Beware the European Street

By MacShane, Denis | Newsweek International, February 9, 2009 | Go to article overview

Beware the European Street


MacShane, Denis, Newsweek International


Byline: Denis MacShane; Macshane is a Labour M.P. and a former minister of Europe in Britain.

Everyone knows about the "Arab Street," to which most policymakers listen with care. But now may be the time of the European street. More and more disenchanted citizens are deciding that the politics of the street make more sense than their ruling politicians. Europe's elite may have just made its annual pilgrimage to Davos, but no one is listening to the incantations from the Swiss Alps. Instead, the European public has staged angry demonstrations in more and more countries.

The latest and most symbolic nation to be hit is France-- for history suggests that when the French take to the streets, the rest of Europe can soon find itself in a new political era. President Nicolas Sarkozy began the new year boasting about his six-month presidency of the EU. He ended January with every French city and most towns being filled with public displays of outrage. Sarkozy once sarcastically remarked that "when the French go on strike, no one notices." But that's no longer true now that workers from large, privately owned firms have joined the unemployed, students, environmentalists and protected public-sector employees in wellcoordinated strikes and marches. For the first time in more than two decades, the Socialists, the main opposition party, have also thrown their organizational weight behind street actions. Opinion polls say 65 percent of French citizens support the protest movement, even if they didn't all turn out in subzero temperatures to take part.

Only yesterday, it seemed, Sarkozy had French politics in his grip as he tempted left and liberal politicians into his government. His speeches were peppered with leftist tropes as he denounced "finance capitalism" and announced a new economic era with all the fervor of a Paris intellectual regurgitating vulgar Marxism. But Sarkozy's efforts to define a leftism-lite have failed to win converts as the global recession has hit France. Unemployment may be rising faster in Spain, but the French economy has skidded to a halt even as Paris has given tax breaks to the rich and imposed welfare and spending cuts.

Farther east, the situation is equally grim in Greece, which is still paralyzed by strikes and protests that began two months ago, when students rose up against the police killing of a student. The rightist Greek government has watched helplessly as Athens drifts out of its control. Greece's main traffic artery has been blocked for days by angry farmers who joined the fray, sealing off the capital with tractors as they demanded government help to offset falling world agricultural prices.

A decade ago, the European hard left seemed to have been marginalized by reformist modernizers like Tony Blair in Britain, Gerhard Schroder in Germany and the post-communist Social Democrats of Italy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beware the European Street
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.