In 2017, Europe had a few A-level elections, including tight races in states and partially recognized territories starting with the latter “A”: Albania, Armenia, Austria and Abkhazia.
Particularly interesting of the lot was the Albanian vote, held after the leaders of the two major parties аgreed on a bold move to appease the European Union by allowing opposition parties, notorious daredevils calling for “free and fair elections” in a drug-based economy, to register for the election.
Armenia was also fun, with the oligarchs making a strong comeback using an ever-expanding toolbox to bully taxpayers into casting their votes for the good guys.
In Austria, an iron sweetheart with a sinister plan to rule the galaxy, hidden behind slogans aligning conservative with “hot”, snatched the victory like candy.
Abkhazia, which depending on who you ask either does or does not exist, put back in power a former president boasting six attempts on his life and surviving a military coup d’état.
Less interesting elections were also held in places like Germany, France and the Netherlands. Not surprisingly, with one exception they were all won by white Christian middle-class males. Even in France, displaying the highest number of insolvent non-Arian population.
These elections’ positive results, nee precluding the far right from entering Europe’s ruling class, put a rod in the wheels of initiatives like #Pulse of Europe, a pan-European campaign, counting on the threat of extreme nationalism tearing the European project from within.
Snug neo-liberals found an unexpected ally in the face of Donald Trump, the clown overlord of Circus land, who was kind enough to make such unfathomable blunders that even Europe’s uneducated got chills.
On the referendum front, the year’s most striking example was undoubtedly the Venetian autonomy referendum. Almost 99% of proud venetians at a 57% turnout voted to secede from the stifling embrace of mother Italia and re-establish the reign of the mighty Republic of Venetia. The latter, a colony of traders famous for its wealth, had ended up with an entire cohort of hungry Southern states appended to its tail after a dramatic love affair with Austro-Hungary.
Catalonia, another well-milked cow, also held a referendum of interest, but less original. Similarly a thousand-year-old trade hub, Catalonia had been as well rounded up by evil Spaniards for cash and appended a company of losers to feed.
Both regions appealed for support to the European Union, an organization where a wealthy member-state recently broke off as it was appended a horde of Easterners to foster.
2017 was, therefore, a decidedly non-Marxist year showing the results of a deepening unwillingness among Europe’s rich to share the accumulated wealth, particularly with the unprivileged, immigrants, sexual harassers and some such punk.
Of course, as anything appearing complicated on the surface, the antagonisms entangling Europe in a knot of radicalization are based on a genuine misunderstanding regarding the root causes of the ongoing mess.
This has been clearly evidenced by the gravest political scandal to strike the continent since the Bolsheviks seized power hundred years ago: Fonduegate. Stemming from a 2017 superficial conflict of vehemently opposing forces – the unrelenting French cheesemonger refusing to sell his Beaufort out of fear of improper use as fondue fodder, the brave British soldier willing to sacrifice one’s dignity to disrupt the status quo and melt Beaufort as any other cheese – the clash quickly escalated into a full-blown war of words.
Century-old cultural differences loomed in the background, making Britain’s decision to leave the EU ever more pertinent. In no time, both sides resorted to subversion and propaganda, which promptly devolved in cheese fundamentalism.
Nevertheless, as ever at the heart of the collision was not melting cheese per se but fondue’s communal spirit and hodge-podge ideology – coming to terms with the past, embracing novelty and integrating newcomers into the mold. All issues where strong aversion by former empires could have provided an ample ground for dialogue.
Cover photo: sekihan (Flickr) Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0