FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Setback for the French Germanophiles

The electoral success of Alternative für Deutschland (1) has been presented in the French media as a breach of German exemplarity – embodied for the last twelve years in the placid countenance of Chancellor Merkel. A return of the Nazis to the Bundestag? Rubbish.

The AfD has marginalized the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschland on the extreme Right. The xenophobic populist current has readily profited from the massive influx of migrants, widespread poverty and a racism that characterizes a non-negligible proportion of the German population. With its parliamentary representation little cohesive, the AfD will play the bogeyman which will bring out the good conscience of the governing class.

The danger of Germany is not the rebirth of Nazism but that of the Chancellor herself. Angela Merkel retains control of the situation even if the political game is a little more complicated by virtue of the weakening of the Social Democrats, which obliges her to negotiate with the liberals [the Free Democratic Party](2) and the Greens. However, nobody is deceived. With Wolfgang Schäuble until now, with a liberal Finance Minister to be installed, Germany will remain the dominant power in Western Europe and will continue to impose on the rest its so-called ‘model’.

Since 1991, successive French governments have pushed the inane imagery of the ‘Franco-German couple’, though they have been content to be had and to be reduced to vassalage by Berlin, and though they have consigned the European Union to become a ‘German production platform’ – to use the expression of economist Olivier Passet.(3) Passet recently noted that Germany has more than one quarter of the EU’s industry and 37% of the euro zone’s industry. This power has been acquired courtesy of the euro and the colonization of Central and Eastern Europe – countries assigned to sub-contracting status and which assure to Germany an effective weight of 40% in the industry of the EU.

Thanks to its economic domination, Germany imposes a model resolutely antisocial. The ‘exemplary’ Germany – characterized by its export orientation, its budget surplus, its low unemployment rate, its low indebtedness (a champion of the non-payment of its debts in the 20th Century) – is a country where [since 2005 under Merkel] the percentage of the population under the poverty threshold has grown by 54% in ten years, where the working poor has doubled in number in ten years, where the number of workers doing two jobs has increased by 80% in twelve years, and where the percentage of retirees under the poverty threshold has increased by 30% in ten years [Eurostat figures].

In France, the pro-Germany clan doesn’t want to see or couldn’t care less about the social regression in Germany. It wants to imitate Germany’s commercial success without understanding its specific conditions – monetary and neo-colonial – and without seeing that the German governing class wants above all to insist that German national interests prevail. For Berlin, the EU is a means. For the Parisienne caste, ‘Europe’ is an end to which it comes to sacrifice Alstom and for which it will sacrifice more and more of the middle and popular classes on the altar of ultraliberal ‘reforms’.

Emmanuel Macron believes in this ‘Europe’ that he wants to reforge in alienating our national sovereignty within a European sovereignty.(4) At Athens, at Paris, at Tallinn, he has delivered carefully written speeches, rich in blandishments intended to make us neglect the exchange: domestic reforms in the supposedly German mold to accompany the reform of the euro zone.(5) Angela Merkel has politely responded that the idea was interesting but the liberals [Free Democrats] have insisted that Germany could not finance the debts of the South. The other propositions of the French President are, for the most part, rejected by our other partners.

It’s a flop. After the Tallinn summit [29 September], the Élysée has stopped referring to the French ‘plan’. It resigns itself to waiting for the formation of a new German government as it had waited for the outcome of the German elections. Committed Germanophiles, Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will continue to collaborate with Germany, but on terms dictated by the Chancellor and her Finance Minister. But the former will continue to speak the same language at summit meetings as if the comedies of the moribund Union must be perpetuated without end.

Bertrand Renouvin is the founder of Nouvelle Action Royaliste. He edits the NAR’s bi-monthly Royaliste and blogs at bertrand-renouvin.fr, where this article appeared on 2 October.

Translated by Evan Jones

Translator Notes

(1) The AfD won 94 seats, of a total of 709, in the 24 September elections for the Bundestag, its first representation at the federal level.

(2) The term ‘liberal’ has a different meaning to the conventional American usage. It refers to the economic prerogatives of capital and has no ‘progressive’ connotations.

(3) Olivier Passet, ‘Une Europe vassalisée sous plateforme allemande’, Xerfi Canal, 18 September 2017.

(4)There was a representative kerfuffle in early October when the France Insoumise Deputies led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon tabled an amendment (supported by the Front National) to remove the EU flag (as a divisive symbol) from the National Assembly, where it has paired with the French flag for the last ten years. Mélenchon referred to the flag’s inappropriate presence when the Assembly first met on 27 June. Macron instead wants to quickly sign an agreement that ensures that it cannot be removed from public buildings.

(5) President Macron is pushing for closer European coordination (regarding defense, immigration, banking oversight, tax policies for the IT giants) and closer European integration. On the latter, he wants a sizeable eurozone budget – not least to manage economic instability – and an accompanying Finance Minister. Macron has also argued for a separate fund that can finance public investment. A eurozone budget and a discretionary European fund at this stage have no chance of being accorded a favorable reception. In any case, any institutional changes would remain under German control and the relation of a eurozone budget with the 1992 austerity-necklace Maastricht Agreement has not been raised. Apparently, Pierre Moscovici has already put his hand up for the non-existent job. Mosco, Hollande’s Finance Minister 2012-14 and subsequently European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, is the ‘ideal’ candidate. Early in life a Trotskyist, he is representative of the Parti Socialiste nomenklatura who took the Parti Socialiste from being in effective command of all levels of the governmental apparatus in mid-2012 (Halimi, Counterpunch, 4 April 2017) to a rump Party five years later. It is also rather anomalous, indeed bizarre, that Macron should advance a European ‘pump priming’ facility when his domestic agenda entails the extinguishing of any positive public initiative whatsoever, including the dismantling of any institution capable of fostering it, in the supposed regeneration of the French economy.

More articles by:

November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail