Posts Tagged ‘French Politics’
Fraternity: LO Style.
After high- jinks with Jimas we return to the calmer waters of the left.
Well, kind of calm.
Last weekend was Lutte Ouvrière’s annual Fête.
The comrades from the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty were mainly impressed by the continuious rain.
This is some of the French press reaction.
It will come as no surprise that Lutte ouvrière does not like the French Socialist-led government.
Life under François Hollande? “It’s worse” than under Nicolas Sarkozy. That was the message delivered on Sunday May 19 at the annual celebration of Lutte ouvrière in Presles (Val-d’Oise), through its spokesperson Nathalie Arthaud*. A year after the Presidential election, when she received 0.56% of the vote, the former candidate strongly attacked the Head of State. She called him the “armed wing of the bourgeoisie.” Here.
The rest of the Le Monde article is only availalbe for 2 Euros, but as I have a print copy I can say that Arthuad went on in this vein to run down the entire French left.
Libération reports that,
Mélenchon, under the guise of “radical appearance,” is “politically hollow” and “opposed to the interests of workers.” Mocking his willingness to take the Bastille while aspiring to be the Prime Minister, she proclaimed her ” pride of not only taking part in the demonstration on May 5,” the call for the 6th Republic initiated by the leader of the Left Front.
Libé goes onto cite something rude she said about the Parti Communiste.
But what struck me in the original article was the glacial remarks Arthaud made about the Nouveau party anti-capitaliste (NPA).
They were severely at fault for participating in the 5th of May demonstration and for dropping the word ‘communist’ from their name (as in Ligue communiste révolutionnaire).
The Le Monde article helpfully noted that the LO leader is a municipal councillor, elected as part of a Parti communiste français list.
This is indeed the case, “Conseillère municipale à Vaulx-en-Velin (Rhône) élue sur la liste conduite par le Parti communiste. “
We imagine the PCF are well-pleased with her remarks.
* Candidate for the 2012 Presidential election: 0,56 % of the vote (202 548)
Des opposants au mariage homosexuel manifestent à Paris, le 23 avril 2013 (Photo Kenzo Tribouillard. AFP)
“Vous êtes en train d’assassiner des enfants !”
You’re murdering children!
Reactions against gay marriage and adoption rights in France are extreme to say the least.
This was not a statement the far-right but France’s’ but from a deputy, of the Rhône Philippe Cochet, from the ‘centre-right’ UMP, during the Parliamentary debate.
You can’t help but think that Jean-François Kahn had a point this morning on the Belgium radio La Première when he said that the UMP (once led by Nicolas Sarkozy) has outdone the neo-fascists in this campaign against gays.
They have marched, arm-in-arm, with the Front National, as this picture indicates,
Well, the marriage for everyone (le marriage pour tous) is now on the way to being law (subject to an ultimate appeal to the Constitutional Council).
Not without the most ferocious resistance threatened for the coming months.
The anti-gay movement behind figures like the ‘comedian’ Frigide Barjot (what card she must be, say the name out loud! – and Barjot means nutter as well…), is virulent beyond belief.
In the mouvance called the Printemps français you will find well-dressed thugs, religious fanatics, and the shadow of Petanism.
That is the direct descendants of the collaboration (details here in today’s Libération).
They constantly harass supporters, government members or not, of gay marriage.
They claim to have launched an «insurrection permanente».
It is quite vile.
PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The CEO of a U.S. tyre maker has delivered a crushing summary of how some outsiders view France’s work ethic in a letter saying he would have to be stupid to take over a factory whose staff only put in three hours work a day.
Titan International’s Maurice Taylor, nicknamed “The Grizz” for his negotiating style, told the left-wing French industry minister in a letter published by media on Wednesday that he had no interest in rescuing a plant set for closure.
“The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three,” Taylor wrote on Feb. 8 in the letter in English to the minister, Arnaud Montebourg.
“I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!” Taylor added in the letter, which was posted by business daily Les Echos on its website and which the ministry confirmed was genuine.
“Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs,” he said. “You can keep the so-called workers.”
I think it would be fair to say that these comments have not gone down well in France.
l’Humanité leads with,
“Le PDG de Titan insulte les ouvriers de Goodyear dans un courrier à Montebourg”.
Imagine, having breaks from chatting and lazing around for an hour a day!
On Mali the sweeping generalisations of the Stop the War Coalition finds their mirror image in the moral bankruptcy of Bernard-Henri Lévy.
Lévy, we are not entirely surprised, (ho hum…) to learn, supports the French intervention (Here).
This is why (I reproduce the all-too faithful translation of French syntax on his site of the former Nouveau Philosophe’s French syntax),
Firstly, “It says no to obscurantism and terrorism in the region. The response of the Malian Taliban and what that response tells us about their discipline and their military capacity (for example, their ability to down planes) will finally prove, if more proof were needed, that we are dealing with a criminal army: organized, trained, fearsome.”
Hackles raised (“criminal army: organized, trained, fearsome” as if the Malian Jihadists were a force capable of storming the gates of Hell), we then hear that the intervention,
“ blocks the true aim of the Ansar Dine group’s advance on the capital, Bamako, which is to reinforce Islamist cells operating to the west, in Mauritania, and to the southeast, in Niger; to join up, farther south, with the fighters of Boko Haram, the radical Islamist movement that has sown death and destruction in Nigeria for three years now; and thus to open up a lethal corridor through the subregion, a corridor that would, were it not for the French operation, have been nearly impossible to breach.”
With such strategic ambitions, no doubt illustrated by the Islamists clever alienation of the populations under their control, their destruction of religious monuments, their rapes, their cruel Sharia law, we have recourse only to this: the ‘West’ coming in.
“As a matter of principle, it confirms the responsibility to protect civilian populations that underpinned the earlier intervention in Libya.”
The ‘West’s’ actions in Libya were the result of a number of strategic calculations, amongst which the desire to get rid of Gaddafi, on the basis of a popular uprising were but one. The extremely serious former official American Tripoli attaché, Ethan Daniel Chorin, analyses this in Exit Gaddaffi: the hidden History of the Libyan revolution (2012). Chorin notes how complex and hesitant the decisions that led to this intervention were. Protecting civilian populations was only one of many other, more hard-headed, justifications for the West’s backing for Gaddafi’s overthrow. Even officially….
The result in not generally considered an unqualified success.
It reaffirms the old idea of just war brought back into fashion by the Libyan revolution. François Hollande decided to use force only as a last resort. He did so in accord with international law as articulated in the Security Council’s resolution of Dec. 12. He satisfied himself that the operation had a “reasonable” chance of success and that the harm that it would inflict would, “in all likelihood,” be less than that which it would prevent. That is the lesson of the jurist Grotius and of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an elegant and useful lesson in practical philosophy.
Grotius and Saint Thomas Aquinas were no doubt unfamiliar with France’s colonial history in Africa, or with ‘Françafrique. It is doubtful however if they would give the right to declare ‘just wars’ to third parties with interests, but not populations, involved in the fight.They would no doubt have hesitated to endorse the idea that it was entirely up to François Hollande to decide on the right to intervene in Mali.
We observe in passing that there are plenty of people ready to challenge the idea that he has done so according to international law, not least because of the lack of legitimacy of the Mali government and military.
The military-philospher next declares,
“it restates the prominent role of France in the front lines of the struggle for democracy. Is Hollande following in the footsteps of Sarkozy? As if that were the question! As if what were at stake here were not a thousand times more important than any political rivalry or personal competition. Seen in U.S. terms, France (regardless of party) appears to be in the process of inventing a strategic doctrine that tackles from the rear the twin evils of neoconservatism and noninterventionism.”
The last part of the sentence is a very imperfect translation of “prenant également à revers ces deux fléaux jumeaux que sont, d’une part, le néoconservatisme et, de l’autre, le souverainisme - et de cela encore, sans être exagérément ”patriote”, on aurait tort de ne pas se réjouir.” (French version)
This meant, in the original, the “twins” of neoconservativism and “sovereigntism. Sovereigntism is a broad doctrine, held on parts of both the French Right and Left, from the ‘Gaullists’ to the John Pierre Chevènement on the left, that national sovereignty is a prime political value. Supporters of this view (or rather, some of them) oppose intervention in another nation’s affairs, by war above all, not just on ‘non-interventionist’, grounds (which could include a judgement of French national ‘interests) but as a matter of principle.
How can we have democracy without some basic respect for the people, if not the ‘nation’ of ‘sovereign states’ of the world?
There is no actually existing cosmopolitan democracy.
Hollande is acting out of his government’s assessment of their interests. These may include the promotion of democratic values but you don’t have to be a ‘wise guy’ to suspect that the reasons why France is concerned about Sahal states are principally their own, ‘sovereign’ ones.
..inevitably, there will soon arise the chorus of Cassandras crying quagmire, another Vietnam, the adventurism of a war that was supposed to last only a few days but that has ground on. Easy words in a democracy of opinion. Will France’s leaders have enough grit to stand up to the chorus once it finds its voice, to meet it with steady determination and clear explanations of what is at stake?
The American version omits this phrase,
“ saura-t-on opposer le mépris qui convient à ceux qui crient déjà au retour de la Françafrique et de ses réflexes néocoloniaux ?”
That is, those who say that this is a return to French neo-colonialism, or “la Françafrique.”
The adventure is beginning to look increasingly framed exactly within these terms.
The real issue is: how to defeat the Islamists, restore democracy to Mali, avoid ethnic killings and the brutality of the Malian army by the actions of the Malian people themselves.
This is no seriously discussed.
Without taking these central issues into account, Lévy is as bankrupt at the Stop the War Coalition who simply cry out, “it’s another Afghanistan’.
We can, however, agree with his final sentence.
“What is certain is that François Hollande is facing his first real political test—and his first confrontation with history.”