All posts filed under: Europe

Antifa in Theory and Practice: Storm Troopers of the Neoliberal War Party

by Diana Johnstone, 9 October 2017, via Counterpunch “Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.” – Ennio Flaiano, Italian writer and co-author of Federico Fellini’s greatest film scripts. In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist.  Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political.  It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”. Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence. Historical Pretensions Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud “free speech” tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were “good people on both sides”. With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity …

Three candidates for Sicily: A signal for Italy

by Giulietto Chiesa, October 9, 2017, via DefendDemocracyPress In Europe someone is trying to cheat voters by shrugging off Brexit and promoting a “new pact for Europe” which will include the UK (but will be led either by Germany or by a German-French alliance). In the meantime, Italian political life (or I would rather call it, “the Italian political class”) is focused on the upcoming regional elections in Sicily. There are three protagonists and they are all very worried. Matteo Renzi will be the first to downplay a probable bad result, by saying that after all the island is not so politically important. This is a sign of discomfort that, in any case, will probably make him lose more votes. But, of course, if he loses the election in Sicily there will be trouble in Rome. The celebrated Democratic Party leader has already been defeated several times in succession: he resigned as prime minister after being defeated in a referendum to change the constitution and then after that lost the local elections a few months …

Baltic States Sacrifice Economy on Altar of Politics

by Adomas Abromaitis Making negative statements concerning Russia, the Baltic States set Moscow against themselves and force it to respond. Especially they irritate it making unproven warlike statements for the sake of “common line” of the EU or NATO on the issue. But as John Steinbeck said “all war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” After major information campaign in the Baltic States aimed to discredit Zapad 2017 military exercise, Russia tries to find the most vulnerable places to hurt the Baltic States. It is absolutely evident, that such sphere is economy. For a long time Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have been tightened to Russia and even remain to be dependent on it. Instead of finding points of contact (as Germany does) the Baltic leaders make their best to worsen the situation. The trouble is Russia responds not only with words but with real actions. The last example is the Moscow’s decision to develop the capacity and infrastructure at own ports in order to re-direct export cargos away from the ports …

The 6th mass extinction is a product of capitalism — not population growth

by Barnaby Philips, 25 August, 2017, via RCG ‘Every particular mode of production has its own special laws of population, which are historically valid within that particular sphere. An abstract law of population exists only for plants and animals and even then only in the absence of any historical intervention by man’ – Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 25, pp783-784 ‘You don’t need to be a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction,’ began Professor Paul R. Ehrlich in a Guardian article on 11 July. Given the ‘developed’ imperialist world’s throwaway consumerism and the well-documented destruction of the environment by multinational corporations, it should indeed be fairly obvious. Ehrlich however names one main culprit: population growth. His solution? Some unspecified form of ‘humane’ population reduction. Apparently the reason you don’t need to be a scientist is because the pseudo-science of eugenics suffices. Ehrlich must be refuted with science.  It is capitalism’s need for infinite economic growth that is destroying life on earth. Ehrlich is best known for his 1968 book The Population Boom, which warned that …

The story of Charlottesville was written in blood in the Ukraine

by Ajamu Baraka, August 16, 2017, via Black Agenda Report Some of the neo-Nazis President Obama helped put in power in Ukraine carried Confederate flags. U.S. society has been moving rightward for decades — and pulling much of Europe with it. What is the character of racist right-wing politics today?  Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”?  What about the recent unanimous resolution by both Houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias?  Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern?  And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add …

What is Needed is a Progressive Vision of National Sovereignty

by Thomas Fazi, via Green European Journal The last year has seen the Right and extreme Right capitalise on the dissatisfaction and despair fostered by neoliberalism – and usher in a ‘post-neoliberal order’. Their success is based on championing and monopolising the idea of national sovereignty, but only of a certain kind. The Left has accepted their discourse that national sovereignty goes hand in hand with exclusivist and right-wing ideas, rather than attempting to reclaim it as vehicle for change. Over the past 12 months, an anti-establishment backlash has taken the West by storm. The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the rejection of Matteo Renzi’s neoliberal constitutional reform in Italy, rising support for the National Front in France and for other (mostly right-wing) ‘anti-systemic’ parties across Europe, the EU’s unprecedented crisis of legitimation. Although these interrelated phenomena differ in ideology and goals, they are all rejections of the (neo)liberal order that has dominated the world – and in particular the West – for the past …

Article 50 triggers strong reactions on both sides…but what will change?

There is a wonderful episode of South Park from 2008, based around the first election of Barack Obama. As the results are announced the democrats and republicans break out into hysteria and collapse into depression respectively. The Democrats eventually turn the event into an all-night, no-holds-barred street party, certain the world will be fixed by morning and nothing will ever be the same. The republicans crouch in fear all night, deep in their basements or holed-up in bomb-shelters and out-buildings, positive that society will start to crumble and they’ll be living in a Mad Max style free-for-all before the sun rises.

Social-Democracy and the Centre-Left: Decline and Fall?

Viewed retrospectively, the significance of the Reagan-Thatcher counter-revolutionary offensive of the 1980s has been seen primarily as a political project aimed at the overturning of the post-WW2 political and social settlement; an undertaking in which it has largely succeeded. However, perhaps of equal importance was the political assimilation of centre-left, liberal class, into this emerging neo-liberal, neo-conservative movement.

The West vs. Russia: Towards the end of a Pax Americana?

by Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirovic A peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachow and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of a global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations. Therefore, for instance, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia capitulated in 1995 to the American design regarding a final outcome of the USA/EU policy of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in November 1995 (the Dayton Agreeement) followed by even worse political capitulation in the case of Washington’s Kosovo policy that became ultimatelly implemented in June 1999 (the Kumanovo Agreement). Russia became in the 1990s totally geopolitically humiliated by the USA and its West European clients to such extent that we can call a period of Boris Yeltsin’s servile policy toward the West as a Dark Time of the history of Russian international relations when the main losers became the …

What is the European Union For?

by Frank After all the initial eu(ro)phoria and hopes placed upon the original concept of a non-aligned, social-democratic Euro-bloc, the reality has turned out somewhat differently. In a pamphlet written in 2011 – Europe: The Unfinished Project – I wrote: At the present time the EU project seems to be stuck in no-man’s land, unable to press ahead with full political integration, or retreat back into a northern European protectionist Deutschmark zone, and leaving the peripheral member states to the tender mercies of unfettered, globalized capitalism. However there seems to be a sufficient residue of the original EU idealism in the present stage of development to persevere further with the political struggle taking place.” Ibid, page 19 I believe that this view, which seemed justifiable and plausible enough at the time of writing, has now become difficult to sustain. And the reason for this came in the next sentence, viz. One only has to consider the Anglo-American alternatives (to the Euro model) and globalization more generally to make this choice.” This statement was, however, based …

Crystal Clear Agreements: Enduring subordination

by Manlio Dinucci, translated by Anoosha Boralessa, via VoltaireNet President Barack Obama was absolutely right to pat himself on the back for “the crystal clear agreements [and] long friendship” that united his country to Italy. In actual fact, that European state is “welded from the hip” to its US suzerain by a number of treaties and a long history. First, President Obama called upon the Italians to vote “yes” in the referendum, thus interfering in our national politics with the silent complicity of the parliamentary opposition. Then he went on to confirm to his “good friend Matteo” that the US has “clear agreements, long friendship” with Italy. Noone would question that these agreements were crystal clear, especially the Atlantic Treaty that places Italy in a position of subordination to the U.S.A.  The US President always appoints the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and all the other key commands are in US hands. When the disintegration of the USSR brought the Cold War to an end, Washington declared the “fundamental importance of preserving Nato as a …

Media Silent as Anti-Corporate Trade Deal Protests Take Europe by Storm

by Carey Wendler, via Antimedia, Oct 17, 2016 Over the weekend [October 15-16], thousands of protesters across multiple countries condemned impending trade deals promoted by governments and their corporate partners. Though the protests received little coverage from mainstream media, they stretched from Paris to Warsaw. The demonstrations came amid the Commission on International Trade of the European Parliament’s plans to finalize the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) this week. The policy has been likened to so-called “free trade” deals pushed by President Barack Obama and other Western governments. CETA, which has been in the works for seven years, would eliminate tariffs between Canada and European nations, which proponents argue would foster increased trade and create jobs.  Nevertheless, the deal has been criticized for granting too much power to multinational corporations, the Guardian reports. Though the European Commission recently drafted a statement claiming “environmental and health standards will not be diluted,” not all policymakers are convinced. Passage of CETA hit a roadblock after the parliament of the Wallonia region of Belgium rejected it.  Wallonia’s minister-president, Paul Magnette, vowed …

Reforming the EU – Waiting for Godot

by Frank There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain. In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to …

Is The Nation-State And Its Welfare State Dead? A Critique Of Varoufakis

by Vincente Navarro, via Social Europe I always read the writings of Mr. Varoufakis with great interest, and I frequently find myself in agreement, particularly in his criticism of the Troika (the International Monetary Fund, European Commission, and European Central Bank) and of the Eurogroup (the Ministers of Economy and Finances of the European Union).  I also concur with his call for a European-wide mobilization to force democracy upon the institutions that govern the EU, although I disagree with his proposed way to do it. He believes (wrongly, I think) that the power of nation-states has practically disappeared in the EU. They do not count any longer.  Based on his Greek experience, when he represented the Syriza government in negotiations with the Troika, he concludes that nation-states do not have any power.  According to Varoufakis, governments and parliaments in these nation-states have been transformed into mere transmission belts of whatever is decided by the Troika and associated institutions.  He writes in one of his recent publications that “European governments transmit to the Parliaments whatever is …

Neoliberalism is not dead: A Response to Martin Jacques

by Darryl S.L. Jarvis Martin Jacques (The Guardian, August 21) recent comments on the ‘death of neoliberalism’ are important, not least because he was one of the first analysts in the early 1980s to identify the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the West. This reversal of fortunes for neoliberalism, due to what Jacques identifies as a wave of political developments in the two countries which were its main champions, the UK and USA, is thus significant – indeed for many a cause for celebration. To borrow a line from Mark Twain, however, reports of the death of neoliberalism are greatly exaggerated. Jacques’ analysis is an overly optimistic reading of current political developments — developments which are still formative and which may yet challenge neoliberalism but through inherently nationalist and reactionary ways. Jacques’s assertion, for example, that ‘A wave of populism marks the return of class as a central agency in politics, both in the UK and the US’ is questionable. The populist politics of Trump and UKIP can equally be read as race politics, or …

French General Calls for NATO’s Liquidation

Sputnik NATO’s present format and the alliance’s continuing expansion eastward is beneficial only to the United States, which seeks to keep Russia and Europe at odds, says retired French Army General Jean-Bernard Pinatel. Accordingly, he suggests the alliance be liquidated or ‘Europeanized’, and the creation of a European-Russian alliance against terror. Interviewed by Le Figaro, Pinatel, a retired officer who now works as an expert in geopolitics and economic intelligence, recalled that if Russia and the European countries had succeeded in forming an alliance in the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, they would have been able to effectively challenge US pretentions to global hegemony. Now, the retired general emphasized, the threat of radical Islamist terrorism has once against opened a discussion on global leadership, and whether the US truly deserves its hegemonic position in Europe. According to Pinatel, the spate of attacks in Europe has clearly demonstrated to the French, and to other NATO members, that the US-led alliance is helpless in the struggle against the terrorist threat. Moreover, against the background …

EU Unmasked: After Brexit, Plans for Full EU Superstate Revealed

by James Corbett, June 28, 2016 Well, that didn’t take long. The graphite was hardly dry on the Brexit ballots when TVP Info, a Polish broadcaster, leaked a 9-page document drawn up by the German and French foreign ministers calling for an EU superstate, complete with an EU army, integrated border controls and common taxation. The German foreign minister discussed the plans — which are being described as “an ultimatum” — with his counterparts in the Visegrad Group of countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) this week. The document, bearing the Orwellian title of “A strong Europe in a world of uncertainties,” lays out the exact tyrannical plans that the EU’s critics have been warning about for years. After identifying key areas of uncertainty and concern affecting Europe — from spreading [false flag] terrorism to [manipulated] cultural tensions to [engineered] economic hardships — the document proposes three new areas for expanded EU cooperation: A European Security Compact, including an expansion of internal “security” through a strengthened Europol, and expansion of external “security” in …

Don’t suffer in silence. Kremlinitis can be cured.

by Danielle Ryan Are you currently following a radical path? Are your friends and family becoming increasingly concerned? Do your views occasionally diverge from the mainstream? Do you ever find yourself watching the BBC and thinking “hey, that doesn’t sound right”? Have you ever sneakily grabbed the TV remote and switched to RT when no one was looking? Have you been blocked by the President of Estonia on Twitter? I don’t want to alarm you, but if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might indeed be suffering from acute Kremlinitis. Unfortunately, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the frequency of your thought-crimes, you could be in need of an intervention. In fact, regardless of the severity, you should seek help now.  You don’t need to be a full-blown ‘Putin-versteher’ to receive treatment.  Research has shown that if you allow your symptoms to fester, Kremlinitis becomes irreversible. Luckily, two world-renowned propaganda experts and guardians of truth, Ed Lucas and Peter Pomerantsev have you covered.  The dynamic duo have envisioned a …

Is Europe Doomed By Vassalage To Washington?

by Paul Craig Roberts, July 27, 2016 One Ring to rule them all . . . and in the darkness bind them.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings World War II resulted in Europe being conquered, not by Berlin but by Washington. The conquest was certain but not all at once. Washington’s conquest of Europe resulted from the Marshall Plan, from fears of Stalin’s Red Army that caused Europe to rely on Washington’s protection and to subordinate Europe’s militaries to Washington in NATO, from the replacement of the British pound as world reserve currency with the US dollar, and from the long process of the subordination of the sovereignty of individual European countries to the European Union, a CIA initiative implemented by Washington in order to control all of Europe by controlling only one unaccountable government. With few exceptions, principally the UK, membership in the EU also meant loss of financial independence. As only the European Central Bank, an EU institution, can create euros, those countries so foolish as to accept the euro as …