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The New Old World. Perry Anderson. Review Essay.

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Review Essay: The New Old World. Perry Anderson. Verso 2010.

The European Union lies at the horizon of our politics. Like the sky’s limit it seems a distant prospect. Yet a major part of what we see of government is shaped by decisions in the Halls and Chambers of Brussels. How then can we grasp their workings? The New Old World begins with the observation that the EU has an “institutional framework of famous complexity, overarching the nations that compose it that sets this world off from any other” The Union is marked, moreover, by the “intractable sovereignty and diversity of the nation-states” that make it up. To write about this, Perry Anderson observes, is difficult. The difference between the national and supranational planes makes it hard to hold them together “within a single focus”. A causal reader might immediately shrink from reading further; fearing no doubt that the author is also talking about the tangled nature of his own book.

They would be wrong to do so. Anderson, a leftist intellectual’s intellectual, is not about to get lost. If the pages of The New Old World are “makeshift” and made up of “discontinuous” efforts, it is full of critical political and theoretical insight about the European Union, and its member states. Readers of the London Review of Books and New Left Review will be familiar with many of these essays. But placed together, re-edited, and concluded with up-to-date Prognoses they repay re-reading as a whole. Few British commentators (Timothy Garton Ash being one, though from a standpoint close to power) have managed to link the national and the pan-European in such a stimulating way. Reviewers have praised Anderson’s ‘breath’, his ‘magisterial’ grasp of a vast range of material. He is one of the small number of people capable of describing this “impossible object”, and its successive historical, cultural, ideological, national and Continental levels. He does so from the vantage point of the left – a left however that is never clearly defined. (Page xi)

The New Old World aims to “inspire curiosity about the life and thought of other nations”. That is, largely, through an account of ‘high’ national cultures, intellectual reviews, and the ‘quality’ arts of France, Italy and Germany, although, just outside the European marches, Turkey gets a broader ideological look, centred on Kemalism and Islam. There is little evidence of materialist cultural studies, that is, the attempt to make links between the elite-national and the ‘popular’. In a similar vein Perry Anderson’s famously erudite style – peppered with untranslated phrases from many European languages – staunchly resists Orwell’s recommendation in Politics and the English Language to always use “Everyday English” and short words. But it is none the worse for making readers consult a dictionary or Google.


The EU in the Frame.

Anderson is not a disengaged observer. He states of the founders of the Union, “my admiration for its original architects remains undiminished. Their enterprise had no historical precedent, and its grandeur continues to haunt what it has since become.”(Page xv) That it is “the last great world-historical achievement of the bourgeoisie…”(Page 78) Is this esteem a sign that Anderson has inherited a certain ‘Trotskyist’ vision of the progressive nature of Continental political and economic integration, a step forward on the way of uniting the international labour? This idea is mentioned but not explicitly endorsed (an elliptical feature of all Anderson’s writings). The foreword looking potentials – bluntly the possibilities the EU offers to the left – of long-term unification, are overshadowed at present. It has undergone a “strange declension”. To give us a flavour of the hopes it once offered Anderson cites Tom Nairn’s The Left Against Europe (1972), which argued for European integration as a theatre of popular expression. Anderson’s colleague, the late Peter Gowan, described globalisation (unimpeded capital flows, erosion of individual state-led economic policies) as the result of deliberate decisions, made above all in America (Wall Street, the Pentagon and the White House). He asked (1999) if it were possible for a larger inter-state unit, the EU to muster “political will to re-subordinate money-dealing capital to public policy goals.” Gowan clearly hoped it could, believing, with many others who took this stand, that the presence or absence of political will was a principal determiner. But this depended on a political agency with power in the EU, an “effective European social democratic challenge to the globalisation drift..” At the very least this would involve preserving what Commissioner Jacques Delors called the Europe’s “unique systems of social solidarity” even if it meant, “bringing capital on board.” (1)

This has not happened. As Anderson subsequently observes, the people have not acted, the social democrats have bent to the will of capital, and the Union has become a stage dominated by the right. Far from being Europe that tames markets, or better, a space where one might, just might, build a social alternative, the current “metamorphosis” of capitalism dominates it. Where can we look for advances now? The stalwart of New Left Review does not explore Nairn’s lovingly nurtured option, Scottish nationalism, within the EU. Europe, the Continent as a whole (including the SNP) is in thrall to the market. The issue is, for the moment, settled.

Perpetual institutional movement, nevertheless, is said to define the EU. If its existing framework is solidifying around a structure far from favourable to any kind of left this may not last. A hostile appraisal may discover the basis for an eventual revival of the progressive side of the project. So, from dissimilar premises (above all he appears to regret the ebbing of the dynamic towards some kind of truly unified Continental state form), Anderson is as radical a critic of the actually existing Union as a member of the Common Market Safeguards Committee. From the nuanced criticisms of the earlier contributions (begun in 1995) to his most recent (2009) his outrage swells. The EU, in his latest view, is marked by “contempt for elementary principles of democracy” (Page 540) The elites of the Council and Commission and their subordinates have constructed an “oligarchic structure” ruled by select cliques, with ambition to be a ‘sub-imperial’ help-met, and consul, to the USA.

This turn is deeply entrenched. The EU has played an active part in continuing the “deregulation of financial markets and the privatisation of industries and services..” that started with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan. Its ‘social’ dimension, claimed to counterbalance the market, has gradually withered. It is ‘adrift’. Its rulers “collude with negationism in Turkey, ethnic cleansing in Cyprus, abet aggression by Israel, and subserve the occupation of Afghanistan. Socially, the EU now has a wider span of income inequality than the UD and harsher inter-ethnic relations. Its performance since the crisis of the neo-liberal regime has so far been worse than that of America, and popular reactions to it more conservative.”(Page 540) The consensus that has led to this, pursued from the top down, is hardening. This indicates a sclerosis of its political arteries, impeding the flow of change in the left’s direction.

One thing is seriously awry (and remarked upon by nearly all reviewers). There is practically nothing about the United Kingdom. The reason, Anderson asserts, with doubtless some happy mischief, is because its “history since the fall of Thatcher has been of little moment.”(Page xii – xiii) This is a contestable judgement. The French Socialists have looked, he mentions, “wistfully, if furtively” at Blair. If they have “missed that bus” (Page 211) many other European parties of the moderate left did not, and New Labour has certainly bolstered the Eastern European ‘left’s’ adoption of free-market policies. The importance of Labour’s Third Way lay not in its vacuous theory, but the party’s 13 years of power, and its implication in the cogs-and-wheels of the post social-democratic ‘market state’ – very much part of the history of neo-liberalism. Far from being consigned to the hinterland, the UK has occupied a leading role in driving Europe towards “deregulation and privatisation”. It has also, dare one mention, been more than a simple cheer-leader of American overseas interventions. If it outside the Euro-Zone, Britain is in the van of the current wave of pressure for those who have the common currency to adopt Budget austerity – before it reaches the urgent condition that has swept Greece and threatens Spain and elsewhere. The United Kingdom is the theatre for a common pattern of depoliticising that has “led to “ethno-religious tensions” displacing “class antagonisms.” It has been a central contributor to the international Banking Crisis. It may thus be said to be a heavily implicated in the processes that have shifted politics rightward, hollowed out integration, and made the emergence of a common European public, informed by the values of the left, more difficult.

What is the European Union?

It would be easy for anyone on the left to consider the present European Union as the tool of the continent’s bourgeoisie. Some see it as a “cosmopolitan” force that destroys national sovereignty in the interests of a vague, but menacing, process called ‘globalisation’. Anderson begins by a much more weighted approach. This traces the origin of the Union in the post-war efforts of national states to preserve and expand their power after the disasters of the conflict. Its founders wished to prevent further nationalist wars. Encouraged by the United States, the European bourgeoisie aimed to create a bulwark against the Soviet Union, and the demands of the Continent’s radical left, a force that emerged from the defeat of Nazism with some strength. The French equally wanted to tie Germany down, while Germany wanted to return to the rank of an established power. Jean Monnet, the “Father of Europe” an “international adventurer” who had a “federalist vision of a supranational Europe” and thought up much of the detail of the European Economic Community, slots into the picture. The portrait that emerges is of an enterprise in political voluntarism one stage above the pressures of directly economic and social interests.

Such a narrative stands in contrast to the “self-congratulatory myths” underlying the principled ideals behind the formation of the EU. If Monnet had lofty principles they way federalism got put into practice was the result of less noble motives. The EU’s history often owes something to Vautrin’s formula, “Il n’y a pas de principles, il n’y a que des événements; il n’y a pas de lois, il n’y que des circonstances” (Le Père Goriot. Balzac. 1834). It is actors, however, who play out events and circumstances. That is political show business’s first rule. One of Anderson’s analytical strengths is never to drop this from his mind. Surveying a vast amount of material, from historical, economic and sociological studies, political biography, political pamphlets to philosophical reflections, he manages to draw out the role of choice within constraint. As a measure of its breath in the course of the book one passes from the hysterically anti-European Bernard Connolly, hostile to any ‘containment’ of Western capitalism, the gushing prose of Mark Leonard who admires Europe plc, to consideration on Jürgen Habermas’s call for Europe to become a “unitary international actor”. But the denser political account of deeds more than thought matters, certainly, most. If the historical importance of the length of Cleopatra’s nose is open to question, there is little doubt that the size of Margaret Thatcher’s symbolical handbag heavily shaped the course of the EU during the 1980s.

In the New Old World’s first part then we see the principal performers in the process of integration – in ever-greater density as the tale unfolds up to Maastricht, and the arrival of Chirac and Shröder – operating not as puppets of disembodied powers, but as figures with a degree of choice. So, for example, Italy’s role preparing the way for the Maastricht Treaty, and Bonn’s advocacy of the “convergence criteria” leading up to Monetary Union, and the course of these negotiations, were not determined by a capitalist Deus ex machina. From the “hopes and fears of bankers and economists” to the “political desire of the French government to fold the newly enlarged German state into a tighter European structure” – sapping the power of the Bundesbank over the Continent – a series of relatively autonomous levels of decision-making was in operation. Anderson mentions that there may be (following the neo-Marxist Amsterdam School and the sadly now no longer with us, Bernie Moss) a social base with causal power, “a new rentier bloc with an over-riding interest in hard money.” This extends its influence inside the working class (Page 131). The importance of Pension and Investment Funds for a wide swathe of the population is one of the central features of the age, and certainly for an ageing Europe bows to their influence. In this way the importance of what Nicos Poulantzas called the European ‘interior bourgeoisie’ has faded before the growing internationalisation of capital. But while Capital-in-General dominates it does not rule (take actual decisions): its underlying influence in the Union is a last instance whose hour only comes in the lonely studies of those retrospectively analysing the process.

A direct mechanism determining the development of the EU must be found amongst its nation state members. Anderson draws on Alan Milward’s work Milward argued that the Common Market brought economic security through a single regulated market but that “whenever the Community member-states had to implement their surrenders of sovereignty they produced an arrangement which left almost all political power with the nation-state.” (2) Every step towards greater integration since the French-German Steel and Coal Community of 1951, the 1957 Treaty of Rome, to creation of the Euro-Zone, took place within this framework. As cited by Anderson, Milward later concluded that the non-democratic nature of the way the Common Currency was to be managed – beyond any national control – was a “deliberate choice of the national governments.” (Page 510).

This paradox at the heart of the Union, that states (which are built on a monopoly of power) appear to voluntarily surrender some of their decision-making abilities to a third party, is not hard to explain. It can be understood in terms of rational choice theory. The transfer of responsibility takes place in order both to achieve greater collective power (as Milward would argue) and to pin responsibility onto a seemingly independent body. In effect it operates with the objective, as Richard Griffiths has put it, “to confound Engels’ view of history that the product of many separate wills is something that no-one willed: and to ensure instead that some part of what each player wants is met.” (3) It equally offers a solution to the problem of weakness of the will. That is, it makes it possible to carry out an aim without succumbing to the pressure of an electorate. Ulysses is said to have willingly bound himself to a mast, while his crewmates had their ears filled with wax, in order to resist the temptation of the Sirens. To pass central decisions – Treaties – EU governments make themselves voluntarily deaf to the ‘wrong’ opinions of the voters. If the electorates are determined to express incorrect views (as they have in various referenda) they are obliged to return to the ballot box until they get them ‘right’. This apparent surrender of individual wishes to a greater aim – being ‘bound’ to the decisions of the Union, notably the Commission but equally the Central Bank – also offers the agreeable possibility of being able to blame this body for anything that goes wrong, and gives the national electorate an easy target to stick blame for poor results on. “It’s not us, it’s them.”

Viewed in this light what of Anderson’s observation that, “National leaderships lose credibility when major policies issue from bureaucratic transactions in Brussels, without Union institutions themselves gaining transparency or authority.”(Page 129)? In 1995 he could rightly note that that the apparatus was cumbersome, ‘”quasi” and “pseudo” and that nation-states could determine their own fiscal, social, military and foreign policies.”(Page 23). But by the new millennium things had progressed. Many of these policy areas had become entangled in the administrative machinery. From a customs union with a weak executive, deeper integration proceeded apace. “determination of macro-economic policy at the highest level has shifted upwards from national capitals to Frankfurt and Brussels. What this means is that just those issues that voters do indeed usually feel strongest about jobs taxes and social services – fall squarely under the guillotines of the Bank and the Commission.”(Page 64) A fact, he notes later, that has not meant that the European peoples display much interest in reforming rather than opposing the institutions. One wonders if the leftist currents that adopt this stand have much of an idea of an alternative either. Although Bernie Moss, like the French ‘Lambertists’, was prepared to argue explicitly for the restoration of full national sovereignty.

This process of “transactions”, freed from popular control, once responsibility has been handed over, is precisely the point. The regime sets down the basic outline, it’s up to the mysterious legalistic bureaucracy to do the rest. Anderson believed (2007) that “inter-governmentalism” and “federalism” have both weakened “without creating a supranational sovereignty.” (Page 77) The organs of the EU are certainly not One, Indivisible and Overwhelming. But sovereignty in a looser sense, of leading or hegemonic power, has undoubtedly migrated towards the Union’s decision-making bodies, if sometimes nakedly dominated by those states with the biggest stake in the operation.

The upshot, Anderson affirms, is that by 2009 something more akin to the free-market paradigm of Hayek, a “spontaneous” economic order (catallaxy). That is, “the demolition of barriers to free trade and the estoppage of popular interference with the market.”(Page 540) Behind this then is not just a freely surrendered power, or the internal forces of the EU, but the presence of the agents of global deregulation, a “formidable array of market and institutional interests”. Rooted in their operation the call for regulation is not an alternative to the market but its adjunct. “the growth of regulation here, as subsequently on the continent, has in effect been the complement to the advance of privatisation – that is a set of agencies whose task is to ensure that firms do not abuse monopoly power as the state once did or generate an excess of externalities.

The Market State.

As this pattern spread, the balance of functions performed by the modern state alters, shifting away from the provision of welfare or stabilisation of the business-cycle towards a more indirectly regulative role.”(Page 108) One of the laziest, and duplicitous, solutions to any economic problem or market failure (‘we must have more regulation”) this approach – overtly designed to replace social ownership – stands exposed as key element in the origins of the present crisis. Anderson could perhaps have more thoroughly explored the nature of the object. It does not simply set down market rules, but is part of the economic regime of accumulation and the organisation of governance.

Philip Bobbit suggests that there is a shift from ‘nation state’ that provides for people’s well-being, to the ‘market state’ that offers security but sees its “role as enabling and assisting rather than directing its citizens’ interaction with choice.” tries to maximise total wealth, and outsources many of its functions which “bypass representation institutions like legislature and collective bodies like unions” One can doubt whether a rising tide of wealth ever raises all human craft. What is emerging is, despite this claim, is a highly coercive organism, which is increasingly herding its recalcitrant populations onto the market, both by deconstructing the Welfare state and reconstructing it to – against Bobbit’s claims – direct people’s lives. By forcing Workfare on the unemployed, at paltry rates of pay, and initiating endless ‘crack-downs’ on the lame and halt, (today’s ‘least eligibility’ criteria), the British market-state offers a worthy successor to the Poor Laws and the Workhouse. Stability, defence, competitiveness, and regulation have eclipsed social solidarity in many other European countries. This encourages, without a doubt, a “wider variegation of human rights” within such societies. (4)

There is little to stand in the way of the market-state. Some on the left consider that the ‘nation’ should be the locus for a fight-back. But such a strategy risks (if one follows Anderson’s analysis) exacerbating the “ethno-religious tensions” that have displaced class conflict. Institutionally, the “steady weakening of labour movements,” as well as the “gutting of what was once their parliamentary expression of the associated social-democracies of the continent” has left little countervailing power. The EU’s own doctrinal base dovetails into the process. The “latest decisions of the European Court, injected with new rigorism of converts to liberal principles from the East” enforces undermining union power in the name of competition (even the German system of mitbestimmung). This structure and a climate in which only varieties of market friendly liberalism flourish is not achieved spontaneously. This is a framework that requires very conscious intervention, by the friends of the market, to uphold, and to enforce against the wishes of governments that appear unwilling to recognise its needs. As the fate of the Greek State faced with its Budget deficit indicates. Or, in gentler forms, the content of fiscal and state expenditure policies of even those, like the UK, who are outside the Euro Zone. We have here something of the flavour of Karl Polyani’s Great Transformation (1944). The birth of capitalism, he wrote, was “opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organised and controlled interventionism”. Today the previous mechanisms of social self-protection are reduced by the once ‘social’ Union in order to construct the market utopia. And if one thinks this is a kind of leftist automatic reflex it suffices to look at the recent history of British industrial disputes to see to extent to which law imposes its heavy tariff on trade unions who ‘interfere’ with the market – that is exercise their own freedom to strike. (5)

Nations, from the Core Outwards.

The task of describing the domestic life of more than one culturally aligned group of, or individual, European nation states defies most commentators. The New Old Europe offers elegant essays on a far wider than average selection of countries, France, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, and the candidate for membership, Turkey. As founders of what has become the Union the first three offer an opportunity to offer observations about the link between their post-War development and their interaction with its growth. Cyprus, a much more recent member state, is a case study in its faults. Even a polyglot like Anderson must strain to grasp Turkey’s singular civilization and history, but in fact this section is probably one of the best critical accounts accessible to non-specialists. It is the occasion for an analysis of Europe’s limits and relations beyond its present boundaries.

The essay on France is informed by deep familiarity. This is visible very quickly. Anderson declares that it is hard it is for “any foreigner” to write about the country, but despite its “intractability” he manages, frequently, to put his finger on some very sore spots. His describes French book-reviewing as largely puffery. Paris lacks anything, he rightly states, resembling the serious work undertaken in Anglophone journals such as the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books – or the Guardian’s Saturday Review. Anderson mentions Serge Halmi’s pamphlet (Les nouveau chiens de guarde. 1997), denouncing the mutual back-slapping in the Parisian media – though Hamon and Rotman’s Les Intellocrates (1981) made the same points sixteen years earlier. Conscious that it truly is hard, to get ‘into’ the latest mood in Paris, one would have been more than hesitant about remarking on the pillar of French intellectual life, Le Monde. But it seems clear that Anderson’s claim that Le Monde went to wrack and ruin under the Colambani, a “travesty” of its past, is much exaggerated. The door-stopper account of le Monde’s travails, La face cachée du Monde (I admit I have only flipped through it in a bookshop) may well reveal sordid interference by commercial and political forces. If British readers cared as much (which they obviously do not) they would say gentler but equally dismissive things about the fatuous Liberal Democrat supporting Guardian. To indicate a crucial difference: few would quote the Guardian as journal of reference in the way Le Monde still is. And if Anderson cites le Monde Diplomatique the better to contrast it with le Monde he does not flag up the underlying analytical closeness of their journalists: the ‘topo’ a method of swiftly and rigorously presenting an investigation that has its only parallel in the British media in the pages of the Financial Times. Even during Colambani’s reign this continued at the heart of Le Monde. It is hard to fathom as well how a newspaper that employs such as vast erudite French, Greek and Latinate vocabulary (frequently found in le Petit Robert as ‘rare’ ‘littéraire’, ‘veilli’) as well as amusing slang and the transient Anglicisms that give such pleasure to the French, can be entirely “shrill, dull, conformist and parochial”.

In a similar fashion the threnody on the passing of the gilded years of French (high) culture offers a mixed bag of insights. One supposes that some pages on the legend of the post-War left Bank, the glories of its later Maîtres-à-penseurs, and a description of Bernard Henri-Lévy as a “crass booby” are demanded by the interested public, such as it is, from anyone writing about French intellectuals. Even so, Anderson’s wry good sense manages to fight its way through. Anyone who has read these writings, from Sartre to (at present) Alain Badiou as well as the just mentioned “grotesque”, should be aware of their reliance on rhetoric (in the formal classical sense). The discourse of such figures is heavily marked by the gamut of rhetorical figures they employ. Most significantly “Rhetoric is designed to cast a spell, and a cult easily arises among those who fall under it.” (Page 143) This one sentence explains better than more than many a hundred pages of dutiful study of modern French thought (including the slap-dash Lévy’s).

Cultural judgments are, even Kant admitted, open to a level of debate in the domain of the ‘sensus communis’. Anderson, as already observed, has little time for popular culture. At most he deigns to mention (unfavourably) the featherweight (and charming) hit-film, Amélie; he would not stoop to consider Les Visiteurs. His focus on high cultural politics is, if transparently spoken with the voice of sometimes grating authority, nevertheless important for mapping the political field – dominated as it is by intellectuals (in Gramsci’s’ wide sense). The intelligentsia’s changing political role, often reflected the turnabouts of the French governing class in the decades of “mondialialisation” – from the Right to the social democratic left – and the long-drawn out crisis of Official Communism, that is the Parti Communist Français’ decline and marginalisation, all have wider cultural echoes. In this area Anderson is a steady guide, but he goes too far in dismissing one contemporary novelist and essayist with an international readership, Michel Houellebecq. The author of Les Particules élémentaires not only is the chronicler of the disillusion with certain soixand-huitard ideals, a residual loathing of the consumer society, but also a source of far more perceptive (if flawed) commentary about the Islamic faith – far from the banalities of his alleged confrère Martin Amis. Interestingly Houellebecq, as we shall see, employs some arguments about Islam that The New Old World makes its own.

The hegemonic unity from the 1970s to the mid-1990s of the ‘anti-totalitarian’ liberal French left – which longed for a ‘normalisation’ of the land and excreted Communism at the very moment when its totalitarianism was waning – and its subsequent break-up form a significant narrative in The New Old World. François Furet’s ascendancy, crystallising a consensus around a dual loathing of Communism and Jacobinism, and the histrionic Livre Noir de Communisme, has faded behind a historiology more concerned with bric-à-brac than overarching politics. The sticking point came, Anderson claims, when its supporters found that French republicanism was not American liberalism. It was torn between “its political loyalty to America and its emotional attachments to France.” (Page 168) That, partly the result of the dilemmas of the Republic faced with demands for multiculturalist ‘difference’ (a value whose emptiness Anderson latter dissects) and the fashion for vitriolic criticisms of what was once known as ‘political correctness’. .

For a moment it seemed as this would lead to a new convergence with ancient themes of the French Right – the ‘integral nationalism’ of Charles Maurras which celebrated “la terre et ses morts” (the Soil and its Dead) over ‘abstract liberalism’. Or, with its wild attacks on all respectable moderate ideals resembled the 1930s ‘anarchism of the Right’. Daniel Linderberg wrote a widely read tract, Le Rappel à l’ordre (2002) against the “nouveaux réactionnaires”, marked, apparently by “authoritarian integrism, hostility to human rights and contempt for multi-culturalism..”(P 169) This fourre-tout bundled together Houellebecq, Guy Debord, Alain Badiou (a New Left Review star), Maurice Dantec, neo-conservatives, altermondialistes from Le Monde Diplomatique, and more names than one could possibly have read and absorbed. Their common feature? Hostility to “le-droits-de-hommisme” (human rights), and democracy, in its “version prosaïque,” – in brief that representative system practiced under the 5th republic. (6)

But it was indeed the issue of human rights that broke this assemblage up. That is the contradictions that arose amongst those whom De Gaulle called the “belles âmes” (sensitive souls). Some intellectual anti-totalitarians, and activists in NGOs, developed from a critique of anti-colonialism and the South’s sordid dictatorships, a justification for a “droit à l’ingérence” (humanitarian intervention). This was a path trodden by a similar cohort across Europe, including a group of Anderson’s former colleagues assembled behind the Euston Manifesto. It extended to intemperate backing for militarily imposed ‘democracy’ on any non-Western régime they disliked. They greeted with enthusiasm the assault on Afghanistan and, then, Iraq. Others, nonetheless were aloof or actively hostile to the ‘allies’ and, to a greater extent, the “Coalition” that occupies Iraq. Whether souls attached to Gaullist prudence, shown by Chirac, (an ally in Kabul but not in Baghdad) or to some degree of genuine liberal internationalism, many failed to travel down that particular route. The anti-totalitarian front was shattered by some reminders of what colonialism really was. Memories of where Cold War liberalism finished up during the Vietnam War are still warm in France.

Republicanism is another ideological hot-point. Faced with the dispute about wearing religious head-gear in state schools the whole political landscape was transformed. The American model provided no answers. The recent history of Algeria (ignored both by Anderson and more widely by the Anglophone left) was constantly present in people’s minds. In the late 1980s Islamists had capitalised on swelling impatience with a corrupt and repressive state, run by the inheritors of the liberation movement, the FLN, through sour corruption and vicious repression. But the Prophet’s followers began their campaign by bringing in their Weltanschauung into daily Algerian life. Enforcing Islamic ‘morals’ on all and sundry – particularly by imposing standards of female “modesty” – created its own toll of misery. The process of Islamicisation, dramatised in the film Bab-El-Oued City (1994), raised more problems than it solved. Fearing the worst, the Algerian middle class and secular nationalists of all backgrounds mobilised. Yet the Front Islamique de Salvation (FIS) kept growing. Determined not to let a democratic vote end democracy – or rather, equally end their own power – the military annulled elections in 1991. They repressed the aggressive political Islamists of the FIS, leaving the field open for the industrial-scale murderers of the GIA. A decade of the “sale guerre” carried out by the Algerian military, its ‘éradicateurs’ and ‘patriots’ finished in a blood-bath – lightly fictionalised in the novels of Yasmina Khadra (Mohammed Moulessehoul). Exiles from all sides fled to France and the rest of Europe. Not surprisingly not only traditional ‘ultra’ secularists feared a repeat amongst the North African communities in the Hexagone; anyone with a Maghrébin background was all too aware of the results of Islamist terror and the violence of Le Pouvoir – the Algiers State.

Faced with this prospect the classical republican norms of a “citizen nation” and laïcité (secularism) were reasserted, as much on the socialist and ‘gauche de la gauche’ as amongst the republican right. No quarter was given to multi-culturalism (though Sarkozy has tried a dose of community subsidy to create a ‘French’ Islam). The issue here has become, which republicanism? An abundant range exists, from conservative ‘sovereigntist’ ideologies of national independence, traditional Gaullism, the revived ‘pure’ republicanism of Chevènement (shorn of leftist phrase-mongering), the conventional left republicanism of Régis Debray, or the various left republicans, critical of the 5th Republic, from the ‘Picquet’ tendency to the Marxist republicanism of the sorely missed Ben Saïd.

What remains of the anti-totalitarian current? Anderson gives some credit to the political philosopher and activist (an initiator of the ‘centre-left’ Fondation Saint-Simon and media ‘intellectocrat’ in his spare-time) Pierre Rosanvallon. His concepts, a typical Deuxième Gauche defence of social pluralism against totalitarianism, corporatism and ‘Jacobin’ centralism, are well within the boundaries of convention. Few on the left would have much time for the author of Le Moment Guizot (a half-apology for the enemy of the 1848 revolution) but his more recent writings; such as le Peuple introuvable (1998) is an interesting empirically informed critique of classical French ideas of popular sovereignty. Rosanvallon ends up however, Anderson observes, with a conception of democracy that exists not just in elections, or through representative state chambers, but wherever people meet to talk and make decisions, “The bewildering array of surrogates brigaded to this end borders on the comic: not only constitutional courts, street processions or auditing commissions, but central banks, rating agencies and ‘political conversions’ of which we are solemnly told there are fifteen million every day in Britain.” ”(Page 207) Rosanvallon true counterpart in Britain is not, as Anderson suggests, Anthony Giddens, but can be seen in John Keane’s The Life and Death of Democracy. (2009). Using a similar wider – not to say elastic – concept of what constitutes democracy Keane manages to find its germs in Mesopotamian ‘assemblies’, circa 3000 BC.

This leads to the second narrative, of the High and Low politics of the 5th Republic. This has certainly been of moment. Despite a mere 2% of the population belonging to political parties and 7-8% union membership the French switch rapidly into active citizens at crucial moments. A tidal wave of left-union mass strikes and street demonstrations in 1995, accompanied by much renewed left-wing ideological ferment, dislodged the Gaullist Cabinet of Alain Jupée and brought the Socialist Lionel Jospin in as a ‘co-habiting’ Prime Minister with a weakened centre-right President Jacques Chirac. Members of the New Left Review Editorial Board at the time, I recall, spoke of the possibility that Jospin might be a genuine man of the left. But liberal economic politics subsequently overwhelmed him. France reached one of its historically lowest points during the Presidential Elections of 2002 when the far-right le Pen pushed the Parti Socialiste Candidate, Lionel Jospin (after his record as less than stalwart social democrat) out of the running for the second round and returned Chirac to power with 82% of the vote.

Anderson unhappily shows no real interest in the life and personalities of the Parti Socialiste (PS). This, by any measure the largest party of the French left, is, he claims without clear roots. It has no definite working class base. This is not wholly the case. Culturally, in the North and other historic ‘federations’ that stem from the SFIO originate in the earliest forms of organised proletarian socialism (France’s original section of the Second International). Despite an absence of institutional trade union bonds (internationally a minority phenomenon outside ‘labour’ parties, even the French Communists were never formally tied to the CGT) and the absence of solid social base in manual labourers, it has some anchorage amongst public sector employees. Ideologically it is strongly connected to the various teaching unions, and politically, through participation in union ‘Days of Action’ against (most recently) Sarkozy’s Retirement ‘reforms’, the PS is clearly part of the labour movement. His dismisses the PS as Vauntrin incarnate, without “principles or identity already marked by ‘social liberalism’. Applied to a few individuals, such as the IMF’s Dominique Straus-Kahn, this has some meaning, but it’s a feature of their principles not the absence of them. Anderson then wades into clashes he shows few signs of grasping, portraying the Party as “Currently riven between two equally tarnished mediocrities, Aubry and Royal” (Page 211) Aubry is anything but a mediocrity: she is a tough-as-old boots European social democrat who has reduced Royal to regal provincial marginality. If the PS is certainly marked by a technocratic and Normalien leadership and a less-than-horny handed cadre it is the site, in perpetual factional flux, of some of the most important debates about the French left.

Anderson in short, does not get the PS. It is self-evidently the case that its top level  stems from the highly educated, and the majority of its activists are university gradutatesl. White-collar workers and professionals dominate many social democratic parties. But the rest of his analysis is pure intellectualism (and distainfully distant as well).  The claim that “many of its leaders now hope to skip the awkward staging-post of social democracy, long shunned, for a direct route to social liberalism.”(Ibid) is qualified only by the vagueness of that “many”. “Many” French socialists now hope for a synthesis between their (post class struggle) ecological and social democratic commitments. Some, if they accepted the dropping of the remaining Marxisante elements in their Party programme a few years ago, remain democratic socialists in the same mould as the Labour Party left. Others after years battling as its left-wing (the Gauche Socialiste) have resigned to form a new party – the Parti de Gauche modelled on the German Die Linke. Anderson failed (2009) to pick up on the ferment that led to this rupture (2009). He prefers to dwell on the creation of the Nouveau parti anti-capitaliste (NPA), prudently noting that its maximalist refusal of any form of electoral agreement with the Socialists is a gamble. As it turned out, the odds were against them. The PG, allied to the Parti Communiste Français and the Picquet Tendency of the NPA in the electoral Front de Gauche overtook the NPA in the 2009 European and the 2010 regional elections. Unlike them the Front won seats.

If this essay has dwelt at length on France (believe me I could write much much more) a major reason is because I agree with, and consider important, Anderson’s concluding comment in this section, that “What seems clear is that dual voltage of France’s deep political culture, with its characteristically sudden switches from conformity to insurgency and back again, is not yet over. Less clear is which of these poles a deepening economic crisis will favour, or whether it might – as respectable opinion would wish – bring to an end, at last, their alternation.”(Page 213) From the 1995 revolt against Juppé to the ‘Non’ vote in 2006 against the European Constitutional Treaty, the country has sown, as Bernie Moss used to argue, that it remains an important laboratory for politics. It thus retains its significance, at, and beyond, Europe’s core.

So do Germany and Italy – both covered incisively in following chapters. With the ex-Social Democratic Left and the former Communists in Die Linke, there is some hope for the future – though doubtless there are critics more familiar with the ground who would contest this. In Italy The New Old World charts a distressingly tale of the collapse of the left in all its forms, a couple of decades of lost opportunities and the rise of Il Calvaire, Silvio Berlusconi, in alliance with ultra-regionalist Lega Nord, and Fini’s ‘post-Fascists’. The abject failure of the ex-Communists, who dissolved into the ‘Democratic Party’, is particularly doleful, “Nowhere else has such an imposing heritage been so completely squandered.” (Page 339) Its independent critical left has been marginalised (with help from its own leadership). The Italian left remains a festering wound. Unfortunately one aspect of its politics, the introduction of ‘open primaries’ to select leading electoral candidates – opening the way for further media power and diluting political clarity – has been exported to France, where it may help exacerbate the Parti Socialiste’s worst sides. It may even be a factor in the British Conservative Party recent toying with the practice, again with the media and less than active public much in mind.

Cyprus and Turkey are lands with a different significance. Anderson heads them under a new ‘Eastern Question’. The division of Cyprus is explained in detail, and one relies on his heartfelt condemnation of the Turkish occupation of the North. After the former colonial power, the UK, the European Union is complicit with the ethnic cleansing that created this bleeding sore, and its injustices have never been addressed. Turkish history, from the Ottoman Empire, is a topic of even greater delicacy. The New Old World manages quickly to lay the mythology of Ottoman religious and ethnic tolerance to rest. An Empire at permanent War, based on fundamental unequal relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, and men and women, merits the term only in its Latin root sense. That is, to endure the existence of different faiths and nations, while making their inferiority plain. In the case of the Armenians even that forbearance worse thin in the first decades of the last century.

As for Turkish secularism, this is another golden legend. Despite the existence of relatively strong non-religious constituencies, minorities (such as the Alevis) who support a state independent of religion out of well-justified fear of persecution, and secular lobbies the state is not free of Islam. “Turkish secularism has never been truly secular. This is in part because, as often noted, Kemalism did not so much separate religion from the state as subordinate it to the state, creating ‘directorates’ that took over the ownership of all mosques, appointment of imams, administration of pious foundations – in effect, turning the faith into a branch of the bureaucracy. A much more profound reason, however, is that religion was never detached from the nation instead an unspoken definition if it. It was this, however, that allowed Kemanlism to become more than just a cult of the elites, leaving a durable imprint on the masses themselves. For if at village levels secularism failed to take, nationalism sank deep popular roots.”(P 417) How can these co-exist?” Two registers, one secular for the elite, the other “crypto-religious and accessible to the masses.” (Ibid) This is true to an even greater extent in many other lands. In North Africa the only secularism on official offer is the practice of the military and a leading-party ruling the country – while the Constitution proclaims Islam their guide. The contrast is purely with explicit theocracies, on the Iranian model, or with governance by ostensibly pious Monarchies, as in Saudi Arabia.

Cyprus and Turkey present for Anderson a major failure of the European Union. Discrete pressure in favour of human rights has not been pushed far enough to confront the underlying difficulties of Ankara’s system of governance. The Armenian genocide is still not recognised, torture and extra-judicial killing is hard to eliminate and repression of the Kurds and violence against the heterodox ‘Muslims’, the Alevis, common. Yet, “For the Turkish Left politically marginal but culturally central, the EU resents hope of some release from the cults and repressions of Kemal and the Koran; for the Turkish poor, of chance of employment and elements of welfare; for the Kurd and Alevis, of some rights for minorities.”(Page 471) But evacuating Cyprus, giving rights to the Kurds, acknowledging the Armenian genocide is a “remote” prospect. More probable is that Turkey will eventually be integrated, out of realism – recognising its demographic and economic weight, though the ‘eventual’ if far from the ‘actual’.

Uncertain Conclusions.

The New Old World indicates, then, that there is no realistic possibility in the immediate future that we can alter the general course of EU policies. They are set on liberal economies. Market states, on the British template, appear to be gathering strength, and the model is having an impact even on countries that retain a national Republican polity. Sarkozy, and much of the centre-left are in full agreement with the Union’s existing structural direction. This “vast free range for the factors of production” has been challenged from outside the Established governments, and has been in Paris countless times. In Greece demonstrations and strikes have recently reached near-insurrectionary levels. “The neo-liberal system generates reactions it cannot always control” wistfully – hopefully? – remarks Anderson. (Page 543) So, from time to time the masses erupt, and the streets are filled with lilting cortèges of demonstrators But when such confrontations have been translated into the ballot box, and Parliaments, let alone percolated into the workings of the Commission, they have not yet had the force to shake the European oligarchy or make them worry overmuch for their bank accounts. So far indeed, it’s not been its opponents but the financial system itself, which has done the greatest damage to its own prestige.

Typically the left has been divided on Europe since the end of the 19th century. In the Communist manifesto (1848) Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto (1848) talked of “Untied action, of the leading civilised countries at least, ” as “one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat”. Less clear was their claim that “as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end”. In the Second International before the Great War Kautsky backed a European federation The Bolsheviks in 1914 supported a republican United States of Europe – though Lenin soon criticised it. Rosa Luxemburg opposed “international solidarity” to “European solidarity”. Trotsky’s supported “a capitalist United States of Europe as potentially a step forward that could help to create a united European working class”. During the Second World War Alteiro Spinelli, and Ernesto Rossi, produced The Manifesto of Ventotene (1941). It looked forward to a socialist revolution within a federalist Europe, combining libertarian freedoms, and internationalism, through the actions of a revolutionary party. Yet the British left, particularly in the 1960s, opposed the Common Market and European integration on the grounds of its own ‘internationalism’, initially based on the…Commonwealth. Similar differences of opinion, centring on the claims of wider internationalism against those who consider that one cannot co-operate with distant peoples if one cannot work with neighbours, continue. One imagines that Anderson has sifted through all these debates many times. He sheds light, but cannot draw out much in the way of present policy from these ideas, for the very good reason that the left that carries on these traditions has, he notes, little in the way of hard alternative institutional thinking about the Union to offer.

There is much on such thinking, liberalism of the centre and the right, rather than left, on display. Siedentop’s Democracy in Europe (2002) sets out a recurring set of difficulties. They can be summarised, if the term is not worn-out by use, under the title of the European ‘democratic deficit’. That is, the existence of trans-European power without a corresponding intra-European sovereign people. Are there solutions? A call for “active citizenship” around a new constitutional, representative, framework, a federalism based on “both citizenship and civil society, of the publican and private spheres” was needed. This would, apparently, “offer the best hope of remedying the weakness of a liberal social order, of a market state, and he nation state.” (7) The EU’s debt to the French state model, “ a central agency able to impose its will quickly” was a barrier to European state formation. Anderson discusses variants on the theme of constitutional and democratic reform, with a degree of earnestness. They have all the appeal of accounts of the merits of different systems of Proportional Representation. Given that the problem is not a lack of participation but an absence of political and economic power for the majority of Europe’s people, these limited reforms are thin gruel.

More urgent are The New Old World’s observations on the present social condition of the would-be European public. “In the absence of any collective vision of the structures of power that hold all those without capital in their grip, let alone of how to replace them, beleaguered minorities on the margins of social existence become the focus of every kind of projection and resentment.”(Page 542) Anderson is not shy of declaring that in these circumstances “diversity could never e a value of the same kind as liberty, equality or fraternity.” (Page 527) Variety, he says, may be the spice of life, but it is an “empty signifier”. It is notably the foundation of “multiculturalism” – “variety without antagonism” (page 529) A wan hope, since this approach meant “a massive repression of the realities of the new immigration” with its “harsh trends” (page 530) Not only were there racism and exploitation of difference to promote the employers’ interests, but nobody had plans for dealing with “permanent immigrant populations”.

Islam is, naturally a major issue in defining the nature of European ‘diversity’. Between 15 and 18 million Moslems live here. Islamism, fostered by a pious bourgeoisie in the countries of origin of Muslim immigrants, is, if one accepts the account given here of recent Algerian history, a threat to democratic values of the most basic kind. Anderson, free from bien-pensant multiculturalism, and hostile to racism in any shape or form, offers a wider analysis through a response to Christopher Caudwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe (2009). Caudwell points “to the long and sanguinary record of hostility between the worlds of Christianity and Islam.” (Pages 532 – 3). For Anderson he misses the official “racist hostility and humiliation” of Muslims and non-whites, and the resentment at Imperialist domination of the Middle East. Religious observance, “functions as the protective shield of uprooted and vulnerable communities, rather than as a call to battle against the surrounding societies.”(P 533) In any case a form of practical secularism – the business of making money and consumption – will eventually relegate it to the symbolic rather than the political sphere. “Consumption is a more powerful force than any confession, as Poland or Iran show. The outward signs of faith can be preserved, even paraded as any number of ostensibly devout millionaires, of all creeds, testify, but characteristically, the inner compulsions have gone.”(P 533 – 4) Religion is a likely to be a “supplement “ to consumerism. As indeed Michel Houlebecq puts into the mouth of one of his characters in Platforme (2001) talking to his central figure. Full with hatred after Islamicists have blown his companion, and other European tourists, to pieces of bleeding flesh he is calmed down by this reflection, “le problème des musulmans, me dit-il, c’est que le paradis promis par le prophète existait déjà ici-bas..” (the problem with Muslims, said he, was that the paradise promised by the Prophet already exists here, down below.” And that “le système capitaliste serait le plus fort.” (the capitalist system will be the stronger). (8)

Islamism is more than the cry of an oppressed European minority, it is a global mouvance which deserves the term ‘reactionary’ in the strictest sense: it is a ‘reaction’ against all forms of modernity, a call to establish a ‘total’ religious transnational state (the Caliphate) and it is dominated by fractions of various national mercantile and state bourgeoisies. Its importance in Europe may lie in its ability to attract disaffected, usually educated, young people. Such is its place within the “protective shield” of Islam that multiculturalism – by celebrating such ‘difference’ actively reinforces it. Anderson dallies too long over the problems that robust secularism creates. This, an anti-racist equality within the equality and fraternity that social republicanism represents, is surely a better solution than the lingering intellectual bankruptcy of those indulgent towards religious ‘difference’. Not difference but equality is a more credible left leitmotif. This would imply a trans-European internationalism, based on strengthening working conditions, rates of pay, decent housing, in sum, the kind of politics in the line of Jean Jaurès, a social republic in Europe. A prospect so utterly at variance with all the existing frontiers of politics that it appears barely political at all – at least in the sense of not existing within the sphere of the possible.

The problem is not only how to bring its institutions into line with a European public’s constituent parts through mechanisms such as referendums, strengthening the European Parliament, and other (often nebulous) plans to nourish a vibrant continent-wide wide civil society. It is to break the original mechanism: not merely making the Parliament more powerful, but creating a genuine republican social unity that depends on real not ‘state’ citizens and certainly not on whatever ‘markets’ decide.

Politics, if not reducible to it, is profoundly implicated in the arts of working within possibilities. A prime example of this is that the left has spent the European left has spent two decades trying to figure out how to halt the drift of social-democracy to a support of the market-state, and how, or if, to work with the remains of Official Communism. Both political currents have deep institutional legacies, and are bound up with the practice of government. Many on the socialist and Marxist left are part of these bodies, even if they are far from making up more than a minority. Relying on a degree of generalisation about the ‘reformist’ left that hides the complexity and potential that exists there, Anderson has failed (as we saw in France) to observe the conflicts that emerge in these spheres. The radical left interact with these parties and individuals; it is not in an exclusion zone Attempts to form political organisations to their left, afresh, have not been notably successful, but they too have had some impact (more recently in Holland, Portugal). Other independent left parties are mixtures of the two strategies, old and new (Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, and, for the moment eclipsed, Italy). Some on the left (Anderson discuss Italian Operaismo) rejected parties as such. Today their successors (and some of their former leaders) talk of a ‘multitude’ in struggle that acts beyond all established governmental circuits and the existing bodies of the labour movement. Others consider ways of changing the world without taking political power. The New Old Europe suggests the futility of these views: hovering between glacial dislike and an appreciation of the human efforts of at least some of the European Union’s founders, he is, for all the present pessimism, committed to the opinion that political action within the institutions can make a difference to its structure. Regrettably his interest is focused on the EU’s structures, not on party-political ones.

The problem that The New Old World leaves is the kind of agency could bring together those determined to bring the European Union onto a progressive course. Anderson never shows more than a gestural interest in setting out this difficulty. This will not resolved by taking up this or that scheme to ‘democratise’ it: the vast majority of proposed reforms are vehicles for citizens as individuals, not for political agents. The issue is, by whom, can this be achieved, how can the market state be transformed, and how can economic liberalism be fought back. That is, a ‘first-step’ towards a social Europe, a bridge to – perhaps – more ambitious gaols of socialisation. There is a certain threshold of credibly to be passed. Unless it can present a plausible alternative agenda the left will remain trapped in the contrary of ‘possiblism’. That is impossiblism. The worst variant here is the demand for ‘independent’ sovereignty – when the whole grain of modern global force goes against this. Anderson would reject this. But in the meantime all he can say is, “In due course, a prolonged economic recession might reignite the engines of political conflict and ideological division that gave the continent its impetus in the past. O fat, in Today’s Europe, there is little sign of either. But it remains unlikely that time and contradiction have come to a halt.” (Page 547)

In the meantime Anderson is holed up, with the tolerant scepticism of a modern Montaigne, in his Watch-Tower with a well-furnished library. He cites Étienne de La Boétie’s (1530 – 63) Discours de la servitude voluntaire – as if the EU is indeed voluntary servitude. Speaking further into this classic, on resisting  tyranny La Boétie stated,

“Soyez résolus à ne plus servir, et vous voilà libres. Je ne vous demande pas de le pousser, de l’ébranler, mais seulement de ne plus le soutenir, et vous le verrez, tel un grand colosse dont on a brisé la base, fondre sous son poids et se romper”

“Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces? ”

So that it, just think and you can be free.

  1. Pages 134 – 137. The Global Gamble Washington’s Faustian Bid for World Dominance. Peter Gowan. Verso 1999 Jacques Delors and European Integration, George Ross. Polity Press. 1994.
  2. Page 445. The European Rescue of the Nation-State. Routledge. 1994.
  3. Page 213. In Orchestrating Europe. Edited. Keith Middlemas. Fontana Press. 1995.
  4. Page 88. Terror and Consent. Philip Bobbit. Allen Lane 2008. . Bobbit’s main concern of course is that the new phase has as its shadow, “market-state terrorism”, that exploits globalisation through its own “outsourcing and incentivism”.
  5. Page 140. The Great Transformation. Karl Polyani. Octagon Books. 1975. David held is perhaps the best-known modern Marxist who like Polyani calls the market project “utopian”. He similarly makes it dependent on this kind of coercive disposition of common property and a dragooned labour force. See: A Brief History of Neoliberalism. David Harvey. Oxford University Press. 2005 A Companion to Marx’s Capital. David Harvey. Verso 2010.
  6. Page 14. Le Rappel à l’ordre. Enquête sur les nouveaux réactionnaires. Daniel Lindenberg. Seuil. 2002.
  7. Page 45. Democracy in Europe. Larry Siedentop. Allen Lane 2000 One contrast this with a call from the radical French left for a “New Constituent Assembly’ to set a new Constitutional arrangement out. See: En finir avec l’euro libéralisme. Mémoires des luttes, Utopie Critique. Editions Mille et Une Nuits. 2008.
  8. Page 358. Platforme. Michel Houellebecq Flammarion 2001.
  9. Discours de la servitude voluntaire. http://www.forget-me.net/LaBoetie/servitude.pdf

Review Article Anderson

Written by Andrew Coates

June 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

6 Responses

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  1. Their enterprise had no historical precedent, and its grandeur continues to haunt what it has since become.”(Page xv)


    It is the culmination of 500 years of plot and plan to re-establish Christendom, in which Napoleon, Kaiser and Fuhrer were just toys in the hands of the Vatican.

    Each of these was destroyed by the drive of nationalism,free and independent liberty, and the distaste of an alien element (however well meaning or benign) imposing their claimed “better way”; Napoleon’s borders, the Kaisers place in the sun, Hitlers’ pseudo-science.

    The E.U.’s important positions are in the hands of the Popish persons, and those who won’t play ball – like the late Polish chap and his fellows – had best keep clear of the knife bullet and poison bottle of the SJ.

    The fusion of Clerical Fascism and Communism under the cowl and claw of the Vatican will be a blood bath for all those who claim Liberty. And the Vatican has it’s deep rooted plan in operation:

    The message in both is that global capitalism has raced off the moral rails and that Roman Catholic teachings can help set Western economics right by encouraging them to focus more on justice for the weak and closely regulating the market.

    Unlike the 19th-century Marx, who thought organized religion was a trick played on the impoverished in order to control them, Archbishop Marx and other Catholics yearn for reform, not class warfare. In that, they are following a long and fundamental line of church teaching. What is different now is that some of them see this economic crisis as a moment when the church’s economic thinking just may attract serious attention.


    New Serfdom. Pukka, just what we need.

    EU? Suckersville, more like, and thankfully, when our chums in Germany pull the financial rug from under the feet of the Popish realms of the PIIGS, it will we can only hope, dispppear under it’s own well fed rump.


    June 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    • I always thought I was working for the Ordo Templi Orientis and the Grande Orient Lodge….

      Andrew Coates

      June 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

  2. and the Grand Orient Orange Lodge? 😉


    June 29, 2010 at 11:47 am

  3. As long as its not working for Travel Lodge.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    June 29, 2010 at 5:50 pm

  4. […] reviews: Andrew Coates on Callinicos’ Bonfire of Illusions and Perry Anderson New Old World. And from Phil Dickens via @ndy: Adam Form has excellent reviews of both The Ragged […]

  5. […] σ. 55 [16] A. Coates, «The New Old World. Perry Anderson. Review Essay», Tendance Coatesy, https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/the-new-old-world-perry-anderson-review-essay/, 28/ 9/ 2010 [17] P. Anderson, ό.π., σ. 133 [18] ό.π., σ. 6 [19] ό.π., σ. 60 [20] Π. […]

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