French voters celebrate No victory in referendum

European constitution referendum

From the Google cache.

French voters celebrate No victory in referendum

Linking: 62 Comments: 24

Date: 5/29/05 at 8:39PM

Mood: Thinking Playing: La Carmagnole

French TV says thousands of people go to the Bastille in Paris, the starting point of the 1789 French revolution. They celebrate the victory of the No vote.

An orator at the Bastille shouted: Down with [European Commissioner] Barroso! Down with Blair! Down with Raffarin [French Prime Minister, who may resign soon now [update: has resigned] due to his referendum defeat]!

Someone in the audience advised Dutch voters to vote no as well, as the people should decide, not the professional politicians.

Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende kept calling on Dutch voters to vote Yes. Suddenly, in anti French Dutch nationalist tones.

While, before the French no, he had kept saying The Netherlands as a small country should not isolate themselves from big countries like France who would probably say yes … What rank hypocrisy.

Yesterday, there was the Dunya music festival in Rotterdam. Dutch Government Minister Ms Agnes van Ardenne (ab-)used the occasion for a Vote yes speech.

When Mr Willem Bos, chair of the Vote no committee, tried to say what counter arguments were, police arrested him and kept him in jail for over an hour. This says something about the quality of democracy which the Yes supporters want.

In his concession speech, French President Chirac, who had campaigned for a Yes vote, had to admit the French people had expressed themselves democratically.

French TV said that 56%, even more than the 55% of the exit poll, had voted No. 60% of Green Party voters had voted No, contrary to their party leaders. Similarly with Socialist Party voters.

The proposed EU constitution proved to be a social class issue as well. In France, 80% of blue-collar workers voted no. While the majority of well off people voted yes.

In The Netherlands, the leader of VNO-NCW, the big business association, claimed there were 1500 bosses present at his organization’s meeting and that each and every one of those would vote yes on 1 June.

There were No majorities all over France. With some exceptions, like Strassburg where many jobs depend on the European parliament: there, 62% voted Yes. Even this was a lot lower than the 72% Yes vote there for the Maastricht treaty referendum in the 1990s, narrowly won nationally by the Yes vote.

The Dutch Socialist Party, who advocate a No vote for Wednesday in The Netherlands put a picture of fireworks on their site to celebrate the French victory: here.

Stay tuned, as this blog reported later news, especially on the day of the Dutch referendum, Wednesday evening 1 June, after 9 Central European Time: there was live blogging again.

See on the results and consequences of the French No vote also here.

Update on constitution plans in January 2007: here.

Update March 2008 here.


RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 4:55 AM
Backbone is broken! Now it’s up to the Dutch to remove the oxygen tube!

CRITICALLY yours::::::LG

RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 7:43 AM
Yes, still three days to go … I added something on Dutch Balkenende here above. Thanks for your comment!

RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 8:40 AM
I smelled a rat when I heard CNN repeatedly blabbing on about how important it is for the French to support the EU constitution—and you proved it. Bankers seldom put democracy first!

Taipei, Taiwan
25 May 2005

* * *
Again, thank you for a very relevant and pertinent article. A colleague in France has kept me in touch with the feelings behind a “no” vote, naturally marginalized by our “free” media in America and Britain. A British news report of celebrities such as Johnny Hallyday, Francoise Hardy and Gerard Depardieu attempting to whip up a frenzy for a “yes” vote highly amused me.

As you know, these are very bad times, and you are one of the few valuable news agencies which report the real issues. At the moment, I have just finished writing three letters to Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Representative Mike Madigan, and another politician against a proposed change in the state retirement budget which will leave employees 29 percent worse off if it goes through. Our worthy Democratic Governor has a billion dollar deficit, but instead of raising taxes on the wealthy he now intends to attack the less well-off as well as support riverboat gambling with its mob associations and devastation of the life of local communities as a means to raise revenue.

Why am I raising these Illinois issues? It is because two of my colleagues in France are planning to retire before their state pensions become cannibalized in the same way. They have also become very concerned by the rise of the Blair ideology in France as well as the increasing racism developing under this new version of neo-conservative liberalism. A “yes” vote will mean further attacks on gradually eroding benefits as in the USA with France returning to the era of Napoleon III while we go “back to the future” of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

Keep up the good work of Enlightenment, an 18th century tradition now under attack in an America swiftly returning to the Dark Ages of capitalist oppression and puritan repressiveness.

25 May 2005


RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum. UK reaction
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 8:53 AM (1y4M ago)
Lack of principle
(Monday 30 May 2005)

THE interview which European commissioner Peter Mandelson gave yesterday will have been greeted by many on the left with mixed feelings – fury at the arrogant and insulting way that this insufferable man calmly suggested dismissing democracy if it didn’t produce the result that he wanted, mixed with a certain amount of relief that this discredited and thrice-disgraced apology for a politician is no longer active in domestic politics.

Whatever the result of the French referendum on the EU constitution, this unprincipled man will carry on ploughing his own lonely furrow regardless of the will of the people of France, Britain and whatever other country chooses to assert its right to its own democratic principles in defiance of his and other Euro bureaucrats’ opinions.


RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 9:35 AM (1y4M ago)
See also http://americablog.b…titution-go-now.html

RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by: Republic of Palau (View Website)
Date: 05/30/05 at 12:39 PM
Nice article: I’ve linked to it on Progressive Gold.

RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 6:07 PM
Thanks, Republic of Palau!

RE: No victory in referendum worries US military industrial complex
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 7:04 PM (1y4M ago)
US defence industry concerned by possible French No
27.05.2005 – 15:46 CET | By Filipe Rufino

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – A possible French “no” to the European Constitution referendum is causing some US defence industry chiefs concern.

“I am worried about the repercussions in European Foreign and Security Policy if the French vote no on Sunday”, said Robert Bell, a former NATO and White House official turned defence industry executive.

Speaking on Thursday (26 May) at a conference organized by the New Defence Agenda, a pro-defence industry forum, Mr Bell added that the EU needs more defence integration and needs to be up to the challenge of stabilizing the situation in Kosovo, “which could re-ignite at any moment”, he added.


RE: Dutch and French voters No victory in referendum?
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 11:24 PM (1y4M ago)
NEWS LINE lead article: Tuesday May 31 2005


Dutch workers are ready to deal another blow to the bosses and bankers’ EU by following the example of the French and voting ‘NO’ to the proposed EU Constitution in tomorrow’s referendum.

Leading ‘No’ campaigner Harry van Bommel, of the Dutch Socialist Party, said yesterday he expected the ‘No’ campaign to get an even higher majority than expected after the French vote.

Bommel said: ‘The Dutch prime minister has always said that we would look a fool in Europe if we were the only ones who voted “No”.
‘Everyone now has a greater freedom to say “No”.’

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said he was disappointed with the outcome of the French vote, but renewed his appeal for voters to back the treaty.

‘The process of ratification continues and the result gives the Dutch one more reason to vote “Yes”,’ he said.

A rattled Economic Affairs Minister Jan Brinkhorst said voting ‘No’ ‘would be a very short-sighted vision’, adding ‘we are not a province of France, we are not a province of Europe, we are an independent country’.

Dutch opinion polls have been predicting a resounding ‘No’ vote with the latest, for Dutch TV on Saturday, suggesting that 57 per cent were opposed to the constitutional treaty and 43 per cent were in favour.

The Netherlands is one of the EU’s founding members.

Meanwhile in Britain yesterday, Prime Minister Blair and his Foreign Secretary Straw were left shocked and unsure by the French vote.
Both men said ‘it is time for reflection’.

Straw said: ‘This decision by such a wide margin by the French electorate, is profound, does change things.’

He admitted that the Dutch vote ‘will obviously be significant’.

But he added: ‘We don’t need to make a decision just now, so we’re not going to.’

A shaken Blair interrupted his holiday in Italy to make a short statement.

He said: ‘Having this time for reflection is sensible because of the French vote.

‘If there still is a constitution to vote on we will have a vote in Britain before ratifying it.’

Blair added: ‘What is important now is having a time for reflection with the Dutch referendum in a couple of days’ time and the European council in the middle of June where the leaders will discuss the implications of the votes that have taken place.’

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: ‘Without the acquiescence of the French, you can’t really make meaningful progress on this constitution.’

In France, government ministers were furious over the working class vote.

Not only was the vote 55 per cent against, and 45 per cent for, it was all the more significant for the high 70 per cent turnout, reflecting the intensity of the national debate.

Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called the vote ‘a defeat for France and a defeat for Europe’.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said: ‘This is an ordeal, a real disappointment.’

The French employers’ federation, Medef, has reacted to the ‘No’ vote by calling for urgent ‘reforms’ to boost the economy.

Medef president Ernest-Antoine Seilliere said the vote ‘weakens the French economy, France and Europe’.

RE: French voters celebrate No victory in referendum
Posted by:

Date: 05/30/05 at 11:29 PM
News Line : Editorial
Editorial: Tuesday May 31 2005
French revolution stuns EU bosses and political leaders

THE 55 per cent vote, by the working class and the rural population of France against the European Constitution, is a body blow to the plans of the bosses, bankers and bourgeois politicians of Europe to establish a European capitalist state, powerful enough to smash the European workers and challenge the US and Japan for the world’s markets.

The blow delivered has been so devastating that it has even reduced Blair and Straw, and their spin-masters to a ‘period of reflection’, while they try and cobble together a policy to deal with this crisis.

This crisis is, in fact, an expression of the historical crisis of the European capitalist states, which were out of date and rotten-ripe for socialism and socialist reorganisation decades ago.

The French working class has exposed this crisis by its revolutionary action in putting its own class interests, and those of the rural poor, before the interests of the capitalists and bankers of Europe.

It has decisively rejected their EU state, and its plans to attack jobs, wages, the ‘welfare state’, state-owned industries and basic rights.

The French example will be contagious.

It will be followed by the Dutch in their referendum tomorrow and may well lead to other states rejecting the constitution, and in states like Germany, where the decision was taken by the parliament, to workers demanding a referendum.

The bourgeoisie of Europe has simply been caught out trying to do by political means and blackmail, what Hitler had sought to do by force of arms – organise a European capitalist state.

The EU leaders thought that it could be achieved by imposition.

The tactic was, where the demands of the European Commission were rejected in referenda – as they were in Ireland and Denmark – simply to have the referendum again, after lecturing the population as to the terrible things that would happen to their countries if they dared vote ‘no’ again.

This cannot be done to France and the French workers.

The Marxist movement has had a clear position on the prospects for a bourgeois European state for many years. In 1915 Leon Trotsky wrote the following:

‘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.

‘But this alone, an economic unification of Europe, such as would entail colossal advantages both to the producer and the consumer and to the development of culture in general is becoming a revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its struggle against imperialist protectionism and its instrument – militarism’ – (The Peace Programme by Leon Trotsky).

What has now been made clear, is what was crystal clear then, that a capitalist united states of Europe will have to be forced onto the working class by force of arms, that is by ruling class violence.

Already, the French bosses are demanding that the gloves come off and that radical measures are taken at once to put the French economy into order.

Their German counterparts are screaming a similar message.

Immediately, we can expect a split among the EU governments as they blame each other for the catastrophe that has befallen them.

This will be secondary to the remorseless sharpening of the class struggle that is taking place throughout Europe.The French workers have once again led the way, as they have done so many times before, and there is no doubt that the British, German, Dutch and other workers will follow their example in rejecting a bankers’ and bosses’ Europe based on their super-exploitation.

Update September 2007: EU draft ‘reform treaty‘: here.

9 thoughts on “French voters celebrate No victory in referendum

  1. Live blogging on Luxembourg EU referendum 10 July
    Date: 6/27/05 at 8:52AM

    Mood: Listening Playing: Get up, Stand up, by Bob Marley

    Cartoon of Luxembourg trade union against Bolkestein plan to liberalize the economy of the European Union

    As we noted before:

    June 3 (Bloomberg) — Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the current holder [now, that is Blair] of the European Union’s rotating presidency, said he’ll resign if voters in his country follow the French and Dutch in rejecting the European Union constitution in a referendum next month.

    … Luxembourg, one of the six founding members of the EU, will hold its referendum on July 10.

    Read more here.

    If Luxembourg voters will vote No, that will not just be important for Luxembourg national politics.

    It will also in effect kill the proposals for this anti-democratic, “neo-liberal” (or: neo-conservative), and militarist constitution.

    If even in a country where jobs are much more dependent on EU bureaucracy and offshore banking than anywhere else, the people vote No to the constitutional treaty, than it is dead in the water anywhere.

    On the evening (Central European time) of Sunday 10 July, here on this blog, there will be live blogging on the Luxembourg referendum results.

    If there is downtime or another problem at ModBlog, then the live blogging will be at my backup blog: here.

    Luxembourg No campaigners are here (“Leftist”); and here (“Left Liberal”).

    UPDATE: read the above on Luxembourg, with links, here.


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