Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

How long before they sour on him?

by Jerome a Paris Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:07:15 PM EST

Let me make a few predictions (some of which my regular readers already know).

Nobody knows what Sarkozy will do as president, because he has basically promised everything and its opposite and because, when he was in power, he did nothing but posturing. It's possible that he will try to go for radical 'reform', arguing that he has a strong mandate from the French; it's possible that he'll be like Chirac, doing essentially nothing because getting power was the only goal, not exercising it.

What I am fairly certain of, is that the international press will see his victory as follows:

  • a mandate for 'reform' (the Wall Street Journal kind: "lower taxes to reduce wage costs, tighten rules government benefits, loosen up employment protection laws, for starters"),
  • an acknowledgement by the French that they finally must enter the 21st century (you know, globalised, productive, English-speaking, but threatened by terrorists and the parasitic poor) and repudiate all the ideas that were dragging them down: the belief in the uniqueness of France, in the role of the State, in equality, in immaterial quality-of-life stuff.
  • finally, even France understands that a modern economy must focus first on companies and their profits, because that's how you create jobs;
  • even France understands that you must follow the USA's diplomatic and political lead, because that's for the best ;
  • even France understands that Europe should be an efficient free trade zone and little more.

But even as I despair of this vote, I do not really expect Nicolas Sarkozy to deliver quite what these pundits and self-interested parties expect. I don't believe he will align France's diplomacy unquestionably on US positions; I don't believe he will agree to Blair or Brown's vision of Europe; I don't even believe he will try for any kind of 'reform' as the WSJ is expecting; I don't think he will stop defending French interests against those of the multinational companies and the financial centers.

Soon, it will appear that he is still French. Mutterings about the uselessness of expecting better from them will start to be heard. Talk about missed opportunities will crop up, as will eventually that of decline, again.

I give them less than a year.


Display:
There's one more election to go, but I agree that given the 2002 precedant it's very likely we'll see a blue majority again at the french national assembly.

First measures are likely to be the suppression of inheritance tax and a few other income tax lowerings.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:11:18 PM EST
I agree that Sarkozy will be impotent and do none of the so-called "reforms" that some would hope/expect.  Those are already beginning to show themselves as false anyhow, the party-line is cracking.

Sarkozy really won with old people and I think the issue that he rode was the immigration one.  He was elected by the old generation that fears a different france.  It will be very curious to see if the final tally confirms what the polls indicated, that Royal one with every age group under 65.  

I hope that Sarkozy does the one great move re: immigration I think he can make for France and I ask that everyone start suggesting it.  Open up immigration to Americans.  France and Europe are at a historic high-point and have the ability to poach some of the best and brightest aux Etats-Unis.  Using the standard types of qualifications one can easily make this the type of "good immigration" that the old guard expects.  

Lastly, I look forward to the scandals re: Cecilia.  

by paving on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:13:53 PM EST
i already pointed in an other post that Sarko wins in all categories but 18-24 IPSOS 03/05/07.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been suggesting this for a little while now. A few months back my fiance and I looked into emigrating to Europe, either to France or Spain or Portugal, and found the rules to be rather forbidding.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:35:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To our shame, if you don't have a European grandparent, it's damn hard.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. My great-grandparents were Irish, but that's one generation too many. Bah.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:51:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it easier to migrate to the US as European? I'm curious...
by Almanax on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 06:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's very difficult unless you have some special circumstance such as being an entertainer/sports person (exceptional talent, I think they call it), or you have a job and the employer proves they need you and can't replace you with someone already in the US.  You can also come as a student, but can't stay unless you get the employer thing going.

Migrating to almost any country is a very difficult and restricted process.  Many countries will allow easier access for populations in trouble, though -- either through war, political persecution, or, sometimes, poverty -- these change frequently.

If you're just a person who wants to move to the US, are from a stable country, and have no compelling reason to move here, you can still apply if you have someone to sponsor you (usually a relative), but you have to go on a waiting list and still might not be approved.  At a minimum, that process takes about 5 years.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for the information.

i actually knew an american once who lived and worked a whitecollar job in the UK and just went in and out of the country every couple of months as a tourist. for some reason she was able to pay taxes and everything without anyone ever finding out she's only here as a tourist.

she was quite paranoid though that she'd be found out and kicked from the country, which would result in a prolonged ban on entering I think. She even considered marrying a gay guy pro-forma who wanted easier access to the US in return.

by Almanax on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 07:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarko has already shown to be a dirigiste, in a true blue Gaullist fashion.
As for the FT/WSJ crowd who expect him to be more pliable than his predecessor: fat chance.
by Bernard on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:15:03 PM EST
Since the signs are that he will blow the Franco-German axis, he can only make France weaker.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:58:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what is left of the EU? Look at the largest six countries:

Germany: Merkel
France: Sarkozy
UK: Brown
Italy: Prodi
Spain: Zapatero
Poland: Kaczynski

The Italo-Spanish axis is hardly an engine for Europe.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe so, Jerome, but what cannot be disputed is the fact that he won by basically taking over the FN electorate. He won by using a message that reeked of "travail, famille, patrie" (the Vichy slogan) and adding "security" (codeword for keep the banlieusard arabs in their place).
His success was based on reactionary ideas, resentment and division... hoe much of that climate will persist?

The question is now, how much resistance will he face from unions and civil society organizations?

by Frenchdoc on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:19:25 PM EST
I would expect very much.  I also expect that Sarkozy is smart enough to know that if he leaves "them" alone they won't rise up.  If he learned anything it was to keep his mouth shut and not poke the lion with a stick!  Expect absolutely nothing to change except some tax policy.
by paving on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe so, Paving, but one thing is for sure. Sarkozy likes power and does not like to be challenged. He may not be all that interested in governing, as Jerome pointed out above, but he certainly will not like to see his power questioned, that might trigger interesting reactions.
by Frenchdoc on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"likes power and does not like to be challenged. He may not be all that interested in governing, as Jerome pointed out above, but he certainly will not like to see his power questioned"

Who else does that describe? I hope Jerome's predictions are right because I don't like to think about where it leads if he is wrong.

by det on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dare I say, George Bush? But Sarkozy doesn't have a Cheney behind him running the government.

Share. Share resources, share delight, share burdens, share the healing. If we only could realize that sharing will bring us back from mass suicide.
by Isis on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 11:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I expect a "lively" first year. Something he does at some point will trigger demonstrations and/or riots and or massive protests, and it will turn into a big confrontation, which I still doubt he can win.

We'll see.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I linked in the other thread, it seems the riot police  that is 3000 of them have already been alerted for tonight. So this is not a joyful victory it seems.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the reminder.  You have your finger on the big question.  In so many countries, the working middle classes wound up accepting HUGE declines in living standards with barely a fuss.  It is important for the greedheads that this job goes smoothly.  Typical tactics will ensue--famous "economists" will explain how their agenda is as natural as sunrise, schools of economics will quickly get rid of all staff that may suggest alternatives, pundits in major papers will be selected for their faithfulness to neoliberalism, etc.

The big triumph of neoliberalism comes when the folks who manage pension funds suddenly discover they can make a LOT more money investing in hedge funds.  Even union pension managers and folks managing funds for retired clergymen and teachers fall prey to the siren call of magic profits.

Meanwhile, the real economy and the folks who run it get hammered.  I would LIKE to think that the French productive classes will riot where the Americans, Brits, Swedes, and Germans caved.  If they can thwart neoliberalism, then the French will have performed another service to humanity.  

This is important--so long as economic thinking is controlled by people who believe geometric profit extraction is possible in a finite biosphere, we are doomed.  It is that simple!!

Good LUCK!

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:44:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I don't know, if he can push through reforms limiting the ability of unions to strike, as this Guardian article suggests he wishes to do, he might be able to prevail. We've seen this in the US, first in the 1940s and then in the 1980s; and of course in the UK under Thatcher - use the law to limit unions' options and the state can probably outlast anything.

The one thing going in France's favor is that there seems to have been a rising trend of activism and political organizing, whereas Reagan and Thatcher took power amidst a backdrop of declining political mobilization. The victory over the CPE may prove to have been a major precedent. However, if protest turns to rioting, then it will simply make Sarkozy's position that much stronger. And I would expect Sarkozy sat and watched Villepin and Chirac cave on the CPE and thought to himself "when I am in the Elysée I won't give in."

While the PS clearly has its work cut out for it, so does French civil society, which has to begin finding a way to challenge protest away from aimless rioting and toward something with a clear political focus.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 06:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, welcome to European Tribune, the last place that still resists to the Sarko-saxons invaders!

And I agree with you. The main question is:  will the civil society be able to stand up to Sarkozy?

Given the mobilisation that took place during this campaign, I am reasonably confident. But I think it will rely on the unions and civil society organisations. The Socialist Party will not be able to play a major role for a while.
I  

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And this is probably good.  The PS willingly lost this election for their own candidate.  That said I expect nobody today is as sad as Jacques Chirac for he knows that his multi-polar world and the triumphant stand he made against Iraq, lifting the French back into a leading international position, will be fading.

The good news with Sarkozy kissing-up to the US is that the Republicans are very much on their way out in the US.  He will be licking the boots of a Democrat very soon.  They already control the Legislature.

by paving on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shame on the French Socialists and their machisme. And shame on the rest of the European Socialists who didn't see this for the important election that it was and didn't go to France to support Royal (maybe they weren't invited either).

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 
will the civil society be able to stand up to Sarkozy?

I'll play the advocatus diaboli and ask: which civil society? The one which just elected him by a safe margin? At a huge turnout?

I think you guys should just accept the result and refrain from treating the winner as a tyrant, to whom the civil society should 'stand up'.

Royal was the simply less attractive candidate to the decisive 6% of voters and you should discuss the reasons why.

by MarcinGomulka on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you guys should just accept the result and refrain from treating the winner as a tyrant, to whom the civil society should 'stand up'.

Should I have said that to the Democrats in 2004?

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the point about the high participation and high rate of voter registration applies to France. Hasn't the civil society expressed itself?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was the lowest winning margin of any US Wartime President ever. And even then it required stealing the vote in Ohio to ensure against a electoral college loss with a majority of the total vote.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy may indeed be an "impotent" president, merely a "decider" as George W. But that means people behind will have all sway - people with economic or "global" powers, I mean. There is nothing good in that.
by das monde on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 10:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That for sure, they are going to be disappointed, Sarkozy is a strong proponent of the State and showed many time he is willing to use it to defend the french industrial interests.

This view of Europe is to establish a very strong and efficient political organisation which is not in line at all with what the Anglo-saxon lobbies would like to ear.

I "hope" the very low growth in US/UK that is planned for this year will moderate the comments by liberal pundits in FT etc..

i am quite happy ;-)

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:27:13 PM EST


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:29:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Those of us who love France respect the wish of its people to change towards what some call "Anglo-Saxon" economics. We share some of th concern of our French friends that this should not mean a reduction in the quality of French social policies - a model for all countries. Above all. what we don't want to see is a change to French life and style - by far one of the most precious aspects of our European

The ineffable Welshman, trying to preempt kossack opinions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:38:17 PM EST
He really does sound like a preacher, doesn't he?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My condolences.  I was hoping for a different outcome for you.
by caldonia on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:38:25 PM EST
Schwarzenegger (governor of California) has gone that path. Being in a liberal state he has not towed the republican party line (along with a good portion of his rhetoric) much to the chagrin of the party chiefs.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:38:49 PM EST
America: we're your friend, we're at your side, but friends must be allowed to have differences of opinion.

America: you cannot be an obstacle to the fight against global warming. This will be France's first fight.

Interesting...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:41:21 PM EST
Hopefully the fight will not continue after we send Dubya into exile.
by caldonia on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We're back"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:42:37 PM EST


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:52:18 PM EST
Ok, now you're being sarcastic, right? ;-)
by Frenchdoc on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's it from?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://tritemeblog.blogspot.com/

La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.
by lacordaire on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is thoroughly disappointing. I'm hoping he won't screw things up too badly for ya.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:57:49 PM EST

Un Pyromane à l'Elysée Le Nouvel Horizon de Dakar

Le rêve obsessionnel de "l'Iznogoud de Neuilly" de s'installer enfin à la place du calife Chirac s'est réalisé. Ne reculant devant rien, Sarkozy, pratiquant une politique du bouc émissaire vieille comme le monde en jouant sur les peurs et les fantasmes des Français, a réussi à installer durablement dans le débat national le thème de l'insécurité, auquel sont automatiquement associés les immigrés. Des immigrés dont il prévoit de "nettoyer au Kärcher" les rejetons turbulents quand il ne leur reproche pas d'égorger des "moutons dans les baignoires". Pour atteindre cet objectif, Sarkozy a fait feu de tout bois, n'hésitant pas pratiquant la surenchère xénophobe avec sa proposition de créer un ministère de "l'immigration et de l'identité nationale", lui dont le père est pourtant venu d'une obscure bourgade hongroise.

Certains supporters du petit Napoléon de l'UMP n'ont pourtant pas manqué de prendre leurs distances par rapport à cette dernière trouvaille, sans vouloir admettre une évidence qui saute pourtant aux yeux : la lepénisation de Sarkozy. Les incidents survenus à la gare du Nord, après qu'un banal contrôle d'identité eut tourné en quasi émeute avec des jeunes issus de l'immigration conspuant le nom de Sarkozy, présage des moments chauds que s'apprête à vivre la France avec une présidence Sarkozy.


Sarkozy, le cauchemar des Africains Le Bénin aujourd'hui

Il le désirait ardemment, de manière apparemment obsessionnelle et il l'a eu : le pouvoir suprême. Le second tour de la présidentielle a consacré Nicolas Sarkozy à la tête de la France. Entre la gauche et la droite, les Français ont donc choisi dans leur majorité de rester à droite.

(...)

L'élection de Sarkozy à la magistrature suprême n'enlève en rien le mérite de son challenger socialiste Ségolène Royal. Bien au contraire. Elle est la preuve éloquente que ce n'est pas seulement sous nos tropiques que le conservatisme a la vie dure. Première femme française à avoir accédé à ce niveau de la compétition politique, elle apparaît comme la victime expiatoire de la France qui a peur d'être Présidente. Elle a démontré, et pendant les primaires au sein de son parti et pendant la campagne électorale à proprement parler, qu'elle était bel et bien à la hauteur de la charge pour laquelle elle a sollicité les suffrages des Français. En affrontant le nouveau président de la République qu'elle a même mis en difficulté et en faisant montre de beaucoup de talents politiques lors du débat radiotélévisé. Et la logique du jeu aurait voulu que, mis à part la personnalité et les grandes promesses de Sarkozy, la droite paye les conséquences de sa politique de ses dernières années.

(...)

Cette préférence des Africains pour Royal ne résulte pas uniquement de la position du nouveau président élu sur l'immigration. Elle procède aussi du fait de ses convictions politiques, voire de sa personnalité qui laisse soupçonner un certain relent de condescendance.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 02:59:52 PM EST
Hadn't heard that one yet - now I don't know whether to laugh or to cry, the image fits so darn well.

Anyway, here's the cold comfort I just offered over on Welshman's thread:

What are people to do if the political class doesn't offer them alternatives? Until there's a revolution and the political class gets the boot, that is. Seems to me in France that day has gotten a lot closer today. But they're not the only ones headed that way.


If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:13:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe he will agree to Blair or Brown's vision of Europe;

He already gave agreement on the Constitution. Though he'd oppose too much cross-border free markets, I guess. But I am not optimistic in any way. There was a time the Scandinavian states were viewed as inmutably socialistic.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:02:12 PM EST

NEWS ALERT from The Wall Street Journal

Sarkozy was elected France's new president with tough proposals aimed at shaking France out of its deep economic and social slump, defeating Socialist rival Royal by a solid margin in the final round of elections.

Sarkozy collected 53% of the votes cast, according to preliminary counting of ballots by CSA polling agency.  Royal took 47%, CSA said.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:14:11 PM EST
Clearly, the neo-cons are using the moment to put their spin on it (as you predicted)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/4d37365e-fbd6-11db-93a4-000b5df10621.html


The 52-year-old son of a Hungarian immigrant has vowed to cut taxes and loosen labour laws to stimulate faster economic growth and job creation in the world's sixth biggest economy.

He is also expected to tilt French foreign policy towards a more pro-US position.

The headline on their site is strangely small.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:56:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So is Sarkozy.

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:05:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is not the time to write about such trivial questions as to what others think?  The important question now is, What are the French saying with this choice they have made?  That is the question, is it not?

The platforms of the two candidates had many points where two different pathways were clearly articulated.  The voters turned out at a very high rate of participation, and the answer was clear--53%-47%.

After such an exciting campaign, after the French people participated in such great numbers, and with the issues more clearly laid out than in many campaigns I have seen, the French people have spoken in a democracy.  And your response to all of this is depressingly negative:

Soon, it will appear that he is still French. Mutterings about the uselessness of expecting better from them will start to be heard. Talk about missed opportunities will crop up, as will eventually that of decline, again.

I give them less than a year.

All of the major Western democracies have major issues in front of them--not just the French.  But it is the French who have spoken today.  Wouldn't it be more helpful, certainly more hopeful, to try to interpret what has been said?

There seems to be consensus for example on global warming--that's worth discussing, and at least acknowledging if that is true.  Is there a majority that is voting for Sarko's theme of rewarding work more than it is today?  Of if not getting rid of the 35 hour work week, taking his approach of rewarding more highly work over 35 hours a week?  And there are so many other issues that were presented with clearly alternate pathways.

It seems a shame not to at least understand what the message is from the French voters, in this wonderful demonstration of democracy in action.  (screw the International Press!)

by wchurchill on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:23:30 PM EST
Hey I just won 15000 euros today, since I expect Nicolas Sarkozy will do at least as well as Jacques Chirac on the rich people tax front :).
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French elite [including the press] who form their opinion of their own country from what they read in the FT and the IHT.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you are saying the french elite can't think on their own.  must wait for anglo-saxon thoughts and ideas?  and the rest of France can't make their own decisions?  Frankly, France has always been pretty independent of economic, social, and foreign policy issues--so i don't think that is true, history just does not bear you out.
by wchurchill on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:17:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a global economic world and a global elite, and the FT, WSJ and IHT are the media vehicles of the global elite.

Jerome claims the Enarques and Polytechniciens don't believe in the French model any longer. He should know: he rubs shoulders with them.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:23:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Enarques and Polytechniciens have all gotten 'private equity envy'. Sarkozy, if he is smart for his positions, will open up Frances' public cos. to go at least partially private and the already private cos. to be attractive targets for private equity 'investments',which will open up the French economy to the same 'screwing' for most of the the country as the US and UK economies.

In five years; either the media will 'brainwash' French voters into believing things are better under Sarkozy or the voters will get rid of him. Either way; nothing will be the same in France as 'takeover'targets will be reported in the French media in the same way as 'horseraces or competitive sports' just like the machinations of KKR etc in the US and UK media. Little notice will be given to how many people get laid off from these takeovers as the focus will be on the great wealth attained by the company heads and the takeover organizations. Not a pretty picture but  a realistic one if France follows the US and the UK toward 'globalism and free markets', just two words synonymous with destruction of the middle class for the enrichment of the top 10%.

by An American in London on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Enarques and Polytechniciens have all gotten 'private equity envy'.

in other words they have been bribed.  bought off.

what is the difference between a corporate bagman walking up to a civil servant, scientist, doctor, banker etc and offering a big fat bribe to cheat the system, or  a corporate bagman funding a politician who promises to bend/break the system for his bosses and incidentally hand out hush money bonuses to the professional strata?  legally, a world of difference.  morally I ain't so sure.

how much do you have to pay the average person to secure their compliance with an agenda that will surely result (from proven track record) in deprivation, preventable illness, ignorance, humiliation, even premature death for large numbers of their fellow citizens?  the answers seems to be a pathetically small amount.  not even 30 pieces of silver...

it's like some nation-sized Milgram experiment.

I feel for some reason compelled to quote the late lamented Mark Jones, pbuh, who maintained his lucidity and his compassionate anger to the last...

Incidentally, and also about ingenuity, as Alf Hornborg pointed out, the technical ingenuity of the West did not succeed in creating 'growth' except at the price of impoverishing the peripheries: machinery embodies entropy, which is another thing that neither you nor Y seem to take on board.  Your Panglossian optimism is based on one of the oldest, most cherished and most pernicious of bourgeois illusions: the 'trickle-down' idea that 'prosperity' can be shared. It cannot, and on the contrary, capitalist growth has, as Freeman points out, only increased inequality and social injustice on a world scale. It is usual to try to counter this fact by pointing to increased longevity etc in the Third World, but such  arguments are mendacious and cynical, and it is easy to show why [...]

The global Hubbert-peak is already happening. World per capita commercial energy consumption already peaked several decades ago. This is the real reason why development became de-development, why more than 2bn people live on less than $2/day, and why their fate is certain to continue to worsen.  The global Hubbert Peak is already happening. Energy shortages interact with capitalist accumulation to produce a long plateau rather than a sharp  peak and decline.

Life on this plateau is an attritive and basically losing struggle, against chronic and growing energy shortage, a struggle conducted by the imperialist ruling classes on many different fronts simultaneously, from the recomposition of the working class, the reconstruction of the capitalist labour process, the inflection of accumulation dynamics, to the reconstruction and of the architecture of imperialist hegemony, the reconstitution of subalternity between and within subject national cultures and states, the preparation for war and the final closure of civil society and its replacement by surrogates based on the surveillance state, and more.  The ruling class, contemptuous of its social enemies which it defeated conclusively in the 20th century, is not afraid to conspire openly against the day when an avalanche of change is no longer avoidable. It is bracing itself for a battle which it does not intend to lose.

Since it does not face any real organised opposition and enjoys near-total ideo-hegemony, the only thing imperialism does fear is the possibility that the cascade of change will become completely uncontrollable.

Sarko's family were petty aristocracy back home in Hungary... he's never forgiven the Reds for the armed overthrow of feudal aristocracy there.

Sarkozy absolutely hates the left -- in part because the Communists burned his aristocratic family's chateau in Hungary (from whence his family emigrated to France) in 1944. And, in a major campaign speech just days before the election, Sarkozy surprisingly devoted 20 minutes of his discourse to a violent denunciation of the May 1968 student-worker revolt (Sarko was only 14 at the time of that rebellion.). The heritage of May '68, Sarko thundered, must be "liquidated." He blamed it for a generalized attitude of "laxisme," for France's having become a country "in which work has no value, in which people think they can do anything they feel like doing, in which people are lazy," and on and on.

May '68 was, of course, the fountain of social ferment that led to the sexual revolution, to women's liberation and the legalization of abortion, the gay liberation movement and the eventual repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality, the relaxation of censorship laws, and a whole series of other cultural changes that opened up a stuffy, paternalistic, arteriosclerotic French society. But May '68 was also a general strike by 11 million French workers that gained union recognition in many factories, higher wages, and that won a reinforcement of the social safety net in an agreement (negotiated on behalf of then-President Georges Pompidou by a young Jacques Chirac) that became known as "les accords de la rue de Grenelle" (the agreement of Grenelle Street). What was unstated in Sarko's anti-May '68 speech was that all that sort of thing, too, must be "liquidated."

 [from Doug Ireland's article cited upthread]

if my darker moments I fear that Mark was right, and that the trendiness of the Security State and the (guided and channelled) enthusiasm of the bourgeoisie (and even a chunk of the proles) for xenophobic strongmen figures -- like Sarko, Putin, Dubya, PT -- are evidence of this bunker mentality starting to gel in country after country.  there are roughly speaking two ways to approach a survival situation where resources are tight.  one is for everyone to share a fairly equal reduced ration, and the other is to kill or starve the majority so that the strongmen and their pets and liegemen can feast.

we shake our heads and cluck our tongues over the tragedy of places like Darfur or Afghanistan where social order fails, scarcity is painfully felt, and warlordism, mafia rule, paternalist armed enclaves, reiving and raiding replace a civil society.  I see the politics of the Bushies, the Sarkites, the Blairites as the same pig with some Western techno-lipstick liberally applied:  building walls and detention centres as fast as they can funnel money to their crony contractors, invading other people's homes to raid the larder and steal the cattle [i.e. minerals, oil, water], and posting armed guards at every possible border and gate to keep the unwanted out and the peonage in, posting spies and listeners everywhere to catch the first whisper of opposition.  warlordism and the apartheid bunker mentality can wear a suit and tie and speak in mellifluous cadences. same pig, just with an MBA.

maybe I should change my online handle to Marvin the Paranoid Android...  

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 05:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how much do you have to pay the average person to secure their compliance with an agenda that will surely result (from proven track record) in deprivation, preventable illness, ignorance, humiliation, even premature death for large numbers of their fellow citizens?  the answers seems to be a pathetically small amount.  not even 30 pieces of silver...

Actually, in the US in 2000, it proved to be a $300 tax refund.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 05:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm.

Last index for silver was $13/oz average in March 07.

The thirty pieces paid to Judas are commonly believed to have been Tyrian shekels at about 8.5 grams each -- fact-check me on this, someone -- and 8.5g is about .3 ounces, right?

So Iscariot was paid about 9 ounces of silver (30 x .30), or about $117 US today.

OTOH given the average price of housing and food in Roman Palestine, that $300 tax refund may be a stingy bribe by comparison...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 05:58:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
another view from my buddy RootlessCosmo:
I think this is where the DuBois concept of the "psychic wage" is essential to understanding. If we try to measure the material payoff  to middle- and working-class voters, their support for Sarko/Reagan/Thatcher/Berlusconi looks flat-out insane. But when these candidates can posture as the defenders of some impalpable value against a perceived threat, homo economicus takes a nap and his ideological twin pulls the voting lever. The 84% turnout is really disturbing, as is the suggestion that Sarko will try to form an alliance with  LePen's outfit as Berlusconi did with the Allianza.

wouldn't it be ironic if the marketoids. with their singleminded insistence on money as the metric of all things, had to appeal to extra-economic ideas to get some chunks of the electorate to vote -- in a very "irrational" way -- against their own economic interests?


The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 08:42:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW hat tip to my buddy Stan Goff for the Mark Jones quotes.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 05:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so now it's just the spanish and italians who have turned back this tide.
by wu ming on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:31:31 PM EST
Sad but true. So far it's only Italy and Spain that have turned back this tide (Portugal as well, to some extent). Canada has a neo-con government, and Britain may too depending on how well Brown can revive Labour's fortunes.

It's worth noting that in every case, the right has won only VERY narrow victories - see Bush in 2000 and 2004, or Harper's minority government in Canada, or the fact that Merkel has to govern with the SPD, or that Sarko didn't get such a wide margin in the end.

Still...depressing.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy's is razor thin and Spain has a minority government. All margins seem to be getting narrower and narrower. I wonder whether that reflects increasing efficiency of the political machines of all parties in the identification and pursuit of the "median voter".

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:42:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good points, I'd forgotten that Zapatero has a minority government himself.

I think the sophisticated targeting is part of it, sure. But I also think it is because of the hold neoliberal thinking now has on the industrial democracies. Moderates who are repelled by the right don't feel comfortable voting for a left that they don't feel is sufficiently on-board with neoliberalism, so they'll vote for the right at times out of a belief that the "left" - even when "left" is Labour or the Democrats, hardly leftist parties - is inherently unfit to govern. At the same time, the crises and dislocations that neoliberalism creates mobilize more people to oppose it, creating high turnout and very close elections.

This phase won't end until the left has found a way to revive its fortunes, assert a clear agenda that opposes neoliberalism, and find a way around a deeply hostile media establishment.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the US bully pulpit, to give credibility to any opposition of neoliberal TINA (there is no alternative) thinking?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is one reason I support Edwards (I post at dKos as "eugene"). His language is significantly anti-neoliberal. I believe you are an Edwards supporter as well...I think...

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 08:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to see you around here. I'm always glad to have you fighting on my side over at dailykos!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 08:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... not that he's a flaming radical. Indeed, as Gravel reminded a few people{1}, there's nobody in the top tier who would be seen of as having a "progressive" foreign policy from a 70's perspective ... but unless the US is in the middle of what is seen as a serious effort for Energy Independence when the real crunch comes, its only going to get worse.

{1. ... though most just saw him as a crazy old coot}

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 09:32:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A sad day perhaps, but think of it as potentially being France's version of America's 2004 campaign.  We all know how well that's worked out for Dear Leader.

I do agree that Sarkozy is unlikely to attempt radical reform in the way the WSJ would prefer, if for no other reason than fear of political suicide.  Much of his right-wing stances were, I suspect, largely the result of needing Le Pen's people to show up.  That just goes with the territory of political campaigns -- the price inevitably paid at times in a democracy.

Nonetheless, it was quite an interesting campaign, and thanks to everybody for writing so much on the topic for guys like me.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:32:35 PM EST
Unfortunately, France doesn't have midterm elections. (Well, maybe the EP elections can be counted as such.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
potentially being France's version of America's 2004 campaign.  We all know how well that's worked out for Dear Leader.

Yeah, Sarkozy's UMP will go on to win the parliamentary elections in a landslide, and a solid majority in the Assemblee Nationale for the duration of his term.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's congratulations from Italy's best-known godfather, Silvio.

ANSA 21:05

The clear-cut success of Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrates the desire for change that invests all of Europe and not only France [sic]. The defeat of Royal is yet another proof of the fact that the Europeans consider that the Left's capacity to govern is finally over with. I'm tied to Nicolas Sarkozy by long-term esteem and friendship on a personal level. On the political level Sarkozy shares the same values and principles that are the basis of our political engagement, and the program he presented to the French coincides substantially with ours. My most affectionate congratulations and most cordial best wishes for his presidency.

If I understand his drivel, the communists have been in power in France for the past five or ten years- well, ok, the past 218 years.

Seeing as Sarko has the same program as B, I'm looking forward to seeing the French mob occupy the ministries.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:34:24 PM EST
Isn't Berlu's "blessing" and indictment of Sarko? Do you think the French really thought Berlu was God's gift to government? <sheesh>

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:49:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French, regardless of their political opinions, do not have much consideration for Berlu. Chirac treated him as the non-entity he so easily personifies. I doubt Sarkozy is a long-standing friend of Berlu. It would have been a handicap in these elections.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What about Chirac, BTW? Will the Corrupt One get the Presidential pardon?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:35:40 PM EST
It's clear he didn't stab Sarkozy in the back - since there were no defaults on the UMP side for Sarko. (Let's not forget Chirac's long experience in candidate-killing). This to me means the deal between him and Sarko is real (it has scarcely been denied, btw), so expect at least the ten-year limitations statute or some other jiggery-pokery to keep Chirac out of trouble with the law.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:17:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, Jerome, a point I'd make: Once upon a time in Tallahassee, my father was an anti-war activist in the era of Vietnam and Nixon.  He likes to say that, sometimes, being a liberal involves losing a lot.

In the short term, we lose a lot on the Left.  But, when we're right, eventually the rest of the people get it.  In the meantime, at least the envelope is pushed.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 03:41:18 PM EST
my father was an anti-war activist in the era of Vietnam and Nixon.
Was he also an activist during the era of Vietnam and Kennedy and Johnson.  troop levels escalated under Kennedy, though ignored by the MSM.  johnson's incredible escalation after the Bay of Tonkin.  Johnson's decision not to run for re-election because he had screwed up the war so badly.  The protests marches became very large in Johnson's regime, and continued into Nixon's.
by wchurchill on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You really think that the Democrats are "liberal", don't you?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:05:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not sure what you mean.  this is simply a factual correction, that I recall since I was at some of those protests during the LBJ presidency.
by wchurchill on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not a fun evening here, so I'm glad you're giving us some light relief, wc.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:20:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just trying to pull you out of the doldrums.  isn't the upcoming parliamentary election really just as important as this one?  or almost anyway?
by wchurchill on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:26:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Check out the Wikipedia page on the 2002 French Legislative Elections to see what the likely result is when you hold them 2 months after the Presidentials. The reduction of the Presidential term from 7 to 5 years yo coincide with the length of the Parliamentary term was a transparent attempt at eliminating the possibil9ty of cohabitation, and the UMP even called itself Union for a Presidential Majority. the Parliamentary term should have been reduced to 4 years to preclude synchronicity with the Presidential elections.

Now the question is how long it will take the PS to descend into infighting. I think it will be measured in hours, not days or weeks and that the PS will contest the Legislatives in disarray.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:44:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, based on DSK's statement on tv just after she finished her statement, that the answer was minutes.
by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:13:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm looking at the results as they're coming out and there are a significant number of white ballots, about four times the number of white ballots in the first round, around 4 to 5% (less than in 2002 but that was special).

http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/sections/a_votre_service/resultats-elections/PR2007/index.html

(some departements have results for second round like 81 - Tarn)

Now who voted white en masse, Le Pen, Bayrou, Left voters?

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:01:25 PM EST
On a bit more than half of the votes:


               Nombre          % Inscrits
Inscrits        24 829 470      100,00
Abstentions      3 877 656      15,62
Votants         20 951 814      84,38

                    Nombre  % Votants
Blancs ou Nuls     933 557       4,46
Exprimés        20 018 257      95,54

                            Voix    % Exprimés
  M.  Nicolas  SARKOZY  10 382 670      51,87
  Mme  Ségolène  ROYAL   9 635 587      48,13

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Update 2306: 52,54 - 47,46
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:09:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this election sure got counted, announced and conceded quickly.

I think there needs to be a close analysis of the districts which voted with electronic voting machines.

That might be a nice pet project for me/us here at EuroTrib.

by Monsieur le Prof (top notch records [all one word] at gmail dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:18:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At 2331: 52,57 - 47.43.

There were about 1.5 millions voters with electronic machines, only super-massive fraud can change the result so in the end there is no doubt about the validity of the result.

But still analysis might be useful.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is off-topic but watching TF1, its interesting that the Sarko people -- Dati especially -- are stuck on their campaign talking points: denouncing the "personal attacks" on Sarko and denouncing the left as lacking respect for authority, while Fabius and Delanoe are already pushing the theme of legislative campaign: to balance Sarko with an independent Assembly.

So in a certain way, the question is whether the cult of personality and the discourse of self-pity that is at the heart of the Sarkozy campaign can be translated into any sort of governmental program, or will we have simply 5 years of spin and political attacks on opponents?

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:08:10 PM EST
I expect a lot of political marketing, communications, spin, and demonisation, and litte policy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at Bush as an example of what happens when a person who is more conservative than the majority gets elected.

His trick was to emphasize hot button issues like abortion, immigration and "security" to appeal to fear and resentment. What he delivered was tax breaks for the rich and a war which has increased insecurity.

His followers (especially the religious right) have recently started to realize that they've been had.

Is Sarkozy going to eliminate the 35 hour week? How about reducing worker's rights? What is he really going to do about the immigrant sector that can't blend in?

In the US it was easy to see who was pulling the strings. They even put their puppet master in as VP to ensure that the energy sector got what it wanted. Who pulls the strings in Sarkozy's case and what do they want now that he has won?

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:24:42 PM EST
M of A - OT 07-35

i don't what it is like in other villes but there is a grand demonstration here tonight

Posted by: r'giap | May 6, 2007 4:29:20 PM | 21

Can't find anything about this - is it true? I think that would be in Avignon?!

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:38:26 PM EST
I thought (but may be wrong) r'giap was in Nantes?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:57:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I share your optimism.

But if we are wrong, I suspect things will become quite interesting in the streets. Supposing of course a confirmation of the tendancy in the legislatives to come.

Either way, it will be hard to turn his back with the reforms one supposes he will enact, given they will prove quite unpopular with those taken by his 11th hour rassambleur rhetoric.

Either candidate would, alas, have had to be elected under false pretenses to some extent...

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

by r------ on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:42:23 PM EST
that he would prove impotent to do much damage.

How wrong I was.

Condolences to my favorite country in Europe, France.

by NNadir on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 04:59:49 PM EST
he was the most pro-nuclear of all the candidates. And if he gets on the climate change bandwagon, things might happen on that front.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/6/16647/53232

in an extended version. Here's what I added:


Nobody knows what Sarkozy will do as president, because he has basically promised everything and its opposite and because, when he was in power, he did nothing but posturing. It's possible that he will try to go for radical 'reform', arguing that he has a strong mandate from the French; it's possible that he'll be like Chirac, doing essentially nothing because getting power was the only goal, not exercising it.

In his speech, he has for the time being repeated the usual mantras ('revalue work, discipline, order, honor, nation') but he has also given his speech a decidely lefty bend, by saying that he is the president of all the French, and that he will not let anyone fall by the wayside. It's the same contradictory mix that he has used in his campaign and which seems to have worked: the call to traditional values, and the suggestion that he will be better at protecting people. It has been particularly effective with older people, and he has managed to capture a good chunk of the Le Pen voters; his "dog whistle" pronouncements against immigrants have obviously been effective.

The thing is, there has been so much doom and gloom discourse in the country that anybody that sounds like he knows what he's doing (even though he is actually already in power and to be blamed for the funk) appears like the messiah. When you ask people why they vote for him, it's all down to his looking more serious (remnants of machismo?), sounding tough, and appearing to know issues better. Never mind that this is a media created, carefully spinned image, it has dominated discourse on actual ideas. (Values before policies, sounds familiar?)


In fact, given his speech this evening, it might be even quicker.


France will always be at America's side when it needs us, but I want to tell Americans that friendship means tolerating that friends think differently

This is essentially the same line Chirac was on, and the same line as previous presidents, and it is the traditional position of the French diplomacy. We're your friends, and we don't mind saying it (loudly) when we disagree. As he has long claimed to be more pro-American than Chirac et al., he might get away for a bit with critical stances (especially if he peppers his pronouncements with symbolic signs of friendship), but at some point, there will be a major sticking point.

And that might quickly be it:


"A great nation like the USA has the duty not to block the fight against global climate warming, and, indeed, to take the lead in that fight, because what's at stake is the future of the whole human race."

As he even added that this would be "France's first priority", and as we all know the Bush administration's position on this, the next 18 months might get interesting quickly. This was a pretty direct challenge, on a pretty fundamental issue. I was happy to hear this bit, I must admit. I have no idea yet whether he'll follow through (and a natural inclination, from his past, not to believe a word he says), but it is nevertheless interesting that he chose such a specific stance - one he knew would be a direct provocation to the Bush White House, and one that can get him kudos from outside the usual supporters of the right.

With Brown and Merkel having also made a lot of noise about climate change, this might actually be a topic where Europe impudently stands up to Bush, which means that Sarkozy is likely to turn in your media into "yet another Frenchman who does not understand the challenges of the 21st century."

:: ::

Again, I'll say it. I have no idea what Sarkozy stands for, apart form his personal career. Now that he's reached the position he's lusted after for 30 years, what will he do with it? Will he just follow polls and spin? (In which case, watch out for the ideology of Lagardère (pro-business) and Dassault (reactionary), two family-owned military hardware and media groups who own most of the French media and whose bosses are personal friends of Sarkozy). Will he actually stand for something? Either way, playing the anti-American card smartly (while snidely pretending to be pro-American) is likely to be popular.

In a sense, this should be fun. The French bashing media have the candidate of their dreams elected. Will they tolerate to make France look as if it's up again, even if it is thanks to their ideology, or will they rather prefer to see it down, as it "should" be, being, you know, French, and give up on their champion?

I'm betting on the latter. The French are hopeless (i.e. even Sarkozy won't "reform" us).



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:02:27 PM EST
...didn't launch sweeping reforms the day they came into office.  

Reagan waited six months for his first opportunity to begin going after syndicated labour, when he fired striking PATCO air traffic controls en masse, declaring their strike a threat to National Security.  Of course much of the press took this point of view, and as I recall from those days, the anti-union mantra was repeated in every communications channel; the daily papers, weekly news journals, television news and university lecture halls.

Thatcher also went about de-unionizing the country piece by piece.  Her boost in popularity following the Falklands war made it possible for her to take on the National Union of Mineworkers one year into her second mandate. Five years after first being elected.

There are many differences between then and now; a shortened news cycle, shortened attention spans, more diffuse channels through which we can pull in information (internet blogs), and through which information is pushed or propagated.  All of which can lead to churning up a backlash if Sarkozy fails to move fast enough.

For Sarko to announce any threatening and radical policy changes would be foolish at the opening of the legislative election campaign.  Then again, I might eat these words with relish tomorrow or next week.

Further, unlike Bush when he came into office in 2000, Sarko is already recognised as a dividing and divisive force in French politics.  He must realise that before he can effect any change he needs to overcome this perception.  For a practical chameleon who values his hard fought place at the top of the political rock, this weighs against any hasty pronouncements about swift change, and in favour of buying and biding time.

I think given France's reputation for resistance to change the WSJ, FT, NYT et. al editors and pundits will be patient to wait until clear opportunities arise.  Even perhaps scaring up a Falklands moment.  Unfortunately for him Verdun has been done.  Or they might simply ride shotgun on facing down a medium profile union, in the interest of state security, or  finding some other means of breaking the bonds of solidarity between the CGT, CFDT, FO. et al.  

It all depends on which opportunities are presented and how and when.

Their patience and opportunism could last well past the inauguration of the next US president, unlikely to be found in bed with the neocons, and facing a monumental fiscal crisis and with whom Sarkozy will have to work in the 3 year run up to his bid for a second mandate.

by kagaka (karel.k.rehor [zav] email [tecka] cz) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:18:32 PM EST
An excellent point. One can imagine Sarko taking on a union and staring them down, as you note Reagan and Thatcher both having done to great effect.

Someone above mentioned the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger here in California and how his efforts to govern from the right and attack labor unions failed entirely. I am hopeful that Sarkozy will be forced to do the same. But a national leader has much more power at his disposal than a state governor, even of a state as large and significant as California.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, Schwarzenegger is still scheming on killing high-speed rail.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:54:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That he is, as I wrote about at dKos last week.

Which just goes to show just how much damage even an Arnold-type executive can do.

California would be suicidal to kill the HSR plan. There are some hearings in Sacramento this week and supporters of HSR are organizing to save the project. Dunno what will happen.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They should be alarmed by the success of Jeb Bush over in Florida (a story that went under the radar during the 2004 elections).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 06:44:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French elections discussed here:

http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/06/2030242

I posted:


Pro-software patent, DMCA and voting machines

Most important for slashdot readers: Nicolas Sarkozy is a lawyer and has a very strong pro-software patent stance and was behind the hardline DADVSI [wikipedia.org] copyright law (our local DMCA). He was also behind the introduction of voting machines without paper trail requirements, and of the "secret" report about their validity (no citizen could get the report.

More in the PDF with his answers to the "candidats.fr" initiative here.

Hard time for free software in France. There are still the parliament election next month, but last time french voters put the majority behind the president.

http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=233693&cid=19013305

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:29:36 PM EST
Got modded up to 5 (max) in 4 minutes, not bad :).

I'm taking TGV tomorrow to bring me back in the socialist south :) tomorrow morning for a week of vacation, see you at monday's open thread!

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so I have only peripherally followed these matters (French elections).  So please forgive me if my question has been answered redundantly previously but my disappointment prompts the questions.

1.)  Are there more registered female voters in France as in the USA?  If so, why didn't they overwhelmingly vote for the female just as a "first?"
and
2.)  If the demographics are the same as the US as I suspect they are; does this presage a difficult time for Hillary?

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:32:46 PM EST
We'll know the precise breakdown when we get data from exit polls but its highly likely that Sarkozy won the women's vote. Women actually vote more to the right than men in France -- always have -- led by the very conservative sector of women who don't work outside the home. These women favored Sarkozy, in one poll I saw a few weeks ago, by 3 - 1.

I don't think you can read very much at all about Clinton's chances here. Very very different factors.

As I wrote on an earlier thread, I think the biggest difference that a female candidate makes is that her opponent, if its a man, has to be very subtle in attacking her, lest he come off as a bully. Sarkozy did that, helped tremendously by her own faults.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Sarkozy has no obligation to govern from the center or appease the left. He is a bulldog by nature and will go after France's social and labor protections right off the bat. He will feel emboldened to do this because of who voted for him - his supporters will cheer him on as he fights the "old guard" or those blocking change, be they unions or the immigrants or the bureaucrats. If he picks a fight he will only gain more support, not less.

I don't see this ending well.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 05:44:19 PM EST
The American electorate is shown to be not so uniquely stupid. Many of the same moronic tricks used to make Bush seem attractive worked just as well in France - no wonder McDonalds has done so well there. We embrace you! We thank you! Solidarity, our chucklehead brothers and sisters.
by rootless2 on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 07:58:28 PM EST
sadness, a sadness beyond words - the streets here unfortunately quieter

dissapointed already to see sk vy for his position in leadership 2 minutes after announcement

i disagree with migeru - it is possible that the legislatives can be won if their is no clannish activity by the ps

but one thing is quite clear

it is the poor & the powerless in france who will suffer most & they are already under great pressure

people rush to absolutes as they once ran(& perhaps will in the future)to the water

still steel

by remembereringgiap on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 08:09:39 PM EST
i disagree with migeru - it is possible that the legislatives can be won if their is no clannish activity by the ps

How is that disagreeing? I say the PS will descend into infighting instantly.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 03:10:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ugh. Though not as depressing as the first round - that was what showed that French society has zero interest in moving to the left in socio-economic policy.

 Will the Frenchies hate me if I admit to a bit of schadenfreude? Though perhaps an equally good description would be 'misery loves company' ;)

Anyways, Jerome has pointed out that Sarko won't fulfill the WSJ's dreams. On the other hand the way it looks to me is that you guys just elected a French Rudy Giuliani. Strongly authoritarian, asshole, conservative instincts but no real ideological commitment, insanely ambitious, divisive, strongest appeal to the 'give us some law and order. Like Rudy, Sarko will be operating in an environment that keeps him from being too right wing, but won't stop him from being just plain nasty. Enjoy.

PS Those folks dreaming of civil society pushing him out - be careful. As long as he isn't unpopular, that will only make swing voters turn against the opposition.

PPS Watching the results roll in was strange from an American perspective - here if you had a 53.5-46.5 right-left with only the urban areas remaining to be counted, it would mean that the left had won. Same goes for Poland with the caveat that economic policy isn't what determines left/right. I knew that wasn't the case, but still disconcerting.

by MarekNYC on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 08:47:46 PM EST
IMHO, in the immediate future it may be in Mideast policies that Sarkozy's election would be more damaging. The White House now has another 'partner' besides Germany's neocon duo Merkel/Steinmeier. One would expect its policies regarding Iran to become more aggressive. As for the handling of the Palestinian conflict, I dare not even go there! I'm afraid that we're in for a very rough ride.
by FurGaia on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 11:20:00 PM EST
As far a nuclear energy goes, our dipshit played up that uranium Niger scam.   This did great damage to nuclear energy.

Bush has done nothing right.

I believe that President-elected Gore would have done the right thing on nuclear issues.  He's much closer to nuclear energy than people might suppose.   He's had some excellent nuclear policies.

by NNadir on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 12:50:55 AM EST
A  USian France-watcher reports in:

The crowd in the hall where Sarkozy declared victory after the polls closed repeatedly sang the national anthem, La Marseillaise -- with its famous xenophobic refrain, "Marchons, marchons! Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!" (Translation: Let us march, let us march, May impure blood soak the furrows of our fields.) And Sarkozy's campaign was marked by incessant appeals to racism and the fear of immigrants, symbolized by his adoption of a slogan used by the neo-fascist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, "France, love it or leave it," and by his proposal for a new "Ministry of Immigration and National Identity," which was widely criticized by the left and by anti-racist groups for amalgamating the two concepts and suggesting a fundamental opposition between the two.

In fact, the campaign strategy of "Sarko," as he is referred to in France, was based on his appeal to the electorate of Le Pen (right) and his Front National party, which in the last presidential election in 2002 had beaten the Socialists for the place in the run-off against then-president Jacques Chirac. That lurch to the right five years ago by a significant portion of formerly left voters was confirmed by today's vote, in which more than two-thirds of former Le Pen voters -- many of them from the one-time Communist-dominated working class suburbs -- went for Sarkozy, according to the exit polls.

Indeed, as the weekly Le Canard Enchaine -- which has the best insider political gossip -- reported a couple of weeks ago, a Sarkozy confident of victory had already discussed his long-term political strategy for remaining in power -- for, as Le Canard revealed, he plans to integrate the Front National into his ruling UMP party in his second term, uniting the hard-right and the neo-fascist extreme right in an alliance imitating that operated by the Italian Silvio Berlusconi with the "post-fascist" Alleanza Nationale of Gianfranco Fini (right), who was Berlusoconi's vice-premier.

[...]

Sarko believes in minimal government, a slimmed-down state that interferes as little as possible in the economy, an aggressively laissez-faire approach that is dear to the economic barons of the MEDEF, the French business leaders' association, whose tycoons were solidly behind Sarkozy's candidacy. Sarkozy has already promised to, in effect, abolish the ISF (the tax on large fortunes), accord more tax breaks to big business and the upper-middle-classes, and make more cuts in the state-run national health system (declared by a U.N. survey to be the finest in the world in terms of delivery of health services and quality of care.) Sarkozy's economic program is designed to help the already-privileged classes retain and extend their socio-economic position, to the detriment of the have-nots (the massive pro-Sarkozy vote in the upper-income neighborhoods today confirms that they understood Sarko's message to them.) And he has promised a major down-sizing of the civil service employed by state agencies.

What I was saying about the French trains running on time... maybe I should take that back.

This ability of the Bushes, the Berlus, the Sarkos, the Maggies, to present an elite upper-class agenda as if it would be a boon to the middle classes, and thus to woo those middle classes away from the national interest, i.e. encourage them to stomp on the backs of the poor to claw their way into the elite heaven (which they will never get to, as we all know, but oh how they love to believe they will)... it's just amazing.  Essentially they are running the country as a great big entertaining Survivor show and inviting the bourgeoisie to vote everyone else off the island.  And it works...  and then when the elite predators start preying on their own middle classes as they inevitably do, the victims can still be persuaded to blame Immmigrants or Women or Furriners (or sunspots or the Devil or whatever) instead of the guys whose hands are so conspicuously picking everyone's pockets.  It's like a stage magician who's incredibly, pathetically clumsy and obvious and yet the enthralled audience keeps cheering and clapping and somehow pretending not to see the wires 'n stuff.

I woulda thought that France's nuke fan club would be dreading the advent of Sarko.  After enough privatisation, crony capitalism, no-bid cost-plus contracts, secrecy and obfuscation, security apparatus repressing citizen participation, etc., I'm sure he can turn the French nuclear sector into the same massive fubar it is in the States.  The only reason it even seems to work (mho) is because of the high calibre of French public servants, the strong regulatory presence of the State and relatively open process.  Sarko plans to demolish all that, if he can get away with it.

I'm depressed...  the only bright spot, I suppose, is that if the Bush regime finally faces impeachment trials and there are convictions, publication of damning documents, etc. then Sarko will look a bit pie-faced for being such a Bush buddy.  If the Bush mafia were to take a serious dive, it might have beneficial repercussions in Oz, Canada, and France...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 01:17:33 AM EST
If the Bush mafia were to take a serious dive, it might have beneficial repercussions in Oz, Canada, and France...

The UK, though, is beyond rescue. LOL.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 03:08:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking Phoney Tony already jumped the shark.  not sure what comes next for the old homeland...  Livingston for PM [yer, in my dreams :-)]  ...time to watch 'A Very British Coup' again and feel wistful?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 04:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Business Week:
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

(in french in the text...)

Pierre
by Pierre on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 11:26:03 AM EST
In any country but France, it would look like a mandate for sweeping change.

Good find, Pierre, and good call, Jérôme!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 11:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bricmont on the Sarko phenomenon and the power of the media echo chamber
Two thirds of French people think their country is in decline. That is without doubt the principal reason why Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President of the Republic. Moreover, the main way the media contributed to his triumph was by years of constant propaganda on the theme of "the decline of France", along with the related theme of "security".

There are various ways to counter that notion. One is to show that the selection and interpretation of the statistics used to "prove" France's decline are extremely biased. (For example, on the subject of youth unemployment, see Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C., "An Economist View of the French Election".)

Another approach is to ask what solutions are proposed by the heralds of "decline".

The declinists cleverly mix up two problems. One is the decline of France in relation to the emerging countries, especially in Asia. The other is the supposed decline of France in relation to other industrialized countries, especially the United States and Britain. The first form of "decline" is merely the reflection of a very positive development: the fact that large parts of the Third World are catching up with the industrialized West. But, since it would make no sense to propose imitating China and India, the declinists propose imitating the Anglo-American model, which is supposed to avoid decline by a series of measures: flexible work conditions, destruction of hard-won social protections and public services, tough security enforcement and moral rearmament.

But let's take a closer look at their favorite model, the United States. [...]

repeating a lie often enough makes it true.

of course, with a neocon in charge it is likely that quality of life in France really will start to decline, except for the 5 percent at the top of the income pyramid.  and then there will be 'proof' that Sarko is needed to save the day...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:09:13 PM EST


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