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The P(a)S(ok) recriminations begin

by r------ Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 07:23:29 AM EST

So, is there any alternatives on the left on the rise to mimic Syriza and Podemos?
by fjallstrom on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 08:25:44 AM EST
One thing the PS had been very adroit at doing is to draw people's attention to the FN, which right now is the only credible anti-EU and anti-ruling elite party. There is a concerted attempt to muzzle anything to the left of the PS leadership, which is why you often hear folks like Valls and Le Guen vociferously denouncing "division" among the ranks, which is an invitation, given they have no intention of even considering modifying the course on policy, to just fall into step.

Focalising attention on the FN is a two-pronged electoral strategy. First, it is one which tries to give those many disappointed rank and file PS members and sympathisers a reason to vote. The logic is "you are disappointed in how we govern, but if you don't vote look which scary people could get in!" While the PS in governing is a failure, this particular strategy, while on the whole not a great one, has had some success, and arguably the PS did better, even though they were badly beathen, then they could have.

Second, there have been polls looking forward to 2017 which would indicate that there is only one way the PS can possibly succeed - and that is in a dream Hollande run-off against Marine Le Pen. The hope being here that a divided centre-right (say, Juppé, Sarkozy and maybe another mainstream right wing candidate could all run with relative strength) could let Hollande squeak through to the second round against Marine Le Pen, with a subsequent "rally for the Republican candidate" push allowing Hollande to remain at the Elysée. A bit of a stretch, but one which none other than Le Monde has talked up, earlier this year, and realistically Hollande's (and the PS in general) only hope as things stand now.

This strategy has parliamentary repurcussions too, as triangular and PS-FN binary run-offs are the PS only possible route to success in a large portion of parliamentary seats which will be up in two years.

One unfortunate side effect of this has been for criticism of the EU and of Maastricht to be relegated to the FN. There are voices on the left with similar criticisms, notably people like Jacques Sapir in academia or François Lafond with a more political background, but no one with a political following much less a movement. A key mistake, in my view, of the Front de Gauche in the 2012 election was to mostly and substantively avoid this subject, choosing instead, like the PS today, to direct attention to the FN's unsavory side rather than that of the EU the FN was attacking, and in so doing giving up to the latter the ideological space which is contesting the single currency as presently constituted. And now we see many of its former voters in 2012 (don't forget, Mélanchon got 11% and the Front de Gauche got 12% in last year's Europeans) these people didn't just go away, though they certainly did not vote in those numbers last week.

Alas, in France if we are to have a political movement come to power which forthrightly contests the prerogatives of the elite which both the UMP and the PS represent, it will come from the populist right.


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 09:12:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid it's hello President Sarkozy in 2017.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 03:03:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
President Juppé, if we're lucky...
by Bernard on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 05:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Very lucky ;)

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 05:56:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For instance, Juppé, who is no spring chicken, could have significant and public health problems.

The only thing which I think is certain is that, even with a modest recovery in economic activity (accompanied by a modest uptick in demand) which we are likely to see in 2015 and 2016, unemployment in France will continue to remain quite high, incomes will continue to stagnate and the weather north of the Loire will continue to be generally bad. Those in the PS who are "waiting for results" from the present economic policy choices, as in the words of Benoît Hamon, will be sorely disappointed, and anything smelling of PS will look no better two years hence than it does today.

In this respect, I hear often references to the coming Berezina for Hollande, but I think this does injustice to Napoléon. After all, Napoléon prevailed at Berezina, even if this still signified overall defeat in the war. And the people were still behind him. They've never been behind the flaccid Hollande. No, it isn't Berezina what the leading lights of the PS are up to. They are rather in Moscow, waiting for the food and the heating fuel to miraculously arrive, magical fruits of their "reforms" such as they are. And of course, nothing of the sort will happen. There will be no brilliant PS tactician in retreat, as there was at Berezina. They simply are too proud and too cut off from the realities of most French people to realise that retreat is strategically the only way forward.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is too polarising a figure. Popular among the UMP set but they too are a minority, just a slightly bigger one than the rump PS. He really really stirs up animus for everybody else.

The PS would just love for Sarkozy to run. It is one of their few cards left to get their core consituencies to vote. Not for the PS, but against the reviled Sarkozy.

I doubt it will happen in the end, even if the UMP doesn't manage to get a primary together.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:48:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syriza and Podemos arose out of a massively unemployed, educated middle class. 50% youth unemployment for 5 years will tend to generate that kind of movement because it gives a lot of energetic, able people a lot of time to think and to organize. As bad as France's employment situation may be relative to the French norm, it's still in the low double digits. So I just don't expect a radical left movement to arise in France. And, in addition, the country has the Front National as a suitable outlet for non-ideological anti-establishment anger.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 10:27:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The PS looks about as sea worthy as the Costa Concordia after its captain stumbled into a lifeboat. Montebourg's talk is cheap, but is there any real prospect of a PS revolt? Are they really thinking of riding this ship through the general election?
by generic on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 06:52:52 AM EST
As you may already know, Senate elections were held in the Netherlands a couple of weeks ago - a somewhat undemocratic, indirect election where the public votes for representatives in the twelve Provincials - whom determine (by vote) the 75 members of the Dutch Senate.

Labour, part of the Dutch government, set a new record this time: they lost in all constituencies, every single one of them, even in their historic strongholds. All alarms should be ringing by now - but the Labour party-line portrays what you summarize as the 'unreasonable left'. The Labour leadership comes across petulantly: 'why don't you voters understand all the good things we're doing for you! We will try even harder to explain it!'

The alternative on the left, the Socialist Party, gained modestly in the elections - but has not managed to fully capture Labour's loss. A significant part of Labour voters shift further right, towards the liberal D66 party, now in opposition in Dutch Parliament. On paper, the Wilders party also polls very high - but the voters on Wilders hardly bother to get out and vote, notwithstanding national elections.

Third Way Labour was electorally butchered before. They did not draw lessons, and persisted Third Way ideology. Total political insignificance is now looming.

by Bjinse on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 03:55:25 PM EST
Almost since Al Gore, I have a growing suspicion that the big Labour-lite parties of the world are deliberately (from some compartmentalized level) abstaining from the power, letting down their constituencies in elections and policies. It started from some details in Lithuanian elections, then Al Gore and Kerry non-elections, the Netherlands in 2002, Sarkozy in France, again thin but consequential losses in New Zealand, Denmark... And when they have to win an election, Obama, Hollande (and what, Wouter Bos in NL?) only confirm the trend.
by das monde on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 09:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was so obvious and at the time so heartbreaking - to me - to watch Gore run away from every progressive tradition and most especially from labor. He couldn't run fast enough. To this day I do not understand if he idiotically thought this a way to get elected or if it was more sinister than that.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 10:58:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gore didn't run away; he was never on board to begin with.  He's built all his "progressive" credibility on the softest target, climate change.  He's a modern Dixiecrat and a DLC neolib, which is the sort that runs the Democratic Party these days and has for over 30 years.  Don't forget, he carried the flag for NAFTA.
by rifek on Wed Apr 15th, 2015 at 04:14:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Gore Joins Tea Party in Battle Against Utilities
If you're Al Gore, former Democratic vice-president and climate change activist, you blast Big Power for "using the atmosphere as their sewage infrastructure" to suck up carbon emissions and trying to shut down competition. The industry is waging a "war on solar," he told investors Monday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York City.

If you're Debbie Dooley, a national Tea Party activist who says state laws discriminate against residential solar, you tell the same audience that Americans want "energy freedom" and not "government-sanctioned monopolies" that tell consumers where they must buy power.

In back-to-back speeches, the political Odd Couple struck surprisingly similar tones on clean energy's future, even if Gore dwelled on renewables' role in avoiding catastrophic global warming while Dooley didn't use the words "climate change" at all, focusing on consumer choice.

by das monde on Wed Apr 15th, 2015 at 09:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina was, I think, the last 'New Deal' Democrat in the Senate. Google Bill Moyers interview with him. Hollings complained about having to spend his vacations in California doing fund raisers: "There is just no money in South Carolina for  someone like me".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 15th, 2015 at 04:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in the UK, with an election looming Blair has just come out strongly supporting Labour and Ed in person.

Considering how much Blair is hated, I can only assume this is a move to throw the election for the Tories.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 06:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is pretty heavy stuff from the FT: Far-right surge in France keeps statist values alive (Gaspard Koenig, April 12, 2015)
In fact, the FN has evolved from a far-right protest group into a no less noxious national-socialist party. It now offers a consistently statist economic agenda, drafted with the input of experts from elite schools, such as its young vice-president Florian Philippot. This agenda entails nationalising most utilities and even banks to build state monopolies, seizing household savings to service the national debt, subsidising heavily the industrial sector, regulating prices of "strategic" goods and services, increasing the number of public servants, erecting tariff barriers to protect French businesses from international trade, and establishing capital controls after the country leaves the euro. The 35-hour week would be preserved, the minimum wage increased and the retirement age lowered. Such an appealing programme would be implemented by a "planning committee" directly attached to the prime minister's office.

As Friedrich Hayek demonstrated, centralised planning and totalitarianism are inherently linked. The FN's dreadful agenda is indeed rooted in the ideology of the Vichy regime, which in the early 1940s built the structures of a "planist" State. Marshal Philippe Pétain, the figure of French collaboration who led the Vichy government, condemned what he called the delusions of the free market -- just as the FN does today. That is the period that gave France its flabby bureaucracies as well as the professional guilds busy with preserving their privileges, while putting into place a nanny state controlling individual behaviour. Robert Paxton, a historian of Vichy France, concludes that Vichy inaugurated the "march of statism" in the country, which has continued haphazardly until today.

The FN draws on that heritage by promoting a command-and-control government that makes Greece's Syriza look like a gentle beast of the centre-right. It also puts the other parties in an awkward position. All of them entertain a watered-down version of planism: on the left, "economic protectionism" is back in fashion; on the right, "Gaullism", with its hint of dirigisme , has never been more popular. By turning to the FN, voters from both camps have seized on a more radical form of state intervention, which most of the French establishment has long extolled as a cure-all solution.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 14th, 2015 at 06:20:40 AM EST
french elite (this one is a normalien) spout such nonesense. Completely cut off from the reality of truly normal french people, another lieutenant (and there are only lieutenants on up in this army) in the central commande of the brigade logistique of keyboard kommandoes tells us all how the answer is to gut the state even more, as if we haven't example after example in the EU of how this is not a particularly good idea, much less proven.

They've lost the plot. This is normal, they haven't experienced life in the real world, only the elite one where they evolve. These employment and other business-connected perks (super rolodex, think-tank sponsorships, et c.) result from their fortunate status as a graduate of an elite french educational institution, where what you did from ages of 16-21 will punch your ticket for not having to worry about such trifles.

I am actually surprised they still speak french (some of them have in the past stopped. As with this one, English tends to be the language of choice, though as it was generations ago, German is coming back into fashion; perhaps we will see this translated and published in Handelsblatt sometime soon.

I do not sure it comes from the breeding (i.e., inbred). I tend to favor the explanation of the selection process. To get into one of these institutions, you need to certainly be intelligent; but you also need to have been a very docile and disciplined teen, studying while the others might have been doing what normal adolescents do, like playing football, going out with friends, trying to get laid and so forth. And so the resulting promotions tend to be populated with folks who integrate and then stenograph what their authorities say (teacher, then boss, then the conventional wisdom they hear in fora from Brussels to Davos to Jackson Hole). A perfect petri dish for perpetuating long-discredited (outside the inbred circle) economic theories like Hayek's.

I strongly suspect this is why very few elite continentals win many, say, Riksbank Economics prizes, the recent French winner being the exception which more or less proves the rule (doing your PhD at MIT helps a lot). And I also strongly suspect that this explains how the Euro came into existence: an elite project, not economically sound (in real time as early as the 1960's being discounted as unrealistic and economically and politically damaging); the people, when their opinion was actually asked for, weren't warm to it at all.


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Apr 14th, 2015 at 07:15:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A young member of the elite?
Gaspard Koenig, né en 1982, est un écrivain et intellectuel français. Il dirige le think-tank libéral GenerationLibre
Oh, my, he's barely 33 and already director of a think-tank?
GenerationLibre is a European think Tank with a French focus, launched in 2013. It is dedicated to promoting education and human rights and in particular exploring the idea of liberty. This includes discussing and researching the philosophy of liberty, its practical implications, and its implementation through socially responsible projects.
Yeah, no wonder he talks about Hayek.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 14th, 2015 at 07:21:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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