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The Portuguese suicide

by cagatacos Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 09:00:39 AM EST

Today we will probably know the faces of the new Portuguese (conservative + über conservative) government.

There is a, not so irrelevant, issue that makes the situation in Portugal different from the rest of our PIGly friends.

The new Prime Minister is an honest, voluntaristic, globalist neo-liberal. He did indeed said his real intentions. He did not lie during the campaign. For instance, he said that the agreement with the ECB/EU/IMF was too soft on austerity. He wants more. Much more.

Note this: He did not lie during the period before the elections. This was a democratically chosen path. There was no posturing against the EU/ECB/IMF. There is a real belief on the (still ongoing) EU shock doctrine on the welfare of the people.

In the Portuguese Republic, there is no EU/ECB/IMF scapegoat. This is not the relentless assassination and destruction of a nation. This is democratically chosen suicide. This is our own doing.


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Spain is almost certain to follow suit. The PP's Rajoy will do out of conviction what Zapatero did allegedly out of a sense of statesmanship.

ElPais.com in English: Rajoy hints at drastic cuts if he wins elections (03/06/2011)

"We will have a welfare state we can afford," says PP chief

...

Prior to addressing the Círculo de Economía forum, US economist Joseph Stigliz, who won the Nobel Prize in 2001, argued that excessive cuts in public spending could lead to economic stagnation similar to that seen in Greece. But Rajoy was firm in his convictions.

"We will have a welfare state that we can afford," he said. "An African nation may want to have a large welfare state but cannot. If we reactivate the economy and create jobs, then more taxes will be paid and we will have a welfare state. And we will have one to fit our means. As I said before, I would like to maintain public health and pensions ? that is the red line. But I think that coming up with a global package mixed with an austerity plan will be good."



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 09:25:03 AM EST
Weird invocation of "African nation."
by Upstate NY on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 01:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
L'Afrique commence aux Pyrenées.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 06:06:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the niggers start at Calais.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:02:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait a minute! We can use the "N" word here?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:12:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only when quoting pompous assholes.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the wogs.

Please.

Europe is so funny. Each dim ethnic nationalism defines a different place where Africa starts - but it's always Africa where the humanism and culture of the Europe of Dachau runs out and the barbarism starts.

by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the other corner of South Europe, the question is where does the Middle East starts (outside Vienna, perhaps?)

"Eurozone leaders have turned a €50bn Greek solvency problem into a €1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:52:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean, where does Asia start? It can start as far West as Germany: witness WWI-time British propaganda equating Germans with the Huns.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, ha.
Actually that with the Huns was self-inflicted!
Following the repression of the Boxer Rebellion in China, Kaiser Wilhelm II gave the infamous "Hun Speech" (1900), which goes like that:
"Just as a thousand years ago the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty in history and legend, may the name German be affirmed by you in such a way in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look cross-eyed at a German."

"Eurozone leaders have turned a €50bn Greek solvency problem into a €1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 11:10:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Checking, he actually told it before the repression of the Boxer Rebellion (to the German troop contingent in the expedition army from Europe when they shipped out). One thing to note is the all too common circumstance that the Kaiser called for barbarism to teach barbarians (who were killing Europeans at the time, including a minister of Germany) a lesson; e.g. a fuller quote:

A great task awaits you: you are to revenge the grievous injustice that has been done. The Chinese have overturned the law of nations; they have mocked the sacredness of the envoy, the duties of hospitality in a way unheard of in world history. It is all the more outrageous that this crime has been committed by a nation that takes pride in its ancient culture. Show the old Prussian virtue. Present yourselves as Christians in the cheerful endurance of suffering. May honor and glory follow your banners and arms. Give the whole world an example of manliness and discipline.

You know full well that you are to fight against a cunning, brave, well-armed, and cruel enemy. Should you encounter the enemy, he will be defeated! No quarter will be given! Prisoners will not be taken! Whoever falls into your hands is forfeited. Just as a thousand years ago the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty in history and legend, may the name German be affirmed by you in such a way in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look cross-eyed at a German. Maintain discipline. May God's blessing be with you, the prayers of an entire nation and my good wishes go with you, each and every one. Open the way to civilization once and for all! Now you may depart! Farewell, comrades!

The other, more on point thing to note is that when Britain adapted this for WWI propaganda, it was conveniently forgotten that Britain and all its WWI allies were Germany's allies in this White Man's Revenge, in fact their troops from nearby colonies were busy raping and pillaging Beijing in line with Wilhelms speech before the troops from Europe reached China.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 04:15:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks East-West borders of civilisation and barbarism are just as common if not more common, and just the Europe of Dachau preferred it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are some parallels here with the 20s and the 30s.

Now a conservative government. I bet something very different in 4 years or less (when these guys will be ousted in full force).

Things will continue to go down the drain with the next guys.

A military dictatorship in 5-8 years time?

by cagatacos on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 03:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What worries me most right now from the point of view of narrative-setting is the reaction to the recent blockade of the Catalan parliament's session where brutal austerity was introduced.

The reactionary press is full of front pages calling the indignant action an "assault on democracy", and headlines comparing it directly to the 1981 coup attempt in Spain.

So, now, the reactionary right wing and the austerity party wrap themselves in the constitution as the indignants reject participation in the existing political structures (which means they don't want to attempt ---or have given up--- reforming the system).

This means things can only get worse. The right-wing Catalan nationalist president is already talking of "legitimate use of force" in response to the indignants. I fear the first Spanish protester to die in a clash with police is not far off. Then, all bets are off since the right will will close ranks to defend the established order.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 04:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Give it a bit of time. More austerity, more refusal to participate in the "democratic process", we are now seeing that there is no democratic process without popular will, popular will which has been coopted by centers of power which have other interests than the popular will and which are committed to the statu quo whatever the consequence for a whole generation of people (noting in passing that the real unemployment rate among the young on Europe's periphery is now in excess of 50%, with no end in sight).

A lost generation to the statu quo is a new generation for true participatory democracy, of the sort first seen in the last decade of the 18th century (about which Chou En-Lai famously quipped that it is too early to tell the outcome), the excesses of which, to set us apart from the social democrats who have neutered the impulse and continue to do so today, we should embrace.

I suspect we will be to old to be but cheering spectators once the fun begins, and begin it will, in my lifetime.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 05:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary!

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 06:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is Jérôme's space, after all...

Plus, quoting Mao is probably a bit controversial hereabouts ;-)

Double plus, it's been so long I've diaried I've forgotten my html...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 06:42:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pfffft...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 06:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
C'mon red, join the fun. Referencing Mao ... I'm in a time machine, back in college. Bring it!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My favorite Mao quote was "Get to the point comrade, you don't have to take your pants off to fart."

Maybe that says too much about my character.

by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 11:42:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did he really say that or is that just an urban legend?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 06:26:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm not inclined to doubt it. Anyways it seems characteristic.
by rootless2 on Sat Jul 9th, 2011 at 07:22:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if the Leninist religion (another part of the Abrahamic tree of death) will also last 2000 years or more? Complete with splits, bitter internal fights, purges, millions of deaths. And a linear view of time:

Primitive communities --> sin --> rapture/socialism -> heaven.

(I am mixing Marxist myth with Christian myth. Is there any real difference?)

The truth is: these human sociopathic diseases are very resilient from a time perspective. Clearly they have something for them. Everlasting, unmovable conservative fanaticism (by conservative I mean not changing your world-view one single bit - reality be damned!).

by cagatacos on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 09:07:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's all going to be OK. The artificial genetics folks are working on precise mutations to remove a little of the urge to procreate. Check it out on physorg.com and such sites.

Maybe build in a bit more testosterone resistance in the males, a bit less fertility in the females. An aversion to meat protein, more of an ability to meditate on the beauty of the natural world.

It's coming. It's needed.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sun Jul 3rd, 2011 at 05:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People who criticised Fianna Fail for being neo-lib were being inaccurate.  Fianna Fail actually has a strong tradition of state led enterprise and national self-sufficiently and built up much of the economic infrastructure of the country(1933-73).  It was actually partly this interventionist streak which led them to over-enthusiastically engage to "save" the banks.  A true neoliberal would have let them go bust/default/restructure.  

Although in later years (1979-2003), the neo-lib wing of Fianna Fail came to greater prominence, Bertie Ahern actually exiled McCreevy to Europe for being too enthusiastically neo-lib and the neo-lib Progressive Democrat party never got more than a single figure percentage of the vote, and has now disappeared altogether.

Fine Gael, the party now in power, on the other hand, has always been more conservative and wedded to a class system in which the professional classes are outrageously over-paid.  It is Fine Gael who are enthusiastically embracing the shock doctrine as an opportunity to dismantle the "bloated" public sector largely built up under Fianna Fail governance.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 12:54:55 PM EST
Elections are lost, not won.

If there's no one to the left of the party in power people vote for the next best thing, which is the party to the right.

This doesn't get them the result they want, but it takes most of them a couple of years to work this out.

And when there's no option to vote for what they do want on the ballot, it's not as if they have much of a choice anyway.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 06:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish five party system does give a reasonable degree of choice, its just that the intellectual calibre of the candidates on offer leaves a lot to be desired.  Most have swallowed the Austrian doctrine either enthusiastically or on a TINA basis.  It is the intellectual decline of Keynesian-ism and social democracy, at least in terms of public discourse,which has resulted in the right being able to generate a TINA narrative - that and the turd way social democrats...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 08:25:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is NO choice in Irish politics. Lipstick wont dress up the failed elite no matter the shirt colour. I was called delinquent by friends because I spoiled my vote in last Irish election - saying on Ballot. 'This is a choice? What a Joke!'. I am proud to say that. Reall Democeacy Now!
by irishhead on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 01:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"If God had intended us to vote, he would have given us candidates."
Bumper sticker during the Clinton/Dole presidential contest.

History is a Weapon

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 06:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something like Canada then. We have our ultra conservative government now.

The conservative minority government fell on being in contempt of Parliament - the first time in Canadian history that a government was found in contempt of Parliament I believe. The voters punished the conservative government by granting them a majority.

So now we have a control freak with an ego the size of a small country who limits questions from the media to 5 per day and who seems committed to trying to destroying the democratic process -  elected to a majority government.

It's going to be "interesting".

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 10:36:46 PM EST
by kjr63 on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 04:29:43 AM EST
Ain't gonna miss it.

"It's impossible to soar like an eagle if you're surrounded by turkeys" ... somebody

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When empires collapse the results can be quite devastating to a large number of people.

How long did it take to recover from the collapse of the Roman Empire?

Can't say I'm going to miss the US either, but I'm not at all looking forwards to the pain that is going to come.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:55:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be a lot less worried about the time it will take to recover from the collapse of the American empire, and a lot more about the fact that any half-way serious succession crisis is likely to involve casualties counted in eight or nine figures.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It didn't take that long to recover from the Spanish, French, British, Austrian, Ottoman or Russian empires.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there is a replacement in the wings - say a European Union - then maybe. Otherwise I'll go with JakeS for 8 or 9 figures.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:57:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure about that. If you combine victims of African civil wars you get a rather large number.
by Jute on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 03:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And longer time. Other longer-term effects of these imperial collaspes were the Balkan Wars, partially the Lebanon and Iraq civil wars, the WWII-era Central European ethnic cleansings, the Pakistan/India wars. Though the death toll relative to the total population is still much less and the timescale is still far shorter than for the Roman Empire.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 04:22:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aw c'mon, it's like being constipated and needing to take a huge shit. Yeah, it hurts, might be a little bloody, but if you don't do it now, it'll only be worse when you do, or ... what? Go ahead, try to give up shitting. Let me know how that works out.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:47:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not proposing to try and prop up a dead horse. I agree that the longer it hangs in there the worse it will be.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 07:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How long did it take to recover from the collapse of the Roman Empire?

This is often overstated.  The parts of the Empire that collapsed into the dark ages were the parts that had never been civilized (as in, having a well-established and indigenous culture of cities, settled life, and state-level social organization).  Minus Italy, the parts of the Empire that had long traditions of civilization survived and thrived in the post-Roman period.  And Italy had been so destroyed by the Roman slave-economy that it hardly even counted as civilized by the time the empire ended, and what veneer of civilization that remained was destroyed in the Byzantine re-conquest.

by Zwackus on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 05:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the parts that had never been civilized (as in, having a well-established and indigenous culture of cities, settled life, and state-level social organization)

Hm. Which ones would that be? Cities like London, Paris, Cologne, Marseille, Barcelona, Carthago, Cherchell, Carnuntum had that for at least three centuries, which I'd count as well-established, but there were Dark Ages at all places. These regions didn't just choose neo-barbarism on a whim, they were overrun by Germanic tribes who first pillaged then took control. But then in most places, in spite of the population loss, the existing majority populations with well-established settled life culturally assimilated their rulers (see the success of Church Latin, Athanasian Christianity, Romance local languages in France and Spain).

Italy had been so destroyed by the Roman slave-economy

What do you mean? Wasn't there slave economy on all parts of the empire?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 04:39:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference between France, Spain, England and North Africa and what became the Byzantine Empire is that the basic character of The West<tt.TM</tt> was changed to a greater extent than was the case further east. The whole half millennium from 500-1,000 AD in the west was a period of synthesis and regeneration of social and political institutions, integrating the previous traditions with those of the German tribes that had invaded. And, of course, North Africa and Spain were overwhelmed by Islam about half way through this period.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 10:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I recall reading somewhere that turnout in this election was lower than the 2009 election, and that younger Portuguese voters had some of the highest abstention rates. Is that accurate?

If so it would go a long way to validating Migeru's point above about a lost generation not being willing to use a failed political system to produce change.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 01:28:10 PM EST
Yes but it is not a massive difference from 2009.

My view is that the majority of the Lost generation is... erm... lost. The ones that talk are reasonable, smart. But my feeling is that they are a minority. When the pain really starts we will see what kind of generation is this. For now there are positive signs, but we have to wait and see.

by cagatacos on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 02:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The smart ones need to start creatively organizing an Alternative Economy with entities and structures capable of withstanding the coming Greater Depression.

I say "Greater Depression" because even on ET we haven't factored-in GW and the various Peaks staring us in the face which are going to be negatively affecting global economic (and political and social and yadda-yadda) activity over the next 10 years.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 01:36:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is why I think the transition and permaculture movement is a part of the solution.

And they seem to be a fairly big and smart group.

by cagatacos on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wholeheartedly agree.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the various peaks are not an insurmountable challenge.

An insurmountable challenge to a society that expects steady exponential growth, yes. But that is not a requirement for maintaining a comfortable and pleasant society.

Climate chaos may or may not be. Unfortunately, we will probably learn whether it is, even though betting your civilisation on the toss of a coin strikes me as a rather stupid thing to do.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:57:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if a financial crisis months to days away cannot compel our leaders to abandon common wisdom and do something, I'm sceptical about addressing (and addressing in time) issues that seem more than one election cycle away...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 04:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, let's deflate our way out of recession.  Straight into depression and on to collapse.
by rifek on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 04:08:08 PM EST
Growth to collapse or contraction to collapse and steady state to collapse.

What a set of axioms. Sounds like an abandonment of thought.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sun Jul 3rd, 2011 at 06:29:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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