From the Google cache.
Dutch pro EU constitution voters: “toff” voters
Linking: 41 Comments: 15
Date: 6/10/05 at 6:04PM
Playing: The Fuehrer’s Face, by Spike Jones
Veteran Dutch “liberal” journalist J.L. Heldring, in daily NRC of 9 June, analyzed the No victory in the European Union constitution referendum of 1 June.
Like other analysts, Heldring remarked the difference between No and Yes voters was one of social and economic classes.
The few local authorities where the Yes voters prevailed, were enclaves for the rich like Rozendaal and Wassenaar.
In the city of Amsterdam, Heldring said, there were No majorities in all districts.
With two exceptions: the city center (“grachtengordel”), where the big houses of seventeenth century merchants along the canals are still popular with the rich today. And the south, also an affluent neighbourhood.
Heldring wrote that precisely these two districts were also the districts in Amsterdam, where the Dutch nazi party NSB won above average votes, when they first participated in elections in 1935 (the NSB scored well in places like Wassenaar as well).
On the Dutch results: here.
New Left Review analysis of the results: here.
Monthly Review on Dutch and French results: here.
Comments on French (and Dutch) results: here.
Also from the Google cache:
Dutch no to EU constitution. More reactions
Linking: 16 Comments: 13
Date: 6/1/05 at 8:47PM
Mood: Thinking Playing: La Carmagnole
In The Netherlands, today there was the referendum on the proposed European Union constitution. Even more than the 55% in France, the majority voted no: 61,6%.
In Capelle aan de Ijssel, a town (not the same as Kapelle where he was born) where Prime Minister Balkenende lives now, 68,5% voted no.
Leidsch Dagblad daily of 2 June interviewed foreign students at Leiden University School of Management. The majority would have voted no.
Greek student Stavroula Moustaka said: Please, write down this: in Greece, the European constitution was rammed down the citizens’ throats without them having any say in it.
Many Greeks did not even know it happened! I am very angry on this, for, if their views would have been asked, they would certainly have voted no. Certainly I would!
News Line : Editorial
Editorial: Tuesday June 14 2005
Blair demands end of EU farm subsidies
THE knives are out between the British ruling class and its Franco-German opposite numbers.
The press conference at the end of Blair’s visit to Moscow, yesterday afternoon, saw Blair nervously rehearsing just what he is to tell the German and French leaders when they meet today.
Blair said that he would be diplomatic but firm, and that there would be movement on Britain’s £3 billion EU rebate only as part of ending EU farm subsidies.
Putting on a show of indignation, Blair demanded to know, with Putin watching on, just why 40 per cent of the EU budget should be spent on propping up five per cent of its population, that is the French peasantry.
The Franco-German leadership’s line is that renegotiation of EU agricultural subsidies can only come after the end of the forthcoming British presidency, and that the British rebate must be ended now.
In fact, Blair knows that ending the agricultural subsidies would mean a revolutionary explosion in France, and that Chirac cannot just terminate them. The very fact that Blair and Straw are raising this demand, a demagogic demand as far as the French bourgeoisie is concerned, is a measure of the chasm that has opened up between the two wings of the European bourgeoisie.
Chirac and Schroeder, for their part, are demanding that all of the EU states must complete voting on the EU constitution. The idea is that at the end of the process a way will be found of declaring that a majority are for the constitution, and that the French people should reconsider the matter, or their parliament should reconsider the matter for them.
Britain has already decided to do the opposite, to shelve its referendum. A humiliating referendum defeat for Blair would finish off his career and government. Poland and other states are following the Blair lead. Ireland and Portugal have decided to have referendums. The EU is further fracturing.
Meanwhile, Blair is demanding that the priority must be given to imposing privatisation and flexibility onto the working classes in all the EU states.
Chirac has hit back that it was the inclusion of such sentiments in the EU constitution, at Blair’s urging, that were responsible for the French ‘no vote’, and that Blair is endangering the EU.
Meanwhile in Germany and Italy, sections of the ruling class and their politicians are discussing whether or not to ditch the euro and restore their former currencies, blaming it and the common interest rate for their economic crises.
Such an action would put an end to the EU project, and see southern Europe plunge into the abyss, and see the German and French bourgeoisie take emergency measures to preserve themselves.
Both the Schroeder-led SPD, and Berlusconi’s right wing coalition are in a huge crisis. The approaching general elections may bring new Italian and German governments that will have to take immediate action over the EU crisis.
This is the debacle that the current 50 year struggle to establish a capitalist United States of Europe has ended up with.
Leon Trotsky many years ago foresaw such a crisis.
In 1915, during the First Word War he wrote: ‘A more or less complete economic unification of Europe accomplished from above through an agreement between capitalist governments is a utopia. Along this road matters cannot proceed beyond partial compromises and half measures.’
He added: ‘But this alone, an economic unification of Europe. . . is becoming a revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its struggle against imperialist protectionism and its instrument – militarism. (‘The Peace Programme’)
In Europe, the private ownership of the means of production is bound up with the historically outmoded mass of nation states. The bourgeoisie cannot create a united Europe.
Referendum results energised Polish left
The fantastic referendum results in France and Holland have shifted the terms of the debate in the anti-globalisation movement in Poland.
In Poland as in other countries right wing social democratic neo-liberals are the greatest enthusiasts for the European Union. They foster illusions in the European Union (EU) as an almost charitable institution.
The results in France and Holland have made it clear to many people that a left wing no vote is possible and necessary — against privatisation, deregulation and militarisation.
Articles by anti-capitalists which stress the neo-liberalism of the constitution and the EU itself have appeared in the press.
We have to rely on solidarity from below with trade unionists and the movement in other countries.
This spirit was shown on 16 May when 2,000 people marched through Warsaw against the “politicians of war and poverty” who were meeting at the Council of Europe summit. The march had been banned but the organisers said it was going ahead anyway.
Last Saturday saw the Equality Parade organised by gay and lesbian groups. The right-wing Warsaw president had banned it.
The organisers said this was an illegal ban and refused to accept it — unlike last year when the ban was respected.
Kasia Puzon, Ellisiv Rognlien, Workers’ Democracy, Poland
New Left Review 33
Meditation on the meaning of the No in the 2005 Euro-referendum as anti-consensual response to the authorities’ directive, ‘Say yes to yes’. The reversal of representative institutions to function from the top down, and capture of the hostage-citizenry by the state.
The intriguing thing about the trompe l’oeuil Euro referendum is the No that lies beyond the official No; beyond political reason. This is the No that resists. There must be something very dangerous about it to have mobilized all the authorities so determinedly behind the Yes. Such defensive panic is a sure sign of a corpse in the wardrobe.
This No is clearly an instinctive reaction to the ultimatum that the referendum has been from the start. A reaction to the complacent coalition around an infallible, universal Holy Europe. A reaction to the Yes as a categorical imperative whose backers did not dream for a moment that it might be seen as a challenge, and a challenge to be met. It does not therefore say No to Europe, it says No to the unquestionable Yes.
There is always something galling about the arrogance of a victory assumed a priori, whatever the reasons. The outcome has been decided in advance, and all that is sought is a consensus. ‘Say Yes to Yes’: this now commonplace formula conceals a dreadful mystification. Yes no longer means yes to Europe, or even yes to Chirac, or to the neo-liberal order. It means yes to Yes, to the consensual order; it is no longer an answer, but the content of the question itself.
Our Europositivity is being put to the test. And by a reflex of both pride and self-defence, the unconditional Yes spontaneously calls forth an equally unconditional No. The real puzzle is why there has not been an even bigger, more violent reaction against this mindless yes-ism.
The No reflex does not require political consciousness. It is an automatic return of fire against the coalition of all those who are on the side of universal good, while the rest are relegated to the twilight of History. What the forces of Good failed to anticipate was the perverse effects of their own declared superiority. They underestimated that unconscious lucidity which tells us that those who say they are right are not. Since Maastricht and the 2003 elections, political correctness-whether of the right or of the left-has not wanted to know about this silent dissidence.
This No from the depths should not be seen as ‘work of the negative’, or of critical thought. It is a pure and simple challenge to a hegemonic principle imposed from on high, to which the will of peoples is a matter of indifference, if not an obstacle to be cleared. For this Europe as simulation, to which all must adapt, this faithful replica of the world power system, populations are merely manipulable masses to be deployed as alibis for the project. The authorities are quite right to be wary of referenda and of every direct expression of a political will which, given the chance of genuine representation, might turn out badly for them. Parliaments are normally charged with laundering the operation and ratifying Europe on the quiet.
But we are well-accustomed to this embezzlement of public opinion. Not so long ago the Iraq War took place thanks to an international coalition of all the powers against massive and spectacular expression of the will of all the peoples. Europe is being constructed on exactly the same model. I am surprised that the No camp has not made more use of this striking example, this grande première of total contempt for the voice of the people.
All this goes far beyond the referendum. It signifies the breakdown of the principle of representation, inasmuch as the representative institutions no longer function in the ‘democratic’ direction-from the people and the citizens towards the authorities-but in reverse: from the authorities down, by means of a booby-trapped consultation and the circular game of questions and answers, where the question only answers Yes to itself.
The breakdown of democracy, then. And if the electoral system, already sapped by abstention, has to be saved at all costs (even before voting Yes, the categorical imperative is to vote), it is precisely because it functions as the opposite of real representation, with the forced induction of decisions taken ‘in the name of the people’ even when, secretly, the people think the opposite.
Having failed to invent another set of rules for the game, Europe has no other solution than to distend and aggrandize itself through a series of annexations, mirroring the superpower. Behind the refusal of this ‘there-is-no-altern ative’ Europe lies the presentiment of a more serious annihilation than that threatened by the market and the supranational institutions: the liquidation of all real representation; after which Europe’s peoples will find themselves irrevocably consigned to the role of extras, requested to supply a rubber stamp from time to time.
Whatever the result, this referendum is no more than an episode, as Europe itself is only one more episode among others on the road to a greater loss of collective sovereignty. Beyond the figure of the passive or manipulated voter stands that of the hostage-citizen, taken captive by the ruling powers; in other words, a democratic form of state terror.
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