The Shopping List

Article published on Jan. 19, 2004
community published
Article published on Jan. 19, 2004

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

No, not an invitation to take advantage of the sales or a slogan for the coming European elections but the never-seen-before team of that other Europe: the European ‘Neocons’.

They are neither left wing nor right wing. Indeed, they are arrogantly ignored by the political right and detested by the more or less Democratic European left. They do not have a party to join or a dogma or a newspaper reference point. But they do have ideas that change (and perhaps improve) our way of thinking and living in Europe. None of them hate America and its model, none of them renounce the existence of Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East -, and they all criticise Europe’s fear and inertia from foreign policy to the economy.

Below is the list of the European ‘Neocon’s looking to lead Europe into the next European elections.

The four Franco-Neocon musketeers

Jean-Francois Revel, an academic, is one of Europe’s most eminent liberal thinkers, recently author of an essay entitled ‘The Anti-American Obsession’ (L’obsession antiaméricaine) which censured intellectual regression and unanimity in the French elite. For him the only revolution possible (which he wrote about in the 1970s) is the American one where the individual and his rights lie at the centre.

Alain Finkielkraut, a philosopher owing much to the thought of Hannah Arendt, interprets anti-intellectualism as excellence. He opposed the Greater Serbia of Milosevic’s time, and denounces the ‘barbarity of the modern world’ without falling into the apolitical and instrumental temptation of ‘vetero-Marxism’. From the columns of ‘Arche’, a French, Jewish magazine, he rails against every cultural relativism and watches over decreasingly latent anti-Semitism in Europe.

Bernard Kouchner is the historic leader of the French doctors, was Health Minister under Jospin, and was the only person on the Left and in France to support military intervention against Saddams’ regime over and beyond the national sovereignty that is so dear to some in France. Considers the question of the rights/duties of meddling when the right to life is trampled on.

André Glucksmann between Dostoevskii and the rediscovery of the function of ‘God’, the French philosopher has joined the camp against the Russian massacre in Chechyna, encouraging Europe to recognise in itself a common project and not just sheer anti-Americanism.

The homosexual who hates Islam

Pym Fortuyn and others, stigmatised as xenophobic and racist by a large part of the European press, were promoting total integration of immigrants under the banner of rights and tolerance - not one way, in order not be seen as populist.

The Stockholm group

These are the individuals who are not happy with the circular economic ‘easy-pickings’ in Giscard’s Constitution and perceive the decline of the so-called ‘social economic market’. They have created a trans-national network of think tanks that aim to influence European policies:

Civitas in London is concerned with civil society, the family and benefits. It takes the new viewpoint of getting ‘welfare’ without going through the ‘welfare state’.

Timbro is one of the most important Swedish research centres and refutes all the Community areas on the basis of the virtuosity of the Nordic community model.

Paradigmes is the French think-tank of this group: it uses a comparative method to understand which Europe works best for us in every field.

Center for the New Europe is the pulsing brain of pro-globalisation in Europe: from patents to international business, it is the intelligent alternative to José Bové.

The radicals

Marco Pannella is the leader of the Italian and trans-national Radicals. Before, during and after the Iraq war he proposed a non-violent alternative to ‘Europe’s foreign policy’: exile, immunity without impunity for Saddam, and transitional democracy under the aegis of the UN. He denounces the drift of Vichy’s Europe, an accomplice of the world’s dictators, to the European Parliament.

Emma Bonino, former European Commissioner for refugees, fights from Cairo for democracy in the Arab world. With the Yemeni government, she has promoted a regional conference on human rights, democracy and the International Criminal Court in the Middle East – to the indifference of official Europe. A few weeks ago, she founded the European Radical Party with Pannella.

A 'dream team' or a collection of ‘crack-pots’? Reactionaries or visionaries? Whose side are you on?