Articles tagués : Brexit

R to the E to the I to the C to the H… What does that spell ?

Sometimes, I like to compare the European Union, as a creation, to the organization of empires. Because we have the dimension of empires. But there is a great difference : the empires were usually made through force, with a center that was imposing a diktat, a will, on the others, [whereas] now we have what some authors call the first non-imperial empire. […] I believe it’s a great construction and we should be proud of it. At least, we, in the Commission, are proud of our Union.

Thus spoke a prominent Goldman Sachs employee some 12 years ago, a few months before unveiling the Lisbon Treaty, which would essentially paraphrase the content of a proposed European Constitution that had been rejected by the French and Dutch peoples through a May/June 2005 referendum, adding to it a few draconian measures regarding national budget discipline (read : austerity), and a few years before the memorable clash between “the center’s diktats” and Greece, which, despite its many economic and budgetary flaws, had been admitted into the Eurozone in 1999 following Goldman Sachs’s advice and data manipulation.

Back then already, notwithstanding the careful wording and impressionist nuances, likening the EU to an empire was not particularly well received outside the often hermetic cocoon of European bureaucracy…

Oxford’s Lexico (a.k.a. dictionary) defines an empire as “an extensive group of states or countries ruled over by a monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state” (emphasis mine). When we think of empires, we think of merry colonization (The East India Company, Africa, the Americas), of happy conquests and invasions in comparison to which the Crimea incident was merely a walk in the park (De Bello Gallico, Full Metal Jacket, etc.), of war (which is far from being the nation-state’s monopoly) and of course of strong yet joyful Führer figures making those dreams come true (Napoleon and Palpatine among others). In regard to the latter, how could Orwell not come to mind : “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” ?

Domestically, empire always stands for iron-fist rule, abuse of power and political regression, since there is a huge distance (both geographically and democratically) between the emperor and his suite on the one hand, and his subjects on the other hand. The concept of emperor is a Hobbesian one; ‘t is the Republic which gave birth to the notion of citizen, as well as to said citizen’s – and by extension to the individual’s – rights. It is against an empire that the American Revolution took shape : “a great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges.” And it is ultimately at the expense of continental empires that the European Enlightenment rose, bloody though the transition may have been (yet didn’t need to be) : “A truly great man will neither trample on a worm nor sneak to an emperor.

In an empire, there is no room for grassroot initiatives. And every empire always attempts to crush dissent. Yet, it is this obsolescent form of (manly) power, not a flexible, mature and visionary federation, the most intrepid of fools are advocating for Europe, obviously failing to realize that if anything unites Europeans right now (particularly the younger ones), whether they’re desperately clinging to their precious little nation-state like oysters to a rock or jumping over borders like goats in heat do over fences, it is their aversion to rigid, impersonal superstructures telling everyone how to behave.

For a self-proclaimed liberal paradoxically fond of the latter, it seems, to boldly cross the Channel and, in these trying times, indirectly preach to Perfidious Albion’s unconverted, all impressionist nuances aside, therefore required a yet unmatched level of democratic commitment and political finesse only a seasoned strategist with the charisma of a teen emperor on amphetamines like Goofy Guy could flaunt with such unrestrained bravado. Hail maestro !

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Until one day…

The accumulation of insane amounts of wealth by the 1 percent has flattened in its path everything else : the interests of ordinary people and the planet, as well as the notion that fairness should be a social compact rather than a sucker’s delusion.


Beware of horses

I mean a horse is a horse of course, but who rides is important

Sitting high with a uniform, barking orders, demanding order

And I’m scared that I talk too much about what I think’s going on

I got away with this, they might drag me away for this

Put me in a cage for this, I might pay for this

I just say what I want like I’m made for this

But I’m just afraid some days I might be wrong

Maybe that’s why me and Mike get along

Hey, not from the same part of town, but we both hear the same sound coming


And it sounds like war


And it breaks our hearts

When I started this band, didn’t have no plans, didn’t see no arc

Just run with the craft, have a couple laughs

Make a buck and dash, yeah

Get a little dap like « Yeah I’m the fucking man! », yeah

Maybe give a little back like, « Here, I do what I can »

It’s all jokes and smoke ’till the truth start schemin’

Can’t contain the disdain for y’all demons

You talk clean and bomb hospitals

So I speak with the foulest mouth possible

And I drink like a Vulcan losing all faith in the logical

I will not be confused for docile

I’m free, motherfuckers, I’m hostile


Choose the lesser of the evil, people, and the devil still gon’ win

It could all be over tomorrow, kill our masters and start again

But we know we all afraid, so we just simply cry and march again

At the Dem Conven my heart broke apart when I seen them march mommas in

As I rap this verse right now, got tears flowing down my chocolate chin

Told the truth and I’ve been punished for it, must be a masochist ’cause I done it again

« Ooh, Mike said ‘uterus' »

They acting like Mike said, « You a bitch »

To everybody who wrote it, misquoted it

Mike says, « You a bitch, you a bitch, you a bitch »

Add a « nigga » for the black writer that started that sewer shit

I maneuver through manure like a slumdog millionaire

El-P told me, « Fuck them devils, Mike, we gon’ be millionaires »

I respond with a heavy « Yeah »

Big bruh says « Fuck that, toughen up

Stay ready, write raw raps, shit rugged rough »

The devil don’t sleep, us either

El spits fire, I spit ether

We the gladiators that oppose all Caesars

Coming soon on a new world tour

Probably play the score for the World War

At the apocalypse, play the encore

Turn around, see El, and I smile

Hell coming, and we got about a mile

Until it’s over I remain hostile

Mere mortals, the Gods coming so miss me with the whoopty-whoop

You take the devil for God, look how he doin’ you

I’m Jack Johnson, I beat a slave catcher snaggletooth

I’m Tiger Flowers with a higher power, hallelu’

Life’ll get so bad it feel like God mad at you

But that’s a feeling, baby, ever lose I refuse

I disabuse these foolish fools of they foolish views

I heard the revolution coming, you should spread the news

Garvey mind, Tyson punch, this is bad news

So feel me, follow me

Devil done got on top of me

Bad times got a monopoly

Give up, I did the opposite

Pitch perfect, I did it properly

Owner killed by his property


This life’ll stress you like Orson Welles on the radio

War after war of the world’ll make all your saneness go

And these invaders from Earth’re twerkin’ on graves you know

Can’t wait to load up the silos and make your babies glow

It’s so abusive you’ll beg somebody to roofie you

They’ll snatch your hope up and use it like it’s a hula-hoop

And it’s a loop, they talk to you just like their rulers do

These fuckin’ fools have forgotten just who been foolin’ who

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters (kill your masters !)

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters (come on)

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters (kill your masters !)


Killer children of men on the throne, roving with no atonement

Got me feeling like I’m Clive Owen rowing through a future frozen

The flow’s a burning wind, blowing to your coast

Now in cages ’cause we rode the waves of your explosions

Done appealing to our killers, man, to stop the bleedin’

This song’s a dirty bomb for they dirty dealings

Boots on the roof, I’m Charley Mingus dumping through the ceiling

Master P-in’ on these lost Europeans thievin’

Shit be grim, and De La born a reaper

Born in the beast, fixin’ feast and tearin’ its features

The world surges, the nation’s nervous

The crowds awaken, they can’t disperse us

We ain’t at their service

Won’t stay sedated

Won’t state our numbers for names and

Remaining faceless

We dignified, they can’t erase us

We ain’t asleep, we rope-a-dope through the flames

Man, the world gonna ride on what’s implied in the name

Run ’em


Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters (kill your masters !)

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters

Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill-

Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill-

Kill your masters (kill your masters !)

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When the fascists come out of their closets…

What is the matter with you, silly old cow ?! Has your milk turned sour ? I think we can all agree quite a few centuries must have passed since that worn out pancake between your legs was watered by anything other than your piss, can’t we ? That smell, Widdecombe, that smell, for God’s sake ! Do you realize what position you’ve put me in ? Even in the God-forsaken colonies, any such statement would have been synonymous with instant resignation, wouldn’t it ? While you’re at it, grow a Chaplin-moustache, why don’t you ?! Don’t you agree, Mr. Creedy ?… Yours is an opinion only if one considers the next logical step, namely reeducation camps for the inverted, to be one as well. I, for one, intend to keep defending individual human rights till my last breath. Because I’ve got a sense of history and I remember what curable people like Turing did for this Sacred Country. And, unlike you, I don’t have the charisma of a damp rag. Now, I know it must have been hard for your sorry black hole to endure Colin’s willy’s repetitive tokens of affection. But get a grip, will you, girl !

As soon as you realize intelligence and finesse – which you both lack as well – can still make you desirable, my Brexit-Johnson will feel a lot better. Or would you rather the MI5 dig into our perverted sex lives ?! You’d better believe me when I tell you the Lord is watching you, Widdecombe. And I won’t tolerate any more trespasses, you hear ?! My magic stick will turn you into sand if I hear any more of your moos. My fa-rage shall know no boundaries ! It’s all a matter of timing, you see. And I am the clock master. For I and I alone stand for the achievement of our beloved Second Reich…


That’s how the clown we’re used to would have handled the old cow’s fascistic tendencies. Instead, she chose to be a sissy…

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Servants and masters : two parallel scripts, one doom scenario


Reynders compare l’élection de Trump au non « wallon » au CETA: « du simplisme »

Le repli sur soi est une tendance lourde, a observé M. Reynders, évoquant la situation aux Etats-Unis mais également en Europe, avec le Brexit, et en Belgique où on a vu « la Région wallonne ne pas vouloir s’ouvrir au commerce international« .

3-monkeysDemocrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit

Glenn Greenwald

November 9 2016, 4:43 p.m.

The parallels between the U.K.’s shocking approval of the Brexit referendum in June and the U.S.’ even more shocking election of Donald Trump as president last night are overwhelming. Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both. Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational. In each case, journalists who spend all day chatting with one another on Twitter and congregating in exclusive social circles in national capitals — constantly re-affirming their own wisdom in an endless feedback loop — were certain of victory. Afterward, the elites whose entitlement to prevail was crushed devoted their energies to blaming everyone they could find except for themselves, while doubling down on their unbridled contempt for those who defied them, steadfastly refusing to examine what drove their insubordination.

The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much — when they caused a ruckus — and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard — not without reason — as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.

After the Brexit vote, I wrote an article comprehensively detailing these dynamics, which I won’t repeat here but hope those interested will read. The title conveys the crux: “Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions.” That analysis was inspired by a short, incredibly insightful, and now more relevant than ever post-Brexit Facebook note by the Los Angeles Times’s Vincent Bevins, who wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years.” Bevins went on: “Since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.”

For those who tried to remove themselves from the self-affirming, vehemently pro-Clinton elite echo chamber of 2016, the warning signs that Brexit screechingly announced were not hard to see. Two short passages from a Slate interview I gave in July summarized those grave dangers: that opinion-making elites were so clustered, so incestuous, so far removed from the people who would decide this election — so contemptuous of them — that they were not only incapable of seeing the trends toward Trump but were unwittingly accelerating those trends with their own condescending, self-glorifying behavior.

Like most everyone else who saw the polling data and predictive models of the media’s self-proclaimed data experts, I long believed Clinton would win, but the reasons why she very well could lose were not hard to see. The warning lights were flashing in neon for a long time, but they were in seedy places that elites studiously avoid. The few people who purposely went to those places and listened, such as Chris Arnade, saw and heard them loud and clear. The ongoing failure to take heed of this intense but invisible resentment and suffering guarantees that it will fester and strengthen. This was the last paragraph of my July article on the Brexit fallout:

Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, [elites] are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to delegitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic, and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future.

Beyond the Brexit analysis, there are three new points from last night’s results that I want to emphasize, as they are unique to the 2016 U.S. election and, more importantly, illustrate the elite pathologies that led to all of this:

  1. Democrats have already begun flailing around trying to blame anyone and everyone they can find — everyone except themselves — for last night’s crushing defeat of their party.

You know the drearily predictable list of their scapegoats: Russia, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, The Media, news outlets (including, perhaps especially, The Intercept) that sinned by reporting negatively on Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks that what happened last night in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan can be blamed on any of that is drowning in self-protective ignorance so deep that it’s impossible to express in words.

When a political party is demolished, the principle responsibility belongs to one entity: the party that got crushed. It’s the job of the party and the candidate, and nobody else, to persuade the citizenry to support them and find ways to do that. Last night, the Democrats failed, resoundingly, to do that, and any autopsy or liberal think piece or pro-Clinton pundit commentary that does not start and finish with their own behavior is one that is inherently worthless.

Put simply, Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who — for very good reason — was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble — that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate, especially in this climate — are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.

But that’s just basic blame shifting and self-preservation. Far more significant is what this shows about the mentality of the Democratic Party. Just think about who they nominated: someone who — when she wasn’t dining with Saudi monarchs and being feted in Davos by tyrants who gave million-dollar checks — spent the last several years piggishly running around to Wall Street banks and major corporations cashing in with $250,000 fees for 45-minute secret speeches even though she had already become unimaginably rich with book advances while her husband already made tens of millions playing these same games. She did all that without the slightest apparent concern for how that would feed into all the perceptions and resentments of her and the Democratic Party as corrupt, status quo-protecting, aristocratic tools of the rich and powerful: exactly the worst possible behavior for this post-2008-economic-crisis era of globalism and destroyed industries.

It goes without saying that Trump is a sociopathic con artist obsessed with personal enrichment: the opposite of a genuine warrior for the downtrodden. That’s too obvious to debate. But, just as Obama did so powerfully in 2008, he could credibly run as an enemy of the D.C. and Wall Street system that has steamrolled over so many people, while Hillary Clinton is its loyal guardian, its consummate beneficiary.

Trump vowed to destroy the system that elites love (for good reason) and the masses hate (for equally good reason), while Clinton vowed to manage it more efficiently. That, as Matt Stoller’s indispensable article in The Atlantic three weeks ago documented, is the conniving choice the Democratic Party made decades ago: to abandon populism and become the party of technocratically proficient, mildly benevolent managers of elite power. Those are the cynical, self-interested seeds they planted, and now the crop has sprouted.

Of course there are fundamental differences between Obama’s version of “change” and Trump’s. But at a high level of generality — which is where these messages are often ingested — both were perceived as outside forces on a mission to tear down corrupt elite structures, while Clinton was perceived as devoted to their fortification. That is the choice made by Democrats — largely happy with status quo authorities, believing in their basic goodness — and any honest attempt by Democrats to find the prime author of last night’s debacle will begin with a large mirror.

  1. That racism, misogyny, and xenophobia are pervasive in all sectors of America is indisputable from even a casual glance at its history, both distant and recent.

There are reasons why all presidents until 2008 were white and all 45 elected presidents have been men. There can be no doubt that those pathologies played a substantial role in last night’s outcome. But that fact answers very few questions and begs many critical ones.

To begin with, one must confront the fact that not only was Barack Obama elected twice, but he is poised to leave office as a highly popular president: now viewed more positively than Reagan. America wasn’t any less racist and xenophobic in 2008 and 2012 than it is now. Even stalwart Democrats fond of casually branding their opponents as bigots are acknowledging that a far more complicated analysis is required to understand last night’s results. As the New York Times’s Nate Cohn put it: “Clinton suffered her biggest losses in the places where Obama was strongest among white voters. It’s not a simple racism story.” Matt Yglesias acknowledged that Obama’s high approval rating is inconsistent with depictions of the U.S. as a country “besotted with racism.”

People often talk about “racism/sexism/xenophobia” vs. “economic suffering” as if they are totally distinct dichotomies. Of course there are substantial elements of both in Trump’s voting base, but the two categories are inextricably linked: The more economic suffering people endure, the angrier and more bitter they get, the easier it is to direct their anger to scapegoats. Economic suffering often fuels ugly bigotry. It is true that many Trump voters are relatively well-off and many of the nation’s poorest voted for Clinton, but, as Michael Moore quite presciently warned, those portions of the country that have been most ravaged by free trade orgies and globalism — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa — were filled with rage and “see [Trump] as a chance to be the human Molotov cocktail that they’d like to throw into the system to blow it up.” Those are the places that were decisive in Trump’s victory. As the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney put it:

Low-income rural white voters in Pa. voted for Obama in 2008 and then Trump in 2016, and your explanation is white supremacy? Interesting.

— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) November 9, 2016

It has long been, and still is, a central American challenge to rid society of these structural inequalities. But one way to ensure those scapegoating dynamics fester rather than erode is to continue to embrace a system that excludes and ignores a large portion of the population. Hillary Clinton was viewed, reasonably, as a stalwart devotee, beloved agent, and prime beneficiary of that system, and thus could not possibly be viewed as a credible actor against it.

  1. Over the last six decades, and particularly over the last 15 years of the endless war on terror, both political parties have joined to construct a frightening and unprecedentedly invasive and destructive system of authoritarian power, accompanied by the unbridled authority vested in the executive branch to use it.

As a result, the president of the United States commands a vast nuclear arsenal that can destroy the planet many times over; the deadliest and most expensive military ever developed in human history; legal authorities that allow him to prosecute numerous secret wars at the same time, imprison people with no due process, and target people (including U.S. citizens) for assassination with no oversight; domestic law enforcement agencies that are constructed to appear and act as standing, para-militarized armies; a sprawling penal state that allows imprisonment far more easily than most Western countries; and a system of electronic surveillance purposely designed to be ubiquitous and limitless, including on U.S. soil.

Those who have been warning of the grave dangers these powers pose have often been dismissed on the ground that the leaders who control this system are benevolent and well-intentioned. They have thus often resorted to the tactic of urging people to imagine what might happen if a president they regarded as less than benevolent one day gained control of it. That day has arrived. One hopes this will at least provide the impetus to unite across ideological and partisan lines to finally impose meaningful limits on these powers that should never have been vested in the first place. That commitment should start now.

* * * * *

For many years, the U.S. — like the U.K. and other Western nations — has embarked on a course that virtually guaranteed a collapse of elite authority and internal implosion. From the invasion of Iraq to the 2008 financial crisis to the all-consuming framework of prisons and endless wars, societal benefits have been directed almost exclusively to the very elite institutions most responsible for failure at the expense of everyone else.

It was only a matter of time before instability, backlash, and disruption resulted. Both Brexit and Trump unmistakably signal its arrival. The only question is whether those two cataclysmic events will be the peak of this process, or just the beginning. And that, in turn, will be determined by whether their crucial lessons are learned — truly internalized — or ignored in favor of self-exonerating campaigns to blame everyone else.

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