Archive for resentment

Europe’s Political Crisis

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 23, 2019 by andelino

The “political crisis” that has been building in Europe over the last decade is more “visible” than ever before.

France is suffering its worst “protests” since the 1960’s. Over 100,000 took to the streets in France for months in a row. The police tried to round up the likely “troublemakers” arresting more than 1,000 one early morning. Businesses shut down and “boarded” up their windows during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

Police and firefighters deployed in huge numbers, armed with “water cannons, tear gas and assault rifles.” It reduced the “violence” but didn’t stop it. Protesters still “burned” cars and “smashed” shop windows once again.

Nor was the violence “confined” to France. In Belgium, police fired “water cannon” at around 1,000 protesters. Four hundred were arrested. There were also smaller “protests” in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.

French President Emmanuel Macron has opened the government “purse” to try to placate the protesters. He promised around €10 billion (US$11.3 billion) of tax cuts. The same day, a survey revealed that business owners expect the protests to cut this quarter’s “economic” growth in half. France is already one of the more “indebted” nations in the European Union. This is a setback it cannot afford.

The tax cut is unlikely to “satisfy” anyone. Though it may take them off the streets, for now. But “the demands of the protesters have grown more radical as the weeks have passed. Many are calling for the overthrow of Mr. Macron and a new political system to be introduced.”

They are not requesting a couple of policy changes. They want a revolution. “I didn’t want this completely corrupt political class anymore,” one protester told the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve had the left; we’ve had the right. We’ve had everything, and it’s the same policy. You have the sense that there’s no democracy anymore.”

This rejection of the whole system is reflected in the graffiti and slogans used. “Don’t vote, all rotten,” reads one. “Neither Macron, nor Marine,” reads another, referring to the French president and Marine Le Pen, his extremist rival.

This is not Macron’s problem only. His ejection from Olympus arrives at a time when the “UK is in the EU” endgame, and the community is rattled. France, its economy hobbled by an overvalued euro, now joins Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Polen and Belgium in a state of “social or political” crisis or both.

This background of “anger” manifests itself in different ways in different countries. Just recently, a far-right party entered a regional parliament for the first time in Spain’s democratic history. Spain was a “dictatorship” until the late ’70s, and this history had made it immune to the rise of the “far-right” that we’ve seen across Europe. Not anymore. A new party, Vox, won 11 percent of the seats, and it is on target to easily enter the national parliament when elections are held.

Faced with this Continent wide anger, Germany’s ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), met to choose its course for the“future” and its new leader. It chose “more of the same.”

It was a very close choice. But Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “handpicked” successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, won 51.8 percent of the vote. While not “identical” to Merkel, she has a similar vision for Germany and has been nicknamed by some “Mini Mutti Merkel.”

Merkel will continue in her job as chancellor for now, with Kramp-Karrenbauer taking over if the CDU wins the next “national” elections, scheduled for 2021. What is left of Ms. Merkel’s chancellorship still relies upon an “unstable” coalition, so she certainly is not safe.

As the Guardian put it, had the rival candidate won, “the pundits would now be asking how long he would need to topple Merkel. Now they are asking how long Kramp-Karrenbauer will be able to keep Merkel in power.”

Germany’s politics are in “turmoil.” According to some polls, the Social Democratic Party, which is traditionally Germany’s main “left-wing” party and one of the top two parties in the nation, is in fourth place. The latest INSA poll put the “far-right” Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) at 15 percent of the vote and the “far-left” Party at 10 percent. One in 4 Germans wants to vote for these radical, “smash-the-system” groups.

Facing all this turmoil, the CDU voted for more of the same. How will Germany respond to its leaders “refusal” to change course on the “migrant” crisis?

“Think about the consequences of German officials’ deception. It is destroying the trust between Germany’s government and the public. What happens when the majority of Germans realize they have been deceived? What happens when the majority of Germans lose confidence and trust in mainstream leaders? Frustrated and angry, the German people, as any people would, will seek an individual, a political party, willing to heed their concerns and solve Germany’s migrant crisis. This trend is already evident in the dramatic rise of Pegida and the AfD, a right-wing political party whose popularity is at all-time highs.”

Two years on, Germany’s leadership “refuses” to listen to these concerns. You see the same trend all across Europe. But now it’s not just about “migrants.” It’s about the “economy.” It’s about “carbon taxes.” It’s about feeling “powerless.”

The angry crowds across Europe don’t have a “clear vision” of what they do want. But they know they’re not happy with the “status quo” and the existing democratic process shows no sign of “fixing” their problems.

Hence the growing anger that is directed not at one person, policy or party but at the entire system.

“The Merkel government’s handling of this situation is turning the German people into a ticking time bomb! The more disillusioned, frustrated and angry the German people become, the more vulnerable they will be to radical politics and radical leaders with radical solutions.”

Now Europe itself is a “time bomb.” And by ignoring it, Germany’s CDU is only going to make the resulting explosion worse. The “smash-the-system” anger that has erupted in Paris over the last months will “break out” elsewhere, and it will get worse.

There are big upcoming “changes” for Europe. But Europe has been there before, time after time after time. Most people think Europe is too “modern” to go back to its Holy Roman Empire-style of government, but those people are probably also shocked to see the “anger” burning in Paris and the strong calls for “revolution” in France and beyond.

Current conditions in Europe, including the “refugee” crisis and the turmoil in German politics, provide probably one of the greatest opportunities ever for a new leader to come into power. Chancellor Merkel is on her way out and is now a “lame duck.”

Expect “political and social” crises in Germany and Europe, and public “resentment and anger” to grow even deeper.

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