Yellow Vest Win: Proving that Western Liberal Democracy is the same old autocracy

June 27, 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 ‘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

If we say that the Yellow Vests are not socialist revolutionaries even latently, then what are they protesting about?

To put it the most simply: they are protesting the end of European Social Democracy, with the limited protections it provided.

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

The Yellow Vests intuited that the pan-European project has ended the era of European Social Democracy (1945-75) and replaced it with elite-driven, free market, winner-take-all Liberalism.

Seeing that their list of 43 demands doesn’t include the word “Europe” once, however, the Yellow Vests don’t really grasp that the European Union represents the organisational assassin of European Social Democracy. The European Union and Eurozone’s response to the Great Recession made it entirely clear: these are institutions which are perfectly hostile to Social Democracy’s minor redistributions and protections which fundamentally embolden the average worker and citizen.

Social Democracy was not born after World War II, just as “neoliberalism” was first on display back in 1871, with what was imposed after the destruction of the Paris Commune. Marx chronicled the birth of European Social Democracy, in 1848, when the Mountain Party (which initially claimed the mantle of neo-Jacobinism) sided with the small-traders in the June Days massacre instead of with the urban proletariat and rural peasantry, as the Jacobins had done in 1789. They went from supporting Socialist Democracy to calling themselves Democratic Socialists (Démocrate-socialistes) and this – and not the downward slope from Napoleon Bonaparte to Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte – should be considered the truest essence of Marx’s famous line of history repeating itself as farce.

“The revolutionary point was thereby broken off from the social demands of the proletariat and a (social) democrat turn given to them….”

That was the birth of Social Democracy: an ideology where the social demands of the recently-feudal masses (decent pay, health care, education, pensions, etc.) get only partially addressed while the political demands of an aristocracy opposing an absolute monarch (free speech, property rights, trial by jury, etc.) are fully met. Liberalism has always sought to limit progressive changes to the political question of how to move on from feudalism, and to stop progressive changes to the social question of how to move on from feudalism. The reformist ideology of Social Democracy has operated within Western Liberal Democracy for nearly 175 years and only partially prevailed for 30 of them.

The sooner the Yellow Vests realise that Social Democracy will never be a harmonious solution to the elitism dominant in Liberalism, the better, as Marx did:

“The peculiar character of Social Democracy is epitomised in the fact that democratic-republican institutions are demanded as the means, not to remove the two extremes – capital and wage-slavery – but in order to weaken the antagonism and transform them into a harmonious whole.”

Putting capital primarily in the hands of the recently-feudal masses so they can provide the broad economic stability and success which would end wage- and debt-slavery has never been a goal of Social Democracy, from the Mountain Party to Leon Blum to Francois Mitterrand to Francois Hollande to the “Democratic Socialists of America” led by Bernie Sanders in the 21st century United States.

Yellow Vest: “We are not beggars! What is 100 euros only given one time? State taxes compose 60% of the price of gasoline, so calling it 100 euros is totally false – the people truly only receive 40 euros. This is election nonsense, but Macron won’t win votes with these crumbs.”

Marx continued in his examination of France and gave us the key to the capitalist culture of both Liberal and Social Democracies: “This substance is the transformation of society along (Social) democratic lines, but a transformation within the boundaries of the small-trader’s class.” One extraneous sentence later: “It believes rather that the special conditions for its own emancipation are the general conditions under which alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle be avoided.”

Trotsky and the Yellow Vests saw that, due to the rise of financial capitalism, a leftist alliance must include the small businessman, but they reject the goal of Social Democracy to elevate their virtues and needs over those of the average worker and citizen.

Thus even when Social Democracy prevails in Liberalist capitalist cultures the virtues of the usually bourgeois-aspiring, individualistic, managerial small-trader class become the highest virtues to be promoted. Everyone must be a self-interested, competitive entrepreneur who aspires to be a boss and a “job creator”. This veneration of the small trader is the most obvious in American culture, and it is American culture which has been imposed on France via the pan-European project: at the alleged “end of history”, with the fall of the USSR, the United States shepherded the pan-European project, which is rightly said to be even more Liberalist (i.e. Bankocratic) than anything which could be created in the United States.

What we see in the modern era, and as this book proves, is that Liberalism, Social Democracy and Fascism have all joined together and “become bourgeois”. This amalgam of 18th century Liberalism, 19th century Social Democracy and 20th century fascism is ultimately not different from the aristocracy of the 17th century and earlier, which which ruled the 99% in an entirely autocratic manner. The extremely modest expansion of wealth and political power from a blood/marriage line to a line of the super-wealthy 1% still results in the exclusion of the recently-feudal masses from policy making, and this is what the Yellow Vests emphatically reminded. Their primary demand was not Socialist revolution but merely to get more public opinion into public policymaking.

The bourgeois bloc continually dangles Social Democracy as a reformist possibility, and thus they secure the loyalty of both the big and the small bosses and owners. However, when the moment of implementation comes, amid the next guaranteed bust in Liberalist capitalism, the response is the anti-Socialist virulence of Liberalism via the ruthless elite domination of a Fascism which has made peace with big capital.

Yellow Vest: “Macron’s repeatedly evaded the main problems. His solutions are not concrete, and it is certain that in a few months we will just be in the same situation. This is why we will keep protesting, for certain.”

Baudelaire wrote, “The most beautiful trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist,” and this is what modern Western Liberal Democracy has done with the elitism, arrogance and autocracy which is the basis of absolute monarchy. Macron’s “Jupiterian” remove has pulled the sheet off of Western Liberal Democracy, again, and reminded that the idea of an autocratic ruler remains the preference of a Western elite which has always been totally opposed to Socialist-inspired measures.

The republican lie of Liberalism

When Western leaders communicate among themselves and with their foreign counterparts they use the language of Liberalism; when they implement policy they use the ruthlessness of Fascism; but when they communicate with the masses they know that republican language is paramount.When Western leaders communicate among themselves and with their foreign counterparts they use the language of Liberalism; when they implement policy they use the ruthlessness of Fascism; but when they communicate with the masses they know that republican language is paramount.

This is especially true in France and the United States, where royalism has been fully discredited from holding public power. Thus, there is a constant emphasis by contemporary French leaders and their mainstream media on maintaining “republican” values.

However, the republicanism of both is an antiquated one as it is based on Liberal and not Socialist Democracy. A perfect example of the inadequacy of their elite-led republicanism is found in the Orwellian name of the group which wages the actual physical repression of the Yellow Vests: the detested CRS riot police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité – Republican Security Companies.) A woman wearing a full-body bathing suit – a “burkini” (combination of “burqa” and “bikini”) is breathlessly presented as a bigger threat to French republicanism than the repression of the Yellow Vests. Most obviously, there is the mainstream conservative party’s name change shepherded by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2015 – from L’Union pour un mouvement populaire (UMP) to les Républicains: the party had so many corruption scandals that a rebranding was deemed unavoidable.

Such is the false republicanism in Liberal Democracies.

The lip service towards republicanism allows the perpetuation of the outdated notion in France that the world still views them as the brightest beacon of progressive politics. They are different than almost all of Northern Europe, where royals still – bewilderingly – remain on thrones which hide mountains of the public’s rightful riches and influence. Indeed, an Iranian can find in France a refuge from the common Western toleration and whitewashing of monarchism.

The elite in the United States uses “freedom”, while monarchies like the UK use “human rights” in the same way – to insist that freedom and human rights for their modern aristocracies still represents the pinnacle of progressivism.

The legacy of 1789 exists in France today only in this constant demand to uphold “republicanism”, even if it is not at all the spirit of 1789 and only mouths its forms. The Yellow Vest repression will remind all of history that the freedoms offered by the republicanism of Western Liberal Democracy with French characteristics are a fantasy – there is only the autocracy of the bourgeois bloc.

France’s 21st century belief that “the republic” must jingoistically unite the French is ultimately a means used to falsely claim the legacy of 1789 while also ensuring that talk for progressive politics ends with this very initial answer to the “political question”, and with no answer to the “social question”, as well.

This also explains why there is so much forced discussion in France about what a huge threat Islam poses to this immoral republicanism: Islam correctly insists on God and morality being the highest allegiance, and certainly not laws forced through by a Fascist-allying, imperialist bourgeois bloc.

Nothing is more Liberalist than the European Union, and thus the ‘Social Fascist’ repression of anti-austerity movements and the Yellow Vests

We have already linked the European Union with the birth of neoliberalism and neo-imperialism, we have established how Fascism was subsumed and its tactics adopted, and we have shown how the goal of the third restoration of Western Liberalism is to roll back the modest gains of Social Democracy.

All that’s needed is to show how Western Liberal Democracy wields the power of the state as autocratically as royal families and their coteries used to – for this we simply have to look to the Yellow Vests.

Western Liberal Democracy and pre-1789 autocracy – there is no real difference.

Whether the form is a parliamentary republic based on Liberalism, or an executive-led republic based on Liberalism, or a constitutional monarchy based on Liberalism – the autocracy has been the same. Only the truly elite have the money to buy Liberalist rights and influence in public policy.

Yellow Vest: “As usual, no prison for the rich – everything goes fine for them, always. They never know hunger or poverty, but put everything on the average person’s back. Benalla should have been treated like anyone else – justice should be equal for everyone.”

Just as the trends of 250 years of Iranian or Chinese history can be summarised so too can the trend of the past 250 years of French and Western history, and this book has aimed to do that. Above all the trend of moving away from an autocratic monarch and towards an empowered people’s republic is discerned. The problem has been Western Liberal Democracy’s conception of a republic: what they have always had is an oligarchic republic, inspired by the English, which aims for perpetual repression of the recently-feudal (to Asian conceptions of time!) Western masses.

The early years of all revolutionary republics are always fraught with missteps and mistakes, but made with the sincere goal of broad societal progress. In 1789 the move away from absolute monarchy was met with great difficulty and international opposition. In 1848 the move away from a limited monarchy was met with great difficulty, also caused by great inexperience. In 1871 the move towards a social republic was met with great difficulty and international opposition, also caused by great inexperience. But inexperience is not the primary difficulty of the people today – they know how to rule, but they still face great international opposition. As Marx wrote:

“The cry of ‘social republic’ with which the February Revolution (of 1848) was ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express a vague aspiration after a republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule but class rule itself. The Commune (i.e. the first appearance of Socialist Democracy) was the positive form of that republic.”

However, the social republic was annihilated by neoliberalism and would not appear until 1917 in the eastern frontier of Europe – Russia.

The Yellow Vests reminded those in the 21st century who believe that the “end of history” had occurred in 1991 that the people’s desires for a social republic are no longer vague. However the Yellow Vests have had the misfortune of living in the world’s only region – the West – where socialist-inspired revolutionary cultures have never won implantation.

To their great credit, the Yellow Vests created a revolutionary condition for all of France. When it was thwarted by Liberal Democratic politicians, media and unions the Yellow Vests continued to march to keep promoting what may truly turn into a revolutionary culture at the next major uprising over Liberalism’s endemic failures. The Yellow Vests have created a vast and reliable network – there’s no doubt they will spring into action at the next opportunity.

The next political progression for the Yellow Vests is the realisation that the pan-European project only dangled the illusion of mere Social Democracy, but that its “neoliberal” basis is actually Fascist and autocratic to its very core.

The analysis of that splendidly successful revolutionary Bolshevik, Trotsky, must be remembered today if the Yellow Vests are to break with the perpetual illusion of mere Social Democracy:

The program of the Communist International has the following to say on this subject: Side by side with the Social Democracy, which assists the bourgeoisie to stifle the proletariat and to lull its vigilance, Fascism appears.’ The Communist International failed to understand that it is not the mission of Fascism to function side by side with the Social Democracy, but to destroy all the existing workers’ organizations, including the reformist. The task of Fascism, in the words of the program, is to ‘annihilate the Communist strata of the proletariat, and their leading cadres.’ Fascism, then, does not at all threaten the Social Democracy and the reformist trade unions; on the contrary, the Social Democracy itself plays a “Fascist” role to an ever increasing degree. Fascism achieves nothing more than the consummation of the labours of reformism, by functioning ‘side by side with the Social Democracy’.” (Emphasis his)

The Communist Bolsheviks rejected mere Social Democracy and instead used Socialist Democracy as their guiding structure ideology, as do Socialist-inspired countries today, who then adapt its primary economic and political imperatives to local cultures and mores. They saw that Social Democracy and Fascism work together to destroy not just Socialist Democracy-inspired groups, unions, parties, countries, etc, but also groups, unions, parties and countries which attempt Social Democratic reforms of Liberalism. As time goes on the Yellow Vests will realise, thanks to their own repression, that Liberal Democracy and Social Democracy offer them no solution except the destruction of the Yellow Vests.

One sentence later – in which Trotsky expressed his usual disapproval with the Moscow-based Comintern – Trotsky continued:

We have here before us all the basic elements of the theory of social fascism. The leaders of the Communist International failed to understand that capitalism in decay is no longer able to come to terms with the most moderate and most servile Social Democracy, either as a party in power, or as a party in opposition. It is the mission of Fascism to take its place not ‘side by side with the Social Democracy’, but on its bones. Precisely from this there flows the possibility, the need and the urgency for the united front.” (Emphasis his)

(Recall that a united front (joining together in society’s leftist struggles), is not the same as a popular front (an electoral alliance).)

Call it what you want: Social Fascism, Liberalism, autocracy, Fascism, constitutional monarchy, rule by the 1% – it is all the same oligarchic autocracy for the recently-feudal masses. I call it Western Liberal Democracy to properly place it in a geographic and historical context.

As soon as the Yellow Vests stop trying to win back the Social Democratic measures which Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande and Macron rolled back, the sooner they will realise that Socialist-inspired countries have shown a better way, method and goal. Without a major reformulation of the pan-European project – which seems impossible to get off the ground in a Liberalist-dominated media – the pan-European project’s initial lure of even greater Social Democratic gains should be seen only as a chimera.

The Yellow Vests know enough to reject existing establishment institutions, as well as pathetic PFAXIst (Popular Fronts Against Xenophobia but for Imperialism) electoral strategies – they must realise the monarchist-elitist-reformist-fascist alliance which is Western Liberal Democracy must be rejected in favor of Socialist Democracy.

That, of course, will lead to even more repression.

But their bravery will earn them more and more comrades; their correctness will only increase as the repression accumulates; the guaranteed cycles of failure in capitalism and the clockwork greed of high finance all make the move away from autocratic Liberalism certain.

The combination of royalism, Liberalism and Fascism is doomed, but people must be liberated from the long-outdated and pernicious influence of Liberalism before the next political advancement can take place. Thus the Yellow Vests, and thus this book, which is another humble tally of Liberalism’s failures.

Yellow Vest: “The people I speak with express absolutely no desire to stop the movement and remain very positive. The Yellow Vests are, above all, the French people, and the French people recognize this and this is why the movement will have a second wind.”

So admirably, The Yellow Vests have cleared the path for France: the despairing working poor, middle and lower classes have a fighting force which can never, ever be called Fascistic. France is back to being the West’s leaders of progressive politics.

Marx’s most important passage on France – guiding France from 1789 to 2022 and beyond

Here we have the most important passage in Marx’s writings on France – from his writings on the Paris Commune – because it historically summarises a century of turbulent political and socio-economic changes and pinpoints the establishment of modern Western Liberal Democracy.

The passage covers the vital and obscured history of France for a century after 1789. The short parentheticals are mine and designed to add clarity to Marx’s meaning:

“If the parliamentary republic, as M. Theirs said, ‘divided them least’ (the different factions of the French ruling class in 1850), it opened an abyss between that class and the whole body of society outside their spare ranks. The restraints by which their own divisions had under former regimes still checked the state power were removed by their unionand in view of the threatening upheaval of the proletariat they now used that state power mercilessly and ostentatiously as the national (and imperialist) war engine of capital against labor.

In their uninterrupted crusade against the producing masses they were, however, bound not only to invest the executive with continually increased powers of repressionbut at the same time divest their own parliamentary stronghold – the National Assembly – one by one, of all its own means of defence against the Executive. The Executive, in the person of (President) Louis(-Napoleon) Bonaparte, turned them out. The national offspring of the ‘Party of Order’ (the dominant political party of the 2nd) Republic was the Second Empire (of Emperor Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte).

The (Second) empire, with the coup d’etat for its birth certificate, universal suffrage for its salvation and the sword for its sceptre, professed to rest upon the peasantry – the large mass of producers not directly involved in the struggle of capital and labor. It professed to save the working class by breaking down parliamentarianism and, with it, the undisguised subserviency of government to the propertied classes. It professed to save the propertied classes by upholding their economic supremacy over the working class; and, finally, it professed to unite all classes by reviving for all the chimera of national glory.

In reality it was the only form of government possible, at a time when the bourgeoisie had already lost, and the working class had not yet acquired, the faculty of ruling the nation. (As they would acquire, starting with the Paris Commune and then later the USSR, China, Iran, etc.) It (the 2nd French Empire) was acclaimed throughout the world as the saviour of society. Under its sway bourgeois society, freed from political cares, attained a development unexpected even by itself. Its industry and commerce expanded to colossal dimensions; financial swindling celebrated cosmopolitan orgies (Marx uses this last word literally, per scandals of the time); the misery of the masses was set off by a shameless display of gorgeous, meretricious and debased luxury. The state power, apparently soaring high above society, was at the same time itself the very scandal of that society and the very hotbed of all its corruptions. Its own rottenness, and the rottenness of the society it had saved (i.e. the bourgeois elite of the 2nd Republic), were laid bare by the bayonet of Prussia, herself eagerly bent upon transferring the supreme seat of that regime from Paris to Berlin.”

The globalist descendants of the victors of 1871 would eventually comprise on Brussels instead of Berlin. Belgium – the country fabricated so that France and Germany would have a place to fight their wars, it is often joked – became “the seat of that regime”.

Yellow Vest: “We are not proud, at least not yet, because we have many more victories to accomplish. We insist on having referendums initiated by citizens, in order to democratically give a voice to all of France and to the Yellow Vests. We will keep marching to ensure that our common future is serene and peaceful.”

If we make only minor substitutions in Marx’s passage to include contemporary developments, does this not make an up-to-date history of France and Europe covering over two centuries?

If the pan-European project “divided them least” (the different factions of national ruling classes in Europe) least, it opened an abyss between that class and the whole body of society outside their spare ranks. The restraints by which their own divisions had under former regimes still checked the state power were removed by their union; and in view of the threatening upheaval of the Yellow Vests they now used that state power mercilessly and ostentatiously as the international war engine of capital against labor.

In their uninterrupted crusade against the producing masses they (the pan-European project) were, however, bound not only to invest the national executive branches with continually increased powers of repression, but at the same time divest their own national parliamentary branches, one by one, of all its own means of defence against the Executive. The Executive, in the person of a modern Louis Bonaparte (or something new and revolutionary, perhaps similar to the Supreme Leader branch of government in Iran)could not be allowed to have turned them – Brussels – out. The national offspring of the pan-European project was the neoliberal Empire of the European Union.

The empire, with the fall of the USSR for its birth certificate, denying the national referendums which rejected the European Union and which were based on universal suffrage for its salvation and the sword for its sceptre, professed to rest upon the neo-peasantry – the large mass of producers not directly involved in the struggle of capital and labor and who desired to avoid more intra-European wars, free movement around Europe and the strengthening of a Social Democratic safety net. It also professed to save the working class by breaking down national parliamentarianism and, with it, the undisguised subserviency of government to the propertied classes. It professed to save the propertied classes by upholding their economic supremacy over the working class; and, finally, it professed to unite all classes by reviving for all the chimera of supranational glory via colluding with the United States to enforce Liberalist values worldwide.

In reality it was the only form of government possible, at a time when the bourgeoisie had fully acquired the faculty of ruling the nation, something they had no experience with in 1848. It (the pan-European project) was acclaimed throughout the West as the saviour of European society. Under its sway bourgeois society, freed from political cares, such as the profit drags and democratic nuisances created by the era of Social Democracy, attained a development unexpected even by itself. Its industry and commerce expanded to colossal dimensions; financial swindling celebrated cosmopolitan orgies; the misery of the masses was set off by a shameless display of gorgeous, meretricious and debased luxury. The state power, apparently soaring high above society, was at the same time itself the very scandal of that society and the very hotbed of all its corruptions. Its own rottenness, and the rottenness of the society it had saved – the royals threatened by 1789, the bourgeois threatened by 1848, the colluding Social Democrats threatened by 1917 and the Fascists threatened by 1945 – were laid bare by the bayonet of the Yellow Vests, herself eagerly bent upon transferring the supreme national seat of that regime from Brussels back to Paris.”

France is not Cuba, Iran, China or even Southern Lebanon – it will likely take a civil war for the Yellow Vests to ever use bayonets to finally win political and economic redistribution. However, the Yellow Vests emphatically prove the willingness of Western Liberal Democracy to use violence just as brutally as the autocracies of 1788.

The Yellow Vests also remind that Western Liberal Democracy does not even allow the rights which Liberalism claims to protect – how long can that persist in a country which regularly demands the right to publicly exercise such rights, and whose pens have been freed by the digital era?

If the French elite is not going to permit even the basic rights of Liberalism, then France needs a defensive force which can protect the Liberalist rights of protesters. That is the subject of the next chapter.

<—>

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

Publication date: July 1, 2022.

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

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.

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

April 17, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Commune as the birth of EU neo-imperialism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To summarise simply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Chapter List of the new content

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

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

April 11, 2022

Source

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

by Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are always in garrison… a sycophant, yes, but Burke was also a great writer. He also foresaw that Western Liberal Democracy was going to culminate in an “ignoble oligarchy” formed of “agitators in corporations”, land speculators, “attorneys, agents, money jobbers, speculators and adventurers”. Who today would not admit that this is what it is?

What Burke failed to foresee is that Marx, Lenin, Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and others would create new systems which would wrest control from both monarchs and this group – which rules along with monarchs in Western Liberal Democracies – and give it to the masses.

So Marx was not alone in thinking that the rural masses are difficult to wrangle into politics, but the weekly roundabout protest and the Facebook page – where freedom of assembly and speech/writing are enjoyed (or at least they were at one point in the internet’s history) – has definitely ended the isolation of the rural class. This class, which was created by 1789 let’s recall, had to wait a very long time to challenge the capital’s death-grip on governance. What is the capital’s 21st century response? To both accuse this rural class of racism while at the same time promoting mainstream politicians who have explicitly pushed imperialist racism.

In 1852 socialism was not sufficiently developed. Ruralites understandably turned to Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte after just 3 years of trying out bourgeois Western Liberal Democracy – the alternative was a return to feudalism, autocracy and the total death of 1789.

“The rooted thought of the Nephew becomes a reality because it coincided with the rooted thought of the most numerous class among the French.”

Marx was right to champion socialism, but 175 years later we can champion Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte for his popular democratic legitimacy, something which Marx knew, but refused to grudgingly champion:

If the bourgeois have no values at all, then not only does liberalism have no values but neither does the first years after 1789

Also coming at the end of his analysis, Marx has rather tossed in this defense of half the country.

“But this should be well understood: The Bonaparte dynasty does not represent the revolutionary, it represents the conservative farmer; it does not represent the farmer who presses beyond his own economic conditions, his little allotment of land, it represents him rather who would confirm these conditions; it does not represent the rural population, that, thanks to its own inherent energy, wishes, jointly with the cities to overthrow the old older. It represents, on the contrary, the rural population that, hide-bound in the old order, seeks to see itself, together with its allotments, saved and favoured by the ghost of the Empire.”

Yet Marx is wrong all over the place, in this effort to portray Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte as the candidate of only the far-right farmer. Marx is wrong about who was a “conservative”: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected at a time when royalism was dominant across Europe and still a major part of France’s own political spectrum. To imagine that in 1848 all of France’s farmers had been converted to republicanism/anti-monarchism is certainly false – there were still plenty of royalist farmers, and they are the true conservatives. Furthermore, Marx is implying that farmers who want to preserve the gains of 1789 (which is hardly an “old order”) but are skeptical of 1848 are hidebound reactionaries even though this farmer and his family are the only ones to have thrown off the chains of autocratic feudalism in all of Europe. It’s tortuous logic, indeed.

What Marx failed to admit here is that the desire to hold on to a little allotment, at a time when Anglo-Germanic-Russian autocracy offered only continued feudalism, contains plenty of socialist revolutionary sentiment. It’s surprising that Marx fails to admit this, because in the Communist Manifesto Marx is clearly not against the property of the allotment farmer: “The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. … Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations.”

Yet it’s clear: upholding 1789 was still a revolutionary act in 1848 Europe. I believe Marx was playing politics – he could not make a tactical support of Louis-Napoleon because he wanted the socialists to win.

Yellow Vest: “The Yellow Vests won’t stop until we get citizen-initiated referendums. We need some real democracy in our system, but the Yellow Vests can’t do it alone. I’m glad more help from other sectors is on the way next week.”

As in the previous chapter, Marx proves that Liberal Democracy does not even offer or defend the bourgeois rights of mere liberalism, but Marx goes too far in saying that the bourgeois have no virtues at all when compared to monarchists.

Marx differentiated between royal & bourgeois money and classes, but not between the differences between royal & bourgeois virtues

Marx views the rule of the bourgeois in the 2nd Republic as absolutely terrible, but it’s not really clear if he views them to be as absolutely terrible as monarchy: he truly hates them both. He also truly hates Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. Marx is only on the side of socialism, which is fine, but he underestimates the non-royalists in how they reject the social order of the royalists, and this is a fundamental trend of history:

“All classes and parties joined hands in the (1848 uprising) June Days in a ‘Party of Order’ against the class of the proletariat, which was designated the ‘Party of Anarchy’, of Socialism, of Communism. They claimed to have ‘saved’ society against the ‘enemies of society’. They gave out the slogans of the old social order – ‘Property, family, religion, order’ – as the passwords for their army, and cried out to the counter-revolutionary crusaders: ‘In this sign thou wilt conquer!’”

I think we all get where Marx is coming from. He is also describing what the last chapter focused on: The February Revolution of 1848 was sold out over and over, culminating in the exclusion from power of all classes but the royalists, bourgeois wealth and the upper professionals.

But if we take a longer view of history we see that those were actually new slogans, as they come from a new liberalist republican mindset – those slogans are not the slogans of monarchy at all!

Autocratic monarchy doesn’t respect “property”: they confiscate and bestow at will. They don’t respect “family”: they enslaved your family, forced you to work in their self-glorifying projects and some had the right to rape your wife on your wedding night. They don’t respect righteous “religion” and good works: they conflate religion with praise of their person and total obedience to them, not God. They don’t respect “order”: the “order” in the mind of one king or queen, i.e. their despotism, is “disorder” to everyone else, as they live in fear of that one mind in charge.

Marx does not see that these 2nd Republic slogans have an actual force among liberalist republicans which was new in human history, even if their definition was misused by the royalists. Marx is making politics and thus was, fairly, more concerned with socialism winning power than delineating a progression of history.

In 2022 no socialist-inspired country is against “property”: it does certainly expropriates from the appropriator those goods which the public needs (i.e. electricity, transport, schools, hospitals, etc.). Socialism does not break up the “family”: it undoubtedly promotes the family with tax breaks for children, state-run nurseries, maternal and paternal leave, etc. Socialism is not against “religion”: the USSR proved that this was an immoral failure, and thus religion coexists in places like Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, etc. Socialism is not against “order”: it enforces an order based around equality, whereas the order of Western Liberal Democracy is based around the violence needed to prop up an oligarchy.

So the problem with the “Property, family, religion, order” upheld by Western Liberal Democracy is that these four things are of the conception held by a 1% who either champions or is still a part of the monarchical legacy, and not for and of the masses. Losing property to the 1%’s usury, losing family to the 1%’s hospital bills, losing religion to the 1%’s worship of individualistic sensation, losing order to the 1%’s idea of “slightly less despotism is offered by rule by our class” – this is not socialism, but it clearly is Western Liberal Democracy.

What the Party of Order did was subvert these ideals which liberalism and socialism, both born in 1789, agree are necessary. What they disagree is in the conception of them.

Where they agree is in a negative view of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

It’s notable that he is so contemptible to Marx yet his Louis-Napoleon’s enemies (François Guizot) said of his coup: “This is the complete and definitive triumph of socialism.” A reassessment of Marx’s animus is clearly needed to clearly understand “the nephew”.

Marx disliked Louis-Napoleon the way a working socialist politician today dislikes Donald Trump

Marx spends an inordinate amount of Brumaire both suppressing the role of the rural masses and elevating the importance of the urban areas, as I have noted. He also repeatedly condemns Louis-Napoleon as the president of the “slum-proletariat”, or what he calls the “La Boheme” social classes: people without merit and without any desire to acquire work skills, combined with pseudo-artistic types, outright criminals and addicts.

And yet Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte seemed to be a man after Marx’s own leftist-writer heart? Sadly, he had the fortune/misfortune of being a Bonaparte. Louis-Napoleon was the son of whom the Dutch called “Louis the Good” – Napoleon’s brother Louis, who headed French Revolutionary Netherlands.

Louis-Napoleon clearly saw his political ideology as perpetuating the middle-of-the-road revolutionary path of Napoleon Bonaparte, which is based around ideas that government exists to serve the masses, stability while implementing progressive political changes, and a healthy and not jingoistic patriotism. A fuller, uncredited definition is: A popular national leader confirmed by popular election, above party politics, promoting equality, progress, and social change, with a belief in religion as an adjunct to the State, a belief that the central authority can transform society, a belief in the “nation” and its glory and a fundamental belief in national unity. I note that Iran’s revolutionary concept of what I term a “supreme leader branch” shares a lot of these characteristics.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s path was quite similar to his uncle’s, and with similar conflicts – he started as a revolutionary republican, fighting Teutonic autocracy in Italy. But his personal attempts at revolution – himself at the head of a Bonapartist revolt – landed him in prison. It’s there that he starts to be much like a Marx – a widely-read socio-economic historian of a leftist variety. An major part of his 1848 electoral popularity is based on his works like The Extinction of Pauperism, which reveal his concern with the general good of the average French person – this puts him in stark contrast with the royalists and elite seated in the 2nd Republic’s first National Assembly in 1849. His philosophy is ultimately not socialism but Bonapartism, with himself obviously at the head – and for this Marx cannot ally with him.

However, equating Bonapartism with absolute monarchism or unelected authoritarianism is as foolish as it was in the era of Napoleon Bonparte. It also cannot be equated with Western Liberal Democracy.

I would like to ask Marx: How bad can Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte be when on October 10, 1851, he announces plans to restore universal suffrage and on October 16 his executive cabinet resigns over it? Marx commented:

Marx quotes Louis Napoleon, who concludes with a perfect analysis of the 1849-51 rule of Western Liberal Democracy, but still with no credit from Marx. I think it’s precisely because he, like so many Western leftists and unlike so many modern Muslim leftists, totally forgets the influence of monarchism:

“With such unhoped for successes, I am justified to repeat how great the French republic would be if she were only allowed to pursue her real interests and reform her institutions, instead of being constantly disturbed in this by demagogues, on one side, and on the other, by monarchic hallucinations. The monarchic hallucinations hamper all progress and all serious departments of industry. Instead of progress we have struggle only. Men, formerly the most zealous supporters of royal authority and prerogative become the partisans of a convention that has no purpose other than to weaken an authority that is born of universal suffrage. We see men who have suffered most from the (1848) revolution and complained bitterest of it proving a new one for the sole purpose of putting fetters on the will of the nation.” (emphasis mine)

Modern Iranians certainly know what it means to be disturbed by “monarchic hallucinations”. Marx failed to appreciate Louis-Napoleon’s railing against the royalist threat even though that is exactly what the average voter in France (a farmer) wanted to hear, because a return to feudalism was horrible to them and quite a real danger. Nor did he appreciate the average voter’s the brand-new goal: ending the self-interested oligarchy which is Western Liberal Democracy.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is an advance in global political history because he is against the total domination of the bourgeois, here in the form of a parliamentary republic, which ended universal suffrage and which dominated in many ways more thoroughly than in absolute autocracy as Marx himself said.

Like his uncle, Louis Napoleon is far from a perfect political hero, but he is no Western Liberal Democrat, nor is he an absolute monarch, nor does he disbelieve in the ideals of 1789 – for that they elected them emperor.

What’s needed in 2022 is not a new emperor, but the reforms which make representative democracy truly representative across the West, and an ousting of all royal/aristocratic/technocratic “hallucinations” of their supposed superiority over people like the Yellow Vests.

Yellow Vests: “Yes, there are many Yellow Vests who are poor and unemployed, but there are countless Yellow Vests who have stable jobs. We are all together regardless of our ethnic or religious background, because the Yellow Vests are the true representative of a united France.”

Appreciating Bonapartism over Western Liberal Democracy isn’t being blind to its failures

Marx’s recap of the historic vote approving Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s self-coup here, which admits that his primary electoral support was the democratic mass:

“Suffice it here to say that it was a reaction of the farmers’ class, who had been expected to pay the costs of the February (1848) revolution against the other classes of the nation: it was a reaction of the country against the city. It met with great favor among the soldiers, to whom the republicans of the ‘National’ (a bourgeois republican newspaper – started by Adolphe Thiers) had brought neither fame nor funds; among the great bourgeoisie who hailed Bonaparte as a bridge to the monarchy; and among the proletarians and small traders, who hailed him as a scourge to Cavaignac. I shall later have occasion to enter closer into the relation of the farmers to the French revolution.”

I began this chapter where Marx concluded – the relation of the farmers to French politics.

At the end of the previous chapter I stressed the importance of Western Liberal Democracy’s first imperialist strongman, Louis-Eugène Cavaignac. He went from being the governor of Algeria to leading the repression of urbanites (“proletarians”) in the June Days of 1848, and thus was despised. The army’s rank and file was full of lower-class men who lacked better job offers precisely because the elites who would staff the 2nd Republic’s unicameral parliament abolished the National Workshops, a fundamental demand of the the revolution, which is what then set off the June Days uprising. So of course they approved of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and opposed the warmongering Cavaignac, probably just as the rank-and-file Western soldier probably opposed Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Indochine, Korea, the Falklands, etc. and etc.).

What Marx wants to stress, necessarily, is that Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was allied with both the rural masses as well as the new rich bourgeois. It’s the same failing of “the uncle”: neither were sincere Jacobins, i.e. socialists; it’s the same virtue – opposing the royalists.

“I have already indicated that, since the entry of Fould (a banker representing the stock exchange) in the Ministry that portion of the commercial bourgeoisie that had enjoyed the lion’s share in Louis Philippe’s reign, to wit, the aristocracy of finance, had become Bonapartist. Fould not only represented Bonaparte’s interests at the Bourse, he represented also the interests of the Bourse with Bonaparte.”

Marx also relates that this new “aristocracy of finance” had also grown to include government bonds – i.e the taxes and money of the people – which remain the lynchpin of the Western economic capitalist system today. The French stock exchange wasn’t until Napoleon Bonaparte – it was a new and slowly growing leviathan, and by 1848 it was able to leave the Bourbons and Orleanists behind.

Marx is relating how by 1851 the financial-industrial-imperialist wealth which had backed the House of Orleans coup in the 1830 Revolution (commonly referred to as the July Revolution) had continued to grow in power to the point where many broke free from the Orleanists to back Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. These two groups worked together, with the rural masses, to push out the Bourbons and the Orleanist monarchical autocrats out of power once and for all.

(I did not cover it in this book, but the July Revolution is often called the Trois Glorieuses in French (“Three Glorious [Days]”). Both terms are less descriptive and more purposely opaque than a contemporary term: the Second French Revolution, as it inspired revolutions in Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and led to the independence of Belgium. The political advance of the July Revolution was slight: replacing the ultra-royalist Charter of 1814, which provided a short bill of rights within a strong monarchy, similar to the UK, with the Charter of 1830, which barely expanded suffrage and loosened press controls. Popular dissatisfaction with the July Monarchy was constant, producing a week of revolution in 1832 (the June Rebellion of 1832/Paris Uprising of 1832), which was the subject of Hugo’s Les Miserables, and then the Revolution of 1848.)

Vitally, Marx believes the experience of the 2nd Republic proved to one and all that Western Liberal Democracy was a total failure, and thus they, too, approved of the self-coup! This is an entirely rational conclusion drawn from his experiences of the time, and in concordance with class warfare – the new royalists + bourgeoisie simply wanted to get back to business, and Western Liberal Democracy was not yet skilled enough to efficiently aid the oligarchy:

“It (the leaders of the “bourgeois republic”) declared unmistakably that it longed to be rid of its own political rule, in order to escape the troubles and dangers of ruling.”

So Marx reported that Western Liberal Democracy went down without a fight.

Marx quotes The Economist from Feb 1851 on Louis-Napoleon’s coup: “Now we have it stated from numerous quarters that France wishes above all things for repose. The president declares it in his message to the Legislative (National) Assembly; it is echoed from the tribune; it is asserted in the journals; it is announced from the pulpit; it is demonstrated by the sensitiveness of the public funds at the least prospect of disturbance, and their firmness the instant it is made manifest that the Executive is far superior in wisdom and power to the factious ex-officials of all former governments.” (emphasis mine)

France was becoming a modern Bankocracy, but royalist hallucinations were slowing this down.

From The Economist in November 1851: “The President is now recognised as the guardian of order on every Stock Exchange of Europe.”

Like in 1799 a Bonaparte was going to win democratic approval by finding a propertied ally against the royalists. In 1799 it was those whose profited from the sale of the assignats – in 1851 it was those who profited from industrial-financial-imperialist wealth. In both cases the peasants and proletariat supported the Bonapartists, even if Marx claims that only the slum-proletariat (and thus not the honest workers and artisans) supported “the nephew”.

Thus the essence of Louis-Napoleon is similar to his uncle’s: A France advancing politically too far ahead of the rest of Europe in 1848 and garnering total enmity, thus acquiescing to only a moderate revolution by 1852. The compromise gives the average Frenchmen unparalleled rights but with a price of not neutering a new, usurious aristocracy.

Thus we now have the essence of Louis-Napoleon: one half is the righteous rejector of Western Liberal Democracy (a parliamentary bourgeois republic) and unelected monarchy in favor of universal suffrage, but the other half is a refusal to tax the wealthy, prohibit the usurious methods of the new financial class against the recently-propertied allotment farmers, resume the National Workshops (which would have reduced the power of the industrial class), or confiscate the wealth of the landed royalists – all the things which 1917, 1949, 1959 and 1979 would do.

Because Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte did not stop the financial oligarchy this happened, Marx wrote in 1871:

“The Second Empire had more than doubled the national debt, and plunged all the large towns into heavy municipal debts. The war had fearfully swelled the liabilities, and mercilessly ravaged the resources of the nation. To complete the ruin, the Prussian Shylock was there with his bond for the keep of half a million of his solders on French soil, his indemnity for 5 billions, and interest at 5 percent on the unpaid instalments thereof. Who was to pay the bill? It was only by the violent overthrow of the (Paris Commune) republic that the appropriators of wealth could hope to shift on to the shoulders of its producers the cost of a war which they, the appropriators, had themselves originated. Thus, the immense ruin of France spurred on these patriotic representatives of land and capital, under the very eyes and patronage of the invader, to graft upon the foreign war a civil war – a slaveholders’ rebellion.”

That is a stunning historical passage which sums up much in 1871, and is addressed in the next chapter on the Paris Commune.

It’s about knowing the real enemies – it is not the Bonapartes

This chapter requires so much Marx because the birth of Western Liberal Democracy was such a rapid failure that it appears complicated. With Marx’s tremendous journalism its lifecycle was made clear.

Facing a reign of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the rural will, the socialist Marx writes:

“All the same, the revolution is thoroughgoing. It still is on its passage through purgatory. It does its work methodically. Down to December 2, 1851, it (the revolution) had fulfilled one-half of its programme, it now fulfils the other half. It first ripens the power of the Legislature into fullest maturity in order to be able to overthrow it. Now that it has accomplished that the revolution proceeds to ripen the power of the Executive into equal maturity; it reduces this power to its purest expression; isolates it; places it before itself as the sole subject for reproof in order to concentrate against it all the revolutionary forces of destruction.”

Marx understood what many have covered up: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte expressed and achieved the total failure of the legislative branch in Western Liberal Democracy – your faith in Congress or the National Assembly or the Parliament of the United Kingdom is a total waste.

We see the reason that Western Liberal Democracy does not wish to remember the 2nd Republic – it was a total failure which saw parliament commit coups agains the constitution and the voters. It took an elected emperor to preserve the progressive idea of expanding democracy. Western Liberal Democracy hasn’t politically allied with the average person from its very beginning.

That passage also reveals Marx’s slandering of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte – he is “the sole subject for reproof” left. For Marx elite English parliamentarianism and been totally discredited – all that was left to do was to discredit the monarchical executive.

Yellow Vests: “People are angry because Macron has only represented just the interests of the rich class, billionaires and the bankers. Last year alone 500,000 more people fell under the poverty line in France, which is a direct result of Macron’s policies.”

Marx, as we will see with Trotsky, believed passionately that monarchy and Liberal Democracy had discredited itself – they were both right, but not enough agree with them. Who knows how many Emmanuel Macrons it will take?

It would take nearly 20 years, not just 3, for Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte to discredit himself and to be replaced by the Socialist Democracy of the Paris Commune.

Louis-Napoleon Bonparte’s real virtue is that he was fighting with the people against the dominant part of the oligarchy – the Bourbons and Orleanists, with all their accumulated wealth and influence. Of course Macron, the “president of the rich”, only fights against the people – he is totally bourgeois, and thus likes any and all rich people.

Macron is thus not like Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, and surely he never aimed to be such a populist. Macron more resembles the key figure from 1871, Adolphe Thiers, who also colluded with foreign powers to weaken France. But that is for the next chapter.

<—>

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

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Chapter List of the new content

The ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’ stillborn child: Western Liberal Democracy

April 07, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

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

The primary cause of the Revolutions of 1848 was the fact that it took 50 years for the sociopolitical ideas of the French Revolution to spread in a Europe dominated by autocratic monarchs. That’s how radical 1789 was, and how slow political history moves.

The secondary cause was the economic changes caused by the refusal to end feudal mindsets anywhere in Europe but in France, and amid the start of industrialisation. 1789 had changed all Europeans, but all monarchs – including the two dynasties in post-Napoleonic France – refused to govern according to the entirely new needs and demands of their citizens. It’s expressed in the primary slogan of 1848, “Bread and work, or lead!”

The primary result of the 1848 Revolutions was total failure everywhere but France. 1848 provided new upheavals to replace Europe’s memories of the Seven European Wars Against the French Revolution (1792-1815), and what replaced them was even worse absolute monarchies. Political gatherings and demonstrations were outlawed, censorship was not just rampant but total – in short, all European political life was back to where it was in 1847: underground, publicly nonexistent and ruthlessly repressed. There was no revolution – an accurate reading of European history would call this period the “Counter-Revolutions of 1848”.

So why isn’t it called that? For the same reason behind this long historical preface before an analysis of the achievements of the Yellow Vests: Western mainstream history and education is a catastrophe of elite bias and propaganda.

The secondary result of the Revolutions of 1848 was the very first establishment, and immediate popular rejection, of what we can finally start calling Western Liberal Democracy. It would last just three years before a coup against it was popularly approved 11 to 1 in what was then the largest democratic vote ever in history. It took just three years for Western Liberal Democracy to prove to voters its total, eternal inability to care for the masses and not for an elitist oligarchy.

This chapter will make that conclusion perfectly clear not only because we have 175 years of hindsight, but because we have the world-shattering journalism and analysis of one Karl H. Marx. His on-the-ground analysis of the actions of 1848 would shape politics for over a century, and inspire both true socialists and socialists-turned-fascists into breaking with Western Liberal Democracy.

Napoleon always draws the crowds – his nephew? Few even know he had one who was important. In between Napoleon’s demise and World War One there is an abyss of historical understanding in the West. In fact, they are instructed to not think of this era as significant at all – this chapter hopes to explain why.

Marx on France: The only country that mattered in 1848… and 1849

Simply look at the results:

Italy carried the torch of 1789 the most. After initially giving false hope, the Pope openly said that the Papacy could not be the leader of a unified Italian state. His refusal to mix religion and politics, even in a country which was so overwhelmingly of the same religion, was a major error. After 1848 the Papacy became totally anti-liberal, anti-national and supportive of absolutist regimes.

Hungary gave up after their ethnic-based revolt failed to take root – unsurprisingly – with the rest of the extremely multiethnic Hapsburg empire. Indeed, many seem to think that Germanic racial elitism was founded by Adolf Hitler?

Revolutionary France had ended the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, but the autocratic Hapsburgs held on after 1848 – the counter-revolutionary victory was primarily theirs… it’s a common theme.

Tsarist Russia was not affected by 1848. They would, in large part to keep Prussia weak, prop up their Austrian autocratic brethren.

Just like in the aftermath of Russia’s 1917 success, and the 1930s, and the Great Recession, Germany totally disappointed. The Germans were especially brutal in repressing their revolutions, and it would require World War One to finally end German despotism, at least in the monarchical form.

Yellow Vest: “We were so numerous in the beginning, but when people began to see how violent and ferocious the government repressed the Yellow Vests, then many got too scared to protest. The government did everything they could to make us disappear, just so they can govern us according to their selfish whims.”

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

The broad outline of what happened across Europe in the year of 1848 is simply this: The nouveau riche, professional, and managerial classes were always quite content with mere liberal reformism, which was opposed by the monarchists. Those three groups initially allied with the artisans and students to push back against Anglo-Germanic-Russian enforced absolutism and repression. When this “bourgeois” triumvirate got the mild reformism they wanted (i.e. rights for themselves) these “liberal reformists” would no longer support the artisans and students – of course they never wanted to ally for long with the peasants and proletariat. They instead supported repression of the artisans, students and lower classes, and thus we have the Counter-Revolutions of 1848. These liberal reformers never wanted a revolution, but merely a bill of rights for rich people against autocratic monarchy. As all mere reformists do, they refused to incarcerate, confiscate or execute the counter-revolutionaries, and thus the counter-revolution won, as it always will when facing half-hearted reformism. 1848 stands as proof that the alleged heroes of liberalist reformism are actually right-wingers opposed to actual democracy.

The tertiary result of 1848 was the growth of nationalism, but rarely pointed out in the Anglo-Saxon world is that this nationalism was required to expel Anglo-Germanic theocratic autocrats. We certainly can’t blame the French revolutionaries who departed decades ago, but after planting the seed of anti-feudalism, anti-monarchism and patriotic pride. The rebellions across Europe were against the poor governance of the aristocratic oligarchies who had colluded to wipe out 1789. Some leftists see this rise of nationalism as a bad thing, but they have totally lost the thread.

1848 addressed the “political question”, of how governance should be arranged, and everywhere but France failed to install something which anyone could call “progressive”. Furthermore, France’s revolutionary victory also allowed for the first political discussions of the “social question” – how shall we transfer socially from feudal monarchy: liberal capitalism or socialism? – to be addressed and fought out in their new political structure. At least it was assumed at the start of 1848 that this would be a fair fight!

It took France 33 years (the length of a human generation), from the fall of Napoleon until 1848, for the French to get rid of an unelected executive – once again they were alone in this achievement. Universal (male) suffrage was also spectacularly achieved for the first time, as was the founding of a “right to work”. While all other Europeans gave up achieving any move away from pathetic monarchy France founded the 2nd Republic.

French history from the fall of Napoleon, and thus the end of the French Revolution, until 1848 can be quickly summarised: In 1815 Napoleon was imprisoned on St. Helena, and the Bourbons returned after having fled, again. The Bourbons only ruled until 1830, when Louis Philippe I of the House of Orleans was installed during that year’s “July Revolution”. For France 1848 was the result of 18 years of awful neglect from the Orleanists, who cared only about bleeding the country dry at the behest of the burgeoning financial elite, as it was this “bourgeois” who helped push the House of Orleans into power. 1848 deposed the House of Orleans, and France looked forward this new system we term “Western Liberal Democracy” – they would be disappointed.

In a country with universal male suffrage you would think the new parliament would endeavour to represent the interests of the masses, no? If so, you misunderstand who Western Liberal Democracy aims to serve. Marx summarised the Second Republic thusly, and according to his ideas of political progression: “Under the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe only the bourgeois republic could follow; that is to say, a limited portion of the bourgeoisie, having (from 1830-48) ruled under the name of the king, now the whole bourgeoisie was to rule under the name of the people.

Western Liberal Democracy inevitably turns out that way, but the revolutionaries of 1848 had certainly expected some power and wealth to be devolved to them. In a truly post-feudal France former serfs now had higher opinions of their value to society, their right to earn bread to eat, wanted the necessary stability provided by central planning, social welfare, etc. However, while the souls of the French serfs had grown, the power of the new financial-oriented class had grown at a usurious rate! This is thanks to the start of industrialisation, but also to the usurious abuses of the serfs-turned-sharecroppers. I say “start of industrialisation” because at the time of Napoleon the average workshop had just four workers and the only large businesses were arms manufacturers – not so 30 years later.

As the short-lived 2nd Republic progressed it became clear that this new form of governance was only there to benefit the old landed royalists, the post-1492 corporate trading enterprises and these new “bourgeois” industrialists and rentiers. The 2nd Republic is the start of when powers began to slowly stop being royal and start being monetary powers – when power became corporatised. This is what makes 1848 France so vital to understanding the 21st century.

Yellow Vests: “Our system has become totally rotten. They make the laws to suit their own needs, or the needs of corporations, and they have done nothing to resolve the huge problems of the average person. This is why the Yellow Vests will keep marching in the streets.”

It took the French three years to learn this, then to clear a path for 1848’s popularly-elected president to bloodlessly abolish the always-oligarchical parliament of Western Liberal Democracy. That president was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose father was Louis “the Good” Bonaparte, who was appointed King of Holland in 1806 in a failed bid to make the Batavian Republic less subject to monarchical attacks.

The above analysis which condemns Western Liberal Democracy is why this chapter is needed: The mainstream historical analysis of 1848-52 France places way too much emphasis on economic changes – i.e. the industrial revolution – and the alleged dictatorship of a guy who was elected because stupid French hillbillies thought an elderly Napoleon had broken free from St. Helena. This faulty analysis exists because it allows for the sidestepping of what actually happened politically: the mismanagement of France’s first Western Liberal Democrats, their obvious bias against the bottom 90%, and the eventual rejection of this form of governance which only entrenched inequality and created regular crises.

On the social level what they were pushing for in 1848, but what the 2nd Republic failed to legislate, is what postwar Europe looks like! The revolutionaries of 1848 were proven right, and that can’t be disproven.

1848-1948 was an awful century for the European masses, but also the masses everywhere else – European imperialism created the tragedies, famines and inequalities which literally moulded a new “Third World”: prior to 1848 a peasant in Europe was in the same socioeconomic condition as a peasant in India, China, Latin America, etc.

Yellow Vest: “The movement will hold firm in the future. It will not disappear because their demands are so very solid and true. There are real reasons for a revolution in France, and we will always continue to play our part.”

Learning how the 1848 Revolution got off-track in the country where it had its greatest success is a major key to understanding governments of today, because it is this form of government which has ultimately prevailed despite instant and lasting popular disapproval!

Thus, the ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’, indeed.

Marx’s genius: tying together 1848 and 1789, which is the only way to understand 1848

There are three critical contributions Marx made to the understanding of France’s 1848-52 period. They are so critical because they illustrate how Western Liberal Democracy starts with fake-leftism and ends in oligarchy over and over and over. It should be considered quite important that the complaints of the 2nd Republic are the exact same as the ones heard today!

Firstly, Marx condensed the economic evolution of France in a time when society and economics were changing rapidly even without the complications of a successful 1848 revolution. He laid out how class economic interests twisted the 2nd Republic into something which nobody who was actually at the barricades would have fought for.

Shortly after the February Revolution of 1848 forced the abdication of the House of Orleans the “June Days” uprising scared the royalists and bourgeois republicans (i.e. anti-monarchists) to unite into the “Party of Order”. The Bourbons – who represented the power of landed property, the oldest basis of money – finally ended their royal squabbles with the Orleanists – who were installed to defend the increased power of nouveau riche industrial/financial property. This new unity is what Marx meant by writing, “…landed property has become completely bourgeois through the development of modern society.” Gone were disputes of old or nouveau – it was just riche versus poor. Thus, 1848 in France is the birth of modern class warfare – and the rich started it!

Secondly, Marx condensed what actually took place in the hectic few years after the 1848 Revolution, which culminated in the popular vote which sanctioned the coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte against the unicameral National Assembly. Marx’s charted the lifecycle of this new political structure, and how it discredited itself via the same oligarchical flaws which are eternally apparent in this system.

Thirdly, Marx showed how the new professional politicians, doctors, small-town lawyers, bank managers and other professional-types, who are the cadres in this new Western Liberal Democracy, joined with the richer categories of wealth (royalist, usurious, landed wealth and financial, means-of-production wealth) to engage in a style of governance which put all their own interests first and demonised the interests of anyone else as “socialism!”. Yes, as epitomised in the awful politics of the United States 175 years later, Marx was flabbergasted to see even calls for the most basic reforms and moves to reduce inequality tarred as “evil socialism” at the very first implementation of Western Liberal Democracy. Marx goes even further to permanently indict Liberal Democracy as being far inferior to Social Democracy. This is an old debate, and it should have been decided in the latter’s favor by 1852 France.

By succinctly condensing – in just the one paragraph below – Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the voter-backed coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1852, all three historical contributions will be made clear.

An uprising truly led by the people (i.e. a popular revolution) in February 1848 forced out King Louis Philippe of the Orleanists, but the modern leftist demands of the people would be betrayed by June. The people’s hopes for a “Democratic and Social Republic” were sold out by the Social Democrats, mostly the small traders who were content with cementing the unprecedented achievement of universal male suffrage. However, the Social Democrats were soon sold out by the bourgeois republicans – those richer cadres of Western Liberal Democracy – who don’t really want universal suffrage but merely liberal rights for the upper class only. However, the republican bourgeois are sold out by the “Party of Order” coalition in parliament, half of which still wants a royalist restoration and the other half of which wants a republic but cares not much for liberal rights, and especially universal suffrage. This faction prevails and eventually guts universal suffrage, and votes the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – i.e. a true legislative coup against the people. Good news! After three years of inefficiency, grandstanding and state-sponsored looting of the country’s natural, social and labor resources the “Party of Order” is sold out by the Bonapartist party – the National Assembly is dissolved, and what is restored is a Bonapartist idea of a popularly-elected emperor who puts the will and good of the nation first.

This is why Marx famously wrote his opening lines in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (18th Brumaire is the French revolutionary calendar date for the coup of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799of history repeating itself as farce: instead of the revolution trending upwards in the first several years with leftist successes, as in 1789-94, a similar time period in 1848 sees sees failure. “Accordingly, the revolution moves on a downward line. It finds itself in this retreating motion before the last February-barricade is kicked away.… ”

Having condensed Marx’s timeline of 1848, his comparison with the timeline of 1789 will be especially illuminating of both 1789 and 1848. This book does not dissect the pre-Napoleonic events of 1789-94, in large part because they have been perfectly analysed by Marx in one paragraph. I include in parenthetical my explanations of key 1789 terms/parties which may not be fully known by the average reader (Marx is in bold)

In the first French revolution, upon the reign of the Constitutionalists (i.e., the start of the French Revolution via forcing the king to accept a constitution and to renounce total autocracy. Napoleon Bonaparte’s commitment to constitutionalism is precisely what made him a true political revolutionary of his day.) is succeeded by the Girondins (Truly the early martyrs of today’s Western Liberal Democrats. Most were from the department of Gironde, home of France’s slave-trade capital – Bordeaux -, and were committed to the free market, decentralisation and imperialist war. It’s decapitating them which Westerners call the “Reign of Terror”, precisely because neo-Girondins are what still rule in the West in the modern era. Napoleon Bonaparte clearly supported the Jacobins’ right to govern, fought against these rebels for years, was friends with Augustin Robespierre, etc.) and upon the reign of the Girondins follows that of the Jacobins. Each of these parties rests upon its more advanced element. … Just the reverse in 1848.”

It’s clear why outside of France the “Revolutions of 1848” are such a failure, but why is the French Revolution of 1848 such a failure for Marx? It’s because he was so very anti-Bonapartist. Marx was living in Paris during this era, after all, so we can understand his bias – we, however, do not. In 2022 it seems like a major mistake which loses the thread of political history: moving away from autocracy. I’ll deeply criticise his overly-strong condemnation of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in the next chapter, but what’s needed first is his analysis of France from 1848-52 – it’s critical because it is so reminiscent of Western politics today!

Both revolutionary eras fought against the very same political principle: autocracy, anti-democracy and the rule of an aristocratic elite. The Yellow Vest fight in the exact same way, even if the autocracy is only slightly less barbaric, although you should tell that to one of the many mutilated Yellow Vests.

What happened to France’s progressive revolution of 1848, then? Western Liberal Democracy happened!

The short answer is that Marx places the blame for the failure of 1848 on the half-revolutionary actions of France’s left wing in 1848, as well as the role played by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the above section I related in one paragraph Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the popular coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. A bit more information is needed on the major political events in between that start and finish.

The February Revolution of 1848 re-ended monarchy, but April’s voting results saw the new constituent (temporary) Assembly filled with royalists, elite and professionals who did not incarnate the socialistic demands which had propelled the popular revolution: the opposition to free markets and the demand for government works to create jobs. National Workshops had been immediately created in 1848 in order to fulfil the “right to work” and thus introduce governmental central planning into the economy.

So one should imagine the hundreds of thousands of workers now trying to ply a trade in Paris while, concurrently, the new temporary parliament to draw up a new constitution is full of capitalistic Western Liberal Democrats. Naturally, the people saw they were getting left behind. On May 15 a leftist demonstration entered and dissolved this temporary National Assembly. The National Guard – which had always played the decisive role in French revolutionary affairs – sided against the protesters. The ardent republicans and protest leaders were arrested; a banker would be installed as the new Paris Chief of Police; a lawyer would now head the restored Assembly.

In June the conservative National Assembly announced that the National Workshops would be closed, and the newly-unemployed workers could either join the army or go back home to the provinces – this sparked the June Days uprising. We see here how Western Liberal Democracy is never – not from it’s very earliest days – going to allow anything but an “invisible hand” to guide the economy, and also that imperialist war (which is not at all revolutionary war) is its primary answer to the economic question. Over 10,000 people were massacred, or 60% as many as were guillotined during the “Reign of Terror” (but without any trial). It also marks the last time French Catholic clergy tried to play a role in elections: The Archbishop of Paris literally entered into the Paris street fray as a mediator – he was shot, almost certainly by the conservative forces. The popular revolution was thus ended: death, prison and exile to Algeria for the leftists.

Yet the trader-class Social Democrats did not condemn the repression – they threw their weight behind November’s Constitution of 1848, which granted universal male suffrage. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected in December, and like his uncle he took a middle-of-the-road pro-revolutionary approach: he was neither like the leftist socialist candidates, nor the anti-socialist/pro-republican army chief who led the June Days repression, nor a liberalist lawyer. Marx was unwilling to reconcile with Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who was also a leftist writer – his most famous book was the pro-working class The Extinction of Pauperism, which undoubtedly helps explain his massive victory.

After Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected 1850-onwards was an ineffective and nation-destroying combat between the executive and the legislative branch:

The legislative branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – lost all popular support by rejecting to represent the populace and not just the upper class. The popular, bloodless coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would be deemed “fascism installed by country rednecks”, and Marx’s own analysis is very similar to that, sadly.

The executive branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – would jealously fight to acquire as much autocratic, dictatorial powers as it could, and employ jingoistic, imperialist wars to win popular opinion while mostly advancing the needs of the elite.

It took only three years to realise such a system was unworkable, and yet is this not still the alleged apex of governmental structure and efficiency for Western Liberal Democrats of today?

Yellow Vest: “After three years nothing has changed, except for the fact that things have gotten even worse for the average French person. Life has gotten so much more expensive, but Macron doesn’t care. Macron doesn’t see the demands of the Yellow Vests, or even the French people, as worthy of his attention.”

Weak leftism against a strong executive – France has the same problem today

In May 1849 the first National Assembly of the 2nd Republic was officially seated. This Assembly would eventually go on to approve total non-support for any other popular revolution sweeping Europe; to ban the reborn Sans-Culottes and other political parties; similar to Macron today, they would end the longtime practice of the National Assembly hearing petitions from grassroots special interest groups.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would immediately use foreign war to establish to the “Party of Order”, which had 64% of seats, that he, too, was a mighty man of (executive) “Order”. Even before the new parliament sat he violated the new constitution’s prohibition of military interference in the freedom of other nations by bombarding Rome to prop up an exiled Pope. This was at the expense of the nascent but doomed Roman Republic, which did not have popular support – it would have been nice if the Marxists had won, but it just wasn’t possible until 1917. This does not make either Bonaparte the equivalent of an absolute monarch, one must point out. France had arrived expected to be received as liberators, and also sought to prevent an invasion by Austria.

The opposition Mountain Party, with 26% of seats, who were republicans and neo-Jacobins, boldly voted to impeach Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been elected by a whopping 75% landslide. Propping up the Pope was popular among the average person, and now France’s “left party” (though actually petit-bourgeois small traders and minor professionals) were taking on an extremely popular president?

What cannot be disputed is how ineffectually the Mountain Party fought their fight. Marx’s superb analysis will remind people of the halfhearted, non-revolutionary struggle of fake-leftist parties across Western Liberal Democracy. We should remember that Marx was living in Paris at this time. He surely must have hoped that the Mountain were genuine leftists – after all, “fake-leftism” in a Western Liberal Democratic context had not yet ever been seen!

Following the Mountain’s impeachment vote the unarmed protests of June 1849 were held. The National Guard was there – in uniform, but unarmed. This pacifistic decision was fatal: they had no way to defend themselves from the subsequent army attack. The demonstration ended in total failure – it was the last “Revolutionary Day” of the 2nd Republic – and there were no casualties. Marx writes: “The chief error of the ‘Mountain’ was its certainty of being victorious.” (emphasis his). I don’t think France has had an official “Revolutionary Day” since, and probably because most French don’t know this history either?

Marx saw that the real leftism had been chopped out of the Mountain by the June Days of 1848 and replaced with smug, ultimately conservative, sense of false certainty. He saw these fake-leftists were doomed precisely because they accepted Western Liberal Democratic terms:

“If the Mountain wished to win in parliament, it should not appeal to arms; if it called to arms in parliament, it should conduct itself in a parliamentary way in the street; if the friendly demonstration was meant seriously, it was silly not to foresee that it would meet with a warlike reception; if it was intended for actual war, it was rather original to lay aside the weapons with which war had to be conducted. But the revolutionary threats of the middle class and of their democratic representatives are mere attempts to frighten an adversary….”

This certainly describes France’s union-led demonstrations and the “walks in a park” which are other European Social Democrat-led demonstrations. This same entrapping logic is what the Yellow Vests are told to submit to and what they still so bravely faced down Saturday after Saturday.

Yellow Vests: “France is waking up. The government continues to accuse all of us of being Black Bloc or thugs to make the country turn against us. But we are all united to prevent the destruction of France, and this unity will continue to increase.”

The “superstitious spell” the National Guard had on the French imagination – i.e. its ability to sway the army to back the people and the elite – was crucially broken here. They would be suppressed under Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and then banned at the start of the Third Republic in 1871, when Western Liberal Democrats would wrest back control from the Louis-Napoleon and the Bonapartists, who also existed in the interim between the two Bonpartes.

A clear difference between imperialist Liberal Democracy and anti-imperialist Social Democracy: the former clearly uses foreign war to gut the possibility of a marital spirit which would protect the rights of the people domestically. It also uses perpetual imperialist war to insist that such domestic rights are not convenient, and that such discussions certainly cannot involve anything but words.

The subsequent crackdown caused the remaining true leftist politicians, including many in the Mountain Party, and journalists to be arrested or go into exile – Marx went to London. With the real left gone the new Mountain Party was no opposition. The National Assembly embarked on a series of right-wing measures which turned everyone against them.

On June 13, 1848 they voted the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – it was a coup against the constitutional rights of the people.

So, indeed, did the republic understand it, to-wit, that the bourgeois ruled here in parliamentary form, without, as in the monarchy, finding a check in the veto of the Executive power, or the liability of parliament to dissolution. It was a ‘parliamentary republic’, as Thiers styled it.”

Thus we see the true emergence of the unstated dream of Western Liberal Democracy: a country ruled by a parliament of the rich; an expansion of absolute monarchy to a tiny coterie of aristocratic elite.

The last straw would come on May 31, 1850, when the assembly would vote to drastically undermine universal suffrage by millions of voters. Marx wrote, “The law of May 31, 1850, was the ‘coup d’etat’ of the bourgeoisie.” Against the voters, he means.

Thus the first coup in the 2nd Republic was actually made by the parliamentarians and not Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte! Bonaparte would restore universal suffrage, to his great credit.

Those two crucial facts are always left out of any discussion of the 2nd Republic and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” (a coup where a legally-elected executive dissolves the legislative branch). In 2022 they should drastically change our assessment of him, and break from Marx’s negative, rather biased view.

That requires the next chapter – Louis-Napoleon: Confirmation of the revolutionary difference between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy.

From the beginning Western Liberal Democracy showed what it wanted: A country ruled by a parliament of and for the rich

Marx writes in summation of the political discussion permitted in the first Western Liberal Democracy:

“Whether the question was the right of petition or the duty on wine, the liberty of the press or free trade, clubs or municipal laws, protection of individual freedom or the regulation of national economy, the slogan returns ever again, the theme is monotonously the same, the verdict is ever ready and unchanged: Socialism! Even bourgeois liberalism is pronounced socialistic; socialistic, alike, is pronounced popular education; and likewise, socialistic national financial reform. It was socialistic to build a railroad where already a canal was; and it was socialistic to defend oneself with a stick when attacked with a sword.

This was not a mere form of speech, a fashion nor yet party tactics. The bourgeois receives correctly that all the weapons which it forged against feudalism thorn their edges against itself; that all the means of education which it brought forth rebel against its own civilisation; that all the gods which it made have fallen away from it. It understands that all its so-called citizens’ rights and progressive organs assail and menace its class rule, both in its social foundation and its political superstructure – consequently have become ‘socialistic’. It justly scents in this menace and assault the secret of Socialism, whose meaning and tendency it estimates more correctly than the spurious so-called Socialism is capable of estimating itself and which, consequently, is unable to understand how it is that the bourgeoisie obdurately shuts up its ears to it, alike whether it sentimentally whines about the sufferings of humanity; or announces in Christian style the millennium and universal brotherhood; or twaddles humanistically about the soul, culture and freedom; or doctrinally matches out a system of harmony and well-being for all classes. What, however, the bourgeoisie does not understand is the consequence that its own parliamentary regime, its own political reign, is also of necessity bound to fall under the general ban of ‘socialistic’. (Emphasis mine)

If you still believe in Liberal Democracy, may I suggest you read that again.

Not only does Marx show that Western Liberal Democracy refuses to protect the rights which Western Liberal Democracy claims to have created and to believe in, but that Western Liberal Democracy is a phoney “third way”: there is either socialism or autocracy/oligarchy/fascism.

“Accordingly, by now persecuting as Socialist what formerly it had celebrated as Liberal the bourgeoisie admits that its own interest orders it to raise itself above the danger of self government….” Western Liberal Democracy is not a resolution to class warfare, like Socialist Democracy claims to be, but the permanent institution of class warfare with the express goal of government by an elite.

“The parliamentary regime leaves everything to the decision of majorities – how can the large majorities beyond the parliament be expected not to wish to decide?” The parliamentarianism of Western Liberal Democracy is false and unrepresentative, culminating in rule by parties which are controlled by the elite. This is unlike the parliaments in Socialist Democracy, where cobblers become parliamentarians, as in Cuba’s 2018 legislative vote.

No wonder Western schools don’t want to discuss this era!

By examining the era of 1848-52 we see that Western Liberal Democracy totally discredited itself out of the gate, and that we have the same problems as we did 175 years ago: it is autocracy improved into aristocratic rule, but never popular rule. Western Liberal Democracy is so undemocratic that it is not even worthy of the moniker “Western Liberal Democracy”!

Thus the Revolution of 1848 in France was a success – ouster of an unelected king, universal male suffrage, installation of a new political system. It culminated in the 1852 referendum on Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” against parliament, and the replacement of the 2nd Republic with the 2nd Empire, to be headed by the new “Napoleon III”. It was approved by 97% of voters with 80% turnout. Over 8 million Frenchmen wanted to vote, and they only could in 19th century France by agreeing that the Bonapartist vision of the French Revolution was the only way to maintain the gains of the French Revolution amid a continent of absolute monarchy and failed revolutionaries AND by rejecting the Western Liberal Democracy of the 2nd Republic.

1848 succeed in France precisely because voters rejected Western Liberal Democracy entirely. Four years to figure it out is not so bad at all?

Thus the period between the 2nd and 3rd Republics is falsely slandered as being equivalent to all the other monarchies of the time. We have been through this before: we are talking about an elected Bonaparte, who naturally was detested by his autocratic contemporaries everywhere else in the region. History is repeated as farce in the modern leftist rejection of both Bonapartes, not in the difference between 1789 and 1848.

Without embracing the will of the inherently progressive French electorate – inherent because there was no other mass electorate at this time – and their eventual selection of the Bonapartes, we are stuck with siding with awful absolute monarchs or awful Liberal Democrats.

Absolute monarchy reigned long after 1848. The slighted Western Liberal Democrat, with all their arrogance, remained non-plussed, as Marx noted: “At all events the (social) democrat comes out of the disgraceful defeat as immaculate as he innocently went into it….” In 1871 the collusion of these two forces with Germany against both Social Democracy and Bonapartism/French Revolutionism led to the traitorous sieging of Paris (the Paris Commune) and then the restoration of Western Liberal Democracy, sadly.

However, in 2022 we must reject Marx’s condemnation and consider the Revolutions of 1848 a success in France. The preservation of universal male suffrage was a spectacular advance from the rest of Europe. This advance alone allows us to clearly see that the ideals of 1789 and the movement away from autocracy still progressed.

But 1848 was an advance for an even greater reason: it allowed the first implementation of modern Western Liberal Democracy… and its endemic flaws were immediately revealed. It became clear that Socialist Democracy was the only true solution – thus the Paris Commune – if one wants broad prosperity, stability and equality for the average person. Those who don’t realise that are stuck in a useless doom loop of 1849-52.

The rise of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is not as thrilling as that of his uncle’s – the former merely came to power via the vote. He is a modern politician, with plenty of flaws, but the French at the time knew he was a progressive option compared to absolute monarchy or Western Liberal Democracy.

The Algeria section

Before we get into Marx’s failure to appreciate the achievements of France’s 1848 Revolution and the rule of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in opposition to Western Liberal Democracy, we must briefly analyse Marx’s failure to take account of the role the conquest of Algeria played on the French mainland’s politics in 1848.

Marx’s focus was more on banking and industrial systems, instead of imperialism. It’s a significant omission: the treasures, resources and stolen wages of imperialism are enormous – we are talking of the gains of impoverishing an entire country. But where Marx really failed was in not noting the enormous political-cultural impact of being a coloniser.

What the events of 1848 proved, and which Marx failed to note, was how Western Liberal Democracy works hand in hand with militaristic imperialism to repress their nation’s own masses. This is an incredibly important analysis to take from 1848 because the French army went from being a Revolutionary Army in 1789 to an imperialist army in 1830.

The colonisation of Algeria was of an entirely different order than the colonisation of the New World, and we must delineate this difference: the colonisation of a Mediterranean space which saw Marseilles and Algiers socially interact for over two millennia is not at all the same thing as a (ignorant) Western perception of heathen savages who need to be converted. Yes, France had other imperialist domains but we cannot underestimate the power of French Algeria in French history from 1830 until today.

Algeria was invaded in 1830 to distract from and eventually legitimise the take-over by the House of Orleans, which ended the Bourbon Restoration since 1815 – this invasion happened at precisely the same time as the fall of Algiers. The finances and internal prestige of Louis Philippe I was enormously supplemented domestically by the occupation of Algeria. This new “imperialist class” was too ignored by Marx in the French events of 1848.

A proof of the political-cultural impact of this new “imperialist class” is found in the person of Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, who went directly from being governor of Algeria to quelling the June 1848 uprising. He was as vital a player in 1848 and beyond as anyone save Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom he finished second in the 1848 presidential election. As Marx noted: “Cavaignac, the General of the bourgeois republican party, who commanded at the battle of June, stepped into the place of the Executive Committee with a sort of dictatorial power.” The election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in December would end this dictatorship, but not before the imperialist Cavaignac ruled over the drafting of the November constitution which gave the elite class ruling power over France. This is not a small thing!

The person of Cavaignac thus represents the new capitalist-imperialist rot which would turn against its own people, like a CRS riot cop who aimed his rubber bullet gun at the faces of Yellow Vests. Marx fails to emphasise that it is the imperialism against Muslim Algeria which provided this muscle to topple 1848. Or that the beloved National Guard was sapped by this imperialist deployment. Or that French culture had certainly become hardened by a war which was not waged at all for progressive revolution.

Romaric Godin, economics reporter at top French media Mediapart, in his book La guerre social en France (The Social War in France) recognised Cavaignac’s import (even if Godin does not recognise the importance of imperialism) as both a new type of politician and its clear parallel with Emmanuel Macron. Godin wrote: “Democratic authoritarianism is that of Cavaignac in 1848 and Adolphe Thiers (the future president of the 3rd Republic who colluded with Bismarck to siege Paris) of 1871: that which uses the entire legislative capacity to repress opposition. This sort of abuse is sanctioned by the law and thus is perfectly legal.”

Western Liberal Democracy actually begins with Cavaignac, who suppressed those calling for Socialist Democracy, the National Workshops and a role for the peasants and the proletariat in politics in June 1848. We can draw a straight line from him to Macron’s crushing of the Yellow Vests, and both men are garlanded by Western Liberal “Democracy”.

Indeed, more and more seem willing to call 21st century France “democratic authoritarianism”. Muslim Algerians knew it back in 1830, and by 1848 everyone knew that authoritarianism is what Western Liberal Democracy has always truly been.

<—>

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

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Chapter List of the new content

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

Modern political history makes no sense if Napoleon is not a leftist revolutionary

April 02, 2022

Source

By Ramin Mazaheri

“The peasant was a Bonapartist because the Great Revolution, with all its benefits to him, was, in his eyes, personified in Napoleon.” – Karl Marx

(This is the third 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.)

To be against Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century was to totally reject grassroots, democratic French opinion, and thus to be against the French Revolution itself. It was to cede the view of Napoleon Bonaparte to his enemies: the English snob, an in-bred Austrian king, a colluding and traitorous Italian noble, a Hungarian aristocrat, etc.

Modern Western political history simply makes no sense – it loses the thread of expanding power away from the absolute ruler – if we do not take the view that Napoleon Bonaparte was a leftist, as his citizen contemporaries did. Making Napoleon a demon of bloodlust and ambition, just another fascistic military man, a secret reactionary, etc. – all is designed to obscure the importance of 1789 and to reverse it.

The willing desire to lose the thread of progressive history was especially evident in the awful reporting surrounding the 200th anniversary of his death, in 2021. The coverage in France was surprising sparse and can be summed up with three words: “tyrant” and “controversial legacy”. A fake-leftist, and thus totally deluded, view was routinely proffered, typified by state media France24’s article: “Napoleon: Military genius or sexist, slaving autocrat?”

The official anti-Napoleon smokescreen was personified by President Emmanuel Macron’s speech on the bicentenary, which ended with: “I have no intention to say if Napoleon realised or instead betrayed revolutionary values. I will of course steer clear of such territory.” Of course he will steer clear – Western Liberal Democrats always do, because they are the ones who work to ensure that the revolutionary values of 1789 are never realised.

Here is your simplest retort to those who accuse “tyrant”: Napoleon was voted First Consul for life and then emperor by millions of people, and the “voted” part is what made it these appointments spectacular political advances for its era. The other monarchs of this era were merely more unelected dictators. Secondly, his constitutions were also ratified by many millions – another spectacular leftist advance. These things simply cannot be dismissed because it would be more than a century before they would be emulated in most of Europe. The number of referendums on monarchy in global history only total a few dozen, and nearly all were after 1950.

Simply ask if the king of Saudi Arabia, Morocco or the behind-the-scenes monarchs of Europe would ever put themselves to a public vote? When it comes to the schism between the Muslim and Western worlds perhaps the single largest problem is that the latter totally forgets the violent threat, the crude insult, the perpetual crime which is hereditary monarchy. Because the West forgets this they also fatally misunderstand their own European history since 1789, and they fail to see Napoleon Bonaparte as a leftist hero.

Making Napoleon Bonaparte worse than his absolute monarch peers is a preposterous revision of history and totally excludes the political view of the European peasant and working class. Ask a subject who never voted for his monarch: There is no “controversial legacy”.

Yellow Vest: “We are here to protest against the abusive government and this kingship-presidency of Emmanuel Macron. The Yellow Vests are here to promote a true vision of democracy and to redistribute our nation’s wealth. Every election there is more and more abstention because people don’t believe in mainstream politics anymore.”

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

What an objective view reveals is this: Revolutionary France saw not just one but seven “Coalition Wars” to restore monarchy, privilege, feudalism, torture, inequality, racism and the oppression of an aristocratic elite. From 1792-1815 Europe’s elite refused to make peace with the socio-political advances of the French Revolution, which the French people democratically chose again and again and again. England was the only nation which participated in every war, and it repeatedly paid off other nations to join them.

The simplest retort to those who call the French Revolution “imperialist” is this: The French Revolutionary Empire at its greatest height – in 1808 – was the result of defensive wars which it won. All the Empire’s territory was gained as punishment for aggressive wars against France or lost by rebelling populaces choosing to side with France, with the sole exception of Portugal. All seven Coalition Wars were attacks on France, all to prevent democracy from spreading across autocratic Europe.

The “Napoleonic Wars” have absolutely no reason to be set off from the more accurate “European Wars Against the French Revolution” unless that reason is obfuscation. This 23-year period must be looked at as a whole, because it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Napoleon in charge or not as long as the ideals of the French Revolution were being employed – the Revolution would have always been aggressed. Like Iran, Cuba and the USSR know, 23 years of military invention by royalists or Western Liberal Democrats to stifle progressive, anti-elite political systems is simply de rigeur.

This chapter is not a whitewashing of Napoleon Bonaparte, but a refusal to say that his entire revolutionary career from 1789 to 1815 should be judged on the basis of the last few years. Napoleon’s primary leftist and anti-revolutionary failure was his development of dynastic intentions. However, we are not taking about this turn to personal gain until 1810, when he married Marie-Louise, a princess of the Austrian Hapsburgs, the corrupt and wasteful absolute monarch ruler of most of the continent. In Napoleon: The Myth of the Savior, Jean Tulard, perhaps the pre-eminent French historian of this era (and not a pro-Napoleon one in my estimation) wrote, “On St. Helena, Napoleon, ‘brutally awakened from his dream of monarchic legitimacy’ confided that he should have married a French woman and, above all, not a princess. He saw clearly, but too late.” Napoleon’s error was in forgetting that he already enjoyed more leftist legitimacy than any monarch ever – he was the first to be voted in. The counter-revolutionary monarchs of everywhere else would never accept that because the French Revolution was – above all – against unsanctioned autocracy. Similarly, putting his brothers in charge of countries which willingly joined France was another leftist error in line with dynastic intentions, but this wasn’t really unpopular until the imposition of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain, who replaced the feudal Bourbons, in 1808. Napoleon himself said that one of his greatest mistakes was reintroducing the ranks of the nobility, also in 1808. The three criticisms here are all related – the restoration of elite privilege and hereditary oligarchy – but we would be inaccurate and unfair to not emphasise that this trend occurred two decades into Napoleon’s spectacularly successful revolutionary career!

Was Napoleon’s vision of the French Revolution that of the left of the Revolution, epitomised by Robespierre and the Jacobins? No, but calling a lifelong revolutionary soldier like Napoleon Bonaparte a “non-revolutionary” because he was not completely on the left side of the revolutionary spectrum is to absurdly say there is no “revolutionary political spectrum”. It is to say that the “revolutionary political spectrum” is the same as the non-revolutionary, typical “political spectrum”, in a total falsehood. It is to undemocratically excise the revolutionary viewpoints of his millions of comrades, and also of the democratic majority of his time. What is certain is that it is to reveal essentially no first-hand experience with any real revolution at all, as such a view of revolution is a fool’s fairy tale of pure idealism.

By distorting Napoleon – by saying that Elvis was always “fat Elvis” and never the king of rock and roll who shook the world – today’s 1% can keep 1789 totally dead. Napoleon is the key to keeping 1789 alive and continuing to implement its most progressive, leftist ideals.

It is simply astounding that the left doesn’t find so much to embrace in Napoleon Bonaparte. As much as I would like to write 10,000 words about Napoleon’s career in order to give a modern leftist appraisal, I simply do not want to alienate readers (and translators, LOL). I promise that I could. What I list before the conclusion section is only the absolutely critical facts of his political career which demonstrate his leftism.

The 1790s: Napoleon’s leftism was vetted over and over by the revolution

Prior to the Revolution Napoleon was born a minor noble in Corsica, putting him in the top 2% of France. However, being a minor noble in poor Corsica was to have title and little property – it’s not Burgundy. When half of France’s nobles exiled themselves over the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen Napoleon was already in the 1%. Napoleon Bonaparte – like Mao, Castro and others – was another leftist hero who defied the dominant view of his elite class.

Napoleon grew up in the aftermath of the repression of Corsica’s independence movement. The incredibly progressive Corsican Republic (1755-69) included a liberal constitution, the first implementation of female suffrage and was the first-ever practical application of the modern political ideas of people like Voltaire and Rousseau. France took control of the island, and they were a big improvement from the previous landlord, Genoa. When the French Revolution began Napoleon saw it as capable of bringing even more progress to Corsica. Thus Napoleon was one of the very first of many “foreigners” (he was born shortly after France took control of the island, and thus was truly French) to seek domination not by France but by the ideals of the French Revolution.

As the 1790s went by Napoleon was obviously vetted over and over by the Revolution. In 1793, Napoleon was friendly with none other than Augustin Robespierre, Maximilien “The Irreproachable” Robespierre’s brother, who surely would have sniffed out someone not committed to the ideals of 1789. When the brothers were executed in 1794, marking the end of the leftist Jacobin era and the start of the Directorate era (1794-99), the Directorate tried to get him to quit by downgrading him to the infantry.

Lucky for them Napoleon refused to leave: in Paris on October 5, 1795, he would save the Revolution from a major royalist revolt using what was the undoubted foundation of his military genius – his knowledge of new artillery technology.

He became a national hero, and thus the Directorate spied on him to check for dangerous traits. Their spying general wrote back to the Directorate: “It is a mistake to think he is a party man. He belongs neither to the royalists, who slander him, nor to the anarchists, whom he dislikes. He has only one guide – the Constitution.” Facts: Robespierre was anything but an anarchist, and being a constitutionalist in Europe in 1796 made one a revolutionary. Failure to accept this will create misperceptions which will extend to misunderstandings of our present day.

Confidence renewed, the Directorate gave Napoleon command of the Army of the Alps. He started by immediately court-martialling two of his soldiers for shouting “long live the king”.

Of course the Italians and others embraced the revolution being offered by France’s peasant army! In liberated lands we find the same actions of the French Revolutionaries: feudal dues and tithes abolished, Jews not forced to wear the star of David and Muslims no longer second-class citizens, the first uncensored newspapers allowed to open, slavery abolished, the first constitutions legalised. Keep all that in mind the next time you read of how Napoleon “enslaved Europe” – such total reversals of reality are only used for the truly great leftist leaders. It was so popular ex-Papal states petitioned to join the new Cisalpine Republic. “In annexed countries teaching was allowed to keep its own identity; French did not become an obligatory second language, there was no attempt to destroy the soul of conquered provinces,” writes Tulard. The French Revolution, itself intensely patriotic, fostered patriotism elsewhere – this would be called “nationalism” and is part of the reason the French were eventually forced out in annexed countries, ironically.

The great man-ism inherent in Western Liberal Democracy wants to talk about Napoleon’s military genius in things such as issuing bold flanking orders. It’s foolish: We can credit Napoleon’s military genius for doing something without precedent – storming a bridge under heavy fire – or we can credit the revolutionary inspiration of the actual troops that did the storming. Napoleon’s ability to inspire (well-known, and real) is still not at all the same as the zeal inspired by revolutionary principles.

Napoleon biographer Vincent Cronin writes in Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography“In analysing why Napoleon won battles in Italy, one is also analysing why he always – or nearly always – emerged successful from a battlefield. The first quality was discipline. Napoleon, with his legal forbears, was a great person for law and order. He insisted that officers issue a receipt for everything requisitioned, be it a box of candles or a sack of flour. … In letter after angry letter he condemned sharp practice by army suppliers…. Napoleon was merciless towards these men and when one of them made him a gift of fine saddle horses, hoping that would close his eyes to embezzlement, Napoleon snapped: ‘Have him arrested. Imprison him for six months. He owes us 500,000 ecus in taxes.’” Here we see the moral legitimacy which won him followers in the army, and that is better than issuing bold flanking orders.

Egypt: After examining and giving up the idea of invading England, invasion of Egypt was

the best way of striking always counter-revolutionary England, and not mere adventurism. Napoleon read the Koran on the way to Egypt and declared it “sublime”. He was inspired enough to say in his first declaration, “Cadis, sheiks, imams – tell the people that we too are true Muslims.” The French Revolution was universal in scope, like Islam, and Napoleon did not believe in the Trinitarianism of Roman Catholicism, like Islam. The muftis found Napoleon sincere as a person but not actually willing to become a Muslim – they proclaimed Napoleon’s God messenger and a friend of the Prophet. With humanitarian ideals and actions, and replete with the famed scientific corps, it is thus totally different from France’s imperialist invasion of Algeria in 1830.

In August 1799 he got his first news from Europe (due to the British blockade) that the 2nd European War Against the French Revolution had begun and that France was collapsing: Russian-Anglo forces in the Netherlands (which had joined the Revolution willingly), Austro-Russian forces in Switzerland (joined willingly as well) and Italy (joined willingly as well), Turco-Russian force in Corfu, Greece. Napoleon waded into that for personal glory, some say – to save the Revolution, say the less cynical.

As First Consul: Good leaders get elected and then re-elected – this truly all started with Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon made a political alliance with none other than Abbot Emmanuel Sieyès, the same “abbé Sieyès” whose 1789 manifesto What is the Third Estate became the manifesto of the French Revolution and the literal groundwork for the entry of the lower class into politics. (The pamphlet begins, famously: “What is the Third Estate? Everything. What has it been hitherto in the political order? Nothing. What does it desire to be? Something.”) Still not leftist enough for some, though…?

The undoubtedly revolutionary principle of constitutionalism upon which Napoleon rested is reflected in the poster put up after his participation in the coup of 1799 (Coup of 18 Brumaire) and the start of the Consulate era (1799-1804): “THEY HAVE ACTED IN SUCH A WAY that there is no longer a Constitution.

Was constitutionalism the only demand of the French Revolution from 1789-1799? No, it was simultaneously revolutionary and “middle-of-the-road”. Napoleon never did side with the royalists – that would have been undeniable betrayal of the Revolution – nor with the Jacobins, nor with their executors the less-leftist Thermidorians who ran the 5-man Directorate (one of whom was currently asking for 12 million francs to restore the Bourbons). Instead, Napoleon placed himself above party politics and alongside the concept of constitutionalism which, along with his repeated military defences of France and the Revolution, won him popular acclaim. Of course Napoleon embraced many other primary political ideals of the Revolution: an end to feudalism, an end to absolute monarchy, the division of common land, civil equality, the suppression of tithes and seigniorial rights, and nationalisation of the property of the Roman Catholic Church. What’s vital to recognise is that the social aspects of the revolution – free education, health care, food – weren’t even much discussed until 1796, via leftist hero Gracchus Babeuf, the continuer of the Robespierreian left. Faulting Napoleon for not holding out for free education for the masses is to critically forget that these social questions were in the infancy of political expression, and certainly were limited to the progressive vanguard of an already unprecedentedly progressive revolution.

In 1800 his coup and his constitution were both overwhelmingly approved by millions in a vote – a vote totally unprecedented in scope, reach and political progress. People who wish to ignore these votes are simply baffling, and biased. The coup was bloodless, as well. Napoleon – the alleged new dictator – is credited with giving the new constitution the idea of universal male suffrage and not just for property owners.

France won the Second European War Against the French Revolution – a bit of peace, finally. Napoleon the general became Napoleon the elected public servant. His administrative energy was as amazing as his martial energy: “The ox has been harnessed – now it must plow,” he said.

Napoleon took great interest in consolidating the best of Roman, custom/precedent and Revolutionary laws into the new Code Civil: equality before the law, end to feudal rights and duties, right to choose one’s work, inviolability of property, right to divorce and freedom of conscience. All were unprecedented leftist advances. The Code Civil is not at all the “Napoleonic Code” but more accurately the “French Revolutionary Code”. It was “an instrument of war against feudalism,” to quote Tulard, and its influence is inestimable and global.

Napoleon curbed widespread brigandage and pacified rebellions which had lasted years. He brought peace to France after a decade of civil war, and yet he did not give the army a privileged position. He even forbade them from getting involved in civil matters, something he considered “madness”.

He declared an amnesty for those living abroad, which anyone personally familiar with revolution knows has an inestimable positive effect, but also some negative ones.

Napoleon ended yet another war in 1801, when French churches finally reopened after the signing of the Concordat. The agreement okayed French nationalisation of Church lands (the sales of which did the most to effectuate the economic revolution downwards), maintained religious freedom, did not declare Roman Catholicism the official religion of the state, allowed the French state to pay clerical salaries (giving them a decent standard of living), had the clergy swear an oath of allegiance to the state, and banned nearly all the monasteries (viewed as parasitical and useless in France, whereas the useful teaching nun orders would soon be doubled). Of course, this recently-installed Pope would ultimately side with the monarchists against the Revolution, but there’s no doubt that Napoleon secured the Revolution’s aim in neutering the Church’s power in France, a major goal.

On only two occasions did he involve himself in local governance of the prefects: one of them was to stop a prefect from forcing vaccinations. Draw your own inference regarding the coronavirus epidemic of 2020-22.

The currency never had to be devalued, the cost of living became stable, he spent more on education than anything else, built three great roads, canals and ports each, attained full employment, stable prices, positive trade balance, increasing population, and presided over a 180-degree shift in public spirit after a decade of civil violence.

So of course he was popular – he was making the principles of the French Revolution law, which broke with the absolute monarchy which reigned essentially everywhere else.

Elected emperor: Democracy combines old forms with new ideas – conservatives are overdramatic

By 1802 Napoleon had committed the crime of making the Revolution workable, peaceful and – worst of all – attractive. A Third Coalition was declared; at home royalists keep trying to assassinate him.

Thus the need to establish monarchical power in France for the sake of permanent peace was put forward. The word ‘form’ was essential. The spirit of the Revolution would be respected but the outwards appearances of executive power would need changing; it required a a title which would fit in with those of other European countries,” writes Tulard.

In 1802 he was was voted Consul-for-life by 3.5 million people (against 0.008 million opposed), a staggeringly progressive occurrence for the time – ignoring this is to lose the entire thread and principles of the French Revolution! However, it’s easy to lose this thread when one ignores the constant attacks on your country’s revolution, which is not allowed to evolve in peace.

It was in fact precipitated by the renewal of conflict with England (in 1803). … Rather, there was a tendency to increase his power in order to ensure the defence of the land. A dictatorship of public safety was needed. How could it be entrusted to anyone other than Bonaparte? At this moment the Royalists inopportunely chose to renew their plotting…. The revolutionaries saw in the consolidation of the First Consul’s power… the only bulwark against attempts to restore the monarchy.”

It is with this lifetime appointment in 1802 that many Republicans were dismayed and many leftists say the Revolution ended. If one wants to call it “despotism”, it’s false: it’s “elected despotism”. It’s a paradox, it’s revolutionary, it’s provoked by foreign aggression, it’s better than anyone else’s around, it’s an emperor and empire but it’s still leftist! “It seemed, above all, to be the surest means of maintaining a stable government putting an end to intrigue and plotting. This in no way represented the acceptance of a Bourbon-style dynasty. The Empire was first and foremost a dictatorship of public safety, designed to preserve the achievements of the Revolution.” Again, that’s from an author who is not strongly pro-Napoleon – he is, however, a Frenchman who understands his country’s history.

Napoleon has still not betrayed the revolution at this point in any serious way! In a move which was preceded by much discussion, he took the crown of Emperor from the Pope’s hands in a public coronation (another first) not because of the bosh about how it was his own arrogant and usurping personal power which won the crown, but because it was the people which had crowned him, and no one else. This is all a huge difference from the divine, theocratic right of kings, which Prussia, Russia, Austria and countless other local kings would insist on in total autocratic form until 1914.

If the French Revolutionary Emperorship was a typical emperorship – and thus no ideological threat – why did it not cause the European Wars Against the French Revolution to stop? The answer is obvious to those who are objective.

In 1806 the Fourth Coalition saw Prussia and Russia attack – France wins again and Prussia is compelled to finally renounce serfdom.

In 1808, popular revolt against the Spanish king in the “Tumult of Aranjuez”, which is still celebrated today, ended the Bourbon dynasty. The overthrow of the Bourbons, and the sheltering of the new ideals of the French Revolution, allowed Latin America to win their independence.

The French Revolution has spread to the New World. It had already spread to the oldest of the Old World: Mohammad Ali founded modern Egypt in 1805 after France had defeated the Mamluks.

The French Revolution starts to topple – revolutionary zeal starts to wane following decades of foreign attacks

This is where things start to turn badly: 1808 Spain is not yet at the point of 1789 France. Proof? After 1815 Spain is the only place where feudalism would actually be restored. The guerrilla war saps France, which is supported by Spain’s progressives, abolished the Inquisition and ended feudal rights – hardly a terrible legacy.

The war in Spain coincides with when Napoleon starts to let the emperorship go to his head and thinks more of preserving his dynasty than of the Revolution – he is always thinking of France, however. His Continental Blockade against England would have bankrupted them… if France didn’t also have to fight in Spain and Russia, too. The French Revolution is always attacked from all autocratic sides – this must be remembered because it so greatly shapes their possible choices. After a few years the Continental Blockade turns into pro-French economic imperialism, in a non-leftist mistake. Spain, the Blockade, dynasty – these are the three key mistakes Napoleon made. However, he does not deserve a permanent “Ogre” caricature for these three because two of them are fights against autocracy.

The Fifth Coalition of 1809 saw the awful Hapsburgs’ last stand, the arrival of huge modern wars of attrition, conscripted armies, and the growth of nationalist movements which Revolutionary France had expressly fostered.

Tsar Alexander refuses to allow Napoleon to marry into the royal family, so he marries into the Hapsburgs instead. The marriage did not cement an alliance for peace – which was entirely the aim – because Austrian royalty, like the simply awful Metternich, were not only Teutonic racists but completely aware that France represented revolutionary change which was incompatible with autocracy. It was Metternich (who takes the mantle from France’s Talleyrand as the most dreadful and shameless politician of his generation) who is credited with the propaganda theme of “Napoleon as mere personal ambition”.

France invades Russia because Moscow refused to end their threats to the revolution – first Russia, then England, then peace, finally, was the plan.

Why didn’t the French Revolution free the serfs? Certainly leftists today would have acclaimed Napoleon more. He said: “They wanted me to free the serfs. I refused. They would have massacred everyone; it would have been frightful. I warred against Tsar Alexander according to the ruleswho would have thought they’d ever burn Moscow?” Such objections miss the entire point of the French invasion of Russia – to force the Tsar to accept peace towards the French Revolution, and there would have been no peace if the serfs had been freed. France was already trying to administer the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and other places – how could they administer huge Russia as well?

Indeed, who could have guessed that the Tsar would defeat his own peoples in order to defeat Napoleon, i.e. the scorched earth tactic, which Clausewitz proved “were only applied accidentally by headquarters,” per Tulard. Say slaver monarchs defeated Napoleon – it makes fools of Russian serfs to say that their sacrifices were correct instead of manipulated; they would get their revenge against such misguided, brutal managers a century later.

Napoleon was keeping 250,000 seasoned troops in Spain at this time, let’s recall. He said his two main mistakes were not wintering in Vitebsk, Belarus, and and instead going to Poland. He ignores the original option – staying in Moscow – which had plenty of noble-abandoned supplies to live off of. The second was in trying to get peace from the Russian monarchists, who never wanted peace, like all monarchists. “I thought that I should be able to make peace, and that the Russians were anxious for it. I was deceived and I deceived myself.” The Tsars liked their autocracy, old Nap!

After the disastrous retreat the monarchs of Europe jumped on Revolutionary France in 1813 with the immediate Sixth Coalition, the first knockdown blow to the French Revolution after 20 years of trying. Not far from Paris Napoleon resolved to die in battle – to pass the throne on to his son – and though he went where fire was thickest and his uniform was tattered by shot he was not killed.

The fall of Paris was shocking: Paris, which hadn’t seen a foreign invader since Joan of Arc 400 years earlier, spectacularly fell without even a full day of fighting because the re-propertied nobles had spread defeatism, paid for subversion and colluded to reverse the French Revolution, which of course they still hated. The elitist concept of royalism would still play a major role in French politics for another 65 years, keep in mind.

After decades of fighting not only were his marshals old and worn out, but so was the original revolutionary generation. What Napoleon needed was a Cultural Revolution to refresh the ideals of the French Revolution, but of course such a thing had not been invented yet. Such a leftist idea would have led to more civil war in France, which was only able to end its civil war with the moderate Napoleon adopting many of the forms of monarchism, after all.

Banished to Elba, he famously returned. When France saw that the Bourbons wanted to push the clock back to 1788 this did have the immediate effect of a Cultural Revolution, restoring the vitality of the ideals of the French Revolution. Napoleon landed and dared people to fire on him all alone, ever the anti-civil war patriot. He was literally pushed all the way to Paris by the peasants and urban proletariat – the army would only rally to him later. He entered like a hero and totally avoided bloodshed – all it took was the sight of him in his overcoat and bicorne hat. It’s really rather stunning, and something only a leftist – a man of the people – could have ever done.

The Bourbons fled, of course. The “Additional Act” was added on to the Constitution, which added checks to the power of Napoleon, granted total freedom of expression, an enlarged electoral college (Napoleon again oversees a broadening of democracy), the right to elect mayors in towns less than 5,000 inhabitants, trial by jury and was approved by 1.6 million voters. It wouldn’t be until 1867 that Britain’s electorate would reach that size.

The vote enraged royalist autocrats continent-wide, and they resolved to immediately overturn the progressive democratic will of France, again. Metternich spread the fiction of Napoleon as ambition personified and rejecting peace.

Above all, what France needed was a period of peace to consolidate these changes – Napoleon’s aura was not the same, liberal ideas were taking further root and France had been awakened to the fact that their revolution was powerful but not invincible. They almost had it: Wellington declared Waterloo “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life”, but instead of wiping out Wellington the next day Napoleon spent the morning visiting the wounded – Napoleon the quick had become a sentimental old soldier. The Coalition refused to make peace – of course. Instead of dissolving the National Assembly, as a dictator would, he trusted it and asked for full powers: they told Napoleon to abdicate or be deposed.

Now the French Revolution was truly over. It would be 33 years until there would be another vote.

The defeat of Napoleon – tyrant, slaver, sexist – heralds not a left-wing renaissance, but a right-wing one, really?

Just as Napoleon and the French had warned for decades, the clock was wound back across Europe: Poland was re-wiped off the map by Russia and Prussia, Hapsburgs in north Italy, Bourbons in Naples and Spain, Pope Pius VII restored the Inquisition and the Jewish ghettoes, England responded to calls for parliamentary reform with the massacre at Peterloo – vicious counter-revolution everywhere. The censorship imposed by Metternich is total, with spies everywhere – Europe is a true police state for the benefits of monarchs and aristocrats… again. The French Revolution was truly over because a monarchical oligarchy conspired to stop it.

In 1821, living in cruel imprisonment imposed by Britain on the island of St. Helena, Napoleon died of stomach cancer, like his father, at the age of 51. His last words: “France – army – head of the army – Josephine”.

They act as if Napoleon waged wars on the peoples of Europe, instead of on the autocrats of Europe?

They act as if he won his royalty by birth, marriage or violence, instead of by vote?

They act as if his administration was marked by corruption instead of revolutionary ideas, progress and domestic unity?

Bah… the haters of Napoleon – what can be done? He deserves the longest chapter in this book, because to smear Napoleon Bonaparte is to smear the French Revolution. The two are not synonymous, as Napoleon once claimed – but now, I think, you know what he meant.

In 1823 his memoirs, The Memorial of Saint Helena, would become the 19th century’s best-selling book, moulding the worldview of several generations.

It is truly amazing how relatively few things there are in France named after Napoleon. However, his stunning tomb at Invalides is – thankfully – not a military shrine but a monument to his 10 greatest achievements as a domestic revolutionary politician. It’s truly amazing: comparing the negative view which so many have Napoleon, and the 10 progressive political advances etched in marble at Invalides.

The common leftist criticism that Napoleon Bonaparte used foreign war to liquidate the revolution, domestic conflict and class conflict completely ignores the fact that the Seven European Wars Against the French Revolution were defensive and not initiated by France.

The criticism which equates Bonaparte with Bourbon – calling them two absolutist systems, with the former merely being more allied with the nouveau riche bourgeois class – completely ignores the historic votes, constitutions, and the quality of governance. It also totally ignores the peasant gains stemming from the French Revolution’s ending of feudalism.

The claim that the French Revolution was “imperialist” totally ignores the fact that the French Revolution wasn’t even “French”: Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium – these are just the countries where the people were able to join the Revolution, and certainly many more wanted to.

All great revolutions are always externalised – ideas do not know national boundaries. The 1979 Iranian Revolution, for example, both spread and was a part of an idea that spread: in 1978 the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan established the socialist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan; in 1979 the Grand Mosque of Mecca was under siege for two months to oppose the House of Saud monarchy; in 1982 Saddam Hussein committed the massacre of the Islamic Dawa Party, the crime for which he would be ultimately sentenced to death. Where does Iran 1979 fit in this, who can say with total precision? France, Haiti, the Cisalpine Republic, the Batavian Republic (Netherlands 1795-1806) even the USA and League of Iroquois – where does 1789 France fit, precisely? What makes France and Iran different is that their revolutions succeeded and lasted, and thus they must be celebrated and learned from.

In a quote of Trotsky’s which sounded the death knell of capitalism entirely too early, Napoleon Bonaparte represented “the bourgeoisie’s impetuous youth”. We must, therefore, look at the “impetuous youth” of Bonaparte’s bourgeois victory as a victory for the people precisely because it was the only victory which could be permanently extracted in that awful autocratic era – the liberal rights which 1789 fought for were advancements; bourgeois rights were advancements; peasants, not nobles, getting land should not be derided as a “bourgeois revolution” but were advancements. It is the West’s total blind spot regarding the social evil of monarchy – which is the only accurate standard of comparison Napoleon and the French Revolution can be compared to: their peers – which blinds them to the obvious historical truth.

We can expect the right to paint Napoleon poorly, but what the left seems to ignore is that what every historian eventually admits is that the peasants and the working class – the mass of the people – wanted, trusted, elected and re-elected Napoleon Bonaparte as the French Revolution’s chief. This makes Napoleon Bonaparte just like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Khomeini, etc.

Now we grasp the Western Liberal Democratic campaign against Napoleon’s legacy: he was a true, beloved leftist.

Napoleon truly must be reclassed with those figures along the left. We cannot allow reactionaries to say that Napoleon, the dominant personage of that 26-year era – somehow did not embody it, but rather embodied its negation. What an absurdity!

Perhaps the whole point of this chapter – to fellow leftists – is to prove: We can admire Robespierre, Danton, Marat and Babeuf while also admiring Napoleon. Napoleon certainly must be reclaimed from today’s aristocratic bourgeoisie – this chapter should make it clear why they would never even want a leftist like him.

Gaining the trust of the democratic mass explains – more than any other factor – how Napoleon was able to lead France to stability in 1799 and beyond. Western Liberal Democrats haven’t been able to do either – gain the trust of the masses or provide stability for them – from its very conception. As de Tocqueville observed:

On coming to power Bonaparte imposed an additional 25 centimes of tax and nothing is said. The people do not turn against him; on the whole what he did was popular. The Provisional Government was to take the same measures in 1848 and was to be cursed immediately. The former was making a much-desired revolution, the second was making an unwanted one.”

What was unwanted across Europe in 1848 was the success of the counter-revolutions, which successfully refused to implement the ideals of 1789. In France, however, what was quickly unwanted was the first implementation of Western Liberal Democracy.

<—>

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

  • New book announcement – ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s best values’ – March 15, 2022
  • Introduction: A Yellow Vests’ history must rewrite both recent & past French history – March 20, 2022
  • The UK’s endless reaction: 1789 & feudalism’s end creates modern conservatism – March 25, 2022
  • Glorious Revolution of 1688: England declares ‘death to all other revolutions’ – March 29, 2022
  • Modern political history makes no sense if Napoleon is not a leftist revolutionary
  • The Revolutions of 1848: Because Liberalism can’t say the ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’
  • Louis-Napoleon: The revolutionary differences between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy
  • The Paris Commune: The true birth of neoliberalism and EU neo-imperialism
  • Where the West is stuck: The fascism of the 1930s and the ‘fascism’ of the 2020s
  • On ‘Leon Trotsky on France’ in order to reclaim Trotsky from Trotskyists
  • The Yellow Vests’ childhood: Seeing French elites, only, swayed by neoliberalism
  • No one here is actually in charge: How the EU empire forced the Yellow Vests
  • The radicalisation by Europe’s ongoing Lost Decade: the Great Recession changes France
  • To Yellow Vests he’s the radical: Macron and ‘Neither Right nor Left but the Bourgeois Bloc’
  • Yellow Vests: At worst, the most important French movement for a century
  • Who are they, really? Ask a reporter whose seen a million Yellow Vest faces
  • Yellow Vest Win: Ending the West’s slandering of all popular movements as far-right xenophobes
  • Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western anarcho-syndicalism & unions as leftism’s hereditary kings
  • Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western parliamentarianism as the most progressive government
  • Yellow Vest Win: Reminding us of the link between fascist violence & Western democracy
  • What the Yellow Vests can be: a group which can protect liberalism’s rights, at least
  • The 2022 vote: The approach needed for ‘Before’- what came ‘After’ polls closed

Book Review: Seven Roads to Moscow

March 26, 2022

Source

By Francis Lee

Seven Roads to Moscow is an intriguing book written by that strange animal, a British soldier intellectual.

Lieutenant-Colonel W.G.F.Jackson

MC, BA, R.E.

Instructor, Royal Military Academy,

Sandhurst, 1950-53

I read this book when I was only 17 and at the time it made a great impression on me. The stories of the seven invasions of Russia have now passed into history. In order of invasions Russia’s uninvited guests were the Vikings, Huns, Swedes, French, and Germans. Each in their turn marched through forest, marsh, and Steppe into the heart of the Russian lands. The impression which these invaders left behind, however, is one of abject failure. All the invaders sooner or later had to succumb to the vastness of the Russian lands and the fortitude and genius of the Russian people.

The only partial success was with Rurik in the rise and fall of Kiev Russia, 862-1228. Rurik is said to have arrived in Novgorod in 862 and gradually established his sovereignty over the native Slavs. From the military point of view Rurik’s invasion is unique in Russian history. It was the first and only invasion which has been largely successful. The tactical methods of Rurik lie shrouded in the mists of early Russian history. For the invaders the military problems of invading Russia do not appear in tangible form until the days of the Swedish King Charles’ XII ill-fated (1707-1709) invasion and no more successful than the much larger and later expeditions by Napoleon and Hitler.

The sole aim of these armies who marched eastwards all had the same objective: to destroy the Russian armies. Moreover, each was faced with the same military problems: namely how could they defeat the Russian armies before they withdrew into the vastness of the Russian interior. If they failed to defeat the Russian armies in the early period of the campaign, how could they prevent the Russians recruiting new levies and returning to counter-attack with overwhelming strength? And how could the invaders manage to keep their armies supplied and reinforced once they had advanced deep into the Russian lands?

Charles XII had the simplest method of all – namely to outmarch and outfight his opponent. He relied on the superior marching and tactical skills of his soldiers to achieve results. But Tsar Peter the Great was a wily old fox who was determined to outwit his opponent and avoid a decisive action. The policy of scorched earth and withdrawal found the Swedes weak, ill-nourished and a long way from home. Charles had failed because he turned away from his primary objective and allowed himself to be cut-off from his base for the uncertain advantage of rallying the somewhat unstable Cossacks of the Ukraine to his banner. He was unable to stem the steady wastage of his best Swedish soldiers. The Cossacks and Kalmuks and other peoples of southern Russia whom he was forced to recruit as reinforcements, were no better than Peter’s reinforcements. The Battle of Poltava (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory for Peter the Great of Russia over Charles XII of Sweden in the Great Northern War. The battle ended Sweden’s status as a major power and marked the beginning of Russian supremacy in eastern Europe. This was the inevitable defeat of trying to achieve too much with too little.

Napoleon did not fare any better. The Grand Army some 600,000 strong marched into Russia in 1812. When the French Revolution had broken out (1789) there was little to indicate that within 23 years a Napoleonic Army would be treading the French Road to Moscow. In what was to become inevitable the West moved East. Thus, the die was cast. Napoleon obviously believed that he was invincible, and the Grand Army outmatched any other fighting force in Europe. But as the Scottish poet Robbie Burns reminds us – ‘’The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay.’’ (Translation from the Scottish Celtic – ‘go awry’)

Napoleon tried 3 methods to bring Tsar Alexander to terms. His first plan was to win a quick military victory in these western lands by breaking through the Russian front using overwhelming force at the point of attack. He then hoped in crushing in turn each half of his opponent’s army. This plan failed because the Russians withdrew too soon.

A group of men riding camels Description automatically generated with medium confidence

When Napoleon appreciated that his first plan had failed, he reoriented his strategy. His next step was to lure the Russian forces in attempting to give battle, but the Russians made a tactical retreat further and further into the inhospitable wilderness of marshes and forests of the older Russian lands. If the Russians would only stand and fight, he might well crush them. After all no enemy had ever survived Napoleons military and tactical genius in his set-piece battles. Be that as it may he was unable to persuade the Russians too accept such a battle until it was too late.

From his arrival until the fall of Moscow Napoleon tried every stratagem to entice the Russians to give battle. In threatening the city of Smolensk and eventually Moscow the Russians did stand and fight in the Battle of Borodino in front of Moscow, but the unexpected toughness of the Russian armies prevented an outright victory for Napoleon.

Moreover, things were now beginning to move against the Grand Army; they were no longer possessed of sufficient numerical superiority, and Napoleon was now too far from home to use the Imperial Guard, his last reserve, to snatch a victory. The Russian army remained intact, but Moscow, Russia’s ancient capital, fell into French hands.

Now the problems for the French military began to mount as had the Swedish during their earlier debacle. In front of the Grand Army villagers abandoned their villages and set them ablaze, burning or hiding their supplies. Marauders and guerilla bands started to take a toll of all that passed along the slender French supply routes. The French needed to leave garrisons in every town along the Moscow highway, and the necessity of providing guards for all convoys sapped at the morale, sickness and fatigue caused by constant disease, dust, and intolerable heat. By the time that Kutuzov, the Russian commander-in-chief, offered battle at Borodino, it was too late for Napoleon to win a decisive victory. However, it was too early to stop the Russians to prevent the French capture of Moscow – the Russian army was not yet strong enough, but the wind was getting into their sails. So, all was not over for Napoleon yet.

However, the fall of Moscow was not the be all and end-all of Napoleon’s campaign. In all his previous campaigns the fall of the enemy’s capital had brought about a decision – that is, a surrender. But the Russians were, however, playing from a different game-plan and did not react in the way that other European nations generally reacted, and they were quite prepared to withstand the loss of Moscow. The great conflagration which followed the French entry into the city only served to harden the will of every Russian to resist. The fall of Moscow was in fact the decisive finish to Napoleon’s campaign.

The invasion and defeat of Russia was predicated on three main approaches. 1. Initially a quick victory in the opening stages of the campaign using overwhelming force. 2 A deliberate set-piece pitched battle, 3. And finally the capture of Moscow.

In the first two methods he was defeated by the immense space of the Russian landscape and by the rugged determination of the Russian soldier, and in the third method by his failure to appreciate the determination of the Russian people.

Now Napoleon’s options had come to naught there was only the long retreat from Moscow for the Grand Army which piece by piece was to fall apart in a rendezvous with its total demise.

In 1941 Hitler and the German General Staff launched the invasion of the USSR which had been meticulously planned and prepared. Hitler was fully aware of the reasons for Charles’ and Napoleon’s failures. This was above all a political/ideological war and Hitler was filled with contempt for the Russian Army and the Russian population that his predecessors possessed in abundance.

In the replay of Napoleon’s tactical demise and the rout of the Grand Army, Hitler’s Wehrmacht had defeated the Western European armies, with ruthless efficiency – the French and the low countries were forced to surrender, and the British chased out of the European continent only because they had a bigger navy than Germany as well as the Royal Air Force with the Spitfire being the most advanced fighter plane. Like Napoleon before him Hitler realized the key to success lay in the destruction of Stalin’s frontier armies before its slow mobilization could be completed. The German military concept of Blitzkreig i.e. ‘lightning war’ was a very different animal to the pitched battles of WW1 which in military terms had become archaic in this new approach to warfare.

Now new technologies had mobilized warfare with the advent of railways, motor transport and aircraft. The wireless would make possible the efficient control of vast armies across the whole breadth of the Soviet Union (as it then was).

Hitler’s initial strategy was both military and political. He needed firstly to destroy the Red Army and Communism, so that the military and political objectives were coordinated. The next step was the seizure of the unlimited Russian abundance of economic resources. But in purely military terms there was a certain sense of Déjà vu. In this context with the Soviet Army, Hitler, like Napoleon before, him made significant inroads into Russian space very quickly, but despite capturing large numbers of Russian POWs he failed to trap and destroy the main body before it was reinforced by the slowly mobilizing reserves from deep inside of Russia beyond the Urals. In addition, his endeavour to capture the centres of Soviet resistance was no more successful. Only Kiev and Kharkov fell into his hands, but Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad never succumbed.

In this earlier period of the war the Wehrmacht was seemingly irresistible; but it became like Napoleon’s initial success, only to be locked into what was to become the usual pattern of invasion into Russia. In his drive for the acquisition of Russia’s economic resources Hitler did seize the industrial and grain producing areas of Ukraine, but by his efforts to seize the oil of the Caucasus he lay himself open to the first counter offensive by the fully mobilized Red Army.

Hitler’s solution to this strategic problem showed a characteristic under-estimate of the strength of the Russian Army and an overestimation of his own resources. ‘’He decided to hold the Army groups North and Centre on the defensive whilst he deployed all his strength in the sector of Army Group South. Using the great bend of the Don to protect his northern flank between the Don and the Volga near Stalingrad. From here he could either attack southwards into the Caucasus, and possibly into the middle east to join hands with Rommel.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow – p.290) But this was rather wishful thinking since by this time the Anglo-American forces were in North Africa as well as their navies in the Atlantic and Pacific this in addition to the US/UK bombing offensive which had started in earnest against German cities.

The German 6th Army, in triumphalist mode, Paris – 1940

The German 6th Army had advanced in the southern part of the Ukraine and had crossed 3 rivers, the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga, it had arrived in Stalingrad in the shape of the 6th Army, in the same way as it had when it entered Paris in 1940. But the outcome was rather different. By 1942 the German offensive had stalled in Stalingrad.

In the bitter fighting in the city, the Wehrmacht was halted in its tracks and unable to move forward but its flanks were exposed and vulnerable to a Russian counterattack. The line of defence was manned by Romanian and Hungarian forces of dubious quality and loyalty. The Russian counterattack became inevitable and so it worked out when the Russians broke through the Romanian defences and completed the encirclement (or Cauldron) as the Russians now call them.

This changed the whole character of WW2. The Red Army battled all the way to Berlin as well as hooking up with British and American forces coming from the other direction. The war was, apart from the American Japanese conflict in the Pacific and the British-Japanese conflict in Malaya and Burma, was effectively over.

‘’Post-war vital economic objectives for Russia were equally hard to choose, since Russia’s bitter experiences of invasions from the West had taught her to move and develop her industries further and further eastwards as the ranges of western European Armies had increased. The gradual move to the East started with Five Year Plans before the German invasion. Hitler’s attack only accelerated this process. Industrial plants in areas which were overrun by the Nazis, were often dismantled before the Germans could capture them. The dismantled machinery was then to be re-erected beyond the Urals.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow p.315)

Conclusion

The only lasting road to Moscow was the Viking Road of Rurik that provided the constructive services which the Russian people themselves wanted and for which they themselves asked.

‘’Let us hope that no-one will ever be tempted to emulate Charles, Napoleon, and Hitler in imposing a military solution of a kind of which history has shown must fail, and which will bring nuclear annihilation to mankind.’’ (Jackson – Seven Roads to Moscow – p.319)

In the Greek fable of Pandora’s Box, Pandora could not resist opening the box, but she opened the box, and several evil entities started flying out of it. These included hatred, envy, greed, disease, poverty, pain, death, and war. All these miseries of human life escaped the box and entered the real world. By the time Pandora slammed back the box’s lid, all the evils had escaped except for ‘hope’.

I begin to wonder if we have in fact opened the box?

Andrei Martyanov on “Does the US have a plan?” (MUST SEE!)

March 18, 2022

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

Russia Reacts to Nato and History

January 20, 2022

Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Russia Seeks Security

In mid-December 2021 the Russian government publicly announced that it would “seek legally formulated guarantees of security” from the United States and its allies that would end NATO military activity in eastern Europe as well as military support for the Ukraine.

U.S. media reporting on this event, characterized by the New York Times, framed it as a Russian attempt to “wind back the clock 30 years to just before the collapse of the Soviet Union,” and thus Russian demands were “echoes of the Cold War.” Little media credence has been given to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated insistence that his country is “threatened” by NATO activities close to its borders.

In the meantime, “NATO officials emphasized that NATO countries will not rule out future membership for any Eastern European countries, including those bordering the Russian Republic, such as Ukraine.” U.S. President Biden has responded Russian demands with contradictory policies. On the one hand, Washington insisted that what was necessary was a “context of de-escalation,” and on the other, declared that the American “flow of arms to Ukraine would continue.”

It would seem that while Washington and its allies, to say nothing of the media, heard the Russian demands, they displayed no evidence of understanding them within an accurate historical context—a history that goes back considerably further than the dissolution of the Soviet Union 30 years ago.

Part II—Historical Background

For those readers who are interested in understanding what historically motivates the Russian leadership to behave as they now do, and make their current demands, here is a rundown of relevant past events.

— In modern times, Russia was first invaded from Western Europe in 1812. In that year, Napoleon Bonaparte’s multinational Grande Armée attacked Russia. The invasion failed and ultimately helped lead to Napoleon’s fall from power. For the Russians this was not so much a victory as a national tragedy. An estimated 200,000 Russians died, and soon after Napoleon occupied Moscow, then the “spiritual capital” of the country, the Russians burned the city down around him.

— Between 1812 and 1914, Russia maintained one of Europe’s huge multiethnic empires alongside those of Austria-Hungary, Germany, France and Great Britain. On its European side, the Russian Empire held sway over Poles, Finns, Ukrainians, and various other Slavic and Baltic people—that is, Russia established a sphere of influence that encompassed a good part of eastern Europe. Operating as an absolute monarchy, it did not readily respond to the needs of its subject peoples. By the early twentieth century, the Russian Empire’s centralized government was growing weak and was roiled by challenges to its dictatorial ways.

— In 1914 World War I broke out with Russia, Britain, France and the United States on one side and Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire on the other. After a brief Russian incursion into East Prussia, the Germans went on the offensive and moved deep into western Russia, inflicting heavy casualties. This marked the second time Russia was invaded from the West. Successive defeats led to the collapse of Russia’s imperial government and eventually the founding of the Soviet state in 1917. Overall, Russia lost approximately two million soldiers and over a half million civilians in this war. Russia also lost most of its Eastern European lands.

— The next twenty years marked the so-called interwar period, the time between World War I and World War II. For our purposes, the most important consequence of this period was the creation of independent states such as Poland, Hungary, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and others out of what, until the end of World War I, had been the imperial territories of the German, Austrian and Russian empires. Unfortunately, the initial lifespan of this independent status was short.

— It was World War II that brought an end to this initial period of East European national revival. The war began on 1 September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. Nazi Germany soon conquered most of continental Europe. Then on 22 June 1941 Germany launched a massive invasion of Soviet Russia. This marked the third invasion of Russia from the West in a little over one hundred years. Initially, Germany occupied much of Soviet Russia west of the Ural Mountains. However, the situation changed in 1942, particularly after the German troops failed to capture the city of Stalingrad. After that failure the Soviet forces began a long slow process of pushing the Germans back—a long German retreat that would go on till the end of the war in 1945.

—Those new East European nations mentioned above were free of German control by early 1945. However, they never did regain full independence. German control was now exchanged for Soviet Russian control. The Western interpretation of Soviet post-war occupation was that it was the product of an inherent drive for world conquest by the communists. However, there are other explanations that flow more logically from the history given above.

— Communism as an ideology might predict the eventual victory of the working classes and the withering away of the state, but in every case where communists have come to power, they have eventually settled down and ruled as nationalists. It might have been different if Trotsky had gained power in Soviet Russia instead of Stalin, but we will never know for sure. Thus, it is highly unlikely that Stalin ordered the permanent occupation of Eastern Europe for communist ideological reasons. He had at least two nationalistic reasons motivating him. One was that Russia was traditionally a great imperial power and holding vast territory was the part of the definition of a great power. That was a status the Russians hoped to recapture. The second reason was perhaps more immediately important. Given that Russia had been repeatedly invaded from the West, what the Soviets wanted from their war-won occupied territories was the creation of a large and deep buffer zone. That is, a security zone between the historical sources of their pain—countries such as France and Germany—and the Russian border. Nonetheless, the Western leaders interpreted Soviet behavior as communist-inspired aggression and created NATO, a military alliance, to forestall further Russian advances. The Russians, in turn, interpreted NATO as yet one more reason why they needed a buffer zone. They may have been right.

— Soviet Russia’s buffer zone lasted as long as the Soviet Union lasted—that is, until 26 December 1991. After that, Russian troops were pulled back to the new Russian Republic. At that point, the Eastern European countries founded after World War I, and other non-Russian territories such as Ukraine, moved to assert their independence. The other side of this coin is that the collapse of Soviet Russia left millions of ethnic Russians who had migrated within the Soviet empire prior to 1991 stranded in new political entities, such as the Ukraine, with which they had no strong identification.

— The leaders of these new nations knew their history and assumed that Russia would someday seek to recreate its lost empire qua buffer zone. So they sought to protect themselves by sheltering under the NATO umbrella. NATO embraced most of them, and thus a military organization that was designed, ostensibly, to prevent Russia from expanding westward, now rapidly expanded eastward. Sooner or later Russia, motivated by its own history, was bound to react.

Part III—The Situation Today

NATO’s expansion eastward has set up the confrontation we witness today. The Russians had to accept NATO’s early move to the east because the new Russian Republic was initially in political and economic disarray. Nonetheless, as President Putin put it, “Russia feels threatened by an encroaching Nato.” Today, the disarray has passed, separatist movements within the Russian Republic, such as in Chechnya, have been brutally crushed, and the Russians have decided to draw a “red line” to forestall further NATO expansion into what remains of the non-Russian areas between themselves and a historically hostile West. That red line encompasses Ukraine. Thus, that country’s recent turn toward the West and its expressed desire to eventually join the NATO alliance has triggered historically embedded alarms in Moscow. To emphasize this point to the Ukrainian leadership, Russia has amassed troops on their mutual border in a manner that suggests the possibility of invasion. Russia has also increased aid to the separatist pro-Russian part of eastern Ukraine—the Donetsk People’s Republic.

A singular problem here is that none of the Western media coverage and very few of the Western politicians demonstrate an understanding of the situation within an appropriate historical background. Essentially, few of these otherwise influential people know any of the relevant history before 1991, and that is why you get this from the Los Angeles Times: “Thirty years ago this month, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Ukraine broke away from Moscow’s control. Russian President Vladimir Putin has never gotten over it.”

For a while now the United States and its NATO allies have had the Russian Republic surrounded with long- and intermediate-range missiles. There are plans to place these weapons in NATO’s Eastern European member states. These weapons are described as “defensive,” but most of them have offensive capabilities. For the Russian Republic this seems too much like a replay of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. If the Americans were alarmed by such missiles on their doorstep at that time, why should they now be surprised that Moscow is alarmed? The Biden administration, looking to switch subjects from the Russian demands for comprehensive security agreements to particular agreements on missile placement and the nature of NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe, has offered to enter negotiations on these specific topics. This is certainly a good first step, but it’s probably not sufficient.

The United States and its NATO allies may well have to swallow some of their pride and go further. They may have to give up any further eastern expansion of the Western military alliance. The Russian Republic, motivated by three tragic invasions and convinced of the need for a security buffer zone, seems very serious about their “red line.” I don’t think they are bluffing, and therefore the West should realize this is not just Putin playing from a “tough guy” script. History speaks here as well.

Washington Is Misreading Russia at the World’s Peril

See the source image

April 6, 2021 

Paul Craig Roberts

On August 31, 2018, I wrote:

“So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

“I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one. Both emphazise in their highly informative writings that the court historians misrepresent wars in the interest of victors. Let’s give this a moment’s thought. Both Napoleon and Hitler stood at their apogee, their success unmitigated by any military defeat. Then they marched into Russia and were utterly destroyed. Why did they do this? They did it because their success had given them massive arogance and belief in their “exceptionalism,” the dangerous word that encapsulates Washington’s belief in its hegemony.

“The zionist neoconsevatives who rule in Washington are capable of the same mistake that Napoleon and Hitler made. They believe in “the end of history,” that the Soviet collapse means history has chosen America as the model for the future. Their hubris actually exceeds that of Napoleon and Hitler.

“When confronted with such deluded and ideological force, does turning the other cheek work or does it encourage more provocation?

“This is the question before the Russian government.”  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/08/31/can-war-be-avoided-and-the-planet-saved/ 

Andrei Martyanov answered on September 4, 2018: https://www.unz.com/article/russia-as-a-cat/   He argued that Washington is aware that its military power is limited and will not risk nuclear annihilation.

On April 5, 2021, the Saker has reached agreement with my point: “Russia cannot and will not retreat further, she won’t meekly declare that the Donbass or Crimea belong to the Nazi regime in Kiev.  Russia is ready, capable and willing to fight US/NATO forces if needed, including by using tactical and even strategic nukes.” https://thesaker.is/what-will-the-empire-do-to-support-the-ukronazis-open-thread-4/ 

Like myself the Saker concludes that Washington’s hubris means that “The biggest danger right now is that western politicians are completely misreading not only Putin, but all of Russia.”  

Martyanov believes that Washington’s guarantee to Ukraine is a temptest in a teacup as Washington will not really risk confronting Russia militarily.  https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com 

I wonder if Martyanov is giving Washington too much credit for awareness.  If Washington were reading the situation correctly, would the US Secretary of Defense have given Ukraine a guarantee against Russian intervention if Ukraine, now better armed by Washington, renews its assault on Donbass?  Washington wants conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the purpose of giving the guarantee is to produce conflict.  

Martyanov might be correct that Ukraine is too wary to trust the guarantee, and that Washington would not stand behind it.  But escalation can have momentum of its own. The publicized guarantee could result in extreme elements pushing the Ukrainian president into foolhardy action.  Neocons and liberal interventionists could insist Washington’s word and reputation are at stake and demand that Biden go to Ukraine’s aid.  I agree with Martyanov that it would be a war based on stupid nonsense, but these things do happen.

I only raise questions. Saker and Martyanov are better informed on these matters than I. Nevertheless, I think the risk is high that the American people are going to be very regretful that they permitted the military/security complex to use the dumbshit Democrats to prevent President Trump from normalizing relations with Russia. 

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Relentless March

August 30, 2020

Relentless March

by Katerina for the Saker Blog

I left Russia at the tender age of 24, left not because I wanted to leave my country, just simply happened to marry a foreigner who was there at the time and for several years now been living and working in three very different countries, including Scotland and England. Now I am living in yet another English-speaking country that is equally unique and different. I like to think that my experience of these four different cultures, outlooks, attitudes, not to mention systems, had most definitely expanded my horizons. I also want to think that such experience had allowed me to make certain assessments and analysis which hopefully could be translated into informed opinions.

I have been coming to this site for over two years now since it is rather “pro Russian” and therefore my interest was obvious. I have been reading Saker’s and his contributors posts with great interest, although reading some comments was at times bewildering. There are of course some very intelligent analytical comments and commentators on Saker’s blog, after all that is one of the reasons why we want to come here – for the knowledge we might not yet have, for the insight, for an intelligent analyses by someone who took the trouble and for someone’s else point of view that perhaps can make us think – that’s how I see this blog, and I am sure so does Saker. What compelled me to write this piece, a belief that most people coming to this blog are also looking for that same thing, otherwise why bother. On the other hand some of their expressed comments are not opinions but attitudes. Let me explain the difference. Opinion is something that is based on knowledge and at least some research, an attitude is something that expresses a person’s individual take on some particular issue, which has been shaped by picking up some information possibly from MSM, or from social media or wherever without really ANALYZING it but accepting it because it fits with that person’s mentality. See the difference?

I also see in some comments an understandable ignorance of things Russian and I cannot blame them for that, at least they are interested enough to be on this site, which is commendable. Except some obvious troll like creatures, who try to have some facade but most people here I think are a fairly intelligent lot and can see thru that.

In this my small contribution I would like to try and help with a bit more understanding of Russian side of things, which I suppose is rather difficult for people in the West to really understand, as we have lots of pervasive Western media that does not give one a true picture of Russia. Also, I would endeavor to provide some analysis or at least some explanation on the seemingly ingrained animosity of the West towards Russia and it’s possible origins.

So, let’s start.

“Things Russian”. Here I can try to give you some information that you will not get in your Western MSM, for sure. Having Russian as your first language is a great advantage when you can watch, read and listen to what is happening in Russia at present, what is the general mood that comes across, what worries and concerns them, what they think. One can get a pretty clear picture of all of that through their news channels, daily talk shows, expert’s opinions, people’s comments, etc on practically a daily basis. My knowledge on the subject, I can assure you, is up to date.

First, here are some myths that I want to blow apart for some people – Russia and Russians are NOT that greatly enamored with the West that they are so desperately wanting to be “accepted” and “approved” by this West. FAR FROM IT!

Lots of them, having seen the West’s insane, reckless and criminal behavior such as what it has done to Ukraine, hysterics regarding Crimea going back to Mother Russia, MH17 hideous crime, made-up Scripal garbage, expulsion of Russian Diplomats, criminal seizing of Russian diplomatic property, endless sanctions and relentless demonization of Russia and it’s President – feel it’s enough to start a war! No, whatever warm feelings they might have had in the past towards the West after break- up of USSR and hopes of being friendly at last – all these feelings have been killed and long gone. Now, just as it was back in history, they want to keep the distance. Some of the Western poison seeps thru occasionally but that does not get much traction. The so called “opposition” in Russia mostly survives on Soros’s grants and in Russia they even have a name for them -“sorosyata”, which roughly translates as a Soros’s little piglets. These who join them in their various protests are usually mindless youth looking for a bit of excitement. Too much of that excitement can land them with a heavy fine or expulsion from whatever learning establishment they attend. That cools a lot of hot heads. So, whatever one reads in western media regarding strong Russian “opposition” to Putin’s “dictatorship”, bear in mind he has as much fear of this opposition as an elephant of a flea on it’s back. Besides, if he was such a dictator this lot would not be allowed even to exist as an “opposition”, but they even have their own media channels – I reckon the government sees that as the best way to keep an eye on them.

No, there are no censorship, dictatorship or any other “ship” in Russia that does not allow people, however deluded, to express themselves, but in a civilized fashion. Cities are spotlessly clean, excellent infrastructure, every restaurant you could wish for, great bars and nightclubs, same make of cars on the roads as in any European city, friendly people and no homeless on the streets. Those football fans that arrived in Russia from all over the world for the World Cup couple of years ago, had to “pick their jaws off the pavement”. They could not believe what they were seeing as it was so totally different to what they were expecting from the images shaped for them by western media.

This is modern Russia.

In the last 25 years lots of Russians have traveled around Europe, UK, States, etc – something they could not do so easily before – they had a look, and what most of them discovered is that the grass definitely wasn’t greener on the other side. They were interested to have a look and quite content to get back home.

There were some who fled Russia during the terrible 90s when what was going on in Russia at the time was hell on wheels, as it was being robbed and pillaged by the West, whose wet dream at last came true, unfortunately for them only for a brief moment. Quite a number of Russians who left Russia at the time are now returning back home. The West now has got it’s own version of hell on wheels, so let’s call it KARMA.

What Russians also find distasteful are bad manners on the part of the West, showing up in rather unpleasant and uncalled for displays of arrogant lecturing and attempts to show some inexplicable “superiority” with regard to Russia. I have experienced this myself when in England, but NEVER in Scotland, I will hasten to add. Scotland and Scots for me were always “home from home”.

I was buying a train ticket at the Waterloo station in London and the ticket seller, an Englishman in his 40s, seeing my name, muttered under his breath “bloody Russian”. I was looking at him and wondering what made him say that. Here was someone who probably hardly finished secondary school, selling a ticket to someone who is a highly qualified professional, with two degrees, one of which is Masters, attained from one of the best Scottish Universities (writing a dissertation in second language is not easy, believe me!) and yet, he felt somehow “superior” to this Russian and that compelled him to mutter these words. And I suddenly realized that it was CONDITIONED in him, he didn’t even pause to think, it came out because he couldn’t help it. Attitude!

This negative conditioning in the West towards things Russian obviously had roots at some stage and later, reflecting on it I could see how it might have come about. We will leave religion aside for the moment, although it does play some part. The main culprit in my opinion, is the colonial mindset, combined with actual ignorance. To people in the West, meaning Western Europe and Britain, throughout centuries Russia has always been something dark and unknown and therefore to be feared and distanced from. There were few very sparse contacts but on the whole Russia and the West kept themselves to themselves. And until Peter the Great came along, that arrangement absolutely suited Russians as well. They regarded the West as heinous and un-Godly and much preferred to keep that distance. Tsar Peter has changed all of that in his drive to “open a window into Europe” as he put it.

What is not widely known about “superior” Europe of these days and that includes Britain, is that people there never bathed, fearing that it would kill them. When Tsar Peter arrived there with his entourage for their big Euro tour, they were absolutely shocked at the smell and stink of unwashed bodies, even in the palaces. Russians, before baths and showers were ever invented, for centuries had a wonderful tradition of having a “banya” once a week. Sort of like a nice steamy sauna but with an addition of hot water to actually wash yourself. Now, tell me, what nation is more civilized here?

The Russian Tsar, on the other hand was viewed in the West as some strange and fascinating curiosity. When the average person height in those days was shorter than it is now, Tsar Peter, being a young man, virile, handsome, did not wear wig, full of energy AND at 6’8” tall, of course, towered above everyone. At least now the West had a real chance to see a real Russian.

The tour was a great success. Tsar Peter brought back with him some craftsmen, some interesting new inventions, like the sextant and some experienced boat builders. His burning ambition was for Russia to have a Navy, although at that time it was totally landlocked from both Baltic and Black seas.

At some stage Peter also had to fight and defeat the Swedish King who at the time was trying to expand his kingdom into the rest of Europe. Peter had to get him off the land where he wanted to build his new capital, St Petersburg (he never liked Moskva) and that, of course, gave him an access to the Baltic Sea. In the process he also liberated these parts of Europe that the war-addicted Swedish King had managed to grab. Sweden still cannot forgive Russia for that. Afterwards the energetic Russian Tsar set out to build his new capital, laid foundations for his Navy and among many other things made his Boyars in court shave their beards and wear European attire, complete with powdered wigs. Those who refused to obey and shave Tsar himself did it for them and then fined them heavily. One does not trifle with Imperial orders! Eventually he got himself named an “anti-Christ” by the Russian Church, that passionately believed that Russia should not be “westernized”, that it had it’s own destiny and it’s own path. I tend to agree with them there. Meanwhile Europeans had discovered that they had nothing to fear from Russia and that bathing did not kill them after all and everything went rather swimmingly for a while between Russia and the West.

Until the start of the Industrial revolution.

The West suddenly realized that for such one needs lots of resources, which the West did not have but others did. Everyone went busily sailing around the world looking whom they can easily colonize and loot. Britain, one has to say, outdid every other European rival in those pursuits. Then, when the supply of countries to loot started to dwindle, the collective West turned it’s gaze upon… Russia. And this, in my opinion, was the moment when that animosity had taken root. Here was a country, with hardly any population to speak of, occupying huge territory and not just that, full of everything one can only dream about, every great resource imaginable, including gold and diamonds…

There was only one problem. Those “bloody Russians” in the way!

So, that was the start of it – fueled by greed, envy, resentment and hatred. The rest we all know. The “relentless marches” on Russia, mostly in gangs. Both Napoleon and Hitler had lots of willing European accomplices, all wanting a share of the spoils. Well, they all got what they deserved and here we are now, in 21st century and they are STILL at it! Lessons not learned. Only this time they got themselves a big bully that they can all hide behind but unfortunately for them this bully cannot fight. At least not a serious opponent. Some little helpless nations around the world, no problem, drop few bombs, show up with one of your “carrier groups” and it’s all honky dory. Here, it is facing RUSSIA, a nation that NEVER lost a war.

And now we have this NATO – another gang, controlled by this bully. The problem for them is that NONE of them can really fight, even as a gang and so, what we now have is a circus show, called exercises, each one with more ferocious name than the last. Russia is watching these clowns prancing on her borders and has left them in no doubt whatsoever that just one step over that border and there will be nothing left of them, INSTANTLY. They can also install their missile bases in Romania and Poland, or in any other little euro vassal, sorry, NATO ally, that wants to make itself a prime target – anything fired from those will be immediately shot down and the place from where it was fired will be just one large smouldering crater, several kilometers in diameter. No, Russia does not consider NATO a big threat. Just a nuisance. The game that is being played here is as follows: “we”, NATO allies have to scream very loud and very often about “Russian aggression” and “Russian treat”- failing that this NATO becomes irrelevant and the big MIC will not be able to suck up trillions of taxpayers money to line some very, very deep pockets. And while we are at it, we will force our “allies” to buy our military junk at exorbitant prices. So, here you have it.

I think people in the West hearing this Russophobic propaganda garbage 24/7 start believing it and start imagining that perhaps all of this is true, but remember what Goebbels, Hitler’s chief of propaganda advocated – keep repeating a lie often enough and they will eventually believe you.

Russia is not your enemy. All it wants from the West is to be left alone and also to be shown some respect. This arrogant, talking down to, insulting approach has no place in dealings with an old civilized and cultured nation like Russia, which is also extremely well-armed. That attitude actually reflects very badly on the West and on state of mental midgetry of their politicians, who do not seem to have any grasp that such approach will lead them nowhere. Most of course are puppets, just doing what Uncle Sam is telling them but here is a word of warning – following Uncle Sam might lead one to the cliff edge…

Another bit of info that you will not find in western MSM – RF (Russian Federation) Immigration Services are inundated with applications from people in the West, including USA, (and I am not talking about expats), who want to move to Russia. These people see it as some kind of Noah’s Ark, compared to what is coming to their countries. Living in Russia they feel they can be free to be a normal family with normal family values, not parent1 and parent2, but Mum and Dad and where their children can grow up in a normal environment, without being subjected to creepy gender selections.

In conclusion I will say this – in my experience most people are not that different from each other, after all we are ALL human and we all want the same in life – love, appreciation, family and a future for our children. It’s not that hard to get along if you want to. But what we also have in common is a common enemy that hates humanity and wants us culled (their expression) and what’s left, subjugated. So, rather than facing each other with hands in a fist, how about we direct our attention and all our energies to fighting THAT evil, the one that wants to destroy us all.

The Waves of Time

JANUARY 19, 2019

The Waves of Time

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker Blog

That all the world is a stage and all men and women merely players is a familiar and generally accepted proposition. But many, prompted by curiosity and helped by new information previously unknown or uneasily available, would like to know more about the play they are the unwitting players thereof.

Which transforms the frame of mind of the curious into that of a historian. In turn, this exposes him to the immediate problem of interpretation. Interpretation of the historical facts themselves, often accompanied by a likely change of his worldview, following the discovery of new facts. For historians themselves can modify their views, when forced by the train of circumstances.

Here is an example. Friedrich Meinecke was an eminent German historian, with an unusually long life span, during which a series of revolutionary and extraordinary changes affected the fortunes of Germany. His books reflect four different Meinecke(s), each the spokesman of different times, and each speaking through one of his major works.

In his first, “World Citizenship and the Nation State,” published in 1907, Meinecke sees the embodiment of German national ideals in Bismarck’s Reich. And like many 19th and 20th century thinkers, he identifies nationalism with the highest form of universalism.

Here is dramatic evidence of the revolution of the times. In the parlance of current Western European & American elites, nationalism, rather than a higher form of universalism, is labeled as ‘fascism’ or ‘racism’. And since the characterization is ludicrous, a new word has been coined, ‘populism’, to demean and disgrace the idea.

In his second book, “The Idea of the Raison d’Etat,” (published in 1925), Meinecke speaks with the divided and bewildered mind of an observer of the Weimar Republic – where the world of politics has become an arena of unresolved conflict between the reason-of-state and morality. Morality, of itself, seems external to politics, but in the last resort it affects the life and security of any state. For morality is written in the human heart, even of those who hold it in contempt.

To frame the issues in today’s terms, since the end, in the 1950s, of the “Legion of Decency” act in American Cinema,” Hollywood’s productions have set the standard, planted the roots and sowed the of seeds of shame and iniquity, in just about all domains of collective and personal behavior.

In the Weimar Republic, as we know, it was the state of universal degradation, promoted, inculcated and imposed upon Germany after her defeat in WW1, that prompted the birth and growth of National Socialism.

In his “Development of Historicism” (published in 1936), Meinecke laments the idea of a certain view of history, which seems to recognize that whatever is, is right.

In our days, examples of this ‘historicism’ are many, from the totally unbelievable official explanation of 9/11, to the physical destruction of the Middle East, the ongoing farce in Ukraine, the grotesque Russophobia, the idea that Western European and North-American states can exist without borders, and so on.

Finally, in 1946, after seeing his country defeated and leveled to the ground, he published “The German Catastrophe,” where he exposes the belief that history is at the mercy of blind and inexorable forces.

That the times we live-in weigh on our thoughts and judgment is as obvious as saying that a great cause of the night is lack of the sun. Nevertheless, our individual evolving point of view also influences the selection of the facts needed to produce an acceptable explanation of causes and effects, or of causes and defects as the case may be.

That is, the historian and the facts of history are necessary to one another. For a historian without his facts is futile; and facts without a historian are dead and meaningless.

Finally – and I hope the strenuous reader will forgive the long preamble, though I hope there is method in the meandering – not all facts are historical. History begins when the historian selects certain facts and declares them endowed with historical value.

But the distinction between historical and unhistorical facts is not rigid or constant. Any fact may become historical, once its relevance and significance is recognized. If so, that fact generates its own historical wave, whose effects may be felt after a long time and with enormous power, unimaginable when the fact occurred.

In nature an analogy is the tsunami, where, at the point of origin, the waves are only about 3 feet high. But travelling at incredible speed across incredible distances, they finally release their apocalyptic energy on touching land.

As someone ‘curious about history’ and not a professional historian, I experienced a change of outlook on historical events when the United States declared war on Iraq and destroyed it. For I knew the country well and I could personally attest that all that was said about Iraq by the organs of mass persuasion, was false. And while accepting the inherent murkiness of politics, I could not reconcile myself to the idea that the two Bushes, one of whom is dead, could be some of the lyingest knaves in Christendom.

As it is universally accepted, the US destroyed Iraq to satisfy Israel’s ambitions. And given that curiosity is the mother of explanation, I took up the doubtful challenge of locating the original historical fact, the trigger and the source of the wave-of-time, which eventually led to the Iraqi Armageddon and beyond.

In this and similar instances, opinion reigns supreme. Other ‘curious about history’ may choose another episode or fact, and with good reason. But sometimes, lesser-known events, singularly representative of the reality and culture of an era, can offer a perspective different from the conventional and usual narratives.

In the instance, I pinpoint the source of the topic wave-of-time in Napoleon’s emancipation of the Jews in France, following the French Revolution.

Actually, already in 1791, in the midst of the Revolution, the National Assembly had granted Jews full citizenship. It was hoped that, by so doing, Jews would stop acting like a separate nation within France. But soon there were complaints that the Jews were stuck in their old ways, particularly in Alsace and Lorraine, where their majority lived. Their ‘old ways’ referred to usury, or, as we would say today ‘financial engineering’, or ‘banking shenanigans’.

The situation remained fluid and uncertain till Napoleon, converted from a servant of the Republic into an Emperor, convened, in 1807, what he called the Great Sanhedrin, to resolve the controversial issues arisen from the emancipation. The Great Sanhedrin refers to the governing body of the Jewish community, notably during the Roman Empire.

To a council of 71 Jewish leaders and rabbis, Napoleon posed 12 questions about their laws and customs. Some questions were amusing – for example, were Jews allowed to have more than one wife? The main issue, however, was whether Jews born in France, and now treated by law as citizens, would regard France as their country. They answered that there was nothing inherent in their religion preventing the full integration of the Jewish community into French life. This was enough to confirm their full recognition and emancipation, along with an obligation to take up French names.

Perhaps Napoleon ignored that if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a Shylock, by any other name would still call for his pound of flesh.

In fact, there was immediate widespread opposition to the move, in French-ruled Europe and in France itself. Even one of Napoleon’s famous generals, Francois Christophe de Kellerman, whose name is inscribed in the Arc de Triomphe, recommended strongly that the Jews be prohibited from dealing in commerce.

With easy hindsight, Napoleon, like all who like to anticipate futurity and exalt possibility to certainty, might or should have avoided this adventure, so linked to chance. For, in this and other similar instances, disappointment must always be proportionate to the breath of the original hopes.

The pressure became so intense that soon Napoleon restricted the terms of emancipation, via the so-called “Infamous Decree” of 1808. The decree annulled, reduced or postponed all debts with Jews, and imposed a ten-year ban on any kind of Jewish money-lending activity.

As an aside, the official public face of a notable politician or ruler, often conflicts with his private persona, as seen in his diaries or confidential papers. In a letter to his brother Jérome Napoleon, dated 6 March 1808, Napoleon writes, “I have undertaken to reform the Jews, but I have not endeavored to draw more of them into my realm. Far from that, I have avoided doing anything which could show any esteem for the most despicable of mankind.”

“Give me ten thousand eyes, and I will fill them with prophetic tears” – said Cassandra predicting the fall of Troy. The most Cassandra-like admonition given to Napoleon came from his uncle, Cardinal Fesh, who told him, “Sire, by giving the Jews equality as Catholics, you wish for the end of the world to come.”

But the onrush of events, including Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, inaugurated a new era. When an atheistic ideology, molded in the Age of Enlightenment, and strengthened by the impact of the French Revolution, took hold and spread at large throughout Europe.

For the 19th century saw an upsurge of anti-clerical movements and ideologies in the Western world. This is not a wholesale defense of organized religion. Nevertheless, religion also acts as a bulwark of the moral law. And irrespective of specific customs or ceremonies, religion – without disrespect – is metaphysics for the people, an intelligible intimation of eternity, an unthreatening glimpse of the infinity, a psychological safeguard from the despair of mortality.

In this context, it is not accidental that the rebirth of Russia, earlier ravaged, debased and plundered by the dissolvers of the Soviet Union, has seen the resurgence of her religion, which was dormant but never died.

Compare this with America, with her enforced and compulsive secularization, the banning of religion in schools and the prohibition of public display of religious symbols.

But I digress. Let’s return to the subject at hand. After 1815, Jewish supremacy, especially in the banking field, asserted itself in Europe, spearheaded by the ubiquitous House of the Rothschilds. In the second part of the century, England even had a Jewish Prime Minister, Disraeli.

During that time, with a pronouncement that today seems impossible, the Vatican declared that any country that abolishes the Christian religion will be run by Jews.

It’s worth transcribing an extract from a 1890 issue of “Civilta’ Cattolica,” the key media organ of the Jesuits and the Vatican,

“The XIXth century will end, in Europe, leaving her in the throngs of a very sad issue, of which the XXth century will feel consequences so calamitous, as to induce her (Europe) to drastically deal with it. We refer to the improperly-called “Semitic Question,” that more accurately should be called “Judaic Question” – which is connected via an intimate link, to the economic, moral, political and religious conditions of Europe.

How fervid at present and how much this question perturbs the major nations, is manifest by the common cry against the invasion by Jews in all spheres of public and social life; by the leagues formed to slow its advance in France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Russia, Rumania and elsewhere. By the calls for action in various Parliaments – by the large number of newspaper articles, books and pamphlets that are constantly printed, all showing the need to stem the growth of this plague, and to combat it, showing evidence of its very pernicious consequences….

Naively, some try to show that the ”Judaic Question” is the result of a (Christian) hatred of the (Judaic) religion or sect. Mosaism (read ‘religion inspired by Moses) in itself could not be an argument for hatred…. for it was the antecedent of Christianity… But for centuries Judaism has turned its back on Mosaism, exchanging it with the Talmud, quintessence of that pharisaism, many times blasted by Christ…. And although Talmudism is an integral element of the Jewish question, we cannot say that (Talmudism) is all that relevant to it (Judaic question). For in Talmudism the Christian nations detest not so much the theological part, almost reduced to insignificance, but the moral one, that contradicts the elementary principles of natural ethics…. “

Incidentally, and as another aside, it is customary to describe the roots of European culture as “Judeo-Christian.” Many contend that a better description would be the “Greek-Christian” tradition, as certain important tenets of Christianity are actually derived from Plato. For example, he suggested that a trinity of forces shapes the cosmos and he struggled with the idea of a Being, purely incorporeal, executing a perfect model of the universe and molding with his hand what was but a rude chaos of random forces.

As an explanation, or at least a theory, Plato considered the divine nature of the universe under three modifications. There was indeed a first cause, the Reason or Logos, the soul of the universe, along with three subdivisions.

Readers may recall the beginning of St. John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” where ‘word’ is an imperfect and narrow translation of the Greek ‘logos.’ For one of the meanings of ‘logos’ is indeed ‘word’, but not with sense that we usually attribute to it. A better translation could possibly be, “In the beginning was the Reason of the Universe.”

Plato conceived of 3 original principles, incorporated in the Logos, different, but linked to each other by a mysterious generation.

The important point is that the mystical and mysterious concept of the Trinity is the Christian rendering of Plato’s idea. The Trinity may still remain mysterious, but at least the mind can understand a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit, better than Plato’s more symbolic rendering.

Back to the main subject. During the early XXth century three events, distinct but important affected the wave-of-time begun with Napoleon.

One was the establishment of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 1913 – at first in America but now practically extended and enforced worldwide.

In fairness to its founders and all subsequent members, it should really have been called the ‘Jewish Anti Defamation League.’ Though by astutely avoiding the qualifying adjective, ‘ADL’ suggests impartiality, thus evading suspicion among the majority of the gentiles, who rarely or superficially follow the details of political events and institutions.

The actual purpose of the now ubiquitous and wealthy ADL was and is to aggressively prevent any criticism of Zionism and Israel, by crushing the critics, destroying their career, often depriving them of a livelihood and even removing them from the Congress or the Senate.

Observers may have noticed that when the Prime Minister of Israel addresses a US joint session of Senate and Congress, he routinely receives a record number of standing ovations. And, after an ovation, no one wants to be the first to sit down – presumably but also probably – for fear of being suspected of weaker Pro-Zionist sentiments.

Readers familiar with the Communist world will easily detect the stunning similarities between the new-speak of Communist Eastern Europe and ADL’s new-speak and thought-crime – in America but also in Europe and the English-speaking world at large.

As an example, in December 2018, the owner of a pleasant yet unostentatious house in the Italian provincial city of Aosta, installed a metal gate at the end of his driveway. The gate carried a decorative wrought-iron winged eagle, reminiscent of a National Socialist emblem, though without a swastika or other disturbing symbols.

But it was enough for a rabbi in Turin, 100 km away (and presumably a member of a local ADL chapter), to have a judge issue a search warrant and dispatch the Italian police to execute it against the shocked, bewildered and disbelieving house-dweller.

The police carried a thorough search of the premises, removed his computer, various personal effects and books from his library. In the end all the ‘incriminating’ evidence they found – besides the eagle on the gate – consisted of some books about the history of WW2.

Curiously, the event leading to the founding of the ADL had nothing to do with defamation and all to do with the sexual assault and murder of Mary Phagan, a 13-year old girl in Atlanta, Georgia. Mary worked for the National Pencil Company, and in May 1913 went to her place of work to collect her $1.20 earnings from the company superintendent Leo Frank. She was never seen again. Her body was later found in the basement of the company, mutilated, bruised and with her undergarments torn off. She had been strangled and Frank was the most likely suspect.

At the trial, Frank pleaded innocent and declared himself a victim of hate. But after a thorough investigation, Frank was found guilty. That is when Adolf Kraus, president of the Jewish-American order of B’nai B’rith founded the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. Its charter reads:

“The immediate object of the league is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.”

Sometime later the outgoing governor of Georgia commuted the sentence from death by hanging to life imprisonment. But the leaders of the town were enraged by what they rated a corruption of justice. They dragged Frank from the courthouse and hanged him.

Ever since, Leo Frank is viewed by the ADL as a kind of patron saint; a man whose death serves as a reminder of the depths of depravity to which men can sink when in the grip of xenophobic hatred.

Today, as universally acknowledged, the ADL is the lay arm of the Zionist inquisition and a patently obvious instrument for censorship and the abolition of free speech.

The second momentous event I referred to was the publishing of the so-called Scofield Reference Bible. Which is a Bible annotated by Cyrus Scofield, a man of questionable background though an able manipulator of souls and money.

Scofield and his Bible are responsible for the birth and expansion of Christian Zionism. If there was ever a contradiction in terms, Christian Zionism is one. It created a class of unpaid and obedient political eunuchs at the service of the Zionist state.

Specific and central to Christian Zionist belief is Skofield’s comment on Genesis 12:3 (the words in Italics are the comment). ‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ In fulfillment closely related to the next clause, ‘And curse him that curseth thee.’ Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew—well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle.

Though a struggling born-again preacher, Scofield became a member of the exclusive New York ‘s Lotus Club, where he was befriended by the Wall Street lawyer Samuel Untermeyer. Untermeyer was instrumental in having Scofield’s annotated bible published.

In Scofield’s biography, written by Joseph Canfield, we read that Scofield’s theology was “most helpful in getting Fundamentalist Christians to back the international interest in one of Untermeyer’s projects—the Zionist Movement.”

Israel holds the Christian Zionists in utter contempt. The Talmud considers Christ a heretic boiling in excrement for eternity, and his mother a whore. Jehovah allows goys to exist so as to be like donkeys in the service of the chosen people.

But according to Fundamentalist preaching, at some unspecified time in the future, there will be what they call a ‘rapture,’ during which the Messiah will return to earth and all Jews will convert to Christianity.

If Fundamentalism were played on a stage it would be condemned as improbable fiction. Even Greek-Roman paganism contains more truth than Fundamentalism and its absurd ‘dispensations,’ as they define their ranting.

For the extravagance of the Grecian mythology proclaimed clearly that the inquirer, instead of being scandalized or satisfied with the literal sense, should diligently explore the occult wisdom, which had been disguised, by the prudence of antiquity, under the mask of myth and the display of follies practiced by the quizzical dynasty of the Olympian Gods.

The Fundamentalists are a large congregation. Israel supplies their leaders with money, endowments and private planes, while feeding and securing their lavish lifestyle.

The third event, whose momentousness and importance is gradually being recognized, was Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s launching of the plan for the creation of the European Union, with extraordinary, new and revolutionary characteristics.

He was the son of the Austrian Ambassador to Japan, Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi, who was also a great friend of Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

In the 1920s Heinrich’s son, Richard Kalergi, published a few books, the most important of which is “Praktischer Idealismus,” never, as far as I know, printed in English. The book is important because what Kalergi prophesied, promoted and predicted about the fate of Europe is occurring under our own eyes.

Kalergi envisioned a unified Europe, invaded by Africans, who would miscegenate with Europeans, creating a new negroid population, similar in appearance to the characters depicted on the inside walls of Egyptians pyramids and tombs. Ruling over them would be a class of “the best of the Jews” some of whom would intermarry with the best of the European nobility.

In his autobiography Kalergi states that when his book was printed, it came to the attention of the Jewish banker Schiff, who along with the American Jewish banker Warburg generously financed him to carry out his plan. From then on Kalergi would undertake a massive lobbying operation, which – temporarily halted during WW2 – was restarted immediately afterwards.

An Italian history professor, Matteo Simonetti, has published a very interesting book, titled “Kalergi, La Prossima Scomparsa Degli Europei” (Kalergi, The Forthcoming Disappearance of the Europeans) – available at Amazon. In his book, Prof. Simonetti included the most critical pages of Praktischer Idealismus translated from the German. What transpires is even worse than the disappearance of the Europeans.

I quote directly from the translation. At pages 21-22-23 of Praktischer Idealismus we find that “the future race, negroid-caucasian will be composed by people without character, without scruples, weak in their will, without respect (for one another) and untrustworthy. The new race will replace the multiplicity of people with a multiplicity of individuals.”

As for the ruling Jews, Kalergi describes them as “close in blood”, whose “strength of character and sharpness of spirit” predestines them to become “the race of (the new) Europe’s spiritual leaders,“ the “carriers of the nobility of spirit,”…. endowed of superior intelligence, a race of lords (Herrenrasse)… the chosen people (pages 28, 33, 49-51 in the original German book).

But it gets worse. The only free marital union will apply to “the most noble of men and women.” Inferior men and women will mate with their societal equivalent. The “erotic style” of the lower classes will be casual mating. Only the upper classes will enjoy the free formation of families.

The new cultivated nobility of the future will emerge from the divine laws of erotic eugenics. “It is here, in social eugenism, where the new nobility will achieve its historical mission of excellence” (pages 55-57).

The new miscegenated race of the lower classes will live in “factory-cities,” where the factory will be the new “cathedral of work”, the center and object of devotion of the new race of miscegenated goys (page 110).

As for the elimination of genders, Kalergi hints at the formation of a Brave-New-World society. “Today men of both sexes (sic) command political and economic power. The emancipation of woman is but the triumph of the feminine man over the real feminine woman. With the emancipation, the feminine sex is mobilized for a technical war and regimented into the army of labor.” (page 119)

As for democracy, Kalergi says it is an instrument to be discarded, as soon as the new Jewish nobility will be established and in charge. (page 36).

In summary, there we have it – the predicted apocalyptic end of the tsunami – helped and driven by the ADL (at work to criminalize free speech), the fundamentalists (a docile army of spiritual eunuchs in the service of Israel), and the Kalergi Plan (a Europe of Negroids ruled over by Jews).

As universally acknowledged, Jewish elites and politicians are at the forefront of the push for illegal immigration and the abolition of borders, worldwide.

And the Left, deprived of its reference class, the proletariat, has made of the migrants a sort of fig leaf to prove that they still side with the weak. Indeed, migrants are the new proletariat, because their identity (or consciousness thereof) is not here, but elsewhere. But the original inhabitants of the poorer districts of Europe and elsewhere have the right not to be uprooted from their customs by a culturally heterogeneous immigration. The migrants do not reside in London’s Chelsea, New York’s Upper East Side or the posh districts of other cities. Nor they steal the jobs of bank managers and corporate directors.

The chosen elites have decided that people are ugly, dirty, bad and xenophobic because they do not want to accept migrants by the millions. But it is the people who bear the weight of immigration and the loss of manual work.

During the latter years of neo-liberalism and turbo-capitalism, the cultural devaluation of labor has been possible thanks to the reserve army made up of migrants. It is logical that the chosen elites favor immigration. It frees them from relocating in the cesspits of despair, by bringing cesspits and despair to the ugly and xenophobic locals, along with the prospect of a Kalergi-type future.

We cannot know precisely how far the wave-of-time, traced back to Napoleon, has travelled towards its end. For the laws of probability, true in general, fail in the details. But given the essentially unchallenged progress of the wave, I doubt whether the collective consciousness of the European peoples will wake up and prompt them to react effectively in self-defense.

Until historically recently, the Catholic Church provided protection. It preached and prohibited violence against the chosen people, but expected them not to corrupt the culture of the host nation. And she gave them the option of conversion. By converting to Christianity, all true or pretended forms of discrimination would be instantly removed.

But the Catholic Church has lost power and unity. In recent Catholic pronouncements, it is even stated that Jews no longer need to convert to be “saved.” And in current religious ceremonies the brethren are invited to “pray for our elder brothers in the Abrahamic religion.”

Therefore, given that time comes stealing by night and day, I must reluctantly observe that the very shortness of time and the failure of hope will tinge with a deeper shade of brown the evening of our current historical times, and the last act of the play performed on the current historical stage.

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