The “strip tease” of the European Union

World (ALAI) – The European Parliament (EP), on November 23, 2016, approved a non-legislative resolution to counter or combat “disinformation campaigns and propaganda of countries such as Russia, and non-state actors such as Daesh, Al-Qaeda and other violent terrorist groups”.

Presented by the Polish MP Anna Fotyga of the group of European Conservatives and Reformists, this resolution affirms that the Russian government increased its campaign against the European Union (EU) after having annexed Crimea and launched a “hybrid war” in Donbass (Ukraine).

The communiqué of the EP[1] indicates that “the Russian government is employing a wide range of tools and instruments, such as think tanks […], multilingual TV stations (e.g. Russia Today), pseudo-news agencies and multimedia services (e.g. Sputnik) […], social media and internet trolls, to challenge democratic values, divide Europe, gather domestic support and create the perception of failed states in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood.”

In brief, a “non-legislative resolution” of the same kind as the legislative resolutions of US Senator Joseph McCarthy at the beginnings of the 1950s to bring the Cold War into the political, cultural and ideological terrain, that is, a “witch-hunt” for both open and hidden communists in the United States and the whole “Western and Christian” world, that will be recalled in history as “the infamous era of MacCarthyism”.

With this new step, the institutions of the EU, in this case the EP, confirm the suspicion that the EU does not need enemies to unmask it, that it unmasks itself to demonstrate its anti-democratic, if not totalitarian nature, as it demonstrated in its treatment of Greece and its democratically elected leaders, following the electoral victory of Syriza and the referendum to attempt to reduce the bleeding that the EU was demanding of Greece.

We must recall that this “strip tease” began in 2011, when the EU overpowered what little political sovereignty was left for Italy and Greece, naming two technocrats who came from private finance to direct the “technical” governments of Rome (Mario Monti) and Athens (Lukás Papadimos) and thus impose austerity policies.

Thus the EU confirmed what former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had said, that under the neoliberal system “there is no alternative” — and that of the EU is the most perfected –, because “society as such does not exist”. All that exists is the market to concentrate wealth in a reduced number of oligarchs[2], as the Credit Suisse bank registers in their annual report on global wealth.

Seriously, what really threatens the EU is not what Russia Today or Sputnik transmit or publish, but the institutional rigidity and the political narrowness that prevents the EU from accepting necessary changes to relieve the enormous economic and social asymmetries between the countries that make up the “euro zone”.

The threat is the lack of democracy and the disdain of popular will when it is expressed in referendums or in massive protests, and the unquestioned impunity of the government officials and technocrats who fulfill to the letter the orders coming from the European Central Bank, whose mission reflects the interests of Berlin.

As I said, the initiative of the MP Fotyga reminds me of MacCarthyism and the persecution of journalists and media, such as Prensa Latina and other agencies that carried out their work professionally and with critical eyes and which, in addition to being persecuted or monitored, in many cases — and here I speak from experience — were falsely accused of being “influence agents” of Moscow or Havana.

The double objective then, as is the case now with MP Fotyga, is to create an ideological, political and even cultural enemy, that makes it possible to consolidate an authoritarian and repressive “consensus” to be applied to the peoples of the EU; and to achieve this, it is necessary to silence all critical press and thinking, something is likely to backfire for the EU.

In her resolution, MP Fotyga affirms that “the Kremlin subsidizes political parties and other organizations within the EU”, that it supports “anti-EU forces” such as “the extreme right-wing parties and populist forces”, and revives the spectacle of the confrontations among Christians — that have so strongly marked European history — accusing Russia of using the Orthodox Church “to confront Western values and divide Europe”.

For some time now I have thought that in reality, the EU does not need enemies to be discredited, that she does it by herself, with the austerity policies that have concentrated wealth in a few hands, or with the disdain of any possibility of peoples’ sovereignty — as Jean-Claude Junker made quite clear in the case of the Greek referendum — that explains why a growing majority of European citizens are losing faith in the political system and in its tools, particularly in the traditional political parties.

The prosperity, peace and work that neoliberalism promised has not been realized in any of the societies of advanced capitalism. To the contrary, what has increased is poverty, unemployment, precariousness, social conflicts with “foreigners”, as have happened so many times in the past in Europe.

And it is probably because of this that among the peoples of Europe there is so much political and social unease, and a sense that “nothing will change”, that “there is no possibility of change within this system” and eventually an awareness that things cannot carry on as they are.

This can help to explain the rise, in almost every country, of movements and political forces or currents that want to leave the European Union or profoundly reform it. In the coming days and months there will be many surprises in the political terrain, as we have seen in the recent elections in the US, in the Brexit referendum and in the internal situation of the British Labour Party.

A common trait is that the traditional political parties, the concentrated press and the governing elites can no longer control the “common sense” of the citizenry, and that those who control power are rapidly losing all legitimacy.

Recalling the saying “tell me who you’re with and I’ll tell you who you are”, we should remember that the EU is following the path of Mauricio Macri in Argentina, who has impeded access to the television signals of Telesur and of Russia Today in Spanish.[3](3).


This report prepared by Alberto Rabilotta and translated by Jordan Bishop for América Latina en movimiento.