FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Return to the Roaring 20s

by

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 25, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail