Monday, June 13, 2016

Brexit Winning + General Strike Tomorrow in France

Good news. Recent polls show the "Leave" campaign moving ahead in the upcoming June 23 Brexit referendum. Yves Smith summarizes in this morning's must read, "Why a Leave Vote May Not Result in a Brexit":
The officialdom in England and in much of the rest of the advanced world is suddenly in alarm over the possibility of a Brexit. US Treasury yields sank last Friday as investors ran for cover, and the flight to safety continued today as a surge in the yen led to a 3% fall in the Nikkei. 
The UK's elites had been confident that frequent, loud “Don’t Touch That Dial” warnings, with vivid descriptions of all of the horrors that would ensue, would herd voters into line well before the June 23 polling date. 
Instead, an online poll commissioned by the Independent showed the Leave campaign to be winning by a stunning 55% to 45%. That revelation coming on top of weak economic data from the US, put Mr. Market in a funk. The Financial Times’ “poll of polls” puts Leave in the lead by a smaller margin, 46% to 44%. 
Moreover, the sense is that with only 10 days to the decision date, the Leave campaign is gaining momentum. The Conservatives have realized that having a bunch of toffs, big banks, and intrusive foreign leaders tell British citizens how economically damaging a Brexit would be seems only to have persuaded voters at most that the people at the top of the food chain would take a hit. Voters seem to be in a bloody-minded enough mood to be willing to take a hit if they can inflict some pain on their putative leaders and take the banking classes down a notch or two. Another sentiment (and one that the elites appear to deny) is that voters are willing to pay an economic cost, even a large one, for more national sovereignty. So now Labor leaders have been moved to the front line of the sales campaign.
Smith goes on to describe the likely scenario of Brexit winning at the polls -- a re-vote after the EU grants a few more concessions. It has happened before in Denmark and Ireland.

I think Smith has it right. And it must noted that she was incredibly accurate last summer in her assessment of the phoniness of Syriza. So, as I said, good news. It looks as if the EU, feckless enabler of U.S. hegemony and enforcer of neoliberal orthodoxy, is about to sustain a body blow.

Smith quotes Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail, "The British people have risen at last - and we're about to unleash chaos":
It has been a mystery to me that these voters stayed loyal to organisations that repeatedly spat on them from a great height. Labour doesn’t love the poor. It loves the London elite. The Tories don’t love the country. They love only money. The referendum, in which the parties are split and uncertain, has freed us all from silly tribal loyalties and allowed us to vote instead according to reason. We can all vote against the heedless, arrogant snobs who inflicted mass immigration on the poor (while making sure they lived far from its consequences themselves). And nobody can call us ‘racists’ for doing so. That’s not to say that the voters are ignoring the actual issue of EU membership as a whole. As I have known for decades, this country has gained nothing from belonging to the European Union, and lost a great deal. 
If Zambia can be independent, why cannot we? If membership is so good for us, why has it been accompanied by savage industrial and commercial decline? If the Brussels system of sclerotic, centralised bureaucracy is so good, why doesn’t anyone else in the world adopt it?
Compare Hitchens' piece with the shallow, laughable fear-mongering of NYT's cold warrior Roger Cohen, "Europe and the Unthinkable," and you understand what thin ice the reigning paradigm is erected upon. Cohen creates an image of a Putin bogeyman waiting eagerly for the Europe Union to come undone so he can swallow up the Baltic nations, and he celebrates the power and coherence of Atlanticism by describing Samantha Powers, one of the architects of R2P and the chaos in Libya, sharing the stage in Berlin with Dr. Strangelove:
I listened the other evening at the American Academy in Berlin as Henry Kissinger, the personification of realpolitik, insisted that the “necessity of the coherence of the Atlantic world” had become “even greater.” With him was the American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, the recipient of this year’s Kissinger Prize — and long the personification of liberal interventionist idealism. In many ways they formed a strange duo. But their togetherness was also a statement: That, until now, America’s postwar European and internationalist commitment has held across the foreign policy spectrum.

Realpolitik and idealism meet in the unity of Europe. The unthinkable, on both sides of the Atlantic, must be resisted before it is too late.
The unthinkable is that the status quo, based as it is on a paradigm that has been juiced out since the millennium, should be allowed to continue. In order to remain in power and keep the paradigm intact rulers are subjecting the planet to an increasing number of wars and failed states while the media monopoly engages in Goebbels-like crass propaganda.

Case in point, try to find some decent reporting of what is going on in France with all the strikes brought on by the El Khomri law. You won't find it in the mainstream media. You have to go to the Marxist press like the World Socialist Web Site or Workers World.

A general strike is set for tomorrow in France as the Senate begins debate today.

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