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 26, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Stanley L. Cohen
Death Can be a Slow Traveler: Peltier, Mumia and Rap Brown
Vincent Navarro
Why Left Wing Populism Is Not Enough
Peter Linebaugh
The Earth for Their Possession
Jeffrey St. Clair
Never Satisfied: Willie Dixon Refused to Serve…Anything But the Blues
Paul Street
Joe Biden: An Imperial Corporatist Wrapped in the Bloody Flag of Charlottesville
Martha Rosenberg
Corruption and Mismanagement at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Put Consumers at Risk, Whistleblower Says
John O'Kane
Demonizing the Few to Alienate and Sway the Many
John Feffer
What’s Driving Bolton’s Attacks on the “Troika of Tyranny”?
Ramzy Baroud
Notre Dame of Gaza: Our Mosques and Churches are Also Burning
Andy Thayer
How Chicago Police Infiltrated, Spied on Anti-NATO Organizers
Katherine Weathers – Hy Thurman
The Etowah Visitation Project: Supporting the Needs of ICE Detainees
Conn Hallinan
Turkey: Revenge of the Kurds
Joshua Frank
How Obama Defanged the EPA Before Trump Gutted the Agency
Jennifer Matsui
The Style Section Meets State Craft: Amal Clooney and the Foreign Policy Influencers
David Rosen
Trump and False Consciousness
Ruth Fowler
The College Admissions Scam Isn’t About Education
John Whitlow
Coming of Age at the End of History
Brian Cloughley
Continual Confrontation in the South China Sea
Tom Engelhardt
Suicide Watch on Planet Earth
David Macaray
A Look at the Talent in the Room
Ron Jacobs
Hating the Homeless
Jonathan Power
Measuring National Power
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: Notes on LA’s Underground
Chandra Muzaffar
Sri Landa and New Zealand: The Real Link
John Whitlow
Coming of Age at the End of History
Cassidy Block
The US Has a Moral and Historical Responsibility to Aid Migrants
Tom Clifford
Change of Thrones in Japan
N.D. Jayaprakash
Anti-Satellite Weapons Versus National Security: Part One
Alex Liebman – Rob Wallace
A Lethal Industrial Farm Fungus is Spreading Among Us
Binoy Kampmark
Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Actor President
Martha Burk
The Most Dangerous Time for Women’s Rights in Decades
Christopher Brauchli
Trump Family Affair
Nick Licata
The Green New Deal Died in Congress…It Didn’t Have To
Gary Leupp
Time for Trump to Talk to Putin
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Ghosts of the Matanikau Valley, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Sam Gordon
Ireland and India – Conflict and Commonality
Ariel Tomlinson
Make College Affordable for People Like Me
Ellen Birkett Lindeen
Shakespeare Talks about Peace
Stacia Tolman
Gloria Bell’s in Hell
Nicky Reid
We Are All Julian Assange!: An Anarchist Soliloquy
Stephen Cooper
Ska King Derrick Morgan Holds Court in L.A.
Dean Baker
Coming Clean on Washing Machine Tariffs
Louis Proyect
Can Humanity and Nature Co-Exist Under Capitalism?
April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail