Macron’s rise bears all the hallmarks of a classic ENA undercover operation, a fundamental part of the énarques’ stock-in-trade and one in which the country’s leading bureaucrats are cynically trained
Emmanuel Clinton and the revolt of the elites
So in the end the West was saved by the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France: relief in Brussels, a buoyant eurozone, rallies in Asian markets.
That was always a no-brainer. After all, Macron was endorsed by the EU, Goddess of the Market, and Barack Obama. And he was fully backed by the French ruling class.
This was a referendum on the EU – and the EU, in its current set-up, won.
Cyberwar had to be part of the picture. No one knows where the MacronLeaks came from – a last minute, massive online dump of Macron campaign hacked emails. WikiLeaks certified the documents it had time to review as legitimate.
That did not stop the Macron galaxy from immediately blaming it on Russia. Le Monde, a once-great paper now owned by three influential Macron backers, faithfully mirrored his campaign’s denunciation of RT and Sputnik, information technology attacks and, in general, the interference of Russia in the elections.
The Macron Russophobia in the French media-sphere also happens to include Liberation, once the paper of Jean-Paul Sartre. Edouard de Rothschild, the previous head of Rothschild & Cie Banque, bought a 37% controlling stake in the paper in 2005. Three years later, an unknown Emmanuel Macron started to rise in the mergers and acquisitions department, soon acquiring a reputation as “the Mozart of finance.”
After a brief stint at the Ministry of Finance, a movement, En Marche! was set up for him by a network of powerful players and think tanks. Now, the presidency. Welcome to the revolving door, Moet & Chandon-style.
See you on the barricades, babe
In the last TV face-off with Marine Le Pen, Macron did not shy from displaying condescending/rude streaks and even raked some extra percentage points by hammering “Marine” as a misinformed, corrupt, “hate-filled” nationalist liar who “feeds off France’s misery” and would precipitate “civil war.”
That may in fact come back to haunt him. Macron is bound to be a carrier of France’s internal devaluation; a champion of wage “rigor,” whose counterpoint will be a boom of under-employment; and a champion of increasing precariousness on the road to boost competitiveness.
Big Business lauds his idea of cutting corporate tax from 33% to 25% (the European average). But overall, what Macron has sold is a recipe for a “see you on the barricades” scenario: severe cuts in health spending, unemployment benefits and local government budgets; at least 120,000 layoffs from the public sector; and abrogation of some key workers’ rights. He wants to advance the “reform” of the French work code – opposed by 67% of French voters – ruling by decree.
On Europe, the only thing “Marine” said during the campaign that was closer to the truth was that “France will be led by a woman, either me or Mrs Merkel.”
Macron is more likely to be the new Tony Blair or, in a more disastrous vein, the new [former Italian PM Matteo] Renzi.
The real game starts now. Only 4 in 10 voters backed him. Abstention reached 25% – about one-third if spoilt ballots are counted. It will be virtually impossible for Macron to come up with a parliamentary majority in the upcoming elections.
France is now viciously divided into five blocks – with very little uniting them: Macron’s En Marche! movement; Marine Le Pen’s National Front, which will be recomposed and expanded; Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Disobedient France, which is bound to lead a New Left; the shattered Republicans, or the traditional French Right, which badly needs a new leader after the François Fillon debacle; and the virtually destroyed Socialists post-Hollande.
An Orwellian shock of the new
Contrary to global perceptions, the biggest issue in this election was not immigration, it was actually deep resentment toward the French deep state (police, justice, administration) – perceived as oppressive, corrupt and even violent.
Even before the vote, the always sharp and delightfully provocative philosopher Michel Onfray, author of Decadence, the best book of the year and founder of the Popular University of Caen, identified some of the main players behind the Macron bandwagon: the “bellicose” philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy; Le Monde’s Pierre Bergé; Jacques Attali – who almost single-handedly turned the Soclalists into hardcore neoliberals; eminence grise Alain Minc; former MSF head Bernard Kouchner; and former May 1968 stalwart Daniel Cohn-Bendit – “In other words, the feral promoters of a liberal policy that allowed Marine Le Pen to hit her highest score ever.”
All of the above are faithful servants of the French deep state. I have outlined in Asia Times how the Macron hologram was manufactured. But to see how the deep state managed to sell him, it’s essential to refer to philosopher Jean-Claude Michea, a disciple of George Orwell and Christopher Lasch, and author of the recently published Notre Ennemi, Le Capital.
Michea studies in detail how the Left has adopted all the values of what Karl Popper dubbed “open society.” And how media spin doctors molded the term “populism” to stigmatize the contemporary form of Absolute Evil. Marine Le Pen was ostracized as “populist” – while media propaganda always refused to note that National Front voters (now 11 million) come from the “popular classes.”
Michea emphasizes the original, historical meaning of “populism” in Czarist Russia; a current within the socialist movement – much admired by Marx and Engels – according to which peasants, artisans and small entrepreneurs would have their place of honor in a developed socialist economy. During May 1968 in France nobody would have thought that populism could be equated with fascism. That only happened in the beginning of the 1980s – as part of the new Orwellian language of neoliberalism.
Michea also notes that now it’s much easier to be a Left neoliberal than a Right neoliberal; in France, these Left neoliberals belong to the very closed circuit of the “Young Leaders” adopted by the French
American Foundation. French Big Business and high finance – essentially, the French ruling class – immediately understood that an Old Catholic Right candidate like François Fillon would never fly; they needed a new brand for the same bottle.
Hence Macron: a brilliant repackaging sold as change France can believe in, as in a relatively soft approach to the “reforms” essential to the survival of the neoliberal project.
What French voters have – sort of – endorsed is the unity of neoliberal economy and cultural liberalism. Call it, like Michea, “integrated liberalism.” Or, with all the Orwellian overtones, “post-democratic capitalism.” A true revolt of the elites. And “peasants” buy it willingly. Let them eat overpriced croissants. Once again, France is leading the West.
Before the horrified gaze of its militants, the French Socialist party — which has been a major force in French politics since 1981, and forms the present government — is falling to pieces.
There are many reasons behind this catastrophe. They go back to 2005 and the dithering leadership of the then secretary-general, François Hollande, at a time when the party was dangerously divided after the referendum on a European constitution. And they continue up to 1 December last year, when President Hollande, after again dithering for months, announced on national television, in tears, that he had bowed to the inevitable — his own failure and unpopularity — and would not run for re-election. But the most significant reason for the Socialist implosion is the sudden arrival of a man from nowhere called Emmanuel Macron.
Macron, at 39, would normally be considered at least 15 years too young to mount a serious presidential challenge in France, but the most recent polls show him in third place, just behind the front-runner, the far-right Front National’s leader, Marine Le Pen, and François Fillon, the candidate of the conservative party, Les Républicains.
His rapid rise makes Macron a genuine original in French politics and his opponents do not know what to make of him. Unlike all other serious contenders, he has no visible record of political commitment. In 2004 he graduated from the National School of Administration (ENA) and joined the upper civil service. Then, in 2008, he paid €50,000 to buy himself out of his government contract and became an investment banker with Rothschild, where he was highly regarded and quickly made a small fortune. Then, in 2012, with the election of President Hollande, his career took another unexpected change of direction: he left Rothschild to become deputy secretary-general at the Elysée. When Manuel Valls became Hollande’s second prime minister in 2014, with instructions to deregulate the French economy, Macron was catapulted into the economics ministry.
Hollande and Valls congratulated themselves on an imaginative choice, and Macron set out to please Brussels by cutting France’s deficit while encouraging business activity. In 2015 he introduced la loi Macron, a measure designed to stimulate growth by abolishing public service monopolies and union restrictions on hours. This had to be forced through the National Assembly by decree, against the opposition of Socialist deputies, an unpopular move that consecrated Macron as the bête noire of the left.
As the months in office passed, Macron openly developed a separate political agenda, often disagreeing in public with Valls. Soon after his appointment, a mysterious movement appeared called ‘Les Jeunes avec Macron’ (‘Young people for Macron’). This was launched as a ‘spontaneous’ internet site, but quickly grew into a well-organised group numbering several thousand activists whose average age was said to be 33.
Macron then began to dominate the debate on European and welfare policy — but Hollande and Valls did nothing to rein him in. In 2015, a few days after Hollande insisted that Macron was ‘respecting his authority’, the maverick minister attacked the wealth tax — a central plank of Socialist fiscal policy since it was introduced in 1989. Meanwhile, party leaders mocked his inexperience and lack of support on the left, and estimated his electoral appeal at 6 per cent.
Undaunted, the economics minister announced that he was forming his own political ‘movement’, ‘En Marche!’ (Let’s Go!), ‘open to everyone of progressive views’ and ‘aimed at younger voters’. Last August he started touring French holiday resorts appealing for a vision that would ‘re-forge the country’s politics, culture and ideology’. At the end of the month he announced his resignation, and in November he launched the presidential campaign that he must have been secretly preparing ever since he joined the government.
While the seven hapless candidates for the Socialist party’s nomination were struggling throughout December to achieve three-figure attendance at their meetings, Macron — with no party machine behind him — was attracting thousands. In Clermont-Ferrand it was 2,500, in Lille 4,000, and in Paris last month 12,000 people packed into the hall to hear him speak.
As a presidential candidate, Macron is seen as an outsider, someone who will ‘break the system’ and challenge the stifling consensus of unions, over-entitled functionaries and remarkably youthful pensioners that prevents France from responding to the challenges of globalisation. He usually describes himself as ‘centrist’ but he also objects to being called ‘anti-socialist’.
If Macron’s unique selling point is unclear, his unique talking point is that he married his former school teacher, a lady 24 years older than him. This startling fact, when first encountered, tends to bring political discussion to a halt, while all pause for a few moments of profound reflection. His latest fan is Ségolène Royal. Ségolène is the current minister of the environment, and, by chance, she too is 24 years older than the dynamic new arrival. She has repeatedly spoken of her affection and admiration for Macron. Ségolène was the defeated Socialist presidential candidate of 2007, but last week she urged the party’s voters to ignore their own candidate, Benoît Hamon — a hardline leftist sacked as education minister by Valls in 2014 — and back Macron instead.
Macron has not just divided the Socialists, he has replaced them. So how has this apparently isolated and underfunded individual managed all this in such a short time? It is clear that Macron has powerful supporters behind the scenes, and a clue may lie in the little-discussed fact that some years ago he was identified as a member of ‘les Gracques’ — a discreet centre-left pressure group loosely staffed by influential chief executives and civil service mandarins. They are pro-market socialists who long ago gave up on the Socialist party. Many are fellow ‘énarques’ (graduates of ENA) and every step of Macron’s career could have been directed by them. Spotted as a brilliant and charming student, Macron could first have been launched into the prestigious state Finance Inspectorate, then switched into Rothschild to gain business experience (and wealthy support) and then placed like a time bomb in Hollande’s outer office, where he ticked away until he could be moved into the heart of the Valls government. Last August he finally exploded into action at the perfect moment to cause maximum damage to Hollande, Valls and the entire Socialist presidential election campaign. Macron’s rise bears all the hallmarks of a classic ENA undercover operation, a fundamental part of the énarques’ stock-in-trade and one in which the country’s leading bureaucrats are cynically trained.
Now that the Socialists have lumbered themselves with a dinosaur — Hamon — as their candidate, Macron is in an even stronger position. He will be able to tune his campaign to attract moderate Socialist voters as well as the centrists and centre-rightists who flock to his meetings and are having second thoughts about François Fillon.
Mr Fillon and his British wife Penelope are currently under investigation for misuse of public funds. Both deny the accusations. Interestingly, the information that has placed him under suspicion seems to have come from dissident members of Les Républicains, his own party — angry that neither ex–president Nicolas Sarkozy nor Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux, won the nomination. If Mr Fillon is formally charged, he has said that he will not run. In which case the most likely solution for his party, at this short notice, would be to select Mr Juppé in his place.
Henry Hermand, acteur de la deuxième gauche et mentor d’Emmanuel Macron, est mort
L’homme d’affaires, qui avait fait fortune dans la grande distribution, était un généreux mécène de la gauche progressiste. Il est mort à 92 ans.
LE MONDE | 06.11.2016 à 16h35 • Mis à jour le 07.11.2016 à 09h10 | Par Raphaëlle Bacqué
Après celle de Michel Rocard, la mort d’Henry Hermand, à 92 ans, dans la nuit du 5 au 6 novembre, sonne comme le signe supplémentaire de la fin d’une génération. Celle qui a connu la seconde guerre mondiale, ses tueries massives et ses choix difficiles, entre l’accommodement au totalitarisme et la Résistance.
Celle aussi qui a participé à la construction de l’Europe et à la consolidation de la démocratie à travers la presse et la politique. Celle enfin qui, pourtant retirée des affaires, n’a jamais vraiment dételé, puisque le dernier engagement d’Henry Hermand aura été de passer le témoin de son combat pour un réformisme de gauche à Emmanuel Macron, ce « jeune fils spirituel » comme le nonagénaire l’appelait avec affection, qu’il espérait voir porter les espoirs de la social-democratie.
Lorsqu’on allait voir ce beau et élégant vieil homme, dans ses bureaux près des Champs- Elysées, on était frappé de le voir encore si actif dans la vie politique et intellectuelle du pays.
Riche d’une fortune bâtie dans la grande distribution, il continuait à financer plusieurs think tanks de la gauche. La République des idées, présidée par Pierre Rosanvallon, puis Terra Nova, cette boîte à idées du Parti socialiste (PS), bénéficiaient de ses dons. Il était aussi l’actionnaire de référence du 1, l’hebdomadaire fondé par l’ancien directeur du Monde Eric Fottorino.
Il avait enfin aidé Emmanuel Macron, personnellement d’abord par un prêt de 550 000 euros afin que le jeune inspecteur des finances acquière son premier appartement parisien, puis politiquement en abritant récemment dans ses bureaux les premiers militants d’En marche, l’association qui œuvre aujourd’hui à la candidature de l’ancien ministre de l’économie.
Un réformisme à la Pierre Mendès France
L’engagement d’Henry Hermand remonte au sortir de la seconde guerre mondiale. Né le 11 juillet 1924, il a participé à l’âge de 20 ans à un petit groupe de résistants lycéens, alors qu’il est en classe préparatoire au lycée Janson-de-Sailly, dans le 16e arrondissement de Paris.
Son action est à la fois mineure et risquée, mais l’attentisme de son père, un gros commerçant de Clermont, la vie étriquée dans ce bourg situé à 85 kilomètres de Paris, lui paraissent insupportables.
Au sortir de la guerre, alors qu’il a raté le concours de Polytechnique, le voici qui entre comme ingénieur physicien au Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA). Ce n’est pas un scientifique dans l’âme, mais, après les bombes larguées sur Hiroshima et Nagasaki, le CEA est aux premières loges de tous les débats sur le partage de l’Europe entre Est et Ouest et les espoirs d’un continent plongé dans la guerre froide.
Dès les années 1950, Henry Hermand rejoint les milieux intellectuels progressistes et intègre notamment la revue Esprit. C’est là qu’il rencontre le fondateur du Monde, Hubert Beuve-Méry, mais aussi Gilles Martinet, qui lancera bientôt France Observateur et Emmanuel d’Astier de La Vigerie, ancien résistant et gaulliste de gauche.
Comme eux, il est anticolonialiste, humaniste et chrétien. Lors d’un voyage en Pologne, il a découvert la réalité des pays satellites de l’Union soviétique (URSS) et en est revenu farouchement anticommuniste. Son réformisme sera désormais celui de Pierre Mendès France. C’est trop pour le CEA, qui tient à sa neutralité et pousse M. Hermand à démissionner.
Sans rien abandonner de son engagement – il s’engage notamment au Parti socialiste unifié (PSU) avec Michel Rocard –, Hermand s’oriente dans une nouvelle carrière professionnelle. Ce sera la grande distribution, en plein essor dans cette nouvelle société de consommation qui s’annonce.
PDG de la société des supermarchés, il multiplie les grandes surfaces en région parisienne et bientôt dans toute la France, en Afrique noire et au Maghreb. Seule Marseille résiste. A la veille du Congrès du PS à Metz qui va voir, en 1979, la ligne de François Mitterrand triompher de celle portée par son rival Michel Rocard, le maire de Marseille, Gaston Defferre, a fait barrage à l’opération industrielle du rocardien Hermand.
Il prend Emmanuel Macron sous son aile
Désormais riche, cet amateur d’art moderne utilise sa fortune pour soutenir la presse progressiste et les candidats de la deuxième gauche, au sein du PS. Michel Rocard lui doit une partie de son financement, comme bon nombre de revues sociales-démocrates, ainsi que Le Matin de Paris, dont il prend la vice-présidence, lors de son rachat par Max Théret à Claude Perdriel.
Dix ans plus tard, il repère un jeune khâgneux, diplômé de Sciences Po et de l’Ecole nationale d’administration (ENA), Emmanuel Macron, alors que ce dernier effectue son stage d’élève haut fonctionnaire à la préfecture de l’Oise.
Il le prend bientôt sous son aile, l’invite en vacances à Tanger (Maroc), est son témoin à son mariage avec Brigitte Trogneux, en 2007. « Emmanuel n’a jamais pris une décision importante sans m’en parler », avait-il confié au Monde, il y a un an.
Inquiet devant l’impopularité du président François Hollande, il était de ceux qui espéraient voir l’ancien ministre de l’économie assumer la relève. Et offrait volontiers à ses visiteurs ses Mémoires, préfacés par Michel Rocard, six ans plus tôt. Il leur avait donné un titre qui disait tout de son optimisme, malgré la mort qui approchait : L’ambition n’est pas un rêve.
French President Elect: Unveiling The Golden Boy Emmanuel Macron
Sharmini Peries: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.Serge Halimi is the Editorial Director at Le Monde Diplomatique. He is also the author of Le Grand Bond en Arri�re.
French President Elect: Unveiling The Golden Boy Emmanuel MacronSharmini Peries: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.
France has a new president-elect, Emmanuel Macron. The centrist and former investment banker will take office on Sunday, May 14th. He won against the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, by 66 to 34 percent of the vote. Even though Macron registered a decisive win against Le Pen, she considered the results a victory for managing to bring her party, the National Front, to the political mainstream in France.
Marine Le Pen: [Translated from French] The first round confirmed a major breakdown of France’s political life with the elimination of old parties.
This second round organizes a wide political redraw between the patriots and the globalists.
Sharmini Peries: And here is the new French president-elect, Emmanuel Macron, after his victory.
Emmanuel Macron: [Translated from French] They express, today, they express some anger, some dismay, and sometimes some beliefs.
I respect them, but I will do all I can during the next five years so that no one ever has a reason again to vote for extremes.
Sharmini Peries: Joining us now to analyze the results of the French presidential election is Serge Halimi. Serge is director of the monthly newspaper, Le Monde diplomatique, and he joins us today from Paris. Thank you very much for joining us, Serge.
Serge Halimi: Nice to be with you.
Sharmini Peries: So Serge, the results were not much of a surprise. You, in fact, wrote to me on the night before the election saying, “100 percent chance for Macron.” The French polls were correct this time. There was some concern that after the Brexit referendum in Britain and Trump’s election here in the US, another right-wing upset could happen in France, but that didn’t happen. What is your take on the results?
Serge Halimi: No, I don’t think there was any surprise because Macron had been leading in the polls in the first round, and most of the candidates who were finished third, fourth, and the rest, asked their supporters to vote for him. So there was absolutely zero uncertainty as far as the result is concerned.
But now when you look at the result, you have to take into account that we have 47.5 million registered voters in France. 20.7 million voted for Macron. So that’s not the majority of the registered voters. Why? Because 16 million did not choose between Le Pen and Macron. 12 million didn’t go to the polls. 4 million put in a blank ballot or spoiled their ballot. And then, of course, 10.6 million voted for Le Pen, which I think for Marine Le Pen was a disappointing result.
So of course, 20.7 million for Macron. This is still a large number, but out of those 20.7 million who voted for him, a majority did it not because of, but in spite of his program. In other words, a majority of the minority of registered voters who chose Macron did so to defeat Marine Le Pen, and right now, the majority of the French voters do not want Macron to win a mandate in the next parliamentary elections, which are scheduled five weeks from now, June 11th and June 18th.
Sharmini Peries: So then, Serge, what is the impact and effect this will have on France, the victory of Macron?
Serge Halimi: I think there are some elements of change which are widely overplayed. One is the generation element. I don’t think it has much importance. Clinton was 46 when he was elected, Renzi 39, Blair 44. They were all young men, but in the case of Macron, I think the fact that he’s young was effective insofar as besides being young, Macron is not a very original candidate, and the policies he proposes are a continuation of the policies Hollande enacted, whereas the support of Macron was for a fairly significant amount of time, his economic advisor and his economic minister. So by being young, in a sense, it overshadows the element of continuity in his election.
The other element, which is mentioned, is, of course, the fact that he’s a non-politician, that he never was elected. That could be an advantage although everyone remembers that Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump, too, were non-politicians who transformed the political scene, and it is not obvious that it was in the good direction.
Sharmini Peries: And Serge, what do we know about Macron and his positions and policies that he might bring about particularly given this is a new party (Marche), we don’t really know what that is, and he considers himself a trans-partisan candidate, but what does this all mean very concretely?
Serge Halimi: I think what it means very concretely is a victory of political honesty. Insofar over the last 35 years, the socialists and the right enacted broadly similar economic policies. And Macron wants to destroy this two parties to create his own, which will pursue the same policies which form the socialists and form the rightists. At least this may end the sham, and open the way to a political system which with three main actors, Macron, i.e. things stay the same, Le Pen with the 34 percent of the vote she got yesterday, and the third element being a left [inaudible 00:06:23] of most of the socialists, will join Macron and comprising the 20% who voted for Mélenchon, plus some greens, Trotskyite, and socialists. So you would have a french political scene divided between those three forces; Macron holding the upper end at this time.
Sharmini Peries: And let’s bring that element of the absentee votes that you mentioned earlier. 34 percent is a fairly high rate of people who didn’t vote or spoil their ballots, and this hasn’t happened in France since 1969 apparently. To what do you attribute this high rate of absentee, is there a sort of discontent and unhappiness with the democratic process in France, what’s going on?
Serge Halimi: Well, the last time it happened as you said accurately was in 1969, and then you had the two right-wing candidates opposing each other and the communist party that was quite strong at the time, who said you don’t have to choose between those two right-wing candidates, so either you don’t go to the polls or you put in a blank ballot.
So we have a situation that is different here insofar it was not two right-wing candidates, but a center-right, center-left candidate and an extreme-right. So it is conceivable that the fact that the extreme-right was opposed to a centrist, would have made it more difficult for people not to vote. Except that we had the experience of voting for a right-wing candidate in 2002 and that people are getting really tired of having to choose between the lesser of two evils. And this time they decided not to do it all the more the because of the fact that they knew from the very beginning that Marine Le Pen stood no chance of being elected, and they didn’t want to give a mandate to Macron who would enact liberal poor market policies and deregulate the labor markets.
So it was really very difficult for left-wing voters to give a mandate to someone who would enact policies you would have to fight a few weeks after you helped elect him.
Sharmini Peries: And also, given that this new party has no real political base in the National Assembly and there is National Assembly election scheduled for June 11th, how will the political landscape in France respond to this, particularly given the fragmentation that we were just talking about.
Serge Halimi: Well, it’s really difficult to tell at this time. It’s quite clear that elements of the right are going to split from the right and rejoin with Macron. Elements of the socialist party are going to split from the socialist party and rejoin Macron. But I think that one thing that is more important than this is the social element that was disclosed by the vote. Because Macron’s golden boy image and actions account for the fact that despite of his landslide victory, 56 percent of the workers voted for Marine Le Pen. Of course, Paris, which is the most bourgeois of major French cities gave a landslide to Macron; received 90 percent of the vote there.
In other words, you saw in this vote a prosperous and educated France that voted for Macron and won. And the richer city is in terms of how much income it taxes its residents, the more likely the city is to vote for Macron, who incidentally promised to eliminate much of the wealth tax. So this is, I think, one thing we must emphasize, the fact that Macron is really the elected president of the prosperous France and of the middle class, and that Marine Le Pen got a lot of support from the working class, and this is something that will stay during Macron’s term, and I think the policies he has in mind, especially the deregulation of the labor market will insist on the features of his program, which is a program meant for the wealthy.
Sharmini Peries: And so then let’s talk about where the French left is. Its main candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, won nearly 20 percent of the vote during the first round of the elections. The highest they’ve ever had in terms of a left socialist party perspective. What are his chances of winning the National Assembly and more seats there so he can actually challenge Macron as he seeks to implement more neoliberal measures in France?
Serge Halimi: Well, the result Mélenchon got was not the highest the left had in France, you had, of course, several decades ago, the communist party that got more than 20 percent of the vote. But it’s still a very good result he got in the first round. Now the question is the extent to which this result will translate in parliamentary seats, and the parliamentary system is such that its very unlikely that Mélenchon will get that many seats. We have 577 seats in the National Assembly and most of the projections say that Mélenchon will be able to get 40 or 50 seats at most. So maybe we will be surprised by what happens in the next few weeks, but the most likely outcome will be Macron getting almost a majority of the seats in the National Assembly. The right, getting 200 seats more or less. And then Mélenchon and the extreme right getting very few seats because the system is rigged against parties such as the National Front and the left international assembly.
Sharmini Peries: All right Serge, I thank you so much for joining us today and look forward to hearing more analysis from you and Le Monde diplomatique, Thank you so much.
Serge Halimi: Okay. Nice to talk to you, bye.
Sharmini Peries: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
French Presidential Election 2017: Nothing Succeeds Like Success. Macron “Selected”. Billionaires and Bankers Rejoice
There is great rejoicing tonight in places accustomed to rejoicing. The best champagne must be flowing in places that have plenty of it, chez Bernard Arnault, for example, first fortune in France (eleventh in the world), owner among so much else of the newspapers Parisien, Aujourd’hui France and Echos, all fervent supporters of Emmanuel Macron. The glasses should be clinking also wherever the peripatetic billionaire Patrick Drahi finds himself, born in Morocco, double French-Israeli nationality, resident of Switzerland, owner of a vast media and telecom empire, including the epitome of post-May ’68 turncoatism, the tabloid Libération, which ran a headline calling on voters to cast their ballots for Macron a day after the public campaign was legally over.
The list is long of billionaires, bankers and establishment figures who have a right to rejoice at the extraordinary success of a candidate who got elected President of the French Republic on the claim to be “an outsider”, whereas nobody in history has ever been so unanimously supported by all the insiders you can name.
There should also be satisfaction in the embassies of all the countries whose governments openly interfered in the French election – the U.S. of course, but also Germany, Belgium, Italy and Canada, among others, who earnestly exhorted the French to make the right choice: Macron, of course. All these champions of Western democracy can all join in gloating over the nonexistent but failed interference of Russia – for which there is no evidence, but part of the fun of a NATOland election these days is to accuse the Russians of meddling.
As for the French, abstention was nearly record-breaking, as much of the left could not vote for the self-proclaimed enemy of labor law but dared not vote for the opposition candidate, Marine Le Pen, because one just cannot vote for someone who was labeled “extreme right” or even “fascist” by an incredible campaign of denigration, even though she displayed no visible symptom of fascism and her program was favorable to lower income people and to world peace. Words count in France, where the terror of being accused of sharing World War II guilt is overwhelming.
Surveys indicate that as much as 40% of Macron voters chose him solely to “block” the alleged danger of voting for Marine Le Pen.
Others on the left voted for Macron vowing publicly that they will “fight him” once he is elected. Fat chance.
There may be street demonstrations in coming months, but that will have little impact on Macron’s promise to tear up French labor law by decree and free labor and management to fight it out between themselves, at a time when management is powerful thanks to delocalizations and labor is disorganized and enfeebled by the various effects of globalization.
As Jean Bricmont put it, outgoing French President François Hollande deserves a Nobel Prize for political manipulation.
At a time when he and his government were so unpopular that everyone was looking forward to the election as a chance to get rid of them, Hollande, with zealous assistance from of the major media, leading banks and oligarchs of various stripes, succeeded in promoting his little-known economic advisor into the candidate of “change”, neither left nor right, a totally fresh, new political star – supported by all the old politicians that the public wanted to get rid of.
This is quite an amazing demonstration of the power of “communications” in contemporary society, a triumph for the advertising industry, mainstream media and the billionaires who own all of that.
France was perceived as a potential weak link in the globalization project of eliminating national sovereignty in favor of the worldwide reign of capital. Thanks to an extraordinary effort, this danger has been averted. At least for now.
‘Rothschild’ is a household name. It belongs to a family banking dynasty with a two hundred year lineage, reputedly once supremely powerful. Omnipresent historian Niall Ferguson has devoted two volumes to this history.
The Rothschild name is now bestowed on a significant global financial services group. The maintenance of family control has been a perennial imperative, ultimately restricting the size of the entities. That a family-controlled financial group still exists at all is a testament to its resilience.
The French banking arm of the Rothschild family almost disappeared entirely. The trajectory from near-obliteration to renewed major player in the French firmament is the subject of a recent book by Martine Orange, Rothschild: une banque au pouvoir.* Orange is a seasoned financial/economic journalist, part of the Mediapart group since its creation in 2008. Orange’s subject matter is treated in only several pages of the Ferguson tome, which peters out after 1945.
Ferguson loves his subject. For Orange, outsider and unbeliever, it is a courageous project. (The dramatic conversion of the radical author David Horowitz coincided with his mid-1970s immersion into the Rockefeller dynasty.) Hagiography is out of the question, and guns blazing will not extract the insiders’ personal reflections crucial for understanding. As Orange’s colleague François Bonnet notes: “No indignant denunciation in this book, but a cool autopsy of the most secretive of Parisian businesses”.
Elected in 1981, the Mitterand Presidency and the Parti Socialiste administration embarked on their pre-election promises to nationalize the commanding heights of the French economy. For deposit banks the bar for nationalization is latterly put at 1 billion francs of deposits (lowered from an original 5 billion francs); 36 banks, including Banque Rothschild, are nationalized (with owners well-compensated) in early 1982.
Some contemporary opinion thought that nationalization had done the family a favor. The Rothschild bank was in disrepair by the late 1970s, having been sidelined by the evolving financial demands of the consumer-oriented post-War boom. Family members were diverted by other interests (Guy, life style and horses; Alain, the broader Jewish community; Élie, the famous vineyards). The removed English Rothschilds were rather taken aback by exposure of the troubles (the English house itself was only awakened in the early 1960s from genteel decline by the entrepreneurial Evelyn).
With nationalization, the patriotic family is appalled by the affront to its status and dignity. Guy escapes to the US, where he declaims: “A Jew under Pétain, a pariah under Mitterand”. The family bunkers down over its future. Tension arises as to strategy between David (son of Guy, born 1942) and Nathaniel (son of Élie, born 1946). Harvard-trained Nathaniel is for aggression; the French David is for discretion. The family chooses David.
Nathaniel subsequently successfully blazes his own trail in the US. There is also Edmond, son of Maurice who was banished from the family business in the 1920s for attitudes deemed unsatisfactory. Edmond built an exceedingly profitable wealth management house in Switzerland, but there is an arm’s length relationship with the French relations.
David (with cousin Eric) is joined in 1988 by his younger step-brother Édouard, also US-trained and adventurous, and a workable synthesis of styles is achieved. But the important story involves the supporting cast of characters and the favorable backdrop.
Orange’s Rothschild is an alternative history of French capitalism over the last 30 years. It is a history of the importation of neoliberalism and of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ business culture on French soil, with turbulent consequences still playing out.
Of particular interest is the heady mix of different types intermingling for mutual benefit – the patrician David de Rothschild heading the new bank, faithful retainers, the political New Right, business establishment bigwigs, a new breed of takeover hustlers, dubious well-connected middlemen, opportunistic public servants, and not least the boorish unprincipled parvenu Nicholas Sarkozy.
A faithful employee (like his father before him), Jacques Getten pulls a marginal subsidiary out of the hat as a basis for reconstruction. There is lobbying of the government to convert P[aris] O[rleans] Gestion into a bank; the government says no. Not the right answer. Here Jewish community links help.
Robert Badinter is then Minister for Justice. He recounts his view of the between-the-Wars social hierarchy of French Jewry. At the bottom are the Yids, recent Yiddish-speaking émigrés. Then the petty bourgeoisie; then the well-to-do. Above them the Rothschilds, in the stratosphere. Badinter, of self-proclaimed Yid stock, is induced to intercede before Mitterand. The intercession is successful. PO Gestion becomes PO Banque in 1984, but without the name. Ferguson claims that ‘the government had the gall to prohibit the use of the family name’. But the government had bought the Rothschild name and retired it.
Enter Ambroise Roux. Roux was CEO of the electrical giant CGE (predecessor of Alcatel). Roux was bitter about the nationalization of CGE, and apoplectic about the usurpation of power by a Socialist/Communist alliance. Ironically, CGE had grown on the strength of state contracts. In 1983, Roux created the association française des enterprises privées (afep) as a focal point and lobby group for reaction. Roux never ceases to use afep as a vehicle to push for corporate deregulation and financialization.
Roux wants Rothschild’s name for his project. A mutual friend, happy to oblige, is Anglo-French rogue corporate raider and pathological anti-Red, Jimmy Goldsmith.
There are two more significant figures. First, Édouard Balladur. Georges Pompidou was Guy de Rothschild’s unlikely right hand man before he became Prime Minister (1962) and President (1969). Roux had been Pompidou’s business mentor. Balladur was Pompidou’s disciple and right hand man, but eschewing any Gaullist remnants in the elder. Rothschild was the fount of righteousness, and Balladur was attracted to the glamorous world of aristocratic high finance. Balladur, on the outer under President Giscard d’Estaing, was taken in by Roux at CGE.
Second, Claude Bébéar. Bébéar creates another centre of influence for the new breed, Entreprise et cité. David de Rothschild is signed up. Bébéar later (2000) creates the Institut Montaigne to further propagandise the message.
Bébéar engages in a series of takeovers of small insurance mutuals (to much displeasure), spearheading the massive consolidation of the insurance sector – Axa is the result. Bébéar finally swallows the insurance giant UAP in 1996. Bébéar is a key figure in the financialisation of the French economy. A key reflection of this phenomenon is the gradual displacement of industrial sector representatives at the helm of Medef, the employer federation, by insurance/financial forces.
Under the aegis of these luminaries, the counter-revolution of all the losers and self-proclaimed losers begins. The natural order has been upset; it must be re-established post-haste. Roux even wanted to overthrow the entire post-War ‘consensus’ – France’s ‘New Deal’, constructed in response to the desperate years of occupation, subjugation and collaboration. This radical agenda was well-expressed by Denis Kessler, Bébéar’s protégé and sometime Medef executive, in 2007: “The French social model is the pure product of the Conseil national de la Résistance. Take all that which has been put in place between 1944 and 1952, without exception. It is a matter today of saying goodbye to 1945, and of dismantling systematically the programme of the CNR! To disavow the founding fathers is a problem only in psychoanalysis.”
Partial success comes quickly. The Right is elected to office in March 1986. Balladur becomes Finance Minister under Prime Minister Chirac. One of Balladur’s first actions is to bestow on Roux a high order of the Légion d’Honneur. The elaborate ceremony (at taxpayer expense) brings together all the fellow travellers – neoliberalism celebrates its first victory at the centre of power in France.
Balladur also turns to the Rothschild ‘plight’. In October PO Banque (which was going nowhere) becomes Rothschild & associés.
Needing a kick start, the enterprising Getten oversees some dodgy manoeuvres (tour de passe-passe). Representative is the case of Francarep, an oil exploration company in which PO held a minority share. Getten corruptly (albeit then ‘legally’) engineered majority control of Francarep and subsequent absorption within the Rothschild umbrella, for a tidy profit. But the scene is set for the investment bank’s growth and success, if slow, as the environment becomes exceedingly propitious.
First, there is the privatization bandwagon. Balladur sets to work. In Autumn 1986 Balladur pushes forward the privatization of Paribas. The job is given to Rothschild, a minnow. Paribas is significant – its holdings ranged across the heart of French capitalism, and fierce battles had been waged over its control. Balladur wanted not merely privatization but the new breed in charge.
Rothschild is also soon given the privatization of armaments firm Matra. The process is controversial and chaotic (not least because involving the belligerent Jean-Luc Lagardère), and Matra is privatised under value after the 1987 crash. Rothschild acquired more brownie points regardless. Balladur continues the same agenda as Prime Minister in 1993. Balladur hands the partial privatization of the industrial giant Renault to Rothschild.
The initially worrying election of the Jospin Parti Socialiste government in 1997 soon demonstrated (especially with Dominique Strauss-Kahn as Finance Minister) that henceforth privatization would be a bipartisan policy.
Second, the new breed fostered the culture of ‘mergers and acquisitions’ and it spread quickly. Buying, selling, merging – all needed an investment bank or three on board.
Third, Lazard Frères was the investment banking world’s centre of gravity. But Lazard had a cowboy reputation, had internal conflicts, was seen as not respecting confidentiality and as often pursuing self-interest over that of clients. The state, in particular, needed a second (French) player. Rothschild was differentiated by its discretion, perennial attachment to the vendor rather than the purchaser, and non-participation in the foreign takeover of a French company. Rothschild benefited from the occasional hiring of disenchanted Lazard staffers (Jean-Claude Meyer, Olivier Pecoux, Christian de Labriffe).
Fourth, the culture of the bureaucracy was changing. Previously, a cadre issuing out of elite schools generally became implanted in a career of public service. Now, a cadre seeks experience and contacts (especially within the Finance Ministry) before moving into the finance sector on an escalating pay scale. The revolving door (pantouflage) was now institutionalized, indeed de rigueur, and Rothschild was to be a beneficiary of talented ex-bureaucrats (Jean-Charles Naouri, François Henrot, Nicolas Bazire, François Pérol, Emmanuel Macron) who would initiate and manage the deals with established contacts.
Thus does Rothschild benefit mightily from the new age. A similar bonanza on the same foundations facilitated rapid growth of the English Rothschilds, especially after the Thatcher ascendancy in 1979.
Connections and information were fundamental to growth (shades of Nathan Rothschild’s legendary advance knowledge of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo). Thus Jean-Claude Meyer gets out his address book in 1990 and pulls off a merger between Swiss Suchard and a Kraft subsidiary. The deal is significant both for its scale ($4bn) and its international dimension. More commissions flow from this success. Gérard Worms, on the skids at Suez, joins Rothschild in 1995 and brings with him his linkages with the bigwigs at France’s CAC 40 companies. The ubiquitous middleman Alain Minc, employed at arm’s length but deeply mired in conflicts of interest, perennially offers leads and contacts. In a sense, this is the ‘knowledge economy’, finance sector version – one firm’s segment of a large scale insider trading system.
Across the segments, French capitalism becomes a battlefield and there is much blood left on the floor.
Representative is the privatization and subsequent strategic direction of France Telecom. Enter François Henrot. The ENA-trained Henrot landed in the Direction générale des telecommunications in the 1970s. In the early 1980s Henrot moved to Paribas bank, witnessing a company in increasing turmoil for past excesses (Paribas was taken over by BNP in 2000 after a bloody fight). Balladur as Prime Minister initiates the privatization of FT in 1993. Henrot (via Minc) is offered the top job at FT by Prime Minister Alain Juppé in September 1995. He lasts eight days, to be replaced by Michel Bon.
The reason is that Henrot expressed his intention to transform FT’s public service culture overnight. Henrot is soon hired (via Minc again) by Rothschild. From the bank, Henrot supported Bon in his buying spree that generated a mountain of debt. As well as €30bn of taxpayers’ funds to keep FT afloat, succeeding CEOs Thierry Bréton and Didier Lombard imposed the brutal cultural transformation that led to multiple employee suicides. The story is outlined in my The Privatization From Hell.
Henrot, who remains a central non-family figure at Rothschild, later ‘philosophized’ on his career. Any failings, mistakes were to be attributed elsewhere – the state was to blame, markets were fickle; shit happens!
Bréton becomes Finance Minister in February 2005 (until May 2007), from which vantage point he blacklists Rothschild for having contributed to the fiasco at FT. But Ministry functionaries themselves still want Rothschild as a counter to Lazard, and a place of future employment, so the bank is soon back on the public teat. Bréton himself is then given a job in Rothschild’s non-event New York office – a bribe? Bréton subsequently becomes chairman/CEO at IT company Atos Origin, whose financial advisory business goes to Rothschild.
The ultimate in dodgy dealings involves François Pérol. Pérol had a classic central agency career, becoming Deputy Director (overseeing the finance sector) in the office of successive Finance Ministers (Mer, Sarkozy) from May 2002 to November 2004. In 2005 he joins Rothschild. There Pérol presides over the merger of two small investment banks belonging to the two major mutual savings bank networks, the traditionally conservative Banques populaires and Caisses d’épargne. Natexis and Ixis become Natixis, a process that Pérol had begun in the Ministry. Apart from the inherent danger of the creation, Pérol’s continuity of involvement across public and private spheres was illegal, a clear transgression of the strict (‘deontological’) procedures in place to prevent conflict of interest.
Natixis staff immediately went troppo, delivering billions of euros of losses to its staid parents. With Sarkozy’s election to the Presidency in May 2007, Pérol becomes Chief of staff at the Élysée, proceeding to turn that office into a quasi-investment bank on the inside. In that capacity, Pérol presides over the announced merger of the two imperilled savings bank networks in October 2008. President Sarkozy then installs, unilaterally and illegally, Pérol at the head of the two networks in February 2009, to manage the merger, involving massive disruption, massive retrenchments, and €5bn in public funds to prop up the faltering edifice.
This monumental scandal has been forensically pursued by Orange’s Mediapart colleague, Laurent Mauduit, and has received zero coverage in the English-language media. Pérol remains CEO of the combined entity BPCE.
Rothschild involvement in attempted Franco-German corporate alliances is also instructive on the prospect of transcending national boundaries as part of the European project.
The creation of EADS, with Rothschild as handmaiden, is representative. Newly elected, in June 1997 Lionel Jospin announces at the Paris Air Show that one needs a European defence sector to parallel economic and monetary Europe. The race is on. Rothschild’s Jean-Claude Meyer knows the sector intimately, and pushes a Franco-German alliance (Aerospatiale and Daimler had combined their helicopter divisions in 1992). Civilian Airbus was an extant parallel, having been organised to counter Boeing’s global dominance.
The process was unsavoury. Aerospatiale was merged with the smaller Matra, with Matra’s Lagardère gaining disproportionate influence. Daimler management were torn between Anglo-America and Europe, blackmailing France for greater leverage with Rothschild support and complicity from Finance Minister Strauss-Kahn. EADS was ultimately formed in 2000, with the French share reduced unreasonably to 50%, and with Lagardère as the French spokesman, both contrary to French interest. A European champion was to be forged at any cost.
EADS head office is in Amsterdam, a notable haven for tax evasion. Lagardère senior died in 2003, with his dysfunctional role bequeathed to his son Arnaud. In 2010 playboy Arnaud missed 8 out of 10 Board meetings. Lagardère Junior missed his scheduled appointment as EADS Board Chairman in May 2012 to watch a French Open tennis match involving his mate. Shit happens. This element of high farce is finally due to end with the Lagardère interests agreeing to sell its EADS shareholding.
Rothschild was also involved in the 1999 merger between Rhône-Poulenc and Hoechst. Located symbolically in Strasbourg, it was organised as a marriage between equals. But it didn’t work. The struggling entity (Aventis Deutschland) was taken over by French Sanofi. Investment bankers seem to be poorly educated on the rudiments of nation-specific corporate cultures as well as on public versus private sector cultures. The caravan moves on.
Orange claims that the Germans were not amused. Having lost Mannesmann to Vodaphone, and Hoechst to the French, it would henceforth be Germany Numero Uno, once reunification was bedded down. The European Union in general is now run essentially in the German national interest, but the French still haven’t cottoned on.
Orange also claims that the French state has effectively renounced industry policy. Apart from the mentality, it has lost the capacity for industry policy. Financial imperatives have taken over. The investment banks have become an integral arm of the Finance Ministry, while eschewing responsibility for outcomes. While raking in fees on endless mergers/takeovers/rationalisations, the feel-good self-reassurance was that the investment banks were facilitating the creation of French (and then European) ‘national champions’. France’s balance on current account went into deficit in 2005 and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. Whence the national champions?
The French Rothschilds initiated an ‘entente cordiale’ with their English relations in 1990, leading to a permanent fusion of the two clans in 2003. The Rothschild presence in the US has remained an outpost, but the presence has been successfully embedded elsewhere – Latin America, China (via Hong Kong and Jardine Matheson), Australia. Rothschild opened an office in Frankfort (returning to its ancestral origins) in 2005, and the German office has established Russian links (courtesy of the revolving door hiring of ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder). The next generation of Rothschilds are being groomed for succession.
A note at the end. The capable Finance Ministry bureaucrat Emmanuel Macron served under the chameleonic Jacques Attali in the production of Attali’s (neoliberal) report for Sarkozy on re-establishing economic growth in France. Macron joins Rothschild on Attali’s recommendation. Macron then (purportedly out of conviction) works simultaneously for the Hollande Presidential candidacy. Following the Hollande victory, Macron joins Hollande at the Élysée. Orange cites David de Rothschild as noting: “It is the tradition of the house to put itself at the service of the Republic”. Rothschild is an arm of the French state and the state is an arm of Rothschild.
Into the Twenty-First Century, The Rothschild family consortium has been transformed into a very healthy edifice. Unfortunately, one can’t say the same about France.
Evan Jones is a retired political economist at Sydney University. He can be reached at email@example.com
* Martine Orange, Rothschild: une banque au pouvoir, Albin Michel, September 2012.
The Rothschilds & The Civil War
Excerpted From ‘Descent Into Slavery’
By Des Griffin
It would be extraordinarily naive to even consider the possibility that a family as ambitious, as cunning and as monopolistically minded as the Rothschilds could resist the temptation of becoming heavily involved on the American front.
Following their conquest of Europe early in the 1800s, the Rothschilds cast their covetous eyes on the most precious gem of them all — the United States.
America was unique in modern history. It was only the second nation in history that had ever been formed with the Bible as its law book. Its uniquely magnificent Constitution was specifically designed to limit the power of government and to keep its citizens free and prosperous. Its citizens were basically industrious immigrants who ‘yearned to breath free’ and who asked nothing more than to be given the opportunity to live and work in such a wonderfully stimulating environment.
The results — the ‘fruit’ — of such a unique experiment were so indescribably brilliant that America became a legend around the globe. Many millions across the far flung continents of the world viewed America the Beautiful as the promised land.
The Big Bankers in Europe — the Rothschilds and their cohorts — viewed the wonderful results borne by this unique experiment from an entirely different perspective; they looked upon it as a major threat to their future plans.
The establishment Times of London stated: “If that mischievous financial policy which had its origin in the North American Republic [i.e. honest Constitutionally authorized no debt money] should become indurated down to a fixture, then that government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off its debts and be without a debt [to the international bankers]. It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of the civilized governments of the world. The brains and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.”
The Rothschilds and their friends sent in their financial termites to destroy America because it was becoming “prosperous beyond precedent.”
The first documentable evidence of Rothschild involvement in the financial affairs of the United States came in the late 1820s and early 1830s when the family, through their agent Nicholas Biddie, fought to defeat Andrew Jackson’s move to curtail the international bankers. The Rothschilds lost the first round when in 1832, President Jackson vetoed the move to renew the charter of the ‘Bank of the United States’ (a central bank controlled by the international bankers). In 1836 the bank went out of business.
PLAN OF DESTRUCTION
In the years following Independence, a close business relationship had developed between the cotton growing aristocracy in the South and the cotton manufacturers in England. The European bankers decided that this business connection was America’s Achilles Heel, the door through which the young American Republic could be successfully attacked and overcome.
The Illustrated University History, 1878, p. 504, tells us that the southern states swarmed with British agents. These conspired with local politicians to work against the best interests of the United States. Their carefully sown and nurtured propaganda developed into open rebellion and resulted in the secession of South Carolina on December 29, 1860. Within weeks another six states joined the conspiracy against the Union, and broke away to form the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis as President.
The plotters raided armies, seized forts, arsenals, mints and other Union property. Even members of President Buchanan’s Cabinet conspired to destroy the Union by damaging the public credit and working to bankrupt the nation. Buchanan claimed to deplore secession but took no steps to check it, even when a U.S. ship was fired upon by South Carolina shore batteries.
Shortly thereafter Abraham Lincoln became President, being inaugurated on March 4, 1861. Lincoln immediately ordered a blockade on Southern ports, to cut off supplies that were pouring in from Europe. The ‘official’ date for the start of the Civil War is given as April 12, 1861, when Fort Sumter in South Carolina was bombarded by the Confederates, but it obviously began at a much earlier date.
In December, 1861, large numbers of European Troops (British, French and Spanish) poured into Mexico in defiance of the Monroe Doctrine. This, together with widespread European aid to the Confederacy strongly indicated that the Crown was preparing to enter the war. The outlook for the North, and the future of the Union, was bleak indeed.
CZAR ALEXANDER II
In this hour of extreme crisis, Lincoln appealed to the Crown’s perennial enemy, Russia, for assistance. When the envelope containing Lincoln’s urgent appeal was given to Czar Alexander II, he weighed it unopened in his hand and stated: “Before we open this paper or know its contents, we grant any request it may contain.”
Unannounced, a Russian fleet under Admiral Liviski, steamed into New York harbor on September 24, 1863, and anchored there, The Russian Pacific fleet, under Admiral Popov, arrived in San Francisco on October 12. Of this Russian act, Gideon Wells said: “They arrived at the high tide of the Confederacy and the low tide of the North, causing England and France to hesitate long enough to turn the tide for the North” (Empire of “The City,” p. 90).
History reveals that the Rothschilds were heavily involved in financing both sides in the Civil War.
Lincoln put a damper on their activities when, in 1862 and 1863, he refused to pay the exorbitant rates of interest demanded by the Rothschilds and issued constitutionally-authorized, interest free United States notes.
For this and other acts of patriotism Lincoln was shot down in cold-blood by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, just five days after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.