Friday, June 3, 2005

Thwarted by a surge of democracy

/ democracies / emerging / EU /
An excellent article by Le Monde Diplomatique's Serge Halimi, published in the Guardian, regarding the recent referenda revolts. His concluding remarks:
But by voting no, many French people have understood that their choice was the truly European one - that, contrary to what they were told, the constitutional treaty was not the tool that could end Europe's free-market drift. In the last 20 years, the project dreamed up by the European commission and most governing coalitions of the member states has appeared obsessed only with economic reform, an ever-expanding free-market zone, the dismantling of the welfare state, lower corporate taxes and business-friendly legislation - such as a proposal to liberalise Europe's market for service industries.

France's landslide rejection of the treaty is likely to embolden many of the progressive forces of the EU, bringing about the rethinking of a once-worthy ideal that gradually became distorted into a single market and a military junior partner for the US. Such a reappraisal bears no resemblance to the "federation of fear" that European commission president José Manuel Barroso saw unfolding after Sunday's vote.

All along, "Europe" has been an elite process with shallow roots. In France, a large turnout (70%) has tackled the constitutional project with seriousness and passion. Many politicians in Paris and Brussels probably regret this surge of democracy and will look for ways to pressure the French to hold another vote. But it is unlikely that an informed electorate will change its mind now that it has understood the links between the social devastation at home and the neoliberal policies that spread under the cover of European unification.

[found via Dead Men Left]

I haven't been able to find any polls analyzing the "whys" of the Dutch vote, yet I read a lot of (enraged) commentators over here, suggesting that it was a "right-wing" no. Where do they get that from? The closest to some (english language) account of the social aspect of the Dutch "Nee", is from Dear Kitty, which seem to confirm the low income - "No" vote correlation observed in the French Referendum.

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