Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

France: New Government in Love with Bosses, Bosses in Love with New Government.

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Manuel Valls accueilli sur scène par le patron des patrons, Pierre Gattaz.

Bosses Applaud the ‘Valls Show’.

Yesterday the Parti Socialist Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, wowed the French employers’ federation (the MEDEF) summer get-together.

«Moi j’aime l’entreprise !»  he said – I love Business.

Libération reports that in response to his speech bosses applauded wildly.

They said “there’s no question, he’s better than the Right” .

L’Humanité notes that Valls told the audience,

France needs you. The return to growth will come above all by supporting businesses, “said the Prime Minister to the cheers of hundreds of entrepreneurs. He wanted to reassure them about their future profits, repeating, as he had done the day after the announcement of the composition of the new government, that he was confident of getting the support of the majority to vote  for his “pact of responsibility.”(1)

The is intervention comes just after France’s President, François Hollande, and PM Valls, formed a new Cabinet – just a few months after they launched one after disastrous local (losing control of 150 towns) and European election results in which the Front National topped the polls at 24.86%.

Valls own present popularity stands at 36% in opinion polls, with his own chief, Hollande, gets around 17% of favourable responses.

The New Cabinet is dominated by those aligned to the ‘social-liberal’ wing of the Socialists.

A principal reason for the  switch-over was that left-wingers, notably former Economy Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, and one of the education Ministers,  Benoît Hamon refused  to back austerity measures.

A group of Socialist “frondeurs” (rebels) had emerged earlier this year when the Pacte de reponsabilité (which essentially makes concessions to employers’ demands for ‘flexibility’ in the labour market) was first put forward by President François Hollande. Battles inside the government led nowhere.

“I will follow the example of Cincinnatus,” Mr. Montebourg said, in reference to the modest Roman statesman, “who preferred to quit power to return to his fields and plows.”

It will not have escaped many people’s attention that Montebourg received 17,19 % of the Vote in the  2011 ‘primaries’ to decide who should represent the party as a presidential candidate. (2)

The present Prime Minister, Manuel Valls got 5,63 % in the same contest.

Montebourg’s ideas include proposals for a more democratic “sixth republic”, and a critique of globalisation (more, in English, here).

In response to the star-reception of the PM by the MEDEF Thierry Lepaon the leader of the left-wing union federation, the CGT, denounced the way the new government was “mixing” the role of the State and that of the bosses’ federation.

Criticising the MEDEF’s claims that its own plans would create a million new jobs he noted that the state already gave extensive grants to companies without proper control, and that many firms had given big dividends to shareholders at a time when they were pleading fir more public help. By contrast there seems little attention paid to the needs of young people, the retired, the unemployed and workers in the government’s plans.

This morning news emerged  from new Minister of the Economy,  Emmanuel Macron, that the government intends to consolidate its rightward shift  by loosening the laws regulating the length of the working week (based on a 35 hour standard). The regulations on Sunday working will also be liberalised.

France 24 paints the economic backdrop to the crisis of the French Socialist-led government.

The labour ministry said there were now 3.424 million people out of work, an increase of around 26,000. It was the ninth consecutive rise in the monthly unemployment figures.

“This rise reflects zero growth in the eurozone and in France,” Labour Minister François Rebsamen said in a statement.

France, Europe’s second biggest economy, is battling a political and economic crisis seen as the worst since Hollande took power more than two years ago.

Growth has ground to a halt in the first six months of the year and Hollande has been unable to live up to his promise to bring down unemployment.

His strategy for pulling France out of the mire is his much-vaunted Responsibility Pact, which will cut social charges for businesses by 40 billion euros ($53 billion) in exchange for them creating 500,000 jobs by 2017.

(1) Le pacte de responsabilité , an agreement to reduce social charges in companies (that is, to cut employer contributions to social insurance), ‘modernise’ taxation, and ‘simplify’ labour laws. It’s reported today that the employers’ federation,m the MEDEF, is already working on a plan, France 2020, with the agreement of the  ‘social-liberal’ union, the CFDT, to weaken labour legislation on companies with more than 50 employees.

(2) He was in third position, behind  François Hollande  and Martine Aubry.


Summary of the 8–9 and 15–16 October 2011 French Socialist Party presidential primary
Candidates Parties 1st round 2nd round
Votes  % Votes  %
  François Hollande Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 1,038,207 39.17% 1,607,268 56.57%
  Martine Aubry Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 806,189 30.42% 1,233,899 43.43%
  Arnaud Montebourg Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 455,609 17.19%  
  Ségolène Royal Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 184,096 6.95%
  Manuel Valls Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) PS 149,103 5.63%
  Jean-Michel Baylet Radical Party of the Left (Parti Radical de Gauche) PRG 17,055 0.64%
Total 2,650,259 100.00% 2,860,157 100.00%
Valid votes 2,650,259 99.59% 2,860,157 99.34%
Spoilt and null votes 11,025 0.41% 18,990 0.66%
Total 2,661,284 100.00% 2,879,147 100.00%
Table of results ordered by number of votes received in first round, complete results on resultats.lesprimairescitoyennes.fr.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 28, 2014 at 10:52 am

3 Responses

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  1. German and, more in general, European bankers and entrepreneurs succeeded in putting at the top of the most important European States some puppets obeying to their will, be the government led by the “left” or by the right. Valls and Renzi are two examples of socio-political climbers (they’re two absolute nullities, indeed) that managed to hijack socialdemocratic parties and lead them to carry out “reforms” (reduction of democracy and workers’ rights) that no right-wing party would have been able to enact because of the strong opposition that they would have ingenerated (perhaps only for electoral purposes, but, still…). The Socialist Party of Europe is now officially a right-wing party covering up its reaganism/thatcherism (blairism is the way to hijack the left parties and unions, reaganism/thatcherism the political orientation) with some liberal make-up (gay marriage, women’s rights..)


    August 28, 2014 at 11:22 am

  2. Part of the problem is how bad the left is at marketing. We need to start calling austerity by what it really is: The redistribution of wealth from the bottom and middle to the top. There’s no ‘austerity’ for banks and those who run them. On the contrary. Now the disease is spreading.


    August 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

  3. Tony, I did not expect Hollande to turn out as bad as he has.

    I did not expect him to be a democratic socialist, or even a social democrat (which is what he and Valls call themselves now).

    But I did hope that he would put into effect some decent changes, reforms and so on.

    Were I in France I’d be in one of the components of the Front de gauche, which now appears, perhaps unfortunately to be turning into a looser more People’s Assembly against Austerity like structure.

    Pink, maybe we should be concentrating on something that could come out of the debates around Piketty?

    Anyway a lot of people are reported, unsurprisingly, to be deeply disillusioned.

    For those who read French this is what many in Hollande’s own party are saying,

    “«C’est plus qu’une désillusion» pour la militante nancéienne Marianne Birck, 34 ans. «La campagne que j’ai faite pour François Hollande, c’était pas pour mettre en œuvre cette politique là. Le gouvernement n’aura pas changé la vie des gens», déplore cette partisane de Martine Aubry, qui cotise au PS depuis l’âge de 19 ans.

    «Cela fait quelques mois déjà qu’on se rend compte que François Hollande tourne un peu le dos à ses engagements de campagne et ça nous déçoit un peu. Force est de constater que ce nouveau gouvernement, c’est pas un signal très positif», déplore aussi Thomas Couvert, un étudiant de 22 ans à Rennes.

    Le nouveau ministre de l’Économie, Emmanuel Macron, avec son CV de banquier et son profil social-libéral, est particulièrement fustigé par de nombreux militants: «Quand on a dit pendant la campagne +mon ennemi c’est la finance+ et que les électeurs nous ont élus sur ce programme-là, c’est un signal très négatif et même une provocation de nommer une telle personne», insiste Thomas Couvert.

    «On va encore plus loin que ce qui avait été fait précédemment, du coup ça va dans un mauvais axe politique et économique», abonde Pierre-Louis Landureau, un jeune militant d’Ille-et-Vilaine âgé de 17 ans.

    Mais le profil de l’ancien secrétaire général adjoint de l’Élysée, bardé de diplômes, en séduit aussi certains: «Emmanuel Macron? Visiblement, il a des neurones bien faits», juge à Nancy Luc Méjean, 70 ans, qui lui aurait toutefois préféré l’économiste Thomas Piketty.

    Le Premier ministre «Manuel Valls a eu raison» de se séparer d’Arnaud Montebourg et de Benoît Hamon, car ils «ont ouvert leur gueule dans le gouvernement, alors qu’ils n’en avaient pas le droit», estime-t-il.

    – Instinct de survie –


    Andrew Coates

    August 28, 2014 at 11:45 am

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