Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

France: is President Macron turning left to face the Coronavirus Crisis?

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Image result for Macron coronavirus allocution

Coronavirus is France’s ‘greatest health crisis in a century’, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said that the coronavirus epidemic was France’s worst health crisis in a century and announced that schools throughout the country would close from next week.
Creches, schools and also universities would close from Monday “until further notice”, Macron said in an address to the nation on the fight against the coronavirus. He also urged all people older than 70, those who suffer chronic diseases, respiratory troubles and the handicapped, “to stay at home” if possible.

But the president also said that nationwide local elections scheduled for Sunday will not be postponed.

“We are just at the beginning of this crisis,” Macron said.

“In spite of all our efforts to break it, this virus is continuing to propagate and to accelerate.”

The speech was widely welcomed and stand in contrast to the shifty response by our own PM.

Some saw something of a  new “alter-globalisation” Macron.

 Macron’s defence of the welfare state and need to protect services “outside the laws of the market” appeared to signal a leftward shift in the President’s politics.

Face au coronavirus, les habits neufs du docteur Macron

Sylvain Courage  Nouvel Obs.

Avec des accents qui ont dû réjouir l’aile gauche de la majorité et estomaquer ses opposants socialistes et « insoumis », il appelle à « interroger le modèle de développement dans lequel s’est engagé notre monde depuis des décennies et qui dévoile ses failles au grand jour ». Sus à la mondialisation ? Macron vante désormais le service public de santé, l’Etat-providence et tous ces « biens et services qui doivent être placés en dehors des lois du marché.  Déléguer notre alimentation, notre protection, notre capacité à soigner, notre cadre de vie, au fond, à d’autres est une folie », assure-t-il.”

With accents that must have cheered the left wing of the majority and come as a belly blow to his socialist and “insoumises” (La France insoumise) opponents, he  put in  “question the development model in which our world has engaged for decades and which has now clearly shown its flaws Is globalisation itself in question? Macron has now praised the public health service, the welfare state and all those “goods and services which must be placed outside the laws of the market” . “Delegating our food, our protection, our ability to care, our way of life, to others is, basically,  madness,” he said.

Another commentator  Serge Raffy argues in the same Novel Obs that Macron has turned to national sovereigntism, putting the needs of the nation first.

Coronavirus : Macron converti au souverainisme ?

Raffey argues that some of the measures, including a break from tight financial controls, may be conjunctural. Others seem as if they are part of a national moblisation, a war against the Virus, “Contre un virus malin” the malign symbol, despite itself, or a process of globalisation on its last legs.

Others were even more reserved.

In Libération Alain Auffray and Christophe Alix  take a sceptical angle on the kind of “rupture”, or break, with globalisation and liberal economics, offered by President Macron.

Allocution : Macron, atteint par le virus de l’altermondialisme ?

When the globalised economy appears on the brink and a financial crisis looms, Emmanuel Macron has been happy to use radical language . Thursday evening, at the conclusion of his address to the French people, the Head of State estimated that the epidemic revealed “in broad daylight” the flaws of the “development model” in which our world has been engaged for decades. “What this pandemic has shown is that there are goods and services that must be placed outside the laws of the market,” he said as the champion  the welfare state, beginning with  the free universal health service, “an essential asset when tragedy  strikes” .

The journalists compare this to radical statements made by former President Nicolas Sarkozy faced with the 2008 Banking Crisis. The head of state at that time talked of a “refondation du capitalisme” and a sustainable model of growth, “«croissance durable».

This rhetoric re amounted to little concrete, long-term, action once the crisis passed its peak.

Others are even less happy:

(Note the use of the hard-right term “globalist”)


You can see the Macron speech here:


This response is far from isolated.

Germany is already contemplating nationalisations in the wake of the coronavirus crisis on the economy.

European authorities are increasing efforts to try to stave off the economic effects of coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Europe ramps up support for ailing firmsThe European Union (EU) will put a package of measures in place including a €37bn euro (£33bn) investment initiative.

And German finance minister Olaf Scholz said his country could part nationalise firms to tackle the crisis.

Some of these responses seem an extension of state response in line with the analysis offered last week by Phil Hearse,

Emergency government measures to combat the virus, and the development of a vaccine, are the key priorities today. But world solutions are needed, because even if the outbreak dies down in more advanced countries, it is likely to continue to rage in countries with less developed health systems. If the small number of cases in South Africa spreads, in a country were hundreds of thousand are HIV-positive with rock bottom immune systems, the impact could be devastating. The Republic’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has already warned that there will be a national crisis. If the virus rages in poorer countries, it will rebound back into countries where the virus has died down.

In the longer-term, humanity needs to ask pointed questions about the wave of pandemics that have swept the world in the last twenty years.

The Virus – Apocalypse Now?

It would appear that, faced with the emergency, many states are responding with strong measures.

Welcome as this may be, with strong reservations about the details, it is not the same thing as a turn to the left.


Written by Andrew Coates

March 14, 2020 at 12:52 pm

3 Responses

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  1. BBC FEAR breaking news….

    A 110-year-old woman from Hampshire has died. She had ‘underlying health conditions’. This brings the total deaths in the UK in the past 24 hours to 1500. And brings the grim death total in the UK from March last year year to 552,000.

    Lots more to follow on the fear-mongering breaking news non-story


    March 14, 2020 at 3:37 pm

  2. Is turning “left” turning toward Stalin? Mao? Ceausescu? Pol Pot? all of the above? Is left different from religious national socialism?


    March 15, 2020 at 2:39 am

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