Tendance Coatesy

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Mélenchon and Jacobinism.

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How BBC Sees Front de Gauche.

A ‘Jacobin’, a ‘Gaullist’, that was the way Jean-Luc Mélenchon was described on Newsnight yesterday.

By no coincidence Daniel Cohen-Bendit, a leading figure the French and European Green political scene had made the same assessment a couple of days ago  (une interview au Monde).  He laid into the Front de Gauche and expressed his horror at,

L’émergence de cette gauche, jacobine, centralisatrice et caricaturale est pain bénit pour Nicolas Sarkozy.”

The emergence of this Left, Jacobin, centralising and caricatural, is manna from heaven for Nicolas Sarkozy.”

Mélenchon has responded by observing the Cohen Bendit is a

“spécialisé à tirer dans le dos. Il tire dans le dos d’Eva Joly. Il tire dans le mien… C’est une habitude chez lui. (France Inter. )

He’s a specialist in stabbing people in back. he did to Eva Joly (Danny the Red’s own party candidate who he advises to to stand down from the election), and now he’s doing it to me. It’s a habit for him.

On Newsnight the Front de Gauche candidate said that to be called a Jacobin is an “honour”.

But is the Front de Gauche ‘Jacobin’, nationalist, or even ‘Gaullist’?

The initial agreement for the elections (March 2011) refers to the inspiring fight for universal rights underway in the Arab Spring. Mélenchon’s speech at the Bastille thundered that the French are the People of Revolt of the Revolution – and then went straight onto announce solidarity with the people’s of Europe, beginning with Greece, fighting finance capital and austerity.

And the centralising state?

The Programme of the Front de Gauche calls for a citizen’s revolution and for participative democracy.

There are undoubtably  problems in evoking the French Revolution, as “un bloc”, to be defended.

Jules Michelet, for example, the first major historian of the Revolution, has a strain of  worship for the French nation, allied to anglophobia

Many will not appreciate references by the Front de Gauche to ‘anglo-saxons’.

In fact many people in the Isles are not ‘anglo-saxons’, notably in the Labour movement, where the ‘Celtic’ strand (itself an ambiguous word) is strong.

There many be common point between the US economy and other English-speaking lands.

But politically?

The USA is a Republic, the UK is a Monarchy.

Britain has a left, the USA barely has one.

And here, the Welfare State, hardly in existence in America, plays the role that the Republic does in France.

A European Social Republic would unite us.

And that’s what the Front de Gauche stands for.


Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

One Response

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  1. sounds, that they willingly use labels more suitable for the late Georges Frêche than for Mélenchon


    April 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

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