Where Should I Study China? My UK Professor Actually Said This…

January 03, 2023

Uncensored Scandal Interview Leads To China-Wide Arousal

by Thorsten J. Pattberg for the Saker blog

[Take a seat and look over your shoulder. This is hilarious and funny: Everything you knew about China was a Western Umph. “China Studies” is untenable and must die!]

IMAGE 0 Western China Studies, Chinese Religions, and Chinese Philosophy Are Western Fabrications – China has 2000 Years Of Wenming, Ruxue and Sixiang

Interview (Uncensored) by Guancha Network with Dr. Pattberg. The Chinese of course made their pick and changed it. Here is what I really said…

…On New Imperialism And Taiwan Studies

IMAGE 1 Western China Studies Is A Fetish Of The Colonial Past

Guancha: In your opinion, the so-called “China Studies” major in the Western Universities is manufactured and serves as an imperialistic tool. Scholars, experts on China, under the threat or coercion from governments, have to sell their anti-China stances in order to make a living/career.

Dr. Pattberg: China Studies is pure fiction for our Western rulers to control, manipulate, and create the China they want. Of course, it is an imperialistic tool. Think of Taiwan Studies, which is offered at Oxford University in the UK or Tübingen University in Germany. This discipline was invented to facilitate the myth of Two Chinas.

…On How The UK Runs The Biggest Anti-China Racket In The World

IMAGE 2 Shove Your Democracy Up Your Ass Goes Viral in Taiwan

Guancha: In your essay [Shove Your Democracy Up Your Ass], you talked about how the British authority has been cooperating with tens of thousands of people from Taiwan and Hong Kong, in order to provide a false legitimacy to so-called “China Studies” majors in Western universities, and reinforce UK government’s stance on China. Could you explain these efforts in details?

Dr. Pattberg: I encourage you to buy three books for your collection: First, Press Soldiers. It is about how Western journalists subvert and sabotage China. Second, The Xin-Civilization. It is about the Chinese can and cannot do. These two works should stand in every library. And if you really want to be terrified, there is a third, Finis Sinarum. It is about how Peking University and Tsinghua University are run by Americans.

As to the personal question about when I was offered a Hong Kong scholarship, I was at Edinburgh University in 2001. Scotland is a proud nation, but it is part of the United Kingdom. So, of course, China Studies students are sent to Taiwan and Hong Kong, because those are British/American colonies.

When I refused to go to Hong Kong and instead contacted, on my own, Fudan University in Shanghai, and was accepted, my supervisors fumed with rage. I was away in Shanghai and Beijing for two years, at Fudan University and Peking University, and when I returned to the UK in 2004, those two academic years abroad were dismissed. They said (studying in) Chinese mainland was not OK.

…On How Western Academia Is At Full War With China

IMAGE 3 History Shows The Western Powers Will Never Stop Until China Is Dismantled

Guancha: As you point out, the West has been fabricating lies on China through the leverage of their hegemony in global media and narratives. They even see it as a culture war on China with existential consequences. How would the sensible people from around the world respond to this? Professor Zhang Weiwei from Fudan University in China proposed the idea and discourse of “Civilizational State”, which facilitated the breakup of hegemonic status of Neo-Liberalism. What’s your take?

Dr. Pattberg: You mentioned Professor Zhang Weiwei from Fudan University. He is a brave man. See, the West has no concept of wenming. So Western scholars call it “civilization” or “nation”. Wenming is neither. Wenming is guaranteed not invented in the West, haha! Wenming is the China realm and it cannot be translated. Wenming is wenming.

I recently got commented on by political commentators Wu Qina and Wang Mengyuan. They long suspected there was something wrong with Western China Studies, especially all the fabricated lies about Xinjiang, the Confucius Institutes, and even coronavirus and the zero-Covid policy. All I can say is that the West is now terminally sick. And sick people lash out at the world. For example, Washington is planning a war with China. I live in Tokyo, and we have German Eurofighters and US warships here. West Germany and Japan are US vassal states. So the South China sea is a very militarized zone.

The West demands two things from China: Regime change and, at the same time, trade as usual for our Western multinationals. Under such pressure, considering that World War Three has already started with the US-NATO destruction of Russia, how can we expect China scholarship to remain clear-headed and academic? Evidently, academia is now heavily politicized. This leads to reactance.

Let me briefly explain this concept from psychology, because it is so important in international relations: Reactance means that if a person, group, or nation is pressured to behave in a certain way, it will almost invariably do the opposite, out of pure spite. So no matter what Chinese people are telling Western aggressors to “please stop, be reasonable,” the Western aggressors will never stop and will never be reasonable.

Washington or London will never adopt, consider, or even mention WenmingTianren-HeyiHexie Shehui or any other Chinese alternative worldview, sorry. We tried for decades. Not gonna happen. Read my book about it. It is called Knowledge is a Polyglot.

…On Chinese Students In the Fake UK

IMAGE 4 Getting A Western Degree Is The Ultimate Upgrade For The Chinese

Guancha: By insisting on studying China and sticking to your principles, you’ve been threatened and harassed by the anti-China agencies from UK, US etc, which cost you dearly. Yet, you broke up the obstacles and came to China, eventually earned your PhD degree from Peking University. Would you be willing to share with us the hardship you’ve experienced? What is it that keeps you moving on?

Dr. Pattberg: Everyone has his own survival story. I had two fellow students who committed suicide over Christmas in the past. One was Chinese, a law student. He just jumped off the eighth floor of his Edinburgh University Dormitory. He felt that UK degrees are fake. UK universities expanded into degree factories for Asians. Asians pay any price for a Western degree. So UK universities set up fake 1-year fast-track MA in Law Backscratching degrees for desperate Chinese. They even have their own dormitories, away from the real British students. My profs warned me that if I went to China, I would destroy my career. China is best studied at Cambridge or SOAS London School, not in Beijing or Shanghai, they said.

Western education is a misnomer. It is not about education, it is about privilege. If you have no affiliation with the West, you are a nobody. So by studying for a “Boshi” degree China, in the eyes of the Western elites, I lowered myself. When I briefly returned to Germany in 2019, my PKU doctoral degree became worthless, so I must stay in Asia permanently, currently I am in Japan.

…On Western Sanctions On Chinese Degrees

IMAGE 5 The West Already Infiltrated Chinese Top Universities

Guancha: Based on your descriptions, let’s say, for a young student in the US or UK, if he/she is interested in China, and seeks a career of studying China, what are the pressure or obstacles from the society, schools and professors? You mention your own experience in waking up from the big lies about China. Yet, many young people in the world, including those in China, are still facing such a challenge. What would be your suggestions to them?

Dr. Pattberg: Do you ask my advice for Western students who would love to come to China and get a Chinese degree? That is not advisable. The EU for example will not accredit your Chinese credentials. So you will have to go with a governmental-approved exchange program. For example, American planners are training their future “China experts” at Schwarzman Scholars (Jewish) at Tsinghua University or at Yenching Scholars (Harvard) at Peking University. Most Western universities have some form of official exchange programs with China, but unfortunately, about 95% of them are just fake ‘Chinese for Foreigners’ language courses, so be careful.

If you really want to study like a Chinese person at a Chinese University, you will immediately have American CIA, British M-6, or German BND agents blowing up your neck. I describe how it works in my books. Journalists are in this, too. My Institute a Peking University was run by the Harvard professor Tu Weiming. He had briefly worked for the CIA before, which is unavoidable in the USA as a Taiwanese Chinese.

He invited other Harvard professors, Ezra Vogel, Roderick MacFarquhar, and so on, also with CIA background. It is not a secret. He hired me, accidentally, because I was also at Harvard and because his latest wife was a Tiananmen activist and thought I could use money they got from Swiss-German Catholics (Christians) to do the German translations for them. It is not about studying China, but about how to crack China and take over.

Such activities are normal here, and the PKU deans and dons know this. I guess it is best to keep your enemy close, but that close? See, I am studying “language”, alright. And “language” is sacred to all governments, but especially to the US government, to which language is a weapon of US global hegemony. The Americans obviously want the world to speak American (English). No Chinese loanwords!

So when I published the Shengren – Avove Philosophy and Beyond Religion, these silly Harvard people canceled me. Over 700 Western publishers and media rejected my articles. The Economist magazine plagiarized it, but never mentioned the source. It is surreal, but they have that much clout. So this power clique is probably my deadliest match-up, but we shall see.

The Chinese still have a lot of winning chances, with their 30 million diaspora and above-average intelligence (compared to Europeans). But for the next two or three generations or so, I reckon, all our Chinese scholars will tremble in fear of the Americans. It is the American professors and journalists who create the heroes and martyrs for China, not the Chinese.

Real scholarship is still possible, but you will probably go underground and live in abject poverty. If you want to avoid cold-blooded politics and power-grabbers, you should probably avoid Beijing, Taipei, and Hong Kong.

I would go as far as to say that normal unbiased scholarship is now almost impossible. The West says NO to Chinese names, brands, and concepts. I said it before, I say it again, and I hope you’ll print it: Western ‘China Studies’ is wrong, incorrigible, and has to go. BUY THE SHENGREN.

…On Future Misunderstandings and Hostilities

IMAGE 6 Chinas Only Strategy Is To Lay Low And Survive

Guancha: With China embracing the world, the Chinese government, media and scholars face one major headache in communicating with the outside, i.e. how to convey their ideas and messages precisely. Sometimes, due to differences in cultural background or narratives, it may even create misunderstandings or hostilities. As someone who comes from Germany and studies China, understands China, what’s you take on this problem? What are your advice to both parties (the Chinese side, and the foreign side)?

Dr. Pattberg: Thank you for this question, which is the most important for the Chinese government and media. First, you must buy this book: The Human Hierarchy – With an Essay about a Place for ChinaYou must understand World History, how it works, and who creates it. After that reading, you will understand all those Chinese difficulties and Western hostilities your just so alluded to.

My advice is just this: survival. Just try to stay alive. Everything the West tells China is delusion and lies. Take “democracy”. It obviously didn’t work for the Greeks or the Romans. Hitler Germany was a democracy. The White House is a democracy, haha. What a rubbish. Under democracy, the Americans enslaved the Negroes, wiped out the Indians, and conquered the Mongolian races. Think about that. Democracy means whatever reason they kill you for.

Only a thorough information campaign throughout humanity can save us. There are 300,000 Chinese students in the USA and 100,000 Chinese students in the UK. Obviously, they are incapable of producing a work like Shengren. So either something is wrong with them or they didn’t buy The Human Hierarchy. Britain ruled India with one person. The Crown. We have 6 scholars from Harvard who run China. The West will never tolerate Chinese media. All is blocked in the West. Don’t ask me. Wake up. And do what you have to do. Persevere!

Thorsten J. Pattberg, PhD, ex-Peking, ex-Harvard, ex-Tokyo scholar

@TJPattberg https://thorstenjpattberg.weebly.com/

You have information on those nefarious Western press soldiers and blue-pilled anti-China profs, call me: Thorsten.Pattberg@yahoo.com

Book review: “France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values”

December 22, 2022

I very rarely do book reviews, but in this case I felt that I simply *had* to share with you what I consider a true gem, one of those books which one simply has to read.  I am referring to the book “France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values” by Ramin Mazaheri, a PressTV correspondent and a regular contributor to the Saker blog.  Though we never met face to face, over the years Ramin and I have developed a real friendship, but that is not the reason for this review.  The reason for this review is simple: I want to convince as many people as possible to read this book.

Why?

That’s what my review will be all about.

The title of the book “France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values” gives a first indication of the scope of the book.  Yes, of course, it is about the Yellow Vests and how the state viciously repressed this truly popular, grassroots, movement.  But the book also discusses the so-called “western liberal democratic values”.  In fact, this book could be seen as two books in one.

The first part is an absolutely fascinating, and delightfully controversial, discussion of the evolution of what we now call western liberal democracy.  The second half discusses the Yellow Vests specifically (Chapter 1 through Chapter 8 deals with French history from 1789 until World War II. Chapter 9 through Chapter 18 deals with the Yellow Vests.)

To make his case, Ramin looked as far back as “The Glorious Revolution” of 1688, which is indispensable to understand the roots and evolution of western liberal democratic thought.  The book also includes a fascinating discussion of the French Revolution and of the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte.  Ramin also discusses the French Commune, Fascism and even Leon Trotsky!

What makes this book so fascinating is that the author is a Marxist, but a special kind of Marxist, one which does not hesitate to be extremely critical of other Marxists, which makes for a very refreshing, unpredictable and truly riveting read!  Ramin’s analysis is informed by Marxism, but it is truly original and his conclusions often surprising and unpredictable.

Personally, there is a lot I completely disagree with, especially Ramin’s apology for Napoleon, but here is the wonderful thing about this book: even when I disagreed with Ramin’s conclusion, I was compelled to rethink my own views due to his many excellent arguments.  Besides, Ramin does not want the reader to agree as much as he wants the reader to think and rethink his/her certitudes.

One of the most powerful aspect of the book is that it truly and indisputably shows the truly evil nature of western liberal democracy.  Just for that reason alone this should be an absolutely mandatory reading for anybody considering himself/herself has a proponent of western liberal democracy.  If that applies to you, then I challenge you to read this book.  If, after reading it, you will not have changed your views, then you will at least have tested your beliefs against Ramin’s arguments.  And if you do change your mind, you will be forever grateful to Ramin for his truly eye-opening book!

The second part of the book is a detailed analysis of the Yellow Vests phenomenon which Ramin personally saw from up close and which he truly understands.  His main conclusion is that unlike the innumerable fake-popular, fake-leftist, movement out there, the Yellow Vests are the “real thing”: a truly popular movement against the brutal class oppression of the French ruling elites.

Here I have to say that I fully concur with Ramin.  The Yellow Vests are definitely the real thing, and not a fully co-opted and controlled fake opposition (“caviar left” is the French expression) which we observe in almost all EU countries.  What is most amazing about the Yellow Vests is that many powerful actors tried to either bring them under control or use them for petty political, partisan, interests.  These attempts all failed and while COVID pandemic provided the perfect pretext to crack down even harder against the Yellow Vests, the movement has not been destroyed which, by itself, is quite amazing, especially considering the truly vicious and brutal violence unleashed by the French state against the Yellow Vests.

My purpose here is not to review the book chapter by chapter or thesis by thesis.  My intention is, rather, to “bait you” just enough to make you get the book and read it for yourself.  The reader can purchase it on Amazon in English and French, and in paperback or e-book form. They can also find it in participating bookstores in Europe via IngramSpark, but Amazon is the most certain and fastest way.

This is how the book is summarized on its Amazon page:

The most comprehensive book on the Yellow Vests, and from the journalist who knows them the best. No journalist in English or French reported at more Yellow Vest demonstrations than daily news reporter and author Ramin Mazaheri. Divided into two parts: The first gives new explanations for the European wars against French progressive politics from 1789-2017. The second is a complete analysis of the causes and victories of the truly progressive and totally misrepresented Yellow Vest movement. With over 100 quotations from actual, marching Yellow Vests no book gives their view such pride of place – decide for yourself. The Yellow Vests either end or begin a major era in French and European history, but their repression was certainly a once-in-a-century event for France. Finally find out why Western elites believed repressing them was – and still is – necessary.

It’s all true, but please do check it for yourself 🙂  I can promise you that you will not regret it.  And, do I need to mention that this book also makes a great present, especially if you want to open somebody’s eyes about the true roots and nature of the society we live in?

This book is one powerful “red pill” – make sure to have it in your “toolkit”!

Andrei

France’s Yellow Vests at 4: The movement’s three greatest achievements

Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM ]

By Ramin Mazaheri

On December 1, 2018, the Yellow Vests announced themselves in France and the world, registering their name in history books with their revolutionary graffiti tagging of the Arc de Triomphe, one of the country’s most iconic monuments.

“The Yellow Vests will win” was a slogan that reverberated across the world, as the movement became the biggest, most organic, most devoted and truly revolutionary threat any Western country had faced for over half a century.

It was their third week of protest, and there was no going back now.

The world never expected a genuine resistance movement to sprout in France, a Western imperialist hub. The French were – many insisted – too self-righteous, too spoiled, too indoctrinated, and yet for the next six months every Saturday turned into a war zone across the country.

France was wholly gripped by the revolutionary frenzy at the time, and it was because the French way of life isn’t as extravagant as people may think.

The Yellow Vests didn’t bravely endure all this – at least 11,000 arrests, 1,000 political prisoners, 5,000 protesters seriously hurt, 1,000 critically injured, scores maimed for life and 11 deaths – because they have a luxurious lifestyle.

It is hard to say what was worse – the repression by the French regime, or the way Western media and NGOs slandered and ignored the weekly bloodletting, tear gas shelling and mass arrests.

The Yellow Vests are an immediate, permanent rejoinder to Westerners who claim that their governments are more protective of democracy and less brutal than those in non-Western countries. That’s one of the three great legacies of the Yellow Vests.

The key to understanding the Yellow Vests is this, and it’s implicitly understood by the average European, totally not understood in places like the United States, and has been intellectually mastered by the vanguard Yellow Vests.

Ever since the pan-European project was activated in 2009, it has failed to do anything. Prosperity, stability and democracy – none of these have been implemented. France is not really France anymore – not unless Brussels says so – and it’s becoming less like France with each passing day under a political system that is still new.

So the Yellow Vests were truly 10 years in the making. They even arrived after a decade full of major social movements, because the first war of the European Union wasn’t a proxy war against Russia but the social war it waged against its own citizens.

The problem was not just the Great Recession of 2008 but the fact that the European Union/Eurozone was the only macroeconomic bloc that implemented absolutely no major recovery plan.

Even worse, its response was to undemocratically ram through far-right austerity policies. The Yellow Vests were the “working-poor class” cemented by the changes in Brussels, and their opponents were the highly-unequal “bourgeois bloc” that only saw the pan-European project in a rainbow glow of total success.

The Yellow Vests disproved the insistence of the Anglosphere – whose cultures are politically conservative – that all populist groups in the West are necessarily on the far-right.

As soon as December 2018, it was clear in France that the Yellow Vests were steeped in left-wing economics, anti-imperialism and a non-Islamophobic, modern conception of healthy patriotism.

This explains the nearly 80 percent approval rate for the movement, and staggering popularity, especially in France which had grown extremely cynical due to undemocratic failures of the pan-European project.

If one word had to be given to describe the Yellow Vests, it would be “civic-minded”. Concern for fellow citizens and the downward spiral of non-elite masses is what basically propels such popular revolutions.

These simple, obvious and pro-community concepts are forbidden in the Western mainstream media. There is no “working-poor class” in France. There are only racist, backward, lazy, always-complaining Frenchmen. There is no “bourgeois bloc” but only an elite group of enlightened and deserving technocrats who decide for us what constitutes the “reality”.

These are truly the two classes of the 21st century West – forget “middle class”, because the pan-European project has dealt the final blow to what Reaganomics/Thatcherism began.

Fully understanding and opposing the West’s current social class reality is the second great achievement of the Yellow Vests, but of course, one cannot find class discussed in the English-speaking media. 

However, there is another achievement that is even greater but less discussed, probably because it requires a complete overview of modern Western politics, which began in 1789 with the anti-monarchy/anti-aristocrat/anti-privilege French Revolution.

The arrival and the repression of the Yellow Vests remind us all of the undeniable failures of “liberalism”. The Yellow Vests aren’t actually new but are integral to French revolutionary history transported from 1848-71.

The struggle today is the same as it was back then. It’s a struggle against elitist liberalism and its attendants: oligarchical and anti-democratic parliamentarianism, free-market chaos, anti-government ideology encapsulated by austerity cuts to social services, and encouragement of a rat race to “become bourgeois”.

The Yellow Vests took France and Europe back to 1848 when the “Second Republic” re-ended the French monarchy and claimed the mantle of the French Revolutionary “First Republic”. Liberalism was installed for the first time and immediately proved that it was plagued by all the problems described above.

Liberalism has proved a failure since 1848, and the liberalist principles (“neoliberal” is more commonly used today to differentiate it from the discredited, original “liberalism”) that underpin the pan-European project have failed today. They always fail.

The arrival, desperate passion and durability of the Yellow Vests are proof of this, and showing the hypocrisy, brutality and ineffectiveness of always-unequal liberalism is the third and greatest and historical achievement of the Yellow Vests.

Liberalism, infamously, does not promise anyone the right to a decent existence. Back in 1848, Karl Marx and other socialists demonstrated these facts about Western liberal democracies. The Yellow Vests have brought us back to these inescapable political and social truths. 

Why did the Yellow Vests “fail”? Quite simply because the French government scared people away from it through heavy-handed tactics such as violence, heavy fines, arrests and imprisonment. That’s why their protests slowly dwindled in scale and magnitude – owing to fear of state repression. 

The fear has had dramatic, lasting consequences: the French have been reduced from the most politically-active nation in the West to being apathetic and uninvolved – typical of Western liberal democracies.

The apathy surrounding this year’s re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron was completely atypical for the country but it showed there was no stopping the will of the 1 percent and their fanatical “bourgeois bloc” toadies.

The Yellow Vests recently marched to commemorate their fourth anniversary, but you probably didn’t hear about it. You also likely haven’t heard that they’ve been marching every Saturday since “Season 2” began in October 2021, following a year-and-a-half coronavirus pause – which no world leader embraced with more joy and relief than Macron. However, the media blackout on them actually began way back in June 2020.

France is no longer gripped in revolutionary fervor, but the Yellow Vests haven’t gone anywhere. The average person has put their reflective yellow vest back where it belongs by law – in the car – but the network, relationships and experiences created by this extraordinary movement ensure that they will be back one day.

And they will be back. The history of Western liberalism has proven over and over again that the average person’s right to live decently will never be guaranteed.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

The Yellow Vests at 4 years old: their 3 greatest historical achievements

Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM [ Last Update: Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM ]

By Ramin Mazaheri

On December 1, 2018, the Yellow Vests announced themselves in France and the world, registering their name in history books with their revolutionary graffiti tagging of the Arc de Triomphe, one of the country’s most iconic monuments.

“The Yellow Vests will win” was a slogan that reverberated across the world, as the movement became the biggest, most organic, most devoted and truly revolutionary threat any Western country had faced for over half a century.

It was their third week of protest, and there was no going back now.

The world never expected a genuine resistance movement to sprout in France, a Western imperialist hub. The French were – many insisted – too self-righteous, too spoiled, too indoctrinated, and yet for the next six months every Saturday turned into a war zone across the country.

France was wholly gripped by the revolutionary frenzy at the time, and it was because the French way of life isn’t as extravagant as people may think.

The Yellow Vests didn’t bravely endure all this – at least 11,000 arrests, 1,000 political prisoners, 5,000 protesters seriously hurt, 1,000 critically injured, scores maimed for life and 11 deaths – because they have a luxurious lifestyle.

It is hard to say what was worse – the repression by the French regime, or the way Western media and NGOs slandered and ignored the weekly bloodletting, tear gas shelling and mass arrests.

The Yellow Vests are an immediate, permanent rejoinder to Westerners who claim that their governments are more protective of democracy and less brutal than those in non-Western countries. That’s one of the three great legacies of the Yellow Vests.

The key to understanding the Yellow Vests is this, and it’s implicitly understood by the average European, totally not understood in places like the United States, and has been intellectually mastered by the vanguard Yellow Vests.

Ever since the pan-European project was activated in 2009, it has failed to do anything. Prosperity, stability and democracy – none of these have been implemented. France is not really France anymore – not unless Brussels says so – and it’s becoming less like France with each passing day under a political system that is still new.

So the Yellow Vests were truly 10 years in the making. They even arrived after a decade full of major social movements, because the first war of the European Union wasn’t a proxy war against Russia but the social war it waged against its own citizens.

The problem was not just the Great Recession of 2008 but the fact that the European Union/Eurozone was the only macroeconomic bloc that implemented absolutely no major recovery plan.

Even worse, its response was to undemocratically ram through far-right austerity policies. The Yellow Vests were the “working-poor class” cemented by the changes in Brussels, and their opponents were the highly-unequal “bourgeois bloc” that only saw the pan-European project in a rainbow glow of total success.

The Yellow Vests disproved the insistence of the Anglosphere – whose cultures are politically conservative – that all populist groups in the West are necessarily on the far-right.

As soon as December 2018, it was clear in France that the Yellow Vests were steeped in left-wing economics, anti-imperialism and a non-Islamophobic, modern conception of healthy patriotism.

This explains the nearly 80 percent approval rate for the movement, and staggering popularity, especially in France which had grown extremely cynical due to undemocratic failures of the pan-European project.

If one word had to be given to describe the Yellow Vests, it would be “civic-minded”. Concern for fellow citizens and the downward spiral of non-elite masses is what basically propels such popular revolutions.

These simple, obvious and pro-community concepts are forbidden in the Western mainstream media. There is no “working-poor class” in France. There are only racist, backward, lazy, always-complaining Frenchmen. There is no “bourgeois bloc” but only an elite group of enlightened and deserving technocrats who decide for us what constitutes the “reality”.

These are truly the two classes of the 21st century West – forget “middle class”, because the pan-European project has dealt the final blow to what Reaganomics/Thatcherism began.

Fully understanding and opposing the West’s current social class reality is the second great achievement of the Yellow Vests, but of course, one cannot find class discussed in the English-speaking media. 

However, there is another achievement that is even greater but less discussed, probably because it requires a complete overview of modern Western politics, which began in 1789 with the anti-monarchy/anti-aristocrat/anti-privilege French Revolution.

The arrival and the repression of the Yellow Vests remind us all of the undeniable failures of “liberalism”. The Yellow Vests aren’t actually new but are integral to French revolutionary history transported from 1848-71.

The struggle today is the same as it was back then. It’s a struggle against elitist liberalism and its attendants: oligarchical and anti-democratic parliamentarianism, free-market chaos, anti-government ideology encapsulated by austerity cuts to social services, and encouragement of a rat race to “become bourgeois”.

The Yellow Vests took France and Europe back to 1848 when the “Second Republic” re-ended the French monarchy and claimed the mantle of the French Revolutionary “First Republic”. Liberalism was installed for the first time and immediately proved that it was plagued by all the problems described above.

Liberalism has proved a failure since 1848, and the liberalist principles (“neoliberal” is more commonly used today to differentiate it from the discredited, original “liberalism”) that underpin the pan-European project have failed today. They always fail.

The arrival, desperate passion and durability of the Yellow Vests are proof of this, and showing the hypocrisy, brutality and ineffectiveness of always-unequal liberalism is the third and greatest and historical achievement of the Yellow Vests.

Liberalism, infamously, does not promise anyone the right to a decent existence. Back in 1848, Karl Marx and other socialists demonstrated these facts about Western liberal democracies. The Yellow Vests have brought us back to these inescapable political and social truths. 

Why did the Yellow Vests “fail”? Quite simply because the French government scared people away from it through heavy-handed tactics such as violence, heavy fines, arrests and imprisonment. That’s why their protests slowly dwindled in scale and magnitude – owing to fear of state repression. 

The fear has had dramatic, lasting consequences: the French have been reduced from the most politically-active nation in the West to being apathetic and uninvolved – typical of Western liberal democracies.

The apathy surrounding this year’s re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron was completely atypical for the country but it showed there was no stopping the will of the 1 percent and their fanatical “bourgeois bloc” toadies.

The Yellow Vests recently marched to commemorate their fourth anniversary, but you probably didn’t hear about it. You also likely haven’t heard that they’ve been marching every Saturday since “Season 2” began in October 2021, following a year-and-a-half coronavirus pause – which no world leader embraced with more joy and relief than Macron. However, the media blackout on them actually began way back in June 2020.

France is no longer gripped in revolutionary fervor, but the Yellow Vests haven’t gone anywhere. The average person has put their reflective yellow vest back where it belongs by law – in the car – but the network, relationships and experiences created by this extraordinary movement ensure that they will be back one day.

And they will be back. The history of Western liberalism has proven over and over again that the average person’s right to live decently will never be guaranteed.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

Great unsaid in US election: Love for ‘forever war’ is what cost Democrats

Sunday, 20 November 2022 8:22 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 20 November 2022 8:22 AM ]

A line of voters stretches outside the building as early voting begins for the midterm elections at the Citizens Service Center in Columbus, Georgia, US, October 17, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

by Ramin Mazaheri

It is an American rite of passage to realize that the Democratic Party never achieves what they claim to want to achieve.

Some Americans achieve this realization at 13, whereas the truly insufferable – because they lie about the past and are forced to deflect from those lies with aggressive self-righteousness – can persist in this self-harming delusion even past 63. 

Losing control of the House of Representatives means the election was a major loss. Democrats are spinning the idea that “We could have lost worse” actually represents a positive outcome, but only committed Democrats are able to delude themselves into thinking that such pathetic logic is actually believed by the average person.

Democrats might also lose the Senate, but it’s already a done deal: the United States will be stuck in two years of gridlock, with each party voting down each other’s legislation. An America badly in repair will have only have bipartisan agreement on the usual: increasing military spending. Republicans now have the ability to introduce and discuss legislation that Democrats greatly fear, such as the handling of the coronavirus, the anti-Trump efforts of the FBI, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, etc. 

It’s true that the sitting party’s president almost always loses Congressional seats in the midterm election, but what really cost the Democrats was their commitment to the American Dream of “forever war”.

The Pentagon just announced that they will be in Ukraine for “as long as it takes” and unveiled a new command center in Germany to help train and equip Ukraine’s military. Goodbye Afghanistan, but hello Ukraine.

What cost the Democrats on election day is the failure of the economy, and while Americans might have passively stood for another two years of inequality, poor wages, and precariousness (what’s 2 more on top of 40?), Washington’s choice to reject diplomacy and fuel war in Ukraine is what sent the economy into a tailspin at warp speed. The economic crisis was the number one issue for voters, and this pain was self-inflicted by the warmongering Democrats.

Just as the economic sanctions on Russia have rebounded so awfully against the West, so did the Democrats’ war drive rebound in their own sanctioning at the ballot box this week.

They did do better than expected, so just imagine how Democrats might have done if the economy was merely stable, instead of the current awful? They could have kept the House and won true control of the Senate – not the often-useless 50-50 split they eked out in 2020.

It’s completely accurate to say that the Democrat-led war drive in Ukraine is the reason why Democrats lost control of Congress, but it’s forbidden to say such things in the Western media.

What drove Democrats to be so reckless with the well-being of the everyday American?

Some will say it’s Russophobia, just as Islamophobia after 9/11 smoothed public opinion for a 20-year murder spree across the Muslim World.

You can’t demonize a nation every night on MSNBC and every day in The New York Times for 5+ years and then be surprised when their readers and leaders exacerbate a war with the object of demonization. Those are Democratic Party mouthpieces and not Republican ones, which can have very different ideas on Ukraine. Democratic Party leaders are obviously driven by an unjust need for vengeance against Russia – whom many Democrats falsely blame for influencing the 2016 election – and to hell with the costs on the working-poor class.

For Democrats, this vengeance is the highest display of political morality, just as vengeance towards Muslims was the highest display of political morality after 9/11. The war campaign against Russia took longer to work, but there was no bloody flag to wave to rally Americans around the president’s latest war – Russians killed no Americans. 

However, going back six years is a very short measuring stick. America has been at war since always. The world used to consider Democrats brave for saying that out loud, but it is no longer the 1950s – this is now common knowledge among the new generation.
Now being a true progressive certainly must include a desire to end civil and foreign violence. That latter seems to be the domain of the Republican Party in 2022, as they have actually threatened to cut funding for Biden’s Ukrainian quagmire.

That the Republicans are the “peace party” makes no sense, of course. The “CIA Democrats caucus” (Democrats in the House of Representatives who worked in intelligence, the State Department, or the military) has expanded to at least 15 people and that makes no sense, either. 

But since when has American politics made moral sense? America has always been a deeply reactionary country – its founding revolution was merely against foreign control and not in favor of a progressive reordering of society –  and thus its politics has always been defined by hypocrisy, zero memory, and even less understanding of this thing we share called human history.

The Democrats’ Russophobia made Russia the target, but the Democratic Party’s truly autocratic and anti-democratic commitment to “forever war” is the root cause of their undeniable electoral defeat this week.

Democrats are more committed to war this time, but it’s absurd to believe that even if Republicans don’t totally back this war that they won’t back future American wars. Simply refer to how France didn’t join the Western coalition against Iraq only to join all the following Western imperialist coalitions, and also spearheaded their usual imperialist domination across the Sahel and West Africa.

What’s the root effect, and the one which is most historically important? 2022 has shown that the US cannot handle its forever wars like it used to – not militarily, not politically, and obviously not economically.

That’s the biggest change Americans have to grapple with, and their solution is peace: A top foreign policy poll recently showed that 79% of Americans want peace with Iran, for example. Of course, despite all the insistence in the US and also Iran that a Democratic victory in 2020 will end America’s “forever war on Iran” Joe Biden has obviously disproved that, as well.

However, all the American people could do was punish the Democratic Party – it’s not as if any composition of Republicans and Democrats will actually implement the will of the average American.

The Democratic Party cannot and will not ever grapple with its inability to handle forever wars, which has been laid bare in 2022, because that’s not how Western Liberal Democracy works: it requires forever wars, both foreign and domestic.

Many incorrectly believe that the Democratic Party can somehow save Western Liberal Democracy, but not that many Americans engage in such wishful thinking – simply look at the vote results after two years of Democratic control of Washington.

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

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


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Leader: Iran’s progress, prosperity unbearable for arrogant powers

Saturday, 19 November 2022 10:45 AM 

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a meeting with a group of people from the central Iranian city of Isfahan in the capital Tehran on November 19, 2022. (Photo by Khamenei.ir)

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says arrogant powers are disgruntled by Iran’s scientific advances as tremendous progress being achieved by the Islamic Republic is consigning liberal democracy propagated by the West to history.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a speech he delivered during a Saturday meeting with a group of people from the central Iranian city of Isfahan in the capital Tehran on Saturday.

“Westerners could loot the entire world for more than two centuries through the discourse of liberal democracy. They made interventions, claiming there was no freedom in one place or there did not exit democracy somewhere else. They plundered the national assets and resources of the country as a result,” he said.

“Poor Europe became rich at the expense of many rich countries like India and China. Iran was not directly colonized, but they did everything they could here,” the Leader pointed out.

Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Afghanistan is an example just before your own eyes.  Americans came and committed crimes in Afghanistan for 20 years. They perpetrated all forms of criminal acts, brought the same government that had overthrown back to power, and withdrew in a humiliating manner.”

He went on to hail the Islamic Republic of Iran as the establishment which has rejected the idea of liberal democracy, given its nation an identity, awakened and empowered them, and stood up against Western schools of thought.

Ayatollah Khamenei further noted that West’s enmity towards Iran is rooted in the fact that the Islamic Republic continues to make progress, and the whole world acknowledges such advancement – something which the West cannot stand.

“Should we have not made any progress, did not show up a strong presence in the region, our voice had faltered in the face of America and its arrogance and we were ready to accept its bullying, the ongoing pressures would have been much less,” the Leader of the Islamic Revolution added.

Ayatollah Khamenei also pointed out that the bids against Iran have been much greater anytime that the Islamic Republic has vociferously opposed its enemies.

The Leader also stressed that Washington has always been at the forefront of the anti-Iran campaign and its European allies are standing behind it.

Ayatollah Khamenei stated that all US presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have gone up against Iran in the years following the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and have relied on the support of the Israeli regime and certain regimes in the region to accomplish their so-called goals.

“Despite all such attempts, enemies have failed on the whole. Of course they have posed problems, such as sanctions, assassination of nuclear scientists, application of various political and security ploys, and even bribed some people inside the country to speak out against the Islamic establishment. But they could not stop the Iranian nation from progressing ahead,” the Leader stressed.

Pointing to the enemy’s extensive media facilities such as satellite networks, virtual space and mercenary TV channels for shattering people’s hopes, the Leader said, “Despite all these attempts, fortunately, hope and movement towards progress in the country is alive.”

Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that, “The enemy is trying to make not only the people and the youths, but also the officials lose hope, and unfortunately, the enemy has an internal extension that they are also trying to instill hopelessness and despair by using newspapers and cyberspace.”

Touching upon some instances of progress and forward movements in Iran in recent weeks, the Leader recounted Iranian scientists’ new method to treat leukemia, localization of one of the oil and gas extraction equipment, opening of a railway line in a part of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, which is an important part of the North-South railway, opening several factories, setting up the first offshore refinery, operating 6 power plants, unveiling one of the largest telescopes in the world, launching a satellite-carrying rocket and unveiling a new rocket.

Ayatollah Khamenei said such achievements were obtained at a time that the enemy was trying to prevent this forward-heading movement with riots.


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Beyond Manufacturing Consent: A world of color revolutions

18 Nov, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Myriam Charabaty 

Color revolutions emerged alongside the booming of alternative media platforms as influencing tools, and B2C’s manufactured consent products became the influencers.

On soft power strategies and color revolution frameworks

Western liberalism has failed, in fact, liberalism altogether has failed. It has failed its core values, it has lost the balance of its so-called democracy, and it has failed to maintain its illusion of upholding individual freedom. This failed liberalism, however, continued to play a significant role in exporting a “manufacturing consent product” that feeds on instantaneous misinformation. 

In this context, we discuss the attempts, some successful and some failed, of liberal democracies across the world to export their “anticulture” illusions under the pretexts of liberty, development, and meritocracy. These attempts have become historically known by a variety of names, from the crusades to settler colonialism, then colonization, humanitarian intervention, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and most recently, colored revolutions.

Manufacturing consent as a self-made product

While tons of literature describe the evolution of hegemony processes under various names and pretexts, such as humanitarian intervention and the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s (ICISS) Responsibility to Protect, the literature outlines how these committees and principles have served the collective West in enforcing their unwanted conceptions of Eurocentric superiority. 

The regime changes sought by the collective-West liberal democracies have historically aimed to increase their financial needs by means of looting, through legal and illegal means, while also diminishing expenses. 

In previously-common frameworks aimed at establishing and extending hegemony, the use of hard power, such as military intervention, was coupled with the preparation of public opinion for the hard power actions, which has become known as manufacturing consent. Prior to these types of “liberal” wars against “authoritarianism”, public opinion, according to Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, was fed information that had been carefully manipulated by mainstream media (MSM) to bring people to adopt specific conclusions.

Joseph Nye, the advocate for the shift from hard power to soft power through the shift in norms and values, argued in a piece in The Guardian that:

“The countries that are likely to gain from soft power are those closest to global norms of liberalism, pluralism, and autonomy; those with the most access to multiple channels of communication; and those whose credibility is enhanced by their domestic and international performance. These dimensions of power give a strong advantage to the United States and Europe.”

However, as alternative media platforms began taking the lead in terms of manufacturing opinions across the world through the use of identity politics and circumstantial evidence, liberal governments developed a need to export the manufacturing of consent to become a product of the community, region, or nation, which they are targeting. This product then becomes the business that feeds the consumer of socio-political mobilization.

The emergence of alternative media as a tool for individual self-worth

This need primarily emerged alongside alternative media platforms that made way for independent journalists and “activists” to deconstruct the propaganda that is being fed to the masses through MSM. As a result, a generation was born into the concept of identity politics alongside a notion of individualism that made individuals feel important or superior to others based on market demand, also known as “reach and like” engagement rate, regardless of the truth of the information being shared.

This sense of heightened individual value, which is a liberal value, also put forward the notion of circumstantial evidence. This circumstantial evidence allows for a series of logical fallacies, as it would be grounded in the information that is primarily detached from the larger context of its happening, and thus, there is an act of information omission. 

Media bias and information omission could change perception frames (Source Unknown)

This media bias results in the accumulation of indirect evidence, in which one or more facts can be derived from the initial incomplete information mistaken for a direct fact, merely because an individual is related to it on a personal level.

When that happens, a person that feels unheard by their parents, for example, will want to rebel against any father figure who can be represented by a strong and determined government official for example, without any regard to the actual standards of development assessment on specific topics, such as social wellbeing, education levels, or technological advancements. 

In doing so, one’s understanding of “freedom” becomes absolute; the ultimate freedom, such as Frederich Neitzches’s Übermensch, leads to the disregarding of the social contract without any assessment of the consequences of what it actually means to break that contract, let alone offending or invalidating an entire culture and replacing it with personal pleasure. 

This is what this article will reference as the “B2C manufacturing consent product” (Business to Consumer) and the evolution from hard power to soft power, from R2P to colored revolution.

B2C manufactured consent products across the world

The first manufactured consent product was Serbia’s Srdja Popovic, who was one of the founders of the US-funded organization “Otpor” in 1998. Since the late 1990s, Popovic has gained widespread recognition as a key architect of regime changes in Eastern Europe and globally. 

According to an investigation by Occupy.com, Popovic and the Otpor! spinoff CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) maintained tight relations with a Goldman Sachs executive, the private intelligence business Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the US government. Furthermore, for a year, Popovic’s wife also worked for Stratfor, the investigation noted.

These disclosures follow the publication of hundreds of additional emails by Wikileaks‘ “Global Intelligence Files.” According to the emails, Popovic collaborated frequently with Stratfor, a private firm located in Austin, Texas, which collects information on geopolitical events and activists for clients like the American Petroleum Institute, Archer Daniels Midland, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel, and Coca-Cola.

The investigation carried out by Occupy.com, as well as the emails released by Wikileaks, uncovered that Popovic helped Stratfor connect with activists all across the world. It is worth noting that Stratfor branded itself as a “Shadow CIA” and sought to use Popovic’s relationships to gather material that would then be used by its corporate clients as “actionable intelligence”.

Information provided by Popovic was related to activist mobilizations and activities taking place in the Philippines, Libya, Tunisia, Vietnam, Iran, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Tibet, Zimbabwe, Poland, and Belarus, as well as Georgia, Bahrain, Venezuela, Malaysia, and other countries.

Former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic at one point referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”

When asked about CANVAS, Papic said, “They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;),” and then replied to a follow up to that email stating that “they just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”

A functional framework

For the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), some of the campaign’s key strategic initiatives included the following in Serbia, for example (copied as-is, without change from the author of this article):

Protest and Persuasion

• Street theatre and humorous skits mocking Milosevic performed throughout the country to transform the political culture and empower widespread opposition;
• Ubiquitous postering and displays of public symbols (such as Otpor’s iconic clenched fist) and slogans on posters, leaflets, and T-shirts, and in television spots;
• Large public rallies, marches, and demonstrations;
• Electoral politics – coalition-building and campaigning;
• Holding music concerts and cultural celebrations;
• The widespread distribution of anti-Milosevic materials;
• Use of the Internet, cell phones, fax machines, and alternative media to disseminate resistance messages and organize opposition;
• Public and private communication with security and church officials, media, union leaders, municipal politicians, and others to cultivate potential allies and defections;
• Petitions, press releases, public statements, and speeches;
• Workshops and training sessions for activists, distribution of training manuals.

Noncooperation

• Strikes and boycotts by workers and students, artists, actors, and business owners;
• General strike;
• Defections by security, military, and police forces cultivated by careful communication with them and public calls for their noncooperation;
• Defections by members of the media;
• Organizing by Otpor outside of the electoral system;
• Parallel election monitors and an election results reporting system to detect and report election fraud.

Nonviolent Intervention

• Blockades of highways and railroads with cars, trucks, buses, and large crowds of people to shut down economic and political activity and demonstrate parallel sources of powers and debilitate the political regime;
• Physical occupation of space surrounding key public buildings (e.g., parliament and media), then in some cases, storming and nonviolent invasions of the buildings;
• Bulldozers moving aside police barricades (a later symbol of the resistance).

Political advertisement in the face of adversity

Color revolutions started in Serbia, however, these regime change tactics have taken place all over the world. From the attempted coups in Latin America, some of which succeeded, the “Arab Spring”, the velvet revolution in Armenia, the Orange revolution in 2014 Ukraine, as well as more complex color revolution attempts in Iran, all these examples fall onto the platform of soft power. However, this does not come to say that hard power has gone out of style, rather, it says that soft power allows more long-term and sustainable resource looting at a lower expense and with a greater influence that maintains them as superior in values, norms, and lifestyle, regardless of all the systematic inequalities and structural problematics that their societies face as part of the struggle between individualism and statism. 

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Bi-annual repression of French anti-government protests gets usual cover-up

Wednesday, 02 November 2022 10:05 AM  [ Last Update: Wednesday, 02 November 2022 10:05 AM ]

French union members and workers attend a protest in Paris on December 26, 2019, after 22 days of strike against pension reform. (Photo by Reuters)

By Ramin Mazaheri

So this is what it’s like being outside of Europe during the repression of their long-running, bi-annual (spring and fall) violent anti-government and anti-EU protests? There’s barely a sound in the mainstream media about them.

Every year since the pan-European project went fully online, 2009, it’s only during the two-year Covid era when Europe has failed to be ablaze with social chaos during their two mild seasons. I assumed the non-European West had been aware, but now I see that their media couldn’t care less.

In France, Italy, Czechia, Germany and elsewhere anti-NATO (i.e. anti-war), anti-capitalism (i.e. anti-austerity/right-wing economics) and anti-government (i.e. anti-liberalism) activism has virulently returned. But anyone remotely paying attention to continental politics realizes this autumn’s protests are not an exception but a return to the norm.

So, of course they are protesting NATO, austerity and police brutality in Europe right now – that’s what they do every autumn, and to no real effect. 

What is interesting is to compare the protests in Europe with the current protests against the laws on modesty in public dress in Iran.

In 2019 France, amid the brutal and unprecedented Yellow Vest crackdown, a crowd chanted for despised riot cops to commit suicide – the mainstream media vented their indignation on behalf of the cops but remained silent on the dozen dead and scores of permanently crippled protesters. In 2022 Iran viral videos (all absent in the Western media) have shown a suspected plainclothes cop being horrifically set on fire; madmen shooting blindly into crowds; people falsely posing as policemen (and then enacting who knows what carnage in an effort to discredit the government). Like many in Iran, I don’t even attribute these obvious acts of armed, anti-revolution rebellion to legitimate protesters but to foreign spy agencies. The point must be underlined: Western protesters have nothing like this to contend with, and it’s even hard for them to comprehend the existence of such obstacles. 

In 2015 France after the Charlie Hebdo attack Paris expected the world to mourn for their instigating cartoonists. Just this week Daesh has just accepted responsibility for over 50 casualties at a mosque, but the massacre of Iranian faithful gets ignored or diminished by Western media (France24 headline: “Several people killed as gunmen open fire at shrine in Iran’s Shiraz”). I doubt any “Je suis Shirazi” (I am from Shiraz) campaigns will be demanded by Western NGO executives.

At last month’s United Nations general assembly I took a photo of a book put on display by Iran’s delegation, titled “The Encyclopedia of Iranian Terror Victims”. It contains 17,000 names of those killed since 1979 by the Western-supported MKO, Daesh, the Israelis, the House of Saud and others. A victim of the United States, the renowned anti-terror hero General Qassem Soleimani, was recently included. When terrorists killed 3,000 Americans in 2001 the retribution was the destruction of two entire countries.

Certainly this is the coup de grâce: The protests in support of the Iranian government and revolution continue to be (and have been since 1979) exponentially larger than the anti-government protests, whereas the only pro-government protests in France since 2009 were the rather comical, one-time “Red Scarves” of 2019.

Nobody is protesting in favor of what we can term the “pan-European revolution” because it continues to only gut the quality of life for the average European citizen. Contrarily, and much like those I have reported on from Cuba, the pro-government protests in Iran exist in such numbers and tenacity because the Iranian Islamic Revolution has created so much improvement, redistributed so much wealth and redistributed so much political & cultural power to the average Iranian.

The laws for modesty in dress – a demand made on both men and women, it must be said – is actually an excellent example of that last fact.

In the name of openness I am willing to discuss the worth of Iranian mores with Westerners who cannot even name five cities in Iran, but all discussions of the modesty laws should start with – as far as I am concerned – this main point: The 1979 revolution elevated the mores and culture (and dress style) of the average Iranian (the working class) for the first time in Iranian history. The mores and styles of Iran’s Western-aping elite minority – which in 1979 was 5% of the country, at the very most – ceased to be elevated. Without grasping this realization – which is never related in Western media – a Westerner’s opinion on the anti-modesty law protest amounts to them telling Iranians to be less Iranian and more like them.

Europe is not concerned with modesty in dress – and this is their sovereign right – so the differences in the issues being protested in Europe and Iran are obviously quite different.

One has had its elite cut off their source of oil and energy – and to hell with the consequences on the average person – whereas the other is forced to nurture its people despite a “zero dollars in oil sales” blockade/war.

One has given up any semblance of military sovereignty – France gave in and joined NATO in that fateful year of 2009 – whereas the other is an island of sovereignty surrounded by a sea of US military bases.

One, France, has been routinely condemned by human rights groups for police brutality whereas the last time I was in Iran – July of this year – it was impossible for me (as I was coming from cop-filled Paris) to not remark on the lack of anything but traffic cops on the streets of Tehran. I asked multiple Iranians if they believed plainclothes police were lurking around, and I can truly report that not one person believed that there were.

So it’s not that the current protests, strikes and police brutality in Europe are uninteresting, it’s that they are so routine that Westerners are apparently immune to them; or are denied the truth about them.

Exceptionally brave groups like the Yellow Vests prove how historically high anti-government sentiment is in Europe, but if they cannot break through Western arrogance (or apathy) about the failures of Western Liberal Democracy then who can, I wonder?

What the politicians and mainstream media of Western Liberal Democracies rely on is constant demonization, finger-pointing and war hysteria in order to deflect from their own regular turmoil. Too bad for them that this not enough to stop their own citizens from protesting them.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His latest book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’.


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They will blame WWIII on Germany too

October 28, 2022

By Thorsten J. Pattberg

A Berlin-Tokyo-Washington Axis in Asia; The Germany-EU-NATO Lebensraum Expansion in Europe

Olaf Scholz I. the Forgetful is the current chancellor of Germany. His ‘the Forgetful’ title is owed to the fact that Olaf cannot remember in any meaningful way his involvement in a certain multi-year European banking tax scam. [Just look it up: The Cum-Ex affair and Warburg Bank.]

In early October 2022, it was announced that Scholz and about 200 of his farmhands will be visiting Xi Jinping in China in early November. Scholz obviously wants to be the first head of state to congratulate Mr. Xi in person after the Chairman was confirmed by the 20th CPC‘s Party Congress [The Communist Party of China] for a third term.

A State Visit so Grotesque and Redundant

Scholz I. the Forgetful has completely forgotten that he was in Tokyo in August for 26 hours and asked the Japanese to sanction and cripple China‘s economy. The Chinese side was watching your actions on TV, you damn moron!

Scholz I. the Forgetful has also completely forgotten that his government sent euro-fighter planes and warships to the South China Sea in order to threaten Beijing with World War III.

Not only that, but it also escaped the German chancellor that the European Union had just so demoted China as, I quote: “rival system” [meaning the antagonist to the West], and the United Nations had just vilified China as, quote: “a human rights offender and a threat to the rules-based international order.”

Scholz isn‘t going to smile a lot in Beijing, lest he forgets that one of his henchwomen, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, had recently visit Japan, too, and called upon the Japanese shoguns to escalate tensions with Russian and China and join Germany and the EU in a full-scale hybrid war against “the enemies of democracy.”

This is World War 3, and the Germans started it.

Why did the Germans start it, and not Russia, China, or the United States? Well, because the Germans are the closet assholes that will be blamed for all World Wars. This theory is especially tempting because Scholz will forget everything ever happened anyway, so let us begin:

1. Scholz forgot he and his ilk started World War I and II

It is taught in schools around the world that Germany started World War I as a capitalist democracy and World War II as a socialist dictatorship.

It really doesn’t matter which political and economic system is on the start in Berlin. Germany starts a World War with everyone anyway.

2. Scholz forgot the Germans are the Nazis

It is politically correct to say that normal Germans were innocent during World War II. An evil dictator had come to power and the normal Germans just followed the orders of a tyrant. The orders were: a) to expand the German Reich to the east (new Lebensraum) and b) to defeat communism. Expansion and communism.

Forward 84 years and, starting in 2014, Germany is now expanding AGAIN to the east, just not in the name of the Reich but in the name of NATO and the EU. Defeating communism remains the same. But Scholz and his forgetful government don’t see it this way, he said: This time, Germany fights Russia not against Stalin but against Putin. So it is different. And Russia wasn‘t even Russia back then but the Soviet Union, so that is also different. Also, Putin was democratically elected. Scholz is not. The Germans can‘t elect any specific person. Anyways, in the history books, the Germans are the evil Nazis. Not the Russians. The Russians are the enemies of the Nazis, the communists.

3. Scholz forgot the German Reich had allies too

Also, in World War II, Germany allied with Japan, Italy, and Spain. That basically proves that Germany was alone. This time—World War III—it is totally different, according to Scholz: This time, Germany is not alone, the man insists: Berlin is not gonna fight Russia and China alone, no way. It would look like World War II again, so No thank you. Instead, Berlin now allies with France, England, and the United States. Evidently, this time, at last, Berlin is on the winning side of a World War. Nice.

4. Scholz forgot Germany was at war with China many times

For this one, Mr. Scholz cannot be blamed because he was born behind a bush in Großlohe near Oldenfeld and has no noble bloodline. However, it is true that the German Emperor Wilhelm II. went to war with Beijing in 1900. Then again in 1941, China was, alongside Russia and America, part of the anti-Hitler war pact. So China and Germany were at war. This entangles somehow with point 2 I was making above, that Berlin is essentially re-enacting World War II in this new World War III with the East.

5. Scholz forgot Germany was an export nation

Being labeled as another world’s leading export nation for machinery (not goods or services) could be seen as not so boff. After all, Germany is US-occupied. We would expect a colony to become an export nation. Truth be told, functioning as a construction plant for the US Empire of Sanctions [and Lies] does not really benefit the native Germans. Exporting a lot of machinery for the Empire sounds great in the Annual Report for the Empire—if only ordinary Germans would also get filthy rich. They don‘t, actually. Germany’s bottom half owns nothing. Its major companies are up to 80% US foreign-owned. Scholz has no such memories, of course, and went ahead in February 2022 with cutting Germany off cheap Russian energy and low-cost Chinese goods. Don‘t need foreign meddling. Turns out, Russian energy and Chinese goods were the two things the Germans could actually buy with their US dollar trade surplus.

The Scholzesque state visit to China is likely to set into motion a chain of catastrophic economic events. Scholz I. the Fistfork is going to antagonize the leaders in Beijing badly, and on a scale not previously conceivable. If the Chinese were to stop buying Adidas panties and Porsche cars, the last two German industries would collapse. Although Mr. Scholz is sure to forget everything about ‘decoupling’ next week when he is supposed to middleman the latest US missile systems from the German Ramstein base to murder more Russians.

He really is this short turtle man. Small stature, bald, no neck. A lickspittle to the former God Empress, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who ruled Berlin and Europe for 16 unforgettable years of oppression and total decline. We recall Merkel‘s opening of the EU borders to millions of foreign invaders and the abolishing of democracy… we do that, but Mr. Scholz?… he won‘t remember a thing!

Harbingers of Complaint and Dissatisfaction

Just two weeks before Mr. Scholz was supposed to meet Mr. Xi, another ultra-warmongering parliamentarian called Peter Heil Heidt was in Taipei and vilified Beijing. He said something to the tune of “Germany would go to war with China over Taiwan.”

That pompous “possing and posing” is nothing compared to the endless anti-China routine back in Germany. It is just pure racism. Of course, Berlin says we have nothing against normal Russians, just against Putin. And says we have nothing against normal Chinese, just against Xi Jinping. And then they go on making the lives of normal Russians and normal Chinese the “Hell of embargo, terror, and lies.”

[Sighs] We must not blame the normal Germans, they are innocent and just follow US Imperial marching orders, this much is true. Still, the evil that this country produces is unbearable. Two cases in point, ‘War Pandas’ and ‘Port Fortresses’.

Exhibit A. China makes tough politics with cuddly bears: “Beijing weaponizes panda bears as levers against Europe.

Exhibit B. China buys German port wholesale: “Chinese Shipping giant Cosco wants to own 35% of shares in Hamburg port.”

It’s all a lie. Pandas are cute. And the Hamburg port management consists of four major conglomerates, of whom only one Chinese Cosco wants to invest in. And it isn’t even about changing ownership; it’s just a damn lease. The German press, drooling in vindictiveness, reported the deal was going to be some hostile Chinese take-over attempt of an entire European port-city state.

Interestingly, Mr. Scholz remembered briefly that the Chinese kept infrastructure tidy and running, and the Germans… just don’t [anymore]. All public transport is shite in shithole Germany. Trains, planes, and ships don’t run on time. So, Scholz defended the China deal at first. We need this! The US criminals who run Europe, however, who largely have their US military bases in the South of Germany, totally objected to Chinese port wars in the North. They must have stepped on his right toe with a mighty bang, because in any case his memories were gone the next day. Mr. Scholz immediately forgot he ever said anything positive about China Hamburg and instead said Hamburg was indeed a US dinghy—ein Beiboot.

Flexible Mr. Scholz can have BOTH trade with China AND war with China. You don’t think so? If you are an anyhow kraut and forgetful, there shouldn’t be no moral conflict. Scholz just forgets which way diplomacy broke and fixes the whole thing:

“Ve want ze wars or ze trading!”

… Wars?

Or Trading?

… WASSER TRETEN!!!”

CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan — The students of the Marine Combat Instructor Water Survival Course tread water in formation while carrying the rifle at port arms as part of water aerobics at the Camp Schwab Aquatic Center June 14. Water aerobics sessions are part of the conditioning and strengthening portion of the course and consisted of swimming different strokes above water and underwater, strength-training activities in the water and exercises along the edges of the pool. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. C. Nuntavong)(released)

In the end, it is entirely possible for Germans to kill your people AND take care of your wives, no problem. Under its moral leadership, Berlin has [so far] alienated China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, but also India, the Muslim world, South America, and even European slave nations like Italy and Hungary.

Hitler once called Ukraine the “Occupied Eastern Territories,” but Scholz is different and calls Ukraine “a future NATO member-state and part of the EU.” See, it is different! The Reich bombed cities to rebuild them in the German image, but the Federal Republic bombs cities to rebuild everything. The keyword is afterwards. Which I just made up.

He said: “Rebuilding Ukraine is a generational task that must begin now.” When is nowNow, if we care to remember the proper proceedingsonce came before the rebuilding but after the destruction. See, Mr. Scholz wants to rebuild now already what should be breaking afterwards. Never before has a German leader been in such a hurry to lay waste to a country with his time adverbs. Everything will be different in World War III from World War II. Last time, we borrowed money we didn’t have. This time, we borrow time we never had. Nobody will be able to say now then later “But the Germans… this time the Germans approached from backwards!”

What is the afterwards strategy of Berlin with this Scholz’ern in-person visit to Beijing? Especially because we know that US President Biden just called Mr. Xi of China via an online Zoom meeting before. Does Berlin have too much money, talk, and air miles? I can tell you what it is because they wrote it down: It is deliberate attention-seeking, that’s what it is. Europe is now so dysfunctional, it has attracted retarded prime ministers, ideologues, and psychopaths into the highest offices, everywhere. Not just in government, but also in academia, in the judiciary and the media, but also in the internet.

The chancellor kept his list of mutants he intends to fly over to Beijing a secret. But jolly commentators hoped it would be his fat cow Chief cattle Ricarda Lang from the Green Party, his analsexed friend Jens Spahn, the Goebbels impersonator Heiko Maas, watermelon head Friedrich Merz, and the narcissist toth, A Baerbock. Just to give Western audiences what they want: Total dysfunction, sexual perversion, and degeneracy.

Those mutants don’t want to talk about stability, decency, and competence. They are activists. They want to change things with action. Was it Carl von Clausewitz who once said “There is no intelligence where nobody makes war.”

Says the President of the German Secret Service [Verfassungsschutz], quote: “Russia is the storm, but China is climate change!” He said this in the German Parliament! He then deep-sixed his own weather allegory and rumbled something akin to “Chinese firms should not be allowed to invest in German ports.” He calls China this: “A Menace!”—eine Gefahr!

[Pensive music playing] Of course, the Chief-of-Intelligence forgot to mention that German soldiers are part of US-military operations in Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Georgia, Cambodia, and Ukraine. What a douche to call China a threat.

The lesser Germans are no better. A list of 30 “China experts” who claim to be professors from Hamburg, wrote an open letter in the German media, asking Mr. Scholz to ban China investments in Germany until Germans can invest in China—a peach for a plum.

Which is an insane thing to ask, since Germany is 20 times smaller but has 20 times more direct investment in China than the other way around. Germany is the Imperial all-eating locust plague.

A Genealogy of Evil

Which brings us back to the 1900 declaration of war by Emperor Wilhelm II. at Bremerhaven: This fine speech of German savagery was later coined ‘the Hun speech’. It was the Germans who colonized, raped, and murdered the Chinese in China, yet the papers published the exact opposite: “The Chinese are attacking us! No mercy will be granted, no pardon will be given!”

This shows us that the German “China experts” are incapable of telling the truth, even when they know it. Because most German officials are inherently psychopathic persons with no faculty for empathy, none.

Mr. Scholz will humiliate Germany in China so much, will offend the Chinese commentators so much, that all hell will break loose and hatred and bitter rivalry ensues. Hundreds of millions will suffer from lost trade, war, and poverty. Who gives. Scholzes don’t care if all goes to pot. As the Buddhists say: All life is suffering. Say the Germans: Done!

Displacement, violence, and misery all equal eastward expansion, remember? If you are German, and you are already dead in 80 years, why not start World War III now while you can? The Americans arranged it, but they will probably say the Germans did it, because “Germany started World War I and II AND III”… is just the better story.

The Germans are the perfect closet assholes because they have passion but no compassion. They lack empathy. This lack of empathy passed on from generation to generation of surviving Huns and became the genealogy of Evil. Just read the archaeologists of Evil, from Hannah Arendt to Andrew Lobaczewski. The Germans are the world’s main source of Evil. Their own leaders say this much about themselves. Said former President of Germany, Joachim Gauck: “I feel ashamed to be a German” or “I am suspicious about the German language… because it breeds pride, hatred, and bestiality,” and… wait for it: “I hate and despise this country!”

This is real, folks. It is what it is. We must deal with these murderous lunatics before they murder everyone or themselves. Evil oozes from their huge foreheads, streaking their oily white skin. And if everyone says you are part of the historic Evil, you will probably turn out to be an asshole, just like Gauck and Scholz and the rest of them.

Evil goes with German as the Devil goes with Dr. Faust. There is no Mao or Stalin in this world that could have existed without German Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, verstehst Du?!

The coming War will be blamed on the assholes in the closet. It is too awesome an award to be handed to the Russians, Chinese, or the Iews. “Germany did it once again,” will they all sing, the voices of doom. Or they’ll clap “The Death of Europe!” and all its rotten brains. Either way, the Germans will be the peons, the scapegoats, the blame race.

World War I and II kind of won our attention, remember? Blood, soil, women, and resources. If you are a small militant nation, you can always destroy more than you can build. World War III is the most progressive thing that could ever happen to Berlin and Europe.

The world would be indifferent if China had never existed. But if the Germans had never existed, we would never have had Charles Bukowski, Klaus Schwab, or Donald Trump.

Beijing knows that Evil always triumphs for the Europeans. This law of History must be obeyed. My God, what have the Europeans done! Why would China even cater to forgetful Mr. Scholz in Beijing where Germans murdered Chinamen in the past? Why would China tolerate another military German-Japan axis? Because Mr. Xi is wise and will go with the flow of History. That much attitude he shares with most world leaders: When World War III breaks out, it will be blamed in any way possible on Germany. You better believe it.

The author is a German writer and cultural critic.

Under Satan’s Banner

October 19, 2022

by Dragan Filipovic

In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare

– Sun Tzu, ‘The Art of War’

Putin’s West is Satanic Speech

During the signing ceremony on the accession to the Russian Federation of the four new regions on September 30th president Vladimir Putin declared that a ‘revolutionary transformation of the world’ is underway and stated that there will be ‘no return to the old order’. As expected, his oration was largely ignored or distored by Western mainstream media:

“Our compatriots, our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are part of our united people have seen with their own eyes what the ruling class of the so-called West have prepared for humanity as a whole. They have dropped their masks and shown what they are really made of.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the West decided that the world and all of us would permanently accede to its dictates. In 1991, the West thought that Russia would never rise after such shocks and would fall to pieces on its own. This had almost happened. We remember the horrible 1990s, hungry, cold and hopeless. But Russia remained standing, revived, grew stronger and occupied its rightful place in the world.”

Signing ceremony for the accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall

“Meanwhile, the West continued to look for another chance to strike a blow at us, to weaken and break up Russia… to set our peoples against each other and to condemn them to poverty and extinction. They cannot rest easy knowing that there is such a great country with this huge territory and its natural wealth, resources and people who cannot and will not do someone else’s bidding.

Western countries have been saying for centuries that they bring freedom and democracy to other nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of bringing democracy they suppressed and exploited, and instead of giving freedom they enslaved and oppressed. The unipolar world is inherently anti-democratic and unfree; it is false and hypocritical through and through.

Do we want to have in Russia, ‘Parent number one, parent number two and Parent number three’ instead of Mother and Father? Do we want our schools to impose on our children perversions that lead to degradation and extinction? Do we want to drum into their heads the idea that other genders exist besides Female and Male, and to offer them gender reassignment surgery? This is all unacceptable to us. We have a different future of our own.

Let me repeat that the dictatorship of the Western elites targets all societies, including the citizens of Western countries themselves. This is a challenge for us all. This complete renunciation of what it means to be human, the overthrow of faith and traditional values, and the suppression of freedom are coming to resemble the reverse of religion – pure Satanism. Exposing false messiahs, Jesus Christ preached in the Sermon on the Mount: “By their fruit ye shall know them.” These poisonous fruits are already obvious to people, and not only in our country but in all countries, including many people in the West itself.

The world has entered a period of a fundamental, revolutionary transformation. New centers of power are emerging. They represent the majority of the international community. They are ready not only to declare their interests but also to protect them. They see in multipolarity an opportunity to strengthen their sovereignty, which means gaining genuine freedom, historical prospects, and the right to their own independent, creative and distinctive forms of development, to a harmonious process.

There are many like-minded people in Europe and the United States, and we feel and see their support. An essentially emancipatory, anti-colonial movement against unipolar hegemony is taking shape in the most diverse countries and societies. Its power will only grow with time. It is this force that will determine our future geopolitical reality.“

“The destruction of the Western hegemony is irreversible,“ Putin concluded.

JFK’s Forgotten ‘Peace For All Time Speech’

President John F. Kennedy, under the influence of the Cuban Missile Crisis when the world was brought to the brink of annihilation, made an equally momentous speech at the American University on June 10, 1963:

“I have chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave.

I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

“I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles – which can only destroy and never create – is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

…wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because the freedom is incomplete. It is the responsibility of the executive branch at all levels of government – local, State, and National – to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority…

All this is not unrelated to world peace. ‘When a man’s ways please the Lord,’ the Scriptures tell us, ‘he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.’ And is not peace… basically a matter of human rights – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation…?

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough – more than enough – of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on – not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

“Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” – JFK in his 1961 Inaugural Address

Rise and Fall of a Hegemon

Kennedy’s speech was quickly relegated to the memory hole after his assassination only five months later with his successor Lyndon B. Johnson quickly ramping up the war in Vietnam, chosing to ignore painful French colonial lessons there a decade earlier as well as president Charles de Gaulle’s warning that “…you will sink step by step into a bottomless military and political quagmire”. LBJ forged full steam ahead, using a false flag attack in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 to commit a half a million U.S. troops to the jungles of Indochina.

An alleged North Vietnamese attack on the USS Madoxx was used as an excuse to ramp up the Vietnam war which ended up costing 58,220 American and over two million Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian lives

Even though it was done under the banner of ‘defending democracy and freedom’, it nevertheless gave the lie to JFK’s assertion that the United States would never start a war.

Shock and Awe on full display in Baghdad, March 2003 at the start of the war to rid the world of Saddam’s non-existent WMD’s; when the kinetic phase of a war is completed it is replaced by an economic shock and awe, when the target country’s economy is plundered

Former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl concurs with Putin’s portrayal of the West’s exploitative colonial mindset:

“The era of the ‘Seven Sisters,’ a cartel of oil companies that divided up the oil market, came to an end (in the 1970’s). However, for US policymakers – at least, psychologically – this era still persists. ‘It’s our oil,’ is an expression I often hear uttered in Washington. Those voices were particularly loud during the illegal US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. To really understand the core of the conflict in Ukraine – where a proxy war rages – one must break down the confrontation thus: The US and its European allies, who represent and back the global financial sector, are essentially engaged in a battle against the world’s energy sector. “ Kneissl wrote for the The Cradle on October 13th.

Political Studies professor Radhika Desai lectures in the same vein:

“The conflict that the West calls Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… is not a conflict between Ukraine and Russia; it is a phase in the hybrid war that the West has been waging for decades against any country that chooses an economic path other than subordination to the United States. In its current phase, this war takes the form of a US-led NATO war over Ukraine. In this war, Ukraine is the terrain, and a pawn – one that can be sacrificed. This fact is hidden by wall-to-wall Western propaganda portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as either mad or a devil hell-bent on recreating the Soviet Union. This pre-empts any questions about why Putin might be doing this, about the rationale for Russian actions.

The United States, having sought without success to dominate the world, wages this war to stall its historic decline, the loss of what remains of its power. This decline has accelerated in recent decades as neoliberalism turned its capitalist economic system unproductive, financialised, predatory, speculative, and ecologically destructive, massively diminishing Washington’s already dubious attractions to its allies around the world.“

With an annual budget approaching a trillion dollars, the U.S. military is far removed from its Hollywood image of a ‘mean, lean fighting machine‘, and has turned into a bloated dinosaur mired in monumental corruption. This was confirmed by no less an auhority than the former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who, on September 10, 2001, revealed that Pentagon auditors found that 25% of the military budget could not be accounted for, and that $2.3 trillion were missing.

The very next day, however, the war on waste was overtaken by the ‘war on terror’ and everything was forgiven and forgotten. Business continued as usual.

The current decrepit state of the U.S. military is aply reflected in its dismal recruitment figures, with the army announcing on October 1st that – despite offering sign-up bonuses of up to $50,000 – it had still managed to miss its enlistment target by 25%.

The most likely causes: one in three Americans are overweight or otherwise unfit, the Covid ‘vaccine’ mandates, and lastly, Pentagon’s advocacy of LGBTQ/transgender ideology which has become the centerpiece of Biden regime’s ‘numerous accomplishments’ but which a priori eliminates potential conservative and religious-minded candidates who usually form the backbone of the military.

After obligatory inoculations recruits must undergo doctrinal inculcation emphasizing ‘equity and minority rights’ prior to being unleashed to sow death and destruction in defense of human rights around the globe

The New Normal: ‘Drag Queens’ are now in charge of teaching biology to kids, including that 72 genders exist – according to polls, a third of Generation Z consider themselves ‘gender fluid’ – which is what Putin was referring to in his speech

Winner Takes All

Ukraine’s Blitzkrieg Means That Russia Cannot Win The War,” runs a typical headline used by the mainstream media as it downplays Russia’s strategic success and amplifies the tactical setbacks in order to make it look like the war is turning into a quagmire for Putin.

This is something which geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar takes issue with: “ … in only 7 months, Russia annexed 120,000 km2 – or 22% of Ukrainian territory – that produces nearly 90% of GDP and has over 5 million citizens. Along the way, the allied forces basically destroyed the Ukrainian army, which they continue to do 24/7; billions of dollars of NATO equipment; accelerated the demise of most Western economies; and evaporated the notion of American hegemony…”

The U.S. military has shown itself incapable of beating a ragtag Taliban force in Afghanistan and does not stand a chance against Russia, as the military expert Scott Ritter confirmed in 2017:

“NATO would be totally outmatched in a conventional war with Russia… Today, NATO and American anti-armor weapons continue to play catch up to new innovations being fielded by the Russians. The Americans like to quantify the Russian Army as being ‘near peer’ in terms of its capabilities; the fact of the matter is that it is the U.S. and NATO armored forces that are ‘near peer’ to their Russian counterparts, and there are many more Russian tanks in Europe today than there are NATO and American.”

Instead of Russia running out of missiles and ammunition as is often claimed, it is the U.S. and NATO which have emptied out their warehouses and run out of weapons, as reported by CNBC: “In the U.S. weapons industry, the normal production level for artillery rounds for the 155mm howitzer – a long-range heavy artillery weapon currently used on the battlefields of Ukraine – is about 30,000 rounds per year in peacetime. The Ukrainian soldiers… go through that amount in roughly two weeks.” Pentagon is now looking for U.S. companies to build more shells, while new HIMARS systems promised to Ukraine won’t arrive for years.

The painful truth for NATO is that the decades-long offshoring of manufacturing to low-wage countries has left it with insufficient industrial capacity required to wage a protracted war against a ‘near-peer’ adversary.

All this is ignored by the Western media which, through sensationalistic headlines like “In Washington, Putin’s Nuclear Threats Stir Growing Alarm” and “Putin Prepared to Use Nuclear Weapons”, is creating the illusion that Russia is losing badly and will resort to anything to turn things around.

Former CIA director and retired general David Petraeus was thus interviewed by ABC News on October 2nd and stated how Russia is “desperate after a string of setbacks” and then promised that if it used nuclear weapons, the US would destroy the Russian military in Ukraine and sink its naval fleet.

What Petraeus – better known for having lost both ‘surges’ in Iraq and Afghanistan – fails to mention is that the U.S. is the one nuclear superpower with a first strike policy which is defined as an “…attack on an enemy’s nuclear arsenal that effectively prevents retaliation against the attacker. A successful first strike would cripple enemy missiles that are ready to launch and prevent the opponent from readying others for a counterstrike by targeting the enemy’s nuclear stockpiles and launch facilities.”

Under this policy, “The U.S. president has the auhority, without consulting anyone, to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike – not merely in retaliation… Our warheads could be launched in defense of allies, after the onset of a conventional war involving our troops… or in response to a bellicose threat posed by a nuclear state.”

On the other hand, Russia’s Basic Principles doctrine does not allow for unprovoked use of nuclear weapons – tactical or strategic. In any case, Russia has absolutely no need to resort to tactical nukes as it possesses the most powerful conventional weapon in existence, nicknamed FOAB – Father of All Bombs – a thermobaric bomb with a blast yield of 44 tons TNT; more importantly, these weapons do not emit any radiation, as nuclear fallout would pose both an immediate and lingering threat to their troops as well as to local civilians – most of whom are expected to one day become loyal Russian citizens.

FOAB dropped from a Tu-160 bomber at the Opuk training range, Black Sea in 2016; this ordnance is designed to vaporize targets and collapse structures by igniting a fuel-air mixture in midair

Some 150 U.S. B61 nuclear bombs are located in six air bases throughout Europe

Artist Marina Abramovich and Jacob Rotschild posing in front of a painting titled ‘Satan Summoning His Legions’ by Thomas Lawrence at the Royal Academy of Arts; Lord Rotschild & Co. control most of the planet’s assets

High Noon for NATO, Midnight for Humanity?

100 Seconds to Midnight according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who now warn that we have never been closer to a nuclear holocaust and find ourseleves at doom’s doorstep

NATO has on October 17th launched ‘Steadfast Noon’, its annual nuclear drills set to last until October 30th which is taking place 600 miles from the Russian border with “14 countries and air forces from across NATO to exercise nuclear deterrence capabilities involving dozens of aircraft, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft,” as per the NATO press release.

As luck would have it, ‘Steadfast Noon’ will likely coincide with Moscow’s own annual nuclear drills dubbed ‘Grom’, when Russia tests its nuclear-capable bombers, submarines and missiles.

This is a Do-or-Die moment for the western hegemon which is not willing – or rather, cannot – back down under any circumstances. Conscious of its inability to win a conventional war against Russia, it will resort to any measure in order to win, even if it means setting the world ablaze.

The U.S. has managed to convince itself that it can emerge victorious from a pre-emptive nuclear war, but cannot afford be seen as the aggressor in the eyes of the global community; a ‘False Flag’ event is therefore set to be staged in Ukraine using a low-yield device for which Russia would quickly be blamed, triggering an immediate NATO response. As inadvertently confirmed by Ukrainian president Zelensky while addressing the Australian Lowy Institute on October 6th, the scheme involves a ‘decapitation strike’ on Moscow against Putin and his Cabinet, after which the rest of the regime would collapse like a house of cards.

Assuredly, if this suicidal policy is ever applied outside a computer simulation, the world would have to concur with Mr. Putin’s assertion that the collective west is being run by satanists.

Sadly, that realization will have come too late to save humanity.

2017 Deagel.com forecast in which the U.S. is projected to lose two-thirds of its population by 2025; Deagel is a branch of the US military intelligence, preparing briefs for agencies such as the NSA, NATO, UN, and the World Bank. This forecast has been purged after the founder Edwin Deagel passed away in 2021

“There are decades where nothing happens; and then there are weeks where decades happen.”

– Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Nord Stream, currencies & credibility go bust for EU liberalism

October 20, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri

There’s no more obvious failure of Europe’s politicians to protect their own citizens than the drop in the euro and the pound to below parity and near-parity, respectively, with the United States dollar.

However, this article was planned before the brazen sabotage of the Russian-German Nord Stream gas pipelines which – almost impossibly – outranks the currencies’ collapse!

The two seismic events actually dovetail perfectly: both illustrate the absolute failure of Western Liberal Democracy for everyone but the Western 1%.

Why would anyone interested in the theory of governance treat the above as hot news? Western leadership may have infinite personal faults and a bottomless appetite for blood and treasure, but their instability is so endemic so as to be clearly structural.

If we accept the Hobbesian insistence that government is here to prevent disorder, then what can we say about the record of the pan-European project, which we can define as the combined efforts of the European Union, the euro and the Eurogroup, the hidden but legal and accountable banker cabal which rules the euro and thus a score of European nations? Their record is one of shameless pride in unabashed failure for Europe’s working-poor class, which used to be called the “middle class”.

On January 1, 2008,1 euro was worth $1.47 and 1 pound was worth $1.98. How very far the strength of the pan-European project has fallen!

Allowing the drop to parity with the dollar must be combined with the reminder that Europe’s leaders were the only major macroeconomic area which refused to implement a recovery plan after the Great Financial Crisis. They chose, over the will of voters, the Age of Austerity, which can be described as the Americanization of the European social safety net; or the end of the era of European Social Democracy, for which so many millions died on their battlefields of World War I and II; or the creation of the current, incredibly unequal Western Gilded Age II.

There is still no recognition of failure by Europe’s leadership: the UK actually tried to re-embark on economic Thatcherism, while France is about to pass its annual budget via the incredibly anti-democratic 49-3 executive decree. Just as I predicted: Macron’s legislative victory was just enough that he will never lose a no-confidence vote over any issue of right-wing economic importance.

The currency collapses, which are like huge pay cuts for the average European, were enough to make this point: the pan-European project continues to only fail to bring about the promised prosperity and stability. The cause of Europe’s economic collapse isn’t bad luck, or due to foreign aggression or sanctions, or the result of neoliberal “reforms” just not getting enough time to play out – it’s due to the failure of the ideology of Western Liberal Democracy itself.

Nord Stream: Germans can no longer have any illusions

It was hard to imagine a more naked escalation of the 8-year Ukraine conflict than the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines.

It’s long been said that the only actual winner from the conflict has been the United States. Because the arrival of peace would be a change to the current status quo the US has the most to lose from a victory of diplomacy. The destruction of Nord Stream virtually ended chances of a diplomatic solution to the conflict during the expected lull in fighting over the next 3 or 4 months, and maybe beyond.

There was no Western outrage over Nord Stream, which may be the biggest proof that they were behind the sabotage. The lack of outrage of The New York Times speaks volumes, as does its repeated terming of explosions as mere “breaks” or “leaks”. Bloomberg labeled the sabotage merely “Putin’s Pettiness”, although for Europeans the price of energy is hardly a petty concern.

What happened to Nord Stream seems clear, and that’s going beyond the now-viral clips from this year of both Joe Biden and Victoria “F*** the EU” Nuland promising the end of the Nord Stream project by any means necessary, which are the definitions of rhetorical smoking guns. We can fairly assume that for many years the United States has been colluding with Poland to destroy the Nord Stream project, and they finally succeeded.

Poland’s ex-Foreign Minister from 2007 to 2014 – no short tenure – couldn’t restrain his joy at the culmination of plotting he was probably present at from the very beginning (Nord Stream first broke ground in 2011), tweeting a picture of the gas leak and the words “Thank you USA”.

The problem, at least for those in Europe who believe that Washington is a true ally, is that Poland and the US have likely colluded to hurt Poland’s ostensible partner, Germany, as well as the largest economic force in the pan-European project. Thus, the US is manipulating individual states within the pan-European project to ensure that the pan-European project itself cannot rise above it’s ordered station, which is: policy subservience to Washington’s needs. The US is using the classic imperialist strategy of dividing and conquering peoples and tribes, this time within the EU.

Is Berlin merely a vassal to Washington?

However emotionally satisfying as the nationalist component is for some people, it is not logically satisfying – only the class angle explains it: Liberal Democracies are the product of international collusion among the 1% class, which is a class that puts maintaining their elite status far above concepts of patriotism. Western Liberal Democracy – as Marx proved way back in 1848 (and he was merely reporting what the recently-freed European serfs were all saying) – is the collusion of the 1% against the rest of the country/continent/world/galaxy. Monarchy and aristocrats are not actually dead!

The complete transcription of Nuland’s comments make this clear. She said, “We continue to have very clear and strong conversations with our German allies, and I want to be clear with you today. If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2, will not move forward.”

The key phrase is not the threat but “clear and strong conversation with our German allies”: the US elite is colluding with the German elite, and the non-elite Germans can only go triple up on sweaters, ration their meat and hope they don’t join the jobless.

What on earth can the Germans be feeling about their own leaders?

It must be total contempt, no? Berlin either helped destroy, or allowed the destruction of, their sovereign energy program, and amid the most economic uncertainty in almost 15 years.

The Western “Great Game” moves to the West itself

The currency collapses are bad, but Nord Stream explodes the Western corona slogan of, “We are all in this together”. Europe’s elites are not in it together with their own voters, and France’s Yellow Vests knew this in 2019. They knew that they were being permanently declassed into the hopeless working-poor, and so they resisted so bravely and intelligently.

Will Germans soon realise that they are on the same road? Will they have the courage to give voice to their contempt for their own government, as the French did? If so, how far the smug, Greece-shaming, falsely-pious Germans have to fall, indeed!

It can now be said that the successful resistance of places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – as well as Iran and Hezbollah – have so bankrupted Western imperialists that America’s detonation of Germany’s prime energy source proves that the 19th century Western and Russian “Great Game” has moved from Persia, Central Asia and India to inside the West in the 21st century.

This is another proof that the pan-European project is “neo-imperialist” – they are colluding in the colonisation of their own people: imperialism is not only for non-Whites anymore.

If the German people rise up as the French did recently then we will likely see a total Balkanisation of the perpetually-failing pan-European project. This is why the Nord Stream sabotage was so shocking – what a risk the West has taken! They are apparently relying on Germans to maintain their smug, complacent illusion of self-supremacy even despite the obvious fact that the pan-European project is against them as much as it is against Greece.

What on earth are Europe’s leaders doing to themselves, or rather, to their own citizens?!

This is the question Iran has been asking for years, with Europe’s failure to implement the JCPOA agreement on Iran’s nuclear energy program. Russia has recently joined this chorus.

The pan-European project wasn’t designed merely to ensure American hegemony over Europe, but to ensure that the international, liberalist 1% has hegemony over the world. My new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values, gives a daily, hard-news summation of the failure of the pan-European project since 2009. It also shows that the autocratic legacy of monarchism/elitism lives on via the anti-democratic ideology known as Western Liberal Democracy – all of Europe’s noblest values since 1789 continue to be subverted by the Western 1%.

If you can, get paid in dollars.

But perhaps Germans, and other Europhiles, truly are willing to go cold, hungry and jobless – not for Ukraine, but to ensure the wealth of Western elites?

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. His latest book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’.

An Alternative Open Letter to Western Politicians

August 15, 2022

Source

by Asia Teacher

Dear western politicians!

Leaving aside the usual sycophantic nonsense, which applauds your continuing efforts to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East with missile attacks, trying to change the earth’s climate using beliefs, promising an unknown source of ‘green’ energy whilst promoting vaccines to save us from certain death from a dose of flu, here’s an alternative open letter.

As a UK citizen now retired, having recently returned to the UK after over a decade of living and working in Asia and the Far East I’m stunned by the stupification around me. Have I inadvertently fallen down an alternative universe Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole, or is there a hidden factory somewhere mass-producing stupid politicians?

As yet another British Prime Minister resigns following the resignations of two others before him producing a failing economy, soaring inflation, sky-high taxes, an energy crisis and a falling pound … The indoctrinated cheer on men with beards wearing dresses and it’s left to a dwindling minority to explain why carrots don’t grow on trees in a socially engineered ideological dystopia! The consequences of which you blame on the Russians, or the Chinese depending on who the US has currently fallen out with.

As you sit in your elitist tax payer funded ivory towers, let’s briefly detail the chaos and mayhem you’ve produced.

Did you think the outside world believed you were trying to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East and not trying to control the world’s major oil producers who just all happened to have abandoned the petrodollar? How many millions lost their lives in that failed adventure?

How many of you swooned over a 16-year-old autistic Swedish school drop out with Asperger’s syndrome, OCD and selective mutism whose mother said she had “special eyes” that could see carbon rising from a dying planet? As a self-inflicted energy crisis looms and both Britain and Germany re-open coal-fired power stations, are you still cheering for mentally ill Greta and her windmills?

How can you keep a straight face whilst telling millions that if they didn’t have the Covid vaccine they’d be passing on the flu they didn’t have onto others? How much of the vaccine scam profit disappeared into the pockets of pharmaceuticals, lobbyists and your own pockets? The whole country could hear the cash tills ringing as shares in the pharmaceuticals producing vaccines went through the roof amid crony contracts awarded to favoured companies. Are you listening former British Health Secretary Matt Hancock who resigned after being caught with his nose in the trough.

Predictably, as the manufactured hysteria wore off and attention spans waned, the advice from the British National Health Service was to open our windows and let the virus out. Apparently, it had been hiding in our homes the whole time? Moreover, the experiment of a “new normal” locked down muzzled population also failed, together with the attempt to introduce Covid passports as hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Britain and throughout Europe in mass demonstrations to protest against the implementation of virtual house arrest and freedom of movement. After this, what comes next, a climate change lock down?

Moving on, Russia, who just by coincidence is another major energy producer surrounded by NATO missile bases and sanctioned hoping its economy collapses and produces another “regime change.” Why does that produce a feeling of déjà vu? How long did you believe a nuclear power would tolerate an aggressive US led NATO advancing towards its border? The last time western armies gathered on Russian borders was in 1941 and that didn’t end well.

Oh the irony, as you cheer for the same Nazis your grandfathers fought against and vilify the Russians who are now having to fight them again. How many of you condemned the previous eight years of ethnic Russian murders in the Crimea and Donbass by Nazi militias who you helped arm and train, but turned a blind eye to the consequences. No crocodile tears and outraged comments from you when Russian civilians were being killed. Make no mistake, in another era the majority of you would be sitting in the same Nuremberg dock as the previous psychopaths!

For the last quarter century you are without doubt the most useless, corrupt and destructive political class in British history. In one generation you have dumbed down the British population to an idiocracy in your ‘Woke’ eagerness to remove the cultural traditions and values of centuries. As suicide statistics soar, mental health issues reach an all-time high and drugs become a lifestyle choice for many to block out the horror of reality, it’s not a diverse and equality multicultural utopia you’ve produced, it’s a nightmare!

And you, the US demagogues and liberal fascist European Commissioners; in two decades your ideologically warped quest for power has not only failed to make the world a safer place, you have brought us to the verge of a nuclear conflict. Between you, you’ve managed to wreck our economies, brought terrorism to our streets and created the worst energy crisis since the 1970s – whilst becoming fabulously wealthy yourselves. Yes, we have noticed. The sooner you’re removed from power, the sooner both we the western populations and the outside world can have a rest from your incompetence and murderous activities!

Meanwhile, as I write from England, outside my window another car with exhaust baffles removed and the window wound down emitting ear-splitting decibels of rap ‘music’ drives past, whilst on the pavement a silent E-scooter carrying a bald middle-aged man with expressionless eyes in short trousers and tattooed legs races by.

Asia Teacher is a UK citizen, retired teacher of English plus Social and Political Science.

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

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

June 26, 2022

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

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such is France today.

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

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


Part 1 of 2

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

June 25, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, all of these facts are entirely moot!

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


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

Mixed Bag June 22

June 22, 2022

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

President Putin: St Petersburg International Economic Forum Plenary session

June 18, 2022

Ed Note:  This transcript is not fully complete but we post it because of the renewed DDoS attacks on Russian infrastructure.  When it is complete, we will do an update.   (Mr Putin was on top form with an excellent, even exhaustive and detailed economic tour de force for Russia, and then of course for the sane world, or our Zone B).

Pepe Escobar created a very high-level summary:

THE NEW ERA

Top Ten Breakdown – as announced by Putin

  • The era of the unipolar world is over.
  • The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.
  • Russia has renewed its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.
  • The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just an ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.
  • Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.
  • Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and Euro-democracy.
  • Russia will supply grains to Africa and the Middle East.
  • Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the US.
  • The future world order, currently in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.
  • The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

A further summary from RT rounds it out:  https://www.rt.com/russia/557346-putin-spief-speech-takeaways/


http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68669

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also took part in the session. President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addressed the session via videoconference.

The theme this year is New Opportunities in a New World.

* * *

Plenary session moderator Margarita Simonyan: Good afternoon, or almost evening.

As you may know, we had a minor technical issue. Thankfully, it has been dealt with quickly. We are grateful to those who resolved this.

We are also grateful to the audience.

We are grateful to our leader, President Vladimir Putin, for traditionally fitting this forum into his schedule so that he can tell us about economic prospects and other plans.

We are grateful to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for attending our forum. We know that it is not an easy thing to do. Thank you for supporting our forum and our country. We really appreciate this.

We will have a lot of questions today. You may not like some of them, and I may not be happy to ask some of them. We would be much happier to speak only about good things, but this is impossible today.

Mr President, I would like to ask you to take the stand and to tell us what lies in store for us all. Thank you.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. President Tokayev, friends and colleagues,

I welcome all participants and guests of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

It is taking place at a difficult time for the international community when the economy, markets and the very principles of the global economic system have taken a blow. Many trade, industrial and logistics chains, which were dislocated by the pandemic, have been subjected to new tests. Moreover, such fundamental business notions as business reputation, the inviolability of property and trust in global currencies have been seriously damaged. Regrettably, they have been undermined by our Western partners, who have done this deliberately, for the sake of their ambitions and in order to preserve obsolete geopolitical illusions.

Today, our – when I say “our,” I mean the Russian leadership – our own view of the global economic situation. I would like to speak in greater depth about the actions Russia is taking in these conditions and how it plans to develop in these dynamically changing circumstances.

When I spoke at the Davos Forum a year and a half ago, I also stressed that … the era of a unipolar world order has come to an end. I want to start with this, as there is no way around it. This era has ended despite all the attempts to maintain and preserve it at all costs. Change is a natural process of history, as it is difficult to reconcile the diversity of civilisations and the richness of cultures on the planet with political, economic or other stereotypes – these do not work here, they are imposed by one centre in a rough and no-compromise manner.

The flaw is in the concept itself, as the concept says there is one, albeit strong, power with a limited circle of close allies, or, as they say, countries with granted access, and all business practices and international relations, when it is convenient, are interpreted solely in the interests of this power. They essentially work in one direction in a zero-sum game. A world built on a doctrine of this kind is definitely unstable.

After declaring victory in the Cold War, the United States proclaimed itself to be God’s messenger on Earth, …without any obligations and only interests which were declared sacred. They seem to ignore the fact that in the past decades, new powerful and increasingly assertive centres have been formed. Each of them develops its own political system and public institutions according to its own model of economic growth and, naturally, has the right to protect them and to secure national sovereignty.

These are objective processes and genuinely revolutionary tectonic shifts in geopolitics, the global economy and technology, in the entire system of international relations, where the role of dynamic and potentially strong countries and regions is substantially growing. It is no longer possible to ignore their interests.

To reiterate, these changes are fundamental, groundbreaking and rigorous. It would be a mistake to assume that at a time of turbulent change, one can simply sit it out or wait it out until everything gets back on track and becomes what it was before. It will not.

However, the ruling elite of some Western states seem to be harbouring this kind of illusions. They refuse to notice obvious things, stubbornly clinging to the shadows of the past. For example, they seem to believe that the dominance of the West in global politics and the economy is an unchanging, eternal value. Nothing lasts forever.

Our colleagues are not just denying reality. More than that; they are trying to reverse the course of history. They seem to think in terms of the past century. They are still influenced by their own misconceptions about countries outside the so-called “golden billion”: they consider everything a backwater, or their backyard. They still treat them like colonies, and the people living there, like second-class people, because they consider themselves exceptional. If they are exceptional, that means everyone else is second rate.

Thereby, the irrepressible urge to punish, to economically crush anyone who does not fit with the mainstream, does not want to blindly obey. Moreover, they crudely and shamelessly impose their ethics, their views on culture and ideas about history, sometimes questioning the sovereignty and integrity of states, and threatening their very existence. Suffice it to recall what happened in Yugoslavia, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

If some “rebel” state cannot be suppressed or pacified, they try to isolate that state, or “cancel” it, to use their modern term. Everything goes, even sports, the Olympics, bans on culture and art masterpieces just because their creators come from the “wrong” country.

This is the nature of the current round of Russophobia in the West, and the insane sanctions against Russia. They are crazy and, I would say, thoughtless.They are unprecedented in the number of them or the pace the West churns them out at.

The idea was clear as day – they expected to suddenly and violently crush the Russian economy, to hit Russia’s industry, finance, and people’s living standards by destroying business chains, forcibly recalling Western companies from the Russian market, and freezing Russian assets.

This did not work. Obviously, it did not work out; it did not happen. Russian entrepreneurs and authorities have acted in a collected and professional manner, and Russians have shown solidarity and responsibility.

Step by step, we will normalise the economic situation. We have stabilised the financial markets, the banking system and the trade network. Now we are busy saturating the economy with liquidity and working capital to maintain the stable operation of enterprises and companies, employment and jobs.

The dire forecasts for the prospects of the Russian economy, which were made in early spring, have not materialised. It is clear why this propaganda campaign was fuelled and all the predictions of the dollar at 200 rubles and the collapse of our economy were made. This was and remains an instrument in an information struggle and a factor of psychological influence on Russian society and domestic business circles.

Incidentally, some of our analysts gave in to this external pressure and based their forecasts on the inevitable collapse of the Russian economy and a critical weakening of the national currency – the ruble.

Real life has belied these predictions. However, I would like to emphasise that to continue being successful, we must be explicitly honest and realistic in assessing the situation, be independent in reaching conclusions, and of course, have a can-do spirit, which is very important. We are strong people and can deal with any challenge. Like our predecessors, we can resolve any task. The entire thousand-year history of our country bears this out.

Within just three months of the massive package of sanctions, we have suppressed inflation rate spikes. As you know, after peaking at 17.8 percent, inflation now stands at 16.7 percent and continues dropping. This economic dynamic is being stabilised, and state finances are now sustainable. I will compare this to other regions further on. Yes, even this figure is too much for us – 16.7 percent is high inflation. We must and will work on this and, I am sure, we will achieve a positive result.

After the first five months of this year, the federal budget has a surplus of 1.5 trillion rubles and the consolidated budget – a surplus of 3.3 trillion rubles. In May alone, the federal budget surplus reached almost half a trillion rubles, surpassing the figure for May 2021 more than four times over.

Today, our job us to create conditions for building up production and increasing supply in the domestic market, as well as restoring demand and bank financing in the economy commensurately with the growth in supply.

I mentioned that we have taken measures to reestablish the floating assets of companies. In most sectors, businesses have received the right to suspend insurance premiums for the second quarter of the year. Industrial companies have even more opportunities – they will be able to delay them through the third quarter as well. In effect, this is like getting an interest-free loan from the state.

In the future, companies will not have to pay delayed insurance premiums in a single payment. They will be able to pay them in equal installments over 12 months, starting in June next year.

Next. As of May the subsidised mortgage rate has been reduced. It is now 9 percent, while the programme has been extended till the end of the year. As I have mentioned, the programme is aimed at helping Russians improve their housing situation, while supporting the home building industry and related industries that employ millions of people.

Following a spike this spring, interest rates have been gradually coming down, as the Central Bank lowers the key rate. I believe that that this allows the subsidised mortgage rate to be further cut to 7 percent.

What is important here? The programme will last until the end of the year without change. It means that our fellow Russians seeking to improve their living conditions should take advantage of the subsidy before the end of the year.

The lending cap will not change either, at 12 million roubles for Moscow and St Petersburg and 6 million for the rest of Russia.

I should add that we must make long-term loans for businesses more accessible. The focus must shift from budget subsidies for businesses to bank lending as a means to spur business activity.

We need to support this. We will allocate 120 billion rubles from the National Wealth Fund to build up the capacity of the VEB Project Financing Factory. This will provide for additional lending to much-needed initiatives and projects worth around half a trillion roubles.

Colleagues,

Once again, the economic blitzkrieg against Russia was doomed to fail from the beginning. Sanctions as a weapon have proved in recent years to be a double-edged sword damaging their advocates and architects just a much, if not more.

I am not talking about the repercussions we see clearly today. We know that European leaders informally, so to say, furtively, discuss the very concerning possibility of sanctions being levelled not at Russia, but at any undesirable nation, and ultimately anyone including the EU and European companies.

So far this is not the case, but European politicians have already dealt their economies a serious blow all by themselves. We see social and economic problems worsening in Europe, and in the US as well, food, electricity and fuel prices rising, with quality of life in Europe falling and companies losing their market edge.

According to experts, the EU’s direct, calculable losses from the sanctions fever could exceed $400 billion this year. This is the price of the decisions that are far removed from reality and contradict common sense.

These outlays fall directly on the shoulders of people and companies in the EU. The inflation rate in some Eurozone countries has exceeded 20 percent. I mentioned inflation in Russia, but the Eurozone countries are not conducting special military operations, yet the inflation rate in some of them has reached 20 percent. Inflation in the United States is also unacceptable, the highest in the past 40 years.

Of course, inflation in Russia is also in the double digits so far. However, we have adjusted social benefits and pensions to inflation, and increased the minimum and subsistence wages, thereby protecting the most vulnerable groups of the population. At the same time, high interest rates have helped people keep their savings in the Russian banking system.

Businesspeople know, of course, that a high key rate clearly slows economic development. But it is a boon for the people in most cases. They have reinvested a substantial amount of money in banks due to higher interest rates.

This is our main difference from the EU countries, where rising inflation is directly reducing the real incomes of the people and eating up their savings, and the current manifestations of the crisis are affecting, above all, low-income groups.

The growing outlays of European companies and the loss of the Russian market will have lasting negative effects. The obvious result of this will be the loss of global competitiveness and a system-wide decline in the European economies’ pace of growth for years to come.

Taken together, this will aggravate the deep-seated problems of European societies. Yes, we have many problems as well, yet I have to speak about Europe now because they are pointing the finger at us although they have enough of their own problems. I mentioned this at Davos. A direct result of the European politicians’ actions and events this year will be the further growth of inequality in these countries, which will, in turn, split their societies still more, and the point at issue is not only the well-being but also the value orientation of various groups in these societies.

Indeed, these differences are being suppressed and swept under the rug. Frankly, the democratic procedures and elections in Europe and the forces that come to power look like a front, because almost identical political parties come and go, while deep down things remain the same. The real interests of people and national businesses are being pushed further and further to the periphery.

Such a disconnect from reality and the demands of society will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements, major socioeconomic changes, degradation and a change of elites in the short term. As you can see, traditional parties lose all the time. New entities are coming to the surface, but they have little chance for survival if they are not much different from the existing ones.

The attempts to keep up appearances and the talk about allegedly acceptable costs in the name of pseudo-unity cannot hide the main thing: the European Union has lost its political sovereignty, and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, doing everything they are told from on high and hurting their own people, economies, and businesses.

There are other critically important matters here. The worsening of the global economic situation is not a recent development. I will now go over things that I believe are extremely important. What is happening now does not stem from what happened during recent months, of course not. Moreover, it is not the result of the special military operation carried out by Russia in Donbass. Saying so is an unconcealed, deliberate distortion of the facts.

Surging inflation in product and commodity markets had become a fact of life long before the events of this year. The world has been driven into this situation, little by little, by many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policies pursued by the G7 countries, including uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debt. These processes intensified with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when supply and demand for goods and services drastically fell on a global scale.

This begs the question: what does our military operation in Donbass have to do with this? Nothing whatsoever.

Because they could not or would not devise any other recipes, the governments of the leading Western economies simply accelerated their money-printing machines. Such a simple way to make up for unprecedented budget deficits.

I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. By comparison, only a few countries have a bigger gross domestic product.

The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent, or 2.5 trillion euros.

Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called – please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it – we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.

Russia, our actions to liberate Donbass have absolutely nothing to do with this. The rising prices, accelerating inflation, shortages of food and fuel, petrol, and problems in the energy sector are the result of system-wide errors the current US administration and European bureaucracy have made in their economic policies. That is where the reasons are, and only there.

I will mention our operation, too: yes, it could have contributed to the trend, but the root cause is precisely this – their erroneous economic policies. In fact, the operation we launched in Donbass is a lifeline they are grabbing at to be able to blame their own miscalculations on others, in this case, on Russia. But everyone who has at least completed primary school would understand the true reasons for today’s situation.

So, they printed more money, and then what? Where did all that money go? It was obviously used to pay for goods and services outside Western countries – this is where the newly-printed money flowed. They literally began to clean out, to wipe out global markets. Naturally, no one thought about the interests of other states, including the poorest ones. They were left with scraps, as they say, and even that at exorbitant prices.

While at the end of 2019, imports of goods to the United States amounted to about 250 billion dollars a month, by now, it has grown to 350 billion. It is noteworthy that the growth was 40 percent – exactly in proportion to the unsecured money supply printed in recent years. They printed and distributed money, and used it to wipe out goods from third countries’ markets.

This is what I would like to add. For a long time, the United States was a big food supplier in the world market. It was proud, and with good reason, of its achievements, its agriculture and farming traditions. By the way, this is an example for many of us, too. But today, America’s role has changed drastically. It has turned from a net exporter of food into a net importer. Loosely speaking, it is printing money and pulling commodity flows its way, buying food products all over the world.

The European Union is building up imports even faster. Obviously, such a sharp increase in demand that is not covered by the supply of goods has triggered a wave of shortages and global inflation. This is where this global inflation originates. In the past couple of years, practically everything – raw materials, consumer goods and particularly food products – has become more expensive all over the world.

Yes, of course, these countries, including the United States continue importing goods, but the balance between exports and imports has been reversed. I believe imports exceed exports by some 17 billion. This is the whole problem.

According to the UN, in February 2022, the food price index was 50 percent higher than in May 2020, while the composite raw materials index has doubled over this period.

Under the cloud of inflation, many developing nations are asking a good question: why exchange goods for dollars and euros that are losing value right before our eyes? The conclusion suggests itself: the economy of mythical entities is inevitably being replaced by the economy of real values and assets.

According to the IMF, global currency reserves are at $7.1 trillion and 2.5 trillion euros now. These reserves are devalued at an annual rate of about 8 percent. Moreover, they can be confiscated or stolen any time if the United States dislikes something in the policy of the states involved. I think this has become a very real threat for many countries that keep their gold and foreign exchange reserves in these currencies.

According to analyst estimates, and this is an objective analysis, a conversion of global reserves will begin just because there is no room for them with such shortages. They will be converted from weakening currencies into real resources like food, energy commodities and other raw materials. Other countries will be doing this, of course. Obviously, this process will further fuel global dollar inflation.

As for Europe, their failed energy policy, blindly staking everything on renewables and spot supplies of natural gas, which have caused energy price increases since the third quarter of last year – again, long before the operation in Donbass – have also exacerbated price hikes. We have absolutely nothing to do with this. It was due to their own actions that prices have gone through the roof, and now they are once again looking for somebody to blame.

Not only did the West’s miscalculations affect the net cost of goods and services but they also resulted in decreased fertiliser production, mainly nitrogen fertilisers made from natural gas. Overall, global fertiliser prices have jumped by over 70 percent from mid-2021 through February 2022.

Unfortunately, there are currently no conditions that can overcome these pricing trends. On the contrary, aggravated by obstacles to the operation of Russian and Belarusian fertiliser producers and disrupted supply logistics, this situation is approaching a deadlock.

It is not difficult to foresee coming developments. A shortage of fertiliser means a lower harvest and a higher risk of an undersupplied global food market. Prices will go even higher, which could lead to hunger in the poorest countries. And it will be fully on the conscience of the US administration and the European bureaucracy.

I want to emphasise once again: this problem did not arise today or in the past three or four months. And certainly, it is not Russia’s fault as some demagogues try to declare, shifting the responsibility for the current state of affairs in the world economy to our country.

Maybe it would even be nice to hear that we are so powerful and omnipotent that we can blow up inflation in the West, in the United States and Europe, or that we can do things to throw everything into disorder. Maybe it would be nice to feel this power, if only there were truth in it. This situation has been brewing for years, spurred by the short-sighted actions of those who are used to solving their problems at somebody else’s expense and who have relied and still rely on the mechanism of financial emission to outbid and draw trade flows, thus escalating deficits and provoking humanitarian disasters in certain regions of the world. I will add that this is essentially the same predatory colonial policy as in the past, but of course in a new iteration, a more subtle and sophisticated edition. You might not even recognise it at first.

The current priority of the international community is to increase food deliveries to the global market, notably, to satisfy the requirements of the countries that need food most of all.

While ensuring its domestic food security and supplying the domestic market, Russia is also able to scale up its food and fertiliser exports. For example, our grain exports in the next season can be increased to 50 million tonnes.

As a priority, we will supply the countries that need food most of all, where the number of starving people could increase, first of all, African countries and the Middle East.

At the same time, there will be problems there, and not through our fault either. Yes, on paper Russian grain, food and fertilisers… Incidentally, the Americans have adopted sanctions on our fertilisers, and the Europeans followed suit. Later, the Americans lifted them because they saw what this could lead to.

But the Europeans have not backed off. Their bureaucracy is as slow as a flour mill in the 18th century. In other words, everyone knows that they have done a stupid thing, but they find it difficult to retrace their steps for bureaucratic reasons.

As I have said, Russia is ready to contribute to balancing global markets of agricultural products, and we see that our UN colleagues, who are aware of the scale of the global food problem, are ready for dialogue. We could talk about creating normal logistical, financial and transport conditions for increasing Russian food and fertiliser exports.

As for Ukrainian food supplies to global markets – I have to mention this because of numerous speculations – we are not hindering them. They can do it. We did not mine the Black Sea ports of Ukraine. They can clear the mines and resume food exports. We will ensure the safe navigation of civilian vessels. No problem.

But what are we talking about? According to the US Department of Agriculture, the matter concerns 6 million tonnes of wheat (we estimate it at 5 million tonnes) and 7 million tonnes of maize. This is it, altogether. Since global production of wheat stands at 800 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes make little difference for the global market, as you can see.

Anyway, Ukrainian grain can be exported, and not only via Black Sea ports. Another route is via Belarus, which is, incidentally, the cheapest way. Or via Poland or Romania, whichever you prefer. In fact, there are five or six export routes.

The problem is not with us, the problem is with the adequacy of the people in control in Kiev. They can decide what to do, and, at least in this particular case, they should not take their lead from their foreign bosses, their masters across the ocean.

But there is also the risk that grain will be used as payment for arms deliveries. This would be regrettable.

Friends,

Once again, the world is going through an era of drastic change. International institutions are breaking down and faltering. Security guarantees are being devalued. The West has made a point of refusing to honour its earlier commitments. It has simply been impossible to reach any new agreements with them.

Given these circumstances and against the backdrop of mounting risks and threats, Russia was forced to go ahead with the special military operation. It was a difficult but necessary decision, and we were forced to make it.

This was the decision of a sovereign country, which has еру unconditional right to uphold its security, which is based on the UN Charter. This decision was aimed at protecting our people and the residents of the people’s republics of Donbass who for eight long years were subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime and the neo-Nazis who enjoyed the full protection of the West.

The West not only sought to implement an “anti-Russia” scenario, but also engaged in the active military development of Ukrainian territory, flooding Ukraine with weapons and military advisers. And it continues to do so now. Frankly, no one is paying any attention to the economy or well-being of the people living there, they just do not care about it at all, but they have never spared money to create a NATO foothold in the east that is directed against Russia and to cultivate aggression, hatred and Russophobia.

Today, our soldiers and officers, as well as the Donbass militia, are fighting to protect their people. They are fighting for Russia’s future as a large, free and secure multiethnic country that makes its own decisions, determines its own future, relies on its history, culture and traditions, and rejects any and all outside attempts to impose pseudo-values steeped in dehumanisation and moral degradation.

No doubt, our special military operation goals will be fulfilled. The key to this is the courage and heroism of our soldiers, consolidated Russian society, whose support gives strength and confidence to the Russian Army and Navy and a deep understanding of the truth and historical justice of our cause which is to build and strengthen Russia as a strong sovereign power.

My point is that sovereignty cannot be segmented or fragmented in the 21st century. The components of sovereignty are equally important, and they reinvigorate and complement each other.

So, what matters to us is not only the defence of our political sovereignty and national identity, but also strengthening everything that determines our country’s economic, financial, professional and technological independence.

The very structure of Western sanctions rested on the false premise that economically Russia is not sovereign and is critically vulnerable. They got so carried away spreading the myth of Russia’s backwardness and its weak positions in the global economy and trade that apparently, they started believing it themselves.

While planning their economic blitzkrieg, they did not notice, simply ignored the real facts of how much our country had changed in the past few years.

These changes are the result of our planned efforts to create a sustainable macroeconomic structure, ensure food security, implement import substitution programmes and create our own payment system, to name a few.

Of course, sanction restrictions created many challenges for the country. Some companies continue having problems with spare parts. Our companies have lost access to many technological solutions. Logistics are in disarray.

But, on the other hand, all this opens up new opportunities for us – we often talk about this but it really is so. All this is an impetus to build an economy with full rather than partial technological, production, human and scientific potential and sovereignty.

Naturally, it is impossible to resolve such a comprehensive challenge instantly. It is necessary to continue working systematically with an eye to the future. This is exactly what Russia is doing by implementing its long-term plans for the development of branches of the economy and strengthening the social sphere. The current trials are merely resulting in adjustments and modifications of the plans without changing their strategic orientation.

Today, I would like to talk about the key principles on which our country, our economy will develop.

The first principle is openness. Genuinely sovereign states are always interested in equal partnership and in contributing to global development. On the contrary, weak and dependent countries are usually looking for enemies, fuelling xenophobia or losing the last remnants of their identity and independence, blindly following in the wake of their suzerain.

Russia will never follow the road of self-isolation and autarky although our so-called Western friends are literally dreaming about this. Moreover, we are expanding cooperation with all those who are interested in it, who want to work with us, and will continue to do so. … They make up the overwhelming majority of people on Earth.

I will not list all these countries now. It is common knowledge.

I will say nothing new when I remind you that everyone who wants to continue working or is working with Russia is subjected to blatant pressure from the United States and Europe; it goes as far as direct threats. However, this kind of blackmail means little when it comes to countries headed by true leaders who know the difference between their own national interests, the interests of their people – and someone else’s.

Russia will build up economic cooperation with these states and promote joint projects. At the same time, we will certainly continue to cooperate with Western companies that have remained in the Russian market despite the unprecedented arm-twisting – such companies exist, too.

We believe the development of a convenient and independent payment infrastructure in national currencies is a solid and predictable basis for deepening international cooperation. To help companies from other countries develop logistical and cooperation ties, we are working to improve transport corridors, increase the capacity of railways, transshipment capacity at ports in the Arctic, and in the eastern, southern and other parts of the country, including in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins – they will become the most important section of the North-South Corridor, which will provide stable connectivity with the Middle East and Southern Asia. We expect freight traffic along this route to begin growing steadily in the near future.

But foreign trade is not our only priority. Russia intends to increase scientific, technological, cultural, humanitarian and sports cooperation based on equality and mutual respect between partners. At the same time, our country will strive for responsible leadership in all these areas.

The second principle of our long-term development is a reliance on entrepreneurial freedom. Every private initiative aimed at benefiting Russia should receive maximum support and space for implementation.

The pandemic and the more recent events have confirmed how important flexibility and freedom are in the economy. Russian private businesses – in tough conditions, amid attempts to restrain our development by any means – have proved they can compete in global markets. Private businesses should also be credited for Russia’s adaptation to rapidly changing external conditions. Russia needs to ensure the dynamic development of the economy – naturally, relying on private business.

We will continue to reduce administrative hurdles. For example, in 2016–2018, we imposed a moratorium on routine audits of small businesses. Subsequently, it was extended through 2022. In 2020, this moratorium was extended to cover mid-sized companies. Also, the number of unscheduled audits decreased approximately fourfold.

We did not stop at that, and last March, we cancelled routine audits for all entrepreneurs, regardless of the size of their businesses, provided their activities do not put people or the environment at high risk. As a result, the number of routine audits has declined sixfold compared to last year.

Why am I giving so many details? The point is that after the moratorium on audits was imposed, the number of violations by entrepreneurs – this was the result – has not increased, but rather it has gone down. This testifies to the maturity and responsibility of Russian businesses. Of course, they should be offered motivation rather than being forced to observe regulations and requirements.

So, there is every reason to take another radical step forward, that is, to abandon, for good and on a permanent basis, the majority of audits for all Russian businesses, except on risky or potentially dangerous activities. Everyone has long since understood that there was no need to check on everyone without exception. A risk-oriented approach should be at work. I ask the Government to develop the specific parameters of such a reform in the next few months.

There is another very sensitive topic for business, which has also become important today for our national security and economic resilience. To reduce and bring to a minimum all sorts of abuse and loopholes to exert pressure on entrepreneurs, we are consistently removing loose regulations from criminal law that are applied to economic crimes.

Last March, a law was signed, under which tax-related criminal cases against entrepreneurs shall only be brought before a court by the tax service – there is no other way. Soon a draft law will be passed on reducing the statute of limitations for tax-related crimes and on rejecting lawsuits to initiate criminal proceedings after tax arrears have been paid off.

Working comprehensively, although prudently, we need to decriminalise a wide range of economic offenses, for instance, those that punish businesses without a licence or accreditation. This is a controversial practice today because our Western partners illegitimately refuse to provide such licenses.

Our own agencies must not single-handedly make our businesses criminally liable for actually doing nothing wrong. The problem is this, and small businesses understand it very well – if a licence has expired, and Western partners refuse to extend it, what are businesses to do, wrap up operations? By no means, let them work. State oversight should continue, but there should be no undue interference in business.

It also makes sense to think about raising the threshold of criminal liability for unpaid customs duties and other such taxes. Additionally, we have not for a long time reconsidered the parameters of the terms ‘large’ and ‘very large’ economic loss for the purposes of economic offences despite inflation accruing 50 percent since 2016. The law now fails to reflect the current realities and needs to be corrected.

We need to reconsider the conditions for detaining entrepreneurs and for extending preliminary investigations. It is no secret that these practices have long been used inappropriately.

Businesses have been forced to cease operations or go bankrupt even before the investigation is over. The reputation of the owners and of the brand name suffers as a result, not to mention the direct financial loss, loss of market share and jobs.

I want to ask law enforcement to put an end to these practices. I also ask the Government and the Supreme Court to draft appropriate legislation before October 1 of this year.

In addition, at the Security Council, a special instruction was given to look into criminal cases being opened without later proceeding to court. The number of such cases has grown in recent years. We know the reasons. A case is often opened without sufficient grounds or to put pressure on individuals. We will discuss this in autumn to take legislative action and change the way our law enforcement agencies work.

It goes without saying that regional governments play a major role in creating a modern business environment. As is customary during the St Petersburg Forum, I highlight the regions that have made significant progress in the National Investment Climate Rankings compiled by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

There have been changes in the top three. Moscow and Tatarstan have remained at the top and were joined by the Moscow Region which, in a span of one year, went from eighth place to the top three. The leaders of the rankings also include the Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Novgorod, and Sakhalin regions, St Petersburg and Bashkortostan.

Separately, I would like to highlight the regions that have made the greatest strides such as the Kurgan Region, which moved up 36 spots; the Perm Territory and the Altai Territory, up 26 spots; Ingushetia, up 24 spots; and the Ivanovo Region which moved up 17 spots.

I want to thank and congratulate our colleagues in the regions for their good work.

The federal government and regional and municipal governments should focus on supporting individual business initiatives in small towns and remote rural communities. We are aware of such stories of success. That includes developing popular software and marketing locally produced organic food and environmentally friendly products nationwide using domestic websites.

It is important to create new opportunities, to introduce modern retail formats, including e-commerce platforms, as I mentioned above, and to cut the logistics, transportation and other costs, including by using upgraded Russian Post offices.

It is also important to help small business employees, self-employed individuals and start-up entrepreneurs acquire additional skills and competencies. Please include corresponding measures tailored specifically to small towns and rural and remote areas as a separate line in the national project for promoting small and medium-sized businesses.

Today I would like to address our officials, owners of large companies, our business leaders and executives.

Colleagues, friends,

Real, stable success and a sense of dignity and self-respect only come when you link your future and the future of your children with your Fatherland. We have maintained ties with many people for a long time, and I am aware of the sentiments of many of the heads and owners of our companies. You have told me many times that business is much more than just making a profit, and I fully agree. It is about changing life around you, contributing to the development of your home cities, regions and the country as a whole, which is extremely important for self-fulfilment. There is nothing like serving the people and society. This is the meaning of your life and work.

Recent events have reaffirmed what I have always said: it is much better at home. Those who refused to hear that clear message have lost hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in the West, in what looked like a safe haven for their assets.

I would like to once again say the following to our colleagues, those who are both in this audience and those who are not here: please, do not fall into the same trap again. Our country has huge potential, and there are more than enough tasks that need your contribution. Invest here, in the creation of new enterprises and jobs, in the development of the tourism infrastructure, support schools, universities, healthcare and the social sphere, culture and sport. I know that many of you are doing this. I know this, but I wanted to say it again.

This is how the Bakhrushin, Morozov, Shchukin, Ryabushinsky, Akchurin, Galeyev, Apanayev, Matsiyev, Mamontov, Tretyakov, Arsanov, Dadashev and Gadzhiyev families understood their noble mission. Many Russian, Tatar, Buryat, Chechen, Daghestani, Yakutian, Ossetian, Jewish, Armenian and other merchant and entrepreneurial families did not deprive their heirs of their due share, and at the same time they etched their names in the history of our country.

Incidentally, I would like to note once again that it remains to be seen what is more important for potential heirs: money and property or their forefathers’ good name and service to the country. The latter is something that cannot be squandered or, pardon my language, wasted on drink.

A good name is something that will always belong to your descendants, to future generations. It will always be part of their lives, going from one generation to another, helping them and making them stronger than the money or property they might inherit can make them.

Colleagues,

A responsible and well-balanced macroeconomic policy is the third guiding principle of our long-term development. In fact, this policy has largely enabled us to withstand the unprecedented pressure brought on by sanctions. Let me reiterate that this is an essential policy in the long term, not just for responding to the current challenges. We will not follow in the footsteps of our Western colleagues by replicating their bitter experience setting off an inflation spiral and disrupting their finances.

Our goal is to ensure robust economic growth for years to come, reducing the inflation burden on our people and businesses and achieving the mid- and long-term target inflation rate of four percent. Inflation was one of the first things I mentioned during my remarks, so let me tell you this: we remain committed to this target of a four-percent inflation rate.

I have already instructed the Government to draft proposals regarding the new budget guidelines. They must ensure that our budget policy is predictable and enables us to make the best use of the external economic conditions. Why do we need all this? To put economic growth on a more stable footing, while also delivering on our infrastructure and technological objectives, which provide a foundation for improving the wellbeing of our people.

True, some international reserve currencies have set themselves on a suicidal path lately, which is an obvious fact. In any case, they clearly have suicidal intentions. Of course, using them to ‘sterilise’ our money supply does not make any sense. Still, the principle of planning one’s spending based on how much you earn remains relevant. This is how it works, and we understand this.

Social justice is the fourth principle underpinning our development. There must be a powerful social dimension when it comes to promoting economic growth and business initiatives. This development model must reduce inequality instead of deepening it, unlike what is happening in other countries. To be honest, we have not been at the forefront when it comes to delivering on these objectives. We have yet to resolve many issues and problems in this regard.

Reducing poverty and inequality is all about creating demand for Russian-made products across the country, bridging the gap between regions in terms of their capabilities, and creating new jobs where they are needed the most. These are the core economic development drivers.

Let me emphasise that generating positive momentum in terms of household income growth and poverty reduction are the main performance indicators for government agencies and the state in general. We need to achieve tangible results in this sphere already this year, despite all the objective challenges we face. I have already assigned this task to the Government.

Again, we provide targeted support to the most vulnerable groups – pensioners, families with children, and people in difficult life situations.

Pensions are indexed annually at a rate higher than inflation. This year, they have been raised twice, including by another 10 percent on June 1.

The minimum wage was also increased by 10 percent at the same time, and so was the subsistence minimum – a reference figure used to calculate many social benefits and payments – accordingly, these benefits should also grow, increasing the incomes of about 15 million people.

In recent years, we have built a holistic system to support low-income families with children. Women are entitled to state support from the early stages of pregnancy and until the child reaches the age of 17.

People’s living standards and prosperity are the most important demographic factors; the current situation is quite challenging due to several negative demographic waves that have recently overlapped. In April, less than a hundred thousand children were born in Russia, almost 13 percent less than in April 2020.

I ask the Government to continue to keep the development of additional support measures for families with children under review. They must be far-reaching and commensurate with the magnitude of the extraordinary demographic challenge we are facing.

Russia’s future is ensured by families with two, three and more children. Therefore, we need to do more than provide direct financial support – we need to target and direct the healthcare system, education, and all areas that determine the quality of people’s lives towards the needs of families with children.

This problem is addressed, among other approaches, by the national social initiatives, which regional teams and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives are implementing together. This autumn, we will assess the results of their work, review and rank the Russian regions by quality of life in order to apply the best experiences and practices as widely as possible throughout the country.

Prioritising the development of infrastructure is the fifth principle underlying Russia’s economic policy.

We have scaled up direct budget spending on expanding transport corridors. An ambitious plan for building and repairing the federal and regional motorway core network will be launched next year. At least 85 percent of the roads are to be brought up to code within the next five years.

Infrastructure budget lending is a new tool that is being widely used. The loans are issued for 15 years at a 3 percent APR. As I mentioned before, they are much more popular than we originally thought. The regions have multiple well-thought-out and promising projects that should be launched at the earliest convenience. We will look into how we can use this support measure. We debated this issue last night. What I am saying is that it is a reliable tool.

Upgrading housing and utilities services is a separate matter with a backlog of issues. The industry is chronically underinvested to the tune of 4.5 trillion rubles. Over 40 percent of networks need to be replaced, which accounts for their low efficiency and big losses. About 3 percent of the networks become unusable every year, but no more than 2 percent get replaced, which makes the problem even worse every single year.

I propose consolidating resources and launching a comprehensive programme for upgrading housing and utilities, and synchronizing it with other infrastructure development and housing overhaul plans. The goal is to turn the situation around and to gradually reduce the number of dated networks, just like we are doing by relocating people from structurally unsafe buildings or fixing roads. We will discuss in detail housing and utilities and the construction complex with the governors at a State Council Presidium meeting next week.

On a separate note, I propose increasing resources to fund projects to create a comfortable urban environment in small towns and historical settlements. This programme is working well for us. I propose allocating another 10 billion rubles annually for these purposes in 2023–2024.

We will allocate additional funds for renovating urban areas in the Far Eastern Federal District. I want the Government to allocate dedicated funds to this end as part of the programmes for infrastructure budget lending and housing and utilities upgrading, as well as other development programmes.

Promoting comprehensive improvements and development for rural areas is a top priority for us. People who live there are feeding the country. We now see that they are also feeding a major part of the world, so they must live in comfort and dignity. In this connection, I am asking the Government to allocate additional funding for the corresponding programme. Export duties on agricultural produce can serve as a source of funding here. This is a permanent source of revenue. Of course, there can be fluctuations, but at least this ensures a constant flow of revenue.

On a separate note, I suggest that we expand the programmes for upgrading and modernising rural cultural centres, as well as regional theatres and museums by allocating six billion rubles for each of these projects in 2023 and 2024.

What I have just said about cultural institutions is something that people are really looking forward to, something they really care about. Let me give you a recent example: during the presentation of the Hero of Labour medals, one of the winners, Vladimir Mikhailov from Yakutia, asked me directly for help with building a cultural centre in his native village. This was during the part of the ceremony where we meet behind closed doors. We will definitely do this. The fact that people are raising this issue at all levels shows that they are really eager to see these projects implemented.

At this point, I would like to make a sidenote on a topic that is especially relevant now, since we are in early summer, when Russians usually take their summer vacations.

Every year, more and more tourists want to visit the most beautiful corners of our country: national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. According to available estimates, this year this tourist flow is expected to exceed 12 million people. It is essential that all government bodies, businesses and tourists are well aware of what they can and cannot do in these territories, where they can build tourism infrastructure, and where such activity is strictly prohibited because it endangers unique and fragile ecosystems.

The draft law governing tourism in special protected territories and regulating this activity in a civilised manner is already in the State Duma.

In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we must figure out in advance all the relevant estimates and ensure that the decisions are well-balanced. We need to be serious about this.

I would like to place special emphasis on the need to preserve Lake Baikal. In particular, there is a comprehensive development project for the city of Baikalsk, which must become a model of sustainable, eco-sensitive municipal governance.

This is not just about getting rid of the accumulated negative environmental impacts from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill, but about setting a higher standard of living for the city and transforming it into a signature destination for environmental tourism in Russia. We need to rely on the most cutting-edge technologies and clean energy when carrying out this project.

Overall, we will be developing clean technology to achieve the goals we set in the environmental modernisation of production facilities, and to reduce hazardous emissions, especially in large industrial centres. We will also continue working on closed-loop economy projects, green projects and climate preservation. I spoke about these issues in detail at this forum last year.

Consequently, the sixth cross-cutting development principle that consolidates our work is, in my opinion, achieving genuine technological sovereignty, creating an integral system of economic development that does not depend on foreign institutions when it comes to critically important components. We need to develop all areas of life on a qualitatively new technological level without being simply users of other countries’ solutions. We must have technological keys to developing next-generation goods and services.

In the past years, we have focused a lot of attention on import substitution, succeeding in a range of industries, including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, defence production and several others.

But I should stress that there is a lot of discussion in our society about import substitution. And it is not a cure-all nor a comprehensive solution. If we only imitate others when trying to replace foreign goods with copies, even if very high-quality ones, we may end up constantly playing catch-up while we should be one step ahead and create our own competitive technologies, goods and services that can become new global standards.

If you remember, Sergei Korolyov did not just copy or locally upgrade captured rocket technology. He focused on the future and proposed a unique plan to develop the R-7 rocket. He paved the path to space for humankind and in fact set a standard for the entire world, for decades ahead.

Proactively – this is how founders of many Soviet research programmes worked at the time. And today, building on that groundwork, our designers continue to make progress and show their worth. It is thanks to them that Russia has supersonic weapons that do not exist in any other country. Rosatom remains the leader in nuclear technology, developing our fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. Many Russian AI and Big Data solutions are the best in the world.

To reiterate, technological development is a cross-cutting area that will define the current decade and the entire 21st century. We will review in depth our approaches to building a groundbreaking technology-based economy – a techno economy – at the upcoming Strategic Development Council meeting. There is so much we can discuss. Most importantly, many managerial decisions must be made in the sphere of engineering education and transferring research to the real economy, and the provision of financial resources for fast-growing high-tech companies. We will also discuss the development of cross-cutting technologies and progress of digital transformation projects in individual industries.

To be clear, of course it is impossible to make every product out there, and there is no need for that. However, we need to possess critical technologies in order to be able to move swiftly should we need to start our own production of any product. This is what we did when we quickly started making coronavirus vaccines, and most recently launched the production of many other products and services.

For example, after dishonest KamAZ partners left the Russian market, their place was taken by domestic companies, which are supplying parts for traditional models and even advanced mainline, transport and heavy-duty vehicles.

The Mir card payment system has successfully replaced Visa and MasterCard on the domestic market. It is expanding its geography and gradually gaining international recognition.

The St Petersburg Tractor Plant is another case in point. Its former foreign partner stopped selling engines and providing warranty maintenance. Engine builders from Yaroslavl and Tutayev came to the rescue and started supplying their engines. As a result, the output of agricultural equipment at the St Petersburg Tractor Plant hit a record high in March-April. It did not decrease, but hit an all-time high.

I am sure there will be more positive practices and success stories.

To reiterate, Russia possesses the professional, scientific and technological potential to develop products that enjoy high demand, including household appliances and construction equipment, as well as industrial and service equipment.

Today’s task is to scale up the capacities and promptly get the necessary lines up and running. One of the key issues is comfortable work conditions for the businesses as well as the availability of prepared production sites.

I ask the Government to submit key parameters of the new operating guidelines for industrial clusters by the autumn. What is critical here?

First – financing. The projects launched in these clusters must have a long-term credit resource for up to ten years at an annual interest rate below seven percent in rubles. We have discussed all these issues with our economic agencies as well. Everyone agreed, so we will proceed.

Second – taxation. The clusters must have a low level of relatively permanent taxes including insurance contributions.

Third – supporting production at the early, kick-off stage, forming a package of orders including subsidising the purchases of ready products by such enterprises. This is not an easy issue but I think subsidies may be required. They are needed to ensure the market. We just have to work it out.

Fourth – simplified administration including minimal or no inspections as well as convenient customs monitoring that is not burdensome.

Fifth, and probably the most important – we need to set up mechanisms of guaranteed long-term demand for the new innovative products that are about to enter the market. I remind the Government that such preferential terms and respective industrial clusters must be launched as early as January 1, 2023.

On a related note, I want to say that both new and already operating points of industrial growth must attract small businesses and engage them in their orbit. It is crucial for entrepreneurs, for small entities to see the horizon and grasp their prospects.

Therefore, I ask the Government together with the SME Corporation [Federal Corporation for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises] and our biggest companies to launch an instrument for long-term contracts between companies with state participation and SMEs. This will ensure demand for the products of such enterprises for years ahead whereas suppliers can confidently undertake commitments to launch a new manufacturing facility or expand an existing one to meet that order.

Let me add that we have substantially shortened the timeframe for building industrial sites and eliminated all the unnecessary burdensome procedures. Still, there is much more we can do here. We have things to work on, and places to go from here. For example, building an industrial facility from the ground up takes anywhere from eighteen months to three years, while the persistently high interest rates make it harder to buy suitable land plots.

Given this, I suggest launching industrial mortgages as a new tool for empowering Russian businesses to quickly start making all the products we need. What I mean are preferential long-term loans at a five-percent interest rate. Companies planning to buy new manufacturing space will be entitled to these loans. I am asking the Government to work out all the details with the Russian banking sector so that the industrial mortgage programme becomes fully operational soon.

Friends,

Changes in the global economy, finances and international relations are unfolding at an ever-growing pace and scale. There is an increasingly pronounced trend in favour of a multipolar growth model in lieu of globalisation. Of course, building and shaping a new world order is no easy task. We will have to confront many challenges, risks, and factors that we can hardly predict or anticipate today.

Still, it is obvious that it is up to the strong sovereign states, those that do not follow a trajectory imposed by others, to set the rules governing the new world order. Only powerful and sovereign states can have their say in this emerging world order. Otherwise, they are doomed to become or remain colonies devoid of any rights.

We need to move forward and change in keeping with the times, while demonstrating our national will and resolve. Russia enters this nascent era as a powerful sovereign nation. We will definitely use the new immense opportunities that are opening up for us in this day and age in order to become even stronger.

Thank you for your attention.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you, Mr President.

I would very much like to say that after such exhaustive remarks and such an exhaustive analysis, we have nothing left to talk about, because you have answered all the questions. Still, some questions remain, and we will certainly ask them.

And now I would like to ask President Tokayev to come over here and share with us his perspective on the processes taking place in his country, in our country, and in relations between our countries and in the world.

Thank you.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: President Putin,

forum participants,

I congratulate everyone on a significant event – the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum. I thank President Putin for the invitation and for the warm and cordial welcome in the cultural capital of Russia.

Over the past quarter of a century, the St Petersburg Forum has deservedly gained respect as a prestigious expert platform and occupies a worthy place among other world discussion platforms.

Today, we are meeting in rather extraordinary circumstances – I am referring to the elevated political and economic turbulence. The global upheavals caused by the pandemic and the rising geopolitical tensions have led to a new reality. Globalisation has given way to an era of regionalisation, with all its inherent advantages and disadvantages. Be that as it may, the process of reformatting traditional economic models and trade routes is accelerating.

The world is changing rapidly – unfortunately, in most cases it is not for the better. Inflation in many countries is breaking ten-year records, global economic growth is slowing down, and competition for investment and resources is intensifying.

There are constraining factors for economic growth such as climate change, growing migration flows, and faster technological change. We certainly pay attention to these processes.

Speaking about the new reality, it is important to bear in mind the rapidly changing structure of the international order – even the seemingly stable East-West, North-South vectors of interaction are shifting. It is important for the countries in our region not only to find the right answers to all these challenges, but also to try to make the most of them. Therefore, we have to consistently reach our full potential for cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union. The project to link Eurasian integration with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is relevant here.

As you know, Kazakhstan is now implementing large-scale political and economic reforms. Their goal is to reset public administration and build a fair, new Kazakhstan. We are working to ensure that there is a correlation between economic growth and rising living standards for our people. We want to achieve sustainable development of trade and economic ties, open new production lines, support the growth of human capital, and make investments.

As part of our large-scale effort to modernise the country, we are drafting new rules of the game in the economy without glaring monopolies and rampant corruption. Our priority is to support businesses and improve the business climate with a view to providing the utmost protection for the rights of investors, and promoting stability and predictability. We will continue meeting all of our commitments to our traditional partners. Kazakhstan will continue building an inclusive, fair society without social inequality.

I believe that to ensure sustainable development of all countries of the region, it is necessary to determine new horizons of cooperation and create new growth points in our economies. Along with this, we must always remember the very important task of ensuring international and regional security.

In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the following points.

The first task, as I have already mentioned, is to strengthen the capacity of the Eurasian Economic Union. This task remains relevant for us. The aggregate size of the economies of its members exceeds $2 trillion. This is an enormous market with free movement of goods, capital, services and workforce. At any rate, this is what it should be.

Despite the pandemic and geopolitical upheavals, cooperation in the EAEU continues to grow stronger. Last year, its trade reached a record $73 billion, which is a third higher than last year.

Russia has been and remains Kazakhstan’s key economic partner in the EAEU. Last year, our trade went up by almost a third to exceed $24 billion. These are record figures for us. The dynamics remains positive this year as well. Our trade increased by over 12 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

I believe that, considering the new reality, it would be appropriate and useful to develop an innovative trade strategy within the Eurasian Economic Union. Instead of imposing counter-sanctions, which, frankly, are unlikely to be productive, a more proactive and flexible trade policy should be pursued covering the Asian and the Middle Eastern markets. Kazakhstan could be instrumental in its role of a buffer market.

Overall, the ultimate success of Eurasian integration largely, if not massively, depends on our effective common trade strategy. Kazakhstan and Russia can break new ground in industrial cooperation.

We have a special plan, a programme for industrial cooperation in the new circumstances. Investors from Russia will be provided with industrial sites complete with infrastructure, and a favourable investment climate will be created for them. As a matter of fact, this is already being done.

The full unlocking of our countries’ agricultural potential is particularly important in these circumstances. According to the FAO [the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations], Russia and Kazakhstan are global leaders in terms of available agricultural land. This fact is of particular importance in light of declining global food security. According to the UN, the number of malnourished people will go from 270 million to 323 million this year.

Providing people with high-quality and safe food remains a priority and a factor in maintaining internal stability.

To create a reliable food system, it is important to implement innovative solutions and advanced technologies, as well as to cut food losses.

Approaches to ensuring food security should be developed at the national level and within regional associations, including the EAEU with account taken of the interests of all state participants. Achieving declared goals in this extremely important area is unlikely without coordinated work.

In other words, fighting skyrocketing inflation and food shortages is our common challenge, which will remain a priority in the foreseeable future, because it directly concerns the well-being of our people. Our countries’ potential makes it possible to consistently and fully supply our markets with the necessary foods, as the President of Russia convincingly demonstrated today.

Secondly, I believe that it is essential that we continue expanding trade and economic cooperation with third countries. Kazakhstan is proactively involved in integration processes, and has always stood for mutually beneficial cooperation with other international organisations.

As far as I know, there has been much interest on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia’s initiative to build a Greater Eurasian Partnership. This concept consists of offering regional organisations a platform for creating a common space of equal cooperation. It is for this reason that Kazakhstan continues to have a positive outlook on the effort to build the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

This year, Kazakhstan chairs the Commonwealth of Independent States. Over the years, this structure has built up a positive track record despite all the geopolitical challenges, which proves that multilateral dialogue tools are effective.

I believe that the CIS is perfectly suited for serving as a foundation for this megaproject. I am referring to Greater Eurasia, or the Greater Eurasian Partnership. It can encompass the SCO, ASEAN, and the Eurasian Economic Union as its integral elements.

Over the next decade, China, India, as well as countries in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, which have traditionally been friendly to us, can become major investors in the economies of our region.

China has already emerged as Kazakhstan’s main economic and foreign trade partner. This country invested in our economy more than $22 billion over the past 15 years. For this reason, strengthening our multilateral cooperation with China is a very important goal for our country.

Of course, the economy matters today just as much as political considerations. I believe that we have to promote business-to-business ties and build new transport and logistics corridors. Today, we treat these matters as our top priorities when meeting with people from Russia and other interested nations.

There is a lot of potential for combining our efforts to develop a pool of breakthrough innovation and technology projects, as well as uninterrupted transportation and logistics chains. At the end of the day, this will create new economic growth opportunities for our countries.

Thirdly, Kazakhstan maintains its unwavering commitment to international efforts to combat climate change. We will be consistent in our efforts to promote green investment and carry out corresponding projects. Environmental problems are global in nature, affecting almost all countries without exception, including Kazakhstan.

Last year, our farmers had serious problems due to a draught that was triggered by low rainfall and low water level in rivers. The cross-border Ural River is in critical condition. We call it Zhayyq on our territory.

I believe we should tackle such problems together when faced with such long-term challenges to the sustainable development of our states. I think we should give serious thought to the prospects of introducing the principles of closed-loop or circular economy. We are working to reduce the GDP’s energy-output ratio, expand the renewable energy sector and reduce transit losses in this area.

The similarity of our economies, industrial infrastructure ties between our two countries and geography as such are prompting us to pool efforts in this strategically important area as well. I hope that together we will manage to draft effective approaches and specific measures for tangible progress in this field.

Fourthly. High quality human resources and constructive inter-cultural dialogue are a reliable source of economic growth. As part of the UN-proclaimed International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, we will continue our policy of preserving the cultural diversity of our country and promoting international dialogue between civilisations.

In September our capital will host yet another congress of world and traditional religions. We welcome the participation of religious figures from Russia in this forum. Practically all of them confirmed their participation.

Kazakhstan is actively reformatting the system of its higher education with the participation of leading foreign universities, including Russian ones. The deepening of international academic ties has special significance for promoting the traditions of bilateral cooperation.

I am convinced that the successful implementation of a number of joint educational and cultural initiatives will allow us to make a tangible contribution to the steady economic advance of our country.

Participants of the forum,

Kazakhstan proceeds from its firm conviction that Eurasia is our common home and that all countries on our continent should closely cooperate in the community. We are confident that the building of a peaceful, stable and economically strong Eurasia will become a major factor of sustainable development and inclusive growth on a global scale.

I am convinced that this prestigious discussion venue that unites top class experts has great potential in searching for constructive ideas aimed at normalising the international situation and recovering the positive dynamics of the world economy.

Thank you for your attention.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you very much, President Tokayev.

Eurasia is indeed our common home. We all want this home to be safe and prosperous through God’s help and our mutual efforts.

And now we will turn to Africa. We have a video address from President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Can we have it on the screens, please? Thank you.

President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to extend to His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin, my sincere congratulations on the silver jubilee of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Since 1997, when it has been held for the first time, the forum has become a leading platform for the business community and a remarkable economic event that seeks to discuss the key economic issues facing emerging markets and the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Arab Republic of Egypt, as a guest country, will be part of this year’s session of the forum, which marks the 25th anniversary of its launch, thus confirming the distinguished level that Egyptian-Russian economic relations have reached over the recent years.

This year’s forum is being held amid unprecedented political and economic challenges of a strategic nature. We hope that the outcomes of the forum will contribute to finding effective solutions to these challenges in a way that mitigates the impact of the global economic crisis and its negative repercussions on many countries in the world, especially the economies of emerging countries, takes the concerns and interests of all parties into account, and achieves the security and tranquility of peoples.

This would be achieved through long-term political understandings that open the way for the growth of the global economy, especially in the wake of the severe coronavirus pandemic, which has cost our societies many victims and considerable money and resources, thus making us keen to avoid any slowdown in the global economy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that the Arab Republic of Egypt values its firm, historic friendship relations with the Russian Federation, and values the tangible progress the two countries’ relations have been witnessing over the past years in a multitude of vital sectors, for the two countries’ economies and the prosperity of the two peoples.

The Arab Republic of Egypt and the Russian Federation have been engaged over the past years in the implementation of mega and ambitious projects that serve our countries and respond to the aspirations of our peoples to realise more economic progress.

The most prominent of these are: the project for the establishment of the Dabaa nuclear power plant, which comes within the context of the Egyptian State’s strategy to expand national projects for the use of new and renewable sources of energy.

Another project is the establishment of the Russian Industrial Zone in the Economic Zone of the Suez Canal, which is meant to become an important platform for industry in Africa.

This is in addition to cooperation between the two countries to upgrade the Egyptian railway network and other joint ventures that realise the benefit of the two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You must be aware that the exceptional events that have been taking place in the Arab Republic of Egypt over the past decade had their immense impact on the overall economic situation in the country. The Egyptian people stood up to surmount this crisis by supporting a clear vision, based on investing in the Egyptian citizen and developing his capabilities.

Therefore, Egypt Vision 2030 was launched to reflect the state’s long-term strategic plan to achieve the principles and goals of sustainable development, with its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Based on this vision, the Government of Egypt has modernised its legislative structure to enable Egypt to attract more foreign investment. This qualified Egypt to become the top destination for attracting foreign investments in Africa and one of the few countries in the world capable of achieving a growth rate of up to 3.3 percent in 2021, despite the negative challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 and their impact on the global economy. We expect the Egyptian economy to grow by 5.5% during the current fiscal year. The country’s non-petroleum exports also increased during 2021 to reach $32 billion.

Egypt has also succeeded, within the framework of its strategy to increase its capabilities, to implement mega agricultural projects that are aimed at increasing agricultural land by almost 2 million feddans.

This is in addition to the mega projects Egypt is implementing in the fields of transport, by expanding thousands of kilometers of roads and upgrading Egypt’s transport system by introducing new projects. Those include the high-speed rail that will constitute a means to link the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, thus boosting and facilitating international trade.

Adding to this are the mega industrial projects and the numerous projects in the field of clean energy production, which have been established in Egypt at a rapid pace over the past period.

Despite the previously-mentioned national efforts, Egypt’s actions and efforts to achieve progress were hit recently by economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world was partially recovering from its effects and repercussions, when it was hit again by a great economic crisis that cast a shadow over growth rates and negatively affected states’ budgets, reflecting on the rise of fuel prices and the decline in the value of the national currencies in the face of hard currencies. This is in addition to the disruption in supply chains, the emergence of the food crisis, as well as the irregular movement of civil aviation. This sector is connected with vital fields of the Egyptian economy, primarily tourism and insurance.

Addressing this crisis, which has an international character, requires international efforts and collaboration among all parties in order to get matters back to their normal state, particularly the movement of maritime traffic and the regularity of supply chains, particularly foodstuff, such as grain and vegetable oil.

This also requires working toward restoring calm and stability at the international level, in order to mitigate the impact of this economic crisis on the peoples, who seek peace and development.

I also call on all companies participating in this forum and others to take advantage of this huge opportunity that is provided by investing in Egypt in all fields.

I would not miss, before concluding my speech, thanking the people of Saint Petersburg, this brave city throughout history, which at the same time represents an icon for culture and openness on the outside world.

Finally, I would like, once again, to thank His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin, for his kind invitation for Egypt to participate in this forum as a guest of this round, wishing the forum and the participants all success and blessings and wishing our friendly countries more constructive cooperation, prosperity and progress. We pray God Almighty to spread peace and stability across the world and to spare our peoples the scourge of war and its economic and social impact by giving priority to the language of dialogue, understanding and co-existence.

Thank you.

Margarita Simonyan: We are grateful to the President of Egypt. I think that the people of the host city should be especially pleased to hear his warm words about St Petersburg.

We have just a little time left before the discussion begins. They say anticipation increases desire.

We will now listen to an address by President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping (retranslated): President Putin, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

I am delighted to have this opportunity to address the plenary session of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which I attended in person three years ago.

In February this year, President Putin visited China and attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. We had a detailed exchange of views, following which we reached a vital agreement on expanding our comprehensive practical cooperation and implementing the concept of global governance based on joint consultations, joint participation and joint use.

Cooperation between China and Russia is currently ascending in all spheres. Our bilateral trade reached $65.8 billion over the first five months of this year. We can expect to attain new records by year-end. This is evidence of the high resilience and ingenious potential of Chinese-Russian cooperation.

The world is entering a new period of turbulence and transformation amid the ongoing radical changes and the coronavirus pandemic. There is an obvious trend of anti-globalism, a growing divide between the South and the North, and a weakening of cooperation drivers in the area of development, which could plunge the erratically reviving global economy into a deep recession and create unprecedented challenges to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to ancient Chinese words of wisdom, a clever man sees a seed of crisis in every opportunity and an opportunity in every crisis. Danger and opportunity always go together. By overcoming danger, you get opportunity. Strength lies in confidence. The more there are difficulties, the more important it is to remain confident.

During last year’s session of the UN General Assembly, I proposed a Global Development Initiative, which was positively received and supported by a number of international organisations, including the UN, and about a hundred countries.

Today, at a time when the international community is ever more interested in achieving more equitable, sustainable and secure development, we should seize opportunities, meet challenges head-on, and work on the implementation of the Global Development Initiative to build a shared future of peace and prosperity.

First, we need to create conditions for development. It is important that we follow true multilateralism, respect and support all countries’ pursuit of development paths suited to their national conditions, build an open world economy, and increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries in global economic governance with a view to making global development more balanced, coordinated and inclusive.

Second, we need to strengthen development partnerships. It is important that we enhance North-South and South-South cooperation, pool cooperation resources, platforms and networks of development partnerships, and scale up development assistance in order to forge greater synergy for development and close the development gap.

Third, we need to advance economic globalization. It is important that we enhance the coordination of development policies and international rules and standards, reject attempts at separation, supply disruption, unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure, remove trade barriers, keep global industrial and supply chains stable, tackle the worsening food and energy crises, and revive the world economy.

Fourth, we need to pursue innovation-driven development. It is important that we unlock the potential of innovation-driven growth, improve the rules and institutional environment for innovation, break down barriers to the flow of innovation factors, deepen exchanges and cooperation on innovation, facilitate deeper integration of science and technology into the economy, and make sure the fruits of innovation are shared by all.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

The fundamentals of the Chinese economy are its strong resilience, enormous potential and long-term sustainability, which remain unchanged. We have full confidence in China’s economic development. China will continue to promote high-quality development, promote openness with firm resolve, and pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

China stands ready to work with Russia and all other countries to explore development prospects, share growth opportunities, and make new contributions to deepening global development cooperation and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Thank you.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you, Mr President.

Coming to learn Chinese wisdom and some of Chinese sagacity is always a good thing, especially now that Chinese wisdom might come in useful for the entire world.

Mr President, I would like to show you something that I have brought with me especially. It is juice, and it used to be so nicely coloured. It does not matter what sort of juice it is; you cannot even see the brand here, although it is a popular one. And now – do you see? A small picture and the rest is white. Why is that? And this is happening on a massive scale.

Because we ran out of paint. The producer of paint for such packaging has left Russia, and the producer of the packaging also announced that they are leaving. I bought this two weeks ago, and soon this will disappear. As a result, we will have to pour it into bottles or three-litre glass jars, like it was in my childhood, unless we discover that we do not produce bottles either.

There are conflicting opinions on this. You have touched upon this issue today. Some of the participants – a considerable part, maybe even the majority – came here by Sapsan trains. Some say “We will swap Sapsans for Chinese trains, they are even better,” since Siemens has gone. Others say “We will learn to make them ourselves.” Let me remind you that we launched our own high-speed trains in 1984, I think they were called ER200. I was four years old, did not go to school yet, but we already had high-speed trains – but we do not have them any longer. It is sad, isn’t it?

And there are also people who say that no, we cannot replace all that, we can use Sapsan trains for another couple of years and then we will just give up high-speed railways, which means we will step back from what we got used to. And it is like this with everything: telephones, computers, everything we got used to. This is a very sad, I would even say heartbreaking plan.

Maybe there is a different plan?

Vladimir Putin: Whenever any decisions are taken, the key issues must be to singled out. What is key for us? Being independent, sovereign and ensuring future-oriented development both now and for the future generations? Or having packaging today?

Unless we have sovereignty, we will soon have to buy everything and will only produce oil, gas, hemp fibre, saddles and sell rough logs abroad.

It is inevitable. I have already said so in my speech: only sovereign countries can expect to have a sovereign future. That does not mean, however, that we need to plunge back into a situation of 30, 40 or 50 years ago.

Regarding packaging. I do not think it is such a complicated thing that either our partners from other countries can replace, who will be pleased to occupy this market sooner or later, or we will be able to make ourselves.

Margarita Simonyan: You do not see it, but President Tokayev is nodding his head: they will probably be able to replace it.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: Absolutely, this is not a problem.

Vladimir Putin: Of course, we will able to replace it.

The question is about a totally different matter. We keep talking about import substitution. In my speech here I also said – and I will just add a couple of words so as not to take too much time while answering only one question.

The issue is not about import substitution, the issue is to establish our own capabilities based on progress in education, science and new promising schools of engineering. We will always be given packaging materials and other simple things, event telephones and smartphones. What we have never been given and never will be is critically important technologies. We have never been given them before even though we had problem-free relations with our Western partners in the previous decades. This is the problem.

And when we begin to stand up for our rights, we are immediately slapped with some sanctions and restrictions; this is what the problem is all about. Therefore, we must commit ourselves to that and have the capacity to reproduce critically important technologies on the basis of what I mentioned. And with that base we will always be able to manufacture the goods you mentioned: packaging materials, telephones and smartphones. If we realise that and keep focusing on solving fundamental issues, we will resolve everything else without a problem.

Let me reiterate: others are already coming to that place – those who produce the packaging materials, those who produce the paints. We are also starting to produce paints and other consumer goods as well as goods employed in industry in a broader sense. We can make anything – I have absolutely no doubt about that.

Obviously, some things will be lost, other things will be made on a new basis, much more advanced – the way it happened earlier. Therefore, when we talk about import substitution, we will substitute something while other things will have to be done on a totally new promising basis of our own making.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you. President Tokayev, would you like to add anything?

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: I think everything is clear here, and judging by President Putin’s extremely interesting speech, we can understand that he is thinking in the categories of historical perspective, so to say.

Margarita Simonyan: As always.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: And juice packaging has no place here.

Indeed, it is a small problem, nature abhors a vacuum: others will come who will be producing juice packaging that is just as good, and local producers will appear.

The issue is about something else. In particular, I said in my speech about the importance of Eurasian cooperation, about the importance of uniting efforts to resolve unexpected problems. I think we will arrive at the result we are seeking on this road.

To be continued.

The World Doesn’t Work That Way Anymore

June 6, 2022

Alastair Crooke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, financial crisis might upend that story entirely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imam Khamenei: Imam Khomeini Helps Young Generation Find Its Way

June 4, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei delivered a speech on the occasion of 33rd demise anniversary of founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini [RA].

Every year, a commemoration ceremony is held in Imam Khomeini’s Mausoleum in southern Tehran province with the participation of Imam Khamenei, senior state and military officials as well as thousands of people from different walks of life.

This year’s ceremony is held at the Mausoleum after a two-year break due to the restrictions caused by coronavirus.

At the beginning of his speech, Imam Khamenei greeted all brothers and sisters taking part in the commemoration held in Tehran and some 900 other Iranian cities.

“Imam Khomeini is the soul of the Islamic Republic,” Imam Khamenei stressed, noting that the young generation has to know Imam Khomeini well as he can show them the best way how to rule the country in the future.

“Imam Khomeini led the greatest revolution in the history of revolutions,” Imam Khamenei said.

His Eminence also touched upon the most famous revolutions in the world such as the French and Russian revolutions and noted that after those two big revolutions, the most brutal tyrannical regimes ruled France and USSR which killed too many of their people.

However, Imam Khamenei said, Imam Khomeini led a revolution that turned the tyrannical regime of Shah to an Islamic Republic which is based on people’s votes.

The Leader went on to point out that Imam Khomeini introduced spirituality and morality to governance and said that the Imam separated the Islamic Republic from the capitalist-based liberal democracy and dictatorial-centered communism, and proposed a new model with the Islamic Republic.

Imam Khamenei said in the Islamic Republic that Imam Khomeini founded, both religion and people’s votes, both economic justice and people’s free economic activities are taken into account.

“We will strengthen the country’s knowledge and economy, as well as the defense and security of the country. Both national unity and integration must be observed, while the diversity of different views and tendencies are respected,” His Eminence underlined.

“We neither oppress nor we accept oppression,” Imam Khamenei underscored.

As Imam Khamenei emphasized that Imam Khomeini derived his thoughts from the Islamic teachings and proposed a modern and noble model of the Islamic Republic, he told people and officials that whenever they rely on their will they are going to achieve victory, and whenever they become lazy then they will fail.

“Imam Khomeini combined interest and knowledge together; he was knowledgeable and a brave man, and he was honest with his God and the people alike,” Imam Khamenei said.

Imam Khomeini used to pay attention to time, was confident in Allah and a believer in the divine promise; the infrastructure in all of the late Imam’s activities was worshipping Allah, and the aim behind worshipping Allah is spreading righteousness and justice, Imam Khamenei noted, underlining that Imam Khomeini was observing such characteristics.

“Imam Khomeini’s movement was significant on the level of being frank, outspoken, and permanently addressing the people; one of the Imam’s prominent features was trusting the people since day one,” His Eminence stressed.

Imam Khomeini led the people to the fields, took them out of despair, and in certain phases taught the people what the arenas of struggle are, Sayyed Ali Khamenei added.

He also hailed the people who didn’t abandon the Islamic Revolution, which was achieved in the Islamic Republic, in which they supported it in a general referendum.

The late Imam Khomeini -Founder of the Islamic Republic and Father of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran- passed away 33 years ago at the age of 86.

Imam Khomeini, who steered the popular uprising in Iran culminating in the fall of former regime of Shah, passed away on June 3, 1989.

He is known as one of the most influential leaders who inspired many other revolutions all across the world.

According to state-run IRNA News Agency, the occasion is marked on the 14th day of Khordad, the third month of the Iranian calendar year, and was set to be commemorated in 900 Iranian cities.

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

May 08, 2022

Source

By Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More important than the EU – the Eurogroup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<—>

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

Publication date: July 1, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Chapter List of the new content

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

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