The Magazine

Another Spectre Is Haunting Europe

The street may replace the voting booth as the way to force change.

Mar 2, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 23 • By ANDREW STUTTAFORD
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No clear thread yet runs through the discontent now rippling across the EU, which remains mostly of the throw-the-bums-out variety. Yet in the midst of a debacle typically blamed (we could debate how fairly) on capitalist excess, a Trotskyite postman is the second most popular political figure in France and a party with its roots in the Communist dictatorship is polling at around 15 percent in Germany. If economies continue to spiral down, anxiety, uncertainty, and anger are bound to assume more concrete ideological forms, forms that are unlikely to be pretty.

Sometimes history repeats itself as tragedy, not farce.

Andrew Stuttaford, who writes frequently about cultural and political issues, works in the international financial markets.