Three main power centers within the Eurozone (Germany, France and Italy) and Britain are entering a period of deep crisis. Their capacity or level of interest to fight Russia in Ukraine is getting severely limited
The Russian Duma’s ratification of the annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions) and the adoption of the relevant laws thereof creates a new dynamic and will take time to create a new balance of forces on the ground.
Meanwhile, the external environment is also phenomenally transforming. The deepening energy crisis in Europe following the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines becomes a serious contradiction.
Thus, a complex situation presents itself against the backdrop of a massive Russian military build-up around Ukraine in the Kharkov region and in the southern Black Sea region with long convoys of armor reportedly heading toward Crimea from Russia.
Wildfires ravaged parts of Spain, France and Portugal Friday in the blistering heat, burning forests and prompting widespread evacuations. The ongoing heatwave has already claimed hundreds of lives in the west European countries. There is a spike in heat wave-related casualties in Western Europe.
On Saturday, La Vanguardia reported that there were more than 360 deaths in Spain caused by the unbelievable heatwaves, and in Portugal, 238 deaths were recorded between July 7 and July 13.
France is currently on high alert for severe weather this weekend into next week.
Italy, Greece, Morocco and the UK are also bracing for extreme weather — including fire warnings — attributed to this week’s heatwaves.
About 14,000 people have been forced to flee France’s south-western Gironde region due to dozens of wildfires that have spread across Portugal and Spain. The fires have been attributed to soaring temperatures not seen since 1757 across Europe.
“The failure lies in the fact that Western Liberal Democracy simply is not a democracy, in the sense that neither majority rule nor the supreme rule of the people is ever achieved…”
(This is the fifteenth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)
People often do not realise what a historically recent concept this is in human society – the primacy of the people and not just a person.
Perhaps the biggest change for the average Frenchman in the changeover from Charles X of the Bourbons to Louis-Philippe of the House of Orleans in 1830 is that the latter accepted to be the king “of the French” instead of the king “of France”. This brand change did nothing on a practical level but it reflected the legacy initiated in 1789: the people’s newfound sense that only they bestow legitimacy, instead of a claimed divine theocratic right. Louis-Philippe would be the last unelected royal in France, but it took World War I to wipe away arrogant, unelected royalty in most of Europe (12 monarchs still reign in Europe, which has about 45 nations). Thus the change from millennia of a falsely divine monarchy is a very historically recent one, and much this book aims to remind that the cultural traits of autocracy – for those who cannot divine it in the governance style of Emmanuel Macron – is pernicious and pervasive today, still.
“We want to build peace, which means that at some point the fire must stop and the talks must resume,” the French president said.
Ukraine’s President Vodolymyr Zelenzky will have to negotiate with Russia, and the Europeans will also be present at the negotiating table, bringing security guarantees, visiting French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) base in southeastern Romania.
A French privacy watchdog accused the tech giants Google and Facebook of making it difficult for users to opt out of tracking their activity.
France’s online privacy regulator has ordered Google and Facebook to cough up some €210 million ($237 million) between them, fining the firms for their questionable use of data-tracking ‘cookies’ on their sites.
An investigation found the sites “offer a button allowing the user to immediately accept cookies” but they do not provide an option to “easily refuse the deposit of these cookies,” the CNIL data privacy watchdog announced on Thursday.
There were cautious hopes for the G7 meetings held in early June this year, where the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – the world’s seven economically wealthiest countries – came together to discuss key global issues. A remnant of the neo-colonial nature of such forums, they represent a place where decisions with global impact are made.
The G7 produced two notable outputs that concern global health governance: the first being the Carbis Bay Health Declaration which commits to taking efforts to prevent a pandemic similar to COVID-19 occurring again in the future; and the second being a commitment to provide more than a billion vaccine doses for low and low-middle income countries over the next year.
In these Covid times, “There is an ongoing attempt to reframe G7 as the representative and champion of the democratic world in the struggle against autocracy, shorthand for China…. West’s indifference to the vaccination needs of the developing world will be on full display at the G7 summit”.
Fine words will accompany the G7 summit this week. Much will be promised. And little will be delivered. It has long been like this. The G7 is no longer fit for purpose. Comprising the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, in the 1970s the G7 was the overlord of the global economy. Today, the G7 is but a pale shadow of what it once was, reduced to the role of a declining faction within the global economy. It still talks in grandiose terms about its intentions, but the world has learnt to discount them. It is entirely appropriate that this week’s summit will be chaired by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a grandmaster of verbal exaggeration and empty gestures.
The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”.
The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva – which certainly won’t be a reset.
The controlling interests behind the hologram that goes by the name of “Joe Biden” have a clear overarching agenda: to regiment industrialized democracies – especially those in Europe – and keep them in lockstep to combat those “authoritarian” threats to US national security, “malignant” Russia and China.
Authoritarianism in China? A place that nipped Covid in six weeks and ended poverty in 2020? Let’s turn the camera, shall we? And let’s fix it on the Western/capitalist bloc. Do you see any recrudescence of BOURGEOIS AUTHORITARIANISM in examples from recent times?
1. Slovakia: passes law on 1 Dec 2020 designating Czech and Slovak Communist parties “criminal organizations.”
2. Poland: the anti-communist hysteria is well established in the persistent “witch hunt” against the communists that for decades has characterized the Polish bourgeois authorities on a dangerous undemocratic and reactionary ridge, with the complacency and encouragement of the EU. In fact, the persecutions, restrictions and criminal proceedings that have been conducted for years against the Communist Party of Poland (KPP), its daily “Bzrask” and their members are known “for the promotion of totalitarian regimes”. Furthermore, among other things, we remember the interruption of scientific conferences on Karl Marx organized by universities, the use of public institutions such as the National Memory Institute (IPN) for the dissemination of anti-communist propaganda and the establishment of a dangerous legal framework for communist persecution which includes the 2017 “decommunization law”
Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune. The Commune (Council) was formed as result of what should be considered the first uprising and revolution led by the working class in history. This new class was the product of the industrial revolution in the capitalist mode of production that Marx and Engels first spoke of most prominently in the Manifesto of the Communist Party published in March 1848.
Before the Paris Commune, revolutions in Europe and North America had been to overthrow feudal monarchs and eventually put the capitalist class into political power. While socialism as an idea and objective was already gaining credence among the radical intelligentsia, it was Marx and Engels who first identified the agency of revolutionary change for socialism as the working class, namely those who owned no means of production but their own labour power.Read More »