Europe, in the face of critical situations, is bolstered neither by solutions that inspire optimism nor by social or political forces capable of offering a realistic way out.
Juan Diego García
The European Right, in spite of its parliamentary majority, is in retreat. In addition, it is only due to the relative weakness of the opposition that it has maintained its grip on power this far.
The cases of Greece and Portugal could mark the beginning of the change;
Neoliberal reforms have worn away considerably at the European model of Capitalism (based on the Welfare State, in the varying degrees to which it has been realised), eroding at the legitimacy of the system. This has given rise to forces further to the extremes of the political spectrum than the panorama offered by traditional parties, which have been the primary means of citizen participation.
The crisis, considerably deepened by the neoliberal model, is far from over; in fact, at least in the immediate future, it threatens to intensify.
The solutions offered by the right, in practice, repeat the same dynamics which brought on the crisis. Meanwhile, the left seems satisfied, for now, with wresting back for the masses some of those benefits that they lost in the crisis.
It is clear then that the major parties as much as the new alternatives, have not strayed from the boundaries of traditional Social Democratic thought.
Only in such a bleak forecast for the majority as is this, could this type of reform appear radical.
The ideals of European unity and cooperation, which allowed for the birth and expansion of the EU, cannot prosper in such conditions.
The Europe of the marketeers (the only interest of the neoliberal model) is ultimately incompatible with any project of regional harmony, to the point that it has weakened the spirit of European community and birthed the excluding nationalisms that now threaten the very unity of some member states.
The United Kingdom’s exit, without regard to the mistakes and opportunism of Conservatives in the government, has taken place in an atmosphere of resentment towards a “Banker’s Union”. A similar dynamic has fuelled separatism within the United Kingdom, in Italy and in Belgium.
The entry of Eastern European countries formerly of the soviet bloc has made matters much worse since the leaders of those countries not only preach and apply the neoliberal model with much greater intensity but, in some cases, fall short of the traditional modes of democracy practiced in the West.
In spite of the great achievements of the EU in the last decades, it is far from having met the challenge of turning the continent into a power that can compete on its own terms on the world stage. On the contrary, the Union is coming to look more and more like a minor partner of the United States.
Neither joining Washington’s crusades nor seeking distance from Russia and China would be the correct strategy, even if only for practical purposes; it is hard to ignore at this stage the trail of catastrophe that American intervention, be it in in Europe, Africa and Asia, leaves in its wake.
Islamic terror (for whose inception and development the West undeniably bears blame) and millions of refugees must be reckoned with, by Europe rather than the true perpetrator of these wars: The United States.
There is nothing left of France’s old dreams of limiting the role of the US and NATO as much as possible for the sake of its autonomy.
Sarkozy is a mere footnote (Sarko…yes as he came to be known for his pitiful acquiescence to the mandates of Washington) compared to the current socialist government of Hollande, which is far more grovelling and obsequious, if that is even possible.
The most realistic stance we are afforded is courtesy of Angela Merkel, who seeks not to excessively damage relations with Russia (for reasons of utility, being a key economic partner for the German bourgeoisie) or indeed from the British Conservative government, which, without a great deal of fanfare, is forging strong ties with China.
But the scale of these gestures seeking distance from Washington isn’t enough; Europa is still tied to the American war machine, with little significant change in sight.
(Translated by William Parker – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)