The worldwide working-class counterrevolution
(Photo by RAMON VAN FLYMEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
1 August 2022
Something is happening across the world right now, something that deserves more attention than it’s getting.
First, to the Netherlands, where farmers have been protesting, blockading roads with their tractors and staging enormous rallies. The demonstrations have been going on and off since 2019, when the Dutch legislature proposed a crackdown on nitrogen emissions. Nitrogen is heavily emitted by livestock and fertilizer, which means the regulations are hitting Dutch agriculture especially hard.
But it wasn’t until July that the protests garnered international attention. The Dutch government announced plans in compliance with a court order to cut nitrogen emissions by 50 percent. This change was so radical that it’s estimated it will put one third of all Dutch farms out of business by 2030. Hence why the farmers are so incensed: they’re literally fighting for their livelihoods. And while their government is obviously to blame, many of them perceive a more sinister hand at work: the World Economic Forum, whose crackpot Great Reset scheme hopes to radically remake the global economy in the aftermath of Covid.
The shame of it all is that the Netherlands is an ag success story. The bite-sized Western European nation is the second-largest food exporter on earth, after only the United States, which is 237 times larger. In a sane world, this would be celebrated, studied, copycatted, as experts warn we need more food production, not less. And all the more so since, as Michael Shellenberger points out, Dutch farms aren’t using any more nitrogen-emitting fertilizer than they were back in the 1960s.
Yet cut to two wokesters griping about farm pollution while they munch on beef sliders. As usual, this is more about bourgeoisie obliviousness than good policy.
Speaking of not knowing how stuff works, we turn now to that brainless flibbertigibbet up in Canada, Justin Trudeau. Never content to let a bad idea go to waste, Trudeau has ordered that nitrogen emissions in his own country be slashed. This prompted Canadian farmers to take to the streets of Ottawa last weekend in solidarity with their Dutch brethren. More protests are expected to follow as Canada’s agriculture stares at its own existential crisis.
The last time we saw Trudeau, he was dropping an F-bomb in Canada’s parliament. Asked about this later, he defiantly quoted his father, former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau: “What is the nature of your thoughts, gentlemen, when you move your lips in a particular way?” Except out of Justin’s mouth, it was forced, charmless. And that’s just it. Trudeau Junior desperately wants to look like his dad, one of the most impactful leaders in Canadian history. And whereas Pierre took on the French-Canadian terrorists of his day, Justin sees his enemy as anyone who would stand in the way of the progressive agenda. The farmers be damned.
Canada’s fortunate son has apparently learned nothing from the Dutch. He’s also learned nothing from the trucker protests that rocked his own country back in the winter. The victims of his policies are just expected to take it. Yet what we’re seeing now is that those victims aren’t just going to take it — and not only in the Netherlands and Canada. German farmers have crossed the border to join the Dutch. French farmers demonstrated back in 2021 against a proposed fertilizer tax. The most underreported factor behind Donald Trump’s 2016 victory was anger among Rust Belt and rural voters with Washington’s meddlesome environmental bureaucracy.
If elites keep pushing this “green” agenda, if they keep — dare we say? — marginalizing their own people, then they may soon face a counterrevolution from the workers whose lives they keep disrupting. I say “counterrevolution” because it’s the elites who are the true revolutionaries here. They’re the ones who want to expropriate farmland, centralize authority, risk mass hunger (sound familiar?). Whereas the farmers simply want to survive. They’re not even opposed to trimming emissions — the Dutch agriculture sector has been cooperating with green government initiatives for years. But any change needs to be gradual, allowing them time to adapt. And for the revolutionaries in charge, there is no time. The climate apocalypse starts now.
This is the great mistake the Marxists made. They assumed the working class could be made radical (and given workplace conditions a century ago, they weren’t always wrong). But the working man is far more likely to be conservative in the small-c sense. He has no interest in grand schemes to remake the world; he has neither the time nor the luxury for any of that. It’s the pampered class — the worthless theorists like the WEF’s Klaus Schwab, the spoiled dauphins like Trudeau — who spend their days in dreamland, while workers get lost in the gaps between their abstractions and reality. Yes, net-zero emissions is a cute idea. But have you seen what it would do to people? Actual people?
Once, the left-wing heart throbbed to the drumbeat of global revolution, rushing to stand in solidarity with a grape-picker, a footstool, anything. Today, that same left has become the classist oppressors they once loathed. Meanwhile, conservatives find themselves in the strange but increasingly comfortable position of throwing in with the workers of the world. What lies ahead? Let’s just say you never mess with the guys who grow your food. And I can’t say I’ve ever eaten a single tomato cultivated by the Trudeau family.