Macron heralds a new European dark age

Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, speaks during a news conference to unveil his fully budgeted manifesto, named a contract with the nation, in Paris, France, March 2, 2017

Macron’s New Orwellian Era

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron heralds a new era of politics alright. In an eerily sinister way. This is a huge setback for democracy, not, as the Western media would portray, some kind of victory for the people.

Headlines and commentaries were gushing this week on the election of Macron as the eighth president of France’s Fifth Republic. It was supposed to be a victoryfor European “enlightenment values” and the defeat of nasty populism.

Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 presidential election, attends a meeting in Reims, France March 17, 2017
© REUTERS/ PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/FILE PHOTO

Macron, we are told with benign tones, is a “centrist,” a “liberal,” an “outsider” who will bring “long-overdue change” to the political establishment in France and across Europe.The Euronews outlet ran the headline: “Macron victory heralds new political era in France.” The spin of newness was contradicted by the accompanying photograph of Macron being patronizingly flanked by outgoing president Francois Hollande.

Hollande is the epitome of the French establishment, who ends his career as themost despised president in the modern history of France. Hollande and his political cronies destroyed the Socialist Party (PS) with their servile embrace of neoliberal capitalist policies. Macron was one of those cronies who was appointed economy minister by Hollande in 2014 without ever having served in elected office before. It was Macron who designed the much-hated employment “reforms,” gutting employee rights and giving bosses greater powers to hire and fire.

And as the new president, Macron is promising to drive through even more draconian measures undermining workers and trade unions.

Members of Hollande’s discredited government, like former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, are clambering to get onboard with Macron.

This week Valls declared in sniveling fashion on public radio that the Socialist Party was “dead” and that he was ready to join Macron’s Republique En Marche movement. In a twisted way, Valls is right. The French Socialist Party is long dead, killed off at the hands of people like him, Macron and Hollande who turned it into a rubber-stamp for global capitalism.The 39-year-old Macron, who workedin high finance as an investment banker at Rothschild, is lining up France for a full-frontal class war in which the working majority will be assailed by the ruling elite. He is promising to slash public spending by €60 billion over the next five years and to axe 120,000 state-sector jobs. Corporation tax is also slated for a massive cut under Macron.

All the policies that the Hollande government tried to ram through in the service of global capital will now be ramped up with even more zeal by former banker Macron. He is aiming to turn France into a low-wage poverty “gig economy” as has been created in Britain and the US – and the oligarchy couldn’t be happier than to see this “golden boy” get his hands on the levers of power.

A good question is: so why did people vote for Macron? He won 66 percent of the popular vote in the second round against Marine Le Pen of the National Front, who pulled in 34 percent. A major part of the answer is the intense media marketing behind Macron. French and Western media, as well as senior public figures, were all endorsing his election and portraying him as the candidate of “centrist” moderation.In what should be seen as outrageous interference in French democracy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former US president Barack Obama glowingly backed Macron.

Inside France, Le Pen certainly had a problem with her party’s historic baggage being seen as fascist and racist. That helped “sell” Macron’s image as the voice of reason and youthful progressiveness. He also got lucky from the corruption scandals that marred the center-right candidate Francois Fillion. And with Hollande’s “Socialist” sell-out of political identity that hampered the cause of the independent leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon. The latter nevertheless performed remarkably well in the election first round and can rightly claim to have set the foundation going forward for a new genuinely socialist party – under the name France Defiant.

Also bear in mind that the total number of votes abstained or spoiled were over 16 million, compared with Macron’s tally of 20 million. Thus, the new president has a dubious popular mandate to pursue his policies.His En Marche movement was only formed last year. Macron has no members in the French parliament, although he may pick up some after next month’s legislative elections. That means that his new administration will likely be staffed by political appointees and technocrats whom he had networked with over the years while in the world of banking.

Everything about Macron smacks of being the ultimate insider, far from the media image of a fresh-faced outsider. This guy is embedded with the French political and financial establishment. His apparent lack of formal politics is no virtue. Macron will emerge as a ruthless servant for the global capitalist elite who have long wanted to ransack French society for its relatively progressive democratic rights.On the eve of the French election second round last weekend there was a suspicious mass leak of Macron emails. It’s not clear who did it. But Macron and the media establishment in France and the US are recklessly amplifying the war of words against Russia. He has already banned Russian news outlets Sputnik and RT from his campaign allegedly for “spreading fake news.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin magnanimously congratulated Macron on his election. Putin also called for French cooperation with Russia in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

It is doubtful that Macron will reciprocate the gesture of Russian goodwill. He has already shown himself to be adept at playing the “Russian Card” to drum up Russophobia and NATO-led aggression towards Moscow.Macron is heralding a new era alright. One where the French president is a zealous servant of high finance, global profit-making and a declared enemy of workers. With no political party worth talking of or genuine popular base, Macron is an economic hitman in the service of a faceless global oligarchy.

When his unscrupulous, anti-Russia expedience is also factored in, the “new era” under Macron presages even more NATO-led belligerence.

Final rehearsal of military parade marking 72nd anniversary of victory in Great Patriotic War
© SPUTNIK/ VLADIMIR ASTAPKOVICH

His ascent to political power this week comes as the world marked the anniversary of the defeat of fascism in Europe 72 years ago. The illusory “centrist, outsider” who claims to represent “neither left nor right” is a disturbing echo of dark forces. He embodies political power without democratic accountability, a tool for corporate-financial tyranny and a willing advocate for more militarism in the world, in particular towards a much demonized Russia.Ironically, Macron’s election win over Le Pen is marketed in the Western corporate media as a “defeat of neo-fascism.” Welcome to the new Orwellian era of illusions sold as democracy and liberation.

© REUTERS/ Christian Hartmann
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