taxes for the wealthy and on corporations, with financing to come from cuts to social services and a hike to the VAT (sales) tax, which is a regressive tax on the average person.

Here were the two lead paragraphs from that report:

“France has announced another round of austerity measures, in an unpredicted change-of-heart. Many expected a recent report calling for tax breaks for businesses to be ignored, but the Hollande administration will implement its neoliberal measures almost completely.”

“This plan corresponds with President Hollande’s promises,” said Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s Prime Minister. “They are leftist because our objective is to create more jobs and to correct injustice,”

Also on November 7, 2012: Hollande, Ayrault and the Socialist Party unveiled the bill for gay marriage in Parliament.

The politics of distraction….

It’s disgusting for fake leftists like Francois Hollande, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to manipulate civil rights in order to push right-wing economics, but it works.

Today, not enough French voters saw the through the masquerade of Macron, I’m sorry to report.

Even fewer remember the lessons from 5 years ago, it seems. How many journalists even helped people to remember?

However, all of France does remember perhaps the biggest-ever anti-government demonstrations which followed November 7, 2012: between 300,000 to 1 million people marched – not against austerity, but against gay marriage.

The politics of distraction causing misplaced priorities….

Then in January 2013 Hollande launched a war in Mali.

The politics of distraction, this time with dead Colored bodies….

Blame Hollande for a lot, including Macron

Hollande is the one who foisted Macron on us. He plucked him from the obscurity of the chorus, schooled him as his deputy secretary-general of Élysée Palace, appointed Minister of the Economy out of nowhere, and dubbed Macron to carry on his legacy.

Hollande admitted as much – he wants to see what he “built” continue. Many thought he was the only one who felt that way, and that’s why Hollande couldn’t even run for re-election.

So France elects a younger version of Hollande instead?

Once again I write these words: This ends the myth that the French are more sophisticated or intellectually cultivated than everyone else.

They couldn’t even see through Macron!

Anyone think Macron will be promoting peace? Or even “first do no harm” isolationism?

Le Pen might…if the military-industrial-financial-media-cultural complex doesn’t hound her with accusations of being a Russian spy like they did with Trump. Maybe she won’t even bomb Syria to get some breathing room from the fake leftist hordes in pussy hats.

Or maybe not, but Le Pen is, like Trump, the hope candidate in the French election because a vote for Macron is a vote for your own unemployment. Or your wife’s. Or your children’s.

One thing is sure: If they elect Macron the whole country will be crying in 6 months, just as France was with Hollande.

It’s simply staggering that he’s expected to win at a huge 65%-35% margin. Austerity has never worked anywhere, ever – even the IMF now admits that, only after decades of ruined lives – and yet the French are going to elect a guy who will enact 20% more austerity measures that Francois Hollande.

Trump and Le Pen are totally different

Let’s admit it – Trump is hilarious…by presidential standards.

His tweets, his self-importance, his shilling for Trump merchandise while meeting with the president of China – he’s what we’d all like to be if we had no conscience or sense of responsibility.

In France we call this person: Gerard Depardieu. Seriously! The French talk about how they secretly would love to be this fat, vineyard-owning glutton who shoots his mouth off however he wants – the guy got a Russian passport from Putin, after all!

But it’s simply not accurate to say that Trump and Le Pen are the same just because they both represent the White Trash Revolution sweeping the West.

Trump is hilarious and entertaining (and thousands of kilometers from where I live), yes, but hate for him is new: Le Pen and her family have been hated for decades.

The Le Pens have spent decades insulting Muslims, Roma, minorities – French people – and that simply cannot be erased.

French people repeatedly tell me: “Ramin, you are new here – you’ve only been here 8 years – you don’t understand the National Front.”

It’s possible, but I respond: Everybody I meet views the National Front in some sort of time warp. Only the cynics claim politics never changes: look closely and you see that the situation is different from 1980, or 2002, or 2007, etc. And they cannot see that five years of austerity will do far more collective damage than taking a risk on Le Pen.

Worse, they can’t understand that nearly all French parties are racist: Fillon wrote a book titled “Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism”; Melenchon is rabidly secular; the Socialists cracked down on the Roma worse than Sarkozy. Only the Communists got the brotherly love in France: Our 2 candidates only got 1.8% combined, and that is your fault and not ours.

Understand this well: Very few people are “happy” about Macron tonight. Think about it: 4 candidates all won nearly 20% of the vote – that’s unheard of! Macron eked out a miniscule victory – this is no sweeping mandate whatsoever.

And listen to me now and believe me later: This is not a “seismic shift” in French politics. Yes, the Gaullists didn’t advance for the first time ever, and the other mainstream party is absent too, but Macron has no party: he will necessarily staff his cabinet with the same old Socialists and Républicains; his neophyte party will necessarily make a coalition government with them in Parliament.

Macron is simply an Obama-style brand shift by the Empire. Like Obama he will be a smooth-faced handmaiden for Clintonian globalization. Nothing will change if Macron is elected.

However, I can report to you that this current of National Front fear/resentment/myopia is too strong for me to think that Le Pen will win: I have met so many people from across all boundaries who simply cannot, will not, ever vote for any Le Pen. Their dead ancestors practically forbid it.

Nobody can say the same about Trump.

So I am not hopeful that Le Pen will go the way of Brexit and Trump.

I write this while waiting to do interviews #9 and #10 on Round 1 Election Day for Press TV – maybe I’m not thinking clearly?

The worst has been seeing my grinning colleagues on France’s major media stations – they are thrilled to pieces. Of course, they’re on the wrong side of most of the issues. I’ll give them some credit: The #1 channel in France – TF1 – interviewed me as part of a piece about the view of foreign journalists and had the sense to make the lead quote, LOL. I coulda done it in French – they didn’t ask!

I have been repeatedly proven wrong about Macron

I was hoping the fawning, brain-dead, hugely pro-Macron French media would be wrong about “the Roths-churian candidate”, but it seems I was.

I never took him seriously because he’s such a seriously flawed candidate: 39 years old, Rothschild banker, Macron Law author who sparked 4-months of strikes and protests in 2016, 64-year old wife, heir to Hollande-ism, 7 step-grandkids, selling off industrial jewel Alstom to the Americans which only profited shareholders and not citizens, etc. and etc.

The guy is like Teflon! Nothing stuck! And why? He said nothing! He didn’t unveil his 60 billion in euros in austerity cuts (10 billion more than Hollande) until early March!

Robbers never tell you they are stealing, after all. But, beyond just the economy, Macron was as vague as possible – and it worked!

Well, now it’s up to Le Pen to attack him mercilessly for the great sins of…his record. Everybody should.

But instead it is Le Pen who will be attacked mercilessly and by everybody under the French sun. And let’s be honest – she is no saint, and her sins are not just bad TV and gaudy real estate.

In fact, she’s a terrible candidate, period. She’s useful to spark debate, but she’s no winner. Who really wants her to win? This all makes her a loser on May 7, most likely – that’s what Trump would say, and he can say that: he won.

The National Front is fighting decades of correctly-earned ill-will. There is undoubtedly tremendous – just tremendous – dissatisfaction in France, but how is Le Pen going turn the battleship around to take office?

I think I can fairly write that nobody is happy tonight, but Macron will provide an uplift when he likely wins. He will: it’s human nature – he has youth on his side. I suppose he’s an Adonis when you stand him next to hated hobbits like Hollande.

People will look at Macron and say: “it’s a fresh start”. They’ll lie to themselves – human nature.

The fools – they’ll be crying in 6 months again. And I hate to write that – I’m a fool too. But I’ll be a fool for the 3% chance that Le Pen could turn out to be a real statesman instead of just a blonde Mussolini. I repeat: austerity has never worked anywhere – just ask the IMF.

Hell, I’m a fool for democracy! Give the people a chance to simply VOTE on a Frexit! How can the EU be “democratic” if we are scared of democracy?

Waitaminut – I’m really losing my head here, eh? I’m forgetting the damned facts, the damned platforms, no matter how much Macron tried to hide his!

A referendum on Frexit, leaving NATO, possibly dropping the euro, finally ending austerity…what on earth is Macron offering that is even close to that?!?!?!?!?!

Macron is economically as far-right as Marine Le Pen is on the far-right on the cultural spectrum! Do you have to be a Communist like me to even THINK about an economic spectrum actually existing anymore?!

Dammit, it’s not over! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?! Heck no! We have 2 weeks of serious debate to make! We can quit when it’s over, not before!

I just talked myself into having faith in Le Pen again!!!!!!!!!!

Sure it was borne out of desperation, but it’s founded on facts.

Now we just have to let France know that.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Le Pen, Macron to Face Off in French Runoff Election

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[ Ed. note – Marine Le Pen, who wants to steer France out of the EU, and Emmanuel Macron, the pro-EU candidate, will face off against each other in the May 7 runoff election in France.

Both have emerged as top vote-getters in today’s election. According to the New York Times, Le Pen, with 34 percent of the votes counted, is the official front-runner, having garnered 24.6 percent of the vote, compared to 21.9 percent for Macron. The BBC, on the other hand, while still naming Le Pen in first place, is saying the tallies were much closer–at 23.5 percent and 23 percent respectively.

“What is at stake in this election is a referendum for or against lawless globalization,” Le Pen said to the enthusiastic cheers of her supporters after claiming victory. “Either you choose in favor of a total lack of rules, without borders, with unlawful competition, the free circulation of terrorists, or you make the choice of a France that protects. This is truly what is at stake. It is the survival of France.”

Macron, too, spoke to a crowd of supporters–many of them waving both the French flag and the flag of the EU.

“The two political parties that have governed France for years have been discarded,” he said. “The deep … feeling which has led our people to love our country and overcome its divisions is spectacular. You have shown that the hope of our country was not a dream but a relentless and benevolent will.”

Below is an article actually published a couple of days ago, but it gives some insights into French politics and why today’s election may have turned out the way it did. ]

The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty

By Diana Johnstone

Paris.

The 2017 French Presidential election marks a profound change in European political alignments. There is an ongoing shift from the traditional left-right rivalry to opposition between globalization, in the form of the European Union (EU), and national sovereignty.

Standard media treatment sticks to a simple left-right dualism: “racist” rejection of immigrants is the main issue and that what matters most is to “stop Marine Le Pen!”  Going from there to here is like walking through Alice’s looking glass. Almost everything is turned around.

On this side of the glass, the left has turned into the right and part of the right is turning into the left.

Fifty years ago, it was “the left” whose most ardent cause was passionate support for Third World national liberation struggles. The left’s heroes were Ahmed Ben Bella, Sukarno, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, and above all Ho Chi Minh.  What were these leaders fighting for?  They were fighting to liberate their countries from Western imperialism.  They were fighting for independence, for the right to determine their own way of life, preserve their own customs, decide their own future. They were fighting for national sovereignty, and the left supported that struggle.

Today, it is all turned around.  “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left.

National sovereignty is an essentially defensive concept. It is about staying home and minding one’s own business.  It is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism that inspired fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty.

The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”.  It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.

The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.

That is why the British voted to leave the European Union.  Not because they are “racist”, but primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.

The Socialist Party shipwreck

As his five-year presidency drew to its ignominious end, François Hollande was obliged by his drastic unpopularity to let his Parti Socialiste (PS) choose its 2017 presidential candidate by primary.  In a surprising upset, the Socialist government’s natural candidate, prime minister Manuel Valls, lost to Benoit Hamon, an obscure member of the PS left wing who refused to vote for the unpopular, neo-liberal, anti-labor laws designed by Hollande’s economic advisor, Emmanuel Macron.

To escape from the unpopularity of the PS, Macron formed his own movement, “En Marche!” One after another, Valls, Hollande and other prominent PS leaders are tiptoeing away, leaving Hamon at the helm of the sinking ship.  As Hamon justifiably protests against their betrayal, the party bigwigs pledge their support to Emmanuel Macron.

Macron ostentatiously hesitates to welcome his shopworn converts into the fold, fearing that their conversion makes it too obvious that his “En Marche!” is a clone of the right wing of the PS, on the way to becoming the French subsidiary of the U.S. Democratic Party in its Clintonian form. Macron proclaims that he is neither left nor right, as discredited politicians from both left and right jump on his bandwagon, to his embarrassment.

Hamon himself appears to be unaware that the basic cause of the Socialist Party’s shipwreck is its incompatible devotion to two contrary principles: traditional social democracy, and the European Union (EU). Macron, Hollande and their fellow turncoats at least have made their choice: the European Union.

The Twilight of the Traditional Right

The great advantage of Republican candidate François Fillon is that his policies are clear.  Unlike Hollande, who tried to disguise his neoliberal policies as something else, and based his claim to be on the left on “societal” issues (gay marriage), Fillon is an unabashed conservative.  His policies are designed to reduce the huge national debt. Whereas previous governments (including his own, when he was President Sarkozy’s Prime Minister) beat around the bush, Fillon won the Republican nomination by a program of sharp cutbacks in government spending.  Fillon claims that his austerity measures will lead French capitalists to invest in France and thus save the country’s economy from being completely taken over by foreign corporations, American retirement funds and Qatar.  This is highly doubtful, as there is nothing under EU rules to encourage French investors to invest in France rather than somewhere else.

Fillon departs from EU orthodoxy, however, by proposing a more independent foreign policy, notably by ending the “absurd” sanctions against Russian. He is more concerned about the fate of Middle East Christians than about overthrowing Assad.

The upshot is that Fillon’s coherent pro-capitalist policy is not exactly what the dominant globalizing elite prefers. The “center left” is their clear political choice  since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton revised the agendas of their respective parties. The center left emphasis on human rights (especially in faraway countries targeted for regime change) and ethnic diversity at home fits the long-term globalist aims of erasing national borders, to allow unrestricted free movement of capital. Traditional patriotic conservatism, represented by Fillon, does not altogether correspond to the international adventurism of globalization.

The Schizophrenic Left

For a generation, the French left has made “the construction of Europe” the center of its world view.  In the early 1980s, faced with opposition from what was then the European Community, French President François Mitterrand abandoned the socializing program on which he been elected.  Mitterrand nursed the hope that France would politically dominate a united Europe, but the unification of Germany changed all that. So did EU expansion to Eastern Central nations within the German sphere of influence. Economic policy is now made in Germany.

As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion.  The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market.

The French left bought heavily into this ideal, partly because it deceptively echoed the old leftist ideal of “internationalism” (whereas capital has always been incomparably more “international” than workers), and partly due to the simplistic idea that “nationalism” is the sole cause of wars.  More fundamental and complex causes of war are ignored.

For a long time, the left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalization or closure of profitable industries, without recognizing that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture.  Rather than face reality, the left’s reaction has mostly been to repeat its worn-out demand for an impossible “Social Europe”.

Yet the dream of “social Europe” received what amounted to a fatal blow ten years ago. In 2005, a referendum was called to allow the French to approve a Constitution for united Europe. This led to an extraordinary popular discussion, with countless meetings of citizens examining every aspect of this lengthy document. Unlike normal constitutions, this document froze the member States in a single monetarist economic policy, with no possibility of change.

On May 29, 2005, French voters rejected the treaty by 55% to 45%.

What seemed to be a great victory for responsible democracy turned into its major failure.  Essentially the same document, renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was ratified in December 2007, without a referendum.  Global governance had put the people in their place. This produced widespread disillusion with politics as millions concluded that their votes didn’t matter, that politicians paid no attention to the will of the people.

Even so, Socialist politicians continued to pledge undying allegiance to the EU, always with the prospect that “Social Europe” might somehow be possible.

Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day.  The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists.

Benoit Hamon remains firmly stuck on the horns of the left’s fatal dilemma: determination to be “socialist”, or rather, social democratic, and passionate loyalty to “Europe”. While insisting on social policies that cannot possibly be carried out with the euro as currency and according to EU rules, Hamon still proclaims loyalty to “Europe”. He parrots the EU’s made-in-Washington foreign policy, demanding that “Assad must go” and ranting against Putin and Russia.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon Grasps the Nettle

Not only is the drab, conformist Hamon abandoned by his party heavies, he is totally upstaged on the left by the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick ready to break the rules.  After years as a PS loyalist, Mélenchon broke away in 2005 to oppose the Constitutional Treaty, gaining prominence as a fiery orator. In 2007, he left the Socialist Party and founded the Parti de Gauche (Left Party). Allied with the much weakened Communist Party, he came in fourth in the first round of the 2012 Presidential election with 11% of the vote.  This time he is running for President with his own new movement, La France Insoumise, which can be translated in a number of ways, including “the France that does not submit”.

Submit to what?  Mainly, to the euro and to the antisocial, neoliberal policies of the European Union that are ruining France.

French flags and la Marseillaise have replaced the Internationale at Mélenchon rallies. “The Europe of our dreams is dead,” he acknowledges, vowing to “end the nightmare of dictatorship by banks and finance”.

Mélenchon calls for outright disobedience by violating EU treaties that are harmful to France. That is his Plan A.  His Plan B is to leave the EU, in case Plan A fails to convince Germany (the current boss) and the others to agree to change the treaties. But at best, Plan B is an empty threat to strengthen his hand in theoretical negotiations.  France is such a crucial member, he maintains, that a French threat to leave should be enough to force changes.

Threatening to leave the EU is just part of Mélenchon’s vast and complicated program which includes calling a national convention to draft a constitution for France’s “sixth Republic” as well as major ecological innovation.  Completely changing both France and the European Union at the same time would require the nation to be in a revolutionary effervescence that is by no means visible. It would also require a unanimity among the EU’s 28 member States that is simply impossible.

But Mélenchon is canny enough to have recognized the basic problem: the enemy of jobs, prosperity and public services is the European Union. Mélenchon is by far the candidate that generates the most excitement.  He has rapidly outdistanced Hamon and draws huge enthusiastic crowds to his rallies. His progress has changed the shape of the race: at this moment, he has become one of four front-runners who might get past the first round vote on April 23 into the finals on May 7: Le Pen, Macron, Fillon and himself.

The Opposites are (almost) the Same

A most remarkable feature of this campaign is great similarity between the two candidates said to represent “the far left”, Mélenchon, and “the far right”, Marine Le Pen.  Both speak of leaving the euro.  Both vow to negotiate with the EU to get better treaty terms for France. Both advocate social policies to benefit workers and low income people. Both want to normalize relations with Russia. Both want to leave NATO, or at least its military command.  Both defend national sovereignty, and can thus be described as “sovereignists”.

The only big difference between them is on immigration, an issue that arouses so much emotion that it is hard to discuss sensibly.  Those who oppose immigration are accused of “fascism”, those who favor immigration are accused of wanting to destroy the nation’s identity by flooding it with inassimilable foreigners.

In a country suffering from unemployment, without jobs or housing to accommodate mass immigration, and under the ongoing threat of Islamist terror attacks, the issue cannot be reasonably reduced to “racism” – unless Islamic terrorists constitute a “race”, for which there is no evidence. Le Pen insists that all French citizens deserve equal treatment regardless of their origins, race or religion. She is certain to get considerable support from recently nationalized immigrants, just as she now gets a majority of working class votes. If this is “fascism”, it has changed a lot in the past seventy years.

What is significant is that despite their differences, the two most charismatic candidates both speak of restoring national sovereignty. Both evoke the possibility of leaving the European Union, although in rather uncertain terms.

The globalist media are already preparing to blame the eventual election of a “sovereignist” candidate on Vladimir Putin. Public opinion in the West is being prepared for massive protests to break out against an undesired winner, and the “antifa” militants are ready to wreak havoc in the streets. Some people who like Marine Le Pen are afraid of voting for her, fearing the “color revolution” sure to be mounted against her.  Mélenchon and even Fillon might face similar problems.

As a taste of things to come, on April 20, the EU Observer published an article entitled “Russia-linked fake news floods French social media”. Based on something called Bakamo, one of the newly establishment “fact-check” outfits meant to steer readers away from unofficial opinion, the article accused Russian-influenced web sites of favoring Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon, Francois Asselineau, and Philippe Poutou. (They forgot to mention one of the most “sovereignist” candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, currently polling in sixth place.)  Since a large majority of the eleven candidates, including three of the four front-runners, are strongly critical of the EU and of NATO and want to improve relations with Russia, it would seem that Putin wouldn’t have to make a great effort to get a more friendly French government next time around.  On the other hand, the EU Observer article is only a small sample of blatant “interference in the French election” on the part of the globalists on behalf of their favorite, Emmanuel Macron, the most enthusiastic Europhile.

The Future of France

Among those listed as alleged Russian favorites, François Asselineau is by far the most thorough critic of the European Union.  Systematically ignored by the media since he founded his anti-EU party, the Union Populaire Républicain (UPR), ten years ago, François Asselineau has thousands of ardent supporters who have plastered his poster all over the country. His tireless didactic speeches, reproduced on internet, have driven home several key points:

– there is no way to improve the EU from the inside, because any change would require unanimity among 27 member states who disagree on key issues.

– the only solution for France is to use Article 50 of the EU treaties to withdraw entirely, as the United Kingdom is currently doing.

– only by leaving the EU can France save its public services, its social benefits, its economy and its democracy.

– it is only by restoring its national sovereignty that genuine democratic life, with confrontation between a real “left” and “right”, can be possible.

– by leaving the EU, France, which has over 6,000 treaties with other countries, would not be isolated but would be joining the greater world.

Asselineau is a single issue candidate.  He vows that as soon as elected, he would invoke Article 50 to leave the EU and immediately apply to Washington to withdraw from NATO.  He emphasizes that none of the other critics of the EU propose such a clear exit within the rules.

Other candidates, including the more charismatic Mélenchon and Le Pen, echo some of Asselineau’s arguments.  But they are not ready to go so far as to advocate a clear immediate break with the EU, if only because they realize that the French population, while increasingly critical of the euro and alienated from the “European dream”, is still fearful of actually leaving, due to dire warnings of disaster from the Europeists.

The first round campaign is an opportunity for Asselineau to present his ideas to a wider audience, preparing public opinion for a more coherent “Frexit” policy.         By far the most fundamental emerging issue in this campaign is the conflict between the European Union and national sovereignty.  It will probably not be settled in this election, but it won’t go away.  This is the major issue of the future, because it determines whether any genuine political life is possible.

France caught up in terrorism, victim of her own NATO allies

France caught up in terrorism, victim of her own NATO allies

SEE ALSO supplied weapons to terrorists in , they were never intended for use in France

 

France has just become the victim of a new terrorist attack, three days before the first round of her Presidential election. For Thierry Meyssan, Paris needs to stop talking rubbish and realise the importance of what this means. International terrorism, in which France herself participates, is commanded and used – even against her – by certain of her NATO allies.

JPEG - 44.3 kbAttack on the Champs-Elysees, 20 April 2017.

At the beginning of 2017, we were informed that jihadists were preparing actions which were intended to force France and Germany to postpone their elections. It was not easy to discern:
- whether the aim was to postpone the French Presidential election (April-May), or the French parliamentary elections (June), or both;
- whether France was a target in itself, or if the actions in France were a preparation for future actions against Germany.

Among the candidates for the Presidential election, only François Fillon and Marine Le Pen have criticised the support offered by France to the Muslim Brotherhood. Fillon has even made it one of the recurring themes of his campaign.

Speech at Chassieu (Lyon), 22 November 2016.

We alerted our readers that the Press campaigns and the legal affairs launched against Donald Trump in the United States, and against François Fillon in France, were commanded by the same groups. We wrote that according to Messrs. Trump & Fillon, « … it will not be possible to restore peace and prosperity without first putting an end to the instrumentalisation of Islamic terrorism, without freeing the Muslim world from the ascendancy of the jihadists, and without attacking the true source of terrorism: the Muslim Brotherhood. » [1]

At that time, the French, believing wrongly that the Muslim Brotherhood was just a movement within the Muslim religion, did not react. Later, I published a book , Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump, whose second part describes in detail, and for the first time, how this secret organisation, created and controlled by MI6, is run by the British secret services. It is this Brotherhood which, since the Second World War, has been attempting to transform Sunni Islam into a political instrument. All the leaders of jihadist groups without exception came from the Brotherhood – from Oussama Ben Laden to Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi.

On 26 February, without explanation, François Fillon published a communiqué which was widely criticised:
« We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation: less than two months from the Presidential election, we are in a state of quasi civil war which is disturbing the normal course of the campaign (…) I say again that we are in a state of emergency, and yet the government does nothing (…) Today, in my rôle as ex-Prime Minister, as an elected member of the Nation, I solemnly accuse the Prime Minister and the government of failing to guarantee the conditions for a serene exercise of democracy. They have a very heavy respnsibility in allowing a state of almost civil war to develop, and which can only profit the extremes (…) Whoever the candidates are, they must have the right to express themselves, and the government must take the necessary measures so that the rioters and the enemies of democracy cease disrupting the Presidential campaign » [2].

On 17 April, the Police Nationale informed the four main candidates that there were threats to their security, and reinforced their protection.

On 18 April, M. (29 years old) and Clement B. (23 years old) were arrested while they were preparing an attack during a meeting in support of François Fillon.

On 20 April, a policeman was killed and two others seriously wounded during an attack on the Champs-Elysées.

François Fillon and Marine Le Pen cancelled the journeys they had planned for the 21 April. Following the movement, and althought here was no real threat to him at all, Emmanuel Macron did the same.

The responsibility of the next President of the French Republic

The security of the French people will be a central issue for the next five-year Presidential term. This question is all the more complex in that the recent terrorist attacks perpetrated on French soil have implicated three of France’s NATO allies – the US deep state, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

I have widely covered the question of the attacks in Paris (13 November 2015) and Brussels (22 March 2016). [3]. In my latest book, I indicate that while the responsibility for these attacks was claimed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Press, they were carried out by « independent commandos, with the exception of a common operator, Mohammed Abrini of MI6 » (p. 231) [4].

For years, the successive governments of Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppé, and also the government of François Hollande and Laurent Fabius, have hidden their criminal activities from the French people, and the consequences for which they are responsible – terrorism intra muros.

It is absurd to believe that al-Qaïda and Daesh could be in possession of so much money and weaponry without the support of major states. It is absurd to believe that France could have participated in the remodelling operations in the « Greater Middle East » without suffering the counter-attacks. It is absurd to believe that it will be easy to fight international terrorism when it is commanded by our own NATO allies.

France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; The Deep State Rises to the Surface

Elections présidentielles 2017 France-1

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn’t been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France. 

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with “primaries” held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system.  The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

Given the nearly universal disaffection with the outgoing Socialist Party government of President François Hollande, the Republicans were long seen as the natural favorites to defeat Marine LePen, who is shown by all polls to top the first round. With such promising prospects, the Republican primary brought out more than twice as many volunteer voters (they must pay a small sum and claim allegiance to the party’s “values” in order to vote) as the Socialists.  Sarkozy was eliminated, but more surprising, so was the favorite, the reliable establishment team player, Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who had been leading in the polls and in media editorials.

Fillon’s Family Values

In a surprise show of widespread public disenchantment with the political scene, Republican voters gave landside victory to former prime minister François Fillon, a practicing Catholic with an ultra-neoliberal domestic policy: lower taxes for corporations, drastic cuts in social welfare, even health health insurance benefits – accelerating what previous governments have been doing but more openly. Less conventionally, Fillon strongly condemns the current anti Russian policy.  Fillon also deviates from the Socialist government’s single-minded commitment to overthrowing Assad by showing sympathy for embattled Christians in Syria and their protector, which happens to be the Assad government.

Fillon has the respectable look, as the French say, of a person who could take communion without first going to confession.  As a campaign theme he credibly stressed his virtuous capacity to oppose corruption.

Oops!  On January 25, the semi-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé fired the opening shots of an ongoing media campaign designed to undo the image of Mister Clean, revealing that his British wife, Penelope, had been paid a generous salary for working as his assistant. As Penelope was known for staying home and raising their children in the countryside, the existence of that work is in serious doubt.  Fillon also paid his son a lawyer’s fee for unspecified tasks and his daughter for supposedly assisting him write a book.  In a sense, these allegations prove the strength of the conservative candidate’s family values.  But his ratings have fallen and he faces possible criminal charges for fraud.

The scandal is real, but the timing is suspect.  The facts are many years old, and the moment of their revelation is well calculated to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, the very day after the Canard’s revelations, prosecutors hastily opened an inquiry.  In comparison with all the undisclosed dirty work and unsolved blood crimes committed by those in control of the French State over the years, especially during its foreign wars, enriching one’s own family may seem relatively minor.  But that is not the way the public sees it.

Cui bono

It is widely assumed that despite National Front candidate Marine LePen’s constant lead in the polls, whoever comes in second will win the runoff because the established political class and the media will rally around the cry to “save the Republic!”  Fear of the National Front as “a threat to the Republic” has become a sort of protection racket for the established parties, since it stigmatizes as unacceptable a large swath of opposition to themselves.  In the past, both main parties have sneakily connived to strengthen the National Front in order to take votes away from their adversary.

Thus, bringing down Fillon increases the chances that the candidate of the now thoroughly discredited Socialist Party may find himself in the magic second position after all, as the knight to slay the LePen dragon.  But who exactly is the Socialist candidate? That is not so clear.  There is the official Socialist Party candidate, Benoît Hamon. But the independent spin-off from the Hollande administration, Emmanuel Macron, “neither right nor left”, is gathering support from the right of the Socialist Party as well as from most of the neo-liberal globalist elite.

Macron is scheduled to be the winner. But first, a glance at his opposition on the left.  With his ratings in the single digits, François Hollande very reluctantly gave into entreaties from his colleagues to avoid the humiliation of running for a second term and losing badly.  The badly attended Socialist Party primary was expected to select the fiercely pro-Israel prime minister Manuel Valls.  Or if not, on his left, Arnaud Montebourg, a sort of Warren Beatty of French politics, famous for his romantic liaisons and his advocacy of re-industrialization of France.

Again, surprise.  The winner was a colorless, little-known party hack named Benoît Hamon, who rode the wave of popular discontent to appear as a leftist critic and alternative to a Socialist government which sold out all Holland’s promises to combat “finance” and assaulted the rights of the working class instead.  Hamon spiced up his claim to be “on the left” by coming up with a gimmick that is fashionable elsewhere in Europe but a novelty in French political discourse: the “universal basic income”.  The idea of giving every citizen an equal handout can sound appealing to young people having trouble finding a job. But this idea, which originated with Milton Friedman and other apostles of unleashed financial capitalism, is actually a trap.  The project assumes that unemployment is permanent, in contrast to projects to create jobs or share work.  It would be financed by replacing a whole range of existing social allocations, in the name of “getting rid of bureaucracy” and “freedom of consumption”. The project would complete the disempowerment of the working class as a political force, destroying the shared social capital represented by public services, and splitting the dependent classes between paid workers and idle consumers.

There is scant chance that the universal income is about to become a serious item on the French political agenda.  For the moment, Hamon’s claim to radicality serves to lure voters away from the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Both are vying for support from greens and militants of the French Communist Party, which has lost all capacity to define its own positions.

The Divided Left

An impressive orator, Mélenchon gained prominence in 2005 as a leading opponent of the proposed European Constitution, which was decisively rejected by the French in a referendum, but was nevertheless adopted under a new name by the French national assembly.  Like so many leftists in France, Mélenchon has a Trotskyist background (the Posadists, more attuned to Third World revolutions than their rivals) before joining the Socialist Party, which he left in 2008 to found the Parti de Gauche.  He has sporadically wooed the rudderless Communist Party to join him as the Front de Gauche (the Left Front) and has declared himself its candidate for President on a new independent ticket called La France insoumise – roughly translated as “Insubordinate France”. Mélenchon is combative with France’s docile media, as he defends such unorthodox positions as praise of Chavez and rejection of France’s current Russophobic foreign policy.  Unlike the conventional Hamon, who follows the Socialist party line, Mélenchon wants France to leave both the euro and NATO.

There are only two really strong personalities in this lineup: Mélenchon on the left and his adversary of choice, Marine LePen, on the right.  In the past, their rivalry in local elections has kept both from winning even though she came out ahead.  Their positions on foreign policy are hard to distinguish from each other: criticism of the European Union, desire to leave NATO, good relations with Russia.

Since both deviate from the establishment line, both are denounced as “populists” – a term that is coming to mean anyone who pays more attention to what ordinary people want that to what the Establishment dictates.

On domestic social policy, on preservation of social services and workers’ rights, Marine is well to the left of Fillon.  But the stigma attached to the National Front as the “far right” remains, even though, with her close advisor Florian Philippot, she has ditched her father, Jean-Marie, and adjusted the party line to appeal to working class voters.  The main relic of the old National Front is her hostility to immigration, which now centers on fear of Islamic terrorists. The terrorist killings in Paris and Nice have made these positions more popular than they used to be. In her effort to overcome her father’s reputation as anti-Semitic, Marine LePen has done her best to woo the Jewish community, helped by her rejection of “ostentatious” Islam, going so far as to call for a ban on wearing an ordinary Muslim headscarf in public.

A runoff between Mélenchon and LePen would be an encounter between a revived left and a revived right, a real change from the political orthodoxy that has alienated much of the electorate. That could make politics exciting again.  At a time when popular discontent with “the system” is rising, it has been suggested (by Elizabeth Lévy’s maverick monthly Le Causeur) that the anti-system Mélenchon might actually have the best chance of winning working class votes away from the anti-system LePen.

Manufacturing Consent

But the pro-European Union, pro-NATO, neoliberal Establishment is at work to keep that from happening.  On every possible magazine cover or talk show, the media have shown their allegiance to a “New! Improved!” middle of the road candidate who is being sold to the public like a consumer product.   At his rallies, carefully coached young volunteers situated in view of the cameras greet his every vague generalization with wild cheers, waving flags, and chanting “Macron President!!!” before going off to the discotèque party offered as their reward. Macron is the closest thing to a robot ever presented as a serious candidate for President.  That is, he is an artificial creation designed by experts for a particular task.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a successful investment banker who earned millions working for the Rothschild bank.   Ten years ago, in 2007, age 29, the clever young economist was invited into the big time by Jacques Attali, an immensely influential guru, whose advice since the 1980s has been central in wedding the Socialist Party to pro-capitalist, neoliberal globalism.  Attali incorporated him into his private think tank, the Commission for Stimulating Economic Growth, which helped draft the  “300 Proposals to Change France” presented to President Sarkozy a year later as a blueprint for government.  Sarkozy failed to enact them all, for fear of labor revolts, but the supposedly “left” Socialists are able to get away with more drastic anti-labor measures, thanks to their softer discourse.

The soft discourse was illustrated by presidential candidate François Hollande in 2012 when he aroused enthusiasm by declaring to a rally: “My real enemy is the world of finance!”.  The left cheered and voted for him.  Meanwhile, as a precaution, Hollande secretly dispatched Macron to London to reassure the City’s financial elite that it was all just electoral talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/emmanuel-macron-france-president After his election, Hollande brought Macron onto his staff. From there he was given a newly created super-modern sounding government post as minister of Economy, Industry and Digital affairs in 2014.  With all the bland charm of a department store mannequin, Macron upstaged his irascible colleague, prime minister Manuel Valls, in the silent rivalry to succeed their boss, President Hollande.  Macron won the affection of big business by making his anti-labor reforms look young and clean and “progressive”. In fact, he pretty much followed the Attali agenda.

The theme is “competitiveness”.  In a globalized world, a country must attract investment capital in order to compete, and for that it is necessary to lower labor costs.  A classic way to do that is to encourage immigration.  With the rise of identity politics, the left is better than the right in justifying massive immigration on moral grounds, as a humanitarian measure.  That is one reason that the Democratic Party in the United States and the Socialist Party in France have become the political partners of neoliberal globalism.  Together, they have changed the outlook of the official left from structural measures promoting economic equality to moral measures promoting equality of minorities with the majority.

Just last year, Macron founded (or had founded for him) his political movement entitled “En marche!” (Let’s go!) characterized by meetings with young groupies wearing Macron t-shirts.  In three months he felt the call to lead the nation and announced his candidacy for President.

Many personalities are jumping the marooned Socialist ship and going over to Macron, whose strong political resemblance to Hillary Clinton suggests that his is the way to create a French Democratic Party on the U.S. model.  Hillary may have lost but she remains the NATOland favorite. And indeed, U.S. media coverage confirms this notion.  A glance at the ecstatic puff piece by Robert Zaretsky in Foreign Policymagazine hailing “the English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for” leaves no doubt that Macron is the darling of the trans-Atlantic globalizing elite.

At this moment, Macron is second only to Marine LePen in the polls, which also show him defeating her by a landslide in the final round.  However, his carefully manufactured appeal is vulnerable to greater public information about his close ties to the economic elite.

Blame the Russians

For that eventuality, there is a preventive strike, imported directly from the United States.  It’s the fault of the Russians!

What have the Russians done that is so terrible?  Mainly, they have made it clear that they have a preference for friends rather than enemies as heads of foreign governments.  Nothing so extraordinary about that. Russian news media criticize, or interview people who criticize, candidates hostile to Moscow.  Nothing extraordinary about that either.

As an example of this shocking interference, which allegedly threatens to undermine the French Republic and Western values, the Russian news agency Sputnik interviewed a Republican member of the French parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, who dared say that Macron might be “an agent of the American financial system”.   That is pretty obvious.  But the resulting outcry skipped over that detail to accuse Russian state media of “starting to circulate rumors that Macron had a gay extramarital affair” (The EU Observer, February 13, 2017).  In fact this alleged “sexual slur” had been circulating primarily in gay circles in Paris, for whom the scandal, if any, is not Macron’s alleged sexual orientation but the fact that he denies it.  The former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was openly gay, Marine Le Pen’s second in command Florian Philippot is gay, in France being gay is no big deal.

Macron is supported by a “very wealthy gay lobby”, Dhuicq is quoted as saying.  Everyone knows who that is: Pierre Bergé, the rich and influential business manager of Yves Saint Laurent, personification of radical chic, who strongly supports surrogate gestation, which is indeed a controversial issue in France, the real controversy underlying the failed opposition to gay marriage.

The Deep State rises to the surface

The amazing adoption in France of the American anti-Russian campaign is indicative of a titanic struggle for control of the narrative – the version of international reality consumed by the masses of people who have no means to undertake their own investigations. Control of the narrative is the critical core of what Washington describes as its “soft power”.  The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments.  The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do.  The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted.  Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media.  Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it.

Together, the anonymous sources of the “deep state” and the mass corporate media have become accustomed to controlling the narrative told to the public.  They don’t want to give that power up.  And they certainly don’t want to see it challenged by outsiders – notably by Russian media that tell a different story.

That is one reason for the extraordinary campaign going on to denounce Russian and other alternative media as sources of “false news”, in order to discredit rival sources.  The very existence of the Russian international television news channel RT aroused immediate hostility: how dare the Russians intrude on our version of reality!  How dare they have their own point of view! Hillary Clinton warned against RT when she was Secretary of State and her successor John Kerry denounced it as a “propaganda bullhorn”.  What we say is truth, what they say can only be propaganda.

The denunciation of Russian media and alleged Russian “interference in our elections” is a major invention of the Clinton campaign, which has gone on to infect public discourse in Western Europe.  This accusation is a very obvious example of double standards, or projection, since U.S. spying on everybody, including it allies, and interference in foreign elections are notorious.

The campaign denouncing “fake news” originating in Moscow is in full swing in both France and Germany as elections approach.  It is this accusation that is the functional interference in the campaign, not Russian media.  The accusation that Marine Le Pen is “the candidate of Moscow” is not only meant to work against her, but is also preparation for the efforts to instigate some variety of “color revolution” should she happen to win the May 7 election. CIA interference in foreign elections is far from limited to contentious news reports.

In the absence of any genuine Russian threat to Europe, claims that Russian media are “interfering in our democracy” serve to brand Russia as an aggressive enemy and thereby justify the huge NATO military buildup in Northeastern Europe, which is reviving German militarism and directing national wealth into the arms industry.

In some ways, the French election is an extension of the American one, where the deep state lost its preferred candidate, but not its power.  The same forces are at work here, backing Macron as the French Hillary, but ready to stigmatize any opponent as a tool of Moscow.

What has been happening over the past months has confirmed the existence of a Deep State that is not only national but trans-Atlantic, aspiring to be global. The anti-Russian campaign is a revelation.  It reveals to many people that there really is a Deep State, a trans-Atlantic orchestra that plays the same tune without any visible conductor. The term “Deep State” is suddenly popping up even in mainstream discourse, as a reality than cannot be denied, even if it is hard to define precisely.

Instead of the Military Industrial Complex, we should perhaps call it the Military Industrial Media Intelligence Complex, or MIMIC.  Its power is enormous, but acknowledging that it exists is the first step toward working to free ourselves from its grip.

 

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn’t been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France. 

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with “primaries” held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system.  The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

Given the nearly universal disaffection with the outgoing Socialist Party government of President François Hollande, the Republicans were long seen as the natural favorites to defeat Marine LePen, who is shown by all polls to top the first round. With such promising prospects, the Republican primary brought out more than twice as many volunteer voters (they must pay a small sum and claim allegiance to the party’s “values” in order to vote) as the Socialists.  Sarkozy was eliminated, but more surprising, so was the favorite, the reliable establishment team player, Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who had been leading in the polls and in media editorials.

Fillon’s Family Values

In a surprise show of widespread public disenchantment with the political scene, Republican voters gave landside victory to former prime minister François Fillon, a practicing Catholic with an ultra-neoliberal domestic policy: lower taxes for corporations, drastic cuts in social welfare, even health health insurance benefits – accelerating what previous governments have been doing but more openly. Less conventionally, Fillon strongly condemns the current anti Russian policy.  Fillon also deviates from the Socialist government’s single-minded commitment to overthrowing Assad by showing sympathy for embattled Christians in Syria and their protector, which happens to be the Assad government.

Fillon has the respectable look, as the French say, of a person who could take communion without first going to confession.  As a campaign theme he credibly stressed his virtuous capacity to oppose corruption.

Oops!  On January 25, the semi-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé fired the opening shots of an ongoing media campaign designed to undo the image of Mister Clean, revealing that his British wife, Penelope, had been paid a generous salary for working as his assistant. As Penelope was known for staying home and raising their children in the countryside, the existence of that work is in serious doubt.  Fillon also paid his son a lawyer’s fee for unspecified tasks and his daughter for supposedly assisting him write a book.  In a sense, these allegations prove the strength of the conservative candidate’s family values.  But his ratings have fallen and he faces possible criminal charges for fraud.

The scandal is real, but the timing is suspect.  The facts are many years old, and the moment of their revelation is well calculated to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, the very day after the Canard’s revelations, prosecutors hastily opened an inquiry.  In comparison with all the undisclosed dirty work and unsolved blood crimes committed by those in control of the French State over the years, especially during its foreign wars, enriching one’s own family may seem relatively minor.  But that is not the way the public sees it.

Cui bono

It is widely assumed that despite National Front candidate Marine LePen’s constant lead in the polls, whoever comes in second will win the runoff because the established political class and the media will rally around the cry to “save the Republic!”  Fear of the National Front as “a threat to the Republic” has become a sort of protection racket for the established parties, since it stigmatizes as unacceptable a large swath of opposition to themselves.  In the past, both main parties have sneakily connived to strengthen the National Front in order to take votes away from their adversary.

Thus, bringing down Fillon increases the chances that the candidate of the now thoroughly discredited Socialist Party may find himself in the magic second position after all, as the knight to slay the LePen dragon.  But who exactly is the Socialist candidate? That is not so clear.  There is the official Socialist Party candidate, Benoît Hamon. But the independent spin-off from the Hollande administration, Emmanuel Macron, “neither right nor left”, is gathering support from the right of the Socialist Party as well as from most of the neo-liberal globalist elite.

Macron is scheduled to be the winner. But first, a glance at his opposition on the left.  With his ratings in the single digits, François Hollande very reluctantly gave into entreaties from his colleagues to avoid the humiliation of running for a second term and losing badly.  The badly attended Socialist Party primary was expected to select the fiercely pro-Israel prime minister Manuel Valls.  Or if not, on his left, Arnaud Montebourg, a sort of Warren Beatty of French politics, famous for his romantic liaisons and his advocacy of re-industrialization of France.

Again, surprise.  The winner was a colorless, little-known party hack named Benoît Hamon, who rode the wave of popular discontent to appear as a leftist critic and alternative to a Socialist government which sold out all Holland’s promises to combat “finance” and assaulted the rights of the working class instead.  Hamon spiced up his claim to be “on the left” by coming up with a gimmick that is fashionable elsewhere in Europe but a novelty in French political discourse: the “universal basic income”.  The idea of giving every citizen an equal handout can sound appealing to young people having trouble finding a job. But this idea, which originated with Milton Friedman and other apostles of unleashed financial capitalism, is actually a trap.  The project assumes that unemployment is permanent, in contrast to projects to create jobs or share work.  It would be financed by replacing a whole range of existing social allocations, in the name of “getting rid of bureaucracy” and “freedom of consumption”. The project would complete the disempowerment of the working class as a political force, destroying the shared social capital represented by public services, and splitting the dependent classes between paid workers and idle consumers.

There is scant chance that the universal income is about to become a serious item on the French political agenda.  For the moment, Hamon’s claim to radicality serves to lure voters away from the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Both are vying for support from greens and militants of the French Communist Party, which has lost all capacity to define its own positions.

The Divided Left

An impressive orator, Mélenchon gained prominence in 2005 as a leading opponent of the proposed European Constitution, which was decisively rejected by the French in a referendum, but was nevertheless adopted under a new name by the French national assembly.  Like so many leftists in France, Mélenchon has a Trotskyist background (the Posadists, more attuned to Third World revolutions than their rivals) before joining the Socialist Party, which he left in 2008 to found the Parti de Gauche.  He has sporadically wooed the rudderless Communist Party to join him as the Front de Gauche (the Left Front) and has declared himself its candidate for President on a new independent ticket called La France insoumise – roughly translated as “Insubordinate France”. Mélenchon is combative with France’s docile media, as he defends such unorthodox positions as praise of Chavez and rejection of France’s current Russophobic foreign policy.  Unlike the conventional Hamon, who follows the Socialist party line, Mélenchon wants France to leave both the euro and NATO.

There are only two really strong personalities in this lineup: Mélenchon on the left and his adversary of choice, Marine LePen, on the right.  In the past, their rivalry in local elections has kept both from winning even though she came out ahead.  Their positions on foreign policy are hard to distinguish from each other: criticism of the European Union, desire to leave NATO, good relations with Russia.

Since both deviate from the establishment line, both are denounced as “populists” – a term that is coming to mean anyone who pays more attention to what ordinary people want that to what the Establishment dictates.

On domestic social policy, on preservation of social services and workers’ rights, Marine is well to the left of Fillon.  But the stigma attached to the National Front as the “far right” remains, even though, with her close advisor Florian Philippot, she has ditched her father, Jean-Marie, and adjusted the party line to appeal to working class voters.  The main relic of the old National Front is her hostility to immigration, which now centers on fear of Islamic terrorists. The terrorist killings in Paris and Nice have made these positions more popular than they used to be. In her effort to overcome her father’s reputation as anti-Semitic, Marine LePen has done her best to woo the Jewish community, helped by her rejection of “ostentatious” Islam, going so far as to call for a ban on wearing an ordinary Muslim headscarf in public.

A runoff between Mélenchon and LePen would be an encounter between a revived left and a revived right, a real change from the political orthodoxy that has alienated much of the electorate. That could make politics exciting again.  At a time when popular discontent with “the system” is rising, it has been suggested (by Elizabeth Lévy’s maverick monthly Le Causeur) that the anti-system Mélenchon might actually have the best chance of winning working class votes away from the anti-system LePen.

Manufacturing Consent

But the pro-European Union, pro-NATO, neoliberal Establishment is at work to keep that from happening.  On every possible magazine cover or talk show, the media have shown their allegiance to a “New! Improved!” middle of the road candidate who is being sold to the public like a consumer product.   At his rallies, carefully coached young volunteers situated in view of the cameras greet his every vague generalization with wild cheers, waving flags, and chanting “Macron President!!!” before going off to the discotèque party offered as their reward. Macron is the closest thing to a robot ever presented as a serious candidate for President.  That is, he is an artificial creation designed by experts for a particular task.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a successful investment banker who earned millions working for the Rothschild bank.   Ten years ago, in 2007, age 29, the clever young economist was invited into the big time by Jacques Attali, an immensely influential guru, whose advice since the 1980s has been central in wedding the Socialist Party to pro-capitalist, neoliberal globalism.  Attali incorporated him into his private think tank, the Commission for Stimulating Economic Growth, which helped draft the  “300 Proposals to Change France” presented to President Sarkozy a year later as a blueprint for government.  Sarkozy failed to enact them all, for fear of labor revolts, but the supposedly “left” Socialists are able to get away with more drastic anti-labor measures, thanks to their softer discourse.

The soft discourse was illustrated by presidential candidate François Hollande in 2012 when he aroused enthusiasm by declaring to a rally: “My real enemy is the world of finance!”.  The left cheered and voted for him.  Meanwhile, as a precaution, Hollande secretly dispatched Macron to London to reassure the City’s financial elite that it was all just electoral talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/emmanuel-macron-france-president After his election, Hollande brought Macron onto his staff. From there he was given a newly created super-modern sounding government post as minister of Economy, Industry and Digital affairs in 2014.  With all the bland charm of a department store mannequin, Macron upstaged his irascible colleague, prime minister Manuel Valls, in the silent rivalry to succeed their boss, President Hollande.  Macron won the affection of big business by making his anti-labor reforms look young and clean and “progressive”. In fact, he pretty much followed the Attali agenda.

The theme is “competitiveness”.  In a globalized world, a country must attract investment capital in order to compete, and for that it is necessary to lower labor costs.  A classic way to do that is to encourage immigration.  With the rise of identity politics, the left is better than the right in justifying massive immigration on moral grounds, as a humanitarian measure.  That is one reason that the Democratic Party in the United States and the Socialist Party in France have become the political partners of neoliberal globalism.  Together, they have changed the outlook of the official left from structural measures promoting economic equality to moral measures promoting equality of minorities with the majority.

Just last year, Macron founded (or had founded for him) his political movement entitled “En marche!” (Let’s go!) characterized by meetings with young groupies wearing Macron t-shirts.  In three months he felt the call to lead the nation and announced his candidacy for President.

Many personalities are jumping the marooned Socialist ship and going over to Macron, whose strong political resemblance to Hillary Clinton suggests that his is the way to create a French Democratic Party on the U.S. model.  Hillary may have lost but she remains the NATOland favorite. And indeed, U.S. media coverage confirms this notion.  A glance at the ecstatic puff piece by Robert Zaretsky in Foreign Policymagazine hailing “the English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for” leaves no doubt that Macron is the darling of the trans-Atlantic globalizing elite.

At this moment, Macron is second only to Marine LePen in the polls, which also show him defeating her by a landslide in the final round.  However, his carefully manufactured appeal is vulnerable to greater public information about his close ties to the economic elite.

Blame the Russians

For that eventuality, there is a preventive strike, imported directly from the United States.  It’s the fault of the Russians!

What have the Russians done that is so terrible?  Mainly, they have made it clear that they have a preference for friends rather than enemies as heads of foreign governments.  Nothing so extraordinary about that. Russian news media criticize, or interview people who criticize, candidates hostile to Moscow.  Nothing extraordinary about that either.

As an example of this shocking interference, which allegedly threatens to undermine the French Republic and Western values, the Russian news agency Sputnik interviewed a Republican member of the French parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, who dared say that Macron might be “an agent of the American financial system”.   That is pretty obvious.  But the resulting outcry skipped over that detail to accuse Russian state media of “starting to circulate rumors that Macron had a gay extramarital affair” (The EU Observer, February 13, 2017).  In fact this alleged “sexual slur” had been circulating primarily in gay circles in Paris, for whom the scandal, if any, is not Macron’s alleged sexual orientation but the fact that he denies it.  The former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was openly gay, Marine Le Pen’s second in command Florian Philippot is gay, in France being gay is no big deal.

Macron is supported by a “very wealthy gay lobby”, Dhuicq is quoted as saying.  Everyone knows who that is: Pierre Bergé, the rich and influential business manager of Yves Saint Laurent, personification of radical chic, who strongly supports surrogate gestation, which is indeed a controversial issue in France, the real controversy underlying the failed opposition to gay marriage.

The Deep State rises to the surface

The amazing adoption in France of the American anti-Russian campaign is indicative of a titanic struggle for control of the narrative – the version of international reality consumed by the masses of people who have no means to undertake their own investigations. Control of the narrative is the critical core of what Washington describes as its “soft power”.  The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments.  The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do.  The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted.  Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media.  Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it.

Together, the anonymous sources of the “deep state” and the mass corporate media have become accustomed to controlling the narrative told to the public.  They don’t want to give that power up.  And they certainly don’t want to see it challenged by outsiders – notably by Russian media that tell a different story.

That is one reason for the extraordinary campaign going on to denounce Russian and other alternative media as sources of “false news”, in order to discredit rival sources.  The very existence of the Russian international television news channel RT aroused immediate hostility: how dare the Russians intrude on our version of reality!  How dare they have their own point of view! Hillary Clinton warned against RT when she was Secretary of State and her successor John Kerry denounced it as a “propaganda bullhorn”.  What we say is truth, what they say can only be propaganda.

The denunciation of Russian media and alleged Russian “interference in our elections” is a major invention of the Clinton campaign, which has gone on to infect public discourse in Western Europe.  This accusation is a very obvious example of double standards, or projection, since U.S. spying on everybody, including it allies, and interference in foreign elections are notorious.

The campaign denouncing “fake news” originating in Moscow is in full swing in both France and Germany as elections approach.  It is this accusation that is the functional interference in the campaign, not Russian media.  The accusation that Marine Le Pen is “the candidate of Moscow” is not only meant to work against her, but is also preparation for the efforts to instigate some variety of “color revolution” should she happen to win the May 7 election. CIA interference in foreign elections is far from limited to contentious news reports.

In the absence of any genuine Russian threat to Europe, claims that Russian media are “interfering in our democracy” serve to brand Russia as an aggressive enemy and thereby justify the huge NATO military buildup in Northeastern Europe, which is reviving German militarism and directing national wealth into the arms industry.

In some ways, the French election is an extension of the American one, where the deep state lost its preferred candidate, but not its power.  The same forces are at work here, backing Macron as the French Hillary, but ready to stigmatize any opponent as a tool of Moscow.

What has been happening over the past months has confirmed the existence of a Deep State that is not only national but trans-Atlantic, aspiring to be global. The anti-Russian campaign is a revelation.  It reveals to many people that there really is a Deep State, a trans-Atlantic orchestra that plays the same tune without any visible conductor. The term “Deep State” is suddenly popping up even in mainstream discourse, as a reality than cannot be denied, even if it is hard to define precisely.

Instead of the Military Industrial Complex, we should perhaps call it the Military Industrial Media Intelligence Complex, or MIMIC.  Its power is enormous, but acknowledging that it exists is the first step toward working to free ourselves from its grip.

 

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