For Your Entertainment (FYE)
“Although the center-left and center-right groups held onto more than 70 percent of the European Parliament’s 751 seats, the result is expected to stunt the body’s ability to agree on major issues and could potentially stymie agreements with other countries such as the United States.
“This result will make the wheels of the European Parliament grind even more slowly,” said Catherine Fieschi, director of the U.K.-based political research group Counterpoint.
Fieschi told NBC News that Euroskeptics on the right have the potential to be a disruptive influence on policy making, and Euroskeptics on the left would oppose initiatives, such as the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a free trade agreement with the U.S, for more ideological reasons.
“Right across Europe people are fed up with the way politics is being done – they think it’ unaccountable and opaque,” said Fieschi. “The voters have sent a message about the way political parties operate.””
“”They promised us prosperity, we got recession,” party leader Marine Le Pen told supporters at a rally last week. “They promised us strength, we got dependence and humiliation. They promised us security at Europe’s borders, we got Romani camps and out-of-control immigration.”
That kind of rhetoric is striking a chord across France.”
“Although there are a myriad of local factors at play across Europe, the discontent that led Henin-Beaumont to embrace Le Pen helps explain why voters around the continent are looking for radical solutions.
Voters here say previous administrations’ corruption and mismanagement are the main reasons for the rightward turn.
There’s much to complain about.
The long-serving Socialist mayor, Gerard Dalongeville, hiked local taxes 85 percent in 2004 in an effort to reduce one of France’s highest levels of municipal debt. Five years later, he was dismissed by the national government amid a storm of corruption allegations before receiving a four-year prison sentence for embezzlement in August.
“The way the town was managed was catastrophic,” says local teacher Paul Tondelier. “There was a huge disappointment with the Socialists and people said at least the National Front people weren’t involved in all those shenanigans.”
At a national and European level, Le Pen and other radical leaders on the left as well as right have seized on voter dissatisfaction with traditional parties.”
“”Europe is really not popular here,” says Christophe Le Couteux, a journalist with the regional newspaper La Voix du Nord. “There’s a feeling that Europe does not defend jobs, that Europe supports neo-liberalism, that it favors factory closures. Europe is detached from people’s lives.””
“More recently, the EU has come in for criticism here and across southern Europe for imposing austerity programs demanded by Germany and other northern countries in exchange for bailout programs.
Conversely, euro-skepticism in the north has been fueled by populist parties claiming taxpayers’ cash is diverted to support spendthrift southerners.
With France straddling Europe’s north-south divide, Le Pen has been able to exploit both arguments to ride a wave of anti-European feeling.”
“A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group, such as a nation or a besieged city, from within. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organized actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.”
“In 1945, a document produced by the U.S. Department of State compared the earlier efforts of Nazi Germany to mobilize the support of sympathizers in foreign nations to the superior efforts of the international communist movement at the end of World War II: “a communist party was in fact a fifth column as much as any [German] Bund group, except that the latter were crude and ineffective in comparison with the Communists”. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., wrote in 1949: “the special Soviet advantage—the warhead—lies in the fifth column; and the fifth column is based on the local Communist parties”.“
“His 1949 book The Vital Center made a case for the New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, while harshly critical of both unregulated capitalism and of those liberals such as Henry A. Wallace who advocated coexistence with communism.”
“The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom is a 1949 book, by Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., defending liberal democracy and a state regulated market economy against the totalitarianism ofcommunism and fascism.
The argument runs as follows: modern man has been detached from his moorings by capitalism andtechnology, and searches for a new solidarity and finds this in Communism. However, Communism has in reality been a totalitarian military dictatorship run by the Communist Party since Lenin “exposed Marxist socialism to the play of…influences which divested it of its libertarian elements”. Instead of supporting this totalitarian road, a strong and interventionist liberalism is needed, New Deal-style, in the tradition of American leadership in the liberal world order and of the national reforms of Franklin andTheodore Roosevelt. This would be practical, anti-utopian, and would “restore the balance between individual and community”.”