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I've reread this a few times and can't distil a point from it. What's your argument exactly? Are you passing on the shock news that there exists a bar tender with right-wing opinions? Enlightening us that the far left (even by French standards!) often aren't very sensible?

Apparently the following (ignoring the long quotes about Democrats in the US):

  • A politician who says "You don't talk like them, you don't understand them and you offer no response whatsoever to what they experience on a daily basis."
  • A bartender who says "France will never succeed until we have the
right to hire and sack people whenever we like." What did the taxi-driver say?
* "Cohn-Bendit argues that the French left has refused to come to terms with the existence and predominance of the world market." So?

combine to show that "the left should listen to business". I don't understand why.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 11:24:43 AM EST
The main point is that it is worth trying to figure out what makes it possible for the right to pursue fake pupulism against the "liberal elite" in both the US and Europe.

As for the second point, you are welcome to dismiss the points of view of Cohn-Bendit, Bourdieu, and any other prominent and influential French person who does not subscribe to your ideas.
 

by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 08:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you please provide again the link to the Cohn-Bendit interview you are using (or some quotes) to make these assertions, because you seem to have a very strange view of what his political views are. Bourdieu and him are definitely not in the same left; Before we comment any further on your assertions, we need to understand what they actually are.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 02:50:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that this site has the interview, which is about his support for the constitution, which as lefties both you and I were against. Oh hold on. Nooo, didn't we both argue in favour of it? Silly us.

Interestingly, it contains the following passage:

"It was a beautiful song," he said. As I left the bar, I asked le patron whether he had truly fait les barricades with Cohn-Bendit in 1968.
"Yes, of course," he said. "And we still need a revolution in France. We should be more like your country, like Britain. France will never succeed until we have the right to hire and sack people whenever we like."

The veteran of the barricades had become a man of the right, then? No, he said, he was still a man of the left. And therefore stoutly for the "non".

I told him that Cohn-Bendit was for the "oui".

"What? Really? He"s changed sides then."

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 05:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was in favor of it and still think it was a good idea. But I'm interested in why so many others, who it seems to me should agree with me were so against it. And thinking about this leads me to a question about why the right has been able to profit from fake populism and perhaps real resentments about liberal elites. After all, La Pen's unemployed constituents can look at you and me and see privileged beneficiaries of the globalism that has destroyed their factory jobs.
by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 09:31:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I started out in favour of it but as the drafting progressed, and the more I learnt about the text once it was finished, and the farther along the approval process we went without a proper debate of its content, the more against the whole thing I got.

I am positively sick of the Council of Ministers and their nationalistic shenanigans behind closed doors. I want a legislative, not consultative, European Parliament and a European Commission chosen by it instead of by the Council.

I think a few years of gridlock is a small price to pay, especially if the gridlock prevents neoliberal policies from being adopted, and as long as the EU engages the European public in finding a solution. So far, they seem disinclined to do so.

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 Nov 1st, 2005 at 09:59:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the idea of "pupulism". Pups are cute.

More seriously, according to the interview Cohn-Bendit does agree with my views. He just doesn't appear to agree with the views you attribute to him.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 05:27:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My "So?" in response to the comment from Cohn-Bendit was a question to you: what bearing  have his views about the French left got to do with why the "left" should listen to business?

In fact, what does listening to business have to do with populism? What does your diary have to do with listening to business?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 05:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My apologies for the lack of coherence in my writing - which is far from worked out. When I look at, for example, Sarkozy's recent moves or the brilliant work that Ken Mehlman did for the US republicans I can understand what they are doing, why, and how. They are completely cynical and are able to put together very polished political marketing efforts that unite the varied resentments (real or not) of a number of constituencies to build power for their clients/selves. In some ways these guys are the heirs of Goebbels, but with all the benefits of both a better understanding of marketing and market research and also with much more presentable clients. On the other hand, "the left" seems slow to adapt and reluctant to listen. So when we discussed the EU vote, it looks to me like both the "non"-left failed to deal with the reality of the world market, as Cohn-Bendit says, but the oui-left failed to speak to the daily lives of people as Sarkozy says. This is something that struck me in both the "politicians should not listen to businessmen" and the California property tax discussion. One can dismiss this greedy fellow going to the UK ostensibly to avoid bureacracy but really to not pay his 35% tax, and dismiss those short
sighted greedy Californians who valued their homes over schools, and dismiss this surly bar patron who is not only an obvious fool, but a cliche as bad as a taxi driver, and so on. But my sense, and it is not a sense I can as yet back up with a detailed argument, is that all this scornful dismissal is a symptom of why the world is in the hands of Bush's, Blairs, Merkels, and Berlusconis and why even an obvous fraud like Sarkozy can not be laughed at when he strikes a populist pose
by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 10:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I understand your point/question better. Why is the right so much better at the simplistic talking points that the public craves in a complex and uncertain world? Maybe because the failure of the simplistic left (the communists) is more recent than that of the simplistic right (the fascists) and we remember is more clearly?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 01:37:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it can be reduced to that, but I do think that people will go for crappy answers if those are the only ones. The California property tax disaster is the simple and clear case in point.
by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 08:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing that Ralph Nader has complained about is that the public will study sports statistics ad nauseam, but if you try to make a moderately involved argument about policy their head starts to spin.

It's a matter of mental blocks, and the fact that people educate themselves (and are educated by the media) on sports statistics but not on economic statistics.

The crappy, simplistic argument always wins if you submit policy to a popular vote, unfortunately. I have no idea how you would change that - you cannot force people to educate themselves.

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 Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 08:11:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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