Western European News Digest
Zepp-LaRouche, Cheminade Keynote Paris Conference
PARIS, Jan 25 (EIRNS)The LaRouche-affiliated Solidarité & Progrès (S&P) held a conference in Paris on Jan. 24. The conference was keynoted by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president of Germany's Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo), and S&P president Jacques Cheminade. Two mayors of French cities also addressed the conference.
Zepp-LaRouche opened up the afternoon session with a presentation on Lyndon LaRouche's proposal for a Four-Power alliance, in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration, and of LaRouche's Jan. 22 international webcast. Cheminade elaborated on the meaning of a New Bretton Woods fixed-exchange-rate system, blasting John Maynard Keynes as a tool of British imperial policy. Both highlighted the opportunity presented by the administration of Barack Obama, to free Europe from the EU's Maastricht stranglehold and the post-industrial paradigm.
The mayors spoke out about their fight for the very survival of their localities, providing a sensuous illustration of the true state of the economy.
Cheminade Applauds French Moves To Probe Banks
PARIS, Jan. 29 (EIRNS)The Finance Commission of the French National Assembly, headed by Socialist Didier Migaud, announced yesterday, that it will be interrogating, during the next 15 days, the CEOs of France's top six banks, which received funds from the State, in order to find out: 1) what conditions the State demanded from them in exchange for giving them access to a EUR360 billion guaranty fund for monetary market credits; 2) why they are asking for State funds, while they will be paying dividends for 2008; and 3) what is the status of stock options and free stocks distributed among the leadership of the banks.
In a statement to the press distributed late on Jan. 28, Solidarity and Progress leader Jacques Cheminade notes that since there are bombs still ready to explode on the banks' books, "the object of the hearings should be to determine what is viable and necessary to the legitimate functioning of the banking system and should be maintained and supported, and what has resulted from irresponsible imprudence or exotic operations and must therefore be submitted to bankruptcy reorganization. Banks must not be nationalized so that the State endorses or guarantees credits which cannot be reimbursed; banks must be put in a situation where they can function in a healthy manner, determining those assets which have no value and eliminating them in the common interest."
LaRouche Movement Intervenes vs. Soros in Italy
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)The Italian LaRouche movement, Movimento Solidarietà (Movisol), has intervened in the current fight to establish who will be the next mayor of Florence, by exposing a plot by the George Soros faction to take over the Democratic Party, and eliminate internal opposition through media-motivated scandals. The Democratic Party primary will be held on Feb. 15, and the election will take place in May. Movisol representative Claudio Giudici has written a piece for the Movisol website calling for the Democratic Party to reject Soros's policies and endorse Lyndon LaRouche's (http://www.movisol.org/09news015.htm). Soon afterward, the article was posted by the leader of the Democrats' anti-Soros faction, outgoing City Councilman Graziano Cioni (http://www.iostoconcioni.org/).
Cioni, a popular figure, was the designated successor of the outgoing mayor, until a campaign orchestrated by Soros-connected media (owned by Soros's partner Carlo De Benedetti) forced him to withdraw over corruption charges. As front-runner, he was replaced with a Soros man, Lapo Pistelli. Giudici recently publicly confronted Pistelli, who reacted against LaRouche's proposals, and against LaRouche himself.
However, Cioni has not thrown in the towel, and is pushing his own candidate. The Florence Democratic Party is split down the middle, and is now in receivership. The fact that Cioni posted the entire article by Giudici, including all links to Movisol and LaRouche PAC, has now raised the level of the fight, which might end in a local defeat for Soros and the De Benedetti crowd, with national political implications.
Millions Demonstrate vs. Unemployment in France
PARIS, Jan. 30 (EIRNS)Participation in national demonstrations yesterday in France, organized by eight of France's major trade unions federations, was the largest in 20 years. The police, whose estimates are generally largely understated, reported that there were more than a million people in the streets, while the CGT labor federation reported 2.5 million. Contrary to what some publications reported, this was not merely a "public sector" demonstration: For the first time in many years, private sector workers also turned out in large numbers, including employees from the auto industry, as well as small and medium-sized companies, where unemployment is high.
What is fueling the strikes is fear of what the future holds, and rage against the government's bank bailouts in the billions. Outside of the organizing of the LaRouche movement, no political leadership was offered.
Britain Coming Unglued: The End of Brown?
Jan. 31 (EIRNS)The labor unrest that is now roiling Britain can be framed by commentaries in the London Guardian and Daily Telegraph, under nearly identical headlines, both forecasting that this past week could be the week that Prime Minister Gordon Brown lost the next election.
Each column sets the stage differently, but both note that all polls show Brown and the Labour Party behind the Conservatives by 10-12 points, and not because Tory leader David Cameron has suddenly found some new charisma. One cabinet minister told Guardian political editor Patrick Wintour, "With bank shares diving and companies closing, people are becoming personally threatened. It is not a positive shift to Cameron." Another warned, "We could see social dislocation here if we do not get the tone of our response right."
Spectator editor Mathew D'Ancona, writing in the Telegraph, said that the polling figures "form a very clear statistical map of a country seriously fed up with the incumbent and preparing itself mentally for an alternative government. They do not suggest fervour for the Tories, but they do suggest, strongly that a collective decision has been made."
Brown apparently believes he can turn things around at the April G-20 summit in London, where he hopes to bask in the reflected glow coming from U.S. President Barack Obama, who will be making his first overseas trip for the occasion.
Blair Attempts To Hang On
Jan. 31 (EIRNS)The Times of London runs a puff piece today on former Prime Minister Tony Blair, a thinly veiled attempt to keep him involved in the Middle East, in order to sabotage the work of U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
Based on a series of interviews over the last two months, the article confirms the report, received by EIR, that Blair was the architect of the Gaza War. Blair obviously wants to keep his position as the Middle East Quartet's envoy to the Palestinian National Authority, a job he received with the backing of the Bush Administration, and a job he could very well lose with a new administration in Washington.
Italy-Brazil Conflict Escalating
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)The Italian government has recalled its ambassador to Brazil, after the Brazilian Supreme Court of Justice confirmed the status of political refugee for convicted terrorist Cesare Battisti. The Italian government is resentful of the fact that the Brazilian authorities rejected its request to avoid a hasty decision. The Court decided in less than 48 hours. The issue may reverberate negatively at the next G-8 meeting, which is chaired by Italy, and where Brazil holds observer status. It could create unnecessary conflicts that could stand in the way of LaRouche's New Bretton Woods-Four Powers policy.