Western European News Digest
Leipzig Citizens Deal Smashing Blow to Privatization
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)With a record 148,767 votes, that is 42,000 more than required, an overwhelming majority of citizens of Leipzig, Germany voted against the privatization of their municipal utility, in yesterday's referendum. Mayor Burkhard Jung now has no other choice than to bury his plans for selling 50% of the utility to Gaz de France.
The sale was meant to yield Eu520 million ... not to the citizens, though, but mostly to repay old debt, namely Eu360 million; the rest could be spent for school renovation, kindergartens, and the like. The sale, critics had argued, would also have eliminated an annual income of Eu50 million from the utility's operation into the municipal treasury.
The defeat of Mayor Jung, a Social Democrat, is the more important, as the envisaged sale has been used to block discussions about real alternatives, such as the one that the BüSo's (Civil Rights Solidarity Movement, led by Helga Zepp-LaRouche) mayoral candidate Karsten Werner made during his campaign two years ago, for a debt moratorium and Leipzig initiative, together with other cities, for a New Bretton Woods and establishing a productive credit system. Jung miscalculated the discontent his sales plan provoked among citizens, a sales plan scandalously proposed in the midst of a broad public outcry over the sale of Dresden's entire public housing sector to locust fund Fortress, in early 2006.
Rail Workers Call for Nationalizing U.K. Rail
Jan. 31 (EIRNS)The British Railway Workers Union (RMT), having recently reiterated its call for renationalizing Britain's railway system, called for rebuilding a national railway industry, to produce rolling stock. The call came in response to the government's release of a plan yesterday, stipulating that new trains should be designed and built in Britain. Making sure that rolling stock is built in Britain, would use the wealth of engineering skills that still exist, and give a massive boost to an industry that has suffered a series of blows in recent years, said RMT General Secretary Bob Crow today.
Italy: Prodi Fall Could Bring 'Authoritarian Democracy'
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)Italian Sen. Lidia Menapace, who invited Lyndon LaRouche to speak before the Senate Defense Committee last June, commented in her newsletter on the fall of the Romano Prodi government: "The situation is very dangerous, and to us, fascism of the 21st Century appearsthat is, authoritarian democracy which oppresses peoples and subjugates them, while thus far, we have been unable to put a brake to the ever more evident crisis of leadership, authority, and effectiveness of political, economic, and social balances of globalization."
In an earlier newsletter, entitled "Authoritarian Democracy Is a Product of Clean Hands," Menapace stated that "the threat of fascism I have warned against for months, is not a copy of the original fascism, but a process towards 'authoritarian democracy' which is dangerously proceeding." A strong component of this slide, wrote Menapace, started with the "Clean Hands" operation, a political/judicial witchhunt against political leaders in the 1992-93 period.
Clean Hands was first exposed by EIR as a British-controlled operation, aimed at eliminating the Italian constitutional system, and connected to the enslavement of Italy to the supranational dictatorship of the European Union, and to the massive sellout of Italy's national economy.
Mandelson Leads British Attack on Hillary Clinton
Jan. 25 (EIRNS)EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, the architect, with Tony Blair, of the "New Labour" war party in the U.K., is leading a British intervention into the U.S. election with a broadside against Hillary Clinton, in discussion with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Daily Telegraph journalist who played a leading role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. Mandelson accused Senator Clinton of "inflaming protectionist sentiment in the United States," reported Evans-Pritchard.
"This is the last year the Doha trade round can survive," said Mandelson. "There is little chance of a breakthrough after this president leaves office. People in the current administration tell me the US is turning into a protectionist country. It is a serious concern." He said of Senator Clinton's critiques of free trade: "The things she's been saying reverberate around the world," adding that "the Democratic Party is not where it was in the free trade heyday of Bill Clinton, but I don't think it is irretrievable."