France: Can you hear us now?
from The Daily Bell
Originally posted Friday, October 22, 2010
Nobody expected this French revolution … The pensions row has turned into a referendum on Sarkozy … As the French Autumn of Discontent morphs into its second week (more trains, fewer planes, long lines at petrol stations, banlieues kids indulging in a bit of self-administered wealth redistribution in the streets), no one can predict how things will turn out for Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and his embattled government. And yet this should have been the easiest reform of his first term … The strikes have turned into a referendum on Nicolas Sarkozy – not his actual policies, so much as his style. The perception is that he panders to the rich, an unfair one when you consider his predecessor Jacques Chirac, who never paid for any holiday he took in or out of office. … Sarkozy (whose fortune is the product of selling his family flat for £1.6 million when he was elected in 2007) earned himself, early on, the “bling bling president” tag. Nothing he has done since has shifted the impression that he wants the French to make efforts he will not subject himself and his rich friends to. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme:
The French are crazy and need to blow off steam once in a while.
Until recently we have been somewhat alone in trying to explain the reality of what was taking place in Europe. In a series of articles, we predicted that Europe would blow up sooner or later, because Europe was basically a tribal environment and, in fact, a patchwork of tribes. In one of our recent articles, we even provided a Wikipedia excerpt showing how the tribes had conquered Rome and then migrated throughout Europe in the next 500 years. To think that Europeans themselves are not quite conscious of their background, or have no tribal solidarity, was naïve in our view.
The tribes are bloody-minded. In fact, Europe has been a cauldron of blood and resentments, much of it whipped up by the Anglo-American power elite for purposes of consolidating wealth and power. But the tribal solidarity and brutal arithmetic used by the tribes to calculate their well-being had not in our view changed much in eons. We felt fairly certain the tribes of Europe would take action once they perceived that the EU was not going to prove a net benefit but would actually have a negative impact on their wealth and property. We recalled the unrest of the 1960s (in which admittedly American intelligence played a part via Operation Gladio) and we predicted that those days would come again.
The EU, in fact, was not providing any other options, or making it any easier to avoid what has now occurred. Either the elite is out of ideas or out of options. We believe it may be the latter (assuming the powers-that-be are not engineering some sort of total implosion for nefarious reasons yet to be fully comprehended.) By insisting that the common man in various PIGS nations pay back large commercial banks that had lent recklessly to those same countries and enriched their political and industrial elites, EU leaders were almost inviting (and arrogantly so) what has now occurred. The so-called “austerity” unrest was about this perception. Normal people saw that the EU had bribed national elites to build a consensus for joining – and they didn’t wish to pay the bill.
It’s not just government pensions. Taxes are going up even as services are going down. Distorted private industrial sectors, gorged on the inflationary euro, imploded over the past few years and shed jobs. Harried people have sought shelter in government work, and now the government jobs are leaving as well. Many economies lie in ruins, and still there are no jobs to be had. Meanwhile, Brussels’ Eurocrats pretend it is the “people’s” fault. Sure governments had been greedy, but ultimately the blame lies with the electorate. So it is said.
The Greeks were the first to reject these assumptions. At the time, the mainstream media shouted in one voice that austerity was necessary and that the public unions in Greece were being unreasonable. The Anglo-American power elite that runs the EU no doubt hoped that anger against public unions and negative public opinion would help neuter protests. It was a clever dominant social theme. The mainstream media was not to cover the protests – which were to be blamed, in any case, on public sector profligacy. There might be protests, but they would easily handled.
Only they haven’t been because these protests are increasingly an expression of anger at how EU citizens have been treated over the years, and how the ever-expanding EU itself has been forced through. For years we have been writing about this. We have watched in wonder as whole nations were made to vote over and over again until the right answer was arrived at by the electorate. When the Eurocrats didn’t get their horrible constitution, they divvied it up into legislation and dumped some of it into a treaty that that didn’t need a popular vote.
The EU is an increasingly, profoundly anti-democratic institution. It has launched a torrent of job-killing regulations at the nations suffering beneath it. It has achieved power by pretense, but those running it behind the scenes no show indication of slowing down. Every arrogant, anti-democratic trick has been used to turn an obscure trade treaty into an over-bearing empire. What worked before will work again, or so it was thought.
From our point of view, the Internet era only made things worse. The truth-telling of the ‘Net noted each phony vote and every contemptuous and condescending statement. People doubtless grew angrier. But, as in America, it took bad times to turn the Internet from a social network into a instrument of freedom. As austerity rumbled across Europe, people doubtless went online and found plenty of chat rooms and alternative news articles to confirm their fears and incite their resentment.
And now they protest. The article with which began this analysis claims that, “no one expected this French revolution.” Au contraire! This has been coming for years. “The strikes have turned into a referendum on Nicolas Sarkozy – not his actual policies, so much as his style. The perception is that he panders to the rich.” Yes, this is another way of writing what we wrote yesterday – that the protests are a kind of class warfare. And we do not believe they will go away any time soon.
In Iceland, protestors chased legislators out the back door of the Parliament building. In Greece, protestors occupied the Acropolis. In Spain and Portugal they marched, and even in Ireland, resentment has started to boil over into activism and violence. In France, where everyone pretty much expected there would be SOME trouble, there has been quite a lot of it.
Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nikola Sarkozy have put their heads together to come up with a solution to the troubles that rack Europe. They want Brussels to be able to penalize countries severely for being profligate; and they want a much larger pool of euro-money to bail out nations that indulge in bad behavior. They want a mini-IMF in other words.
But to get what they want, the dynamic duo will need to reopen the Lisbon Treaty to pan Euro voting. Mostly it will be the legislatures that will vote, and will no doubt do as asked. But in some countries, reopening the Treaty will reopen the whole issue of joining the EU. Countries like Ireland and Britain may end up having further referenda about the EU itself, and staying or going.
Eurocrats want to doom the PIGS to austerity for a decade or longer. Whole generations shall labor under a kind of neo-economic fascism. This is not the Europe that was promised. We have predicted that it may end badly, and we see no reason to revise that forecast now. Perhaps there is a reservoir of good will that we do not comprehend. Or perhaps the EU leader shall manage to impose some sort of quasi-martial law, as some have predicted.
But is that how class wars end? With the middle class muted and stuck in sullen rage? Like the Internet itself, a class war is a process, in our view, and we would be surprised if it doesn’t play itself out in fits and starts not just for several more months, but perhaps for several more years. And the topography of Europe may be much changed as a result. And more quickly than we expected.
Written by aurick
24/10/2010 at 6:32 pm
Tagged with austerity fatigue, austerity programs, austerity unrest, economic crisis, euro failure, European fiscal crisis, european monetary union, European sovereign debt problem, eurosceptic, Financial Disaster, inflationary euro, Insolvency of the PIGS, PIIGS, sovereign debt, sovereign default