By Paul Craig Roberts Source : Information Clearing House , 29-7-2016 – Uploaded on Athenianvoice 5-8-2016
“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 their currency no longer have the power to create their own money in order to finance budget deficits.
The countries that joined the euro must rely on private banks to finance their deficits. The result of this is that over-indebted countries can no longer pay their debts by creating money or expect their debts to be written down to levels that they can service. Instead, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, and Ireland were looted by the private banks.
The EU forced the pseudo-governments of these countries to pay the northern European private banks by suppressing the living standards of their populations and by privatizing public assets at pennies on the dollar. Thus retirement pensions, public employment, education and health services have been cut and the money redirected to private banks. Municipal water companies have been privatized with the result being higher water bills. And so on.
As there is no reward, only punishment, for being a member of the EU, why did governments, despite the expressed wishes of their peoples, join?
The answer is that Washington would have it no other way. The European founders of the EU are mythical creatures. Washington used politicians that Washington controlled to create the EU.
Some years ago CIA documents proving that the EU was a CIA initiative were released. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1356047/Euro-federalists-financed-by-US-spy-chiefs.html and http://benwilliamslibrary.com/blog/?p=5080
In the 1970s my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, then a very high-ranking official in Washington with control over international security affairs, asked me to undertake a sensitive mission abroad. I refused. Nevertheless, he answered my question: “How does Washington get foreign countries to do what Washington wants?”
“Money,” he said. “We give their leaders bagfuls of money. They belong to us.”
The record is clear that the EU serves the interests of Washington, not the interests of Europe. For example, the French people and government are opposed to GMOs, but the EU permits a “precautionary market authorization” of GMO introduction, relying perhaps on the “scientific findings” of the scientists on Monsanto’s payroll. When the US state of Vermont passed a law requiring labeling of GMO foods, Monsanto sued the state of Vermont. Once the paid-off EU officials sign the TTIP agreement written by US global corporations, Monsanto will take over European agriculture.
But the danger to Europe goes far beyond the health of European peoples who will be forced to dine on poisonous foods. Washington is using the EU to force Europeans into conflict with Russia, a powerful nuclear power capable of destroying all of Europe and all of the United States in a few minutes.
This is happening because the paid-off with “bagfuls of money” European “leaders” had rather have Washington’s money in the short-run than for Europeans to live in the long-run.
It is not possible that any European politician is sufficiently moronic to believe that Russia invaded Ukraine, that Russia any moment will invade Poland and the Baltic states, or that Putin is a “new Hitler” scheming to reconstruct the Soviet Empire. These absurd allegations are nothing but Washington propaganda devoid entirely of truth. Washington’s propaganda is completely transparent. Not even an idiot could believe it.
Yet the EU goes along with the propaganda, as does NATO.
Why? The answer is Washington’s money. The EU and NATO are utterly corrupt. They are Washington’s well paid whores.
The only way Europeans can prevent a nuclear World War III and continue to live and to enjoy what remains of their culture that the Americans have not destroyed with America’s culture of sex and violence and greed, is for the European governments to follow the lead of the English and exit the CIA-created European Union. And exit NATO, the purpose of which evaporated with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and which is now being used as an instrument of Washington’s World Hegemony.
Why do Europeans want to die for Washington’s world hegemony? That means Europeans are dying for Washington’s hegemony over Europe as well.
Why do Europeans want to support Washington when Washington’s high officials, such as Victoria Nuland, say “Fuck the EU.”
Europeans are already suffering from the economic sanctions that their overlord in Washington forced them to apply to Russia and Iran. Why do Europeans want to be destroyed by war with Russia? Do Europeans have a death wish? Have Europeans been Americanized and no longer appreciate the historic accumulation of artistic and architectural beauty, literature and music achievements of which their countries are custodians?
The answer is that it makes no difference whatsoever what Europeans think, because Washington has set up a government for them that is totally independent of their wishes. The EU government is accountable only to Washington’s money. A few people capable of issuing edicts are on Washington’s payroll. The entire peoples of Europe are Washington’s serfs.
Therefore, if Europeans remain the gullible, insouciant, and stupid peoples that they currently are, they are doomed, along with the rest of us.
On the other hand, if the European peoples can come to their senses, free themselves from The Matrix that Washington has imposed on them, and revolt against Washington’s agents who control them, the European peoples can save their own lives and the lives of the rest of us.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=16888
From farm to pharmaceutical, diesel truck to dinner plate, pipeline to plastic product, it is impossible to think of an area of our modern-day lives that is not affected by the oil industry. The story of oil is the story of the modern world. And this is the story of those who helped shape that world, and how the oil-igarchy they created is on the verge of monopolizing life itself.
About root causes and basic reasons to the refugee crisis and terrorism
Today the entire world is in mourning after the attacks in Paris – Today 60 million human beings are displaced by war and extreme poverty. When exactly does the continuous hypocrisy of the leading western governments become disgusting and extremely offensive? It has to be when their media, and not our ability to think for ourselves, decides what we should get shocked and outraged about and what we should ignore and look away from.
The governments in many European countries are responding to the refugee crisis and the terror attacks as their obvious values and principles suggests, with racist hysteria and policies backed by police and military aggressivity under martial law. The western public opinion must finally dare to dismiss and look beyond the monotonous, hackneyed western tale about evil dictators and terrorists, their local conflicts and the benevolent, “good and helpful” western, democracy-fairies.
One could read in the Independent a month ago: “Refugees have been seeking safe haven in the West for years. Recently, however, something has changed. Thousands have become millions, as nation after nation succumbs to anarchy and fanaticism”.
The basic reasons to why they succumb to fanaticism is really never satisfactory explained, besides the western tale about the cruel, local dictators and fundamentalist terrorists that hates western freedom. Facts are left out of the mainstream reporting: the role of criminal wars, disastrous neoliberal economics, and why mass displacement is a permanent feature under this system. Things are never really explained because in accordance with the western, self-glorifying supremacy dogma, the leading western governments don’t need to explain or admit any real responsibilities to the nations their precursors and themselves have teared apart.
Root causes are hidden within the western supremacy policies
Enforced neoliberal, strategic and economic “development plans” that tie the shattered nations and their people’s hands and feet to these same western governments, has clearly nothing to do with either refugees or global terrorism. Because when the neoliberal economists and ministers have concluded that “there is no alternative”, good people understand that, kneel, suffer and die quietly. Only bad, evil people doesn’t accept and even have the nerves to resist the genocidal conditions and the “necessary human costs” of the western, private bank and cartel labeled “development plans”.
So instead of taking the opportunity to announce real responsibilities, the western leaders talk about French, American and western noble values and principles. As if we are stupid and can’t see for ourselves which distorted and spineless kind of “nobleness” they mean. And how hideously, greedy, racist and hypocritical they practice their alleged values and principles.
History proves that practically ALL ethnic cleansings, genocides, civil wars and wars in the regions that refugees currently flee from, was caused, instigated, provoked and often actually organized by the main European colonial and postcolonial Powers. These western, imperialist geostrategic and geopolitical sentiments, policies and methods has been kept alive and nurtured through “life support” (conservatism, militarism) and in “greenhouses”(secret societies, fascist dictatorships) by old imperialists, royalists and various European and American nationalsocialist and fascist movements.
With the new century and the continuation of the monotonous, neoliberal policies, this has escalated into conditions that I believe we all had hoped to never again experience.
Why is this still happening, you might ask?
Because the warmongering Conservatives, Christian Right and Extreme Right, in the leading European nations, are longing for a “crusade” that they believe would re-establish their colonial control and power. But this time over the entire world. They have emerged through the two World Wars from the rivaling old European Empires & Kingdoms*1 and their financial, clergy and military elite. [*1 – Before 1918 they were named Austro-Hungarian Empire, German Empire, French Republic, Kingdom of Italy, British Empire, USA].
“The European basic values and principles are said to have been inspired and adopted from Greek culture, history, thinking and literature, but European history quite clearly proves that in practice it is the three German Reich’s that has shaped the actual basic values and principles of the European societies. From the ninth century and onward, no other culture has determined the entire continent’s fate as much as those three German dynasties.
Almost all the genocides, civil wars and wars in post-Roman, European history are direct results of the three dynasties that these men established.
- Charlemagne or Charles the Great – 9th century – 1st Reich or the “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” lasted ca 800 years
- Vilhelm I – 19th century – 2nd Reich or “Hohenzollern Germany” lasted ca 50 years
- Adolf Hitler – 20th century – 3rd Reich or “Nazi-Germany” lasted 13 years
These dynasties escorted and pushed the European folk-spirit into the darkest, most corrupt, perverted “caves” of human thinking and human emotional life. To such extent that its rulers with their cultural-ideological “offspring” could start the Crusades, the Catholic Inquisition, the Thirty Year’s War, The Balkan Wars and two World Wars. Two world wars that in their actual essence were triggered and launched to prevent any possibility of a feared European peoples rebellion against the Royals, the imperialists, their court’s and “Mammon’s” tyrannic dogmas and doctrines. This is highly relevant to what the current EU and US are triggering again and why.
These old colonial/neoliberal policies, strategies, tactics and methods of the western powers, must finally be fully exposed, debated and perceived by the independent media as the root causes and basic reasons for both terrorism and refugee crises.
Ever since the term “War on Terror” (WoT) was first used by George W Bush September 20, 2001 we have seen increasing wars, civil wars, massacres, ethnic cleansings and hordes of refugees fleeing from the affected regions. We can all easily conclude that we find ourselves in a far more unstable and dangerous world now than before 9/11, 2001. A long and unsuccessful campaign, allegedly to destroy al-Qaeda and other militant Islamist organizations, has brought the world to the brink of WWIII.
Barack Obama, changed the interpretation and meaning of the term “War on Terror” in 2013 from a general war tactic to a specified and targeted one. He stated, “We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror’, but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America”. After 12 years of general US/NATO/mercenary-terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, after the crude dehumanization and demonization of entire folk groups and social classes and after the attack on western human and civil rights, he doesn’t need to clarify WoT or specify targets. He and the western leaders need to answer humanity on these questions now:
- WHO is going to take real responsibility for the dramatic “mistakes” and the clear deliberate crimes of 12 years of US-led, ghost-chasing campaigns, that has left millions of innocent, dead bodies around Asia, the Middle East and Africa?
- WHO is going to take real responsibility, for the current ca 7 million refugees from these countries that are fleeing to the west and the 60 million that are displaced?
- WHO is going to take real responsibility for the root causes and the basic reasons for terror attacks carried out in Middle Eastern and western cities?
To nuance the self-righteous, western citizen’s exaggerated self-image as a democratic philanthropist a bit, I am pointing out, that the practically unchallenged, but very real, geopolitical and geostrategic goals of Bush’s WoT-campaign and Obama’s interpretation of the same are:
- to deduct pipelines, control trade routes and take over the geographical regions between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, because they are rich on natural resources and energy sources.
- to clear the area from large populations of its inhabitants for the long planned geostrategic moves of USA, EU, Israel and NATO against Iran, Arab world, Russia and China.
- to destroy every labor law that the American and European democratic, solidarity-, liberty-, human rights- and labour-movements have achieved since the end of the nineteenth century. It is about tearing down the workers rights, minimum wages, health care, social insurances, pensions and instead encourage and establish a pure “peon and slave market” to replace the labor markets.
- to destroy the last basic democratic principles, constitutions, human rights, international laws, treaties and conventions and instead gradually reform and legislate a totalitarian and ruthless control-state against the people, “to avoid chaos and protect us from terrorists”.
The average European and American citizen meanwhile, have just hovered around “in the blue”, day-dreaming of riches, never-ending pleasures and fame. He have been polishing on his narcissism, his megalomania, his supremacy tale and his racism, while his government is committing criminal act after criminal act against other nations and people’s.
There is no hope for any real positive change, unless the American and European citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead.
Most people around the world have come to the very logical conclusion, that the countries and governments that are so keen on causing all these problems, due to their neoliberal, geostrategic aims, should also take the main responsibility for the refugees and the root causes behind them. They see, even if they don’t dare to speak out, that USA/EU/NATO measures, policies and actions are state-sanctioned terror against other nations and against its own populations.
The known Wall Street-, White House-, Downing Street- and Brussels/Berlin-cooked, criminal strategies, tactics and methods that the western media defends, justifies, white-washes and cover up, over the last fifteen years are:
- false flag operations (blame a spectacular terror act on other than the actual perpetrator, to provoke revolution, civil war or war – usually intelligence-engineered and organized)
- financial terrorism (CIA-agents forces neo-colonial “treaties and agreements” on a nation. They offer financial “help” through extortion, imposing debts to takeover physical wealth and natural resources of a nation)
- “colour revolutions” (western intelligence services carries out grassroots-takeover actions with NGO-organized fake revolutions, known as colour revolutions, in order to distort and divide any democratic attempts and demads of the people in a nation (Libya, Ukraine and Syria are just few such examples)
- covert, regime change operations in sovreign nations
- arming and training of dictators, torturers and death squads that carries out mass arrests, interrogations by torture, political assassinations, mass killings and ethnic cleansings
- provocating and causing “convenient” civil wars by US-mercenary led massacres (Libya, Syria, Kenya, Ukraine)
- illegal wars (sanctions and invasions of nations based on lies – Iraq, Libya)
- proxy wars (military aggression on commission – others than own army are fighting ones war)
- soft coups (infiltration and corruption of a whole political elite in a nation, that can lead to democratic meltdown in that nation)
- military coups (when geostrategic or geopolitical US policies are unpopular and resisted)
It is disgraceful, that these criminal strategies, tactics and methods, are not perceived as the main root causes and basic reasons behind the current refugee and terror situation.
Now when crocodile tears are shed by our leaders for the refugees and TV-monkeys in reality are dishonoring the terror victims and their families’ mourning, we must dare to really honor both them, as well as any other innocent victims on this planet. We must therefore openly direct questions about the true Basic Reasons and Root Causes, and we must demand real responsibilities for their crimes from our governments.
There is no hope for any real positive change, unless the American and European citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead, and to condemn also the terror acts of their own leaders.
Except intro-text, epilogue and translation to English, which I added to the original, this is a videoclip from the show on the Greek TV-channel Alfpha, Ελληνοφρένεια 16-11-15
“This short video clip gives a human angle to the hysteria ‘enveloping’ the “Paris Attacks”, and urges the global, Public Opinion to THINK. It breathes decency, reverence and respect for also the others´ grief, pain and suffering. – This is “Ellinofreneia’s” very simple way to display things in its right perspectives – Perpectives that, as opposed to the the current genocidal, warmongering, ARE compatable with a Human Civilization.”
Most reasonable people around the world have come to the very rational and logical conclusion, that the nations and the Governments that are “so keen on” causing all this suffering and deaths – because of their geopolitical and geostrategic urges and goals – should exactly therefore take the main legal, moral, political, economic and social responsibility for the refugees and the ROOT CAUSES behind the phenomnons that create them.
There is truly no hope for any real PEACE, unless the European and American citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead,… and to be shocked and outraged also by the terror acts of THEIR OWN governments.
The entire interview here:
Charlie Rose told lie after lie for his CIA masters! If you see nothing else go to the 6:53 mark in the interview and watch Putin absolutely DESTROY Charlie Rose and the Fake News outlet 60 Minutes on the issue of Ukraine! Charlie Rose actually has the gall to ask Putin if he believes the US had something to do with the coup! This has been admitted by George Soros who said we paid $5 billion to take out Ukraine! There have been releases of telephone conversations from US puppets in Ukraine bragging about it!
Go to 6:53 to see Putin destroy the lies of the fake news! He hints about the US doing an illegal coups in Ukraine and other countries. At which point, disgusting Rose says ”You believe the US had something to do with the ousting of Yanukovch?”
Putin responds with
“We Know Who and Where, When, Who Exactly Met with Someone and worked with those that ousted Yanukovch, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in what countries and who those instructors were, we know everything!” (at this point Charlie has to insert that for the record the lying US government denies any involvement!) (what a joke!)
Introduction: 2015 has become a year of living dangerously. Wars are spreading across the globe. Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity. Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.
These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.
There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.
Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia: NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China. Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?
Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts
There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.
The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops. There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.
Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies. On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists – funded by the monarchist Gulf States.
Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.
Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.
The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.
The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses. Major cities and towns are devastated. Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians. The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.
The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets. Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.
The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands. They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.
Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.
Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.
Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent. Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.
Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.
Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.
Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.
There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client. Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role
The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria. The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.
Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.
US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.
There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps. It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up. The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.
The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.
The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat. US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.
As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops. The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.
Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties. These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.
In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.
Latin America – On the Verge
Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.
In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes. In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa. They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.
The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.
‘Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading. Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups – to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.
War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America. A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras. The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.
The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies. This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis. The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.
The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico. Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.
The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords. The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives. After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!
From Regional to Nuclear Wars
Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war. The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.
Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.
Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.
In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor. It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.
Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe. The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine. In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.
In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria. In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia. The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.
Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.
Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees
The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.
Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.
Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.
Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.
Droves of refugees perish each day. Tens of thousands crowd detention centers. Local labor markets are saturated. Social services are overwhelmed.
The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.
As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply. The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.
Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.
Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire. The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.
The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses. US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…
War is everywhere and expanding: No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.
Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle. There are no real diplomatic success stories! There are no enduring, viable peace accords!
Some pundits may protest this analysis: They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’. They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China. The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.
Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’. They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.
As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?
The war epidemic is not receding.
War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.
Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.
Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.
Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them. They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them. Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.
What a packet of lies! Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
It is time to wake up!
It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!
Where to start? Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there! Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame. We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing! Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!
Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune? And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them! As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US? We lead them by the nose . . . !”
Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.
What is to be done?
When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?
The poor and the working class in the United States know what it is to be Greek. They know underemployment and unemployment. They know life without a pension. They know existence on a few dollars a day. They know gas and electricity being turned off because of unpaid bills. They know the crippling weight of debt. They know being sick and unable to afford medical care. They know the state seizing their meager assets, a process known in the United States as “civil asset forfeiture,” which has permitted American police agencies to confiscate more than $3 billion in cash and property. They know the profound despair and abandonment that come when schools, libraries, neighborhood health clinics, day care services, roads, bridges, public buildings and assistance programs are neglected or closed. They know the financial elites’ hijacking of democratic institutions to impose widespread misery in the name of austerity. They, like the Greeks, know what it is to be abandoned.
The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.
The Greek government kneels before the bankers of Europe begging for mercy because it knows that if it leaves the eurozone, the international banking system will do to Greece what it did to the socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile; it will, as Richard Nixon promised to do in Chile, “make the economy scream.” The bankers will destroy Greece. If this means the Greeks can no longer get medicine—Greece owes European drug makers 1 billion euros—so be it. If this means food shortages—Greece imports thousands of tons of food from Europe a year—so be it. If this means oil and gas shortages—Greece imports 99 percent of its oil and gas—so be it. The bankers will carry out economic warfare until the current Greek government is ousted and corporate political puppets are back in control.
Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. It was, after all, Goldman Sachs—which shoved subprime mortgages down the throats of families it knew could never pay the loans back, sold the subprime mortgages as investments to pension funds and then bet against them—that orchestrated complex financial agreements with Greece, many of them secret. These agreements doubled the debt Greece owes under derivative deals and allowed the old Greek government to mask its real debt to keep borrowing. And when Greece imploded, Goldman Sachs headed out the door with suitcases full of cash.
The system of unfettered capitalism is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites. This is seen in the mounting fines and fees used to cover shortfalls in city and state budgets. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, from education to intelligence gathering. The U.S. Postal Service appears to be next. Parents already must pay hundreds of dollars for their public-school children to take school buses, go to music or art classes and participate in sports or other activities. Fire departments, ambulance services, the national parks system are all slated to become fodder for corporate profit. It is the death of the civil society.
Criminal justice is primarily about revenue streams for city and state governments in the United States rather than about justice or rehabilitation. The poor are arrested and fined for minor infractions in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere; for not mowing their lawns; for putting their feet on seats of New York City subway cars. If they cannot pay the fines, as many cannot, they go to jail. In jail they are often charged room and board. And if they can’t pay this new bill they go to jail again. It is a game of circular and never-ending extortion of the poor. Fines that are unpaid accrue interest and generate warrants for arrest. Poor people often end up owing thousands of dollars for parking or traffic violations.
Fascist and communist firing squads sometimes charged the victim’s family for the bullets used in the execution. In corporate capitalism, too, the abusers extract payment; often the money goes to private corporations that carry out probation services or prison and jail administration. The cost of being shot with a stun gun ($26) or of probation services ($35 to $100 a month) or of an electronic ankle bracelet ($11 a month) is vacuumed out of the pockets of the poor. And all this is happening in what will one day be seen as the good times. Wait until the financial house of cards collapses again—what is happening in China is not a good sign—and Wall Street runs for cover. Then America will become Greece on steroids.
“We are a nation that has turned its welfare system into a criminal system,” write Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr in an Institute for Policy Studies report titled “The Poor Get Prison.” “We criminalize life-sustaining activities of people too poor to afford shelter. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world. And we institute policies that virtually bar them for life from participating in society once they have done their time. We have allowed the resurgence of debtors’ prisons. We’ve created a second-tier public education system for poor children and black and Latino children that disproportionally criminalizes their behavior and sets them early onto the path of incarceration and lack of access to assistance and opportunity.”
The corporate dismantling of civil society is nearly complete in Greece. It is far advanced in the United States. We, like the Greeks, are undergoing a political war waged by the world’s oligarchs. No one elected them. They ignore public opinion. And, as in Greece, if a government defies the international banking community it is targeted for execution. The banks do not play by the rules of democracy.
Our politicians are corporate employees. And if you get dewy-eyed about the possibility of the U.S. having its first woman president, remember that it was Hillary Clinton’s husband who decimated manufacturing jobs with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and then went on to destroy welfare with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which halted federal cash aid programs and imposed time-limited, restrictive state block grants. Under President Bill Clinton, most welfare recipients—and 70 percent of those recipients were children—were dropped from the rolls. The prison-industrial complex exploded in size as its private corporations swallowed up surplus, unemployed labor, making $40,000 or more a year from each person held in a cage. The population of federal and state prisons combined rose by 673,000 under Clinton. He, along with Ronald Reagan, set the foundations for the Greecification of the United States.
The destruction of Greece, like the destruction of America, by the big banks and financial firms is not, as the bankers claim, about austerity or imposing rational expenditures or balanced budgets. It is not about responsible or good government. It is a vicious form of class warfare. It is profoundly anti-democratic. It is about forming nations of impoverished, disempowered serfs and a rapacious elite of all-powerful corporate oligarchs, backed by the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history and a militarized police that shoots unarmed citizens with reckless abandon. The laws and rules it imposes on the poor are, as Barbara Ehrenreich has written, little more than “organized sadism.”
Corporate profit is God. It does not matter who suffers. In Greece 40 percent of children live in poverty, there is a 25 percent unemployment rate and the unemployment figure for those between the ages of 15 and 24 is nearly 50 percent. And it will only get worse.
The economic and political ideology that convinced us that organized human behavior should be determined by the dictates of the global marketplace was a con game. We were the suckers. The promised prosperity from trickle-down economics and the free market instead concentrated wealth among a few and destroyed the working and the middle classes along with all vestiges of democracy. Corrupt governments, ignoring the common good and the consent of the governed, abetted this pillage. The fossil fuel industry was licensed to ravage the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species, while being handed lavish government subsidies. None of this makes sense.
The mandarins that maintain this system cannot respond rationally in our time of crisis. They are trained only to make the system of exploitation work. They are blinded by their insatiable greed and neoliberal ideology, which posits that controlling inflation, privatizing public assets and removing trade barriers are the sole economic priorities. They are steering us over a cliff.
We will not return to a rational economy or restore democracy until these global speculators are stripped of power. This will happen only if the streets of major cities in Europe and the United States are convulsed with mass protests. The tyranny of these financial elites knows no limits. They will impose ever greater suffering and repression until we submit or revolt. I prefer the latter. But we don’t have much time.
Development, Thought and Policy Lecture Series: Austerity and Neoliberalism in Greece, sponsored by the Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs (http://www.newschool.edu/public-engag…), at the Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy (http://www.newschool.edu/milano). GPIA Professors Richard Wolff and Barry Herman share their insights, led by chair and moderator Achilles Kallergie, PhD Candidate in the GPIA program.
What austerity is about is shifting the burden of an economic crisis from one part of the population to another. The mass of Greek people did not force Andreas Papandreou to borrow money. The mass of the Greek people didn’t know about or have much to do with fiscal policy at the national level. In fact, governments, bankers, leading industrialists, ship builders, the major players of the Greek economy, got together, as their counterparts did elsewhere, to produce the decisions that then, in the wake of the international collapse of capitalism, became unsustainable, producing a crisis in Greece. Once that had happened, there was only one question left: Who was going to pay the cost of all the debt Greece has run up or all the production decisions made that have left Greece without the capacity to export, with a dependence on imports etc.? And at that point, as has happened in every country – Greece is in no way unique – the wealthy and the business community went to work, with their resources and their business connections, to make sure that they didn’t pay the price.
THE NEW SCHOOL | http://www.newschool.edu
The Greek debt, as such, is mostly not Greek debt. The debt which Germany and other nations are demanding that they pay for, is money that the Greeks never got! So the Greeks don’t owe that money. This was a swindle, because the Greeks didn’t incur that debt.
Lyndon LaRouche, Feb. 17, 2015
What Americans need to know about Greece and “its debt,” is that the new Greek government is asking the European Union to shut down a huge Wall Street-London bank swindle and make economic growth possible again in Europe.
If that doesn’t happen, the worsening bankruptcy of the whole trans-Atlantic banking system will continue to generate desperate confrontations with major powers Russia and China, with the threat of world war.
The rest of Europe, so far, is refusing to shut that Wall Street swindle down, and today Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backed up that refusal, including by a threatening phone call to the Greek finance minister.
What Obama, Merkel, et al. are demanding Greece do, instead of shutting down this Europe-wide swindle by the banks, is run a budget surplus of 4.5% of its annual economy, exclusively to pay the “Greek debt.” In U.S. terms? That would mean the United States running a government tax surplus of $750 billion a year, in order to pay down debt. You won’t hear Obama or Lew volunteering to try it; it is impossible.
The “Greek debt” swindle is the same one as the TARP bailout here, and the Federal Reserve’s printing of $4 trillion in new money to cover Wall Street’s debts; and its perpetrators are the same huge banks.
In the United States, the big banks took millions of subprime, unrepayable mortgages sold by their captive mortgage companies, and made them into toxic securities which blew up the financial system and the whole economy in 2008; the government bailed them out, while our living standards plunged.
In Europe, the banks bought the mortgage securities from the U.S. banks. At the same time they made millions of unrepayable subprime loans of their own — not only to homeowners, but also to governments without the means to repay them, like those of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, and others. Big Wall Street banks were involved, particularly Goldman Sachs, which created “magic” derivatives: Take a bank loan to Greece, make it look like a mere “currency swap” rather than a debt — but turn it into a much bigger debt ten years later.
All this European subprime debt blew up on the big banks in 2009, a year after the U.S. subprime debt blew up on them. Then the European governments allsuperindebted themselves, to create a $1 trillion “European TARP” called by the initials EFSF. They bailed the megabanks out, with the IMF pitching in, using “only” about $600 billion to pay the unpayable “subprime government debt” part of it. $275 billion paid “Greek debt.”
This immense bank bailout got passed through the Greek, Irish, etc. governments, which passed it immediately on to the banks which had been their “subprime lenders.”
We have to spill this thing as a leading issue in the U.S. You can sink Wall Street on this one. If you sink the Greek swindle, you’re going to start a chain-reaction explosion of the international trans-Atlantic system, like the Wall Street system and similar things, the British andothers. They are the ones who owe the debt, not the Greeks.
The Greek debt swindle was classic. In 2009 Greece’s debt was $300 billion. It then “got” two huge bailouts in 2010 and 2012, of about $140 billion each. Less than 10% of that $275 billion stayed in Greece and was spent by the Greek government; more than 90% went directly and immediately to Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, and their fellow sharks, with small amounts crumbling to the hedge funds swimming alongside. Former Greek Labor and Social Security Minister Louka Katseli has given documentation that the Greek government actually got to spend or invest just 3% of that $275 billion. The only banks which had to write off their “Greek debt” were Greek banks; all of Wall Street and the London-centered banks got their toxic debt “assets” guaranteed 100% by this European bailout swindle. This made the Greek banks so bankrupt that the Greek government then had to borrow more to bail them out with $50 billion — so Greece’s debt was increased when supposedly being reduced! A total swindle!
Then, between 2010 and today, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc. were ordered to pay the bill for this huge new Europe-wide bank bailout debt. They imposed a slashing domestic austerity until their people emigrated, death rates rose and birth rates fell, and clouds of wood smoke rose over modern cities whose inhabitants could no longer afford modern heat. After five years of this punishment, Greece’s $300 billion debt has become $350 billion or so — after $250 billion passed through to the banks!
And the other European countries are also on the hook for this phony debt, all of it. They guaranteed it; Greece and Ireland and the other austerity-crushed countries can’t pay it, so the rest of Europe must either agree to reorganize that debt and write it down, or their taxpayers will pay for the swindle.
This is why the new Greek government now demands that Europe shut down this global bank swindle: Write off the unpayable debt; invest in reviving economic productivity by building new economic infrastructure.
In addition, the megabanks have to be put through a Glass-Steagall reorganization and broken up.
To which Lyndon LaRouche has added:
“This thing has to be put loud and clear on every doorstep in the United States. If you want to avoid World War III, that’s what you’ll do.”
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, after the forces of the fascist Kiev regime fled under fire today from encircled Debaltsevo, an actual ceasefire is now in effect, however fragile, and heavy weapons are being withdrawn from the front lines by both sides, as agreed by the leaders of the French, German, Ukrainian, and Russian governments at Minsk last week. To make it an enduring ceasefire, all we need do now, is immediately remove Nazi Victoria Nuland from the State Department.
The question of the referendum vote is whether the Greek people except the positions that were submitted in an ultimatum form on Thursday night to the Greek government.
Introduction: Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’.
New political movements, purportedly on the left, no longer are based on class conscious workers nor are they embedded in the class struggle. Likewise on the right, greater attention is paid to escalating the repressive capacity of the state instead of state intervention in pursuit of economic markets.
Radicalization of the right, including massive cutbacks in social spending, has demolished welfare programs. The dispossession of households has uprooted cohesive neighborhood-based social organizations.
In place of the class based traditional left, ‘non-leftist left’ movements have emerged. Their leaders embrace ‘participatory democracy’ but engage in vertical political practice.
On the right, politics no longer revolve around conserving national economic privileges. Rightwing leaders willingly subordinate their economies and society to imperial led crusades, which empty national sovereignty of any meaning while pillaging the national treasury.
This essay will proceed to discuss these complex changes and their meaning.
The ‘Non-Leftist Left’ in Southern Europe
The economic crisis, in particular the imposition of severe cuts in wages, pensions and other social welfare programs by rightwing and social democratic governments have led to widespread discontent, which the traditional workplace based leftist parties have been unable to address and mobilize the people. Prolonged and deepening unemployment and the growth of temporary employment have affected over 50% of the labor force.
Union representation has declined precipitously, further weakening the presence of traditional leftist parties in factories.
Large-scale evictions, foreclosure of mortgages and accompanying job losses have led to neighborhood-based anti-eviction movements and struggles. Millions of young workers now depend on their grandparents’ pensions and remain with two older generations in their parents’ home. For the young workers, the degradation of everyday life, the loss of personal autonomy and the inability to live independently have led to revolts for ‘dignity’.
The traditional left parties and trade unions have failed (or not attempted) to organize the unemployed. They have failed to attract the young and the downwardly mobile temporary workers in anything resembling class-based, class struggle-oriented movements.
Paradoxically despite the deepening crisis among most workers, the traditional left has declined. Its workplace orientation and its language of class struggle do not resonate with those without jobs or prospects. For the radicalized middle class the traditional left is too radical in seeking to overturn capitalism and too distant from power to realize changes.
The radicalized middle class includes public employees, professionals and self-employed private contractors who aspire to, and until recently, experienced upward mobility but have now found their path blocked by the austerity programs imposed by rightwing, as well as, social democratic parties.
Frustrated by the social democrats’ betrayal and facing downward mobility, the radicalized middle class are disoriented and fragmented. Many have joined amorphous street protests; some have even embraced, temporarily in most cases, the alternative traditional rightwing parties only to encounter even more brutal job cuts, insecurity and downward mobility.
The middle classes deeply resent being denied the opportunity for upward mobility for themselves and their children. They resent their formerly ‘moderately progressive’ Social Democratic leaders’ betrayal of their interests. Their radicalism is directed toward restoring their past access to social advancement. Their deep-seated hostility to the authorities is rooted in the loss of their previous status as a result of the crisis.
Middle class radicalism is tempered by nostalgia for the past. This radicalism is rooted in the struggle to restore the European Union’s social subsidies and growth policies. They remember a recent past of rising living standards and “social inclusion”, now denied their own children. This vision guides the rhetoric that the progressive middle class had earned and enjoyed theirrising incomes as a result of their own ‘merit’.
Today the radicalized middle class looks for practical, specifically defined and government-sponsored policies that can restore their past prosperity. They do not aim to ‘level the playing field’ for everyone but to prevent their proletariazation. They reject the politics of the traditional left parties because class struggle and worker-centered ideologies do not promote their own social aspirations.
For most radicalized middle class activists the culprits are ‘austerity’, the mega-bank swindlers and the political kleptocrats. They seek parties that can reform or moralize capitalism and restore ‘individual dignity’. They want to kick out corrupt officials. They demand ‘participatory democracy’ rather than the traditional left’s goal of public ownership under worker control.
Under the specific conditions generated by the current social crisis, a non-leftist left (NLL) has emerged throughout Europe. Spontaneous, amorphous, ‘anarchic’, extra-institutional and ‘street-centered’, the NLL has adopted an irreverent style. The NLL, in its origins, rejected political parties, well-defined programs and disciplined cadres in favor of spontaneity and irreverence toward institutions.
As the appeal of the NLL grew, the unemployed, the temporary workers, the insecure and unprotected non-unionized workers and the radicalized middle class joined demonstrations and found safety in the crowds. They were attracted by the appeals from ‘the street’ to oust the incumbent kleptocrats.
Emerging from this movement aimed at the downwardly mobile middle class’ anger, Podemosin Spain, Syriza in Greece and Five Stars in Italy have appealed to all the people disconnected from power, by promising a restoration of ‘dignity and respect.’ They made amorphous appeals to ‘end austerity’ with only a vague promise that they would create jobs.
The NLL leadership, however, is most clearly influenced by the non-radical resentments of the downwardly mobile middle class.
They never engaged in class struggles and have rejected class ideology. For the NLL leaders, social polarization is mostly a vehicle for building an electoral base. Their participation in small-scale local struggles was presented as ‘proof’ that the NLL leaders spoke to authentic popular aspirations.
The Non-Leftist Left’s Transition: From Street to Public Office
From the street, the NLL moved swiftly to elections and from elections they proceeded to form coalitions with traditional parties. Strategic decisions were taken by a small coterie of personalistic leaders: They redefined ‘participatory democracy’ to refer only to local neighborhood activism and issues – not national issues, which were the realm of ‘experts’.
Syriza, the first NLL to reach power, reflected the immense gap between the radical posturingof its leaders in opposition and their cringing conformity before Established Power (the Troika: IMF, European Commission, Central Bank) once elected to government.
Syriza embodied middle class resentment toward the Euro-technocratic elite in Brussels whom they blamed for their loss of past prosperity and job security and for the ongoing degradation of everyday life. Syriza denounced the Troika while it remained under its tutelage. It excoriatedthe EU elite in the highest moral tones for doing what its elite class interests dictated, that is, defend the EU bankers, extract debt payments and threaten their underlings. In practice,Syriza never applied any class analysis to the Troika’s policy as it continued to refer to their ‘EU partners’. ..even as they imposed brutall demands.
Once in power the Syriza leaders never mobilized a single mass protest and never even threatened a general strike in the face of EU colonial dictates.
Syriza’s personalist leader, Alexis Tsipra,s appointed right wingers from former regimes to key posts. He negotiated with the Troika and caved on all strategic issues dealing with debt payments, austerity and privatizations. Syriza never considered ‘going to the people’. Syriza’s‘moral crusade’ against capitalism ended by their embracing capitalism and the colonial Eurozone system.
Syriza’s lack of class analysis, class struggle and class mobilization and its total commitment to working within a moralized capitalism and the Eurozone to restore middle class status and security has resulted in the most abject conformity and surrender – punctuated by shameless buffoonery on the part of some leaders.
In the end, Syriza surrendered to the dictates of higher powers of the Troika ad their Eurozone acolytes, but not until it had emptied the Greek Treasury. The leaders have combined the worst of all worlds: a bankrupt national economy, a ‘protesting’ but fundamentally colonial regime and a disenchanted electorate.
Where Syriza wildly succeeded was in marginalizing the traditional left (the Greek Communist Party). It reaffirmed the historic pattern: free floating movements of the moment end up being run by personalistic leaders who presume to speak for “the people” while bending over to their overseas overlords.
NLL in Spain and Italy: Podemos and Five Stars
Podemos in Spain and Five Stars in Italy are ready to follow Syriza’s path of colonial subservience. They rejected and successfully marginalized the traditional left. They have gained mass support, organized mass protests and loudly rejected austerity and the dictates of the Troika.
While Podemos leaders talk of ‘participatory democracy’, a handful of leaders make all policy pronouncements, decide which candidates to support in the elections and determine what kind of post-election coalition governments they will join.
What gives Podemos and Five Stars their radical appearance is their opposition to the governing parties, their rejection of ‘austerity’, their criticism of neoliberalism – and their support for ‘micro-politics’ of local grassroots direct-action.
At no time or place have they counterpoised an alternative to capitalism. Nor have they repudiated illicit debts or supported the expropriation of the banks responsible for the pillage their economies.
Podemos and Five Stars deliberately obscure their politics: They are whatever any of their affiliates’ claim to be…
The leaders raise populist demands and speak about ‘dignity’, employment and punishment of corrupt officials. They call for an end to authoritarian measures, but avoid any real commitments to institutional change, especially of the repressive courts, police or armed forces.
Podemos and Five Stars criticize the EU’s austerity programs while staying in the EU as subordinate members of an organization dominated by German bankers. They promote popular mobilizations which they have turned into vote-gathering machines for electing their members to office.
The NLLs contradictory politics of populist gestures and institutional commitments reflect the politics of a frustrated and blocked middle class demanding a restoration of its past status and security. Podemos and Five Stars leaders put on the grand show of thumbing their noses at the establishment to promote limited middle class demands. On a much broader front, the leaders of the NLL have not organized any mass protests – let alone formed a mass movement which would seriously challenge the imperialist powers, NATO, the Middle East wars and US-EU sanctions against Russia.
Since most of their supporters are anti NATO, in favor of Palestinian independence and critical of the Kiev regime the popular base of the NLL will act on their own but will have no real impact on the current national leadership.
The reason for the disparity between leaders and followers is clear: The NLL leaders intend to form post-electoral coalitions with the corrupt and reactionary ‘center left’ parties so despised and rejected by their own electorate.
Following the nationwide Spanish municipal and regional elections, Podemos allied with corrupt Socialist Party (PSOE). In the municipality of Madrid, Podemos supported the left-center coalition Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), which in turn has allied with the center-right Socialists to elect the ‘progressive’ mayoral candidate, Manuela Carmena.
While the entire ‘progressive camp’ celebrates the defeat of the hard-right Popular Party candidate –little has been said about consequential changes in the municipal and regional budgets, structures of economic power and class relations.
‘Five Stars’,( Movimento Cinque Stelle or M5S), Italy’s non-leftist left is dominated by a single ‘anti-leader’, Beppe Grillo, he defines the party’s programs and affiliations. He is known for making clownish, provocative gestures against the authorities, calling for a “Fuck the Parliament Day”.
It is Beppe who selects the candidates to run for Parliament. While in opposition, M5S loudly opposed all NATO wars in the Middle East, US military interventions in Latin America and free trade agreements. But now ensconced in the European Parliament, Beppe has aligned with the Libertarian Right.
Five Stars (M5S) central demands revolve around ‘direct democracy’ and ‘sustainable development’. It has captured the electoral support of the majority of the lower middle classgaining 26% of the vote (9 million voters) in the 2013 general elections.
While Beppe and his colleagues engage in fist fights within the Parliament, make radical gestures and spout belligerent rhetoric, ‘M5S’ has not supported a workers general strike. It participates in each and every election, but has stayed away from factory struggles.
Radicalism, as grand ‘gesture politics’, is an entertaining, non-threatening response to capitalism since there is no concerted effort to form class alliances with workers engaged in workplace struggles.
‘M5S’, like Podemos and Syriza, expresses the disorganized radicalism of the young, frustrated lower middle class raging against their downward mobility, while refusing to breakwith the EU .They rail against the concentration of power in the hands of the banks, but refuse to pursue their nationalization. M5S mobilized 800,000 people in Rome recently but led them nowhere. ‘Five Stars’ convokes crowds to meet and cheer its leaders and to ridicule the power brokers. Afterwards they all go home.
While the ‘NLL’ movements capture the support of the ‘indignant’, the mass of unemployed workers and the evicted householders, their leaders do not articulate a serious plan of action capable of challenging the economic power structures: they raise popular expectations via demands for ‘change’. However, these vague and deceptive slogans allow the NLL leaders to join in a medley of opportunist electoral coalitions and governmental alliances, with decidedly establishment personalities and parties.
In Greece, Italy and Spain the traditional left has either disappeared, or shrunk to a marginal force. With little or no base outside of the workplace and trade unions, they barely secure five percent of the votes.
The NLL has deepened the isolation of the traditional left and has even attracted a part of its social base. NLL’s rejection of the traditional left’s tight organization and top down leadership and its pluralistic rhetoric appeals to the young. Moreover, as the left trade unions have sought compromises with the bosses to save the jobs of employed workers and ignored the unemployed, the latter has looked to the ‘open and spontaneous’ NLL to express their opposition. In Spain’s municipal elections, the United Left, a Communist-led electoral formation, joined with Podemos to elect Manuela Carmena, the ‘insurgent mayor’ of Madrid.
While the Euro-US academic left has rightly celebrated the emergence of mass opposition to the rightist regimes in Southern Europe, they have failed to understand the internal dynamicswithin the NLL movements: the limitations of middle class radicalism and their conformists’ goals.
The example of Syriza in Greece is a warning of the fatal consequences of middle class leaders trying to realize radical changes, within the neo-liberal framework imposed by the EU.
Currently, the best example of the opportunism and bankruptcy of the NLL is found in the successful Mayor-elect of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, whose victory was hailed by Podemos as the ‘great victory for the people’ at recent celebration.
For her part, Mayor-elect Carmena has wasted no time repudiating all ‘five basic emergency reforms’ promised during the elections. In a press conference, the so-called ‘progressive Mayor of Madrid’ announced (with a cynical grin) that ‘promise number one’ – a public bank – was no longer needed because she was satisfied to work with the private banking oligarchy. She refused to pursue ‘promise number two’ – to provide subsidies for electricity, water and gas for poor families cut off from those services, claiming such support was too early and could wait until winter
Regarding Podemos ‘promise number three’ – a debt moratorium, Carmena insisted that “we will keep paying, for now”. On ‘promise number four’ favoring public over private contractors for municipal contracts, Carmena reversed the position: “We can’t change right away”.
Carmena even repudiated ‘promise number five’ – to immediately implement a summer meals program for poor children, insisting that she would rely on the inadequate programs of far right predecessor.
Moreover, Mayor-elect Carmena went even further, staffing her administration with far-right holdovers from the previous government to strategic policy-making positions. For example, sheappointed Carmen Roman, a former Director General of the far right Prime Minister Aznar, as Senior Executive of Madrid. She defended these reactionary decisions claiming that she was looking for “technocrats who are the best professional administrations”. Indeed, Carmen Roman had implemented mass firing of public workers and the dismantling of social programs in the ‘best professional’ manner possible!
Carmena further betrayed her Podemos electorate by insisting she looked forward to working with the hard right Prime Minister Rajoy and flatly rejected the idea of promoting a progressive alternative!
In less than one week, the euphoria over the victory of Podemos backed candidates has been dissipated by these acts of cynical opportunism: the non-leftist left has betrayed its electorate, from the very start!