FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Return to the Roaring 20s

EU leaders view the storm as passed, and Donald Trump’s election and Brexit as now no more than a bad dream. They were delighted by Emmanuel Macron’s resounding victory, and one of their faithful commentators went so far as to call it ‘the first decisive blow against the populist wave’ (1).

Now France’s new leaders itch to seize the moment and force through the European Commission’s neoliberal agenda, aiming initially at the labour code. Macron’s orientation is identical to that of his predecessor, although he is younger, more cultivated and not so utterly lacking in imagination and charisma.

Through the miracles of marketing and tactical voting, a slight change has been dressed up as a historic swing that will open the way for bold new initiatives. The western press, swooning over its new boy wonder, is lauding the end of the divide between right and left; this is also fromthe realm of fantasy.

France’s right and left have been taking turns applying the same policies since 1983. Now whole sections of both are in the same government and soon will belong to the same parliamentary majority. All you can say is that things are clearer.

A corrupt Spanish right clinging on to power, the neoliberals’ victory in the Netherlands, further terms in government predicted, perhaps incautiously, for the conservatives in the UK and Germany: all suggest that last year’s period of anger may have run out of steam for lack of political outlets.

Macron’s election, against a background of blue and gold EU flags, and his instant trip to Berlin signal that the main European policy orientations propounded by Chancellor Merkel will be vigorously re-endorsed. In Greece, these have just brought a 9% cut in old-age pensions; experts only disagree over whether it is the 13th or 14th such slash.

Meanwhile, though Trump’s whims and bluster caused concern for a time in western centres of government, the normalisation of his presidency is well under way (and ways to remove him are being readied should the need arise). All that is needed to guarantee the complete peace of mind of those at the helm in Europe is for Matteo Renzi to return to power in Italy.

In the 1920s the Communist International, noting that after an era of strikes and revolutions the majority of European states, especially the UK and Germany, had reverted to a default steady course, had to acknowledge the ‘stabilisation of capitalism’. Nonetheless, unwilling to abandon the struggle, it announced in September 1928 that the calm would be ‘partial, temporary and precarious’. The warning seemed mechanical coming from this source, or mere rhetoric; if you were wealthy, these were after all the Roaring Twenties. The Wall Street crash was just a year away.

More articles by:

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
Jeff Mackler
Capitalism is the Virus!
Andrew Moss
Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19
Farzana Versey
Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic
Will Solomon
In the New Dystopia
Dean Baker
The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting
Dr. Leo Lopez, III
We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider
Rashid Nuri
Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?
Mark Luskus
Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP
Volker Franke
The Virus That May Bring us Together
Mitchell Zimmerman
A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice
Olfat al-Kurd
COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza
Eileen Appelbaum - Roesmary Batt
Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms
Nabri Ginwa
Carcinogens
Jill Richardson
Efficiency vs. Resilience
Lee Ballinger
Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
David Yearsley
Beset by Bach
Robert Koehler
Developing a Vaccine Against War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail