LaFontaine's resignation

The fall of the German finance minister and president of the SPD, Oskar Lafontaine, is a curious event. The man, apparently, believed in "politics". He thought that elections are about people choosing between different projects for conducting public affairs. What a mad, raving dinosaur! Within days of his taking office, a devastating international campaign of demonization was orchestrated against him. It was comic. "The most dangerous man in Europe", he was called. I confess to having felt more than a little perverse pleasure at seeing a rotten social-democrat crucified by the bourgeois establishment.

Now what is it that this man wanted? He made some noises that monetary policy should be set by governments and advocated lowering interest rates. - Communist fool! He pleaded for a stronger coordination between the economic policies of the EU and some measure of fiscal harmonization - Napoleonic clown! Barbarian! Shut him up for Christ's' sake or I can't hold myself! Then, supreme ignominy, he actually proposed a tax reform. This would have lowered the tax burden of middle income workers AND cut the base rate paid by corporations from 45% to 40%, in what he called a "historic step of modernization". To pay for the cuts, the government would create new taxes on energy use and close a number of corporate tax loopholes, including levies for corporations that set aside capital reserves to pay future claims and liabilities.

NOW THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE RIOT! Allianz, one of Germany's largest insurers, said it was moving abroad. Other insurers said they would stop buying government bonds. German utility RWE said it was abandoning a mine project near Cologne.

Chancellor Schroeder lost his cool and said he was tired of "blunders" in his government. Lafontaine quit his government and party posts, shut himself at home and won't answer Schroeder's telephone calls. Oh, schadenfreude!

There are eleven "socialist" governments in the European Union: "third way", "neue mitte", "olivo", whatever. Bernstein should be here to see this. We have, of course, long passed the point where the s-d's became loyal servants of the bourgeoisie. The thing is, the bourgeoisie can't even afford to have an "executive committee" anymore. They want the financial markets as automatic pilot. Politics is dead. These people are leading us straight into the abyss without a moment of thought. It's a case of blind men leading the blind, with relentless, euphoric rage. I don't think this system has any future whatsoever.

Joćo Paulo Monteiro