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.

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

April 27, 2022

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

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 25 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Ahmad Karakira 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Robust” relationship with “Israel”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic collaboration

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

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

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

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

Scientific & technical cooperation

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

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

Secret military agreements

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

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

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

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

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

Longest-serving political prisoner in Europe

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

Georges Abdallah at the heart of the French presidential elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why hasn’t he been released yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melenchon supports Georges Abdallah

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

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

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

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

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

How does Abdallah spend his time in detention?

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

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

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

His latest views

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

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

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

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

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

April 23, 2022

Source

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

by Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is where the West remains today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can go on and on pointing out these differences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<—>

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

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Chapter List of the new content

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

April 22 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Karim Sharara 

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

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

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

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

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

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

France’s colonial empire

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

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

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

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

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

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

Napoleon’s fascination with Egypt

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

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

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

Algeria’s story begins

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

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

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

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

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

The occupation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

April 21, 2022

Source

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.

France’s conservatives cry out for National Socialism – Zemmour’s response?

February 10, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri

The two big differences between 2017 and 2022 are that back then France had a presidential candidate who should have been called a National Socialist, and that in 2022 the country has somehow moved even further to the right.

History will show that back in 2017 the Great Financial Crisis – just the latest failure of Western liberalism – had inflamed the masses too much for every single politician to ignore: Marine Le Pen thus dropped the Reaganism of her father and made it to the second round.

She defended economic ideas similar to the Germanic National Socialists of the 1930s, who pillaged the Marxists of their “anti-international finance” analysis only to dangle economic equality for those of a certain religion and ethnicity. The latter is why they weren’t socialists, of course, but merely people who somewhat understood the economics buttressing Western Liberal Democracy.

Five years after 2017, Eric Zemmour draws widespread praise from people who believe they are entirely well-meaning by saying that he is, “here to save the French people and France…not here to save the world.” It’s a telling, semi-messianic remark because it is truly straight out of Adolf Hitler’s platform in the 1930s.

Ah, old Adolf – we can’t bring him up in the West, can we?

Many have heard of Godwin’s Law, or the rule of Nazi analogies: an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches. However, an important corollary is that whenever someone compares someone or something to Nazism – that person has lost the argument and/or the argument is summarily over.

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

How difficult it will be, then, to describe a French election where the four top candidates are all on the far-right – either economically, politically, culturally or all three!

I will come out and say it: Today’s left does not want to talk about the socialism in Germanic National Socialism, even though there was some.

Namely: Unlike seemingly all Western politicians today, Hitler actually read Marx and incorporated something of class analysis into Germanic Nazism. He clearly was familiar with the perfectly accurate Marxist analysis of European historico-economics up until the late 19th century: landed wealth was joined by commercial/trading wealth was joined by industrial/financial/stock-jobbing wealth, and then they all stopped squabbling and peacefully joined hands to oppress the 99%. Western Liberal Democracy remains – eternally – at this point.

German National Socialism opposed – in their campaign promises, at least – the domination of international high finance and the liberalism (whether “neo-”, “ultra-” or sans-préfixe it’s all the same: free markets, unregulated capitalism, rights for those who can afford it) which forever is ultimately cover for a bankocracy. In political power structures and culturally Germanic National Socialism totally rejected the grassroots empowerment and multiculturalism of Socialist Democracy.

But the right does also not come out and say it, either: Today’s right doesn’t want to talk about the economic socialism in German Nazism – because they oppose talking about socialism with anything but death threats – whereas they are entirely thrilled to use their same racist scapegoating and autocracy.

Hitler would have called Zemmour far-right, and that’s saying something

Returning to Zemmour’s jingoist messianic message: He promises to save only those within his own borders and only those of a certain color/religion/DNA, and thus he totally rejects the internationalism embodied by socialism, just as Hitler did. Nobody was less internationalist than old Adolf – his nation was to be a purely Teutonic one. This message still resounds across Europe 90 years later – Zemmour is hardly unique – in what can easily be termed “National Neoliberalism”.

Zemmour doesn’t just go against the tide of history, he is anti-history – in the sense that his own particular interpretation of French history hopes to be predominant, and not interpretations which rely on accuracy, rationality, scientific historical analysis, etc. Thus, Zemmour also incarnates the autocratic vision of a dictator like Hitler on how a political power structure should operate – per his whims. France is whatever Zemmour says it is. If he says France means no kebab shops or people named “Ramin”, then so be it.

Frankly, I think Zemmour is a total waste of my time, and it’s easy to explain why:

Zemmour is so pathetically predictable precisely because – as this analysis of Zemmour notes, by the must-read political polymath (and longtime inhabitant of France) Pepe Escobar – he’s such a sycophant; so obviously fuelled by winning the approval of the elite. He is not like Donald Trump, who was born with the brazen independence of the super rich – Trump never needed a patron – and who was much more a genuine political outsider. LOL, you work at Le Figaro for 25 years and you’re not tenderly ensconced in the political mainstream? Tu parles…. With Trump a voter had at least some grounds to hope that: Here is someone asking for my vote who might actually have the courage to be a renegade against the 1% – a hope that was dashed on the unimpressionable rock which is apparently Trump’s brain. Not only will Zemmour never be 1/10th the loose cannon Trump was, Zemmour does’t even have the potential to do so. Few outside France realise that Zemmour is not even intellectually courageous enough to actually be original – he’s the racist, social-climbing, poor man’s Alain Soral, who had a Yellow Vest on seemingly immediately.

Zemmour’s long-delayed economic program is totally Reaganite/neoliberal – this was totally predictable precisely because he’s such a toady to the elite. Hitler truly would have called Zemmour right-wing, economically.

Therefore, I assume Zemmour’s totally pro-insider ideology makes him so unelectable that I won’t have to say much more on him, unless I have to in-between the first and second round, and thus Macron’s re-election. I should note that I treated Emmanuel Macron with very similar disdain in my journalism in 2017 – both are total suck-ups to the elite, of course.

Zemmour offers the same old reactionary faux-promise: reversion to a bygone (autocratic, insular) era. He has kept all the rabid anti-internationalism and racism which helped sweep Hitler to power, and which seems totally embedded in Western society after nearly a century, and none of the economic promises of Germanic National Socialism, unlike Le Pen in 2017.

Marine Le Pen, whom I would totally disavow in a one-round vote, exactly as I explained in 2017, is far worse than she was in 2017, as my previous column just showed. 2017 had much more on the table – namely her anti-liberalism economic policies of leaving the euro, a vote on Frexit six months after her election and repudiating banker-induced debt.

Xenophobia in the headlines means liberalism’s economic failures aren’t

What liberalism learned from Germanic National Socialism is that xenophobia and security (greatly augmented by the total insecurity provoked by corona’s alleged once-in-a-millennium threat) are spectacles just big enough to dominate the headlines, and thus to ignore neoliberalism’s failures, and thus to get elected more liberalist, 1%-er proxies.

(To put it in Zemmour’s terms: France’s economic problem is Muslim welfare, not banker welfare. A pathetic intellectual analysis.)

Thus I can report that there is no economic program being bandied about during the French election campaign, despite the screams of the inflation-gutted French masses. Have you even noticed that we’re just two months from the vote? They’re calling it a”Teflon campaign”, where faux-issues and faux-candidates like Zemmour aren’t sticking, thus producing a 10% drop in domestic interest in the upcoming vote. Like I wrote – it’s nothing as compelling as 2017, to say nothing of 2012’s hope that Hollande would end austerity (Germanic National Neoliberalism, of course).

It is precisely by ignoring history – by refusing to acknowledge Napoleon Bonaparte’s revolutionary contributions, or by calling them the “Revolutions of 1848” when they produced nothing but political counter-revolutions everywhere but France, or by ignoring French liberalism’s collusion with Bismarck to lay siege to Paris in 1871, or by claiming that World War I started merely by some sort of unforeseen accident, or by refusing to allow any political discussion of Germanic National Socialism, etc. – that Western Liberal Democracy is able to persist despite the regular depressions, inequalities and the suicidal disgust with politics it provokes.

And yet despite Zemmour’s ascent to 4th place the Yellow Vests proved that there are indeed pre-revolutionary conditions in France – my book on them will soon start to be published, chapter by chapter, because that is so obviously true.

But with the viability of the candidacy of Zemmour – who truly must be considered to be to the right of Germanic National Socialists and Adolf Hitler – it does’t take a historian like Trotsky to note that revolutionary changes never came via a Western Liberal Democratic ballot.

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

List of articles covering the 2022 French elections

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

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 Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The Reconquest: In 2022 elections, an Algerian Islamophobe wants to purge France from ‘the Muslim peril’

December 09 2021

French Islamophobe and presidential candidate Eric Zemmour is electrifying the far-right with his racist polemics. Himself a Berber Jew from Algeria, Zemmour means “noisy horn” in Arabic. Photo Credit: The Cradle

An Algerian Jewish ‘demonizer’ of Arabs and Islam is the new political protagonist electrifying France’s 2022 presidential elections

By Pepe Escobar

In sharp contrast with the morose political environment across Europe, the French presidential election – against all odds – is now set to become the most enthralling polls to watch in 2022.

Just when everyone from Normandy to the Cote d’Azur seemed all but resigned to suffer a second bout of Macronism, polemicist-turned-politician Eric Zemmour came up with a lurid plot twist.

It took him less than a week. On Monday, 29 November, Zemmour officially announced he would run in the elections. He played full De Gaulle, reading his own speech to the sound of Beethoven, and in front of an old-school microphone surrounded by books.

Then Zemmour announced the name of his new political party: ‘Reconquete’ – named after the seven century-long Christian battle to expel the Moors from Iberia, finally achieved in 1492.

For Zemmour and his eager acolytes, it’s all about reconquering France once again from the Muslim enemy.

Then, on Sunday, 5 December, he held his first rally as a candidate in front of over 10,000 people. No current French politician is able to draw such a crowd.

The next day’s headlines were all about uninvited protestors, one of whom lunged at Zemmour and held him in a headlock on his way to the podium, and scuffles between his supporters. But in Zemmour’s book, this was a triumph: stepping beyond his trademark, well-known incendiary proposals, he managed to transition from pundit to presidential hopeful overnight.

Now all bets are off. The Zemmour saga, of course, offers parallels with the rise of Trump in 2016, who also shifted from media to politics. It is rabidly anti-immigration, and pits fervent nationalism against what is described by conservatives across the west as ‘Islamo-leftism’.

That talk show pulpit

Even in France, most people don’t know that the Zemmour presidential run started at a somewhat secret dinner in Paris last June.

The crème de la crème of the French establishment were there, including Count Henri de Castries, 66, a former luminary of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), the alma mater of virtually everyone that counts in Parisian circles of power.

De Castries is a former CEO of insurance giant AXA, at the board of directors of Nestlé; president of the Bilderberg Club; and head of the corporate-financed think tank Institut Montaigne – which virtually ‘invented’ a certain Emmanuel Macron in 2017 after Francois Fillon, favorite to win the nomination for the Right, was destroyed by a leak over his wife’s dodgy employment duties.

If Fillon had won the presidential election in 2017, de Castries would have been Defense Minister.

At the dinner, Zemmour unleashed two political grenades:

The first: “We must prohibit non-French first names.”

The second:  “The central issue before us, for the next presidential election and the next 30 years, is Muslim immigration.”

It may have taken six months, but since last summer Zemmour’s irresistible ascension carried an aura of inevitability, even drawing attention from an anxious Elysée Palace, where functionaries duly noted that, on an ideological and cultural level, Zemmour was dictating the whole agenda of the French Right.

Zemmour’s regular pulpit at CNews – the French answer to Fox News – was reaching at least one million viewers every night. He had become the darling of mega-magnate Vincent Bolloré, who owns a Murdoch-style media empire. Bolloré’s Vivendi conglomerate owns Canal+ group, which includes Cnews; 27 percent of Lagardere, which owns Europe 1, Paris Match and Le Journal du Dimanche; and Hachette Livre, which owns publishing houses, Grasset and Fayard.

Bolloré, who is not a snotty Parisian but a ‘provincial’ from Britanny, was fascinated from the start by Zemmour’s social ascension – of the kind only found in sports or music. A similar journey in the intellectual sphere is virtually non-existent in hyper-coded France.

The Arabophobe

Zemmour comes from a Jewish Algerian family of modest means which settled in St Denis, a ‘hot’ Paris suburb. He built his persona – and his impact on the Paris beau monde – with Cartesian rationalism. Underneath it all lies an unmistakable class complex: he craves approbation from intelligentsia notables.

Zemmour is a complex character, but he is also usually reduced to his monothematic obsession: The ‘Muslim Peril.’ At the same time, he favors assimilation, and has nothing against Muslims who become full republicans.

Zemmour took some time to find his political niche. Les Republicans party – of former President Nicolas Sarkozy – is too soft and amorphous. Far-right superstar Marine Le Pen always collects 20 percent of votes in the first presidential round just to fail breaking the glass ceiling in the second (that’s one of the worst kept secrets in France; because of her fascist father, and because she’s not part of the elite).

Now, the financial elite has identified a golden path straight out of Lampedusa’s The Leopard (“everything must change so everything remains the same”). Macron remains their boy. Zemmour is being used – by ‘invisible’ banking donors – to outflank Marine Le Pen from the Right and allow Macron an easy re-election.

And even if Zemmour does not win in 2022, what matters is that Marine Le Pen will definitely be buried and the path will be open for a unified conservative movement closer to its cherished ‘values,’ led of course by Zemmour.

Zemmour, however, faces a very serious problem: how to enlarge his electorate beyond Trumpian angry white males. Trump was a billionaire and a communication beast, so that was easier. Zemmour is an awkward class defector who blossomed in the very small, incestuous Parisian media-literary milieu.

Inside the Zemmour family, identity was always a crucial theme of debate. General De Gaulle was the supreme entity – including his admiration of Jews, “sure of themselves and dominating.” Zemmour’s father, Roger, used to speak Arabic and play cards in the bars of the Goutte D’Or neighborhood.

Zemmour, a Berber family name, means ‘noisy horn’ in Arabic, while its derivative, Ezmour, is the name of the male olive tree in the Berber (Amazigh) language, mainly in Algeria. Zemmour always refers to himself as a Berber Jew. He refuses to be called an Arab, emphasizing that “the Berbers were colonized, massacred and persecuted by the Arabs, Islamized by force.”

And here we approach the heart of the enigma: Zemmour is essentially an Arabophobe, and very specifically against Arabs from the Maghreb. He never refers to Persian Gulf Arabs, and especially Wahhabis and Salafi-jihadis – denoting scarce knowledge of historical Islam and its perversions by western empires. He seems to be illiterate on Shia Islam in the arc of resistance, the Islam of Sufism in Central Asia, and the soft, tropical Islam of Indonesia.

In France, it’s taboo to openly discriminate against Arabs. That’s why Zemmour promoted ‘Islam’ as his portmanteau term to essentially demonize Arabs from the Maghreb.

A hero in a Balzac remix

To understand Zemmour, one must read Balzac. To his credit, Zemmour is a dying breed: a product of literary culture. He grew up buried in Alexandre Dumas and Balzac – the latter’s Lost Illusions is his ultimate reference.

Since he was 11, Zemmour pictured himself as Lucien de Rubempré, the hero of Lost Illusions: that’s when he decided he would become a journalist and author. The Balzacian masterpiece concentrates all his passions: history, journalism and literature. Rubempré is a poet who becomes a journalist and dreams of writing historical novels.

Of all of Balzac’s memorable heroes, Zemmour chose a seducer that overcompensates his modest, provincial origins by a tremendous panache. His critics, though sharply identify him with another Balzac character, Rastignac, the ultra-ambitious one who is obsessed with becoming wealthy and a government minister. That’s not exactly correct: Zemmour would rather linger in a perpetual blaze of glory instead of becoming just a cog in the bourgeois machine.

Seven years ago, way before Trump, there were already rumblings of a Generation Zemmour popping up in France: those who were feeling the heat when faced with the combined blitzkrieg of the European Union, immigration, and globalization.

This is the bulk of Zemmour’s electorate: bourgeois conservatives, victims of globalization, and the declassified popular classes, those who really lost with the globalist open borders. They offered Zemmour the chance to become the spokesperson of the shattered Right.

Not even Marine Le Pen could play that role, because she’s considered too “populist” by the bourgeois, and on top of that, she invested too heavily in her de-demonization process to be accepted by the establishment.

As for Sarkozy, he was too ‘bling bling’ for the families of old France. Zemmour, with his ‘son of the periphery swagger’ and the classic cultural baggage of a very good student, was clever enough to identify the opening.

Dynamiting himself?

Zemmour may not be a Virgin Mary groupie. But when he published his book French Destiny, in 2018, he had to admit, in front of a fervent Catholic audience, that “he is convinced that one cannot be French without being deeply impregnated by Catholicism, its cult of images, the pomp, the order installed by the Church, this subtle mélange of Jewish morals, Greek reason and Roman law, but also the humility of servants.”

This is as close as one gets to the Zemmour creed.

What makes the Zemmour story eyebrow-raising across all the lands of Islam – from Northern Africa to West, Central and South Asia – is that he defines the “enemy not as political Islam, Islamism, jihadism or Islamic radicalism: the enemy is Islam” (my italics).

He charges, without proof, that ‘hatred of France’ is consubstantial to this religion. Islam is incompatible with secularism, democracy, a secular Republic. Islam is incompatible with France.”

That’s exactly what he repeated this past Sunday during his first speech as a presidential candidate: a clash of civilizations redux.

His catalogue of propositions includes no Muslim first names to be adopted in France; “social measures of national solidarity” only for the French; the expulsion of all foreigners who have committed crimes (at least 15,000, as it stands); to close French borders if necessary; and to stop the migration inflow – as many as 400,000 a year, including legal asylum seekers. He explicitly wants students from Africa and the Maghreb to have no access to student grants.

Zemmour wants to limit legal immigration to a minimum. He maintains that Islam is a “civilization very far apart from ours.” He mercilessly blasts Macron, accused of wanting to “dissolve France into Europe and Africa.” Macron explains that a woman may also be a father, but Zemmour says: “I don’t agree. I want children to have a father and a mother.”

That’s where Zemmour’s Islamophobia morphs with his critique of ‘Islamo-Leftism’ and the woke-ism nebulae encompassing race theory, gender studies, post-colonialism, intersectionality, identity politics and cancel culture. That’s the privileged terrain where he could get further traction with the France of traditional values.

CNews have extolled Zemmour as The Dynamiter. Yet he runs the risk of dynamiting himself, self-cornered in an Islamophobia trap of his own making as he aims to re-found the French radical right and ‘reconquer’ the Republic.

It may be too early, but he did not get the electoral bump he expected after entering the ring. As it stands, he’s out of the second round, neck to neck with the perennial Marine Le Pen and largely overtaken by another woman, Valerie Pecresse, a Sarkozy disciple with a dominatrix streak who’s selling the union of the ‘respectable’ Right and her capability of getting rid of Macron for good.

Yet never underestimate the immensely ambitious, self-described Berber Jew who aims to ‘reconquer’ a Republic fighting an Islamophobic jihad.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Catastrophe since 2017: How to cover France’s presidential election?

November 22, 2021

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

It’s a question which appears almost too basic a starting point, but not when we recall what a catastrophe the heart of Western Europe has been since 2017:

What is to be done about France?

Emmanuel Macron: Marketed as Prince Charming but who quickly became Evil King Manu I of the neoliberal empire of the European Union.

The Yellow Vests: It’s as if France has spectacularly grown a fifth limb, no? Yet there it is – muscled and grasping. By now the followers of France should know what it is and what it wants, but what we can’t say for certain is what it can do to a presidential election because this is its very first.

Eric Zemmour: And you thought Marine Le Pen was repugnant? If the 1% can fabricate a Macron out of nothing and in mere weeks, of course they can create a Zemmour to divert attention/split the right-wing vote/divert attention again.

Marine Le Pen: Joan of Arc was not yet another ineffectual leader (hereditary, even) of a discredited system – Marine has been totally unmasked by the Yellow Vests. After all the authoritarian beat-downs, mosque closures and states of emergency since 2017 – do you still believe Macron was the better choice?

Traditional political parties: Routed. They’re down to their last party-machine fiefdoms, such as the mayorship of Paris.

France’s left: Routed. Always a paper tiger – now barely there on paper.

Unions: Routed by the Yellow Vests. Only the media cares what they have to say anymore, and perhaps also the tiny percent of France (8%) which is still unionised.

Mainstream media: Routed by the Yellow Vests. If in Western liberal democracies politicians are the new aristocracy then media are the new clerical class. The miracle of transubstantiation which they insist on, and which few outside of their class actually believe, is that the universal value of Western relativism means that impiety can be the same thing as piety.

Catholic Church: France, long-known as the “daughter of the Roman Catholic Church”, has just been embroiled (seemingly rather tardily) in a massive pedophile cover-up scandal.

Notre Dame Cathedral: Europe’s most famous house of worship is still closed and will be until 2024. Recall that the fire began just an hour before Macron was due to give an exceptionally rare speech – to finally discuss the then 5-month long Yellow Vest crisis.

France’s polling agencies are so discredited that the most popular newspaper, Ouest-France, has already refused to run any polls ahead of the election. They are perceived as being tremendously biased in large part because they are now staffed at the top by the mainstream politicians who recently lost their public posts.

The French were as appalled by their nation’s part in Afghanistan as anyone else in the Western colonial coalition.

The war in Mali – started by Francois Hollande, and before the initial consent of the United Nations – has been declared an abject failure and withdrawal has begun.

France has been in a state of emergency for most of Macron’s tenure.

The longest labor movement in French history – the general strike of late 2019/early 2020 – failed, and for too many reasons to list here.

In short, it’s a total catastrophe.

I don’t mean to be negative, nihilistic or to sow despair, but who can look back at France since 2017 and see otherwise?

Did you notice that I haven’t even mentioned the coronavirus? Now do you see how bad it is?

Where is the political renewal which Macronism promised? Running a corruption-free administration – following the gaudy Sarkozy and the treacherous Hollande administrations – was truly a top-three plank of Macron’s.

The average person doesn’t fully grasp the complex but nation-appalling Benalla affair or remember Lobstergate, but they can easily imagine the effect of this: Macron set the record for most forced resignations by disgraced cabinet ministers after just two years in office. If corona hadn’t come along to totally disrupt the normal functioning of political life, and of its observation by journalists and citizens, how much worse would this record have gotten?

“The Yellow Vests will triumph” was spray-painted on the Arc de Triomphe, stunning the entire world. It was undoubtedly the defining image of France during the Macron era – a massive communications victory which redefined the image of France in the world, and of neoliberalism, and of Macron. Maybe they will yet?

Corona obviously prevented the Yellow Vests from marching, but their “Season 2” premiered last month. No one can claim that the Yellow Vests do not represent a massive renewal – of some sort – in French politics and still remain credible. To do so is to show either total ignorance or willing complicity.

France is simultaneously synonymous with “liberty” and yet had the most corona restrictions in the West – without a corona passport you can’t do anything indoors here except basic shopping (you can’t even have coffee on a cafe’s outdoor terrace). Corona preserved in amber so many (too many) problems of French life, but soon the intensity of the presidential election will melt these things away and reveal what was encased inside.

While the national corona passport has been extended until after the elections (will it be used to bar people from voting facilities?) the April presidential and June legislative elections will essentially be the West’s first post-corona election. Yes, some unhappy souls will wear masks for the rest of their life, but I think we can predict that this winter’s inevitable surge in illnesses will be the vaccine-rich West’s last chance to ardently wave the bloody flag of corona.

The Yellow Vests are right – it’s the system of Western liberal democracy, stupid: it preserves and perpetuates inequality and anti-democracy. And yet, how should they vote?

Voting out the two mainstream parties and giving Macron’s new party control over the executive and legislative branches has undoubtedly resulted in the most brutal civil political conditions since 1968.

Is that a platform worthy of re-election?

Is it remotely credible to encourage a return of the mainstream parties?

Macron, Zemmour, Le Pen – these are all people on the far-right (either economically, politically, culturally or all three). I wrote this in 2017 but was shouted down by journalist colleagues who insisted that Macron was a “centrist”. Nobody would dare claim that now, and this long-resisted knowledge cost many Yellow Vests an eye, a hand, their rights, their freedom, etc. Should we just acquiesce to the fact that France’s political power lays in the capitalist-imperialist right, and has since about 1794?

In the 2019 elections to European Parliament the Animal Rights Party received – incredibly – more than double the score of all the Yellow Vest lists combined. (However, they have had more time to organise since then.)

I don’t know how to cover France’s election but I will have to figure it out. The initial math does not look good.


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 Socialisms 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.

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

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

October 04, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naive Millennials: it’s the man (Trump) & not ‘The Man’ (the US system)

Source

Naive Millennials: it’s the man (Trump) & not ‘The Man’ (the US system)

July 18, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

How many years, or decades, does it take to unlearn national propaganda? In any country it’s not easy because it starts in the cradle, or at least at preschool. Despite the false claims of moral relativists, not all national worldviews are equal – some propaganda is good and furthers modern ideas, while some are as repugnant as yesterday’s bathwater.

Firstly: who is “The Man”? “The Man” was a term which was so ubiquitous in the US until the 1980s that I find it hard to believe that anyone reading this doesn’t know what I’m talking about – such a person would have to be quite young and rather unusually culturally illiterate.

So I turn to a youth-oriented website – UrbanDictionary.com, where one can find the meaning of any slang word: 1. n. (derogatory, semi-proper) Term used to describe any class of people who wield power and are seen as oppressive. See also whitey, big brother, corporate America, the establishment (Please note, these synonyms are used as examples of groups who have been called “The Man,” and should not be construed as a racist attack).

It is definitely not a racist term but entirely a class term: 1970s Blaxploitation movies were filled with Black-to-Black admonishments not to join “The Man” in his nefarious schemes of exploitation against all colors (excepting green). In many ways it was the equivalent of today’s “1%” – you were either for against “The Man” just like today you are either against the “1%” or aspire to join them.

It’s not like The Man was ever routed, but what ever happened to “The Man”…? Algeria has “le pouvoir” (the power) and Turkey has derin devlet (deep state) but in America “The Man” has lost its power, which only proves how much stronger “The Man” is today in the US than He was 40 years ago.

Hey – I’m still using it and am against “The Man”. Don’t let Him get you down.

Unfortunately the total uniqueness of the Trump phenomenon in American history has allowed the Mainstream Media to focus entirely on the man (Trump) instead of “The Man” even though any intelligent reading of recent history leaves no doubt: Trump is in office because half the country was fed up with “The Man”, i.e. the US establishment.

This explains why so few young voters in 2016 supported Trump – they simply could not see that he was the “protest vote” against a corrupt and aristocrat-protecting system. The reason for that is because their youth necessarily makes them inexperienced regarding “The Man”, and also because they are so very, very indoctrinated: they believe in the US system because that is what has been forced down their throat since birth; what has been reinforced by a global media dominated by the US, which never broadcasts its sins, shames and failures; and what has been reinforced by a post 9/11 jingoism unseen since WWII.

The youth class has to overcome all of those obstacles to see Trump’s “virtues”… and then they also have every right to dismiss Trump anyway because he has been such a letdown (mainly because he really has no coherent political ideology at all).

But, despite his failures, how hard is it for a 20-year old to realise that Trump is not at all “The Man”? Trump pulled out of NAFTA, still talks about leaving NATO, wanted detente with Putin-led Russia – these anti-free trade and anti-war stances are exactly why “The Man” has done everything to demolish Trump and to smother support for such “anti-The Man” stances. Trump may be the US president, but bringing these totally unprecedented anti-mainstream political stances into the US mainstream make him not really “The Man”, and I’m sure the older US class will agree with me.

And yet many young people, who are just a few years from the correct test answer being “the Protestant work ethic”, “Manifest Destiny”, “to end the war with Japan”, etc., foolishly believe that the Western liberal democratic system is good, just, egalitarian and functioning at a high level. They fear that Trump is threatening all this shining goodness whereas half the country voted Trump expressly to stick it to “The Man” for His failures, lies and unpatriotic betrayals.

Compare the US youth class with their French peers: in 2017 20% of the country voted for a candidate (Jean-Luc Melenchon) whose campaign rested upon abolishing the 5th Republic – a good chunk of France clearly realises that Western liberal democracy (whose socio-intellectual-economic progress remains permanently frozen in 1916) is totally outdated and rigged in favour of the aristocratic/privileged class. If just 1.72% more of French voters had not been so indoctrinated against the idea of a new, modern 6th Republic then Melenchon would have faced Emmanuel Macron in the 2nd round instead of and France might not be the cynical, resentful, Yellow Vest mess it is today.

So France may have fallen short, but do 20% of US voters un-believe enough in the 18th-century US system to vote for a 2nd US Republic? Not hardly…. such a program would likely lead to jail for its proponents, certainly government surveillance and intimidation, and widespread social ostracisation. “The Man” is still stronger than omnipresent, if not ever-more omnipotent, in the US, and this certainly pre-dates Trump.

Of course, to the US MSM all the problems in the US today are attributable to Trump – a naive US youth class often swallows that stinking tripe whole.

“The Man” has turned the threat into the scapegoat. You have to admit: He is good at what he does….

Biden is ‘Da Man” to save us all from ‘The Man’ (i.e. Trump)?

At some point in the 1980s being called “The Man” become “(you) Da Man”, and being “Da Man” meant you were exceptional and superlative.

But how on earth can “Corporate” Joe Biden ever be “Da Man”? At best he is – essentially by his own admission – a placeholder, and at worst he is a senile train wreck which will force the Democratic Party to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

Corporate Joe Biden is without a doubt “The Man” infinitely more than Trump is. Trump is a lowlife slum lord with cubic zirconia plating and a trophy wife, whereas Biden has the scope and reach to gut the resources of Third World nations populated by scores of millions of people just to give his son a phony job.

A vote for Biden is a vote for the establishment, and that is so obvious that anyone who disagrees can only disagree by changing the subject away from the problems caused by “the establishment” and towards the problem of Trump the individual.

Here’s a rare barometer: one of the Secret Service agents who took a bullet for Ronald Reagan in 1981 just retired, and it got me wondering – who on earth would take a bullet to save Joe Biden? Absolutely nobody outside of the Secret Service – any common citizen would hesitate, due to Biden’s “The Man”-ness, and that’s all the time a bullet needs. Contrarily, some Americans would – I imagine – actually take a bullet for Trump, strange as that may seem to many. I know a ton of people will take a bullet for Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and Rouhani, and we can’t just chalk that up to religion – China’s Xi and Cuba’s Diaz-Canel are two guys who worked their way up the civil service ranks via their ability and character, gaining more and more faithful comrades along the way, and for sure the only people who think they are in league with “The Man” live in Hong Kong or Miami. The 25-year China-Iran partnership is not new, but it finally got taken seriously last week – may I please suggest reading my books on China and Iran to discover the basis of this match, and for discussion of the 25-year plan?

And yet the youth class bats their big eyes at Biden, pleads about the need to get out the vote, and dutifully repeats that Biden is the second Messiah to save us all from the anti-Christ… no way that they actually believe it, but they say it. In my opinion the majority of the US youth class views the establishment as a problem only in how they throw up road blocks against Blacks, non-heterosexuals and other minorities even though “The Man” is not all White. Didn’t Obama prove that emphatically? (With that crowd it’s, “To hell with poor Whites”, I guess. “How dare they be just White in 2020?!” A very progressive and egalitarian crowd, indeed….)

Bernie Sanders is, despite everyone’s wishes to the contrary, also “The Man” because he repeatedly does whatever the Democratic Party establishment wants no matter how bad it is for the average person. Bernie is no socialist – it can’t be said enough because he keeps lying about it – but what a very, very different July 2020 it would be if the US had him to look forward to in November instead of Biden? “The Man” won yet again there….

Undoubtedly Hillary Clinton was more “The Man” than either Biden or Obama, proving that “The Man” is not based around either race or gender but, again, class. (What do you want: “The Person”? That sounds totally unhip and would never catch on as slang – “The Person” would be totally ineffective class warfare propaganda.) Politics without “class” – “The Man” certainly did pull a fast one in the West there… thank God the whole world is not “the West”, even though many Westerners assume that it is.

The obfuscation of the class struggle makes “The Man” today a KKK member even though it’s not 1916 anymore, even though the KKK is powerless, and even though the KKK is not the group which has caused the government/bankocracy to abandon Black neighborhoods via disinvestment. It’s absurd beyond belief, outdated, economically-neutered, not even close to the biggest problem facing all citizens in July 2020, and also on the brink of failure: it depends on if Biden’s dementia hasn’t grown during the Great Lockdown’s isolation, as it has for so many US seniors, sadly. To get that answer we’ll have to wait until the debates – it’s a pretty bad system when the assumed future president can be hidden away for so long….

The failure to properly locate “The Man” isn’t confined to the youth class of the US, of course – but they are the only age group which has a decent excuse (inexperience and poor guides) for such a mistake. I’m humbly hoping to show them an alternative logic before they turn into the Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers of the older age groups. Those people are long gone, sadly – many of them are “The Man” and they don’t even know it.

Pull the sheet off Biden and you’ll find an establishment creation down to the whiteness of his human bones. He’s “The Man” all right – will America’s youth get hip by November?

Of course, given Trump’s failure to deliver – where is hip?

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

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

– March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? –

March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30,

2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 2020

Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship – June 14, 2020

Trump’s only hope: buying re-election with populist jobless benefits – June, 16 2020

US national media is useless – so tell me the good local news sources? – July 4, 2020

Hamilton movie: central banker worship & proof the US has no left – July 8, 2020

News flash: Capitalism has no answer for 50 million jobless people – July 11, 2020

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 the books I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

The “gilets jaunes” movement as seen by the French-language Saker Blog

December 28, 2018

by Le Saker Francophone for The Saker Blog

Gambar terkait

The genesis of the yellow vests

Back to French presidential election in 2002, second round, Chirac won against Le Pen (father) 82% vs 18%, same scenario in 2017, second round, Macron won against Le Pen (daughter) 55% versus 34%

Just after the presidential election comes the choice for the legislative assembly. In 2002, after Chirac’s victory, his political party, UMP, won 356 seats (62%), while Le Pen’s (father) party (Front National) got nothing, not a single representative. In 2017, after Macron’s success, his totally new party, out of thin air, LREM, who did not even exist in previous elections, won 308 seats (53%) and Le Pen’s (daughter) party won 8 seats (1,3%).

So in the first round of 2002, with 20% of voters in the presidential election, Chirac’s party obtained 62% of the parliament, while Le Pen, with 17% of the voters was not represented.

The same outcome occurred in 2017. Macron with 24% of voters in the first round obtained 53% of the parliament, while Le Pen, with 21% had only 1.3% representatives for his party in parliament.

Basically, in France, one citizen in three has no political existence.

These people are now in the street with a massive support of the rest of the population.

Why this brand “yellow vest” ?

This vest is worn by working class people acting in a dangerous environment. The yellow color makes the person more visible, you can interpret this fact in a symbolic way, meaning politically visible.

Formerly, that sort of vest was used by servants in the upper class.

On december 3, the french media Le Figaro published an article entitled

“The great comeback of servants in french society”

The Yellow vest movement is a reaction against such an historical regression

Who are these people

Just have a look to that video report

The chronology of the “acts” and the political evolution of the movement

Two hundred years ago the yellow vests’ ancestors went as far as beheading their own king. Since then, France is well known for being a country of strikes and demonstrations, often unfruitful.

Hasil gambar untuk les gilets jaunes

But this one seems to be « the right one », the one that will bring effective changes. This movement seems to have reached a level of maturity lacking in previous events. Today, every age is affected, from students to retired people, every class, from unemployed to small businessmen. We can observe much more women participating too. The movement started, as usual, with financial claims but soon turned to political claims, demanding more political decision-making power to be given to the population through the use of extensive referendums. Another characteristic of this movement is that it is genuinely popular, not partisan, and refuses to have any political party officially join it, showing its full distrust in all the traditional political apparatus. It does not want leaders and just allows some “porte paroles” to speak in its name.

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Therefore, every Saturday to allow the employed to participate, the French wear their yellow vest – the one they are obliged to keep in their car and use in case of breakdowns – and gather in city streets, on highways tolls, on countryside “ronds-points” [crossroads]. They are not only gathering in Paris, as mainstream medias would like to make their readers believe, but in every major city or town, all around France and particularly in remote parts of the country where the government is closing schools, hospitals and public services because they are unable to make profit on it, as if they were built on tax payer’s money to make short term profit and not to educate and tend to the population in the long term.

The French are in the streets to show that they are fed up with the present system, whose dire results have been apparent since the 80’s. The short “Macron démission” slogan [Macron resign] has to be understood as a sign of a population fed up of politicians who make new promises every election that are not only broken, but instead the exact opposite is implemented, anti-social laws voted quietly at night, international accords signed without popular consultation, etc. One example among many others: during his election campaign Macron promised not to touch pensions but one of his first decisions has been to raise taxes for the retired. He must have thought that the elderly does not join protests, but actually…

Gambar terkait

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Although the French government, and the mainstream medias, have done all it takes to lessen the movement, we are now at « act 5 » of the movement, meaning the 5th Saturday of the Yellow vests’ protests and the momentum is still strong. The first Saturday the government did not expect such a wide protest, especially its spread throughout the country where the local media genuinely reported about it. The government mistakenly ignored the success of the protest thinking that it will, as the previous ones have, quickly fade. The 2nd act brought more people to the streets – numbers ran from 106.301 following the government’s so precise estimate to 500.000 – but then the police and the media were more prepared and made a show by blocking the protesters on the Champs Elysées, in front of the cameras, pushing them to the brink of violence, displaying on TV how the so called “pacific protesters” are in fact just a bunch of thugs acting for themselves and not for the sake of the nation. But, in their strategy, they forgot that smartphones can record the police mischiefs, making them viral on social media, as it showed that the violence came from the police and the government, and not from the protesters. After the 2nd act, 70% of the population continued to support the movement.

Gambar terkait

For the 3rd and 4th acts, the government decided to change its strategy by trying to forbid the protesters to reach the gathering points. Over a thousand individuals arrested, multiple subway lines closed, protesters wanting to reach Paris forbidden to access the train or blocked on the roads, the protesters in the capital city split into small groups by the police and forbidden to reach their destination. The media took this opportunity to talk about a lack of dynamic in the movement, a decline in protestors due to the population starting to get tired about it. Then Macron gave a speech that could be compared to one of a drama student imitating compassion. He promises to raise the minimum wage by 100 euros. “This is for you, poor guys, poor single mothers, and now go back home”. Two days later, a “lone wolf terrorist” launched a mass shooting in the middle of a popular Christmas market killing 2 people and injuring several others. Immediately the media titled: “The yellow vests give great opportunities to terrorists”. Too bad for the movement’s popularity.

Hasil gambar untuk les gilets jaunes dans les medias

For the 5th act, it seems like the things are steadying. The government is still doing its best to downsize the number of participants. Medias are doing their best to demonize it but still prefer to avoid speaking about the matter. Even the social media seem to have quiet down about the subject (algorithmic censorship?). There was less violence. The prime minister publicly recognized the governments mistakes and promised to hold a national discussion about the political aspects of the claims, especially the “Référendum d’Initiative Citoyenne” [Referendum hold on request of the citizens], the central political claim that could give power back to the citizens. Christmas and the New Year are nearing and we can expect a kind of pause, or at least a decline during that period, in order to spend the holidays among family. As soon as January starts, the government will have to show its seriousness about political talks. If it is not the case, you can expect a stronger yellow vests insurgency.

Conclusion

IMO, the movement has already resulted in several benefits:

  • The government has understood that it cannot take the population for a fool anymore, a bad habit that was really visible with Macron’s attitude and even more with the way he managed the first three weeks of the movement.
  • The French have regained confidence in their power as a population and will not hesitate to use it again
  • The RIC, the Référendum d’Initiative Citoyenne. That long promised but never voted system that could give back big shares of sovereignty to the population thanks to referendums that can dismiss unpopular government or ministers, cancel laws that are considered not good for the nation, or change details of the constitution.

The ball is now in the government’s court. Let’s see how it will react in January.

Le Saker Francophone

 

False Flag in Manchester?

By Peter Koenig

May 25, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Government assisted killing of their own citizens for political purposes has become a common pattern. The media are getting ever bolder in disguising such events as ‘Terror’, spreading fear. The public swallows these lies again and again.

British elections are planned for 8 June 2017.

At the end of a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, an enormous ‘controlled’ explosion killed at least 22 people and injured 59, as reported by British media. Many of them are children and adolescents, as most of the concert-goers were young people.

The singer is unharmed. The concert hall accommodates 21,000 people. After the blast, panic broke loose, resulting in a mass stampede. It is not clear whether people were also killed in the stampede.

Hours after the explosion, although BBC reported it was not evident what exactly happened, UK police and authorities talked immediately of an act of terror.

Early Tuesday morning, 23 May, British authorities said that the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the explosion. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, stated investigators believe the attack was carried out by a lone suicide bomber “carrying” a homemade device. He was killed by the blast.

The IS-Propaganda agency Amak apparently issued the claim of IS’s responsibility for the deadly blast. Did an independent authority check whether this is indeed true?

The attacker, is now named by US officials (why US officials?) as Salman Abedi, 22, a British citizen, born in the UK. He is told having detonated the improvised explosive device.

Another 23-year-old suspect was apprehended in the south of Manchester. But so far, the Chief Police Officer refused to talk to the media about suspects.

Prime Minister, Theresa May raised the threat warning to the highest level, from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’, saying other attacks may follow. This is the highest security level in the UK. She also urged police to investigate whether the attacker was alone or may have acted as a member of a wider terror group.

The attack is the worst in the UK since 56 people were killed in the 7 July London bombings in 2005.

Both, Theresa May and her election opponent, Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed their deep sorrow to the victims’ families. All campaign activities for the 8 June elections have been suspended.

Mr. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, proclaiming on what the raised threat level means for the city, said, “there will be additional police officers on London’s streets over the coming days – including additional armed officers. You will also see some military personnel around London – they are there to help our police service to keep us safe and guard key sites.”

The head of Counter Terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Mr. Mark Rowley, informed that “there has been an arrest and there are currently multiple searches and other activity taking place as I speak. However, at this stage it is still not possible to be certain if there was a wider group involved in the attack; 24 hours in we have a number of investigative leads that we are pursuing to manage the ongoing threat.”

All of this points to a rapid militarization of the UK, akin to France. What EU country will be next?

Why would the Islamic State kill children in England, when they know exactly that this provokes further NATO – EU – US military aggression against them? And why in England, just before elections? Do they not know that they incite election results unfavorable to them, unfavorable to the Muslim society, electing the candidate that promises even more discrimination against Muslims? A candidate even less eager to find a peaceful solution in the Middle East?

Of course, they know. ISIS / IS (Daesh), Al-Qaeda and most other terror groups fighting in the Middle East proxy-wars for the West, are the creation of the West. We, The People, should wake up to this reality and see such terror attacks at crucial points in time as what they are – provocations, false flags, to dupe the public into asking for what the establishment, the ruling class wants – more “protection”, like a gradual but ever accelerating militarization of the west.

Even the installation of Martial Law is not far-fetched. Former French President Hollande has tried to introduce it in France’s Constitution ever since the Hebdo Charlie (false flag) attack; so far unsuccessfully (see http://www.globalresearch.ca/germany-and-nato-towards-martial-law-preparing-for-a-fascist-repression-in-europe/5590292  and http://www.globalresearch.ca/french-election-fraud-will-macron-be-able-to-form-a-government/5589262 ).

This gives the Deep State-installed EU government, i.e. Brussels, the legitimacy to clamp down and if needed violently repress protests in European cities, as they may arise with increasing neoliberal financial domination of western economies, imposed austerities, privatization of public services, educations systems, health care – cuts in pensions, in brief, the imposition of a fascist economy. We are almost there, just look at Greece.

—–

As always, the question to ask is Cui Bono? – At first sight it looks like the act of ‘terror’ might benefit Theresa May and her conservative Tories. They propagate clamping down on terrorism, on immigration to keep ‘terrorists’ out. Snap-elections decided without much warning by PM Theresa May, are scheduled for 8 June, just 17 days away from the attack, but enough time to launch massive pro-conservative and anti-Labor propaganda.

Interestingly, Jeremy Corbyn has been making rapid gains lately in the polls. The supposed ‘terror’ attack, may set his gains back and advance the “pro-security” Tory leader, Theresa May. As if Jeremy Corbyn and Labor were against ‘security’ – This is the implied falsehood of the presstitute – foreseeable, like in The Theft of an Election Foretold.

Interestingly too, the recent French elections were also preceded by a terror attack. Just days ahead of the first round of elections, a gunman opened fire on a police car on Champs Élysées, killing one policeman and injuring two, the gunman was immediately killed by French police; the chief witness gone. End of story.

The incident most likely helped propel Macron and Le Pen into the second round. That’s what the dark hands of the ‘system’ wanted. So, it would be easy to focus the propaganda on the self-styled centrist, pro-Europe, pro-globalization, pro-NATO, and naturally, pro-enhanced security, i.e. pro-militarization of Europe, the Rothschild banker, Emmanuel Macron – who eventually ‘won’ in a landslide, against Marine Le Pen, who campaigned pro French sovereignty, against Brussels, against the euro and against NATO.

We will see later this year whether more killing is needed to get Mme. Merkel re-elected.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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

by Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

That is a column for another day.

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

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

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

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

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

Who is this kid we’re stuck with?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck enjoying your Macron era!

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

The Globalization of Misery

By Tom Engelhardt

May 15, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  The closest I ever got to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was 1,720.7 miles away — or so the Internet assures me.  Although I’ve had a lifelong interest in history, I know next to nothing about Mosul’s, nor do I have more than a glancing sense of what it looks like, or more accurately what it looked like when all its buildings, including those in its “Old City,” were still standing.  It has — or at least in better times had — a population of at least 1.8 million, not one of whom have I ever met and significant numbers of whom are now either dead, wounded, uprooted, or in desperate straits.

Consider what I never learned about Mosul my loss, a sign of my ignorance.  Yet, in recent months, little as I know about the place, it’s been on my mind — in part because what’s now happening to that city will be the world’s loss as well as mine.

In mid-October 2016, the U.S.-backed Iraqi army first launched an offensive to retake Mosul from the militants of the Islamic State.  Relatively small numbers of ISIS fighters had captured it in mid-2014 when the previous version of the Iraqi military (into which the U.S. had poured more than $25 billion) collapsed ignominiously and fled, abandoning weaponry and even uniforms along the way.  It was in Mosul’s Great Mosque that the existence of the Islamic State was first triumphantly proclaimed by its “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi.

On the initial day of the offensive to recapture the city, the Pentagon was already congratulating the Iraqi military for being “ahead of schedule” in a campaign that was expected to “take weeks or even months.”  Little did its planners — who had been announcing its prospective start for nearly a year — know.  A week later, everything was still “proceeding according to our plan,” claimed then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.  By the end of January 2017, after 100 days of fierce fighting, the eastern part of that city, divided by the Tigris River, was more or less back in government hands and it had, according to New York Times reporters on the scene, been “spared the wholesale destruction inflicted on other Iraqi cities” like Ramadi and Fallujah, even though those residents who hadn’t fled were reportedly “scratching out a primitive existence, deprived of electricity, running water and other essential city services.”

And that was the good news.  More than 100 days later, Iraqi troops continue to edge their way through embattled western Mosul, with parts of it, including the treacherous warren of streets in its Old City, still in the hands of ISIS militants amid continuing bitter building-to-building fighting.  The Iraqi government and its generals still insist, however, that everything will be over in mere weeks.  An estimated thousand or so ISIS defenders (of the original 4,000-8,000 reportedly entrenched in the city) are still holding out and will assumedly fight to the death.  U.S. air power has repeatedly been called in big time, with civilian deaths soaring, and hundreds of thousands of its increasingly desperate and hungry inhabitants still living in battle-scarred Mosul as Islamic State fighters employ countless bomb-laden suicide vehicles and even small drones.

After seven months of unending battle in that single city, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Mosul has receded from the news here, even as civilian casualties grow, at least half a million Iraqis have been displaced, and the Iraqi military has suffered grievous losses.

Though there’s been remarkably little writing about it, here’s what now seems obvious: when the fighting is finally over and the Islamic State defeated, the losses will be so much more widespread than that.  Despite initial claims that the Iraqi military (and the U.S. Air Force) were taking great care to avoid as much destruction as possible in an urban landscape filled with civilians, the rules of engagement have since changed and it’s clear that, in the end, significant swathes of Iraq’s second largest city will be left in ruins. In this, it will resemble so many other cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, from Fallujah to Ramadi,Homs to Aleppo.

The Disappearance of Mosul

At a moment when Donald Trump makes headlines daily with almost any random thing he says, the fate of Mosul doesn’t even qualify as a major news story.  What happens in that city, however, will be no minor thing. It will matter on this increasingly small planet of ours.

What’s to come is also, unfortunately, reasonably predictable.  Eight, nine, or more months after this offensive was launched, the grim Islamic State in Mosul will undoubtedly be destroyed, but so will much of the city in a region that continues to be — to invent a word — rubblized.

When Mosul is officially retaken, if not “ahead of schedule,” then at least “according to plan,” the proud announcements of “victory” in the war against ISIS will make headlines.  Soon after, however, Mosul will once again disappear from our American world and worries. Yet that will undoubtedly only be the beginning of the story in a world in crisis.  Fourteen years have passed since the U.S. invaded Iraq and punched a hole in the oil heartlands of the Middle East.  In the wake of that invasion, states have been crumbling or simply imploding and terror movements growing and spreading, while wars, ethnic slaughter, and all manner of atrocities have engulfed an ever-widening region.  Millions of Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, and others have been uprooted, sent into exile, or fled across borders to become refugees.  In Mosul alone, untold numbers of people whose fathers, mothers, grandparents, children, friends, and relatives were slaughtered in the Iraqi Army’s offensive or simply murdered by ISIS will be left homeless, often without possessions, jobs, or communities in the midst of once familiar places that have been transformed into rubble.

Mosul now lacks an airport, a railroad station, and a university — all destroyed in the recent fighting. Initial estimates suggest that its rebuilding will cost billions of dollars over many years. And it’s just one of many cities in such a state. The question is: Where exactly will the money to rebuild come from? After all, the price of oil is at present below $50 a barrel, the Iraqi and Syrian governments lack resources of every sort, and who can imagine a new Marshall Plan for the region coming from Donald Trump’s America or, for that matter, anywhere else?

In other words, the Iraqis, the Syrians, the Yemenis, the Libyans, the Afghans, and others are likely, in the end, to find themselves alone in the ruins of their worlds with remarkably little recourse.  With that in mind and given the record of those last 14 years, how exactly do you imagine that things will turn out for the inhabitants of Mosul, or Ramadi, or Fallujah, or cities yet to be destroyed? What new movements, ethnic struggles, and terror outfits will emerge from such a nightmare?

To put it another way, if you think that such a disaster will remain the possession of the Iraqis (Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans, and Afghans), then you haven’t been paying much attention to the history of the twenty-first century. You evidently haven’t noticed that Donald J. Trump won the last presidential election in the United States, in part by playing on fears of a deluge of refugees from the Middle East and of Islamic terrorism; that the British voted to leave the European Union in part based on similar fears; and that across Europe pressures over refugees and terror attacks have helped to alter the political landscape.

Where Is Globalization Now That We Need It?

To frame things slightly differently, let me ask another question entirely: In these last years, haven’t you wondered what ever happened to “globalization” and the endless media attention that was once paid to it? Not so very long ago we were being assured that this planet was binding itself into a remarkably tight knot of interconnectedness that was going to amaze us all.  As Thomas Friedman of the New York Times put itin 1996, we were seeing “the integration of free markets, nation-states, and information technologies to a degree never before witnessed, in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations, and countries to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever.”  All of this was to be fed and led by the United States, the last superpower standing, and as a result, the global “playing field” would miraculously “be leveled” on a planet becoming a mosaic of Pizza Huts, iMacs, and Lexuses.

Who of a certain age doesn’t remember those years after the Soviet Union imploded when we all suddenly found ourselves in a single superpower world?  It was a moment when, thanks to vaunted technological advances, it seemed blindingly clear to the cognoscenti that this was going to be a single-everything planet.  We were all about to be absorbed into a “single market for goods, capital, and commercial services” from which, despite the worries of naysayers, “almost everyone” stood “to gain.”  In a world not of multiple superpowers but of multiple “supermarkets,” we were likely to become both more democratic and more capitalistic by the year as an interlocking set of transnational corporate players, nations, and peoples, unified by a singularly interwoven set of communication systems (representing nothing short of an information revolution), triumphed, while poverty, that eternal plague of humanity, stood to lose out big time.  Everything would be connected on what was, for the first time, to be a single, “flattened” planet.

It won’t surprise you, I’m sure, to be told that that’s not exactly the planet we’re now on.  Instead, whatever processes were at work, the result has been record numbers of billionaires, record levels of inequality, and refugees in numbers not seen since much of the world was in a state of collapse after World War II.

Still, don’t you ever wonder where, conceptually speaking, globalization is now that we need it? I mean, did it really turn out that we weren’t living together on a single shrinking planet? Were the globalists of that moment inhabiting another planet entirely in another solar system? Or could it be that globalization is still the ruling paradigm here, but that what’s globalizing isn’t (or isn’t just) Pizza Huts, iMacs, and Lexuses, but pressure points for the fracturing of our world?

The globalization of misery doesn’t have the cachet of the globalization of plenty. It doesn’t make for the same uplifting reading, nor does skyrocketing global economic inequality seem quite as thrilling as a leveling playing field (unless, of course, you happen to be a billionaire). And thanks significantly to the military efforts of the last superpower standing, the disintegration of significant regions of the planet doesn’t quite add up to what the globalists had in mind for the twenty-first century. Failed states, spreading terror movements, all too many Mosuls, and the conditions for so much more of the same weren’t what globalization was supposed to be all about.

Perhaps, however, it’s time to begin reminding ourselves that we’re still on a globalizing planet, even if one experiencing pressures of an unexpected sort, including from the disastrous never-ending American war on terror. It’s so much more convenient, of course, to throw the idea of globalization overboard and imagine that Mosul is thousands of miles away in a universe that bears next to no relation to our own.

What It Really Means to Be on a “Flattening” Planet

It’s true that in France last week extremist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was defeated by a young, little known former investment banker and government minister, Emmanuel Macron, and the European Union preserved.  As with an earlier election in Holland in which a similar right-wing candidate lost, this is being presented as potentially the high-water mark of what’s now commonly called “populism” in Europe (or the Brexit-style fragmentation of that continent).  But I’d take such reassurances with a grain of salt, given the pressures likely to come. After all, in both Holland and France, two extreme nationalist parties garnered record votes based on anti-Islamic, anti-refugee sentiment and will, after the coming parliamentary elections in France, both be represented, again in record numbers, in their legislatures.

The rise of such “populism” — think of it as the authoritarian fragmentation of the planet — is already a global trend.  So just imagine the situation four or potentially even eight years from now after Donald Trump’s generals, already in the saddle, do their damnedest in the Greater Middle East and Africa.  There’s no reason to believe that, under their direction, the smashing of key regions of the planet won’t continue.  There’s no reason to doubt that, in an expanding world of Mosuls — the Syrian “capital” of the Islamic State, Raqqa, is undoubtedly the next city in line for such treatment — “victories” won’t produce a planet of greater ethnic savagery, religious extremism, military destruction, and chaos.  This, in turn, ensures a further spread of terror groups and an even more staggering uprooting of peoples.  (It’s worth noting, for instance, that since the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Special Operations forces, al-Qaeda has grown, not shrunk, gaining yet more traction across the Greater Middle East.)  So far, America’s permanent “war on terror” has helped produce a planet of fear, refugees on an almost unimaginable scale, and ever more terror.  What else would you imagine could arise from the rubble of so many Mosuls?

If you don’t think that this is an ever-more connected planet still being “flattened” (even if in quite a different way than expected), and that sooner or later the destruction of Mosul will reverberate in our world, too, then you don’t get our world. It’s obvious, for instance, that future Mosuls will only produce more refugees, and you already know where that’s led, from Brexit to Donald Trump. Destroy enough Mosuls and, even in the heartland of the planet’s sole superpower, the fears of those who already feel they’ve been left in a ditch will only rise (and be fed further by demagogues ready to use that global flow of refugees for their own purposes).

Given the transformations of recent years, just think what it will mean to uproot ever vaster populations, to set the homeless, the desperate, the angry, the hurt, and the vengeful — millions of adults and childrenwhose lives have been devastated or destroyed — in motion.  Imagine, for instance, what those pressures will mean when it comes to Europe and its future politics.

Think about what’s to come on this small planet of ours — and that’s without even mentioning the force that has yet to fully reveal itself in all its fragmenting and globalizing and leveling power.  We now call it, mildly enough, “climate change” or “global warming.”  Just wait until, in the decades to come, rising sea levels and extreme weather events put human beings in motion in startling ways (particularly given that the planet’s sole superpower is now run by men in violent denial of the very existence of such a force or the human sources of its power).

You want a shrinking planet? You want terror? You want globalization? Think about that. And do you wonder why, these days, I have Mosul on my mind?

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Tom Engelhardt

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.


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The Financial Elite Created France’s New President, Emmanuel Macron

Interview with Diana Johnstone

On Sunday French voters went to the polls and chose Emmanuel Macron rather than Marine Le Pen to be France’s next president. Macron, a former investment banker and economics minister in the hugely unpopular government of President Francois Hollande, was endorsed by Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and the rest of the global elite who favor the unfettered reign of global capital. As economics minister, he succeeded in passing anti-labor legislation that caused rioting in French streets. He supports the privatization of social services like health care and education, NATO hostilities on Russia’s border, and President Donald Trump’s direct missile strikes on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

Marine Le Pen called for France’s departure from both NATO and the European Union, restoration of the French franc as its currency, and “intelligent protectionism” to defend the living standards of French farmers and workers. She favors detente with Russia, she condemned Trump’s missile strikes on Syria, and she has pushed for restricting immigration and deporting citizens of other nations who are on France’s terrorist watch list. She was endorsed by prominent British Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage and praised by Donald Trump.

Both Macron and Le Pen called for prison capacity expansion, but Macron was reported to have called for fewer new cells than Le Pen.

American author and Counterpunch writer Diana Johnstone says that elites whipped up mass hysteria that Le Pen is a fascist to put the neoliberal globalist Macron in power. I spoke to Diana in Paris where she has lived most of her adult life.

*     *     *

Ann Garrison: There’s so much furious determination to identify Marine Le Pen as a fascist that it’s difficult to have a rational conversation about it.

Diana Johnstone: Tell me about it. I’ve stopped trying to talk about it to Americans because they’re just not interested, and the myth is so delightful that no one wants to give it up. Everybody likes to believe they’re fighting fascism.

AG: Well, I can’t even tell what they mean by that. The word’s being used very vaguely and self-righteously.

DJ: That means Hitler coming back to life and putting minorities in Auschwitz and then the gas chambers.

AG: So they mean extremely racist and genocidal.

DJ: Well, that’s the implication, but there’s no sign that she’s a racist and there’s no threat of institutionalized racism here. She is extremely hostile to Islamic fanaticism but Islamic fanaticism is not a race.

AG: To be a real fascist, wouldn’t she have to want to shut down the media and suspend the French constitution?

DJ: Well, you can list everything that characterizes fascism and nothing on the list applies. That’s one of them, but there’s nothing fascist about her. This is just propaganda that is being spread not only by the French establishment but also by the whole Western, NATO establishment.

The real issue here is that there is a growing criticism of the European Union (EU) in France, and the whole Western establishment is panicked about this. Ever since the Brexit, they’ve been afraid that this pro-national sovereignty tendency in France, which manifests across the whole political spectrum, could gain momentum and that France might leave the EU and NATO. And of course the whole globalizing elite absolutely don’t want this to happen, so they went all out to invent their own special candidate, who is supported by everybody in the elite. Merkel, Obama, all of the billionaires, all of the banks, and all of the media, which of course is owned by the billionaires. They went all out to create panic that Marine Le Pen might win. This was just theatre calculated to elect a person who is responsible for the most unpopular economic policies of the Hollande government.

Hollande was so unpopular that he couldn’t run for a second term. His approval rating in polls was down to single digits. So the whole elite and its press invented Macron to take his place. The press all started saying that Macron was going to be the next president as soon as he left the government and said he was going to create his new political movement.

All of this is to reinforce the policies that were so unpopular in the outgoing Hollande government, but behind a new young face. This is a total charade, but Macron is even worse because when he was economics minister, he managed to get some very anti-labor legislation passed, then made it clear that he was leaving that government because he hadn’t been able to push it far enough. So he’s virtually promised to make things worse for working people, but nobody paid any attention to that because so many people were screaming, “Fascism! Fascism!” It was really grotesque.

AG: Simply posting any questions about who Marine Le Pen is has been enough to trigger tirades on social media pages.

DJ: I don’t know why these people are so enraged. Where do they get their information? How are they so sure of what they’re saying? What are their sources? What are they talking about?

AG: What would Marine Le Pen have to do to qualify as a fascist, from your point of view?

DJ: Well, she’d have to be in favor of a single party. She’d have to be resorting to violence and various other things, but the point is that her economic policies are actually very left wing. They are very close to those of the left leader, Jean Luc Mélenchon.

AG: Well, the propaganda was so effective that I even saw a news video of Greenpeace hanging an anti-Le Pen banner off the Eiffel Tower that read “#Resist” and “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.”

DJ: Yes, I know. Have you ever heard of mass hysteria?

AG: Yes.

DJ: Well, this is mass hysteria. All these people in the power elite will praise one another. It’s a great power club. Now they’re saying that Macron’s election saved us from fascism, and people are buying it, both inside and outside France.

AG: I’ve seen the press comparing him to JFK, and you said that French people will see his face on magazines whenever they go to the hairdresser or the doctor.

DJ: Yes, he’s been made by the press. As soon as he left the government and said that he was going to form this new movement, “En Marche,” all the magazines put his picture on the cover. The American “Foreign Policy” magazine ran an effulgent article right at the start about what a genius new leader he was and how certain he was to be the next French president.

AG: Someone at a gathering of French farmers hit Macron in the head with an egg.

DJ: Yes, it’s not hard to understand why and that may happen more. Of course, Marine Le Pen appealed to the farmers and workers who are really suffering in the European Common Market, but the human rights people decided some time ago that workers, farmers, and poor people who are complaining must be complaining because they’re racists. They don’t say they’re racists, they don’t act like racists, but they must be racists. That’s the human rights ideology, so the working class which used to be the favorite of the left is now its hobgoblin, and they’re saying, “Look at all these racist workers and farmers supporting Marine Le Pen.” In fact workers and farmers supported Le Pen because they’re losing jobs, they’re losing security, and their social services are going down the drain. Many of them supported Le Pen because she is going against the policies of the European Union and globalization.

AG: Just to make it quite clear what we’re talking about here, Macron and the rest of the globalist elite are advancing an order in which global capital can freely chase the cheapest labor all over the world, including industrial farm labor, then come back with products with no tariffs imposed upon them, and even sue any government that becomes inconvenient for them.

DJ: That’s about it. What Le Pen and others have said is that they want some “intelligent protectionism” and that goes against the whole neoliberal program, which is to make the whole world safe for investment capital.

Certain countries will just be wiped out by this. France has a tradition of pretty good social services. In fact they’ve been excellent, though they’re now getting worse because of the current government. The French are very attached to their social services, but if you privatize them all and then international financial capital says, “Hmm, we can make more profit in something other than transportation, health care or other services,” then they’ll just go and invest somewhere else. So, if you just have unfettered capital like that, you can’t necessarily preserve the existence of your country. Resisting globalization is just the most basic self preservation impulse; people want to preserve their countries as places where you can live decently. That is demonized as being nationalism and nationalism is demonized as fascism and racism.

AG: When I spun off my little description of globalization, I should have included the privatization of everything.

DJ: Yes, that’s right. And Europe is already the frontline of globalization. It’s been opened up as a playground for financial capital, and Macron was made by financiers. The financial elite found him to be a talent; they brought him into the Rothschild Bank and in no time, he’d made a few million dollars. Once someone finds out how fast they can make money like that, it’s like they’re being initiated into the club and they’re going to defend its interests in every possible way.

Diana Johnstone is the author of “The Politics of Euromissiles: Europe’s Role in America’s World,” “Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions, and “Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton.”  Her essay “The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty and the Future of France,” appears on the Counterpunch and Global Research websites.

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

Are the French elections a turning point?

مايو 11, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

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هل الانتخابات الفرنسية نقطة تحوّل؟

مايو 9, 2017

ناصر قنديل

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Macron wins – the 24% who voted for him rejoice, the rest sigh

May 09, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriMacron wins – the 24% who voted for him rejoice, the rest sigh

Communist ideas have won concessions from industry, but they have been unable to stop high finance from exploiting workers.

That is the big battle today. Only revolutionary and heavily socialist countries like Iran, Cuba and China – as well as dictatorships like South Korea in the past – have been able to stop domination by international finance.

France, however, has fearfully rushed into the arms of the candidate who wants your wages to pay for bad loans: former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron.

It’s almost insulting to take orders from a 39-year old who didn’t come to power at the end of the gun or at the front of a massive revolution, because how can such a young person not be the puppet of older, richer interests?

There’s no way Macron is as smart, experienced and mature as he believes himself to be, or as they want us to believe. It’s “not polite” by French campaign standards, but I note that his record as Economy Minister produced only economic stagnation and record-high unemployment.

I talk to people in France about how they will vote all the time, even though it’s also “not polite” by French standards. Hogwash. Emmanuel only has two appeals: first, he is young and new blood in a country run by an aged, corrupt aristocracy, and second, he is not Marine Le Pen.

Of course Emmanuel won: Le Pen lost in 2nd round head-to-head polling at all times and against everyone. I mean in every…single…poll since polling began in January.

We were hoping against hope, and because hope was a terrible, incompetent, neo-fascist candidate – hope lost.

Huge change from 2012 – there is no joy in Mudville. I can assure you that France’s spirit of resistance was alive and well in 2012. Ahhhh, austerity was so young back then – it’s so firmly-rooted now.

Francois Hollande was elected on a promise to fight high finance, fight Germany, end austerity and renegotiate EU treaties. The French people were 100% correct to be so optimistic – who can live in cynicism?

But who could have expected that Hollande would make such an undemocratic U-turn? His U-turn threatened to destroy the European Union, which has only been given a stay of execution with Macron’s victory. Even though Hollande couldn’t even run for re-election, nobody with any sense of justice thinks that is fair reparations.

I must pause here for a word on civil war: France talks about the possibility of a civil war an inordinate amount. And I perceived this years before this election involving Le Pen.

In the US that’s relegated to beyond the suburbs…half the country, sure. Of course, the English say the same thing. The Spanish may split over Catalonia. Scotland may break off. Ireland remains divided. Italy barely has a government. Belgium didn’t have one for a year (such Parliamentary gridlock is France’s future).

Only the Germans are happy with their leadership. And why not: everyone in the West “admires them”. Not me – higher poverty rate than France, for starters.

My point is: Western society, and not just France, is fractured in a terrible, horrible way. The lack of unity – even if only perceived – is staggering for a region of the world enjoying such enormous relative prosperity. There is, clearly, a problem in their culture.

Cuba doesn’t have this problem. Nor China. Iran – once you get out of rich North Tehran – will almost certainly have a higher voter participation rate in their elections this month than France, and France’s is still among the highest in the West.

The fear of civil war is a major Western phenomenon, and it was a major reason why people voted for Macron/against Le Pen

What do you expect? You’re all divided into parts of unequal sizes

That’s what identity politics is: Is a Black’s ideas worth more than a Gay? Seems like a Transgender rules the roost in 2017, especially if he/she has to go to the bathroom.

Can the White Nationalists fly their flag at the statehouse or not? We better ask the opinion of the left-handed homemakers north of the Mason-Dixon but west of the Mississippi who prefer jam to Nutella on partially-cloudy days – I’m sure their lobby group is being formed.

Or you could just have what works: Class politics.

Us versus the 1 billionth percent, the 8 people who own half the world’s wealth.

Anyone who supported Le Pen was browbeaten with insults against their character, intelligence and morality. Identity politics are not only about inclusion – I am in this group – it is about exclusion: You have to be like this or you are not in this group.

And who doesn’t want to be in the group the entire media (no exaggeration) said was the “good” one?

Because France does not accept multi-culturalism, promoting assimilationism instead, identity politics in France has a different face. The “in group” here is simply “France”. That’s why Macron saved this big PR gun for the final week of campaigning: “The National Front is the anti-France party”.

It resonated, even though the National Front is the most hyper-patriotic party.

Anyway, I ardently supported Marine Le Pen for two weeks – between the two rounds of voting – does that make me anti-France? Or does it make me a fascist and a racist? I’d swear at you but this is a family publication.

Fascism is a real dirty word over here. It’s not that way in the US because American fascists won WWII and thus were never discredited, like over here. People here had relatives die fighting German, Austrian & Italian fascists.

The past is indeed history, and history is indeed past

France also succumbed to the idea that the fascists their grandfathers fought are the real problem, as if France fought a civil war instead of the Germans in World War II.

More than identity politics, Macron won because France was convinced that the father of Marine Le Pen is more important than her ideas to rectify the very different problems of 2017. But high-speed trading didn’t exist in 1941. There was no European Union. In 1941 there was actually a Left in the West, LOL.

“You don’t see it, Ramin,” they told me “the threat of the National Front.”

What I see is you guys taking a backseat to Germany.

But, I’m exaggerating: I see France colluding with the Germans. Again, just like in World War II.

That is EXACTLY what has happened! Check the data: Which banks are leveraged in Greece? German AND French are the top two. Who funds the European Central Bank? The main percentage comes from Germany, with France in a very close 2nd place – we are talking dozens of billions of much-needed euros.

Acting as if Germany pays everything, does everything, plans everything – this is an Anglo-Saxon view not based on reality. I assume it is related to the historical Northern European view of their genetic supremacy over everyone else, including Southern and Eastern Europe.

But, that’s just more identity politics. It ignores the class view, as usual. The reality is that French capitalism is hugely a part of the neo-imperialist project of the European Union to cannibalize other Europeans – it’s not all Germany.

Le Pen would get that – Macron would think I am speaking Greek. Oh well.

Crying ‘terrorism’ is not just for kicks and giggles

But let’s not insult everybody in France as being class ignoramuses – this is not America: the French got two such bad candidates by another primary tactic of high-finance: the security state.

The first round vote was on April 23, and I already wrote a column about how terrorism was in the headlines an inordinately suspicious amount in the week prior to that vote.

And in the 14 days since April 23rd France’s security state made sure terrorism-related raids and announcements were in the headlines almost every day. Should we be surprised anymore? I made a list:

April 24-26: Fourteen arrests made in France and Belgium on terrorism.

April 25: Five more arrests in alleged Marseilles planned terrorism attack.

April 25: National homage to the cop killed on the Champs-Elysees.

April 27: Raid on an alleged terrorist’s home in Réunion. Two cops shot.

April 28: Citing the war on terrorism, police will ban traffic information apps from warning of radar traps and other police stops.

May 2: Five arrests in anti-terrorism.

May 3: Judgment in a high-profile “apology of terrorism” case.

May 3: In the lone presidential debate Macron said that terrorism will be the “focus of his 5 years”. 30 minutes of terrorism discussion, which preceded the debate on the European Union.

May 4: National day of homage to all cops killed in France.

This is an incomplete list. I can assure you that the French anti-terrorism units do not work this often in normal times – we’d all be in jail if they did.

The canard of terrorism was employed by Hollande to undemocratically ram through right-wing economic measures designed to benefit the bondholder class. It was also used to put Macron in office and, as I listed, Macron plans to keep it there.

Ultimately, there is still no plan in effect to win concessions from high finance. Le Pen would not have provided a solution, but she would have at least been a monkey wrench; she would at least have provided a temporary respite; she would at least have provided the chance to discuss solutions.

Finance is international, but Europe requires a unique solution because the creation and support for the European Union means they have a uniquely European problem.

I have no ideas, and neither do the faux-left supporters of Macron. They just keep telling me: “We’ll take to the streets to fight austerity”. Hey, jerk, check the scoreboard – we did that all the time under Hollande: we lost.

Macron will continue the neoliberal policies which didn’t work while he was minster, and they will not work now.

Ultimately, the election of Macon just kicks the can down the road. Prior to the election this was repeatedly written by mainstream journalists to describe the necessary economic “reforms” France resisted implementing. Absurd, these “deforms”.

What is postponed are the revolutionary, pro-communist changes which put finally the people ahead of the financial class, which is the new aristocracy.

Postscript – the Macron Era, Day 1 of 1,826.25

The above was written on election night. I was planning to finish it in between my 10 scheduled live interviews for Press TV, but at this point in the column the Le Pen camp refused my entry to their headquarters, denying me a place to do some of those interviews and also to finish this column.

I wasn’t the only one – Le Monde, Mediapart and reportedly many other media were the victims of the Le Pen campaign’s allegedly accidental and regrettable choice to choose a small, swanky locale for their HQ.

Maybe such treatment was a harbinger of things to come and we dodged a bullet by avoiding the National Front and their anti-press neo-fascism?

Problem is, Macron banned Russian media a couple weeks earlier.

Problem is, prior to that Hollande took Press TV and all Iranian media off France’s state-run satellite Eutelsat, in a clear case of censorship.

Anyway, the day after the election Hollande joined Macron for the WWII Victory Day memorial and then immediately flew to Berlin to meet Merkel. Isn’t that fitting? And there were thousands already protesting Macron, with plenty of police brutality. I wanted to cover it but my cameraman begged off, citing fatigue. Honestly, I felt the same way.

Glass half-full: Macron is from the younger, less-racist generation. Maybe he’ll be able to take a firm stance on France’s xenophobic nonsense?

Problem is, his team threatened to close the nation’s Islamophobia watchdog, saying they are “in danger.” Pretty Le Pen-like, if you ask me, which is what I always said.

I really cannot even stomach reading the mainstream media’s take on France’s election, but people seem to be talking like Trump was avoided in France. People only say that because the economic angle – the class angle – is systematically repressed in favor of the economic angle.

Macron is going to wage an (economic) extremist war on the French public, and who can be excited about that? Nobody is excited about Macron here except unmarried, middle-aged women, who have finally found someone who won’t ignore them. I don’t want to rain on their honeymoon, though, so “Sweet dreams, ladies.”

Just do the math: 25% abstained and 12% submitted blank ballots (LOL, a record), meaning only 67% of the total electorate issued an acceptable vote. That drops Macron’s alleged final score of 66% down to 42% of the total electorate. Now subtract the 43% of Macron’s voters who say the voted to block Le Pen. That means only 24% of the total electorate voted for Macron’s personality or his policies.

Only 24% of France truly voted for Macron. So forget what the financial/foreign press says: there is no joy in Mudville, French democracy has struck out.

But the beat goes on. And for the next five years I’m covering the exact same news beat – Hollande (Jr.) and austerity.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

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