Tag Archives: Europe

The long read: Brexit – After thoughts


It’s a “I want to divorce!” not just thrown in the face of the European Union, about whom it is difficult to say how much the people do care, but also, and most importantly for them, from the UK to the UK itself. So of course, there are the usual steps of copying: surprise, anger, denial, inner fighting and inner questioning. However, when there could be a way to find peace and solutions, all I see is bitterness and even greater divide.

The Remainers.

They are the divorcee but the ones I blamed the most. They did not fight enough: arrogance? hubris? taking results granted? “Even a simpleton would see it’s bad to leave”, one said to me. They are the ones who thought they had the upper-hand on all aspects of the marriage, felt threatened towards the end but as they never thought they’d have to try and convince anyone, it was too late. They failed and never managed to convince its disgruntled other half to go along with what they think is the best for both.

Of course they are sore losers. Who wouldn’t? They genuinely believe that their vision is the way forward, not just for themselves but for everyone: old and young, poor and rich, natives and migrants, here or there, alive or to be born.

So, yes, they are sore and hurting. As a European in heart and mind, I understand it goes far beyond saying “yes” or “no” to some what kind of food we want to import or tax rates. It’s about their future falling apart. For them everything is gone by now. Hopes and dreams they never bothered to communicate have been replaced by fear their leaders played on. It backfired, they are the ones to be dreading and angry, not the opposite side.

What I don’t understand is the violence with which they are now attacking the Brexiters who are all dismissed as daft peasants whose racism and xenophobia equal their inability to see what’s good for them. They are good for nothing, they know nothing. Just check..everywhere! “Old”, “without a degree”, “poor”, “illiterate”, “easily fooled”, “intolerant”…

Who are you to talk about tolerance when you are happy to dismiss the choice of a majority and/or demand to be heard again because you have convinced yourself that only you know better?

For me, London encompasses what Remainers are sadly becoming. They could change their old ways of disdain for others whilst contemplating their own achievements and start to listen so they could find empathy and try to find solutions. They could stop looking down on whoever thinks differently and insult everyone who has different views because this is actually part of what lead the second city of the country to vote “Leave”.

The Remainers could try to accept and rebuild under their own terms, if they are so powerful and clever. No, instead, they are dismissing the choice of 52% of voters because it’s not their own, they are wishing the worse on them all the while pushing for a referendum that, this time, will be binding because they are convinced the results will satisfy them, they are pushing their beloved self-appointed beacon of civilisation (London) to part ways with the rest of that “stupid, outdated, backward-looking, good-for-nothing and racist’ country. Not a good way to rebuild and be strong as one.

I might be the harshest on them because I expect better from my peers. And I also know they will manage to get the better out of this situation because they do have the intellectual, economic and political means so instead of punishing the other half, be a better person and try to mend your ways.


The Brexiters

The divorcer. They want out, they are fed up, they want their country back, whatever that means.

It’s difficult to picture a Brexiter because I know many and none of them are the same person and I can’t help but feeling that they are going to be the worst affected by this decision and I do have pity for them before anger.

They are the  xenophobes, the ones who unforgivably blame their own failure on foreigners, but they are also foreigners themselves. I know people from outside the EU who say they voted “Leave” because it’s not changing anything as far as they are concerned, but also because they have grown fed up of being told they were stealing British jobs. “Make the continentals go and see if those lazy Brits will actually accept to do their job…That should shake the rust off their racist back!”

The first ones believed Nigel Farage, the seconds bought happily to the Tory rhetoric of skiver vs strivers. They watch Benefit Street populated by lazy white people living the good life on benefits while they are working 15hrs/day to barely make a living and be able to diligently pay their taxes.

I am fascinated by Brexiters as I am trying to understand the scale of their wilful self-harm. A self-harm that comes with a smile and cheer. Why? For months, I have read and watched a lot about them, I have listened to them a lot and there is complete blindness and simplistic thinking in desperation.

There is foolishness too and a gob-smacking amount of narrow-mindness, especially within the older generation, the same who voted “IN” in 1970s and who refuses see the world for what it really is. I am not talking about accepting neo-capitalism and its jungle-like fight for survival for they are the first to champion these views. I am talking about this bovine refusal to leave a time that is not anymore.

When you hear them chanting “Great Britain will be great again”, you see the colonial past behind it where England was dominating everything: if not the world, at least the British Isles. They want to go back to a time before Brussels came in and forced London, not only to cough up the cash, but mostly to consider the other nations of the UK and devote them some power.

Today, they are happy. England is still at the wheel. Scotland said IN, they said OUT…It’s OUT then. Brilliant, we are still in control and will forever be now. Everybody’s happy.

But beyond the nostalgia of the ones who love to rewrite history they never bothered to learn because they “lived it”, there is the desperation of the ones who believed what they were told, did everything they were told to do and got nothing in return. Because they had nothing and still have nothing, they firstly did not buy to the Cassandras in the Remain Camp predicting economic Armageddon. For them, it’s a reality, not an oracle. Nothing has been, is and will be going to be better for them, nor their children and that’s they cannot see that the UK is what it is because of its own politicians, not because of Europe.

Yes, I do feel pity for these ones because they were, once again, used and abused by the ones fighting for power.


The politicians.

In a nutshell, when you play with fire you are going to get burnt.

First, Tories and Labour, forty years of blaming the EU for every single of your own unpopular policy is not going to be wiped out within two months of lukewarm campaigning. We like to say that people don’t listen to politicians anymore, it’s true. Most Brexiters think Farage and Johnson are as corrupted and deceiving as the leaders of the Remain camp. But in the long term, words do sink in. The 2010 and 2015 Tory victories were won on scaremongering about immigration, “EU diktats” and making Britain great again. Labour has found nothing better to do than join in or remain silent in fear of losing the votes.

The Brexiters did nothing except believe the endless Brussels bashing and finger-pointing London has been doing since the day it entered. Just look at the opinion of Europe since 1973 and it’s constantly going down, governments after governments. I think the only thing we can admire the Liberal Democrats for is to have always proudly advertised their pro-Europeans stance.

The Labour? Well, it should be ashamed to have let the Tories take control of the debate on the EU they actually endorse. Yes, their reputation is in tatters after they left their own voters behind, became aloof and ignoring of what people wanted (the No to the war in Iraq) but they went the easy way. They could have regained dignity breaking away with Blair and his murderous and corrupted cronies. Only Labour can be the link between the elite and the working class today, through unions mostly, so they could have educated their voters on the benefits of the EU everytime the Tories went on the attack since the 1970s. However, they made the mistake of leaving it to people to figure out the Conservatives were lying and when the damage was done, they became scared of alienating their few voters left further so they just joined the half-baked and outlandish scaremongering of the Tories. No hopes, just fears. That’s not what the Left should be selling.

Speaking of fears, Cameron eventually paid the price by wanting to ride the ones of the voters for political gain. I talked about it earlier but something did not add up during this frankly daft campaign. Europe went from the source of all evil in 2014 to the best thing that has ever happened to the UK in mid-2016. I know he was trying to straddle every Tory fences and have it both ways. We talked about him maybe being a political genius in managing such a feat. No, he became yet another victim of his own making by lighting the fire under a slow-cooker with no pressure valve called “Populism.”

Farage’s and Johnson’s reputations precede them but Cameron is now going to be the one who triggered the end of the United Kingdom and serves him right.


The media.

Two words: excruciatingly appalling. I am not talking about tabloids, they think publishing pictures of Xabi Alonso’s half-naked toddling daughters playing on the beach is in the public interest just because their faces are pixelated.

I am talking about the newspapers. Even the Guardian, my favourite. The analysis has been fantastic since the Leave vote but where were they before? Even the most serious newspapers threw proper journalistic investigation to the wind and became an open platform for both side’s dismal scaremongering. I got so fed up with the Guardian’s daily “Armageddon is coming with Leave” that I almost wrote to them to ask them if their columnists had been locked in the basement so no one could actually analyse what was behind the terrible forecasts they were made.

We had a couple of good analysis on how ridiculous it was for the Remain camp to bring in the big guns (Chiefs of IMF, Bank of England, NATO, EU…) to pile up the fear of voting Leave on the poor neighbourhoods of Northern England for the people, even Remainers, distrust these unelected elites and aloof institutions in the first place.

In the face of abysmally poor political debate, I was expecting the serious press to be there to inform us, to guide us and I truly believe the outcome of the vote would have been different had they done their job properly of informing and educating the adults. Instead, they set themselves as nothing but a relay for one or the other side.

The EU.

We’ll be fine. We’ll kick out the UK asap with harsh negotiations to ensure no one else is tempted to leave and regroup as 27. Notwithstanding, there is now only hope that the elite reflects (for more than 2 weeks before the holidays!) and understands that populism is nothing to be dismissed or used for political gain. It is a time bomb waiting to explode. People who are afraid are not all racists or xenophobes, people who hate are not all bad in essence and deserve to be ignored, people who rebel are not all a threat and the majority’s silence does not mean it agrees with you.

We say France is next. I would not be surprised. All above is exactly what is happening with a man who think his winning the majority of votes in 2012 gives him the right to discard his promises, betray his supporters, disregard his own people’s opinions, force laws through the parliament without debate and without even consulting his own rebelling party, and drag everyone who dares fight in the dirt, when not hitting them directly.

This Leave vote is first and foremost a shout to the aloof, down-looking, self-righteous and dismissing elite so it is time people are listened to – which does not mean we have to agree with them. But we need to take time to know them, to educate and stop rushing through for our own greatness (every country wants its EU presidency to remembered) and in the name of “superseding considerations people would not understand”. We will understand, just explain. Yes, it takes time but it will eventually prevent such vote that brings down 40 years of hard work.


The UK

Right now, there is healing to be done in the UK. They will never amount to anything if they can’t manage to find a way to be one again. I don’t hold on too many hopes, though.

Firstly because I am convinced Scotland and Northern Ireland are going to break away. When the Tories were elected in 2015, I said it would open a fascinating time as a historian for Scotland and NI would not put up with London’s overbearing unique voice anymore, not with Brussels acting as a shield. Putting up with Tory governments and ministers they have no elected is one thing, being forced out of the EU they want to keep because it made them the proud nations they are today is another and one they will never accept.

Now there is England and Wales plagued by infighting, anger, denial and hatred. Remainers want a new referendum. How can they be so sure people would vote like they want? Why would the second one be more biding than the first one which was an electoral promise kept and planned months in advance by the democratically elected Prime Minister? What if the result is indeed different? What would stop the Brexiters from launching another petition signed by millions for a third one? When will it stop ?

There is talk of forcing the Stay through the Parliament but Cameron was clear on that : the people has spoken. What best way is there to push people towards the extremes by, yet again, having Westminster ignoring the voice of the masses and doing whatever it likes because the outcomes is displeasing them?

Cameron has jumped the boat he stirred into the rocks, the Tories are already tearing each other to piece to get a new leader by October. The Lib Dems are dead silent. The Labour is in disarray as it is its voters in its heartlands that helped the Eurosceptic get what they always wanted. This vote was also a punishment on Tony Blair and his New Labour for it has embraced overbearing London and chummed up with the financial elite to the detriment of the working class. How can they reconnect now?

The Remain campaign said the country would sink if they left. Today, England and Wales need to prove all the forecasts wrong by being strong and united to get make the most of a bad situation. Instead, they are as weak and divided as ever, creating the perfect conditions for the planned Armageddon to happen.


20 years down the drain

I have been a Europhile for the past 20 years.

When I was 11, I decided that I was not a Frenchman born in Versailles rather a European born in France.

I have believed in Europe. I have loved Europe. I have fought for Europe. I have defended and argued in favour of Europe. In 2005, I shouted, cried and ranted so much in favour of a Yes vote to the French ratification of the European Constitution that it seemed I had taken the weight of a continent on my shoulder.

I have believed in Europe for I have been convinced that we indeed had finally put our fratricidal past behind us. That we have learnt from it. That we have learnt to stop pointing fingers at each other, constantly trying to get pay back and to avenge something that was done to us before.

I have believed in Europe because we were ready to try and work together so we can truly help each other and find new ways, new solutions, new beginnings.

I have believed in Europe because I have had the conviction that after our centuries-long enterprise of bleeding and burning the whole world to its knee, we had matured, changed our ways and now have had to show the world that our past selves were wrong and we can indeed live together in solidarity and peace. Because at the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters, and only dysfunctional families are ready to disown and let their kin die alone.

I have believed that these dark times were behind us.

Why? Because that’s what I was taught Europe was for.

Ever since I was born, I have listened to teachers, politicians, philosophers, journalists, writers, my mother telling me about the mission Europe has: to defend democracy against its enemies, whatever their shape or disguise, to protect its citizens against the peril of misery, humiliation, famine, economical decadence for our past had shown all too well whither such plights always lead.

I have argued for the past 20 years that Europe is humanity’s one chance to show that the world is not the unforgiving, ruthless jungle the neo-capitalists like to portray to justify their murderous greed. I have argued that being together and talking about problems, rather than bringing each other down to brutal and silent submission with weapons or bank account closures, is the proof that we are actually naturally inclined to working together, to helping each other.

For the past 20 years, I have fought for a Europe that would finally put the people in charge of their fate above politics and money. A place where the everyday man, woman and child will not have to suffer from the bad decisions that were made from above, without or against their consent because everything will be in their hands.

I have had a dream of a Europe where we, the people, could genuinely decide our fate in a truly democratic system. A system that would value, respect and listen to the opinion of the citizens it relies on in order to ensure the life they live is the life they actually choose.

For 20 years, I have replied to its critics by saying that yes, it is not perfect, but we are working on it and that everything that is being done is for the good of the European people. I have said time and again that at the end of day, the European Union is and will be true to what it preaches: a transparent democracy dedicated to us, to our better life and better future. A genuine democracy that will only serve the genuine interest of the people.

Today, it’s 20 years down the drain.

Today, I am shattered, angry, disappointed and ashamed.

Today, I can’t believe I bought into all these fancy concepts politicians had been throwing around to get us on board a project that, eventually and again!, turned out to only serve the rich and powerful.

Today, I cannot believe I fell for it. I feel like such a fool.

Today, Europe has proven to be ruled by money. Again. It’s nothing new. And I have been used, abused, deceived and mislead.

Today, in the name of democracy and the better future, the people of Greece, a democracy itself, will see €50bn worth of “valuable” public assets taken away from them and from their democratically elected politicians forever. They will never see them again because investors are refusing to embrace the monster they are themselves feeding, they are refusing the first rule of capitalism as defined by their beloved Adam Smith: you have to take risks and tough beans if you fail.

Today, the democratically-based European Union has made the decision to turn a blind eye and to forsake its fundamentals and ideals of democracy, citizenship, freedom, sovereignty, equality, solidarity to give way to the Eurozone and its unelected and unaccountable, financial ilk: the Eurogroup and the ECB, seconded by the almighty IFM, where Washington holds 16% of the vote when 85% are needed to reach an agreement.

Today, the European Union has made the conscious decision to disregard the voice of the Greeks, to betray all of its citizens and prove its enemies right by what it calls the Monetary Snake destroy a hard-earned democratic sovereignty.

The European Union is now nothing less that the League of Nations Wilson had created after WWI to ensure “peace and prosperity” in Europe but which silently oversaw Germany being sacrificed on the shrine of peace because it was in fact dominated by France and all the other winners of said war and they all had a bone to pick with the evil Germans.

It did not matter that Germany was a young and fragile democracy, like Greece, which, like Greece again, had become the complete opposite of the autocratic regime it was before the war. It was not enough. We needed more to soother our grievance and the League of Nations gladly let Germany suffer to oblivion in the hands of its creditors. All because everyone seemed to agree that they were at the time the biggest threat to our peace and prosperity.

Like Greece today with its bailout, the puny democratic power was forced to accept every single humiliating, undermining and dangerous clauses of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. This treaty would legalise further humiliation and would force the country’s economy to its knees as it faced having to literally pay back all the damaged it had caused.

I remember reading about the rise of Hitler and the fall of Weimar when I was 15. I remember reading about the invasion and occupation of the Rhur by the French in 1922 that triggered the spiralling downfall. A unilateral and unstopped decision made on the basis that Paris was not getting the money Berlin was supposed to pay back on time.  I remember reading about the endless vicious circle of the young German republic’s economy, its hands tied in the back by this peace-preaching League of Nation led by vengeful winners.

In history lessons, we are repeated again and again that all these measures to ensure Germany would rightly pay for what it has “alone” caused was one of the main cause of WWII as it pushed Hitler to be democratically elected in 1933. In the name of peace, the League – like the EU today – never lifted a finger, on the contrary, it became the accomplice.

I have believed in Europe because I have thought we had understood this. And we had, for a moment. After WWII, all countries, including Greece, agreed that the stupid war reparations and the finger-pointing at one people and blaming it above all others were creating nothing but ever-growing antagonism, hatred and resentment. It was making us ever weaker. We needed to work together so we cancelled the debt. We had matured. I thought…


However, today it’s Versailles and the occupation of the Rhur again. The people of Greece are facing with exit and misery or endless misery in the hands of the people they were taught and told to trust.  In the 1920s, the League of Nations just watched as we pushed Germany down the drain and now, in the 2010s, the European Union just spectates as we push Greece down the drain.

The banks want their money back after eight years of bad investments they gladly jumped on and austerity they happily championed, all without results they swore would show. Regardless of all the hurt they have been doing to Greece since 2008, no matter that Greece is now enduring a situation akin to the US before Roosevelt decided to make the State intervene, they are now going to get what they want and dismantle the State even more. End of.

How? By using the one bit of Europe that has never been touched by democracy yet: the Euro and its institutions. These have been called to openly overrule Greece’s democratic regime, like we did with Germany in 1922 as the banks are getting ready to open the tilt and take whatever they think ought to be theirs whether the Greeks agree or not.

When it comes to greed and destructive capitalism, history has taught us nothing. Once again, we have set countries against each other, people each other, North v South in a flourish of damaging, uneducated stereotypes feeding endless xenophobia for throwing their people against their people is the best way economics has found to hide the fact that we actually have nothing to say on the matter.

20 years.

Until weeks ago, I was still arguing that we were truly looking for a solution that would benefit the people above all but now that “we have a deal”, I don’t believe it anymore. Until weeks ago, I was still arguing against the people who were saying that our leaders were not interested in working for the great and good of everyone, rather just for themselves. But today, I am not sure especially when I see the ones shouting victory in the name of the union.

Wolfgang Schäuble, for instance, is righteously standing there telling us that it’s all about saving the union, it’s about fairness and doing the right thing, it’s about the sake of the other millions of us but then it turns out that the tax heaven-based private company which will be handling the Greek public assets and managing the burning sales is chaired by him.

To me, this man’s commitment into ensuring Greece pays every single cent given with interests is actually driven by his desire to get a piece of the cake. The biggest one, in that. And no one is lifting a finger! The fate of millions of people, from new-born babies to ageing grandmothers is resting in his sole hands, despite the Greeks refusal and I hear “Bravo!”.

Junker, as the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, spent years resisting, fighting and lobbying against clearer, better defined, more integrated European tax laws that would put an end to his country playing with the system and remaining a tax-heaven and now he’s standing there on his plinth of hypocrisy telling us that the Greeks are only reaping what they sowed by not playing by the rules. And no one is lifting a finger!

And our leaders. They have been calling us to vote during European elections because it is “our future”. We have been told that our voice matters and will make a difference. Yes, that’s until money is involved and suddenly there are superseding considerations we cannot possibly understand so our voice is irrelevant. Is that their idea of democracy? You serve the people unless you get scared, ignore us, serve the markets alone, screw it up but because we did vote for you, it’s actually our fault so we pay the prize for generations to come.

I have come to understand they are calling us to vote just to be able to lecture Russia or China from their high horse when shit hits the fan. “At least, I am here by the will of the power…I don’t care for it says but I am better than you.”

20 years that I have been defending a fraud, the building of a union that clearly puts its cherished, richest few before the livelihood of millions of its citizens because they have convinced themselves and trapped themselves in an economic understanding where they have reduced the States to irrelevance so these very few are now the only, untouchable, precious key to our well-being.

Today, however, it’s not time for me to argue for the destruction of the union.

I am now a Euro-sceptic because I trust what is accountable to the people, which the Euro institutions are not. There are the enemy of social-democracy.

I am not however a Europe-sceptic. I still want to believe in the dream because I am socialist. Call me utopist, drag me in the dirt, frankly do your worst if it makes you happy.

If democracy cannot express illusions and crazy hopes; if it cannot contain narratives of emotion and ideals, it dies. – Paul Mason

The time has come to make the union accountable to what it has been preaching: democracy, solidarity, equality, peace and well-being of its people above all else.

It is time to change properties: to fight against the Euro and for the European Union.

This is why we built the European Union

Warsaw, 1945.

I long hesitated on which city to choose and what to show: the burning pile of bodies of 1945 Dresden, the children walking in the streets of Berlin, the lone standing churches of Rotterdam, Cologne or Arras, the omnipresence of Death during the Siege of Lenigrad, the scale of destruction at Stanligrad but I decided to go for Poland for it had become, during the war, the pit of human-made horror.

This picture is why we built the European Union.

We built the European Union so we could create a place where countries were so dependent on us each that we would never be able to settle our differences by scores of death and destruction anymore.

We built the European Union on the bodies of 60 million people so that after millennia of fratricidal wars, we could finally accept that we were different yet the same. Before the EU, our autocratic regimes then nationalism and fascism had made us believe that our differences meant we would never get along and the only we had to find a solution a problem that seemed unsolvable was to take arms, mobilise men as young as 14 and throw them with ever-greater force on the top of each other for generals and leaders to see who had suffered the least damage and could therefore claim victory.

We built the European Union so we could, for the very first time in the history of humanity, find a truly civilised alternative to death as a referee to our differences of opinion, belief, ideology, form of political regime, culture, language and ruling dynasty. One will say that European countries are still using the old men-world methods outside. It’s true and I am the first one to be ashamed of it but it has also showed the world that it was possible to think and do differently and ever since it has been created, countries all over the world have decided to more or less give it a go from South American countries to the Far-East

We built European Union on the idea that by being together, we would always be stronger, individually and collectively, than by constantly trying to overcome our neighbour’s perceived power. Like a V-sign to the English-world’s 19th century conception of the laws of Nature, competition against the other powerful and destruction of the mild are not the only way forward anymore. Even in the midst of the worst economic crisis we have ever known, the European Union as an entity is still the richest, economically most powerful and geographically best-integrated and most tolerant place in the world. The erstwhile ridiculed idea of solidarity as a power has made its way for the great and the good.

Now, yes, it is not perfect. Yes, it is riddled witg forces  trying to use and abuse it for their own purpose. Yes, it has to live with the cancer of racism, intolerance and accept in its very core forces that want, and maybe will, eventually destroy it but, in that aspect, it is no different than any other democracy. These forces were, are and will always be there whether we work as one or alone within our own little, supposedly opaque and foreign-proof borders. So we may as well work as one to resist them.

Yes, it’s difficult everyday but no one said it would be easy. At the end of this memorial day, let’s remember that the European Union has managed to rethink how we deal with each other: with diplomacy, negotiation and talking. It has brought 27 countries nursing hundreds of different languages, dialects, cultures and sensibilities together in a way that has never been done before and it is getting them to finally talk to solve problems. The European Union has forced countries to accept and promote differences, cultures and languages in and out of their borders. Before the EU, these countries and regions only saw one thing in each of its neighbour and dissidence: a threat. So every single one of them only saw one possibility when it came to dealing with it: wars and destruction. Wars to get what you thought was yours, wars to protect what you believed was yours.

Yes, talking and talking and talking takes more time than getting a gun out and killing the person you are arguing with in order to win the argument. Yes, talks and talks and talks are less flashy, exciting and newsworthy than a “good old bloody war” when it comes to printing newspapers that need to attract readers. Some good old scattered bodies, dead babies in the arms of crying, blood-covered mothers is so much fancier but that’s why we built the European Union, so would never have to deal with it anymore, on our land to begin with, and maybe eventually the world.

Yes, it seems to be getting nowhere in Ukraine but it does. Believe me, as an historian, it would have taken barely a month for the WWIII to happen if we had kept our old ways of dealing with things. With all the Western Europe and all its allies up in arms against Russia and all its allies, with countries in Eastern Europe bullied into taking side and turned into an Orwellian battlefield. All because a handful of Russian separatists were more comfortable with a docile, Russia-friendly Ukraine and believe life is only worth living under the umbrella of Moscow.

The European Union has allowed someone like me to have never seen Death reaping, to have never been forced to take a gun and kill a complete stranger because I was told to and in my mind, it was him or me. It has sheltered generations of people from the trauma of killing another human being, of having to hide from oblivion and see their entire life reduced to dust. It has taught us that fighting is not the solution as it does not solve problems in the long-term, rather creating resentment and the nationalistic dream of revenge. It has taught us that laying a punch will not make your opponent admit defeat forever, just long enough make you believe you won until he thinks he has become stronger enough to lay the punch back.

On this day, when we remember that more than 20 million people from the USSR have been slaughtered to free Europe, that more than 10 million German, French, Polish, Dutch, Belgian, Danish, Czech, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, Greek Jews, Muslims, Christians, Socialists, Communists, gypsies, gays and lesbians, young and old, men and women, healthy and disabled people were imprisoned, enslaved, starved, tortured, used as lab rats and systematically killed because they supposedly were not fitting a race, an ideology, a vision of nationalism…On this day, we shall never forget that this is why we build the European Union. So it never happens again!

It is now your mission as well as mine to protect the EU, to believe in it, to remember its true purpose.

It is essential we resist the voices of the destructive forces I mentioned earlier. These forces democracy has to tolerate and live with, the ones that could destroy it from the inside. The ones telling you that Europe is the enemy truly working against you. They are the ones who want to make you believe that the scores are already settled. They are the ones who are calling the EU a dictatorship whilst conveniently forgetting to mention to the rest of the country when the next European elections are or encourage people to vote. They are the ones loving the “political stability” of China and whose constant scaremongering has told us that the uncertainty of elections is bad for the economy*. They are the ones who are trying to discourage you from voting by saying that it is irrelevant. They are doing this because they either have a lot to lose if you were to vote or their nostalgia of a glorious past is blinding them into the reality of the lives our ancestors actually lived and they think the EU is responsible for all modern evil.

The European Union was and is being built, expanded and kept up by democracies which have not created a continent-size dictatorship but put in a place a parliament where only politicians elected by their people are sitting. No one is where they are because they were chosen by an oligarchy.

We are not China where people do not have a say on the future of their country and therefore their own. If austerity happens in China, it will indeed by forced upon them by the system they have not chosen but if austerity is “forced on us” by Brussels, it is only because people vote massively for the right-wing, conservative People’s Party who has been championing all the austerity measures that are making our lives difficult and inequality worse all across the continent. You want things to change? You think they are betraying the true purpose of the EU? As I said, it’s a democracy: change happens if you vote for change.


I don’t agree with everything it does but I do believe in Europe because I will never forget why we have been building it, because I believe in democracy, because I believe in working together regardless of our differences, because I am ready to accept these differences, because I believe in its ability to  be a force for good; for peace and forward thinking. And mostly because it has made me a first-class citizen by making me responsible for its future, as well as my future by giving me the right to vote after crashing to pieces the fascism it has given birth to almost a century ago.

* “According to the International Monetary Fund, which said uncertainty surrounding the election would undermine growth forecasts”  – The Guardian: IMF forecast blows hole in George Osborne’s deficit reduction plan.


The European Union: what about democracy?

I love Europe. I am a deep Europhile. I made the decision when I was about 12 to not be a French person born in the region of Versailles, rather a European born in the country of France. There are many things I strongly disagree with when it comes to how the European Union is evolving and whence it is going but I do believe in the union.

But right now, it is facing a test that could well undermine my faith in it and its future altogether: Greece. It’s the test of how much actual democracy the European Union is willing to embrace, how much the machine is willing to listen what its citizens aspire to.

I understand that the European Union is first and foremost an economic union. It was built after WWII to make the countries depend to each other to such an extent that none could not break away easily and declare war to get its way. The vision, mainly pushed by the French and the Germans, was that if you force a country to need a neighbour, problems will have to be discussed with words and patience rather than fought with guns and tanks, which is what we did for millenniums. And what we are trying to avoid again in Ukraine. Yes it takes a lot of time and it’s not “news-worthy” but it’s saving millions of lives.

From the 1950s, we first made sure we had to rely on each other for coal, iron, steel, oil, crops then we extended it to the rest of the economy and together, despite the economic crisis, we are still the strongest economy in the world, whether bankers and investors, Tories and Republicans like it or not.

There is now a will for a political union because it is true that it would make things easier. I am very divided and dithering on this issue for I see pluses and minuses in both cases. Although this political union doesn’t exist yet, what does exist throughout the EU, what is written in all founding treaties, what is a key criterion to enter is to respect democracy, to promote it, to protect it, to defend it at all costs.

Now, the Greeks have decided to vote for a left-wing party. It was not rigged, they just went to the polls and actually voted in the true spirit of all democratic elections. It is actually quite amazing of them because in times likes this, people easily stop voting or/and put the blame on everything foreign then have this middle-class reflex of going conservative and choosing right-wing, racist and xenophobic parties. Hence, the rise of Front National, UKIP and all far-right parties in the rest of Europe, including Greece with the Golden Dawn. This is not something new, it happened all across Europe in the crisis-ridden 1930s and whereas France just managed to save its democracy in 1932, nor Italy neither Germany and Spain could.

Nevertheless, the Greeks pulled a French 1936 and went with hope and change. They chose people who were offering something new, they believed in people whose argument was not to go back to some supposedly better times where “foreigners, Muslims and Jews were not here” but to try yet another way, a way that would embrace all the positive values the West is ever-boasting. Everyone in Europe was only talking about the Golden Dawn but they did not win. Greece did not choose fascism, they chose democracy. They chose to put hope and positive change before anything else. And this is why they are now testing the EU. If you listen to what our leaders say to the world, what the Greeks did is the essence of Europe so in the face of such an election, Europe should be proud to be yet again a beacon of hope.

However, I hear nothing but condemnation and scaremongering. Now, I am not surprised that people such as the Tories in England are the first one on the soap box saying that Greece’s vote is threatening the future of Europe. Frankly, no one across their shores take them seriously anymore. Their euroscepticism and desperate alliances with extreme far-right, Nazi-loving, Holocaust-denying parties have rendered them the biggest threat to the UE and no one except for Britain’s electorate is fooled by their Cassandra song.

What I am shocked with is the reaction of the other leaders who jumped to say that the election was not going to change anything. What is that supposed to mean? I know right-wing leaders in Southern Europe are trying to contain what they call “contagion”, as if voting for the Left was some kind of new plague following its usual  path of destruction from the East of the Mediterranean sea to the arctic shores of Norway. I guess for the Right, it is.

However, the reactions from leaders, mainly across Northern Europe, basically means that the voice of the people is irrelevant in the face of economic matters. It doesn’t matter what the people of Greece says, it doesn’t matter how they vote, how we all vote, our fate is sealed: the investors want their money back and they are going to get it. End of! It’s not just patronising, it is plain dictatorial but made acceptable by economic circumstances and definitely not what the EU was built for.

You cannot go and dismiss millions of people democratically voting for a change in their everyday life, for wanting their suffering to stop, just because it disagrees with your way to deal with problems. And if you do, don’t come and complain that people are not voting anymore. The message various leaders have sent for the past three weeks, not just to the Greeks but to their own citizens is: your vote, puny people of Europe, is irrelevant in the face of the economic machine.

Worst still. They try to justify it by saying that the Greeks need to “take responsibility” for the mistakes their leaders made in the past. Greece spent decades having very little to choose from when it came to politicians with a big corrupted clan on the Right and a big corrupted clan on the Left but they voted anyway so now, we don’t want hear anything. You were stupid enough to believe them, you will pay for it. It doesn’t matter if you decided to go for a change, you will still pay for it. Even if it means, you can’t feed your kids.

This is where my faith turned out to be resting on sand for me. I understood Europe as a beacon for democracy and it turns out to be nothing but yet another tool for carnivorous, extreme capitalism where millions of innocent people who are trying to just live their lives, feed themselves and their kids must be sacrificed to protect the assets of a few and allow them to seek and exert revenge. The EU is now accomplice to making its own entire countries, millions of its own people suffer, starve and cry from babies to dying people regardless just because a few want a proper return on their investment.

Now they are even some talks of pushing Greece out. The implications are huge: for Greece itself who will have to suddenly be fending for itself after 30 years in a deeply integrated, continent-size economy, it means having to go back to its own currency after 15 years using the Euro, it means having to rewrite all the treaties…For the EU, it means that a country that has not gone with fascism but chose democracy is being kicked out just and only for not agreeing with right-wing, economic orthodoxy.

Personally, I am baffled by such threats. Not just because they are a million miles away from what the everyday Europeans want but also because other countries have never faced anything like that despite flirting with fascism or threatening the very existence of the EU.

If you take the UK, for instance. The Tory government has spent the last five years claiming high and proud how much they hated the EU, how willing they were to get out of it, launching insults after insults on anything European. Today barely 30% of the UK want to stay in the EU. Their politicians have joined forces with people even the Front National would not consider, they have been vetoing major treaties and decisions that could have saved us time and hassle dealing with the crisis just because “in exchange” they are demanding all the treaties to be revised. They even want to get rid of one of the first fundamental rules of the EU: the right to free movement.

You’d think that such a country would be on the verge of being kicked out. Well, no. Everyone o the continent I have been talking to is willing to have it kicked out. We, continentals, are all fed up with the UK and its school-playground behaviour when it comes to working as a team but all our leaders are bending over backwards, spending hours in pointless negotiations, millions of Euros in specialised lawyers to maybe tweak the treaties so we can us all, 27 countries, find a way to accommodate one of us, who has clearly said he would not work with us. And why? Because the UK doesn’t just agree with the right-wing, capitalist orthodoxy, it created it, it’s promoting it world-wide. The UK is the biggest advocate for the policies the EU is using “to punish” the people of Southern Europe.

Today Greece is on the verge of being kicked out of Europe for choosing democracy over fascism, for putting the suffering of its people first, for daring to ask for a change, for having opened a door to an alternative. Europe must find the strength to remember that this is why it was created in the first place. Forsaking Greece is forsaking every single European citizens, it’s denying that their voice matter when it comes to be, work and live together, it is saying that Europe is not democratic, it is proving our enemies right, it is burning democracy in the altar of the economy. It’s making the 1930s again.

There might be a will in our leaders for Greece to get out but when you talk to the people, they don’t feel the same way. People have empathy before calculation, it doesn’t make them irrelevant or worthless. For me, denying the choice the Greeks have made is indeed the death of the European Union as a democracy but despite what the powerful people say today, History will judge and show that it’s not because of Greece rather because of our elected leaders have betrayed us by making the conscious decision to listen to the people only after serving the interests of capitalist agents.

If they do want to save the EU, they have to put democracy first and listen to the people. Not ignore the economy but understand that it’s supposed to serve us, the people, first. If they did listen, they would find out that there is one way for Greece: to stay and to be carefully listened to. That’s what we, the people, want.


“Quand on sait pas, on va pas” – When we don’t know, we don’t go.

*Self-Righteous Warning on this piece: I am being very holier-than-thou below*

It has been a week and, whereas the news of the assassinations at Charlie Hebdo went around the world quickly, the ins and outs of who, why, where, when, how are starting to sip slowly outside of Western Europe. Especially in the US where, expect for some very informed people on the East coast and some well-done liberal figures, people just don’t seem to get it.

I am not here to have a go at Americans. It’s just that I know a lot of them, and saw a lot of them who decided to talk about it and their reaction towards what happened ranges from baffling to angering, especially from at least 11 Youtubers (all American for some reason) who I had always considered as being clever, informed, sensible, sensitive and on top of things.

Now, I understand people might not know (or care) about the full extent of the assassinations and attack. I understand that people don’t give a crap and have no opinion. I am the same about many things. what I don’t understand is the people who know little but insist on talking about. Why the need to advertise that lack of knowledge and lead others to complete disinformation and twisted truth on the matter? I don’t really understand what’s happening in Nigeria, no matter how much I read about it, so I don’t go and broadcast uneducated opinions about it. Maybe it’s just me…

I follow about 80 Youtubers of various nationalities and backgrounds and some of them addressed the issue of Charlie Hedbo quite well, some were actually funny and witty about it. However I have also been hearing a couple of Youtubers with huge following talking about Je suis Charlie, all with the usual “for those who don’t know…” followed by something that is nowhere near the truth and usually around the description of Charlie Hebdo.

Such as:
“Charlie Hebdo was the head of a Catholic magazine who was killed for opposing Islam”
“Charlie Hebdo are an extremely islamophobic and racist magazine”.
“Charlie Hebdo are a far-right paper who want to get rid of Muslims”
“Charlie Hebdo have a history of purposefully offending Islam”
“Charlie Hebdo  are a bit like the KKK”
“Charlie Hebdo is more extreme than the Tea Party”

And counting. What the fuck?! There is obviously a lack of information (or lack of wanting to get the information, in some cases) and yet, it doesn’t stop them from adopting a very clear positioning throughout the rest of the video.

Yes, I am French so it is easier for me because in France, we have been talking about nothing else for a week. It is not difficult for me to know what happened. Even when you try to just close the newspapers and turn off all media, you will know what, where, when, who, how and what capacity. I understand it is not the case for everyone and, yes, except for some “very serious” media – as some like to call them – not all are running a fully comprehensive coverage of what happened.

Actually, I am not here to decipher on how they got such distorted information. The fact that most of them rely firstly on Twitter to get the everyday news can be a hint. But for God’s sake, if you read the first three lines on Wikipedia about Charlie Hebdo, all the above quotes would not have occurred. For me, that spells “I could not even have bothered to check. I am just going to soliloquise for the sake of it”.

What I am here to mention is their reaction in the face of the backlash they had, mainly from their European following and be able to answer to them because there is nothing I hate more than 100-something character long, hit & run tweets.

Here’s the most common tweets for them:

“No need to be so rude.” I used to get that quite a lot from the students who made a huge mistake, cheated or knew they did something very wrong that has angered others. They turned themselves into the victim of some kind of violence so the focus changes and they get an apology. Less focus on how you said it, not what you said. It reminds me of dog-punching children who got shouted at and who cry after saying “Mummy is so meeaaannnn…” looking for sympathy.

“Okay, I just made a mistake, it’s fine.” Well, no. I do admire you for saying that you made a mistake but the “it’s fine”? That’s a no no! You have hundreds of thousands, millions for some of them, of followers. A lot of them will be teenagers with an even shorter understanding that you have, as an adult. People are using YouTube as a form of media and are trusting you to tell them something correct so saying that Charlie Hebdo is a far-right islamophobic and racist magazine, which is the complete opposite of the truth, is not just a mistake. It’s disinformation and twisted lies. You cannot go denouncing the lies spread by homophobes and racists then do the same and expect nothing in return. Whether you like or not, being a Youtuber with a following gives you a responsibility and if you decide to go on this path of informing and commenting current news – especially the assassination of journalists – you have to look at the facts and be accurate. If you don’t, your uneducated vision of events will do nothing but spread further misunderstanding. People will be increasingly under the impression that the deaths were somehow deserved.

“I say whatever I want, it’s free speech that’s what the whole thing is all about. It’s satire” The “whole thing”?! You obviously don’t understand the “whole thing”. Satire is not just about saying anything offensive that pops into your head willy nilly. Satire is a hell of a work to do because it has to have double-meanings that are conscious; it needs to send out messages that are obvious but also hidden. It needs to get people to think and laugh, sometimes. Seriously, saying that Charlie Hebdo is racist and to say “It was satire, you don’t understand” when people call you on your shit is just writhing, desperately trying to land on your feet when you’re in free fall. As for the freedom of speech, it comes with a responsibility to at least not willingly and unapologetically spread lies. And if you do, people will indeed smack you down. That’s democracy for you. Like we all did with Steve Emmerson from Fox News and his “Birmingham is now Muslim-only city”. Like him, you bow, grovel and apologise for being a clot and a liar. That’s what adulthood and humility is all about. Calling into your freedom to talk bollocks is doing nothing but discredit you even more.

“Alright, I am not making videos anymore…”. The passive-aggressive attempt to make it about yourself. I am wrong, I feel bad about it and need some comfort. Cue the “Not all white people are racists” in the debate about Black Lives Matter. Let’s make it about me!

“You people, always blowing things out of proportions.” There it is, the worst and yet most commonly heard phrase coming from the US at the moment.

We, Europeans, are blowing this “out of proportions.”, as if we were being ridiculous and childish, making a fuss for nothing and trying to draw attention on us unfairly. “Barely 10 people died”, “no kid was killed so it’s fine”, “it’s not like they killed thousands of people” are sentences I heard from many, many American people I know, including friends.

A very close friend of mine told that “this whole Je suis Charlie thing is the worst PR stunt she had ever seen”. PR? For what? Tourism in Europe? Come to visit us, we are nice and liberal. Aw, “for people to buy Charlie Hebdo”… I blocked her email and will be for a while…

First, this “whole thing” happened a week ago. France is still in a national state of shock and wondering so yes, when you go on such territory, be prepare to be dealing with people who take it to heart. It doesn’t make us any less understanding of satire or lovers of Charlie Hebdo. Spreading lies about the nature of Charlie Hebdo, especially to compare them to KKK, is like saying that Kennedy was a “too right-wing anyway” a week after he was assassinated, or that all the girls assassinated by Elliott Rodger in Isla Vista were all “slags and whores to being with”. It gets people to think that somehow, it’s not such a loss. That’s not going to go down well either.

Now, regarding the matter of the killing itself, maybe it’s because that kind of thing doesn’t happen every other three months in Europe. We are not used to our papers filled with news of people all guns blazing barging in somewhere and shooting everything that moves for important or trivial matters. So we are in shock, yes. Maybe it’s out of proportions for the US but please, a bit of empathy to understand that we don’t see this all the time. Patronising us into shutting up is not the answer.

Also these people were not just killed randomly too, they were assassinated, they were targeted for being something, for saying something through the publication of a couple of drawings. It puts everyone else in danger, not just of a bomb, but of being targeted for speaking out, for saying something, for writing something. I never buy into global psychosis, it’s irrational but knowing that people can be targeted for publically expressing an opinion makes me wonder every time I thought of writing something on this blog for the past week. “Can anyone get my email address and more?”

There is something in these attacks that do not make us victims of fate but targets for what we say. In that case, where does it stop? Will it ever stop? In a world where being offended somehow makes you right, will it ever stop or become the norm?

When the bombings in London and Madrid happened, the first thing we thought was that it was retaliation for the illegal war in Iraq where hundreds of thousands of people were dying. When France had to live through that wave of terrorist attacks back in the 1980s and 1990s, we knew that it was yet again a matter of geopolitics where we were paying the price for our positions in the Middle-East and especially Iran. It was tit for tat, an eye for an eye.

Today, we just don’t understand why such violence for so little. It’s drawings. Just fucking drawings! People were killed because they published drawings from someone else. We are now in the middle of soul-searching trying to understand the implication of that, which is mainly the attack on free speech. We are not talking about censorship here but death. People dying because they somehow said something that offended others who then decided they deserved to die. To not live anymore, to live orphans and widows behind.

We are “blowing this out of proportion” because the act itself is beyond anything we had before. Sorry we are not accustomed to people regularly deciding on the right to live or die of strangers, it is hard to stomach. We are now rallying to find out the ins and outs of all this so we can prevent this without impeding on the freedom of press or civil liberties, rather through education and understanding. So when we open YouTube to find someone giving out irrelevant and uneducated information with definitive judgements to thousands, if not millions of other people, who are all to ready to listen and believe it, we get angry. Yes.

If only it had been done in a satiric way, many artists are doing it right now and it’s fine because it’s well-thought out, worked on and cleverly put (for most of them) but there was nothing of such in what these very Youtubers broadcast to their following.

I am actually not offended or angry by these Youtubers, such terribly disappointed.


Cultural shock: Dubai – The land-only British cruise.

The English are obsessed with Dubai and I never understood why. I know why but I don’t understand. Well…I do but that doesn’t mean I approve.

None of my friends coming from the continent actually understand why either. Most of our students are going there every year with their families, colleagues go there, friends go there, everyone in England seems to be going there or is talking about going there, planning to go there or dreaming of going there.

It suddenly came back to me this insane craving they have for Dubai as yet another pair of British Youtubers went there and posted their holiday vlogs for everyone to enjoy. I actually love watching these. First, because I watch British Youtubers if they are fit and handsome (Hello the Chapman twins!) but also I take a lot of pleasure looking down at them for they never do anything different in Dubai. The vlogs from there are all the same: they all go to the same hotel, the same beach, do the same activities, take the same pictures, eat the same food, watch the same shows and actually say the same things along with their “passion” for One Direction.

Living on the continent, especially in France, where we do have sunny beaches, Dubai is nothing. We never hear about it, expect to mention another one of the “my penis is much bigger than yours” buildings architects are allowed to build in the desert. For us, it’s just madness.

A huge city in the middle of the desert built on speculation and, literally, sand. A fallacy with no sanitation which forces garbage trucks to queue for up to 15 hours in the sand dunes, just a couple of miles away from the city centre. The working conditions of these drivers are such hell that they usually can’t stand waiting and end up dumping their load somewhere in the sand for it to rot under blistering sun. A city that does not treat its used water, rather dumps it in the sea “far enough”, they used to think, from the tourists. However, the city has grown and diseases are multiplying as people are now swimming in a decade of waste. An emirate that is not a democracy but a despotic monarchy where sharia law is more or less implemented.

That’s Dubai for us, on the continent. We are aware of its qualities but we are also very aware of its flaws. You will have people going there of course but nothing like the scale of the Brit invasion the emirate is happy to deal with.

In England, Dubai is everywhere. Footballers were the first to the rush, generously paid by the builders and architects to promote the city. Steven Gerrard has a tower named after him there. They all “bought” villas and mansions on the Palm Tree Island and have been the biggest advertising dummies for years. Politicians even go on holidays there now that England’s former Cuba, Egypt, has decided to take the matter of its politics in its own hand. No more free holiday from our dictatory friends. Sharm El Sheikh has lost its appeal. So we go to Dubai, the Emir is such a lovely man.

There is indeed a tradition coming from the English aristocracy to go on holidays closed rich ghettos away from the “exotic” poverty, like in India, and later to go sunbathing in the colonised remains of the Ottoman Empire. A custom envied by the middle class and that Dubai knew how to turn into profits with mastery. They present themselves as THE destination for the British because they offer what most of the Brits want on holiday: sun, heat and a place where they can stay without having to put up with the locals. A cruise without the boat.

It’s difficult when you go to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal or Greece nowadays because you have to go to a place where people live already. It’s difficult to find what you want and entertain yourself without having to deal with another language, with another culture, with people who might act, think and be differently on a daily basis. It’s fine for a cruise where you make an effort for an hour or two hours but for a whole week?! Are you mad?

And you cannot do whatever you want, it’s like these people are holding you back. What a drag!

In Dubai, it’s fantastic. You go to a huge hotel build in the middle of nowhere so there were no locals to begin with, but everything was carefully planned and is right there. The beach is private so no chance of having to put up with unfathomable foreign behaviour, even the sea belongs to the hotel so no chance of weird things happening because they guaranteed it is filtered on the edges. Restaurants, shopping centres, aquariums, karaoke, ball room, casino, a marina and a special taxi service with chauffeurs hired by the hotel that will drive you straight to Burj Khalifa and back. A real tourists-only town. No need for awkward meddling. Even most of the staff is from English-speaking countries.

If only Spain were built like that – customised around the wishes of British tourists.

Dubai is the British dream. Until it is not because sometimes, you have people who want to wander about and see a bit more than the same thing as their friends. So they will go in the actual town, in the local shopping centres, restaurants, beaches and the local sea. Where they would maybe hold hands, have a drink of alcohol or share a kiss just to be arrested for public indecency and breaking of the religious rules because you do not drink alcohol just like that in sharia-abiding countries.

And the prisons in Dubai are not the prisons we have here. You are not presumed innocent and you will not be offered a drink or a lawyer. And in Albion, no one understands suddenly. “Aw but…why? It’s just alcohol! We do it all the time! How dare they?!”

There are tears and pleas from the family, outrage from the tabloids, a quick intervention from the Prime Minister, because that’s obviously all he has to do (isn’t it, Daily Mail?!) and the matter is closed. A week passes and another ad with Wayne Rooney advertising the city will pop in the press. And they are going back to the ideal sight of Dubai – and now Doha – that will always offer the Brits the perfect holidays: Britain in the sun.

Maybe it’s because we don’t live on an island and actually we learnt to deal with each other but it’s definitely not something that attracts us like it appeals to them. Especially the French! I mean it took us for 400 years of endless wars against our neighbours to ensure that we would not have to go abroad for any kind of holiday: we pushed our countries boundaries to include snowy mountains, rainy plains, dry hills, cold beaches and the French Riviera. No risk of having to adapt to something else…


I am not anti-capitalist, I’m pro alternatives.

I am not anti-capitalist. The same that I am not anti-communist. There are good and bad things on both theories. I am anti-definite solutions.

I am anti-black-or-white vision of the world, where two poles have to fight against each other to win over the other because as someone born in the early 1980s, I have been have living through this very situation and what we have been witnessing since is the radicalisation of each poles and the disappearance of alternatives.

I am against what I called “anglo-saxon capitalism” as much as I was against the “Stalinist communism”. I am against that type of extreme, objectivist capitalism that claimed to have been leading the Western World against the Eastern Block, that has created “World organisations” to serve its purposes (like the IMF or the World Bank), the one that has always disregarded and ridiculed the Third World as disposable resources, the one that claimed victory over the USSR in 1991, the one that saw the fall of the USSR as a confirmation of its own perfection, the one that has radicalised to such an extent that it has declared itself inseparable from the idea of democracy, that it doesn’t understand why the world still hasn’t fully embraced its objectivist vision and has declared all its critics as socialist terrorists.

The problem I have with this neo-classical capitalism is that it’s as corrupted and deceiving as the idea of communism and socialism promoted by the USSR. We are today, the “Western countries” – it’s quite revealing that we actually never stopped calling ourselves like this – we are in the same dysfunctional situation the USSR was 20 to 30 years before it collapsed, with a system that profits only a fraction of its elite and an increasingly policing and prohibiting State at the mercy of that very elite, a State that has forsaken its citizens it began to see as potential threats to the survival of its own establishment. The only difference is that this capitalism is giving us the illusion of choiceless plenty whereas that communism led to choiceless empty.

My problem with this type of capitalism is that it has declared its world domination, effective from 1991 to infinity so it should be applied to every aspect of everyone’s life across the world regardless of culture differences.

You will find out that the main actors of “anglo-saxon capitalism” shrug away the idea of culture difference, they are as intolerant and violent towards this idea as the Nazis were. It’s a chick thing…culture…nobody actually got time for that French philosophers crap. How European to be talking about culture instead of focusing on real issues, isn’t it?!

Culture is a major part of the problem because, although it is made to move and evolve, although it can change, discard bad aspects of itself and take the good ones of another culture, it takes time. It works on a time scale that has become foreign to the capitalism championed by the English-speaking world.

Everything is culture and the resistance that frustrates London, Washington and Canberra, the resistance they like to drag in the dirt, ridicule and humiliate is nothing but people looking at the alternatives, trying things out, leaving the negative on the side and embracing the positive of everything, anglo-saxon capitalism included. We hear sometimes the English economic establishment saying that it is childish from people to pick and choose when the economy is concerned, we either take or leave it, we either are on their sides or not. The world is a playground for the bullies. “You’re either with us or against us”. What a choice!

The issue today in the world is that London and Washington understand and define globalisation as “Do exactly what we do. Live like we live. Work like we work. Love like we love. Eat like we eat. And everything will perfect”. This is not globalisation, this is standardisation.

Globalisation has always existed. The movement of men, goods and economy have always been a human activity. To say that it is new is a mistake, goods have always been exchanged throughout the world despite languages and cultural differences, we always traded with our friends and foes, economic actors have always been moving around, especially in a world of constant war.

What is new is the standardisation, the idea that we all have to do, to be, to think the same and the model we are told we have to follow is the American way of life. This is the will for the whole of mankind to be fashioned to the WASP model and unfortunately, people are not ready to just do it. What we do, and what the Americans and British find very frustrating, is take what we like from the WASP way of life but refuse to embrace what we dislike. It’s not childish, it’s not condemnable, it’s not to be ridiculed, this is normal cultural behaviour. Forcing a culture on another one is the best to antagonise everyone.

The anglo-saxon capitalism has been mainly defined by Adam Smith and British or American philosophers. The neo-classical capitalists are saying that we should go back to the “birth of capitalism”, to capitalism in its genuine form. What they willfully ignore is that capitalism existed before, Adam Smith just defined it, he put some rules on it. The same way some people said that we needed to rationalise Nature. Evolution did not start with Darwin, he just explained it then we went from there. At the time of Adam Smith, there was also a need  to rationalise a normal human behaviour of making money and trading.

What we overlook is the fact that he defined it in catholic Scotland and protestant England, in the mid-1700s where people were desperately pushing the case for industrialisation. This was a world strongly dominated by single-minded ideas and censorship, a world where slavery and colonialism were considered normal, even a force for good, a world where Europe, divided and fratricidal, was ruled by absolute monarchs chosen by God with the right of life and death over anyone and everyone, and a wider world of which we knew almost nothing about. He put some ideas in his definition of capitalism that would be pleasing enough at the time so he was not imprisoned, exiled or censored and ideas that were current 300 years ago.

The same fashion the laws of Nature have been written by men to suit their understanding and justify their dominance, capitalism have been defined by the British and the Americans who have made it evolve into a diktat everyone should follow because they won over their natural enemies, socialism and communism. These laws of Nature and laws of capitalism are extremely restrictive and definite because they had to serve a purpose at the time and had to be as unnegotiable as a religious dogma.

Thankfully, we have moved on from these so-called laws of Nature which were supposed to support the fact that the white man is the acme of evolution and that everything is nature is about fight for power and domination. We have sorted the good and the bad, we have understood that these laws were in fact bad reading of Nature made to justify our crimes, intolerance and present the powerful’s march to greater power as the way things are supposed to be, therefore fighting against it would be “naturally unlawful”.

Science has brought enough proof and evidence to show the complexity of Nature, a complexity we are still discovering and that makes writing ‘its laws’ virtually impossible. We could have stopped at Darwin and the ones who have badly interpreted some of its rushed work to understand nature and evolution, or Linnaeus to explain the human race but we did not. We scientifically looked for alternatives in the face of the atrocities committed in the name of their theory.

We have discovered that unlike what neo-classical capitalism is saying, not everything in Nature is about being the most powerful, that there is no such thing as the “jungle law” or “the rule of the most powerful” in Nature. Lions don’t kill everything, destroy and pillage everything in the savannah. There are rather endless expressions and mechanisms of solidarity between species, races and kinds because everything is about balance to ensure its own survival.

Only fire is eating until it dies. An apparent domination but Nature grows back after. Humans are fire. A fire who, in 18th and 19th century industrialist Britain, looked and defined an economy theory that would justify slavery, colonialism and the destruction of its own environment and today this theory is as obscurantist and deaf as it can be.

The failure of communism does not mean the victory of its strictly opposite vision. It means we should look at something else now, something less extreme, more including. Marx’s vision was just as aggressive and narrow-minded as the ideology he was trying to counter. It was: let’s see what capitalism do and let’s do the exact opposite. Its failure should have been a wake-up call for this type of capitalism.

It’s time we look at alternatives now. Not to capitalism as such because I believe it is inherent to human nature. We have to look at alternatives within capitalism, in the face of all the atrocities and suffering brought by the very narrow-minded, fossilised, aggressive, domineering and over-bearing anglo-saxon version of capitalism. We need cool heads to be able to see objectively what is good and bad in that vision of capitalism that is ruling the world, putting entire countries to their knees, sealing the fate of millions of innocent people for the profit of the very few, and reducing democratically elected heads of state and parliaments to irrelevance.

The fact that a single judge far away in the US forced into default Argentina, an entire, democratic country with 42 millions inhabitants, to the profit of American hedge funds without a flinch for the Western countries, the IMF or the World Bank shows how destructive this type of capitalism is. It’s 42 millions people facing unemployment, poverty, insecurity, for the profit of a hundred or so rich Americans. Baffling.