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11/15/16

European Politics & populism: Marine Le Pen, Beppe Grillo, Geert Wilders, Frauke Petry: has their big moment arrived? - by Toby Helm

Populism and the media
Dogged by the migration crisis and the traumatic business of Brexit – to name just two current, existential challenges to their project – those who run the European Union felt they had enough on their plates before Donald Trump seized the White House.

News of his triumph broke on Europe, as had that of the British vote to leave the European Union on 23 June, in defiance of opinion pollsters and the assumptions of political elites that maintained that the world’s most advanced democracy could never deliver such a blow to the established order. Then it did.

In EU capitals, where they had preferred to dismiss Brexit as a one-off revolt by the union’s most difficult member, Trump’s election prompted the same elites to question their easy assumptions and entertain, for the first time, the impossible.

For the European Union such an outcome – Le Pen winning – would be far, far worse than Brexit. Brexit is containable. A France conquered by an anti-EU presidential candidate is not.

Everyone agreed last week that her winning would destroy the EU. “It would be cataclysmic, existential, the end,” said one EU diplomat.

In Berlin, Stephan Mayer, a Christian Social Union (CSU) MP in the Bundestag and his party’s home affairs spokesman, declared that, if Le Pen took France out of the euro and the EU, the European project would be done for.

Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, and one not prone to dramatic overstatement, said countries at the heart of the EU integration process could no longer regard themselves as necessarily immune from populist movements. “What we have to take into account is that disruptive things can happen and the unthinkable can happen, so we should not take it for granted that Le Pen cannot win,” he said.

Note EU-Digest: Yes indeed everything is now possible, given the "average stupidity of the voter", who usually votes with his or her emotions rather than their head. 

Yes it will bring change, but eventually also chaos. The perspective is that globalism is at fault here. Initiated and expanded by a tiny group of banking interests, globalism has also been consolidating worldwide power with a group of massive corporations, governments and technocratic leaders. 

The danger is that populism could also be their plan B, giving them even more power, but in a different way. Time will tell , but it is so much resembling the mood of Europe when the Treaty of Versaille was signed on the twenty eighth of June 1919 that set conditions for drastic change throughout Europe. 

Many of the war reperations imposed on the defeated nations of the Central Powers were too much to be ever repaid. The economies of European nations were in turmoil after the war and many nations were politically unstable. This political instability had pathed the way for new reforms in many countries in Europe during this period. The early years of the twentieth century ushered in new radical ideologies that presented new challenges in inter-state relations. Mass uprisings and government reforms were on the main agenda

It resulted in the birth of two also populist based ideologies - Fascism and Nazism.

Are we going back to that scenario ?

Read more: Marine Le Pen, Beppe Grillo, Geert Wilders, Frauke Petry: has their big moment arrived? | World news | The Guardian

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