Macron, Cohn-Bendit promote militarism

This video says about itself:

French Militarist History Can Not be Delinked from Attacks in Paris

14 January 2015

Professor Sabah Alnasseri, Department of Political Science, York University reminds us that French history and foreign policy includes massacring, criminalizing and dehumanizing Algerians fighting for independence.

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

French president Macron and ex-left Cohn-Bendit advocate a militarily strong Europe at Frankfurt Book Fair

14 October 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron used this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, at which France is the official guest nation, to advocate his concept of a militarised and authoritarian Europe dominated by France and Germany.

In his speech at the fair, which he opened jointly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron boasted about Europe’s culture. “Without culture, no Europe!” he declared to his audience, citing Goethe, and praising Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire and Edmund Husserl, as well as the latter’s French translator, Paul Ricoeur, Macron’s favourite philosopher. He spent some time at the book fair, chatted with authors, translators and visitors, and called for every second European young person to be given the opportunity to spend six months in another European country to learn the language.

Prior to this, Macron revealed the reactionary essence of his vision for Europe in the ballroom at Frankfurt’s Goethe University. It has nothing in common with the cosmopolitan ideals of a Goethe or Beethoven, to the sound of whose “Ode to Joy” Macron made an eerie appearance at the Louvre on election night in France.

Macron is striving for a heavily armed Europe capable of pursuing its own global imperialist strategy while suppressing domestic opposition. He developed his “Europe vision” on the same day as just a few hundred miles to the west, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers at schools, hospitals and transport firms took strike action against Macron’s labour market “reforms”.

Macron’s invocation of European culture serves to win support for his reactionary project among the educated middle class, which once styled itself as progressive but has now, in the face of growing international and social conflicts, discovered its love for the nation, military and a strong state. Nobody embodies this transformation better than Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who served at the Goethe University as Macron’s stooge.

During the 1968 student revolt in France, Cohn-Bendit became a star in the media, which nicknamed him “Danny the Red” and crafted his image as the terror of bourgeois society, even though the student leader, who rejected Marxism in favour of an anarchist “sponti” theory, never represented a threat to the bourgeois order.

In the 1970s, Cohn-Bendit and his close friend and protégé Joschka Fischer turned their backs on street battles and set out on “the long march through the institutions” that would lead them into high positions within the state. Fischer became the first Green minister in a state government in 1985 and German foreign minister in 1998. In this role, he paved the way for the first foreign intervention by the German army since World War II and supported Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s anti-working class Agenda 2010.

Cohn-Bendit, who is both a German and French citizen, made a career for himself in the Greens on both sides of the Rhine. He was a member of the European Parliament for twenty years, leading the Green group until 2014. In this role, he backed wars in the Middle East and North Africa, and authored a manifesto in defence of the European Union (EU) together with the former Liberal [in the European, not the US, sense of being pro-Big Business] prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt [nicknamed Little Thatcher].

At the Goethe University, Cohn-Bendit supplied Macron with the prompts to develop his vision of Europe as a militarily strong power. He said it was “fantastic” that the French and German armies were conducting a joint military intervention in Mali, despite their different traditions. Europe must go further in this direction, he added.

Macron responded with praise for Merkel. In recent years, she has “played an important role in Germany once again investing in the armed forces.” Much had changed, he continued, and Germany was now militarily active in many locations. Although unlike in France, the army in Germany was not subordinate to the president, German military intervention in Mali had been made possible by Merkel, he said.

And that was not all. “Germany is strongly represented in the sub-Sahara zone,” said Macron. “And that is very important for us.” The French president noted in this context that additional joint plans with the German chancellor existed. For example, it was very important to coordinate Europe’s intelligence agencies, “to develop, order and purchase fighter jets together.”

The third individual on the podium, sociologist and “Jihad expert” Gilles Kepel, provided Macron with proposals to support this policy. He explained that Europe had become very insecure and had to “ensure more security,” especially in the Mediterranean zone, which he described as “our Mare Nostrum.”

Macron asserted that Europe required a “geopolitical goal.” “A political roadmap” has to be developed. In the wars carried out to date, this had been absent, he added. France did not take part in the Iraq war, Macron noted, but it had failed to develop its own strategy. The absence of its own political vision encouraged terrorism. “We deceived ourselves and left an ever expanding space for the terrorists,” said Macron.

It is clear what he means by this. In his view, Europe’s mistake in the Middle East and North Africa was that it did not pursue its own strategy, distinct from the American and Russian. He wants to change this. Europe should in future more aggressively advance its own imperialist interests in the imperialist wars, wars that have already claimed the lives of millions and forced millions more to flee.

On the situation in the Middle East, Europe had to “manage and resolve the conflicts that give rise to wars.” In Syria, the West is experiencing “its greatest defeat. What do we have there: Russia, Turkey and Iran are active there—that is crazy.” The question has to be asked, “What can Europe contribute there?”, because too often “there is nothing to be seen from the United Nations, from Europe.”

Cohn-Bendit repeatedly addressed controversial topics and attempted to push Macron even further to the right. One example was his call for the EU to play a greater role in the suppression of the Catalan independence movement. “Why isn’t Europe waking up? The separatist leaders are getting a hearing—but why does Europe not act?” the French ex-leftist demanded to know.

Macron, who has repeatedly expressed support for the Spanish government’s violent crackdown, answered that France could not intervene in the “internal affairs” of the Spanish state, but noted, “Spain belongs to Europe. The Catalonian actions are not provided for in the Spanish constitutional order.” He subsequently added that Spain’s sovereignty could not be interfered with.

Macron backs the Spanish government’s violent crackdown against Catalan voters, and he is seeking to write the state of emergency in France permanently into law. This would enable the police to clamp down on workers who resist his neoliberal labour market “reforms.” Macron has already denounced these workers as “slackers, cynics and extremists.”

While Cohn-Bendit backed Macron in Frankfurt, Germany’s Greens are preparing to enter a governing coalition with the conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and the neoliberal Free Democratic Party. This government will accelerate the military build-up and the attacks on the working class. This will, notwithstanding the commitment to a “European vision,” intensify divisions between France and Germany and accelerate the breakup of the European Union. The only way to unite Europe on a progressive basis is the United Socialist States of Europe.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, from Green to anti-democrat

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, cartoon by daulle

Daniel Cohn-Bendit in 1968 was a council communist student, and a participant in the big French workers’ and students’ revolt.

The corporate media considered that this revolt was the work of “student leaders”. It was not; it was a mass movement with for each individual his of her individual reasons for participating, though there were common factors like rejection of oppression, exploitation and war.

The media went looking for “student leaders” in France, and in other countries like Germany. In France, they found Daniel Cohn-Bendit. In Germany, they found Rudi Dutschke.

That designation by the big media as “student leaders” did those two people no good. An anti-Dutschke hate campaign by the media of far Right German media baron Axel Caesar Springer brought Dutschke to the attention of Springer press reader Josef Erwin Bachmann. To Bachmann, Dutschke was a “dirty communist pig”. On April 11, 1968, Bachmann tried to murder Dutschke, firing his gun at him. Dutschke did not die immediately; he died in 1979, after eleven horrible years with a damaged brain.

For Cohn-Bendit, the big media “student leader” designation turned out badly in a different way. In 1984, he joined the German Green party. So did other people with a far Left past, like Joschka Fischer.

The German Green party, like similar parties in other countries, originally stood for peace, more democracy and a cleaner environment.

Joschka Fischer and Daniel Cohn-Bendit did not stay true to those aims.

In 1999, Fischer was Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. NATO started bombing Yugoslavia. Fischer and Cohn-Bendit then railroaded support for that war through the Green party, though many party members objected to the war. That war was anti-peace, anti-democratic, anti-environment: against everything which the Greens supported officially.

Joschka Fischer today is a Big Oil fat cat, making millions as an adviser to the Nabucco pipeline project.

Like Joschka Fischer and Daniel Cohn-Bendit pushed the Green parties in Germany and France to the Right, happened similarly in some other Green parties.

In Ireland, the Greens stabbed pro-environmental movements in the back, joining a government coalition with the corrupt conservative Fianna Fail Party (before the elections, they had said that they would never ever join a coalition with Fianna Fail). Green Irish voters did not like that, and the party lost all its European and Irish parliament seats.

In the Netherlands, Green party leaders also steered the party to the Right. They supported the Rightist minority government in continuing Dutch participation in the Afghan war. Just before the elections of September this year, they made an austerity agreement with the collapsed Rightist minority government. The Dutch Greens, GroenLinks, lost six out of their ten parliamentary seats at the election. Just after the election, the party leader resigned in disgrace. Then, the whole party executive and other party leaders resigned in disgrace as well.

Now, back to Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

Peter Schwarz from Germany writes about him:

Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s imperialist “For Europe” manifesto

12 October 2012

Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Guy Verhofstadt have written a joint manifesto titled “For Europe”, which argues for a strong European Union and a federal Europe with a powerful central government. The manifesto is to be distributed as a book in multiple languages.

Born in 1945, Cohn-Bendit is chairman of the Green Group in the European Parliament and was one of the most prominent figures in the student revolt in France in 1968. Verhofstadt, born in 1953, was Belgian prime minister from 1999 to 2008 and now heads the liberal group in the European Parliament, which includes the German free-market Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Verhofstadt was nicknamed “Little Thatcher” in Belgium, because of his admiration for British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The most remarkable element of the manifesto is not its advocacy of a federal Europe with a strong executive—such notions have been commonplace within bourgeois circles since the birth of the EU project. What is striking is the manner in which Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt largely dispense with linking this demand to calls for peace and prosperity. Instead they argue bluntly for Europe as an imperialist superpower. In their opinion austerity and militarism are the necessary price to achieve this goal.

On the very first page, Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt justify their commitment to a strong European Union by declaring: “We must more emphatically defend our interests against economic and political great powers of the calibre of China, India, Brazil, Russia or the United States.”

This is the theme that reoccurs through the entire manifesto. Another passage reads: “In just 25 years no European country will be counted among the powers that determine world affairs.” A “strong and united Europe”, however, would now and tomorrow, be “the most powerful and wealthiest continent in the world, richer than America, more powerful than all of the new empires combined.”

The authors of the manifesto do not lose a word on the plight of millions of Greeks, Portuguese, Irish and Spaniards, whose livelihoods are currently being destroyed in the name of defending the euro and the EU. They consider EU austerity diktats as essential “to secure our place in the world—whatever it takes.”

“A currency cannot be maintained without solidarity and discipline”, they write, and call for dictatorial powers for the European Commission: “We need … common institutions with the power to outline economic, budgetary and tax policy for the entire euro zone. Institutions with the tools to really enforce the implementation of the rules of the game, without member states impeding them.”

Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt also regard military interventions as essential to secure “our position in the world.” This is not only apparent from their demand for a joint European army, but also from their praise for the new UN doctrine, the “responsibility to protect.” This has “ushered in a new era, extending the sovereignty of international law and human rights far beyond nation-states,” they write.

The concept of the “responsibility to protect” serves as a justification for the US and its allies to militarily attack sovereign nations and force regime change in their own interests. The war against Libya was justified on such grounds, and the same concept is now being used to urge a direct intervention against Syria. Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt have supported both. They justify such imperialist violence with the need to spread “human rights, freedom and democracy”. Their language is strongly reminiscent of the “civilizing mission” of British imperialism, used to justify the brutal subjugation of India and Africa.

In order to lend some credibility to their plea for a more powerful European Union, Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt raise the spectre of nationalism. They evoke the two world wars, which brought “persecution, broken families, the extinction of minorities, countries in ruins and cities bombed to the ground” and warn: “Sooner or later nationalism always leads to the same tragedy.”

They deliberately ignore the fact that it is EU policy that has strengthened centrifugal tendencies in Europe. The destruction of millions of livelihoods by the social cuts ordered by Brussels—with the full support of the social democrats, Greens and trade unions—plays into the hands of right-wing, nationalist forces. Neo-fascist groups are also able to exploit the policy of European authorities intent on setting up new barriers against immigrants and intensifying the persecution of refugees.

The subjugation of Europe to the dictates of the most powerful financial and economic interests through a strengthening of the EU and the growth of nationalism are two sides of the same coin. Often, the proponents of both positions are to be found in the same political camp, as it is the case in Germany where the spectrum inside the ruling coalition extends from vehement nationalists to resolute supporters of the EU.

The real political dividing line in Europe is not between EU supporters and nationalists but along social divisions—between the ruling elite which is amassing huge fortunes and driving the continent into disaster and war, and the working class which is being subjected to unceasing attacks on its social and democratic rights.

A relapse into dictatorship and war in Europe can only be avoided by working people closing ranks across borders, expropriating the ruling elite and establishing Europe on a socialist basis. This requires an uncompromising struggle against the EU and its institutions.

Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt, both fierce anti-communists, combat such a perspective. Their manifesto aligns communism with fascism and Nazism and includes it among the “enemies of freedom.”

It is no surprise that a free-market liberal such as Verhofstadt defends such views. As for Cohn-Bendit, however, he still retains a whiff of the rebel “Danny the Red” from his student days. In fact, his commitment to imperialism is nothing new. In 1999, when his long-time friend and companion Joschka Fischer—at that time German foreign minister—agitated for the participation of the German army in the war against Yugoslavia Cohn-Bendit was his most energetic defender in overcoming pacifist opposition inside the Green Party.

Cohn-Bendit embodies those layers of the middle class whose principal aim in 1968 was to expand their own potential for individual advancement and who despised the working class. Under the influence of anti-Marxist theories they regarded the working class as a backward mass, in the thrall of consumerism. When—to their big surprise—French workers intervened in May and paralyzed the country with a general strike, occupying factories and bringing the government of General de Gaulle to the brink of collapse, they reacted with shock and turned rapidly to the right.

Passing through various anarchist, Maoist and pseudo-Marxist groups they commenced a “march through the institutions”, enabling them to make a career and obtain lucrative posts. Not a small number of such former anarchists, Maoists and other “leftists” now occupy leading positions in the boardrooms of the EU, European governments and the established parties—functioning as pillars of the ruling order. Cohn-Bendit is just one of them, although certainly one of the most repulsive.

Verhofstadt and Colonel Gadaffi, good friends until NATO started Libyan war and had Gadaffi murdered: photo here.