democracy, France, latest, media watch, United States, USA
Comments 46

“The Resistance” & the Gilets Jaunes

Why France’s Yellow Vest protests have been ignored by “The Resistance” in the US

Max Parry

The rich are only defeated when running for their lives.”
CLR James, The Black Jacobins

In less than two months, the yellow vests (“gilets jaunes) movement in France has reshaped the political landscape in Europe. For a seventh straight week, demonstrations continued across the country even after concessions from a cowing President Emmanuel Macron while inspiring a wave of similar gatherings in neighboring states like Belgium and the Netherlands. Just as el-Sisi’s dictatorship banned the sale of high-visibility vests to prevent copycat rallies in Egypt, corporate media has predictably worked overtime trying to demonize the spontaneous and mostly leaderless working class movement in the hopes it will not spread elsewhere.

The media oligopoly initially attempted to ignore the insurrection altogether, but when forced to reckon with the yellow vests they maligned the incendiary marchers using horseshoe theory to suggest a confluence between far left and far right supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. To the surprise of no one, mainstream pundits have also stoked fears of ‘Russian interference’ behind the unrest. We can assume that if the safety vests were ready-made off the assembly line of NGOs like the raised fist flags of Serbia’s OTPOR! movement, the presstitutes would be telling a different story.

It turned out that a crisis was not averted but merely postponed when Macron defeated his demagogue opponent Le Pen in the 2017 French election. While it is true that the gilets jaunes were partly impelled by an increase on fuel prices, contrary to the prevailing narrative their official demands are not limited to a carbon tax. They also consist of explicit ultimatums to increase the minimum wage, improve the standard of living, and an end to austerity, among other legitimate grievances. Since taking office, Macron has declared war on trade unions while pushing through enormous tax breaks for the wealthy (like himself) — it was just a matter of time until the French people had enough of the country’s privatization. It is only a shock to the oblivious establishment why the former Rothschild banker-turned-politician, who addressed the nation seated at a gold desk while Paris was ablaze, is suddenly in jeopardy of losing power. The status quo’s incognizance is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette who during the 18th century when told the peasants had no bread famously replied, “let them eat cake” as the masses starved under her husband Louis XIV.

While the media’s conspicuous blackout of coverage is partly to blame, the deafening silence from across the Atlantic in the United States is really because of the lack of class consciousness on its political left. With the exception of Occupy Wall Street, the American left has been so preoccupied with an endless race to the bottom in the two party ‘culture wars’ it is unable to comprehend an upheaval undivided by the contaminants of identity politics. A political opposition that isn’t fractured on social issues is simply unimaginable. Not to say the masses in France are exempt from the internal contradictions of the working class, but the fetishization of lifestyle politics in the U.S. has truly become its weakness. We will have to wait and see whether the yellow vests transform into a global movement or arrive in America, but for now the seeming lack of solidarity stateside equates to a complicity with Macron’s agenda.

It serves as a reminder of the historically revisionist understanding of French politics in the U.S. that is long-established. The middle class dominated left-wing in America ascribes to a historical reinterpretation of the French Revolution that is a large contributor of its aversion to transformative praxis in favor of incrementalism. The late Italian Marxist philosopher and historian Domenico Losurdo, who died in June of this year, offered the most thorough understanding of its misreading of history in seminal works such as War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century. The liberal rereading of the French Revolution is the ideological basis for its rejection of the revolutionary tradition from the Jacobins to the Bolsheviks that has neutralized the modern left to this day.

According to its revised history, the inevitable outcome of comprehensive systemic change is Robespierre’s so-called ‘Reign of Terror’, or the ‘purges’ of the Stalin era in the Soviet Union. In its view, what began with the Locke and Montesquieu-influenced reforms of the constitutional monarchy was ‘hijacked’ by the radical Jacobin and sans-culotte factions. Losurdo explains that counter-revolutionaries eager to discredit the image of rebellion overemphasize its violence and bloodshed, and never properly contextualize it as self-defense against the real reign of terror by the ruling class. The idea behind this recasting of history is to conflate revolutionary politics with Nazi Germany whose racially-motivated genocide was truly the inheritor of the legacy of European colonialism, not the ancestry of the Jacobins or the Russian Revolution.

pastedImagefile

Maximilien Robespierre’s real crime in the eyes of bourgeois historians was attempting to fulfill the egalitarian ideals of republicanism by transferring political power from the aristocracy and nouveaux riches directly into the hands of the working class, just as the Paris Commune did nearly 80 years later. It is for this reason he subsequently became one of the most misunderstood and unfairly maligned figures in world history, perhaps one day to be absolved.

The US reaction to the yellow vests is a continuation of the denial and suppression of the class conflict inherent in the French Revolution which continues to seethe beneath the surfaces of capitalism today.

In today’s political climate, it is easy to forget that there have been periods where the American left was actually engaged with the crisis of global capitalism. In what seems like aeons ago, the anti-globalization movement in the wake of NAFTA culminated in huge protests in Seattle in 1999 which saw nearly 50,000 march against the World Trade Organization. Following the 2008 financial collapse, it briefly reemerged in the Occupy movement which was also swiftly put down by corporate-state repression. Currently, the political space once inhabited by the anti-globalization left has been supplanted by the ‘anti-globalist’ rhetoric mostly associated with right-wing populism.

Globalism and globalization may have qualitatively different meanings, but they nevertheless are interrelated. Although it is shortsighted, there are core accuracies in the former’s narrative that should be acknowledged. The idea of a shadowy world government isn’t exclusively adhered to by anti-establishment conservatives and it is right to suspect there is a worldwide cabal of secretive billionaire power brokers controlling events behind the scenes. There is indeed a ‘new world order’ with zero regard for the sovereignty of nation states, just as there is a ‘deep state.’ However, it is a ruling class not of paranoiac imagination but real life, and a right-wing billionaire like Robert Mercer is as much a globalist as George Soros.

Ever since capitalism emerged it has always been global. The current economic crisis is its latest cyclical downturn, impoverishing and alienating working people whose increasing hardship is what has led to the trending rejection of the EU. Imperialism has exported capital leading to the destruction of jobs in the home sectors of Western nations while outsourcing them to the third world. Over time, deep disgruntlement among the working class has grown toward an economic system that is clearly rigged against them, where the skewed distribution of capital gains and widespread tax evasion on the part of big business is camouflaged as buoyant economic growth. When it came crashing down in the last recession, the financial institutions responsible were bailed out using tax payer money instead of facing any consequences. Such grotesque unfairness has only been amplified by the austerity further transferring the burden from the 1% to the poor.

Before the gilets jaunes, the U.K.’s Brexit referendum in 2016 laid bare these deep class divisions within the European Union. One of the most significant events in the continent since WWII, it has ultimately threatened to reshape the Occident’s status in the post-war order as a whole. Brexit manifested out of divisions within Britain’s political parties, especially the Torys, which had been plagued for years by internal dispute over the EU. Those in power were blind to the warning signs of discontent toward a world economy in crisis and were shocked by the plebiscite in which the working class defied the powers that be against all odds with more than half voting to leave.

In general, well-to-do Brits were hard remainers while those suffering most severely from the destruction of industry, unemployment and austerity overwhelmingly chose to leave in what was described as a “peasants revolt” by the media. The value of the pound sterling quickly plunged and not long after the status of the United Kingdom as a whole came into question as Britain found itself at odds with Scotland’s unanimous decision to remain. Brexit tugged at the bonds holding the EU together and suddenly the collective standing clout of its member states is at stake in a potential breakup of the entire bloc.

Euroscepticism is also by no means a distinctly British phenomenon, as distrust has soared in countries hit the hardest by neoliberalism like Greece (80%), with Spain and France not far behind. In fact, before there was Brexit there was fear among the elite of a ‘Grexit.’ In response to its unprecedented debt crisis manufactured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Greek people elected the Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA, to a majority of legislative seats to the Hellenic Parliament during its 2015 bailout referendum. Unfortunately, the synthetic alliance turned out to be anything but radical and a Trojan horse of the establishment. SYRIZA was elected on its promise to rescind the terms of Greek membership in the EU, but shortly after taking office it betrayed its constituency and agreed to the troika’s mass privatization. Even its former finance minister Yanis Varousfakis admitted that SYRIZA was a controlled opposition and auxiliary of the Soros Foundation.

Apart from suffering collective amnesia regarding the EU’s neoliberal policies, apparently the modern left is also in serious need of a history lesson regarding the federation’s fascist origins. It has been truly puzzling to see self-proclaimed progressives mourning Britain’s decision to withdraw from a continental union that was historically masterminded by former fifth columnists of Nazi Germany. It was in the aftermath of WWII’s devastation that the 1951 Treaty of Paris established the nucleus of the EU in the European Coal and Steel Community, a cooperative union formed by France, Italy, West Germany, and the three Benelux states (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). The Europe Declaration charter stated:

By the signature of this Treaty, the involved parties give proof of their determination to create the first supranational institution and that thus they are laying the true foundation of an organized Europe. This Europe remains open to all European countries that have freedom of choice. We profoundly hope that other countries will join us in our common endeavor.”

The idea of forming a “supranational” union was conceived by the French statesman Robert Schuman, who during the outbreak of WWII served as the Under-Secretary of State for Refugees in the Reynaud government. When Nazi Germany invaded France in 1940, Schuman by all accounts willingly voted to grant absolute dictatorial powers to Marshall Philippe Pétain to become Head of State of the newly formed Vichy government, the puppet regime that ruled Nazi-occupied France until the Allied invasion in 1944. By doing so, he retained his position in parliament, though he later chose to resign. Following the war, like all Vichy collaborators Schuman was initially charged with the offense of indignité nationale (“national unworthiness”) and stripped of his civil rights as a traitor.

More than 4,000 alleged quislings were summarily executed following Operation Overlord and the Normandy landings, but the future EU designer was fortunate enough to have friends in high places. Schuman’s clemency was granted by none other than General Charles de Gaulle himself, the leader of the resistance during the war and future French President. Instantly, Schuman’s turncoat reputation was rehabilitated and his wartime activity whitewashed. Even though he had knowingly voted full authority to Pétain, the retention of his post in the Vichy government was veneered to have occurred somehow without his knowledge or consent.

Marshal Pétain meets with Adolf Hitler in 1940.

Schuman is officially regarded as one of the eleven men who were ‘founding fathers’ of what later became the EU. One of the other major figures that contributed to the federal integration of the continent was Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Nuremberg Trials may have tried and executed most of the top leadership of the Nazi Party, but the post-war government that became West Germany was saturated with former Third Reich officials. Despite the purported post-war ‘denazification’ policy inscribed in the Potsdam agreement, many figures who had directly participated in the Holocaust were appointed to high positions in Adenauer’s administration and never prosecuted for their atrocities.

One such war criminal was the former Ministry of the Interior and drafter of the Nuremberg race statutes, Hans Globke, who became Adenauer’s right hand man as his Secretary of State and Chief of Staff. Adenauer also successfully lobbied the Allies to free most of the Wehrmacht war criminals in their custody, winning the support of then U.S. General and future President Dwight Eisenhower. By 1951, motivated by the desire to quickly rearm and integrate West Germany into NATO in the new Cold War, the policy of denazification was prematurely ended and countless offenders were allowed to reenter branches of government, military and public service. Their crimes against humanity took a backseat to the greater imperialist priority of rearmament against East Germany and the Soviets.

In the years following WWII, there was also concern among the elite of anti-Americanism growing in Western Europe. The annual Bilderberg Group conference was established in 1954 by Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, himself a former Reiter-SS Corps and Nazi Party member, to promote ‘Atlanticism’ and facilitate cooperation between American and European leaders. Invitations to the Bilderberg club meetings were extended to only the most exclusive paragons in politics, academia, the media, industry, and finance. In 2009, WikiLeaks revealed that it was at the infamous assembly where the hidden agenda of the European Coal and Steel Community, later the EU, was set:

E. European Unity: The discussion on this subject revealed general support for the idea of European integration and unification among the participants from the six countries of the European Coal and Steel Community, and a recognition of the urgency of the problem. While members of the group held different views as to the method by which a common market could be set up, there was a general recognition of the dangers inherent in the present divided markets of Europe and the pressing need to bring the German people, together with the other peoples of Europe, into a common market. That the six countries of the Coal and Steel Community had definitely decided to establish a common market and that experts were now working this out was felt to be a most encouraging step forward and it was hoped that other countries would subsequently join it.

Prince Bernard presides over the first annual Bilderberg meeting in 1954.

At the 1955 conference, the rudimentary idea for a European currency or what became the Eurozone was even discussed, three years before the Treaty of Rome which established the European Economic Community, without the public’s knowledge.

A European speaker expressed concern about the need to achieve a common currency, and indicated that in his view this necessarily implied the creation of a central political authority.”

The mysterious Bilderberg gatherings are still held to this day under notorious secrecy and are frequently the subject of wild speculation. One can imagine a topic behind the scenes at this year’s meeting would be how to address the growth of anti-EU ‘populism’ and uprisings like the gilet jaunes. Hitlerite expansionism had been carried out on the Führer’s vision for a European federation in the Third Reich — in many respects, the EU is a rebranded realization of his plans for empire-building. How ironic that liberals are clinging to a multinational political union founded by fascist colluders while the same economic bloc is being opposed by today’s far right after its new Islamophobic facelift.

While nationalism may have played an instrumental role in Brexit, there is a manufactured hysteria hatched by the establishment which successfully reduced the complex range of reasons for the Leave EU vote to racism and flag-waving. They are now repeating this pattern by overstating the presence of the far right among the yellow vests. Such delirium not only demonizes workers but coercively repositions the left into supporting something it otherwise shouldn’t — the EU and by default its laissez-faire policies — thereby driving the masses further into the arms of the same far right. Echoes of this can be seen in the U.S. with the vapid response to journalist Angela Nagle’s recent article about the immigration crisis on the southern border. The faux-left built a straw man in their attack on Nagle, who dared to acknowledge that the establishment only really wants ‘open borders’ for an endless supply of low-wage labor from regions in the global south destabilized by U.S. militarism and trade liberalization. Aligning itself with the hollow, symbolic gestures of centrists has only deteriorated the standards of the left participating in such vacuousness and dragged down to the level of liberals.

There is no doubt Brexit and Trump pushed the xenophobia button and could not have come about without it. However, such criticism means nothing when it comes from moral posturers who claim to “stand with refugees” while supporting the very ‘humanitarian’ interventionist policies displacing them. Nativism was not the sole reason the majority voted to leave the EU and many working class minorities also were Brexiters. Of course their fellow workers and migrants are not the true cause of their misery. After all, it was not just chattel slaves who came to the U.S. unwillingly but European immigrants fleeing continental wars and starvation as well — the crisis in the EU today is no different.

Fundamentally, migrants seek asylum on Europe’s doorstep because of NATO’s imperial expansion and the unexpected arrival of Brexit has threatened to weaken the EU’s military arm. Already desperate to reinvent itself and a new enemy in Russia despite its functional obsolescence, the shock of the referendum has inconveniently undermined NATO’s ability to pressure Moscow and Beijing, a step forward for mitigating world peace in the long run and a silver lining to its outcome. It is the task of the left to reject the EU’s neoliberal project while transmitting the message that capital, not refugees, is the cause of the plight of the masses. It is also necessary to have faith in the people, something cynical liberals lack. Racism may historically be the Achilles heel of the working class but underlying Brexit, the election of Trump, and the yellow vests is the spirit of defiance in working people, albeit one of political confusion in need of guidance.

If the yellow vests are today’s sans-culottes, like those which became the revolutionary partisans in the French Revolution, they will eventually need a Jacobin Club. Relatively progressive but ultimately reformist figures like Mélenchon are no such spearhead and will only lead them down the same dead end of SYRIZA. The absence of any such vanguard has forced the working class to take matters into their own hands in the interim. If history is any guide, the gilets jaunes will be stamped out until a new cadre takes the reins whose objective is, as Lenin said, “not to champion the degrading of the revolutionary to the level of an amateur, but to raise the amateurs to the level of revolutionaries.” 

We also cannot fall into ideological fantasies that we live in permanent revolutionary circumstances or that a spontaneous uprising can become comprehensive simply because of ingenious leadership. Nevertheless, as Mao Tse-Tung wrote, “a single spark can start a prairie fire” and hopefully the yellow vests are that flame.

Independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. My work has appeared in CounterPunch, Greanville Post, OffGuardian, Global Research, Dissident Voice, and more. Max may be reached at maxrparry@live.com

46 Comments

  1. John says

    Marie antoinette Never Said that. She was still a cunt though

  2. M. Le Docteur RALPH says

    “More than 4,000 alleged quislings were summarily executed following Operation Overlord and the Normandy landings, but the future EU designer [Robert Schuman] was fortunate enough to have friends in high places.”

    Unfortunately, on the French side, the architects of the EU do not fit with this “EU was set up by the ex-Nazis theory”

    Robert Schuman, was born a German citizen in Luxembourg to francophone parents. He served in the German army in WWI and only became a French citizen in November 1918. While technically he remained a minister when the Raynaud government became the first Petain government, he resigned immediately and was imprisoned by the Nazis in September 1940 and only released in April 1941 when he was placed under house arrest in Neustadt, Germany. He escaped to France in August 1942 and in September 1944 was appointed by General De Lattre de Tassigny as his political advisor for Alsace-Lorraine.

    The idea of a European Federation goes back a long way. Jean Monnet one of the other French founding fathers of the EU, arrived in the UK in May 1940 with a memorandum entitled “Anglo-French unity” in order to attempt to convince Churchill of a Franco-British Union with a single Parliament and a single army in order to meet the challenge of Nazi Germany. An idea Churchill rejected.

    Henri Frenay a founder of the Union Démocratique et Socialiste de la Résistance, one of the predecessor with the SFIO of the French Parti Socialiste wrote in Franc-Tireur of 25 December 1942, of “les États-Unis d’Europe” and hoped for a « Europe organisée sur la base du droit dans la Liberté, l’Egalité, la Fraternité »

    The “gilets jaunes” are not anti-EU.

    The citizens of France who are demonstrating as “gilets jaunes” share a common history with their neighbors across the Rhine. 1870 saw their great great grandfathers fighting and killing each other in the Franco-Prussian war, 1914 saw their great grandfathers fighting and killing each other in WW1, 1939 saw their grandfathers fighting and killing each other in WW2. The fact that we have now lived in Europe for almost 75 years over without a major war is something of a miracle which I as the descendant of cannon fodder am thankful to the EU for.

    The fact that the EEC of Schuman and Monnet was hijacked by Thatcher and Kohl to be a weapon of Anglo-Saxon neo-liberal economic policies does not mean that it cannot be taken back by the European left now that Britain is leaving. De Gaulle always warned Europeans of the danger of the UK in Europe acting as America’s poodle. De Gaulle by the way also did not trust Washington which had always preferred to deal with Vichy and was rumored to have been behind the pied noir assassination attempt at Petit-Clamart which is perhaps why he took France out of that far more dangerous pan-national organization NATO.

    Are working class Brits anti-EU?

    “In general, well-to-do Brits were hard remainers while those suffering most severely from the destruction of industry, unemployment and austerity overwhelmingly chose to leave in what was described as a “peasants revolt” by the media.”

    Only one problem, the leavers included a majority of members of the Tory party supported by The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph and to the extent they could get away with it the BBC and Sky. Hardly the voice of the British working class.

    8
    6
    • Je suis tout a fait d’accord avec M. Le Docteur RALPH. Surtout la derniere phrase.
      ..

  3. Willem says

    I am sorry to interrupt the party, but yellow vests are of a very minor concern in the Netherlands. You only see them presented in the MSM, that tells me enough. There is no movement.

    I am also not sure about this gunghoism about revolution, I mean what comes after it? Shouldn’t there some structure. What do the yellow vests want?

    Long long ago I read Edmund Burke’s reflections on the revolution in France. As I recall, he agreed that France needed to change at the time, but not by burning a country to the ground. So when I skim through this article and see beheadings and yellow vests rioting, I am not happy at all or applauding. I only see people burning a country to the ground. In France the revolution led to despotism, and the rise of Napoleon leading to many bloody wars.

    Or as Alexander Pope said: ‘Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread’

    2
    5
    • The Dutch have tended to be pro-EU, pro-Germany and pro austerity as is their authoritarian tendency. Racism and bad German economics prevails as far as I can tell.

      1
      1
  4. Gary Weglarz says

    “The rich are only defeated when running for their lives.” – CLR James, The Black Jacobins

    Thanks – now I have a new favorite quote

    Excellent post. It is a surreal state of affairs when year after year, decade after decade, the wealthy and powerful starve and/or slaughter the poor all over the planet in their neoliberal pillage of the earth – yet dare mention or speak the idea that collectively we might arrest, charge, try and hang the easily identifiable war criminal monsters we know of, and the common person (in America) cringes and backs away, as if the rich and powerful have the right to kill us with impunity, but we have no right to fight back. I can only guess this attitude speaks to generation upon generation of propaganda including the very important vilification of all past revolutionary movements (except of course the American revolution – where the “revolutionaries” consisted of property owning white men).

    Here in the U.S. the dumbing down of the population post-1960’s has resulted in a majority populace that couldn’t connect three dots in a simple cognitive construct i.e. (A to B to C) without a needing some freaking iPhone “app” to do it for them. Although the opinion polls show American “would like” or “support” such things as national healthcare, and free college, in my experience most Americans have been so thoroughly brainwashed that we don’t really believe we actually deserve such things. That reality suggests a very very effective propaganda apparatus. It would appear that Allen Dulles bringing all those Nazis into the CIA paid off for the U.S. oligarchy in the long run.

    15
  5. wardropper says

    Splendid article.
    Right to the core of the matter.

  6. Thomas Prentice says

    PREACH NIT! “There is no doubt Brexit and Trump pushed the xenophobia button and could not have come about without it. However, such criticism means nothing when it comes from moral posturers who claim to “stand with refugees” while supporting the very ‘humanitarian’ interventionist policies displacing them.” WHY CAN’T AMERICANS AND EUOPEANS CONNECT THESE FUCKING DOTS! — INTERVENTIONISM AND IMMIGRATION OF REFUGEES!

    16
    • milosevic says

      To be fair, it is increasingly true, both in Europe and America, that the populist right is opposed to both the Wars For Israel / Humanitarian Interventions, and the resulting mass immigration of refugees. The Soros/NGO/liberal “left”, however, is in favour of both, regardless of their actual effects on the neocolonies and the Imperial Homelands.

      One may begin to draw conclusions about whether it is the “right” or the “left”, as these ideologies are now commonly understood, which is more important to the continuance of the ruling class program; the accidental installation of Trump as Imperial figurehead, and the establishment reaction to that unexpected development, being a particularly illuminating example.

      One may also consider who it is among the ordinary population, the adherents of either the “right” or the “left”, who is more seriously deluded about what is going on in the world, and objective reality in general. Attitudes to the controversies surrounding “transgenderism”, “anti-semitism”, and “conspiracy theories”, may be relevant, in this regard.

      6
      1
  7. Thomas Prentice says

    WELL-SAID! …”there is a manufactured hysteria hatched by the establishment which successfully reduced the complex range of reasons for the Leave EU vote to racism and flag-waving. They are now repeating this pattern by overstating the presence of the far right among the yellow vests. Such delirium not only demonizes workers but coercively repositions the left into supporting something it otherwise shouldn’t — the EU and by default its laissez-faire policies — thereby driving the masses further into the arms of the same far right.

    Echoes of this can be seen in the U.S. with the vapid response to journalist Angela Nagle’s recent article about the immigration crisis on the southern border.

    The faux-left built a straw man in their attack on Nagle, who dared to acknowledge that the establishment only really wants ‘open borders’ for an endless supply of low-wage labor from regions in the global south destabilized by U.S. militarism and trade liberalization. Aligning itself with the hollow, symbolic gestures of centrists has only deteriorated the standards of the left participating in such vacuousness and dragged down to the level of liberals.

    12
  8. Thomas Prentice says

    UNBELIEVABLE: “Hitlerite expansionism had been carried out on the Führer’s vision for a European federation in the Third Reich — in many respects, the EU is a rebranded realization of his plans for empire-building. How ironic that liberals are clinging to a multinational political union founded by fascist colluders while the same economic bloc is being opposed by today’s far right after its new Islamophobic facelift.”

  9. Thomas Prentice says

    WELL-SAID. The US Left has been killed by identity politics — most recently this transgender blitzkrieg and official political correctness police and birth certificate fudging on birthsex. Even worse was liberal/Left shunning of Occupy and corporate infiltration and control over formerly liberal/Left organizations from trade unions to environmental groups to gayworld as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

    Further, the refusal of Democratic Party / Goldman-Sachs elites to embrace New Improved Medicare for All — a simple easy way, it would seem, for the ruling billionaires to pacify the restless masses — proves an American Empire in accelerating decline and in denial and refusal to change to try to save itself. Pure thanatos.

    Trump is not the problem, the system is the problem and Trump is the natural result of the American system.

    RE: “While the media’s conspicuous blackout of coverage is partly to blame, the deafening silence from across the Atlantic in the United States is really because of the lack of class consciousness on its political left. With the exception of Occupy Wall Street, the American left has been so preoccupied with an endless race to the bottom in the two party ‘culture wars’ it is unable to comprehend an upheaval undivided by the contaminants of identity politics. A political opposition that isn’t fractured on social issues is simply unimaginable. Not to say the masses in France are exempt from the internal contradictions of the working class, but the fetishization of lifestyle politics in the U.S. has truly become its weakness. We will have to wait and see whether the yellow vests transform into a global movement or arrive in America, but for now the seeming lack of solidarity stateside equates to a complicity with Macron’s agenda.”

    • milosevic says

      The US Left has been killed by identity politics — most recently this transgender blitzkrieg

      It’s almost like somebody’s hidden agenda might be involved, somehow.

  10. The Real Resistance. A blogger sent this bit of Syrian cool from the Syrian Arab Army website on Facebook:

    There are some people who say, I’m going, I’m going but they are never gone. Like the Yanks between saying they are leaving Manbij and them actually leaving.

    “In the interim, a patrol from the U$ Army of Occupation approached one of the Syrian 1st Armored Division’s points in Manbij and arrogantly asked the soldiers to lower the Syrian flag. Of course the request was firmly denied, with full readiness for the worst.

    After Syrian officer Mohamad Salum had refused to remove the flag, stressing that he would die before letting them remove it, the U.S. commander told Mohamad Salum that he respected his honor and that he would leave; but he asked for a souvenir. So Salum gave him a photo of Bashar al-Assad”

    19
  11. An excellent analysis. Unfortunately, you cite Losurdo as an authority, supporter of the absurd notion of “market socialism.” Otherwise, Bravo!

    2
    1
  12. bevin says

    1/ “Britain found itself at odds with Scotland’s unanimous decision to remain. .”
    That is a curious use of the term ‘unanimous’.

    2/My guess is that, if the yellow waistcoats had a cross dressing aspect, a bit of lace or embroidered frills, for example, the US excuse for a left would have been galvanised into action.

    • “Scotland’s unanimous decision to remain. .”
      That is a curious use of the term ‘unanimous’.”

      What’s ‘curious’ about it? Every constituency in Scotland voted “remain”. Would you prefer to count it some other way? Perhaps by hair colour?

      • bevin says

        How about taking every person’s vote into account? What was the actual count? 60:40?. Unanimous is a word that has a meaning.

        5
        1
        • In defense of “Scotland’s Unanimous vote” Jams O’Donnell has pointed out that the results are measured in Units of Constituency . I do not see how anyone could question the use of Unanimaty to describe a result in which every Unit Constituency agreed with every other Unit Constituency (or Electoral College as in the USA)
          — except a Hillary fan; which Bevin is not. ,

  13. We don’t live in permanent revolutionary circumstances if by that Max means that not enough of us revolt and those who do get snuffed out in fairly short order. But the State takes no chances and we are permanently warred against (counterrevolution and counterinsurgency), even when sipping lattes in Starbucks. The fact that so many victims of austerity don’t care, about anything but their lattes and careers, or less if they happen to be poor, doesn’t change the fact that, as part of the majority, austerity will be their dish. That, by the way, is why I often refer to the 1% of the 99%. The 99% of the 99% is part of the problem.

  14. Telford Taylor was the chief counsel for the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials, and he was awful. He was simply ruined. Give Chomsky’s scathing account of the farce of the Nuremberg trials, in “For Reasons Of State” (chapter 3), a read. There was virtually no justice done in connection with Nuremberg.

    11
  15. “There is indeed a ‘new world order’ with zero regard for the sovereignty of nation states, just as there is a ‘deep state.’” For one thing, I think that the world government, which I call Corporatocracy (a few resistant States don’t gainsay the fact), sees nation States as an important element of control. From the King (or president or whatever) on down in the political office category, you are looking at people’s representatives, ergo democracy, since we are bringing the people into the picture. Except that the political representation isn’t actually happening, especially the higher up in the political category we go. We vote, unwittingly (but not always) for politicians who don’t represent us. By now, We should know. What would-be political representatives say on the hustings (Obama for example) just has nothing to do with what they do once we elect/crown them. Their constituencies, now more than ever, are those with deep pockets (corporations and the rich), who buy our leaders. (ALEC and Citizens United for example) Two, ‘Deep State’ is cryptic, but it’s not misleading. I guess that we just aren’t going to talk about the permanent State which is all we are actually talking about. So be it. But what is the permanent State? Chomsky explains it without reference to the term Deep State, when he talks about leaders’, whatever their inclinations, having to bow to direction of the enduring institutions. The Pentagon and Wall Street would be among those enduring institutions. And those aren’t the only enduring institutions and as one can readily see from any number of history books, the most important enduring institution is capitalism itself. Multinationals, which governments cater to with war and terrorism that will bring about a national condition favorable to investors and with ‘free trade’ deals which squeeze out the remaining political power of the people and feed it to corporations, for which reason such trade deals are referred to by critics as corporate charters of rights, are enduring institutions within the enduring institution of American-style capitalism.

    “Terror keeps the neo-colonial elites in power and the investment skies sunny.” – Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman, “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism.”

    10
    • Narrative says

      “There is indeed a ‘new world order’ ”

      Corporate media across the globe today want us to worry that Apple is cutting its revenue forecast as if it is a solemn duty for every citizen to worship these tax-evading and Earth-wrecking multinationals.

      Why do ordinary citizens have to worry whether Apple will make $84 billion in profit instead of the $91 billions forecasted for the quarter ending in December?

      And why governments are enthusiastically transferring power to these big corporations?

      The Gilets Jaunes are the only thing that happened to make sense lately!

      20
      • “Why do ordinary citizens . . . December?”

        Well of course, they don’t. It’s just the propaganda arm of the establishment which publicise such things at the expense of any real news (which of course they can’t afford to publish). The “free Press” is the principal weapon of the Scum in keeping the masses quiet.

        16
  16. Francis Lee says

    One, perhaps the crucial one, of the neat tricks that the establishment pulled off was engineering and presenting counter-revolution in the form of revolution. Blair and Blairism was the archetype of this. After all the years of Mrs Thatcher and her provincial Toryism, Blair and his PR managers were presented as something new, trendy, forward looking and attractive. In fact it was simply reaction in a new bottle. For many on the centre left the penny still hasn’t dropped. This applies a fortiori to the American ‘Resistance’. Class struggle was deemed passe, as was welfare-capitalism and income redistribution. After all a rising tide floats all boats dosen’t it? Manufacturing and Industry was out, financialisation – i.e., parasitism – was in.

    Incredibly, as inter alia Michael Hudson has pointed out, capitalism has increasingly reverted to its rentier form of rent extraction rather than the production of real value made possible through manufacture and industry. We now have a theory of political economy which predates Marx, Mill and Ricardo, but various reformists and apologists for the ‘dynamic’ new order are too dumb to see it.

    The centre-left ‘Resistance# has knowingly or not taken on the role of chief apologist for the New World Order.

    21
    • “One, perhaps the crucial one, of the neat tricks that the establishment pulled off was engineering and presenting counter-revolution in the form of revolution.” I completely agree.

  17. Yarkob says

    the GJ are resisting the very thing that #theresistance are trying to entrench. Meta, I know..Watch for the GJ to be infiltrated and diluted..some say it’s already happened

  18. Fair dinkum says

    Anything that is top heavy eventually topples.
    Hierarchical systems are top heavy with hubris, arrogance, avarice and psychopathy.
    They have, without exception, always fallen.
    The Phoenix of justice will rise from their ashes.
    Either that, or we all sink beneath the waves.

    16
    1
  19. Stephen Morrell says

    Thank you your thoughtful and informative article, Max. It’s nice to see some concrete historical analysis in these post-modernist ‘end of history’ times.

    Anyway, sorry to be pedantic: The quote attributed to Marie Antoinette is of uncertain provenance and is literally translated from the French (‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche’) as ‘Let them eat brioche’. The expression appears to originate in folklore conveying the profound ignorance by the rich and privileged of the suffering of the poor. It’s related by Rousseau in his Confessions (1767, when Marie Antoinette was a child) as coming from a princess. See here: https://www.britannica.com/story/did-marie-antoinette-really-say-let-them-eat-cake

    Also it was Louis XVI not Louis XIV.

    A couple of excellent left wing links to Brexit and the EU and to the gilets jaunes are;

    https://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/1108/corbyn.html

    https://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/index.html

  20. I believe there is an increasing revulsion in the U$A (as in other countries) to global Anglo Zio Capitalism and the frenzy of destruction which the AZC with its military wing NATZO has unleashed on the world over the past 30 years. This Global Resistance to Global Zio Capitalism has grown slowly and taken many forms because it is diffusely emotional and based on many individual reactions to unethical behaviour by naked State Power allied to naked Zio Capitalism. It is like the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany but much more powerful it has had a longer time to grow, and is more widespread over the globe. Resistance to the AZC takes the form of websites like this one; of popular insurrection like last century’s British peoples march against their Rothschild Prime Minister Bliar’s rape of Iraq, and the present French peoples insurrection against their Rothschild President Micron’s depradations both at home and abroad. It also takes the form of increasing deviations from the “Politically Correct” AZC line, as shown in the U$ election and the UK Brexit vote; and increasing unwillingness to implement AZC military policies from On High. Last but by no means least it takes the form of increasing military resistance by countries whose Leaders are manifestly more ethical as well as smarter than the Massed Conformist Leaders of the EU$A.

    All this is summarized in Saker Vineyard’s good wishes to the World for 2019. The headings:

    “The Empire blinked. Several times.

    This is probably the single most important development of the year: the AngloZionist Empire issued all sorts of scary threats, and took some even scarier actual steps, but eventually it had to back down. In fact, the Empire is in retreat on many fronts, but I will only list a few crucial ones:

    The DPRK: remember all the grandiose threats made by Trump and his Neocon handlers? The Administration went as far as announcing that it would send as many as THREE(!) nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups to the waters off the DRPK while Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. Eventually, the South Koreans decided to take matters in their own hands, they opened a direct channel of communications with the North, and all the US sabre-rattling turned into nothing more than hot air.

    Syria in April: … when the US, France and the UK decided to attack Syria with cruise missiles to “punish” the Syrians for allegedly using chemical weapons (a theory too stupid to be even worth discussing). Of 103 detected missiles, 71 were shot down by the Syrians… This operation was a total military failure and has not been followed up.

    The Ukraine: we spend almost all of 2018 waiting for an Ukronazi attack on the Donbass which never happened. … Putin’s open threat that any such attack would have “grave consequences for Ukraine’s statehood as such” probably played a key role in deterring the Empire. .. Yet again, the Empire (and its minions) had to back down.

    Syria in September: this time the Israeli hypostasis of the Empire hid their strike aircraft behind a Russian Il-20 large turboprop airliner resulting in the loss of the aircraft and crew. After giving the Israelis a chance to come clean (which, predictably, they didn’t …), the Russians got fed up and delivered advanced air defense, electronic warfare and battle management systems to the Syrians. In response the Israelis (who had issued many threats about immediately destroying any S-300 delivered to the Syrians) had to basically stop their air strikes against Syria. …. The Empire backed down again.

    Syria in December: apparently fed up with all the infighting amongst his advisors, Trump eventually ordered a full US withdrawal from Syria. … After all the years of huffing and puffing about how “Assad The Monster must go” it is quite amusing to see how the Western powers are throwing in towels one after the other. “

    26
    1
    • Trump’s December 19 “surprise” Syria evacuation announcement via Twitter (as opposed to a 1-hour policy speech) was made precisely to suck all the media oxygen worldwide away from the December 20 United Nations meeting which exposed in a huge way the war propaganda, terrorist, criminal (and Oscar-winning) “rescue” structure the White Helmets.

      Trump’s effortless Twitter announcement was a smashing success, in that the shocking reality of the White Helmets presented at the 2-hour December 20 at the United Nations was effectively unreported – with ZERO coverage -, and has NOT resulted in rightful worldwide outrage over the White Helmets.

      10
  21. This is, for me, an archetypally systemic analysis of a movement that rejects systemics in favour of individuals. Macron is the representative of the Gigarich 3%, & the Gilets Jaunes believe the 97% are more important. The GJs are a cross-class protest against one form of capitalism – neoliberally finacialised globalism: they are not anti-capitalist, they are essentially Benthamite.
    I would also disagree that capitalism is by definition global. Globalism is where it has gone wrong, not its raison d’etre in the first place.
    https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2018/12/02/analysis-when-the-3-get-too-cocky-movements-like-les-gilets-jaunes-will-emerge-hurrah/

    7
    1
    • ChrisG says

      The Capitalist will invest where they see a profit. That will inevitably involve foreign investment. Globalisation is inherent in that particular system, as predicted by Marx 150 years ago. The crisis stemming from the 2008 economic down turn is also systematic to the market system, with another world down turn on the near horizon, (my guess is 2019)!

      • DunGroanin says

        There really is nothing wrong with ‘trade’ and ‘global’ markets – it’s how we got spices, tea, coffee, tropical fruits etc.

        Trade is as old as dishonest slavery and prostitution.

        Trade is honest – It is taking your surplus to market to exchange with someone elses surplus – both achieved by human effort and application. Why shouldn’t there be ‘wealth’ as a result?

        Anti-globalists meaning anti-capitalism is a created identity politics cleavage of the ‘poor’ by the very ‘rich’.

        It is accumulated ‘money’ and inflicted ‘debt’ – both figments of imagination – that is the fault. – the people going to the markets with the goods and foods from their efforts end up being swapped some magic beans that someone claimed to have grown!

        A fairytale and a lie by the lazy and sneaky to get something for NOTHING.

        It is a fight between makers/doers and financial wizards (the magic moneymen)

        12
      • finkinstiene says

        Government is the arbitrator of capitalism. But capitalism has evolved to include two other systems of wealth acquisition (but destroy the benefits of capitalism to those dependant upon its success for jobs and livelihood). What are those capitalism burdening things: copyright and patent laws (laws the create private property from thing air), and privatization of the physical infrastructure and service to the public revenue earning services(like water and sewer distribution and collection, energy, garbage collection, and military service, building weapons and warships and warplanes. and the like) these one government functions are now private and because they are private properties or private contracts they can be bought and sold, which means the guy with capital bus up all of this (Privatization). Why is privatization bad: because it sucks $s from the pockets of the masses and delivers it to the pockets of the few. Why are copyrights and patents bad for the masses, because it increases the prices of goods and services that the masses must pay for, and concentrates the excess into the hands of the already wealthy capitalist).

        Briton and France have long histories of making their Aristocracies wealthy by using their governments to write laws that sweep from the pockets of the masses what seems to be small amounts, and then collecting those small amounts of, and redirecting ownership of these huge piles of profit into the pockets of a very few.

        No one wants the capitalist to stop investing, what is needed is to make capitalism pure shed it of the burdens of intangible laws and privatization. What will happen is the price of everything will fall and the piles of wealth in the hands of the capitalist will once again find it way back into the pockets of masses. Moreover, these massively sized, monopoly powered global corporations will quickly come and go, as innovative competition will level greed to a game of king of the mountain,

        What holds capitalist to globalism is monopoly powers and privatization.

        • BigB says

          @finkinstiene

          You make some good points re: patent laws and privatisation of natural monopolies, etc. [I’m not sure the MIC qualifies as a ‘natural monopoly’; just as I am not sure that they provide any socially necessary function. 🙂 ] Patent laws lead to the stagnation of innovation and entrepreneurial creation by monopolising socially acquired knowledge – e.g. BigPharma’s legacy patenting of drugs as a permanent source of income. This has broader implications on global healthcare, when essentially ‘free’ or generic copies of (de-patented) medicines are prohibited, to protect the monopolised market share. Tech patents prevent the Global South from distributing knowledge and tech, again, essentially for free (via open source knowledge bases and 3D printing) – which is a technological imperialism. So, this lack of competition is anti-capitalist?

          “Moreover, these massively sized, monopoly powered global corporations will quickly come and go, as innovative competition will level greed to a game of king of the mountain.”

          Which is monopoly capitalism of the supra-corporation that controls the entire market – from whence sweet FA will come back to us. You have squared the circle. State intervention and protectionism (including patent protection) leads to anti-competition and the formation of oligopolies (state-corporatism). Conversely, non-intervention leads to monopoly of market, state and socius (that’s us). Price discovery (via competitive supply and demand: the ‘Invisible Hand’) in the global ‘free market’ seems like an attractive proposition …but played out in time results in either oligopolistic or monopolistic market control: entailing the bought (privatised) state. [Or later: global corporate governance].

          Which is why all notion of the capitalist as a social benefactor should be parsed from our thinking. This is precisely why the capitalists stopped investing (circa 2000; with the deregulation of capital afforded by the dissolution of Glass Steagal) and, from then, started gambling (Casino capitalism; vulture capitalism; unregulated financialisation). Competition = falling rates of profit. That dissuades the capitalist from re-investing their capital for the social good. Otherwise capitalism would eventually become socially beneficial socialism; with equalising levels of capital investment in business, infrastructure, and socius. CAPITALISTS WILL NEVER ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. Because it would destroy the rigidly enforced hierarchical structure of the relations of production (by the bought-state’s monopoly of violence, if necessary) – i.e. class subjugation. Capitalism is as much about maintaining the relations of power and rule as it is profit. In time, the two become conflated (rule = power = capital) in the monopoly/oligopoly/bought-state structure. In other words: CAPITALISM = FASCISM.

          We can muse about a state wherein the benefits (capital reinvestment) are a socially shared egality: but we can disabuse ourselves of the notion that this can happen under any form of capitalism. Including, I might add, currently existing forms of socialism.

    • bevin says

      Capitalism is certainly global, in the sense that it not only seeks to expand but does so through international trade. In fact the origins of the current system clearly lie in the C15th advances in navigation and the ‘discovery’ of America.
      As to the idea that the GJ protesters are Benthamite, this is too ingenious by half: they are protesting against a system which, whether they like it or not, is dominated by the capitalist ruling. The enemy is unmistakable as is his ideology, which is derived in large measure from utilitarianism.

  22. Antonym says

    If Marine Le Pen is labelled “far right” how will you call the imported islamists (mostly men) which she opposes? We have to come up with something better.

    9
    3
    • bevin says

      ” how will you call the imported islamists (mostly men) which she opposes?’
      You must be referring to the muslim immigrants who, in France, constitute a fairly substantial minority within the working class. Many of them will be involved in the protests. I imagine that, like many French racists Le Pen is learning to get used to them- the way that British racists have learned to get used to immigrants, live with them, work with them, marry them, ride public transport with them and finally recognise that their interests are indistinguishable, on all important matters, from those of the paler persuasion.

      8
      1
      • Antonym says

        Skin color is irrelevant, followed ideology is the issue but you know that. Better muddle the waters with the left’s favourite distraction “racist”. That stupidity is one of the motors of growth for Le Pen and similar parties in Western Europe.
        Many leftovers don’t care about their own race or nation, as seen in the neglected sexual abuses of poor white kids by very homogeneous immigrant groups: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sexual_abuses_perpetrated_by_groups#United_Kingdom

        Why particularly any ‘left” woman in the West is still on that bandwagon will forever puzzle me.

        3
        2
        • milosevic says

          go back to your zionist masters, hasbara troll. tell them that you have failed.

          2
          3
    • Ken Kenn says

      Has someone signed for these ” imported Islamasists ” like a consignment of imported corned beef?

      The problem for the US left is that they still believe in a US Constitution that is full of holes and is being ‘ interpreted ‘ by usually centre right to right Supreme Court Judges.

      The Constitution was blown apart years ago yet still it is clung to like a corpse of hope particularly by the left. The right ditched it many moons since.

      The Gilets – Jaunes are disparate and diffused at the moment but righteous and once the vortex settles it will develop a political organised expression.

      What form it will take I don’t know but you can fool some of the people some of the time but not permanently.

      There is not a blueprint for how this will go but trust the masses ( who are not doctrinaire ) and I think that things will turn out just.

      The US will not start THE Revolution because there is no THE Revolution. It will play out hopefully nation by nation.

      The US will be last and despite Corbyn the UK will be second last.

      The snowy glass dome has been shaken and let’s see where the snow falls.

      It’s a gamble – but it has to be done.

      1
      1

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole