by Ramin Mazaheri
Communist ideas have won concessions from industry, but they have been unable to stop high finance from exploiting workers.
That is the big battle today. Only revolutionary and heavily socialist countries like Iran, Cuba and China – as well as dictatorships like South Korea in the past – have been able to stop domination by international finance.
France, however, has fearfully rushed into the arms of the candidate who wants your wages to pay for bad loans: former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron.
It’s almost insulting to take orders from a 39-year old who didn’t come to power at the end of the gun or at the front of a massive revolution, because how can such a young person not be the puppet of older, richer interests?
There’s no way Macron is as smart, experienced and mature as he believes himself to be, or as they want us to believe. It’s “not polite” by French campaign standards, but I note that his record as Economy Minister produced only economic stagnation and record-high unemployment.
I talk to people in France about how they will vote all the time, even though it’s also “not polite” by French standards. Hogwash. Emmanuel only has two appeals: first, he is young and new blood in a country run by an aged, corrupt aristocracy, and second, he is not Marine Le Pen.
Of course Emmanuel won: Le Pen lost in 2nd round head-to-head polling at all times and against everyone. I mean in every…single…poll since polling began in January.
We were hoping against hope, and because hope was a terrible, incompetent, neo-fascist candidate – hope lost.
Huge change from 2012 – there is no joy in Mudville. I can assure you that France’s spirit of resistance was alive and well in 2012. Ahhhh, austerity was so young back then – it’s so firmly-rooted now.
Francois Hollande was elected on a promise to fight high finance, fight Germany, end austerity and renegotiate EU treaties. The French people were 100% correct to be so optimistic – who can live in cynicism?
But who could have expected that Hollande would make such an undemocratic U-turn? His U-turn threatened to destroy the European Union, which has only been given a stay of execution with Macron’s victory. Even though Hollande couldn’t even run for re-election, nobody with any sense of justice thinks that is fair reparations.
I must pause here for a word on civil war: France talks about the possibility of a civil war an inordinate amount. And I perceived this years before this election involving Le Pen.
In the US that’s relegated to beyond the suburbs…half the country, sure. Of course, the English say the same thing. The Spanish may split over Catalonia. Scotland may break off. Ireland remains divided. Italy barely has a government. Belgium didn’t have one for a year (such Parliamentary gridlock is France’s future).
Only the Germans are happy with their leadership. And why not: everyone in the West “admires them”. Not me – higher poverty rate than France, for starters.
My point is: Western society, and not just France, is fractured in a terrible, horrible way. The lack of unity – even if only perceived – is staggering for a region of the world enjoying such enormous relative prosperity. There is, clearly, a problem in their culture.
Cuba doesn’t have this problem. Nor China. Iran – once you get out of rich North Tehran – will almost certainly have a higher voter participation rate in their elections this month than France, and France’s is still among the highest in the West.
The fear of civil war is a major Western phenomenon, and it was a major reason why people voted for Macron/against Le Pen
What do you expect? You’re all divided into parts of unequal sizes
That’s what identity politics is: Is a Black’s ideas worth more than a Gay? Seems like a Transgender rules the roost in 2017, especially if he/she has to go to the bathroom.
Can the White Nationalists fly their flag at the statehouse or not? We better ask the opinion of the left-handed homemakers north of the Mason-Dixon but west of the Mississippi who prefer jam to Nutella on partially-cloudy days – I’m sure their lobby group is being formed.
Or you could just have what works: Class politics.
Us versus the 1 billionth percent, the 8 people who own half the world’s wealth.
Anyone who supported Le Pen was browbeaten with insults against their character, intelligence and morality. Identity politics are not only about inclusion – I am in this group – it is about exclusion: You have to be like this or you are not in this group.
And who doesn’t want to be in the group the entire media (no exaggeration) said was the “good” one?
Because France does not accept multi-culturalism, promoting assimilationism instead, identity politics in France has a different face. The “in group” here is simply “France”. That’s why Macron saved this big PR gun for the final week of campaigning: “The National Front is the anti-France party”.
It resonated, even though the National Front is the most hyper-patriotic party.
Anyway, I ardently supported Marine Le Pen for two weeks – between the two rounds of voting – does that make me anti-France? Or does it make me a fascist and a racist? I’d swear at you but this is a family publication.
Fascism is a real dirty word over here. It’s not that way in the US because American fascists won WWII and thus were never discredited, like over here. People here had relatives die fighting German, Austrian & Italian fascists.
The past is indeed history, and history is indeed past
France also succumbed to the idea that the fascists their grandfathers fought are the real problem, as if France fought a civil war instead of the Germans in World War II.
More than identity politics, Macron won because France was convinced that the father of Marine Le Pen is more important than her ideas to rectify the very different problems of 2017. But high-speed trading didn’t exist in 1941. There was no European Union. In 1941 there was actually a Left in the West, LOL.
“You don’t see it, Ramin,” they told me “the threat of the National Front.”
What I see is you guys taking a backseat to Germany.
But, I’m exaggerating: I see France colluding with the Germans. Again, just like in World War II.
That is EXACTLY what has happened! Check the data: Which banks are leveraged in Greece? German AND French are the top two. Who funds the European Central Bank? The main percentage comes from Germany, with France in a very close 2nd place – we are talking dozens of billions of much-needed euros.
Acting as if Germany pays everything, does everything, plans everything – this is an Anglo-Saxon view not based on reality. I assume it is related to the historical Northern European view of their genetic supremacy over everyone else, including Southern and Eastern Europe.
But, that’s just more identity politics. It ignores the class view, as usual. The reality is that French capitalism is hugely a part of the neo-imperialist project of the European Union to cannibalize other Europeans – it’s not all Germany.
Le Pen would get that – Macron would think I am speaking Greek. Oh well.
Crying ‘terrorism’ is not just for kicks and giggles
But let’s not insult everybody in France as being class ignoramuses – this is not America: the French got two such bad candidates by another primary tactic of high-finance: the security state.
The first round vote was on April 23, and I already wrote a column about how terrorism was in the headlines an inordinately suspicious amount in the week prior to that vote.
And in the 14 days since April 23rd France’s security state made sure terrorism-related raids and announcements were in the headlines almost every day. Should we be surprised anymore? I made a list:
April 24-26: Fourteen arrests made in France and Belgium on terrorism.
April 25: Five more arrests in alleged Marseilles planned terrorism attack.
April 25: National homage to the cop killed on the Champs-Elysees.
April 27: Raid on an alleged terrorist’s home in Réunion. Two cops shot.
April 28: Citing the war on terrorism, police will ban traffic information apps from warning of radar traps and other police stops.
May 2: Five arrests in anti-terrorism.
May 3: Judgment in a high-profile “apology of terrorism” case.
May 3: In the lone presidential debate Macron said that terrorism will be the “focus of his 5 years”. 30 minutes of terrorism discussion, which preceded the debate on the European Union.
May 4: National day of homage to all cops killed in France.
This is an incomplete list. I can assure you that the French anti-terrorism units do not work this often in normal times – we’d all be in jail if they did.
The canard of terrorism was employed by Hollande to undemocratically ram through right-wing economic measures designed to benefit the bondholder class. It was also used to put Macron in office and, as I listed, Macron plans to keep it there.
Ultimately, there is still no plan in effect to win concessions from high finance. Le Pen would not have provided a solution, but she would have at least been a monkey wrench; she would at least have provided a temporary respite; she would at least have provided the chance to discuss solutions.
Finance is international, but Europe requires a unique solution because the creation and support for the European Union means they have a uniquely European problem.
I have no ideas, and neither do the faux-left supporters of Macron. They just keep telling me: “We’ll take to the streets to fight austerity”. Hey, jerk, check the scoreboard – we did that all the time under Hollande: we lost.
Macron will continue the neoliberal policies which didn’t work while he was minster, and they will not work now.
Ultimately, the election of Macon just kicks the can down the road. Prior to the election this was repeatedly written by mainstream journalists to describe the necessary economic “reforms” France resisted implementing. Absurd, these “deforms”.
What is postponed are the revolutionary, pro-communist changes which put finally the people ahead of the financial class, which is the new aristocracy.
Postscript – the Macron Era, Day 1 of 1,826.25
The above was written on election night. I was planning to finish it in between my 10 scheduled live interviews for Press TV, but at this point in the column the Le Pen camp refused my entry to their headquarters, denying me a place to do some of those interviews and also to finish this column.
I wasn’t the only one – Le Monde, Mediapart and reportedly many other media were the victims of the Le Pen campaign’s allegedly accidental and regrettable choice to choose a small, swanky locale for their HQ.
Maybe such treatment was a harbinger of things to come and we dodged a bullet by avoiding the National Front and their anti-press neo-fascism?
Problem is, Macron banned Russian media a couple weeks earlier.
Problem is, prior to that Hollande took Press TV and all Iranian media off France’s state-run satellite Eutelsat, in a clear case of censorship.
Anyway, the day after the election Hollande joined Macron for the WWII Victory Day memorial and then immediately flew to Berlin to meet Merkel. Isn’t that fitting? And there were thousands already protesting Macron, with plenty of police brutality. I wanted to cover it but my cameraman begged off, citing fatigue. Honestly, I felt the same way.
Glass half-full: Macron is from the younger, less-racist generation. Maybe he’ll be able to take a firm stance on France’s xenophobic nonsense?
Problem is, his team threatened to close the nation’s Islamophobia watchdog, saying they are “in danger.” Pretty Le Pen-like, if you ask me, which is what I always said.
I really cannot even stomach reading the mainstream media’s take on France’s election, but people seem to be talking like Trump was avoided in France. People only say that because the economic angle – the class angle – is systematically repressed in favor of the economic angle.
Macron is going to wage an (economic) extremist war on the French public, and who can be excited about that? Nobody is excited about Macron here except unmarried, middle-aged women, who have finally found someone who won’t ignore them. I don’t want to rain on their honeymoon, though, so “Sweet dreams, ladies.”
Just do the math: 25% abstained and 12% submitted blank ballots (LOL, a record), meaning only 67% of the total electorate issued an acceptable vote. That drops Macron’s alleged final score of 66% down to 42% of the total electorate. Now subtract the 43% of Macron’s voters who say the voted to block Le Pen. That means only 24% of the total electorate voted for Macron’s personality or his policies.
Only 24% of France truly voted for Macron. So forget what the financial/foreign press says: there is no joy in Mudville, French democracy has struck out.
But the beat goes on. And for the next five years I’m covering the exact same news beat – Hollande (Jr.) and austerity.
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 work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.