Political Confusion on the European Union Gains Ground on the Left: Jacques Sapir and the Front National.
Jacques Sapir: Red/Brown Alliance Against European Union.
There is an excellent French Blog site which deals in “political confusionism”.
Back in July it picked up on a development that’s hit the headlines in France over the last few days: the call by “left” economist Jacques Sapir for an alliance with the Front National. (JACQUES SAPIR, UN HOMME DE GAUCHE ?).
Like many people (including we note floating voter Tariq Ali who got a column in Le Monde recently hinting darkly at ‘the left’ turning against Europe) he is claiming that the crisis in Greece shows the need for a left-wing anti-European Union stand.
Sapir has gone one stage further than the NO2EU UK left and indicated that he would be favourable to this:
Like certain British Labour politicians he has a fondness for evoking memories of the Resistance.
Sapir gave the Conseil national de la résistance (CNR) as his model.
Sapir is no unknown: a prominent economist, and Director of the Centre d’études des modes d’industrialisation (CEMI-EHESS), he has been close to the Front de Gauche, to Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche and to the “sovereigntist” former Socialist Minister (and leader of the left tendency inside the Parti Socialiste, CERES), Jean-Pierre Chevènement.
On the Confusionisme site Ornella Guyet adds,
Prominent in the current debate surrounding the Greek crisis, a prominent supporter of “de-globalization” – whose theories inspired the Arnaud Montebourg’s (1) discourse on the question – he is also an expert on Russia, known for his softness towards the Putin regime, equally famous for his careerism, his homophobia and his alliances with the far right in Europe. His site Russeurope, given legitimacy by legitimized by its academic pretensions Jacques Sapir is a frequent guest of the salons of the Russian embassy, as well as seminars of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a think tank based in Paris to promote the image of Putin’s Russia in Europe. Not surprisingly, we find his name in several pro-Kremlin media, Voice of Russia and Sputnik News.
More recently, obsessed by the Euro, he has become ever closer to the “sovereigntists” of the Right: the groupuscule Debout la République
Sapir claims that the Front National has “changed” from its far-right origins, and that in any case he was talking about an alliance of the right and left involving a party that has “come from” this transformed FN.
Immediate reaction on the left to Sapir’s ideas was not favourable.
Eric Coquerel, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s close ally, called this strategy “an aberration”. He continued, “Given the scale of the current crisis, we must offer an alternative to fascist and xenophobic reactions. Their nation is not ours. ” Clémentine Autain (Ensemble), a leader of the Left Front has said that “The phenomenon is not massive…but it gives credibility to the FN . “
It is however well known that Mélenchon’s party is openly flirting with the idea of a “Plan B”, that is, leaving the Euro, “if a renegotiation of EU treaties fails .”
They plan an “internationalist summit for Plan B” to be held in late 2015 which bring together those in the like minded “left” who agree to work together on the subject. (More here)
Sovereigntism, that is the belief that the “nation” has the supreme right to decide “its” fate – faced with international forces, from the European Union to NATO – appears to be gaining ground on the British left as well. The collapse of sections of the left to the belief that Scotland would be better off governed by its “ain folk” in the SNP was one indication. After the Greek crisis, anti-European Union voices have become louder, promoting perhaps a return to a belief in a road to socialism outside of the EU.
At a time when fear of ‘foreigners’ – migrant workers, refugees in particular – is reaching an all-time high in Europe, playing with nationalism seems a dangerous gamble.
(1) Left-wing of the Parti Socialiste. Montebourg scored 17,19 % in the first round of the open PS French Presidential “primaries” of the party, which involved 2,700,000 voters who signed a declaration saying the backed the values of the left – without anybody wetting themselves about “infiltration”.