Macron Hosts MBS Regardless of Outrage over Khashoggi Murder

JULY 28, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] for talks in Paris on Thursday, regardless of criticism that the invitation is deeply inappropriate barely four years after the murder by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The meeting is seen as the latest step in the readmission of the de-facto ruler of the kingdom into the international fold, after US President Joe Biden met him earlier this month.

The topics set to loom over the meeting include energy supply as concern grows over possible power shortages in wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, as well as reining in the nuclear program of Riyadh’s top regional foe Iran.

“I feel profoundly troubled by the visit, because of what it means for our world and what is means for Jamal [Khashoggi] and people like him,” Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard told AFP, describing MBS as a man who “does not tolerate any dissent.”

The visits mark MBS’ first trip to the EU since the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a crime that a UN probe described as an “extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

It also said there was “credible evidence” warranting further investigation of the individual liability of high-level Saudi officials, including MBS.

US intelligence agencies determined that MBS had “approved” the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death, though Riyadh denies this, blaming rogue operatives.

The killing drew outrage not just over the elimination of a prominent critic of the Saudi regime, but also for the manner in which it was carried out. Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, strangled and dismembered, reportedly with a bonesaw.

His reception by world leaders is “all the more shocking given many of them at the time expressed disgust [over the killing] and a commitment not to bring MBS back into the international community,” Callamard added, denouncing the “double standard.”

But despite the concern over Saudi Arabia’s rights record, the kingdom is seen by many in the West as an essential partner due to its energy resources, purchases of weaponry and staunch opposition to Iran.

Western countries resume their relationship with Riyadh after the isolation imposed on Ibn Salma

Postscript: Looking back and looking forward with the Yellow Vests

July 12, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

(Now available! This book has just been published in paperback and E-book form, and in French too!)

Western culture has been so prevalent for two centuries that I think much of the world assumes that they already intimately know a major European country like France. Many outside of the West may be saying, “We know the West, but the West doesn’t know us!”

It’s just not that simple.

(This is the nineteenth and final chapter in a new book, Frances Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the Wests Best ValuesPlease click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

A contemporary progressive demand correctly says that local histories must be prioritised and no longer imposed from the outside – stereotypes must be broken. The end of feudalism finally allowed the average person to say the truth in public – there is a class struggle – and using this most high-powered lens we realise: the people of France deserve this right as much as any other people because the history of their working poor masses, too, has been repressed, ignored and slandered.

That didn’t all start with the Yellow Vests.

Yellow Vest: “It’s not only in Paris, or in France – discontent is international. The poor, the young, the old – so many sectors of society are doing poorly because of a lack of humanity in our social and economic policies. The beauty of the Yellow Vests is that we gather together every weekend to communicate with each other – otherwise, people are just home alone with their misery.”

By far the best part of this book, in my opinion, is their words. I hope you have been as delighted as I have been to read their analyses right alongside the deeds of Napoleon, the revolutionaries of 1848, Communards, true Trotskyists, etc. Not only do their words tie this humble book together, but they tie together over 200 years of French history. France has this tremendously exciting history of political resistance, but it gets buried, distorted and untaught by the Liberalist elite – the Yellow Vests exhumed it and brought it back to living reality.

After more than a dozen years living in France I must admit that I, too, didn’t know France and Europe anywhere as well as I assumed I did before I moved here. What an enormous mistake I made – assuming that I “knew” France even though I knew hardly any French people!

One doesn’t have to be on the world’s bottom socioeconomic rung to have their culture and history falsely portrayed – every nation without a Socialist-inspired revolution to protect them has their own bottom rung which is silenced, crippled, massacred, etc. This book has been an effort to view modern French history from their ground up and not in the Liberalist fashion – their top down.

Yellow Vest: “Macron has ended so much social assistance to poor people. He tells lies about the poor, and also about his own policies. We are sick of his policies! We must finish the Macron era! We demand more aid for poor people, such as myself!”

Ah, still more progressive Yellow Vest thoughts! Yes, more, because this book is not my book but theirs. This book is not an attempt to give my version of French history, but the version from the average French person.

The average French person has much to learn from this book, I humbly insist, because the history of their working-poor has been so suppressed domestically, and also because the truth of the new pan-European project has been so suppressed.

Admit the truth: the euro has totally failed in its promise to bring about prosperity and economic security. The European Union has totally failed to act in a democratic manner. The pan-European project has not waged bilateral war (perhaps “yet”) but it has waged social war on its own citizens across the continent. Many permanently disfigured Yellow Vests would say I am even being too lenient here.

Yellow Vest: “By denying that there was any police brutality the government legitimised it. How we can have confidence in a government which cripples its own citizens, or in institutions which do not intervene to stop that? It is truly barbaric violence, which mutilated people because they believe in a better future.” 

The immediate, perpetual and ongoing failure of Liberalism; the notion that Western political culture has actually been excised of the influence of immoral, arrogant and unjust monarchism – a misconception which rather turns Iranians apoplectic; the clear goal of modern politics to move from absolutism towards citizen involvement and empowerment; the obvious historical trajectory of Western political structures from absolute monarchy, to aristocratic oligarchy, to a bankocracy which inflicts neo-imperialism on anyone it can reach – I hope this book has clarified these realities. Admit the truth.

I am convinced that what Europeans definitely agree on is that they all want an end to the wars which have gutted their lower classes for so long, to easily move around within Europe and the basic advances of mere Social Democracy. The working classes want peace, ease of movement and a decent social safety net. The pan-European project has manipulated these desires – the 1% has teased with the carrot but just given the stick. The only real success of the pan-European project has been the flexibility of the EU passport – Europeans are quite relieved to be able to move around the continent without the previous hassles.

Europeans, in my experience and according to polls, mostly want a united Europe – it’s unfortunate that they are misled into believing that there is no alternative to this thus-far woefully unsuccessful version of it.

Yellow Vest: “I can’t tell people how to vote, but I certainly advise them to not vote for Macron. He hasn’t done anything for the French people, but has instead worked for the rich bankers, corporations and Brussels.”

Even though his autocratic repression of the Yellow Vests should have disqualified him from ever holding public office again, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected, incredibly. The false branding of the Yellow Vests as mere “hooligans” has largely stuck in France, stunningly. There is a dysfunction, a Marxist “barrenness”, an autocratic schizophrenia which Western Liberal Democracy is forcing the average Frenchman to endure – this book shows how long this sickness has been imposed on the French poor, working poor and working classes.

Without the courage to call things by their rightful names – Western Liberal Democracy means failure for the 99%; Socialist Democracy justly puts the 99% at the forefront of government policy – France as a whole will never heal. How very few political analysts say this!

This postscript was finished the day after France’s 2nd-round legislative elections. Macron has not been handed another absolute majority by a slim margin – it’s another Yellow Vest victory, but not one which was resounding enough. It’s certain that Macron was never a “centrist” but a mainstream conservative, merely with a new logo and of his younger generation. Thus, his coalition will continue to unite with the mainstream conservative les Républicains party (and also many fake-leftist Socialists and Greens) for an absolute majority on all issues involving far-right economics, the re-imposition of Liberalism and the pan-European project. French parliament will now be less stable and more combative, but in appearances only – in reality French parliament remains only for appearances on the major questions of economic and political power distribution. It’s certain that the reason an absolute democratic majority of France (54%) didn’t even bother to vote is because they implicitly know that modern autocracy – rule by the 49-3 executive decree and the overruling of national sovereignty by Brussels – rules, thus rendering Europe’s national parliaments a waste of time, their breath and our attention. I would conclude that Liberalism in France is on the verge of becoming so preposterously dysfunctional that it’s surely about to be consigned to the dustbin of history but, alas, I recall that Marx and Trotsky wrote the same thing.

It’s certain that these analyses will not be popular among my journalist colleagues.

What is so unfortunate is that as early as the summer of 2019 people kept asking me: “You’re going to report on a Yellow Vest demonstration? But I thought they had stopped marching?” The media blackout on the group extends beyond the common excuse of the corporate domination of Western media: it doesn’t explain the refusal of France’s state-owned media to cover the group. French taxpayers deserve better. Capitalism is an issue, but the larger issue is obviously political and cultural – it’s elite-driven Liberalism.

Yellow Vest: “We marched as Yellow Vests for two years, and we are still Yellow Vests today, but we all saw that nothing changed! The cost of living is too expensive – we can’t pay our bills at the end of the month! We don’t want this government – and their violence – any more.”

The fact that the Yellow Vests have marched every Saturday for over three and half years (not including the coronavirus pause) is actually more important than how they have been wilfully ignored:

As the West comes out of the coronavirus era, during which they actually employed some Social Democratic-inspired economic measures, they are immediately reverting to extremist Liberalist economic solutions: forced recession, in order to perpetuate the elite’s dominance over the working poor. The first half of 2022 was supposed to be a time when France’s elections were going to garner great interest, at least in France, but the vote was overshadowed everywhere by total economic disaster – much of it self-inflicted in the West. Betting on a period of economic disaster – always a constant in Liberalist capitalism – seems like a gamble that will pay off quite big, and quite soon, in the world’s weakest and least-sovereign macroeconomic bloc.

Yellow Vest: “Things really could explode because prices keep going up but wages do not. If Emmanuel Macron somehow wins re-election then social unrest will go sky-high. The Yellow Vests will really take to the streets then, and it will be much worse than in 2019.”

For those who marvel at the insight of these Yellow Vest quotations – they truly are just that politically intelligent and aware! Give them all the credit. The idea that they are just rioting berserkers is… well, this book has already disproven that completely.

The perspective of the daily hard-news reporter is, I think, a unique and useful one. There is an urgency to this particular area of journalism caused by the reality that (after starting from the ideal of objectivity) serious conclusions must be drawn immediately and presented – they cannot be drawn-out, postponed, frittered away by mealy-mouthed relativism. Additionally, I interview and learn the opinion on the day’s most vital events from everyone, from hedge fund mangers to think-tank analysts to pensioners to protesters to Yellow Vests and to – most often – the everyday Frenchman and Frenchwoman on the street. That’s not something which can be easily replicated. Personally, my favorite chapters may be Chapters 9 through 11 – covering 2009-2022 – which condensed over 1,500 2-3 minute television hard news reports for PressTV (which equates to more than 3,000 soundbites from French people) and hundreds of columns. That can’t be easily replicated, either, nor can my honest claim to have reported on more Yellow Vest demonstrations than any other journalist in any language.

At the next Liberalist-provoked disaster the Yellow Vests will be there – they have never left. That should give France great hope. This book has aimed to share their fundamental message of hope and civic-mindedness.

Yellow Vest: “What voters should do is to not be scared, and to rejoin the Yellow Vests. We have lost our purchasing power, our social services, our individual freedoms – stop crying about these two candidates from behind your television or computer and come join us!”

The ideas of the Yellow Vests are not new – this book examined many different modern French eras to show precisely that. There is obviously a human unity across spaces, and there is also a political unity across time. The interspersed quotes of the Yellow Vests should have given you the clear understanding of: it’s been the same political and economic struggle for the past 233 years. It’s not complicated: just examine how and why they repressed the Yellow Vests so brutally, and why that failed to stop them.

Yellow Vest: “The government doesn’t know what to do because they see that the movement continues despite so much repression. We will not stop until we get the right to citizen-initiated referendums, the end to corporate tax evasion and a rule of social justice so that people can live decently.”

That’s perhaps the most simple encapsulation of the primary demands of the Yellow Vests. Mine might be a bit different, but I was honoured to be alongside the Yellow Vests to insist on our right to live decently.

The West’s best values are not imperialism, elitist Liberalism, oligarchical parliamentarianism, free market chaos, suppressive austerity and a rat race to “become bourgeois”. Look at the Yellow Vests for the West’s true virtues, and then join them wherever you can.

Ramin Mazaheri

Paris

June 20, 2022

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Now available for purchase: English paperback and e-book – French paperback and e-book.

Complete chapter list of France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values

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

French vote shows the undemocratic rot of the pan-European project 2/2

June 26, 2022

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

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

Part 1 discussed how a “hung parliament” isn’t going to happen in France. President Emmanuel Macron won enough seats and can find plenty of allies among the mainstream conservatives, as well as the Socialist Party and Green Party. Thus, on all issues involving far-right economics, neoliberalism and the pan-European project Macron will proceed without parliamentary difficulty.

Part 1 ended with my pointing out how Macron’s coalition-building is actually unimportant.

Because the Mainstream Media is fine with his ends, they rarely discuss how Macron often used the 49-3 executive decree in his first term even when he had an absolute majority. Macron bypassed parliament just to avoid public discussion in Parliament on his hugely unpopular austerity “reforms” – i.e. right-wing rollbacks.

And then the guy would actually sign these bills – which were also entirely written by his own coterie – live on television, rubbing it in everyone’s faces! The French, of course, can’t stand this obviously autocratic – and certainly not democratic – behavior. The elite-driven “bourgeois bloc”, however, adored it.

So who cares about the French legislature? Certainly Macron has not.

Francois Hollande used the 49-3 executive decree multiple times as well, so this is clearly a long-running issue of executive branch power grabs.

The MSM doesn’t want to focus on these facts because they so obviously reveal the incredibly low quality of French democracy and of the pan-European project.

Therefore, even if Macron can’t create a majority to pass neoliberal legislation why would he allow parliament to restrain hims now? In the coming years we should expect his rationalisations along the lines of, “We must avoid dysfunction and stagnation, therefore I decree…”.

All the above explains why the democratic absolute majority winner of the legislative vote was “none of the above” – abstention won 54%. The French know that modern autocracy – rule by the 49-3 executive decree and the overruling of national sovereignty by Brussels – rules, thus rendering Europe’s national parliaments a waste of time, breath and attention. Remember Syriza of Greece, or the “bomb” Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, promised Ireland? Many European citizens have not.

Elections at just 46% turnout are a hair’s breadth away from not having democratic credibility, but that must be added with the constant use of the 49-3 executive decree and the certainty of a Brussels’ veto for any legislation they don’t like. It combines to modern autocracy – rule by an oligarchical elite.

When is the broad prosperity and stability which Western Liberal Democracy promises ever going to arrive? When is the broad prosperity and stability of the pan-European project ever going to arrive? Certainly the latter’s short tenure has been marked by nothing but economic disaster and democratic repression.

Because Western Liberal Democracy took the defeated fascists of World War II under their wing they also subsumed many of their ideas. One of them is identity politics: the average Frenchman is now being told to focus on the paltry 15% score of the National Front and not the larger issues presented in the paragraph above. It’s nonsense, and to do that would be to play into the hands of the bourgeois bloc.

All of these realities should be clear to people who cover French politics.

Macron has to actually pay attention to parliament now and work a little harder to win over some votes (but only if he actually feels like it) – I guess that’s democracy, but it’s not much. The MSM and bourgeois bloc elite is worried that “reforms” – i.e. rollbacks to the Social Democratic advances implemented from 1945-75 – won’t get through, but after 13 years here, and over 1,500 2-3 minute television reports for PressTV, which includes over 3,000 soundbites from French people, and hundreds of written columns, I’m worried about the democratic will of the French people.

But it’s been foolish to look for the democratic will in Western Liberal Democratic parliaments and in French parliament ever since 1848, when they did away with unelected monarchy.

France’s parliament is going to get louder, but that’s about it. It’ll be more like the United States in that there will be a lot of grandstanding and big talk, and then the same right-wing conclusions will arrive exactly as predicted. If it somehow doesn’t – Macron will use the executive decree. If Macron somehow doesn’t use the executive decree – Brussels will step in to forbid, sanction or legislate around the democratic will of any member nation.

As time goes on this reality will become clear and clearer. Some in the NUPES alliance and some in the National Front will actually say such things in Parliament. Macron promised to govern in a way to decrease “extremism” – i.e. those who point out the failures of Liberalism – but he clearly achieved the exact opposite.

Macronism is my generation’s type of conservatism, but that doesn’t mean it was ever built to last. The former Rothschild banker was a candidate who was fabricated at the last moment of 2016 by the intensely monied powers who have always governed in Western Liberal Democracy. He’s not as all-powerful as he was in his first term, but how could he be, given his discrediting behavior, his lack of merit and the arrogant elite he chooses to guide him? How could Western Liberal Democracy not keep proving to the masses their lack of concern for the problems of the working poor and middle classes?

However, since 2009 France does not control its currency, prices, budget, laws, rails, skies and obviously much, much else. A major failure of the Yellow Vests was to focus their attention entirely on Macron and on parliament and not on the pan-European project. The Western media tells them deceptive lies, but this column has laid out solid conclusions drawn from close observation. The Yellow Vests have protested every Saturday since October 2021 – you likely haven’t heard about that because the MSM refuses to tell the truth about that, too. When the next inevitable bust period occurs in Liberalism, they are ready to be there.

Will France descend into chaos shortly, as many predict? My God – how can it get more chaotic than every single Saturday from November 2018 through June 2019? All that’s left is for the forces of order to open fire on protesters – massacres!

That would change things – at least I hope it would. The West, ever-grandstanding about their moral superiority, certainly ignored the occasionally-lethal brutality towards the Yellow Vests.

The French elections have ended – major changes were not made. Since the Great Recession, and subsequent undemocratic installation of the pan-European project, the world’s third-largest but weakest and least-sovereign economy has only gotten weaker. After damage so great we don’t even know how bad it is, the coronavirus fog has lifted – remember that it was instituted just weeks after the failure of France’s longest labor movement ever, the general strike of 2019-20. France and the EU are marching to war over the unrest in Ukraine, and also sacrificing their economies for that cause.

Such is France today.

No Bonapartism – either Napoleonic or Louis-Napoleonic – is coming to save them from the autocratic bourgeois bloc. They have no revolutionary “Supreme Leader branch” of government, either – they don’t even want to understand what that term means. The French don’t believe in the goodwill of the leadership of the United States, but they follow them anyway. China, which since 2008 has soared in direct inverse proportion to the demise of Europe, is following an independent path, just as Iran has done since 1979. Now Russia appears to be doing the same after three decades of Liberalism.

The world needn’t worry about the results of French parliament, but they should worry for the French.


Part 1 of 2

French vote shows the undemocratic rot of the pan-European project 1/2

June 25, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

France’s election season finally got interesting, but only marginally.

Even though his brutal repression of the Yellow Vests should disqualify him from being a public servant ever again, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected president, incredibly. However, he has finally been reprimanded at the voting booth – his parliamentary coalition just lost its absolute majority.

The Yellow Vests can claim wresting yet another concession. Unfortunately – like most of their concessions – it’s rather minor.

The Mainstream Media is in a tizzy over an allegedly “hung parliament”, but don’t they always do that when the working-poor class rebels against Western Liberalist diktats?

The man initially hailed as the “new leader of the free world” by Politico (how badly does that hold up four years later?), and who then obviously became a “liberal strongman”, now has to actually acknowledge the National Assembly’s existence after ruling by executive order for five years.

This is such a bad thing? The entire start of modern global politics, in 1789, was the move away from absolute monarchy via the demand for a parliament – a representative body which can, finally, exert some influence over the policy-making of the executive branch.

To the Western elite: yes, this is a very bad thing.

They don’t want absolute autocracy anymore, but they certainly don’t want the poor, working-poor and middle classes exerting any influence over policy-making. They are continually appalled at how the French masses – from the Yellow Vests, to the 2005 “No” vote on the European Constitution, to the election of anti-austerity candidates like Francois Hollande and Francois Mitterrand – keep rejecting the “bourgeois bloc’s” insistence that neoliberalism is the greatest thing since pockets.

The dominant analysis in France now is that it is divided into three blocs: the far-right of Le Pen, a left wing (represented by the NUPES “popular front”, which just over-promised and under-delivered) and a “center” of Macronistas. This is wrong. The best description of French divisions is between a bourgeois bloc (the 25% which supports Macron) and everyone else (the 75% which supported the Yellow Vests/the 70% which didn’t want Macron to have another absolute majority in parliament).

The bourgeois bloc is obviously full of pro-elite, pro-privilege, right-wing ideas – neo-imperialism, free market economics, perpetual austerity, a poor social safety net, regressive taxes on the average person but tax evasion for the rich and corporations, the idea that citizens should vote once every 4 or 5 years for elite politicians and then stop being involved in politics – but what it is actually presented as is “radical centrism”. Much like the idea of the “bourgeois bloc”, such terms are gaining popularity in recent years.

“Radical centrism” is the idea that mainstream Western thought is the only “right” way to view reality. The ideology of Liberalism is “centrist”, or so they allege, but they definitely make this claim with a virulence that is truly radical.

This started post-1991 with TINA – There Is No Alternative. The great unsaid to that popular phrase is that There Is No Alternative to Neoliberalism and Neo-imperialism. Radical centrism has become – to them – “the truth”. Criticise their policies – such as the false benevolence, and certainly the false success, of the pan-European project – and you are classified as “disinformation”. Affirm these policies and you’re a blue-checked “expert” and “independent”.

It’s all nonsense of course, but ever since 1789 created a bourgeois bloc they have always been out of touch with the average person’s experiences and beliefs.

This brings us back to the legislative vote: the Western MSM, owned by the bourgeois bloc in a West which eschews state media, is now worried that without an absolute majority Macron won’t be able to force through his “radical centrist” policies as easily as he did for the past five years.

The Western MSM is, of course, totally unconcerned about the fact that Macron forced through his policies only on top of the broken bones, lost eyes and blood of the Yellow Vests. They only worry about protesters in right-wing places like Hong Kong, or Ukraine, or the MKO, etc.

The intellectual state of France has now been established – are the MSM’s worries justified? Does the vote signify a huge change?

No, but not for the reasons expected by people who don’t closely follow French politics.

Firstly, ignore the usual French drama: Of course newspapers want to sell papers by inflaming the results. The far-right’s Marine Le Pen wants to act like 15% is a parliamentary majority, leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon wants to believe that 25% of seats earns him the prime minister post, and the mainstream conservative Republicans are talking about “still being an opposition party” but these are all lies, exaggerations and self-delusions.

The biggest delusion outside of France since 2017 is that Macron was ever a “centrist”. His subsequent legalisation of Islamophobia and the state of emergency, his far-right economic policies and his authoritarian style all disproved that indisputably.

Macron was always a mainstream conservative, just with a new logo and of his generation. Somehow this eluded many commentators, and I attribute this – among the misled older commentators – to a generation gap.

Macron’s generation was raised to be entirely pro-Europhile, and also to reject xenophobia. Some in the mainstream conservative party are pro-globalisation and some aren’t so much, and some in the mainstream conservative party are Islamophobic and some aren’t so much, but those in les Républicains haven’t joined the National Front (now the National Rally) for a reason, and that reason is: these are not their main issues.

So we should add together the seats of Macron’s coalition and those of the mainstream conservatives – and we get an absolute majority of 53%. Thus, on all issues involving far-right economics, neoliberalism and the pan-European project Macron will proceed without parliamentary difficulty.

People are acting like Les Républicains haven’t been going along with pan-European project diktats since Nicolas Sarkozy? It’s crazy. He’s the one who engineered the passage of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, which was rejected in that 2005 vote mentioned above, and which put the installation of the European Union in the hands of national parliaments (run by the bourgeois bloc) and not in the hands of voters.

Macron’s coalition won enough seats to avoid a crisis. He’ll be able to win over just 2/3rds of Republicans (or 44 seats) for a majority on anything of economic and political importance to conservatives (and to pan-Euroepans).

However, one must realise that Macron will also win over many in the Socialist Party and the Green Party, as well! They are plenty of them who are totally on board with neoliberalism and the pan-European project. The NUPES left-green alliance is already fracturing.

Allow me a short victory lap: in already-published chapters of my new book (France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values – out July 1) I predicted the formation of AND the failure of the NUPES “popular front”. I understand Western fake-leftism – what can I say? This electoral alliance was always just that – to win votes – and it’s already breaking apart. Many in NUPES only put away their Europhilia to keep their seat, after all.

This certainly cannot be argued with, as well: There simply has not been a huge influx of parliamentarians who are anti-EU, anti-Liberalist, anti-austerity and anti-bourgeois bloc, and certainly not any majority. It will be business as usual in Western Liberal Democracy.

However, all of these facts are entirely moot!

You haven’t wasted your time, however, but you do need to please read Part 2 of this column, out soon.


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

‘If We Don’t End the War, War will End Us’*

June 13, 2022

Alastair Crooke

Europe now is stuck ‘up to the gills’ with wide-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, and unable to confront the consequences.

Emmanuel Macron irritated many people (just as Kissinger did at the WEF), when he said, ‘we should not humiliate Vladimir Putin’, because there must be a negotiated settlement. This has been French policy from early in this saga. More importantly, it is the Franco-German policy, and therefore it may end as the EU’s policy as well.

The qualification ‘may’ is important – as on Ukraine policy, the EU is more rancorously divided than during the Iraq War. And in a system (the EU system) that structurally insists on consensus (however much it is a confected one), when the wounds go deep, the consequence is that one issue can gridlock the whole system (as occurred in the lead-up to the Iraq war). If anything, the fractures in Europe today are wider and more acrimonious (i.e. acerbated by Rule of Law enforcements).

Whilst the tag ‘realist’ has acquired (in present circumstances) the connotation of ‘appeasement’, what Macron simply is saying is that the West cannot, and will not, maintain its current level of support for Ukraine indefinitely. Politics is intruding in all European states. In Germany, in France and in Italy too, there is a body of opinion against continued engagement in the conflict. Simply, the coming economic train crash is becoming all too apparent and threatening.

Boris Johnson’s rough ride in the recent confidence vote in the 1922 Committee may not have been explicitly linked to Ukraine, but the underlying indictments of Johnson’s Net Zero policies (viewed by Conservative voters as stealth-socialism), immigration and rising living costs, nonetheless certainly were.

Of course, ‘one swallow does not make a summer’. But Johnson’s dramatic collapse in popular standing, resulting from his economic belligerence towards Russia, is sending the European leadership in to a spin. “We are seeing panic in Europe due to Ukraine”, President Erdogan remarked.

What is notable is that for all Macron’s embrace of ‘European strategic autonomy’ in calling for a deal, he may be closer to Washington than are the London hawks. Yes, at the outset, the word ‘deal’ was vaguely present in American discourse, but then there followed a long hiatus in which, for about two and a half months, the narrative became solely: the need to bloody Putin’s nose.

The U.S. mood – the narrative – is turning, seemingly reconciled to more bad military news emanating out of Ukraine (with even quasi-neo-con Edward Luttwak throwing-in the towel, saying Russia will win, and that Donbass should have a say in its own fate).

Just as Johnson’s embrace of Ukraine is viewed as a desperate bid to summon the legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands War (Thatcher faced rising inflation and mounting domestic anger at her agenda, yet the victorious conflict over Argentina in 1982 helped power her to re-election), “Talk of the Ukraine crisis providing a ‘Falklands moment’ for Johnson – however – is simply fool’s gold for desperate Conservatives”, wrote Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham. It may prove ‘fool’s gold’ for Brussels too.

If there is something to be said about Macron’s call for a deal, it is that even a limited ceasefire deal – which probably is what Macron has in mind – would not be feasible in this toxic, polarised western atmosphere. In short, Macron is ‘out over his skis’. Ducks (to mix metaphors) first need lining-up:

America would need to walk back its vicious ‘hate Putin’ meme. They would need to pivot messaging to a ‘spin’ about the ‘win’ that might be inherent to talking with Putin, otherwise the very act of talking with ‘evil Putin’ will backfire in a flood of public acrimony. Macron has just had a taste of this.

A certain reset has already begun (either by design or reader boredom). Ukraine news hardly rates ‘above the fold’ treatment in U.S. media today. Google ‘war’ searches and links have fallen off a cliff. In any event, the Democratic Party clearly needs to focus on the domestic issues, inflation, firearms and abortion – the issues that will dominate the midterms.

Here’s the thing. The EU clearly is fractured, but so are the American security élites. Perhaps a drawn-out stalemate, a war of attrition, keeping both Russia and western Europe engaged with each other is preferred (not least by an emotionally engaged Biden) to a ‘deal’, but long war may no longer be available (if, as Luttwak suggests, Russia soon will win).

And would Biden, were he to opt to try for a Ukraine ‘deal’, be able to sustain – politically – anything less than a deal spun as a clear U.S. ‘win’? Is that even an option now? Almost certainly not. Moscow is not in the mood.

Would an offer of talks from Biden contain even a kernel of value to consider from a Russian perspective? Almost certainly not. If not, what’s there then to talk about.

Moscow says it is open to talks with Kiev. The Kremlin however, is not looking for a ‘way out’ (public opinion is dead-set against it). Call it ‘talks, if you will, but a better translation might be that Moscow is ready to accept Zelensky’s ‘surrender document’ under the rubric of ‘talks’ – no easy ‘win’ there for a Team Biden to tout to a sceptical American electorate!

Thus, in one sense, this ‘long war of attrition’ formula has certain ‘failure’ baked-in to it – for it was not military attrition, but the financial war that was configured as the West’s ‘first strike’ capacity. The “rouble would become rubble” almost immediately, as full-spectrum economic war collapsed Russia structurally (pulling down its will to fight in Ukraine). The warning to China (and others such as India), was expected to be stark.

At least that was the pre-war plan. Military action was never intended to be the ‘heavy lift’ for crushing Russia, but rather to act as the amplifier of domestic discontent as Russia’s economy crumbled under unprecedented sanctions. A Donbas insurgency, planned and prepared over eight years, was never supposed to get a ‘starring role’, precisely because the U.S. always imagined it likely that Russian forces ultimately would prevail. Nonetheless it became ‘the only game in town’.

But the financial war, on which hopes for a quick Russian collapse were founded, has not only failed, but paradoxically has rebounded to wound Europe very, very badly. That, and collapsing Ukrainian esprit de corps, have become an albatross hanging from the neck of the EU. There’s no walking away from sanctions, nor from the imminence of Ukrainian military implosion, without Russia emerging the clear ‘winner’.

It is a debacle (however much the ‘spin artists’ twist and turn). Unsurprisingly then, European leaders are looking for an off-ramp from the noxious effects of policies which they – the EU – so breathlessly adopted, without even bothering to do ‘due diligence’.

But the point here is a much graver one: Even if there were to be wider talks (say) next week, can the West even theoretically agree on what it might say to Mr Putin? Has it, at least, done due diligence on how Russia, in its turn, would define its vision for the Eurasian future? And if so, would the European negotiators have the political mandate to respond, or would the talks collapse because Europe cannot answer to any negotiation mandate, beyond one strictly limited to issues of Ukraine’s future make-up?

Russia, in fact, has set forth clearly its strategic aims. In December 2021, Russia issued two draft treaties to the U.S. and NATO which included demands for a security architecture in Europe that would guarantee indivisible security for all, and a withdrawal by NATO to its former 1997 eastern limits. These documents underline that Ukraine is but one small part to Russia’s wider strategic aims. The two drafts were ignored in Washington.

The Ukraine war, in principle, could be ended through a negotiated settlement that addresses Russia’s wider security concerns across the European expanse, whilst still maintaining Ukraine’s independence – albeit with the Ukrainian north-east, east and south linked in some configuration to Russia, or absorbed into it.

But then, there is the reality that the EU has offshored its political mandate in respect to Ukraine to an overarching NATO. And the latter’s clear objective is to exclude Russia from the world political ‘chess board’ as a player, and to implode the Russian economy – to return Russia to the Yeltsin era, in other words.

As such, NATO objectives imply no room for dialogue. Moscow’s ‘long war’ too has to be correctly understood – it is not just about security threats emanating from Ukraine, but the security threat emanating from a culture, self-defined as an excusatory western ‘civilisation’:

Christopher Dawson in Religion and the Rise of Western Culture, written nearly a century ago, writes: “Why is it that Europe alone among the civilisations of the world has been continually shaken and transformed by an energy of spiritual unrest that refuses to be content with the unchanging law of social tradition which rules the oriental cultures? It is because the religious ideal has not been the worship of timeless and changeless perfection, but a spirit that strives to incorporate itself in humanity, and to change the world”?

Do those European leaders contemplating a ‘deal’ understand that, whether they agree or not, the latter sums up the popular Russian perception? And that winning in Ukraine is seen as the necessary Cathartic trigger to re-launch Russian and other non-western civilisations?

The question then becomes: Does the European Union have a hand to play in such a scenario, separate to Washington’s? Actually no; it has no locus.

The EU has no locus – for – as Wolfgang Streeck has noted in his essay on “The EU after Ukraine”, west European states, apparently as a matter of course (i.e. without deeper reflection), agreed “to leave it to Biden to decide on its behalf – Europe’s fate will depend on Biden’s fate: That is, on the decisions, or non-decisions, of the U.S. government”. The EU thus effectively situates itself as an outlier province, within American domestic politics.

Some EU élites were triumphant: Ukraine had fixed the EU unambiguously as ‘North Atlanticist’, period. But why the glee?

It is true that the Ukraine war may (temporarily) have neutralized the various fault lines where the EU was crumbling. For some time, efforts have been made by the EU Commission to address the democracy void arising from the de factocentralization and depoliticization of the Union’s political economy, through filling the gap with a neoliberal ‘politics of values’ to be rigorously enforced by the EU – upon recalcitrant member states – through economic sanctions.

Identity rights, according to this interpretation, would serve as a substitute for the debates over political economy, with compliance on values to be enforced on member-states through economic sanctions (Rule of Law).

It is not hard to see how Ukraine might have gelled with Ursula von der Leyen’s determination to enforce EU values, not only on the likes of Orbán, but as a tool to uproot lingering pro-Russian sentiments in a factious EU, and firmly to plant North Atlanticism as the overriding EU value. Sanctioning Russia and its traditionalist notions was in perfect harmony with sanctioning East European states for their social traditionalism too.

This came at a cost however – the cost of catapulting the United States into a position of renewed hegemony over western Europe. It has forced Europe to continue wide-ranging, indeed crippling economic sanctions on Russia, which as a collateral effect, reinforces the position of U.S. dominance as a supplier of energy and raw materials to Europe.

It rules out completely Macron’s ideas that the EU needs a ‘European strategic sovereignty’ that can mitigate Russia’s legitimate security concerns. Europe now is stuck ‘up to the gills’ with wide-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, and unable to confront the consequences. There is literally ‘no way’ the ensuing structural inflation or the economic contraction can, or will be, contained. The EU has abdicated on the means to bring the war to its end. Only sharing a table whilst Zelensky signs the surrender document remains to it.

There will be no serious attempt in the U.S. before November even to try to curb inflation. The consequence of this EU surrender to U.S. Command is that in respect to inflation, too, the EU will be dependent on the vicarious shifts of U.S. electoral politics. It just is as possible that Biden will order a new issue of ‘stimmie checks’ to mitigate the effects of inflation on American pocketbooks (thus further accelerating inflation), as it is as likely for him to permit Quantitative Tightening (aimed at reducing inflation) in the run up to the midterms.

As the effects of the war set in, these will bring a serious backlash against Brussels.

*(H. G. Wells)

Ukraine to decide how much territory it trades for peace – NATO

12 Jun, 2022

Bloc chief Jens Stoltenberg said that a deal will come at a price, but insisted it’s up to Ukraine

Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2022 © AP / Olivier Matthys

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the US-led bloc aims to strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table, but added that any peace deal would involve compromises, including on territory. 

Stoltenberg was speaking at the Kultaranta Talks in Finland, following a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. While the NATO chief insisted that the West was willing to “pay a price” to strengthen the Ukrainian military, Kiev will have to make some territorial concessions to Moscow in order to end the current conflict.

“Peace is possible,” he outlined. “The only question is what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty…are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”

Stoltenberg did not suggest what terms Ukraine should accept, saying that “it’s for those who are paying the highest price to make that judgment,” while NATO and the West continue supplying arms to the Ukrainians to “strengthen their hand” when a settlement is eventually negotiated.

The secretary general did not directly endorse the ceding of Ukrainian territory, but he did bring up the example of Finland, which gave up Karelia to the Soviet Union as part of a peace deal during the Second World War. Stoltenberg described the Finnish-Soviet settlement as “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.”

Stoltenberg’s statement comes amid growing sentiment that Ukraine may soon be pressed into a peace deal by its Western backers. While US and British officials publicly insist that Ukraine “can win” its war with Russia, a recent CNN report suggests that officials in Washington, London and Brussels are meeting without their Ukrainian counterparts in an effort to plan a ceasefire and peace settlement. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also claimed that unnamed foreign parties have been trying to “push us a little” toward a deal, as the public in countries backing Ukraine grows “war weary.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has publicly denied urging Zelensky to give up some territory in exchange for an end to hostilities, as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested last month he should do.

Kissinger proposed in May that Ukraine accept a return to the “status quo ante,” meaning it would relinquish its territorial claims to Crimea and grant autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Crimea has been a part of Russia since 2014, while Moscow recognized the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics several days before its military operation began in February. 

Zelensky has shifted positions several times on a potential peace deal, with the president periodically expressing interest in negotiating a settlement with Russia, only for his officials, the US State Department, or Zelensky himself, to express the opposite sentiment shortly afterwards. After announcing his willingness to enter negotiations late last month, Zelensky came out several days later and told his citizens that “there will be no alternative to our Ukrainian flags” flying over the Donbass republics.

“We understand that it is very difficult for Ukraine after all this fighting to give up their land,” Niinisto said during the discussion with Stoltenberg on Sunday. “But seeing that Russia would lose all its holdings is not at this point foreseeable. Gaining peace is absolutely difficult.”

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The World Doesn’t Work That Way Anymore

June 6, 2022

Alastair Crooke

The fixation with Ukraine essentially is but a gloss pasted over the realities of a global order in decomposition.

The First World War signalled the end to a mercantilist order that had evolved under the aegis of European powers. One hundred years later, a very different economic order was in place (neoliberal cosmopolitanism). Believed by its architects to be universal and everlasting, globalisation transfixed the world for an extended moment, but then started the subsidence from its zenith – precisely at the moment the West was giving vent to its triumphalism at the fall of the Berlin Wall. NATO – as the order’s regulatory system – addressed its attendant ‘identity crisis’ by pushing for eastward expansion toward Russia’s western borders, disregarding the guarantees it had given, and Moscow’s virulent objections.

This radical alienation of Russia triggered its pivot to China. Europe and the U.S. however, declined to consider issues of due ‘balance’ within global structures, and simply glossed over the realities of a world order in momentous metamorphosis: with the steady decline of the U.S. already apparent; with a European faux ‘unity’ that masked its own inherent imbalances; and in the context of a hyper-financialised economic structure which lethally sucked out the juice from the real economy.

The present war in Ukraine therefore simply is an adjunct – the accelerant to this existing process of ‘liberal order’ decomposition. It is not its centre. Fundamentally geo-strategic in their origin, the explosive dynamics to today’s disintegration can be seen as blowback from the mismatch from diverse peoples’ looking now to solutions tailored to suit their non-western civilisations, and from the western insistence on its ‘one size fits all’ Order. Ukraine thus is a symptom, but is not per se, the deeper disorder itself.

Tom Luongo has remarked – in connection with the ‘messy’, confusing events of today – that that which he fears most, is so many people analysing the intersection of geopolitics, markets and ideology, and doing so with such striking complacency. “There is a stunning amount of normalcy bias in the punditocracy, too much ‘cooler heads will prevail’ and not enough ‘everyone’s got a plan until they’re punched in the mouth’”.

What Luongo’s retort doesn’t fully explain is the shrillness, the outrage, with which any doubting of the accredited ‘punditocracy’ of the moment is met. Plainly, there is a deeper fear stalking the lower depths of western psyche that is not being made fully explicit.

Wolfgang Münchau, formerly at the Financial Times, now authoring EuroIntelligence, describes how such a canonised Zeitgeist implicitly has imprisoned Europe in a cage of adverse dynamics which threaten its economy, its autonomy, its globalism and its being.

Münchau relates how both the pandemic and Ukraine had taught him that it was one thing to proclaim an interconnected globalism ‘as cliché’, but “It is quite another to observe what actually happens on the ground when those connections get torn apart … Western sanctions were based on a formally correct, but misleading premise – one that I believed myself – at least up to a point: That Russia is more dependent on us than we are on Russia … Russia however is a provider of primary and secondary commodities, on which the world has become dependent. But when the largest exporter of those commodities disappears, the rest of the world experiences physical shortages and rising prices”. He continues:

“Did we think this through? Did the foreign ministries that drew up the sanctions discuss at any point what we would do if Russia were to blockade the Black Sea and not allow Ukrainian wheat to leave the ports?… Or, did we think we can adequately address a global starvation crisis by pointing the finger at Putin”?

“The lockdown taught us a lot about our vulnerability to supply chain shocks. It has reminded Europeans that there have only two routes to ship goods en masse to Asia and back: either by container, or by rail through Russia. We had no plan for a pandemic, no plan for a war, and no plan for when both are happening at the same time. The containers are stuck in Shanghai. The railways closed because of the war …

“I am not sure the west is ready to confront the consequences of its actions: persistent inflation, reduced industrial output, lower growth, and higher unemployment. To me, economic sanctions look like the last hurrah of a dysfunctional concept known as The West. The Ukraine war is a catalyst of massive de-globalisation”.

Münchau’s response is that unless we cut a deal with Putin, with the removal of sanctions as a component, he sees “a danger of the world becoming subject to two trading blocs: the west and the rest. Supply chains will be reorganised to stay within them. Russia’s energy, wheat, metals, and rare earths will still be consumed, but not here – We [just] keep with the Big Macs”.

So again, ‘one’ searches for an answer: Why are the Euro-élites so shrill, so passionate in their support for Ukraine? And risk heart-attack from the sheer vehemence of their hatred for Putin? After all, most Europeans and Americans until this year knew next-to-nought about Ukraine.

We know the answer: the deeper fear is that all the landmarks to liberal life – for reasons they do not understand – are about to be forever swept away. And that Putin is doing it. How will ‘we’ navigate life, bereft of landmarks? What will become of us? We thought the liberal way-of-being was ineluctable. Another value-system? Impossible!

So, for Europeans, the endgame in Ukraine crucially must reaffirm European self-identity (even at the cost of its citizens’ economic well-being). Such wars historically, mostly have ended with a dirty diplomatic settlement. That ‘end’ probably would be enough for the EU leadership to spin a ‘win’.

And there was a big EU diplomatic drive to persuade Putin to do a deal, only last week.

But (paraphrasing and elaborating Münchau), it is one thing to proclaim the desirability of a negotiated ceasefire ‘as cliché’. “It is quite another to observe what actually happens on the ground when blood is being spilled to put facts on the ground …”.

Western diplomatic initiatives are premised on Russia needing a ‘way out’, more than does Europe need one. But is that true?

Paraphrasing Münchau again: “Did we think this through? Did the foreign ministries that drew up the plans to train and arm a Ukrainian insurgency in Donbas in the hope of weakening Russia – discuss at any point what effect their war and their expressed contempt for Russia might have on Russian public opinion? Or what ‘we’ would do if Russia simply opted instead to put facts on the ground until it finished its project … Or did we even address the possibility of Kiev losing, and what that would mean for a Europe loaded to the gills with sanctions that then would never end?”.

The hope for a negotiated settlement has given way to a more sombre mood in Europe. Putin was uncompromising in the talks with European leaders. The realisation is dawning in Paris and Berlin that a fudged settlement is not something that benefits Putin, nor is one that he can afford. The Russian public mood will not easily accept that its soldiers’ blood was spent in some vain exercise, ending in a ‘dirty’ compromise – only to have the West resuscitate a new Ukraine insurgency against the Donbas again, in a year or two.

The EU leaders must be sensing their predicament: They may have ‘missed the boat’ for getting a political ‘fix’. But they have not ‘missed the boat’ in respect to inflation, economic contraction, and of social crisis at home. These ships are heading in their direction, at full steam. Did the EU foreign ministries reflect on this eventuality, or were they carried along by euphoria and the credentialed narrative issuing out from the Baltics and Poland of ‘Bad Man Putin’?

Here is the point: The fixation with Ukraine essentially is but a gloss pasted over the realities of a global order in decomposition. The latter is the source of the wider disorder. Ukraine is but one small piece on the chess board, and its outcome will not fundamentally change that ‘reality’. Even a ‘win’ in Ukraine would not grant ‘immortality’ to the neoliberal rules-based order.

The noxious fumes emanating from the global financial system are wholly unconnected to Ukraine – but are that much more significant for they go to the heart of the ‘disorder’ within the western ‘liberal order’. Perhaps it is this primordial unspoken fear that accounts for the shrillness and rancour directed at any deviation from sanctioned Ukraine messaging?

And Luongo’s normalcy bias in discourse is never more in evidence (Ukraine aside), than when addressing the strange self-selectivity of Anglo-American thinking about their neoliberal economic order.

The Anglo-American system of politics and economics, James Fallows a former White House speechwriter has noted, like any system, rests on certain principles and beliefs. “But rather than acting as if these are the best principles, or the ones their societies prefer, Britons and Americans often act as if these were the only possible principles: And that no one, except in error, could choose any others. Political economics becomes an essentially religious question, subject to the standard drawback of any religion—the failure to understand why people outside the faith might act as they do”.

“To make this more specific: Today’s Anglo-American world view rests on the shoulders of three men. One is Isaac Newton, the father of modern science. One is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the father of liberal political theory. (If we want to keep this purely Anglo-American, John Locke can serve in his place.) And one is Adam Smith, the father of laissez-faire economics.

“From these founding titans come the principles by which advanced society, in the Anglo-American view, is supposed to work … And it is supposed to recognize that the most prosperous future for the greatest number of people comes from the free workings of the market.

“In the non-Anglophone world, Adam Smith is merely one of several theorists who had important ideas about organizing economies. The Enlightenment philosophers however were not the only ones to think about how the world should be organized. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Germans were also active—to say nothing of the theorists at work in Tokugawa Japan, late imperial China, czarist Russia, and elsewhere.

“The Germans deserve emphasis—more than the Japanese, the Chinese, the Russians, and so on because many of their philosophies endure. These did not take root in England or America, but they were carefully studied, adapted, and applied in parts of Europe and Asia, notably Japan. In place of Rousseau and Locke the Germans offered Hegel. In place of Adam Smith… they had Friedrich List.”

The Anglo-American approach is founded on the hypothesis of the sheer unpredictability and unplannability of economics. Technologies change; tastes change; political and human circumstances change. And because life is so fluid, this means that any attempts at central planning are virtually doomed to fail. The best way to “plan” therefore, is to leave the adaptation to the people who have their own money at stake. If each individual does what is best for him or her, the result will be – serendipitously – what is best for the nation as a whole.

Although List did not use this term, the German school was sceptical about serendipity, and more concerned with ‘market failures’. These are the cases in which normal market forces produce a clearly undesirable result. List argued that societies did not automatically move from farming to small crafts to major industries just because millions of small merchants were making decisions for themselves. If every person put his money where the return was greatest, the money might not automatically go where it would do the nation the most good.

For it to do so required a plan, a push, an exercise of central power. List drew heavily on the history of his times—in which the British government deliberately encouraged British manufacturing and the fledgling American government deliberately discouraged foreign competitors.

The Anglo-American approach assumes that the ultimate measure of a society is its level of consumption. In the long run, List argued, a society’s well-being and its overall wealth are determined not by what the society can buy, but by what it can make (i.e. value coming from the real, self-sufficient economy). The German school argued that emphasizing consumption would eventually be self-defeating. It would bias the system away from wealth creation, and ultimately make it impossible to consume as much, or to employ so many.

List was prescient. He was right. This is the flaw now so clearly exposed in the Anglo model. One aggravated by subsequent massive financialisation that has led to a structure dominated by an ephemeral, derivative super-sphere that drained the West of its wealth-creating real economy, couriering its remains and its supply-lines ‘offshore’. Self-reliance has eroded, and the shrinking base of wealth creation supports an ever-smaller proportion of the population in adequately paid employment.

It is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and is in crisis. That is widely understood at the upper reaches of the system. To acknowledge this however, would seem to go against the past two centuries of economics, narrated as one long progression toward Anglo-Saxon rationality and good sense. It lies at the root of the Anglo ‘story’.

Yet, financial crisis might upend that story entirely.

How so? Well, the liberal order rests on three pillars – on three interlocking, co-constituting pillars: Newton’s ‘laws’ were projected to lend the Anglo economic model its (dubious) claim to being founded in hard empirical laws – as if it were physics. Rousseau, Locke, and their followers elevated individualism as a political principle, and from Smith came the logic-core to the Anglo-American system: If each individual does what is best for him or her, the result will be what is best for the nation as a whole.

The most important thing about these pillars is their moral equivalence, as well as their interlocking connection. Knock out one pillar as invalid, and the whole edifice known as ‘European values’ comes adrift. Only through being locked together does it possess coherency.

And the unspoken fear amongst these western élites is that during this extended period of Anglo supremacy… there has always been an alternative school of thought to theirs. List was not concerned with the morality of consumption. Instead, he was interested in both strategic and material well-being. In strategic terms, nations ended up being dependent or sovereign according to their ability to make things for themselves.

And last week Putin told Scholtz and Macron that the crises (including food shortages) that they faced, stemmed from their own erroneous economic structures and policies. Putin might have quoted List’s amorphism:

The tree which bears the fruit is of greater value than the fruit itself… The prosperity of a nation is not… greater in the proportion in which it has amassed more wealth (i.e., values of exchange), but in the proportion in which it has more developed its powers of production.

Messrs Scholtz and Macron probably did not like the message one bit. They can see the pivot being yanked out from western neoliberal hegemony.

The Question Of Whether Or Not To “Humiliate Russia” Is Irrelevant

5 JUNE 2022

The debate over this issue is actually irrelevant, however, since it presupposes that Kiev will inevitably emerge victorious in the conflict. There’s no credible indication that anything of the sort will transpire, nor was there ever in fact, since such a scenario was never anything more than political fantasy.

Source

The Question Of Whether Or Not To “Humiliate Russia” Is Irrelevant

By Andrew Korybko

Kiev reacted very angrily to French President Macron’s suggestion not to “humiliate Russia” after the Ukrainian Conflict finally ends, which prompted a media firestorm over the most optimal way to resolve hostilities between these former Soviet Republics. His proposal was interpreted as implying some variation of Kissinger’s plan whereby the status quo would return to what it was like in February before the commencement of Moscow’s ongoing special military operation, which in turn was taken to hint that Crimea and Donbass would continue to remain separate from Ukraine. That was obviously unacceptable for Kiev, hence why its Foreign Minister lashed out at the French leader.

The debate over this issue is actually irrelevant, however, since it presupposes that Kiev will inevitably emerge victorious in the conflict. There’s no credible indication that anything of the sort will transpire, nor was there ever in fact, since such a scenario was never anything more than political fantasy. The “official narrative” upon which that wishful thinking was based has decisively shifted over the past two weeks as the second phase of Russia’s special operation began to gain ground in Donbass. It remains unclear whether that’ll lead to a game-changing military breakthrough or not, but it nevertheless debunks the speculation that Moscow will inevitably lose the conflict.

The real question is therefore whether or not Kiev should be humiliated after everything ends. Nobody can say with full confidence on what terms that country will surrender nor when that will happen, but it’s clear that this outcome has always been the most likely. The details will largely depend on the military situation at the time that hostilities finally cease, which can’t be know for sure at this moment, just that it’ll remain among the most decisive factors. As it presently stands, Kiev has lost control of Southern Ukraine’s Kherson Region and most of Zaporozhye, which appear poised to reunite with their historical Russian homeland within the next year.

It’ll therefore be forced to accept the loss of at least those two parts of the country along with Crimea and Donbass, which together constitute approximately one-fifth of its pre-“EuroMaidan” territory. There’s nothing “humiliating” about that though since it’s just the way that things are, especially considering that the locals there don’t even want to be part of Lenin’s unnatural mini-empire anymore anyhow. It would therefore actually be “humiliating” and even dangerous for those locals to be forced back under Kiev’s control, which Moscow would never do since it understands the real danger that this would pose for their people.

What might be interpreted as “humiliating” by Kiev is if its US-led Western allies agree to Russia’s demand that the country be demilitarized, with the details remaining unclear but nevertheless likely resulting in a drastic reduction of this rump state’s respective capabilities. Truth be told, however, that wouldn’t objectively be “humiliating” but pragmatic since it would most sustainably ensure the peace that would follow the end of hostilities between these former Soviet Republics. Nevertheless, it might still be a tough sell for President Zelensky considering his people’s rabid nationalism nowadays, though he could always try to find a scapegoat to blame it on in order to lesson the blow to his popularity.

Kiev is completely dependent on its US-led Western allies and therefore can’t realistically behave independently of them, at least not for long enough to make a tangible difference in whatever it might be. This is crucial to keep in mind considering CNN’s recent report that those countries are meeting with one another to hash out the details of their hoped-for ceasefire for ending this conflict, curiously without Kiev’s participation despite promising to always include it in such talks. That news very strongly suggests that they’re aware of how unpopular their proposed terms would be but that they also know that they can successfully coerce Kiev into accepting them.

Against this behind-the-scenes context, one can better understand why the question of whether or not to “humiliate Russia” is nothing but a distraction. It serves to conveniently refocus the public’s attention towards an unrealistic scenario while the most likely one is actively being advanced. Kiev appears uncomfortable with these secret diplomatic dynamics but can’t really do anything to shape them in the direction of its interests. The best that it can hope for is to manipulate public perceptions in such a way as to draw comparisons with the infamous Munich Agreement of 1938 by artificially manufacturing the narrative that it’s been sacrificed by its allies for so-called “appeasement” purposes.

Even that can only convince so many folks since many are already desensitized to the false comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Russian Federation on one hand and Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin on the other. Few in the US-led West are likely to take Kiev’s side over their own governments’, especially considering the fact that their authorities are the ones controlling the Mainstream Media narrative, not Zelensky and his clique who just play the role of puppets in this theater. World-class “perception managers” can just once again begin talking about Ukrainian corruption and fascism like they did prior to the latest conflict in order to discredit Kiev from the perspective of “Western values”.

Zelensky is quickly becoming trapped between the Russian Armed Forces’ increasingly successful offensive in Donbass, reported pressure from his own military officials who are very displeased with his decisions over the past 100 days, and his own US-led Western allies who are supposedly hashing out the details of a potential ceasefire behind his back. In such a situation, the best-case scenario would be for him to take the initiative by unilaterally declaring a ceasefire aimed at freezing the lines of control in order to not lose any more of his crumbling country than he already has, but instead he’d rather propagate the political fantasy of “humiliating Russia” so as to distract his people for as long as possible.

It’s education, stupid!

June 02, 2022

Source

By Fẹmi Akọmọlafẹ

Maybe it is time the Collective West does something about its educational system.

Watching the performances of Russians and Western officials, one immediately notices that the much-touted and ultra-expensive “education “ provided in the West today is actually not up to par.

The Russian actions in Ukraine revealed a West where leaders remain emotional juveniles who continue to REACT jerkily to Russia’s deft moves. That’s when they are not busy projecting their own values and behavior onto the Russians.

Not only have the Russians vastly outplayed the West militarily, economically, and geopolitically, the actions/reactions of the West have boomeranged mightily to Russia’s advantage. The hyperinflation ravaging the West is just one example.

The exposure of the impotence of the much-touted NATO is also glaring for all to see; the Russians have made a mincemeat of what was touted as the best army in Europe, trained and equipped to NATO’s standards.

It is like every move by the Americans and their vassals in the EU was calculated to benefit the Russians.

This happened because they were ill-taught, and irrational resulting in pure emotional lash outs.

There’s simply no logic behind them.

A good example is how Western sanctions resulted in Russia earning jumbo income from selling less of its oil and gas.

Thank you very much!.

In addition to always being on top of their game, Russian officials always come across as well-educated, well-informed, well-mannered, sophisticated, cultured, and respectful. Western officials, on the other hand, attack the world as haughty, naughty, ill-mannered, ill-educated, uncultured, provincial, and narcissistic imbeciles.

They lack the elementary decorum necessary to engage peers in respectful manners. Ok, superciliousness, fueled by racist arrogance, might partly explain why they behave so, but we cannot discount the possibilities that they simply lack the education, the culture, and the home training required for civilized behavior, especially in encounters with other cultures.

The question needs to be asked how the Collective West ended up with the current gaggle of clowns holding positions of responsibility?

Examples abound aplenty: Just take a look at Sergey Lavrov and compare him with that dwarfish oaf, Anthony Blinken. Please, how did the once great US get to appoint that trashy lightweight idiot supposed to engage with a towering Diplomat of Mr Lavrov’s caliber?  Can’t a kindhearted one whisper in his ears how utterly ridiculous he appears and sounds when he issues stupid threats?

And how do we compare the seriously martial Sergei Shoigu with that Raytheon’s Uncle Tom arms merchant, Lloyd Austin?

And we then have the magnificent, confident, articulate, urbane and sophisticated woman Mr Lavrov appointed to speak for his Foreign Ministry. Please, do not take my word for it, just point out a Western official, male or female (forget the other stupid pronouns concocted by Western woke narcissists pumped up with hedonism), who can match Maria Zakharova in confident eloquence?

It didn’t use to be like this. The West was once great. I should know; I studied there.

Even as a student I noticed that there’s something terribly wrong with the type of education western institutions dish out to students starting in the late 1980s. It is quite noticeable, even to an undergraduate like myself, that there is a TOTAL disconnection between what is being taught at the universities and what transpires in REAL LIFE.

Take what is called Economics as an example. A degree, Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), is awarded to students who successfully complete the four-year program.

Any honest person will know that there’s absolutely nothing scientific in the potpourri of jargon western economists continue to string together to dazzle the gullible.

Meaningless figures and data are churned out to bamboozle people into believing that producing “services” is somehow superior to having mineral resources and a strong manufacturing base. The magicians, who masquerade as economists in the West, successfully cast spells that made people accept fancifully-printed papers, that are backed by nothing, in lieu of gold, diamond, cocoa, coal, titanium, and other real products.

These types of deliberate falsehoods and concoctions explain why Western economies are based on illusions and delusions as the Great V Putin exposed in recent encounters with the Collective West.

Arrogant and totally ignorant Westerners had no idea what the Russians had in stock for them when they started their stupid sanctions which they believed would destroy the Russian economy.

A little knowledge of history, geography, geopolitics, and geoeconomics should have informed the West that a country (the largest in the world) that is not only self-sufficient in food production, but produces almost all the metals required by all of the major industries and, in addition, is the world’s leading energy (oil and gas) producer, is not one to trifle or pick a fight with.

Most especially, not by a bunch of self-worshipping, resource-less, parasitical inconsequential nonentities like the EU states, who suffer from excessive self-regard.

There is little doubt the arrogance of the Collective West is fueled by ignorance which is a result of the poor quality of the education produced by the ideological institutions the West call universities, which have been transformed from places of rigorous learning into ones that produce only selfish, self-centered, narcissistic, hedonistic ideologues who are incapable of any thought beyond the ME!

Education reflects the mental attitude of the people. A society that recognizes neither wrong nor right, truth or falsehood cannot produce upright people who are capable of subjecting their thoughts and actions to deep reflections and applying the necessary breaks to curb their animalistic impulses.

Right from infancy, Westerners are brought up to regard everything as relative and to mix up rhetoric with actions.

Children in nurseries are told tales about the cow jumping over the moon. They are later introduced to the fable of a Santa Claus who deliver gifts through the chimney (let’s not mention the gross racism inherent in the Dutch version of that silly ‘tradition’). From here the westerner is told only tales about how his superior race brought the light of civilization to the rest of the world. Never mind the fact that half of the human drama passed before a European appeared on the scene. And never mind the documented fact that Europeans extinguished the light of civilization wherever they went. Let’s not even consider the absurdity of vandals and rapacious conquerors claiming to be civilizers! What civilization did Europe bring to the Americas? What superior knowledge, apart from that of guns, did the British bring to the Benin Kingdom?

A system of education that teaches everything about personal freedom but remains silent on responsibilities, basic values, and respect for elders and institutions cannot but produce self-seeking, self-affirming narcissistic individuals who will regard any suggestion or notion of rights of others as personal assaults.

A system of education that mistakes cheating and lying for cleverness can not but produce the type of Ambassador Michael McFaul who laughs,  when confronted with the lies the West told over Ukraine’s NATO membership and exclaimed: “That is the real world. Welcome to the real world.” https://nationalfile.com/thats-the-real-world-michael-mcfaul-laughs-off-lies-over-ukraine-nato-membership/

Basically, McFaul told us that the west exists in a real world where the telling of lies is the normal thing! Per his profile, McFaul is a professor in one of the top universities in the US. What type of minds will a man like McFaul produce?

Societies reflect the people that live in them. Western societies produced rugged individualistic-minded people who, in turn, find it difficult to cope with an international arena where the game is to give and take. Despite the fact that they proclaim their superiority over the rest of us, Western societies are incapable of operating on a level playing field. They cannot compete unless the cards are stacked in their favor. If they deny it, they simply should abandon their sense of entitlement and join the rest of humanity in playing by the rules agreed upon by the comity of nations.

Just take a good look at the current crop of Western leaders. The senile mannequin Biden has been a professional politician like for forever and a half. Macron is an investment banker, essentially one who conjures money from thin air, or what are derivatives, futures, etc?

The one in Germany, Scholz, is a lawyer. We all know that lawyers are born liars who make money by manipulating facts and telling barefaced lies. A great pity that we did not listen to Shakespeare and kill all the lawyers!

That lying, cheating, racist, boorish, unscrupulous, drunken addict like Boris Johnson became the leader of a former Great Britain shall forever remain one of the greatest mysteries of our time. It shall also go down as one of the worst things the British did to themselves.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I shed no tears for the inhabitants of that Island of iniquities.

Sadly, for them, the Collective West used to have very solid leaders. No matter how much one disagrees with them or hated their ideology, one cannot but respect Ronald Reagan, Helmut Kohl, Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterrand, and George Bush sr.

These men and women were true statesmen, prepared to defend their national interests while recognizing the need not to negate the interests of their peer actors in the global geopolitical arena.

Both Reagan and Thatcher were extreme ideologues, but they still both recognized that they cannot wish the USSR (Russia) away without destabilizing the global security architecture. They acted accordingly.

Alas, today, there’s not a single leader in the West with either the intellectual depth or the cultural sophistication to handle complex geopolitical issues.

Examples:

  • At his first meeting with Chinese officials, the arrogant but amateurish US Secretary of State was promptly shot down by a Chinese official who told him point-blank: “The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.”
  • In their encounter,  Russia’s FM Lavrov publicly humiliated the queen that poses as the UK’s FM, Truss, by exposing her shallowness and ignorance of basic geography.

With leaders such as these, it is little wonder that the west continues to self-destruct with the speed that few people thought possible.

First, western officials’ lack of simple courtesy, manners, and etiquette is quite stunning.

In many cultures, bullies are considered uncultured philistines and are promptly dispensed with. Even at the height of their war with Iraq we witnessed how US Secretary James Addison Baker continued to extend diplomatic and personal courtesies to his Iraqi counterpart, Tarik Aziz.

Puffed up with insane arrogance, the West rushed to impose thousands of sanctions on Russia. The belief was that the sanctions would cripple Russia and make it forgo the pursuits of its national interests.

So many things are terribly wrong with this assumption and it can only be the product of utterly stupid brains. Just a few: How could anyone in their right mind think that the Russians would have failed to consider ALL possibilities before they decided to confront the west in an existential struggle?

Forget about the Ukraine, Russian officials told whoever would listen that the Ukraine is just a sideshow; upending western domination is the ultimate goal. The Russians simply had enough of bullying and they planned to put an end to it.

Russians are world champions in both mathematics and chess playing, one must be utterly daft to even think that a Judoka like V Putin will go into battle without adequate preparations and preparedness.

Three months later, not only did Russia shrug off all the touted “sanctions from hell,’ but its economy is back on track, steady income are streaming into its treasury, and its currency, the Ruble, has emerged as the best currency in the world!

Instead of the Ruble turning into rubble as the dimwit Biden promised, Russians today worry more about the strength of their currency.

So, how did the West get it so spectacularly wrong?

It’s education, stupid.

While other societies stepped up on the teachings of mathematics and science, the West focused its attention on WOKISM.

The teaching of new pronouns became more important to a people that have become over-obsessed with their genitalias. Not even children were spared in the degenerate obsession to sexualize everything.

The west abandoned the teaching of history. So, people grew up not knowing anything about their past. Years of obscenely grotesque overconsumption produced inert citizens who became too decadent for their own good.

The consequences of these long years of easy living (off the back of foreign resources) are people who deluded themselves that their easy living was made possible by some immutable law of nature.

Westerners forgot that the institutions and the unfair international economic setups which guarantee them to live like exceptionalists were created by crafty, highly-educated, and far-seeing men and women who managed to collar the best advantages for the West.

Example: We saw how spectacularly the Euro has nosedived since V Putin asked Europeans to pay for his gas in his currency.

Not only have the ill-thought sanctions boomeranged badly on the sanctioneers, but the west has also ended up financing Russia’s military campaign in the Ukraine.

More sanctions from hell, please!


Fẹmi Akọmọlafẹ is a writer and a published author. He is a member of the Ghana Association of Writers.

His latest book, “Africa: a Continent on Bended Knees” is available on:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Africa-Continent-Bended-Femi-Akomolafe-ebook/dp/B08FGZNJ5T
On Ghana Association of Writers Website: https://www.gaw.org.gh/product/africa-a-continent-on-bended-knees/

After the NATO War is Over

May 17, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Make no mistake about it: The tragic war that is currently taking place on Ukrainian battlefields is not between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, but between the Russian Federation and the US-controlled NATO. The latter, also called ‘the collective West’, promotes an aggressive ideology of organised violence, a politically- economically- and militarily-enforced doctrine euphemistically known as ‘Globalism’. This means hegemony by the Western world, which arrogantly calls itself ‘the international community’, over the whole planet. NATO is losing that war, which uses NATO-trained Ukrainians as its proxy cannon fodder, in three spheres, political, economic and military.

Firstly, politically, the West has finally understood that it cannot execute regime change in Moscow. Its pipedream of replacing the highly popular President Putin with is CIA stooge Navalny is not going to happen. As for the West’s puppet-president in Kiev, he is only a creature of Washington and its oligarchs. A professional actor, he is unable to speak for himself, but is a spokesman for the NATO which he loves.

Secondly, economically, the West faces serious resistance to the 6,000 sanctions it has imposed on Russia and Russians. Those sanctions have backfired. In the West, we can testify to this every time we buy fuel or food. The combination of high inflation (10% +) and even higher energy prices, caused almost solely by these illegal anti-Russian sanctions, are threatening the collapse of Western economies, much more than threatening Russia or China. As a result of this reverse effect of sanctions against Russia, the rouble is at a three-year high, standing at about 64 to the US dollar and rising, though immediately after the sanctions it had briefly gone down to 150 to the dollar.

After strenuously denying that they would do it, already most countries in Europe (at least 17 for now), including Germany and Italy, have agreed to open accounts with Gazprombank, as Russia advised them to do and to pay for oil and gas in roubles. And this number is growing by the week. The problems will be even greater with food shortages, as the world food chain is highly integrated and the agricultural production of Russia and the Ukraine (now controlled by Russia) is at least 40% of the world’s grain production.  Just days ago it was announced that Russia expects record grain production this year (130 million tonnes). Russia may yet demand payment in roubles for all this as well.

The sanctions against Russia have divided Europe and are threatening to divide NATO. President Erdogan of Turkey, a NATO member, has announced that he would veto the entry to NATO of Finland and Sweden into NATO. At the same time, Russia has announced that it will cut off Finland’s natural gas supply. Swedish leaders are re-thinking their entry to NATO.

Thirdly, militarily, it is clear that the Ukraine, with huge numbers of desertions and surrenders, has no chance of winning the war against Russia. Most of its military equipment has already been wiped out and newly-delivered and often antiquated Western equipment will make little difference, even if it is not destroyed by Russian missiles as soon as it reaches the Ukraine. The conflict could now be over within weeks, rather than months. The US ‘Defense Secretary’ (= Minister for Offense), Lloyd Austin, has desperately called the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu to beg for a ceasefire. Would you agree to a ceasefire when in less than three months and with only 10% of your military forces you have already occupied an area greater than England inside the Ukraine, an area that produces 75% of Ukrainian GDP?

The panic of financial disaster in the West has begun to set in. As a result, the French President Macron has told President Zelensky (that is, told Washington) to give up part of Ukraine’s sovereignty and at last start serious negotiations with Russia. Macron is also trying to free French mercenaries from Azovstal in Mariupol, but the problem is much bigger than this, as the whole of Europe is facing economic meltdown. And the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has asked President Biden to contact President Putin and ‘give peace a chance’. Note that Mario Draghi is a former president of the European Central Bank and a Goldman Sachs puppet – just as Macron is a Rothschild puppet.

There have always been empires and invasions throughout history. However, they have always been local and not been justified as the only possible global ideology, a ‘New World Order’, to be imposed by violence all over the planet. After the NATO war is over, lost by ‘the collective West’, NATO Centralism, the ideology of a ‘Unipolar World’, controlled from Washington, must end. However, Centralism must also come to an end everywhere else, like that under Soviet-period Moscow (1).

However, Nationalism must also come to an end. Here we should remember that the very word ‘Nazism’ comes from the German words for ‘National Socialism’. (Nationalism entails hatred for others, whereas Patriotism means the ability not only to love your own country, but also love the countries of others, not hate their countries). And the Ukraine has a history of Nazism, stretching back over eighty years. Moreover, today’s leading Kiev soldiery are Nazi nationalists and represent the tribalism so typical of Western Europe, responsible in the twentieth century for two huge wars which it spread worldwide. The Nazi Ukrainian cries of ‘Glory to the Ukraine’ and their slogan of ‘Ukraine above Everything’ are slogans of Nazism.

Let us move to a world that is multipolar and multicentric, which has unity in diversity and diversity in unity. If we do not move towards this, we will probably be lost. For a multipolar, multicivilisational and multicultural world, the world of seven billion human beings already, is the only civilized world, the only true international community.

Note:

1. Here anti-Semites will tell you that the Centralism of Soviet-period Moscow was founded by the Bolsheviks, of whom over 80% were Jews. Firstly, it should be pointed out that they were atheist Jews, internationalists like Bronstein/Trotsky, who supported the ‘Third International’. In other words, they were political Zionists (not religious Zionists, indeed, they were anti-religious). And let us recall that a huge number of Jews were and are anti-Zionists and a huge number of Zionists were and are not at all Jews. This is why the Saker rightly uses the term ‘Anglo-Zionism’ for these unipolar centralisers.

We Will Win

May 11, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

There are only two powers in the world…the sword and the spirit. In the long term the sword is always defeated by the spirit – Napoleon Bonaparte

Introduction: You Are What You Believe

Like the Saker, I have White Russian connections. I know what the generation of my grandparents, adults before the so-called 1917 ‘Revolution’, told me. Then I read a lot about it. What I read only confirmed the living memories. Russia before 1917 was rotten from the inside, a house of cards. The whole ‘Revolution’ was a story of the treachery of the elite, the aristocrats, including many Romanovs, the politicians, the generals and the new bourgeoisie. Having lost their faith, they replaced all loyalty to the Faith, the Tsar and Home with pure greed. The same thing happened with the USSR. A generation after the people’s war won by those trained in the Tsar’s Army, the Soviet Union turned into a State in whose official Communist ideology nobody believed any more. The elite had lost faith in it and so the USSR also fell.

After 1991 the Russian Federation was handed over to the future oligarchs, the new aristocrats, just as before the Revolution the Russian Empire had been far too much in the hands of the past oligarchs, the old aristocrats. Whoever says oligarchs automatically says corruption. And when the rich have enough riches, they next want power and betray to get it. Like the rest of the world, the Russian Federation is a very unequal and corrupt society because of these oligarchs, who simply repeat the Western oligarch model. Have no illusions: Oligarchs rule the Western world. It is illusory to think otherwise. In France Pompidou was and Macron is a Rothschild banker (the ones who own The Economist and much of the rest of the media). French conglomerates stand beside them. In Germany banks and huge automobile and chemical industries put up their political candidates. In the UK all candidates are vetted by the financial sharks of the City. As for the USA, think of Trump or Hoover, and all is clear. Follow the money.

Myths on the Conflict in the Ukraine

Thus, the Western media, owned by the oligarchs, simply repeat what their owners want. That is what the mainstream media are for: the repetition of lies. The media affirm that the special operation in the Ukraine, which they call ‘a war’ or ‘an invasion’, was unprovoked. It was not: it was preceded by eight years of the Kiev regime genocide of Russians, a host of provocations of a purely Nazi nature and even a threat to go nuclear. The media claim that the operation is ‘horrific’ and that millions are dying. If you use the word ‘horrific’ and say that ‘millions are dying’, then you are describing the illegal US invasions of Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Western-sponsored terrorism in Syria, the Anglo-French bombing of Libya and the British-supplied Saudi massacres in the Yemen. In comparison, for the Ukrainian operation in general, however horrific individual cases, words like ‘sad’ or ‘conflict’ would be more appropriate. No, millions are not dying in the Ukraine, but, true, it must go into the tens of thousands.

The point is that for Russia, the Ukraine and the Ukrainians are not the enemy. They are brothers. The enemy is the Nazi mentality foisted on the Ukraine by the Western puppet junta in Kiev. The supply of NATO arms is ‘horrific’, as ‘horrific’ as the brutality of Nazi soldiers and their NATO trainers and supporting Western mercenaries. The aim of the Russian Federation is self-determination for the Ukraine. The south and east of present Kiev regime territory will probably go back to Russia after 100 years of captivity. Small parts of the far west, demilitarised, may go back to Poland, Romania, Hungary and maybe Slovakia, if they wish, to be decided by some international conference of those concerned. Do not forget the very clear Russian aims: To liberate the Russian areas, just as the Crimea was liberated eight years ago, avoiding civilian victims as far as possible, and to demilitarise and denazify the rest.

Demilitarisation would almost be complete by now, if it had not been for the greed of Western arms merchants and NATO’s attempts to smuggle in new arms and prolong the agony. Those arms now have to be destroyed, as most of them already have been, before ever they can be used. As for denazification, that will take decades. Not only the Ukraine, but even the Russian Federation and all its institutions without exception, have their infiltrators, CIA assets and plants. As President Putin stated at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on 9 May 2022:

‘We remember how Russia’s enemies tried to use international terrorist gangs against us, how they tried to seed inter-ethnic and religious strife so as to weaken us from within and divide us’.

He was referring to the past. But in fact his words are also true of the present. And the President added these words about the ‘international terrorist gangs’: ‘They failed completely’.

May his words be prophetic. Expect more expulsions of these international terrorist Nazis. And expect also more patriots, rejected by error and treachery in the past, to be welcomed back.

But why will denazification take decades?

The Nazi Evil is Deep-Rooted

As we have said elsewhere, Nazism, understood as Western Supremacism, has deep historic roots. Note well that it is Western (not necessarily White or Anglo-Saxon) Supremacism. In times past the present Western Supremacism was termed ‘British race superiority’, the superiority of ‘the civilised world’ (which gave ‘the civilised world’ the right to murder 200 million, directly and indirectly, in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania), and then Anglo-American, Anglo-Saxon or now Anglo-Zionist supremacy. Whatever it is called, the bid for World Domination goes back much further.

The first real example of it was seen in the Carolingian heartland in the late eighth century, when Charlemagne massacred the Saxons in 782. It then spread out with its Norman (i.e. Viking) shock-troops to Greek Italy and Sicily, to Muslim and Jewish Spain, to the real Anglo-Saxon England in 1066, then the barbarian attacks on Jews, Muslims and Greeks, miscalled the Crusades. When technology advanced, Western Supremacism spread to southern Africa, Asia, and the New Worlds. (The latter were not ‘discovered’, people had been living there for thousands of years, some with an advanced civilisation). The Western Supremacists called themselves ‘conquistadors’ (from the word ‘Conquest’, as in William ‘the Conqueror’). For the victims they were not conquerors, but what we nowadays call Nazis.

Those who celebrate them, perhaps as ‘bearers of Western Civilisation’ are Nazi supporters. And there are plenty of those in the Ukraine, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where on 9 May this year they sent in tractors and trailers to remove the fresh floral tributes to those who had liberated those countries from Fascism. But there are Nazis on the left and on the right, in Washington, London, Paris and Berlin, let alone in Warsaw and Prague and among their hireling academics and journalists. Most of these people are like teenage rebels, who refusing to obey their parents, reject Russian righteousness, just for the sake of their rebellion. With another generation, they will grow up. And nowadays, with the swiftness of the clock of history, a generation is no longer25 years, but much less.

Conclusion: Towards the Future World

Thus, denazification means ending the myth of Europe. Europe is a construct. It is in fact just the extreme Western tip of one single Continent, Eurasia, which probably only means sunset/west (‘erebu’) and sunrise/east (‘asu’). It is time to stop the separatist tribal wars of Europe, the bloodiest of which it calls ‘World Wars’. Unity is needed not just between Moscow and Berlin and Paris, but also between them and Beijing and southwards to Teheran, Islamabad, Riyadh, Delhi and Jakarta. And then bring in Africa, from Cairo to the Cape, from Lagos to Zanzibar. The future is Afro-Eurasia with its 7 billion human-beings. All else, the small minority, is islands outside Afro-Eurasia, which are in some way or other dependent on it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro-Eurasia#:~:text=Afro-Eurasia%20%28also%20Afroeurasia%20or%20Eurafrasia%29%20is%20a%20landmass,largest%20and%20most%20populous%20contiguous%20landmass%20on%20Earth.

We will win in the struggle against Nazism. Whatever difficulties we may face in the short term, in the long term, there is no doubt as to our victory. As President Putin also said on 9 May:

‘We are a different country. Russia has a different character. We will never give up our love for our Motherland, our faith and traditional values, our ancestors’ customs and respect for all peoples and cultures. Meanwhile, the West seems to be set to cancel these millennia-old values. Such moral degradation underlies the cynical falsifications of World War II history, escalating Russophobia, praising traitors, mocking their victims’ memory and crossing out the courage of those who won the Victory through suffering’.

Yes, we will win.

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

May 02, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We should not blame heroic and committed Leon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<—>

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

Publication date: July 1, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Chapter List of the new content

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

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

April 27, 2022

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

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

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

The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar,  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam Guillotine meets the working classes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, in Azovstal…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 27, 2022

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

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 25 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Ahmad Karakira 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Robust” relationship with “Israel”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic collaboration

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

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

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

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

Scientific & technical cooperation

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

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

Secret military agreements

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

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

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

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

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

Longest-serving political prisoner in Europe

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

Georges Abdallah at the heart of the French presidential elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why hasn’t he been released yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melenchon supports Georges Abdallah

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

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

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

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

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

How does Abdallah spend his time in detention?

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

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

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

His latest views

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

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

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

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

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

April 22 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Karim Sharara 

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

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

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

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

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

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

France’s colonial empire

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

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

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

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

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

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

Napoleon’s fascination with Egypt

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

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

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

Algeria’s story begins

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

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

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

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

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

The occupation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

April 21, 2022

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by Ramin Mazaheri

What a difference five years makes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again Le Pen blew it.

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

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

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

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


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

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

April 13, 2022

Source

By Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

It’s not any different today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last week she went much further:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s certainly not 2017 for 5 reasons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


French Muslims betrayed by ‘centrist’ Macron as Le Pen surges to a dead heat

April 10, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

In 2017 two out of three French voters were on the side of the nation’s Muslim citizens – for two weeks.

In between the first and second round presidential vote the incredible repression which Marine Le Pen was going to wage on Muslims was constantly cited as a reason to vote for Emmanuel Macron, who was presented as a “centrist”.

As the largest Muslim country in Europe the Muslim vote matters: In 2012 French Muslims decided the election. More than 2 million Muslim voters voted for Francois Hollande to the tune of 93% against Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande prevailed by just 1.1 million votes, or a 51.6% to 48.4% margin.

Hollande immediately sold out the Muslim vote by refusing to take a zero-tolerance approach to Sarkozy’s inauguration of France’s normalisation of Islamophobia.

The start of open attacks on Islam with Sarkozy has only backfired in every way, because since his election polls show that French Muslims have only gotten more devout in their practices. The reason is obvious: the constant accusations that Islam is bad pushes French Muslims to look more closely at their religion – they do, and they realise how wonderful Islam is, thus they become more devout.

For France’s non-Muslims it has tragically backfired as well. Many in France don’t realise that the insulting Islamophobia, which results in humiliating domestic oppression, comes on top of two centuries of colonial and neo-colonial domination, plus foreign wars in places like Mali, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Seemingly every Muslim attacker in France since 2008 who wasn’t clearly insane cited France’s wars in Mali and Syria, specifically, as justification for their attacks.

Hollande manipulated the attacks to gain approval for state-sponsored Islamophobia, which became his trusty “Islamo-diversion” tactic to deflect from his unpopular enforcing of far-right economic austerity. In his tenure some 4,000 warrantless raids on Muslim homes, mosques and properties only led to six suspicions of terrorism. The handful of the court cases were won, and I cannot unearth even one conviction from Hollande-era raids.

France’s fake-left assumed they have the Muslim constituency in their back pocket in 2012. In 2017 the threat of the National Front forced them into Macron’s camp. 2022 is a changed place.

Many French Muslims have told me they will do what was unthinkable to them previously – vote for the National Front (now rebranded as the “National Rally) in the second round.

Why the change? The insidious deception that Macron is a “centrist” and not a willing manipulator of Islamophobia has been totally disproven – the lower class and the Muslim class have paid the price for five years.

Sarkozy brought French Islamophobia into the mainstream, Hollande got it approved, but Macron institutionalised it. Macron took Hollande’s multiyear state of emergency and legalised it, with Muslims the clear targets and practically the only victims. Only the Yellow Vests and a small number of leftist and environmental activists have ever been impacted.

From not apologising for various massacres and atrocities against Algerians, to keeping Europe’s oldest political prisoner and the “Arab Nelson Mandela” Georges Ibrahim Abdallah in prison, to falsely and shamefully enacting legislation which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, to a “cyber-hate bill” which targets pro-Palestinians and Yellow Vests – Macron did very little in the past five years which did anything but hurt Muslims.

Have Islamophobic acts increased during the Macron era? We don’t know – Macron forced the closure of the French Collective Against Islamophobia, seemingly the only and certainly the best Muslim NGO committed to tracking this problem.

His so-called “anti-separatist law” of 2021 was the definite legalisation of Islamophobia, and was so heavy-handed even the United Nations and English-media widely criticised it. It tried to ban the hijab for minors and clearly violated constitutional protections for the freedom of association, worship and politics. In recent months nearly 100 mosques have recently been raided by the government, with at least two dozen shut down so far. (Who says Macron doesn’t care about far-right voters?)

Just this week a new report from Reuters came out: The mosque closures were based merely on “secretive evidence” which violate the right to fair trial and equality before the law. “Secretive” is simply another word for “false”, of course.

As his record clearly now proves, Macron is on the far-right economically (austerity and neoliberalism), politically (with his repression of the Yellow Vests), in his governance style (it’s a completely top-down style befitting a monarch and not an elected public servant who must listen to others and compromise) but also culturally – he’s Islamophobic.

The error is exactly as I wrote in 2017 – in agreeing with the Mainstream Media’s insistence that Macron was a “centrist”. The past five years proves he is authoritarian, pro-economic inequality, and Islamophobic.

Much like with the absolutely brutal repression of the Yellow Vests – Marine Le Pen would have never gotten away with half of the Islamophobia Macron did. People would have been on guard from the day she took office – similar to the response to Donald Trump’s election in the United States. A Le Pen victory would have sparked organised progressive resistance groups – something like a George Floyd response or #MeToo but à la française.

The handful of French media oligarchs who decided to give a political neophyte (he was previously a Rothschild banker) like Macron such glowing press coverage in the run-up to the 2017 election also decided to hand the 2022 election campaign agenda to convicted racist Eric Zemmour. The reason? Primarily this was done to spit the far-right vote for Sunday’s first round vote, but Zemmour also aids Macron by making Macron look more falsely “centrist”. Look at his record – Macron needs that assistance.

Making Islamophobia the 2022 election’s primary campaign issue will backfire – record abstention is widely predicted. It’s actually good news in this way: Islamophobia may still propel French politicians but the French people are bored by it – they wanted to go back to discussing real issues.

A very recent poll actually has Marine Le Pen beating Macron 50.5% to 49.5%. Other recent polls have her just 3 points down from Macron – that’s within the margin of error, and thus it’s a dead-heat. Her Hungarian “right-nationalist” counterpart just won a huge victory even though polls predicted a much tighter contest. French polling agencies are not just staffed by politicians – the biggest one is owned by a politician. Thus the odds of a 2nd round win by Le Pen seem much, much higher than many claimed in the previous months.

A Le Pen victory will be no picnic for France’s Muslims but at least everyone will be on guard against her. Macron, foolishly, was given a huge leash, and he went so far against Muslims that he broke the chain.

But mostly, France’s Muslims will do what a record number of French people will likely do: tune out the mainstream media hate factory and not vote. Abstention will hurt France’s left wing candidate – Jean-Luc Melenchon, who opposed the anti-separatism bill – but in France even the left wing is often as Islamophobic as the right wing.

One thing is certain: the alleged “centrist” Macron was no solution for France’s anti-Muslim problems.

********************************************************

List of articles covering the 2022 French elections.

Please check out my new book France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values, which is being published for free in chapter-by-chapter format.

Catastrophe since 2017: How to cover France’s presidential election? – November 22, 2021

Le Monde’s circus invite: ‘France is a leftist country which votes right’ – January 27, 2022

Le Pen now wants in the euro & no Frexit – should the Left want her in? – February 2, 2022

France’s conservatives cry out for National Socialism – Zemmour’s response? – February 10, 2022

Islamophobia didn’t interest French voters – war hysteria will? – March 14, 2022

France apathetic about politics? Has corona gutted voter energy, or Macron? – March 31, 2022

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

NATO Fails to Ship Evacuation of their ‘Military Advisors”‘ …Russians ‘Send them to Hell’

 April 9, 2022

By  VT Editors

First this letter from VT Damascus to Macron on his personnel serving with Azov in Mariupol:

Open letter to the French President Emmanuel Macron and the French citizens

Mr. President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, you have made several phone calls to the Russian President Vladimir Putin in the last few days. I don’t know what you talked about, but since NATO officers, possibly French, are in the Mariupol combat zone, French citizens can ask the French president what French officers are doing in Mariupol, where Ukrainian Nazism is being fought. Didn’t General De Gaulle fight against German, Hitlerian Nazism, when France was occupied by Nazi troops? Wasn’t there the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France, where 190 men, 247 women and 205 children were killed by the SS Nazi troops?

And what is your French army doing in Mariupol, Volnovakha, and other cities of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and now they are trying to hide, to escape from Mariupol? Citizens of Great France, you will soon elect the President of France. French voters, ask yourselves if France needs a president like Emmanuel Macron, who sent citizens of France to help and eventually fight in Ukraine side by side with Ukrainian Nazis? The blood of hundreds of civilians in Odessa, Kharkov, Mariupol, Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities and villages of the former Ukrainian Socialist Republic is on the hands of these Ukrainian Nazis.

I also address to the French presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Éric Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse, Nathalie Arthaud, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Yannick Jadot, Anne Hidalgo, Jean Lassalle, Fabien Roussel, Philippe Poutou, to the French voters, does your army need to kill peaceful civilians, CHILDREN? The parents of the French officers, their wives, their children, ask President Emmanuel Macron, why he sent these officers to die in Mariupol? For what, for whose interests are your husbands and children going to die in Mariupol in the Azovstal factory?

 Mr. President of France, you have met with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, and you will probably meet again and there is no need to threaten Russia with sanctions or war, our Russian people know what war is in our country. The genocidal war against the people of Donbass has been going on for eight years. And this war started by criminals, the Ukrainian Nazis.

Mehti Logunov, 88 years old, political prisoner of Nazi Ukraine*.

* I was arrested by the Ukrainian Gestapo, the security service of Ukraine. I, an old man, was subjected to sophisticated harassment and torture for 12,312 days and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, based on false accusations.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation spoke about another unsuccessful attempt for the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to save the commanders of the Ukrainian Nazis and foreign mercenaries.

The criminal Kyiv regime made another attempt to evacuate the leaders of the Ukrainian Nazis from Mariupol, this time by sea. This was told to journalists by the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov.

According to him, late yesterday evening, the Ukrainian dry cargo vessel “Apache” under the Maltese flag followed in a caravan of ships from the Taganrog Bay to the Kerch Strait, after which, 30 km southeast of Mariupol, it abruptly changed its course and tried to break through to the blocked port of “Mariupol”, ignoring demands of Russian border ships to get in touch.

The dry cargo ship continued to move even after warning fire from the Russian fleet, so to block the ship it was necessary to open fire to kill.

“From 22.53 to 23.30, the ship of the Black Sea Fleet and border patrol ships opened artillery fire on the Apache dry cargo ship. As a result of a direct hit on the ship, a fire broke out in the stern of the ship,” Konashenkov said.

Only after that did the dry-cargo crew get in touch and confirm their readiness to fulfill all the requirements of the Russian sailors.

“After the inspection, the Ukrainian dry cargo ship Apache with the crew is being escorted to the port of Yeysk,” the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry added.

* Extremist organization banned in Russia

VT Editors

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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