Saturday 8 December 2018

Croon it again: Daniel Cohn-Bendit is scandalised by French protesters

Daniel Cohn-Bendit - Danny the Red - is the man of 1968, the Parisian revolutionary, whose name everyone remembers. Even I do and I was only 6 at the time. He is now, like many far leftists, a Green Party politician. By a delicious irony that historians will relish, he has angrily condemned the Gilets Jaunes, the Yellow Jackets, as the people in the French countryside are known who are protesting against Macron's stinging taxes on diesel fuel. He said, accurately,
“I hear people from la France Insoumise [the hard left] talking about this being a great people’s revolt and how the people are speaking, but these are the same ordinary people who pushed Trump into power.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit's wonderful reaction symbolises everything about what is happening and will happen, not only in France but throughout Europe. 

The world in which we are living is the world dreamt of by the 68-ers: internationalist,
post-colonial, multiracial, feminist, classless, sexually permissive, post-Christian, druggy, etc, etc. 

The 1968 revolts were childish but hugely influential. Remember in 1968 students demonstrated against capitalism in West Berlin, protected by the American, British and
French armies from real existing socialism. The ideas of the 1968-ers' enemy De Gaulle, a Catholic patriot who wanted a Europe of nations and dreaded mass immigration by Arabs, have been defeated in every sphere except in economics. 

And what goes around, comes around.  Now the left is the establishment and is facing revolting peasants who have had enough of it all.

It is not about fuel tax or tax but a revolt against elites that have failed the people and the peoples. The same thing is happening everywhere in Western Europe and in many countries in Eastern Europe (though not in Romania, which avoids conflict with foreign powers, until she abruptly changes sides). It is even, astonishingly, happening in the Catholic Church, though that is an absolute monarchy.

President Macron was until a moment ago disconcertingly impressive. He intends to save the European project and is the only figure in sight who might do so. He has said that Matteo Salvini of Italy is his enemy and that nationalism is treason.

I am a monarchist and legitimist rather than a nationalist, but nationalists in this context does not mean revolutionaries fighting against the Habsburg or British empires, but means people who love their nations and don't want to lose them. It is vital for people like me who dislike the way the EU has turned out and dislike mass third world migration into Europe that President Macron fails. It looks like he might.

Macron (the ultimate populist who created his own party and came to power out of nowhere) won the presidency by a landslide because he was in the second round of the French presidential election against the Front National. He scored less than 25% in the first round and only won because of dirty tricks by President Hollande's secret service, who destroyed Francois Fillon's chances. If he fails it may be the turn of the other kind of populists.

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, in a good article called In France, les deplorables strike back in the New York Post:

"None of the President’s decisions please anyone in the country, save the clone-like Macronista hipsters in Paris and a few large cities. They are men and women in their 30s and 40s — affluent, well-educated, in competitive jobs, able to afford the crazy rents in places like Paris, Bordeaux or Lyon."

Brendan O'Neil blocked me on Facebook when I pointed out that his hero, Leon Trotsky, was worse than General Franco, but I hold no grudge. He is right about most things and being on the left allows him carte fairly blanche. His comment on the protests is accurate.

"For years we have lived in a climate of ‘You can’t say that’. You can’t criticise mass immigration — that’s xenophobia. You can’t oppose the EU — that’s Europhobia. You can’t raise concerns about radical Islam — that’s Islamophobia. You can’t agitate against climate-change policy — that’s climate-change denialism, on a par with Holocaust denialism, and anyone who dares to bristle against eco-orthodoxy deserves to be cast out of polite society. And yet now, in this populist moment, people are daring to say precisely these unsayable things. They’re standing up to the EU. They’re demanding that immigration become a democratic concern rather than something worked out for us by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. And now they’re even grating against the hitherto unquestionable religious-style diktat that we must all drive less, shop less and do less in order to ‘save the planet’.

"Of course the gilet-jaunes revolt isn’t just about fuel tax. It expresses a broader sense of public anger with the new political class and their cult of bureaucracy, their preference for technocracy over democracy, their gaping, astonishing distance from the concerns and beliefs of ordinary people. In essence, the people’s revolt against Macronism speaks to a profound crisis of legitimacy among the 21st-century political class and a willingness within the public to kick up a fuss about things they might previously have been silent about."


  1. Many good things in this piece. You need only read Richard Pipes to know what a mass murderer Trotsky was. And the Austro-Hungarian Empire, unlike the Bismarckian one, was a fine place. Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

  2. 1) You wish Macron will fail. Macron is trying to implement muvh needed reforms in France on the labout market in particular. That is not making him popular with socialists, but your wish to see him fail reeks of revenge on what you see as an unfair Brexit deal, on dealing a blow to the EU and less to do with Macron’s policies.
    2) Yellow vesta revolt- left is strong in France and obviously Macron’s reforms were a clash waiting to happend. Fortunately leftist are not the political majority anymore.
    3) Trotsky was a murderer, no better than Stalin and his pals. Whomever considers this man a hero is a patented idiot

    1. I am happy about Macron's free market reforms, of course, though not the environmental silliness that leads him to raise taxes on fuel, but I feared he would breathe life into the so called 'European project', in fact the federalist project. It looks doomed to me in the medium to long term but he should be arguing for giving powers back to the states and scrapping the recent treaties. He said in the election campaign that mass immigration is in principle a good thing, which is even more alarming. Macron is dangerous. He said that Africans “are mostly turning to Europe because the continent is not an island, because of our location, and because Europe has its destiny bound with Africa,” and that African population gr0wth has been “tremendously well described” by somebody called Professor Stephen Smith (this man said in a recent book that the number of Africans living in Europe will grow from nine to between 150 million and 200 million within the next 30 years). He praises this book but gets angry when Italy stops illegal immigrants coming from Africa or when Poland and Hungary refuse to take refugees. I am not sure the terms left and right mean so much now. Leftists and rightists are so divided over Syria, for example. Vanessa Beeley and pals are on the left but side with Ron Paul. Likewise the far left in Britain always hated the European project, as Corbyn secretly still does.

    2. so Macron is dangerous because it can consolidate EU unity? :) . I think the EU unity was apparent during the Brexit negotiations, they moved swiftly for what was considered a semi-paralyzed bureaucracy. France needs structural reforms to unlock the value they have in their human capital, he's doing the right thing, I wish we had someone like him running Romania, we have only semidocts here in politics, no decent man wanted anything to do with this profession.

  3. About six years ago at an art opening of a Somalian or Sudanese artist I was talking to someone when a brace of Sudanese or Somalians clearly from the Embassy turned up. I said to the black person I was chatting with 'good to see some Africans', he not clocking that they were real Africans replied 'you can't say that'. What I said was ok, wasn't it? People who come from Africa are still called African aren't they?

  4. The French authorities are always in a cleft stick over violent protest. As such protest occurred in their Revolution it was seen as heroic. Thus to clamp down on it is to seem to clamp down on Frenchness itself in some sense. This is the paradox of a state founded on a very violent event . Perhaps why Macron caved in so quickly over the fuel tax.

  5. The ideas of the 1968-ers' enemy De Gaulle, a Catholic patriot who wanted a Europe of nations and dreaded mass immigration by Arabs, have been defeated in every sphere except in economics.

    Ironically if you're an actual socialist the economic sphere is the one sphere that really matters. So the supposed triumph of the Left has been an illusion. The socialist Left has lost every single battle that matters. The capitalists are the ones who have triumphed.

    History is full of little ironies like this.

    1. Communists and conservatives lost - liberals won.

    2. Communists and conservatives lost - liberals won.

      Yes, that's pretty much accurate.

      In the modern world there is no Left or Right. There's just liberalism. The Tories, the British Labour Party, the Democrats, the Republicans, the Labor Party and LNP in Australia - they're all liberal parties.

      And we've now discovered that liberalism is a much greater threat than communism ever was.