Nee! to the 'capitalist locusts'
Dutch voters have rejected the ECT even more emphatically than the French - 63 per cent against on a 62 per cent turnout, according to an exit poll projection broadcast by NOS television.
Anyone got a fork? This turkey is done.
Salvaging what they can from the French referendum, the blinkered inhabitants of Planet Mandelson - where they breathe not oxygen but unfiltered, vanilla-scented and compressed neo-liberalism sponsored by Evian - are trumpeting the fact that while it may be true that all but nine départements in the country voted Non, urbaine, cosmopolitaine, educated
Demographic maps have appeared in Libération shading the various regions according to the strength of the Oui or Non votes that, I think, are intended to echo those fearsomely-red-with-a-few-tiny-blue-speckly-bits maps that appeared shortly after the
This is an oversimplification (as indeed was the U.S. Democrat hipster-vs-bumpkin analysis, but for different reasons) that only elites consciously untethered to reality can produce. It may be true that (wealthy) centre/centre-west
It is these elites - both main parties, all the major newspapers, business and trade union leaders all called for a Oui vote - in
The struggle has not reached such a fever pitch in the
Spain has calmed down, but only after a leftish social democrat - who was only ever intended by Partido Socialista grandees to be a place holder while they got their act together to find a suitable candidate for the following elections they thought they could win - was swept into office by a volcanic eruption of anger at Aznar's exploitation of the Atocha Station bombing in which 191 people were killed.
The German elite too, are shaken. Three years ago, the unpopular SPD Chancellor and Teutonic proponent of the
'I am criticising all those who think they can pick whatever they need out of any company,' Müntefering said. 'And they do it without thinking about the employees and all the people who are affected by their decisions.'
What is notable here is that, while there was never any question that the SPD is not committed to neo-liberalism, and that they too, like their brethren in the Commission and amongst French elites, dismiss the left of the left as economic luddites, they KNOW that anti-capitalist rhetoric is popular. As indeed it proved. Müntefering's words opened up a grand debate throughout the country on not merely neo-liberalism or labour market 'reform' or globalisation, but capitalism itself, by God. The antikapitalismus debate exploded across the German media, with the usual suspects foreign and domestic - the Economist, the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal - as aghast as a pursed-lipped spinster at Müntefering's fart in church.
Some fifteen years after the pronounced 'End of History', anti-capitalism is not merely not dismissed out of hand but is used as a ploy of a decadent social democratic party desperate to cling onto power. Socialism, red in tooth and claw - as Tommy Sheridan didn't say first - is back, baby.
Although Müntefering's gambit did shore up some of their traditional supporters, the Social Democrats went down to defeat in the state for the first time in 39 years.
Now, voters are sometimes not a terribly rational lot. They regularly vote for conservatives because they are fed up with social democrats who sell them out - as if conservatives would be any better. And indeed, Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats are certain to win the general election, brought forward to this autumn by the despondent Schröder in a bit of a last-ditch gamble. Not five years ago, remember, 12 out of the then 15 European governments were headed by social democratic parties, in what was comprehensively viewed as a reaction to the monetarist governments of the eighties and nineties. Electorates were disappointed, but they have not all uniformly moved further leftward. And elsewhere, the far right is as capable as the left of making hay of the current economic malaise.
However, interestingly, just as when liberals talk about getting tough on immigration it is Tories who benefit, and when Tories talk tough on immigration, it is the BNP that benefits - why vote for the imitation, when you can vote for the Real Thing? - similarly, why vote for Social Democrats playing at anti-capitalism when you can vote for genuine anti-capitalists? And so it proved in North Rhine-Westphalia. Die Wahlalternative - Arbeit & Soziale Gerechtigkeit (WASG) - the new German far left regroupment project, bringing together the far left and left-wing ('Old Labour'-type) social democrats on the model of the SSP, the Left Bloc and the (remaining) Socialist Alliances around the world - had not formed but weeks before the election. They campaigned, but only as much as any political party that is a only handful of fortnights old can campaign, but yet, with neither time nor money on their side, they won an average of 2.2 per cent of the vote.
Further, in the wake of the state elections, Oskar Lafontaine, the popular SPD left-winger who resigned as finance minister and quit Schröder's government in 1999, disappointed at the rightward trajectory of his party, has called on the new WASG to run on a joint ticket with the PDS, the former communists, refounded as left-ish social democrats (who, nonetheless, when in coalition with the SPD on the Berlin city council, are as committed as any Blairite to privatisation and cutbacks), and said if such a pact were achieved, he would join them to run against Schröder.
The key for us within the next ten years is to link up across the nations of
Capital is mobile, so should we be.
Meanwhile, across the world, in the landlocked little country of
N.B. I've been following the French referendum for some time in the French press, and, of course, it's unavoidable in the conversation here in Brussels, but I'm afraid I can only just about order a beer and ask for directions to the toilets in Dutch, so if people have details on the nature of the Nee vote in the Netherlands, I would appreciate the analysis or links (Martin? Any ideas? Also - why did Groen Links back the constitution?)