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
September 18, 2019
Kenneth Surin
An Excellent Study Of The Manufactured Labour “Antisemitism Crisis”
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Crown Prince Plans to Make Us Forget About the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Before the US Election
W. T. Whitney
Political Struggle and Fixing Cuba’s Economy
Ron Jacobs
Support the Climate Strike, Not a Military Strike
John Kendall Hawkins
Slouching Toward “Bethlehem”
Ted Rall
Once Again in Afghanistan, the U.S. Proves It Can’t Be Trusted
William Astore
The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter
Dave Lindorff
Why on Earth Would the US Go to War with Iran over an Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries?
Binoy Kampmark
Doctored Admissions: the University Admissions Scandal as a Global Problem
Jeremy Corbyn
Creating a Society of Hope and Inclusion: Speech to the TUC
Zhivko Illeieff
Why You Should Care About #ShutDownDC and the Global Climate Strike  
Catherine Tumber
Land Without Bread: the Green New Deal Forsakes America’s Countryside
Liam Kennedy
Boris Johnson: Elitist Defender of Britain’s Big Banks
September 17, 2019
Mario Barrera
The Southern Strategy and Donald Trump
Robert Jensen
The Danger of Inspiration in a Time of Ecological Crisis
Dean Baker
Health Care: Premiums and Taxes
Dave Lindorff
Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’
Binoy Kampmark
Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq
Susie Day
You Say You Want a Revolution: a Prison Letter to Yoko Ono
Rich Gibson
Seize Solidarity House
Laura Flanders
From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing’s Glass House
Don Fitz
What is Energy Denial?
Dan Bacher
Governor Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish Species Protections
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: Time to Stop Pretending and Start Over
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Inside the Syrian Peace Talks
Elliot Sperber
Mickey Mouse Networks
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail