Pablo VIVANCO: Latin America’s Right-Wing Turn – Alfredo SAAD -FILHO: Brazil: The Collapse of Democracy?; Jacobin, Oct. 2018

Dear all,

many are stunned faced with Latin America’s right-wing turn – in particular the mass support for Jair Bolsonaro, an incompetent Brazilian fascist.

Pablo Vivanco (former director of TeleSUR English) and Alfredo Saad-Filho (professor of political economy at SOAS, University London) are pointing out key aspects of this development.

Below extracts of both articles; complete see attachment (7p, pdf).

Martin Zeis

27.10.2018 —

Latin America’s Right-Wing Turn

By Pablo Vivanco

Pablo Vivanco is the former director of TeleSUR English.

The far right is on the rise not only in Brazil but across Latin America — driven by the middle class that left-wing governments helped create.


Unfinished business

The decade and more of so-called “Pink Tide” governments made undeniable social progress in the world’s most unequal region. Nevertheless, many of those who attained a measure of social mobility during this period have turned against that political project and the policies that defined it.

Whether a “Brown tide” is imminent or not, Walter Benjamin’s assertion that “behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution,” holds true for the Latin America today, Boron argues.

“It is a punishment, I wouldn’t say that it is not for having made revolution, but rather for not having completed a process of reforms that had to be radicalized, and through this, having suppressed the possibilities of the emergence of fascist political movements,” Boron said, emphasizing the absence of political education and organizing by most of the left-leaning governments in the region.

“Unfortunately, they fell into a kind of economic determinism, a certain economism, on the part of the governments of the progressive era, thinking that improving material conditions was enough to generate awareness of the need to fight against capitalism.”

This also holds true in the case of Brazil, where a popular movement fought a dictatorship and then elected PT candidates like Ignacio Lula da Silva to the presidency. “There was a lot of potential when Lula got elected, with a lot of popular support, to mobilize people and push for more, and people were very much hopeful that the government would be more than what it was,” Fernandes said.

The Left may have failed to organize a sufficient base of support to sustain its project, but it will now have a much harder fight to ensure that the reactionary Right isn’t able to do so either. This is motivating left-wing activists like Fernandes, who were critical of the PT government, to campaign for Fernando Haddad in the second round of presidential voting. “It’s now a question,” she says, “of trying to stop this in any way possible.”

27.10.2018 —

Brazil: The Collapse of Democracy?

by Alfredo Saad-Filho

Alfredo Saad-Filho is a professor of political economy in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London.


The Improbable Rise of Jair Bolsonaro

Five years of political tensions and degradation of democracy culminated in the 2018 presidential elections. The electoral process revolved around the confrontation between two political phenomena of great historical significance. On the one hand, the extraordinary political talent of Lula, who, even from jail, managed to put together an alternative candidate and outsmart his potential competitors in the center-left, paving the way for Fernando Haddad’s exponential growth in opinion polls.

However, Lula’s political acumen was unable to stem the tide of a far right mass movement led by an obscure Deputy who emerged far ahead in the first round of the elections. Despite frequent comparisons with U.S. President Donald Trump (who had a successful career on TV, if not in business), Jair Bolsonaro stands out for having failed at everything he tried to do before the elections, whether as a military officer (frustrated career), terrorist (amateur) or Federal Deputy (ineffective). Despite this history of fiascos, Bolsonaro made enormous gains, both among capital – desperate for any viable alternative to the PT – and among the workers (especially the informal working class), who flocked to Bolsonaro in the millions during the campaign.

Mass support for the incompetent fascist was supported by four platforms: the fight against corruption (the traditional way in which the right gains mass traction in Brazil, for example, in 1954, 1960, 1989 and 2013); conservative moralism (pushed by the evangelical churches); the claim that ‘security’ can be achieved through state-sponsored violence (which resonates strongly in a country with over 60,000 murders per year, in addition to tens of thousands of other violent crimes), and a neoliberal economic discourse centred on slashing a (presumably corrupt) state, that is parasitical upon the ‘honest’ citizens. The rupture of the progressive alliance and the haemorrhage of poor voters toward Bolsonaro is the Brazilian version of the process of consolidation of an electoral majority for authoritarian neoliberalism in other countries.

Defeating the PT and overthrowing Dilma Rousseff were, then, part of a wider process of displacement of the political center of gravity in Brazil upwards (within the social pyramid), and to the right (in terms of the political spectrum). These shifts have created, for the first time in more than half a century, a far-right mass movement with broad penetration in society. This not only drained the potential support for the PT candidate, but also led to the implosion of the traditional center-right parties, which were devastated by the rise of Jair Bolsonaro. Political chaos has seized the country.

The Impasse

In the short term, the Brazilian political impasse implies that the administration to be inaugurated in 2019 will be inevitably unstable, and over time, the 1988 Constitution is likely to become unviable, leading to the disintegration of democracy.

Any elected president would have serious difficulties governing with a sluggish economy, a hostile Congress, an overly autonomous Judiciary making a habit of trespassing into the other republican powers, excited Armed Forces, and a Constitutional amendment setting a ceiling on fiscal expenditures for the next 20 years (which will slowly throttle public administration). At the level of popular mobilization, since 2013 the streets are no longer the monopoly of the left; they now include large masses on the far right, surrounded by a violent fringe.

A centre-left president would find a state in worse situation than Lula found it in 2003, because of the institutionalization of the neoliberal reforms imposed by the Temer administration. These constraints would make it difficult to govern without a constitutional reform; however, a constituent assembly would inevitably be dominated by the right, which would seek to impose an even worse Constitution than the current one: the left is discredited, disorganized, and institutionally immobilized.

A far-right president, with no experience of government, without the support of a stable party structure, and unprepared in every way, will have to confront History: Presidents Janio Quadros and Fernando Collor were also elected by elite alliances that had traded common sense for a victory at the polls; both administrations were cut short. In a decentralized political system, authoritarian leaders face grave difficulties to govern, regardless of their legitimacy or social basis. Further, the ‘coalition presidentialism’ instituted by the Brazilian Constitution demands continuous negotiations in Congress, always running the risk of breaking the law, especially when the President has few reliable allies at the top, or is being challenged by a mass opposition.

In addition to these broad principles, the 2018 elections have led to five specific lessons.

  • First, the political centre of gravity in Brazil has shifted to the right. From the south to the centre-west, passing through the prosperous south-east, the right-wing electorate has achieved a solid majority. Given the importance of these regions, the left is electorally hemmed in.
  • Second, Bolsonaro’s rise derives from the combination of class hatred in a society bearing huge scars from centuries of slavery, recent right-wing insurrections, and transparent U.S.-led intervention in the Brazilian political process.
  • Third, since 2013, Brazilian politics has been defined by a convergence of dissatisfactions that has consolidated a neoliberal alliance around an economic and political programme that is economically excluding and destructive of citizenship.
  • Fourth, the Brazilian right is deeply divided. While the left, in defensive mode, can unite under Lula’s shadow, the right – surprisingly, given its hegemony over the institutions of the state and its ability to overthrow Dilma Rousseff – cannot generate leaders worthy of note, nor unify around its own programme of radical neoliberal reforms. Its traditional political parties are imploding, leaving in power a rabble of inexperienced, inept, idiosyncratic, and reactionary politicians.
  • Fifth, the worst economic contraction recorded in Brazil’s history and the most severe political impasse in the past century have degraded profoundly Brazilian democracy, and made it impossible for any plausible composition of political forces to stabilize the system of accumulation. The tendency, then, is for these impasses to be resolved by extra-constitutional means. This will be an inglorious end to a democratic experiment that has marked two generations, and that achieved unquestionable successes. Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to resolve the conflict between neoliberalism and democracy in Brazil, inside the political arena built in the transition after the military dictatorship.


Catalonia: Alliance against Energy Poverty

Dear all,

in mainstream media the Catalan question is discussed under labels as nationalism, sectarianism or regional egoism of a wealthy region, that doesn’t want to share its fiscal revenues with the poor brothers and sisters in other regions of Spain.

Rarely focus is put on the social and democratic question, that is the main cause of the call for autonomy.

As CUP-speaker Quim Arrufat and the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont put it: The question is about democracy itself and sovereignty of the people.

For years there are lots of local initiatives, assemblies, collectives, support groups that want to ease the brutal impacts of financial and economic crisis as well as explore and practice forms of a cooperative economy, in a long lasting anarcho-syndicalist tradition of Catalonia.

A big problem in Spain is cut-offs of energy (light and gas) and even water because people can’t pay the bills. In Catalonia there founded different groups an Alliance against Energy Poverty that shows an example, how to build up a cooperative society, and grass-roots democracy.

See the article below, full text attached, emphasis added ES.

With kind regards

Elke Schenk

Energy struggles:

combating energy poverty in Catalonia

Posted on 1. September 2016 by mel

A diverse range of social and environmental collectives have come together in the past few years in Barcelona to form the Alliance Against Energy Poverty, successfully mobilising and fighting to stop energy and water cuts for families unable to pay their bills.* […]

Increasingly unequal distributional effects have become more visible as energy and water companies generate exorbitant profits due to deregulation, government subsidies and increasing prices. This model is based in the logic of the capitalist appropriation of nature, which results in energy poverty for the many and mammoth profits for a handful of companies and their CEOs and shareholders.

Spain is one country where energy poverty – understood here as limited or no access to basic services such as water, electricity and gas due to a person’s inability to pay – has increased dramatically with the crisis. 17% of the population have difficulties paying their electricity, gas or water bills.

Within the context of growing rates of energy poverty specifically in Catalonia, here I explore the energy struggles of the Aliança contra la pobresa energètica (the Alliance Against Energy Poverty – APE), focusing on their strategies, ways of organising and lessons learned. Their success is based on uniting historic and current street-based movements with technical entities to bridge social, ecological and political issues, creating social clamour and building solutions at grassroots as well as institutional levels.

APE, formed in 2013 by neighbourhood associations, workers’ assemblies and water and housing rights platforms, aims to guarantee universal access to basic services (water, electricity and gas), to avoid indiscriminate service cuts and to defend human rights.

A brief overview of energy inequalities in Catalonia is first outlined to contextualise the APE’s struggle. Based on an interview with two APE activists, attending a collective advising assembly in Barcelona, as well as the APE’s published materials and website, focus is then placed on APE and how they act on various fronts.

Why act? Energy inequalities in Spain, Catalonia and beyond

The Spanish electricity system is captured by a handful of powerful companies, which are impoverishing Spanish people, a situation that has become more extreme after eight years of crisis alongside increasing levels of unemployment and precariousness. The electricity oligopoly that operates in Spain – including Endesa (Enel), Gas Natural-Fenosa, Iberdrola, EON Espanya and EDP – registered €7.6 billion in profit during the first three trimesters of 2013, double that of other European electricity companies.

The University of Barcelona researcher Aurèlia Mañé Estrada highlights the depth of their power in stating that Iberdrola and Endesa control outright the legislative branch of the Ministry of Industry and Energy. Endesa alone, the main distributor of electricity in Catalonia, declared over €1.8 billion in profit in 2013. Such exorbitant profits are also fruit of a 60% increase in electricity prices since 2008. […]

The price of water has increased 65% since 2008 and the Spanish Association of Environmental Sciences notes that in the Barcelona metropolitan area alone, the number of water supply cuts rose from 27,359 in 2011 to 72,039 in 2012. […]

APE: uniting street-based social movements and technical entities

To combat and find solutions to these injustices, the Alliance Against Energy Poverty (APE) was founded in November 2013 to unite a range of entities to fight for the right of all to basic energy, gas and water supplies.

APE brings together various entities, diverse in their ideological positions and in their ways of organising, like street-based social movements, both recent and historic, and more technical entities, which have worked on electricity, gas or water issues for years. While such a strategy has its challenges, as each movement has many actions and some participants don’t have the energy to engage in everything, overall APE is made stronger through the complementarity of its groups.

The technical entities lack a movement vision, while the street-based movements lack a lot of information to really understand what is happening”, as one activist explained. In this way, “each component teaches each other and learns from one another. We are not two fronts; we work together.”



Pepe ESCOBAR: The future of the EU at stake in Catalonia; Asia Times 02.10.2017

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 03.10.2017

Dear all,

below an extract of Escobar’s many-faceted op-ed article referring to the Catalonian „Battle“.

Martin Zeis

02.10.2017 —

Catalonia independence

The future of the EU at stake in Catalonia

A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union: ‚In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else‘

By Pepe Escobar

Fascist Franco may have been dead for more than four decades, but Spain is still encumbered with his dictatorial corpse. A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union, self-described home/patronizing dispenser of human rights to lesser regions across the planet: “In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else.” Call it democracy nano-Franco style.

Nano-Franco is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose heroic shock troops were redeployed from a serious nationwide terrorist alert to hammer with batons and fire rubber bullets not against jihadis but … voters. At least six schools became the terrain of what was correctly called The Battle of Barcelona. (1)

Extreme right-wingers even held a demonstration inside Barcelona. Yet this was not shown on Spanish TV because it contradicted the official Madrid narrative.

The Catalan government beat the fascist goons with two very simple codes – as revealed by La Vanguardia. “I’ve got the Tupperware. Where do we meet?” was the code on a prepaid mobile phone for people to collect and protect ballot boxes. “I’m the paper traveler” was the code to protect the actual paper ballots. Julian Assange/WikiLeaks had warned about the world’s first Internet war as deployed by Madrid to smash the electronic voting system. The counterpunch was – literally – on paper. The US National Security Agency must have learned a few lessons.

So we had techno power combined with cowardly Francoist repression tactics countered by people power, as in parents conducting sit-ins in schools to make sure they were functional on referendum day. Some 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who made it to the polls ended up voting in favor of independence from Spain, according to preliminary results. Catalonia has 5.3 million registered voters.

Roughly 770,000 votes were lost because of raids by Spanish police. Turnout at around 42% may not be high but it’s certainly not low. As the day went by, there was a growing feeling, all across Catalonia, all social classes involved, that this was not about independence any more; it was about fighting a new brand of fascism. What’s certain is there’s a Perfect Storm coming.

No pasarán

The “institutional declaration” of overwhelming mediocrity nano-Franco Rajoy, right after the polls were closed, invited disbelief. The highlight was a mediocre take on Magritte: “Ceci n’est pas un referendum.” This referendum never took place. And it could never take place because “Spain is a mature and advanced democracy, friendly and tolerant”. The day’s events proved it a lie. (…)

ESCOBAR-EU-future-at-stake-in CATALONIA171002.pdf

70 American academics publish an „Open letter on political repression in Catalonia“

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

Martin Zeis, 30.09.2017

Hallo zusammen,

70 AkademikerInnen aus den USA, Kanada und Mexiko haben in einem Offenen Brief die spanische Zentralregierung aufgefordert, die mannigfaltigen Repressionen gegen das für morgen geplante Unabhängigkeits-Referendum in Katalonien sofort einzustellen und eine freie Abstimmung der Bevölkerung zu dieser Frage zu akzeptieren.

Vergleichbare Erklärungen, Offene Briefe, Interventionen seitens in D tätiger AkademikerInnen/WissenschaftlerInnen sind mir nicht bekannt, ebensowenig eine zeitnahe Übersetzung des folgend dokumentierten Textes ins Deutsche auf Seiten alternativer, kritischer, unabhängiger Medien hierzulande …

D o c u m e n t

Open letter on political repression in Catalonia

We are academics working in the fields of political science, law, economics, human rights, sociology, history and related subjects in the United States, Canada and Mexico. We write to draw attention to the political repression that is being conducted by the Spanish government and national police to prevent the Catalonian government holding a referendum on independence on 1st October. As the referendum draws closer, the political repression is intensifying.

The Spanish government has stated that it will physically prevent people entering polling booths to vote on 1st October and has threatened to arrest Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont and more than 750 Mayors of Catalonian town councils for making public premises available for the referendum. Other repressive measures include the following:

● The Spanish Cabinet has unilaterally taken control of the payment of Catalonia’s creditors to prevent any expenditure relating to the organization of the October 1st referendum.

● The Guardia Civil (the Spanish military police force) has closed down websites that provide information or commentary on the referendum. Spanish judges have ordered the main telecommunications companies – Vodafone and Movistar – to prevent access to the referendum website They complied.

● The Guardia Civil has raided printers and distributors in the greater Barcelona region and has confiscated 1.3 million posters and leaflets.

● The Guardia Civil has served an injunction against all pro-independence newspapers and web-based news offices to ban publication of any material related to the referendum.

● The Spanish Post Office has opened ‘suspicious’ mail to check if it contains referendum-related material.

● Meetings in public buildings have been banned and some have been raided and stopped by the police.

The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said that Europe would accept an independent Catalonia if that was the result of a properly conducted referendum. The Spanish government’s repressive measures are intended to disrupt the conduct of the referendum.

We support the demands by constitutional lawyers in Catalonia and Spain to cease all action disrupting the referendum, since Section 155 of the Spanish Constitution states that the Spanish government can only compel an Autonomous Community (state or regional government) to carry out legal actions with the prior consent of a majority of the Senate (the Spanish upper house). No such vote has taken place.

We are concerned that the level of political repression in Catalonia at the moment is of a severe and arbitrary character not experienced since the Franco dictatorship. We demand that Spain immediately ceases the political repression in Catalonia and enables the people of Catalonia to be allowed to freely express their political views.

Signed (…)

The listed 70 signers see pdf-attachment and URL:


Š about the US presidential results: Nassim Taleb Explains Who Just Got Buried; zerohedge, 09.11.2016

Betreff: … about the US presidential results: Nassim Taleb Explains Who Just Got Buried; zerohedge, 09.11.2016

Dear all,

following the prospective thoughts by Nassim TALEB (Black Swan) about the world’s „intellectual yet idiot“ class, which also bustles in German mass media gazettes like Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Süddeutsche and so on, are ovious descriptive to their absolute failure predicting the outcome of the US presidential election.

Tickled pink,
Martin Zeis

— pdf-version attached —

09.11.2016 —
Nassim Taleb Explains Who Just Got Buried
The world’s „intellectual yet idiot“ class just took another blow to the chin, but who really got buried? Nassim ‚black swan‘ Taleb explains…
Simply put, as Taleb recently explained via, The „Intellectual Yet Idiot“ class… (see: )

What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence and fall into circularities — but their main skills is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3th of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats wanting to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They cant tell science from scientism — in fact in their eyes scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they call “rational” or “irrational” comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in many countries, the government’s role is ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and rarely seen outside specialized outlets, social media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many opening for the IYI.
Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

More socially, the IYI subscribes to The New Yorker. He never curses on twitter. He speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver. Those in the U.K. have been taken for a ride by Tony Blair. The modern IYI has attended more than one TEDx talks in person or watched more than two TED talks on Youtube. Not only will he vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable and some other such circular reasoning, but holds that anyone who doesn’t do so is mentally ill.

The IYI has a copy of the first hardback edition of The Black Swan on his shelves, but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence. He believes that GMOs are “science”, that the “technology” is not different from conventional breeding as a result of his readiness to confuse science with scientism.

Typically, the IYI get the first order logic right, but not second-order (or higher) effects making him totally incompetent in complex domains. In the comfort of his suburban home with 2-car garage, he advocated the “removal” of Gadhafi because he was “a dictator”, not realizing that removals have consequences (recall that he has no skin in the game and doesn’t pay for results).
The IYI is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist he uses statistics without knowing how they are derived (like Steven Pinker and psycholo-phasters in general); when in the UK, he goes to literary festivals; he drinks red wine with steak (never white); he used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; he takes statins because his doctor told him so; he fails to understand ergodicity and when explained to him, he forgets about it soon later; he doesn’t use Yiddish words even when talking business; he studies grammar before speaking a language; he has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; he has never read Frederic Dard, Libanius Antiochus, Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, Amianus Marcellinus, Ibn Battuta, Saadiah Gaon, or Joseph De Maistre; he has never gotten drunk with Russians; he never drank to the point when one starts breaking glasses (or, preferably, chairs); he doesn’t know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba; he doesn’t know that there is no difference between “pseudointellectual” and “intellectual” in the absence of skin in the game; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years in conversations that had nothing to do with physics; he knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.

But a much easier marker: he doesn’t deadlift. — emphasis, zerohedge —



M. SCHULZ – EP-President on Twitter: „It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate“

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 27.06.2016

… further comment is superfluous …

zerohedge, 27.06.2016 19:40 MESZ —

President Of The European Parliament: „It Is Not The EU Philosophy That The Crowd Can Decide Its Fate“

If anyone needs another confirmation that the European Union is fundamentally the most anti-democratic entity currently in existence, then the following statement by European Parliament Martin Schultz should put all confusion to rest.

Schulz: „The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate„.


TaleofTwoTreaties ‪@Taleof2Treaties
Schulz: „The British have violated the rules. It is not the ‪#EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate“. ‪#TBC

1:42 PM – 27 Jun 2016
59 59 Retweets8 8 likes

Confused: Here is what Deutsche Bank said earlier today:

The shockwaves and consequences around Brexit will resonate for years. It’s probably an understatement to say that most in financial markets regret the UK’s decision to leave but we should respect the forces that have been pushing us towards what has always been an inevitable political accident sometime soon. I wasn’t sure whether the Brexit vote was the one but I was pretty convinced one was coming and this is probably not the last. Spain yesterday started a general election cycle (more below but relatively market friendly) of the largest 5 euro-area economies (Spain, Holland, France, Germany and Italy) over the next 18 months or so, not forgetting the US this November. Throw in the crucial senate reform vote in Italy in October and you’ve got plenty of opportunity for rebellion against the establishment that haven’t managed to produce satisfactory enough growth for the lower paid/lower skilled to offset the forces of globalisation and immigration.

It’s worth looking at the voting split in the UK’s EU referendum based on polls compiled by Lord Ashcroft to get an idea of the disenfranchisement. In terms of socio-economic groups, 57% of ABs (upper/middle class – professional/managers etc) voted remain, 49% of C1s (lower middle class – supervisory/clerical or junior management/administrative), 36% of C2s (skilled working class) and 36% of DEs (Ds – semi & unskilled manual workers. Es – casual/lowest grade worker or state pensioner). So there’s no escaping the fact that this is a class war. Whether its globalisation, immigration, inequality, poor economic growth or a combination of all of them it’s quite clear from this and other anti-establishment movements that the status quo can’t last in a democracy. Eventually you’ll have a reaction. This is one such major reaction and given that the UK growth rate has been ok of late, it would be strange if pressure didn’t continue to build elsewhere where growth has been lower for longer.

It is indeed a class war, and the European „Union“ is not used to losing …

John W. WHITEHEAD:  Reality Check: No Matter Who Wins the White House, the New Boss Will Be the Same as the Old Bos s; Feb 29, 2016

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 02.03.2016

Dear all,

John W. Whitehead, constitutional attorney and founder of the Rutherford Institute * presents an alternative view on the mainstream-overheated US presidential election campaign and points out basic-FACTS of realities in „God’s own Country“.

Martin Zeis

—  full text attached (pdf-file)  —

Reality Check: No Matter Who Wins the White House, the New Boss Will Be the Same as the Old Boss
February 29, 2016
“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.” ― Hunter S. Thompson
Politics today is not about Republicans and Democrats.
Nor is it about healthcare, abortion, higher taxes, free college tuition, or any of the other buzzwords that have become campaign slogans for individuals who have mastered the art of telling Americans exactly what they want to hear.
Politics today is about one thing and one thing only: maintaining the status quo bet-ween the Controllers (the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the corporate elite) and the Controlled (the taxpayers).
Hillary will not save the nation. Nor will Bernie, Trump, Rubio, or Cruz.  The only ones who can save the nation are “we the people,” and yet the American people remain eager to be persuaded that a new president in the White House can solve the problems that plague us.
No matter who wins this next presidential election, you can rest assured that the new boss will be the same as the old boss, and we – the permanent underclass in Ameri-ca – will continue to be forced to march in lockstep with the police state in all matters, public and private.
Indeed, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it really doesn’t matter what you call them – the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex – so long as you understand that no matter which party occupies the White House in 2017, the unelected bureaucracy that actually calls the shots will continue to do so.
Consider the following a much-needed reality check, an antidote if you will, against an overdose of overhyped campaign announcements, lofty electoral promises and meaningless patriotic sentiments that land us right back in the same prison cell.
FACT: According to a scientific study by Princeton researchers, the United States of America is not the democracy that it purports to be, but rather an oligarchy, in which “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have sub-stantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy.”       (…)
FACT: Only six out of every one hundred Americans know that they actually have a constitutional right to hold the government accountable for wrongdoing, as guaran-teed by the right to petition clause of the First Amendment.
Perhaps the most troubling fact of all is this: we have handed over control of our government and our lives to faceless bureaucrats who view us as little more than cattle to be bred, branded, butchered and sold for profit.
If there is to be any hope of restoring our freedoms and reclaiming control over our government, it will rest not with the politicians but with the people themselves.
When all is said and done, each American will have to decide for themselves whether they prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery. One thing is for sure: the reassurance ritual of voting is not going to advance freedom one iota.  
* The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization based in Charlottes-ville, Va., is deeply committed to protecting the constitutional freedoms of every American and the integral human rights of all people through its extensive legal and educational pro-grams. The Institute provides its legal services at no charge to those whose constitutional and human rights have been threatened or violated.  — Founded in 1982 by constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute is a civil liberties organi-zation that provides free legal services to people whose constitutional and human rights have been threatened or violated. See:


In the center of the evil : PLAN B FOR EUROPE?

Dear all,

a few days ago a podium discussion with Yanis Varoufakis, Franco „Bifo“ Berardi, Srećko Horvat and Guillaume Paoli took place at the Volksbühne theater in Berlin.


(Introduction in German, discussion in English)

See url:


Yanis Varoufakis, former financial minister in the first Syriza government in Greece;

Franco „Bifo“ Berardi, Italian scientist of semiotics and activist;

Srećko Horvat, philosopher and director of the „Subversive festival“ in Zagreb.

The three discuss the crisis in eurozone and the European left and whether or how respectively an alternative for the EU / eurozone was possible.

Varoufakis provides among other things new information about the functioning of eurogroup-meetings.

Berardi asks, whether the tools of democracy are able to overcome the financial and political system. He postulates, that democracy in the old fashioned and known manner is over. It is not able to cut the ties between financial machine and social life.

While Berardi focuses on the question of democracy itself, Varoufakis postulates the end of democracy and politics on the national level and the need for a democratization of the eurozone, beyond national party lines. To destroy and abandon the EU is no solution for Varoufakis, because he fears the victory for nationalists, racists, speculators.

He proposes to democratize the eurozone, the money with creating a

paneuropean network of democrats.


Beppe GRILLO: Italy’s Plan B for an exit from the euro #PianoB; July 24, 2015

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS Martin Zeis martin.zeis

Italy’s Plan B for an exit from the euro #PianoB Posted by Beppe Grillo at 12:27 PM July 24, 2015 Tspiras couldn’t have done a worse job of defending the Greek people. Only profound economic short-sightedness together with an opaque political strategy could transform the enormous electoral consensus that brought him into government in January into the victory for his adversories, the creditor countries, only six months later, in spite of winning the referendum in the mean time. An a priori rejection of a Euroexit has been his death sentence. Like the PD, he was convinced that it’s possible to break the link between the Euro and Austerity. Tsipras has handed over his country into the hands of the Germans, to be used like a vassal. Thinking that it’s possible to oppose the Euro only from within and presenting oneself without an explicit Plan B for an exit, he has in fact ended up by depriving Greece of any negotiating power in relation to the Euro. So it was clear from the beginning that Tsipras would have crashed even though Varoufakis did try to react a few times. Only Vendola, the PD and the media inspired by the Scalfari-style lies (among many) of the United States of Europe and of those who are nostalgic about the Ventotene Manifesto could have believed in a Euro without Austerity. And they are obliged to go on believing in this so as not to have to admit that there is an exit opportunity after seven years of economic disasters. The consequence of this poliical disaster is before everyone’s eyes:

  • Explicit Nazi-ism on the part of those that have reduced the periphery of Europe to a protectorate by using the debt, with alarming echoes of historical parallels.
  • Mutism or explicit support for Germany by the oher European countries perhaps because of opportunism (north) or because of subordination (periphery).
  • Financial markets that are celebrating the end of democracy with new highs.
  • Expropriation of the national wealth by mortgaging 50 billlion euro of Greek property that ended up in the fund created by Adolf Schauble so as to get to rake in the cash from the war debts.

It was all thought out, foreseen, and planned down to the last detail. … The drama of the Euro will keep going as long as the Americans want it to, that is until the definitive approval of the TTIP by which the USA will place Europe in subjugation in a way that is not dissimilar to how Germany is subjugating the periphery. By now the Euro is an explicit battle between the creditors and the debtors. It’s not useful for our government to try to appear to be on the virtuous side of the winners – those supporting the Euro – and supporting reform. It’s not possible to reform the Euro from within but the fight must be fought on the outside and we must abandon this anti-democratic straitjacket. Our debt and lack of growth together with deflation, place us neatly in the category of those who are beaten by debt. Thus we’d do well to prepare ourselves with a government that is explicitly anti-Euro to defend ourselves from the final assault on the wealth of the Italian people who are ever more at risk, unless we reclaim our monetary sovereignty.

‚We underestimated their power‘ – Greek government insider about the negotiations in Brussel; Mediapart, July 08, 2015

Dear all,

the following interview increases our knowledge/insight about/into the nonlegal TROIKA/“Institutions“, the Eurogroup …

The complete document is attached (pdf, 8p),the Frenche translation see:

Martin Zeis


‚We underestimated their power‘: Greek government insider lifts the lid on five months of ‚humiliation‘ and ‚blackmail‘

In this interview with Mediapart, a senior advisor to the Greek government, who has been at the heart of the past five months of negotiations between Athens and its international creditors, reveals the details of what resembles a game of liar’s dice over the fate of a nation that has been brought to its economic and social knees. His account gives a rare and disturbing insight into the process which has led up to this week’s make-or-break deadline for reaching a bailout deal between Greece and international lenders, without which the country faces crashing out of the euro and complete bankruptcy. He describes the extraordinary bullying of Greece’s radical-left government by the creditors, including Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s direct threat to cause the collapse of the Hellenic banks if it failed to sign-up to a drastic austerity programme. “We went into a war thinking we had the same weapons as them”, he says. “We underestimated their power”.

A senior member of Greece’s negotiating team with its European creditors agreed to a meeting last week in Athens with Mediapart special correspondent Christian Salmon. Speaking on condition that his name is withheld, he detailed the history of the protracted and bitter negotiations between the radical-left Syriza government, elected in January, and international lenders for the provision of a new bailout for the debt-ridden country.

The almost two-hour interview in English took place just days before last Sunday’s referendum on the latest drastic austerity-driven bailout terms offered by the creditors, and opposed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and which were finally rejected by 61.3% of Greek voters.

While the ministerial advisor slams the stance of the international creditors, who he accuses of leading a strategy of deliberate suffocation of Greece’s finances and economy, he is also critical of some of the decisions taken by Athens. His account also throws light on the personal tensions surrounding the talks led by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned from his post on Monday deploring “a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my ‘absence’ from its meetings”.

The advisor cites threats proffered to Varoufakis by Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, warning he would sink Greece’s banks unless the Tsipras government bowed to the harsh deal on offer, and by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who he says demanded: „How much money do you want to leave the euro?“

The interview follows below and over the following three pages presented in a continuous series of extracts (editor’s notes appear in italics within hard brackets): (…)

Martin Zeis
globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS