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Arnaud Montebourg Launches Presidential Bid: Sovereigntists and Political Confusionists.

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Arnaud Montebourg, créateur des miels Bleu Blanc Ruche, sur le marché de Louhans ce lundi 10 juin | Voix du Jura

Montebourg: a Hive of Actitity Behind Presidential Bid.

Arnaud Montebourg is a former member of the French Parti Socialist, a founder of a left-wing current Nouveau Parti Socialiste (NPS). He was  Ministère de l’Économie et des Finances and held other posts under François Holland’s Presidency until 2014 when he resigned. A lawyer by training he quit politics. After some academic teaching, he moved into business. At present he runs a company  Bleu Blanc Ruche, producing ice-cream,  honey and almonds.

Montebourg has developed his own ideas. He first talked of a ” capitalisme coopératif” and then advocated ‘de-mondialisation’ – de-globalisation.  Against globalised capitalism, and for green policies, one of the few explicit lines of thought he came up with were centred on the idea of ​​a strong state, controlling finance, and capable of taking measures vis-à-vis the financial and banking system.

On this basis he stood in 2017 (as head of his own micro-party, Le projet France) in the Parti Socialiste’s ‘Citizen’s Primary’. This vote, open to all who signed a declaration of support for left-wing values,  to choose their Presidential candidate. He came third, behind Manuel Valls and Benoît Hamon (who became the PS candidate) with 17.52% of the vote.

Montebourg has now launched a new bid to stand for French President in the 2022 election.

 

The ex-Socialist has been discussing the construction of a large front, from the French right to the republican, sovereigntist left,  to oppose Emmanuel Macron. “I am no longer attached to any party”. He has talked to figures on the hard-right Les Républicaines (LR) like the leader of their group in the  European Parliament, François-Xavier Bellamy. LR nationally is less than enthusiastic about a potential alliance, but that has not stopped him trying:

To promote his ideas and Presidential adventure Montebourg has formed a new micro-party,  L’Engagement (named after the book shown below).

Rejoignez le mouvement l’Engagement

Nous voulons le retour d’un État au service de l’intérêt général, libéré de l’emprise d’une minorité. L’Engagement affirme que les préoccupations des Françaises et des Français doivent être les priorités de l’Etat : la réponse à l’urgence climatique, la protection de nos emplois existants et à venir, de nos libertés, l’entraide et le dialogue entre tous.

We want the return of a State at the service of the general interest, free from the grip of a minority. L’Engagement affirms that the concerns of French women and men must be the priorities of the State: the response to the climate emergency, the protection of our existing and future jobs, our freedoms, mutual aid and dialogue between us all.

Who could possibly be against that!

Mediapart has a long article on this venture:

Montebourg, ou l’aventureux pari du souverainisme des deux rives

  ET 

L’engagement has garnered 2,000 rather heterogeneous supporters: socialists, but also voters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2017, disappointed Bayrou, radicals, executives and entrepreneurs,”

Tomorrow he was due to attend a Conference on the Republic organised by one of the factions that has emerged from the nationalist left, « Nation souveraine ». Cancelled because of the pandemic (perhaps there will be a mass Zoom?) the event featured this characters,

Jean-Pierre Chevènement (former left socialist,  authoritarian Minister in  the Jospin government of the late 1990s a founder of modern French sovereigntist politics), LR MP Julien Aubert (hard traditional right party see above) Henri Guaino, (also LR), the economist David Cayla (blames neoliberalism for populism), Céline Pina, at one point close to the secularist, but nationalist Printemps républicain before joining the red-brown group bringing together far right figures and left nationalists, a kind of heavyweight Spiked.  la galaxie Onfray

One of them would have been this chap,

….former aide to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Djordje Kuzmanovic – who posed with a ’Union Jack to fête le Brexit, en février 2020, avec François Asselineau (has his own Frexit party, L’Union populaire républicaine (UPR)), Florian Philippot (former Front National) et Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (has his own national populist party Debout la France (DLF)…

What a meeting!

It is said that Mélenchon is concerned about this initiative eating into his support.

At least one person thinks he can get into the second round of the contest, the above red-browner Kuzmanovic.

The authors of the Mediapart article helpfully point out , however, that with 2,000 backers Montebourg faces 200 000 parrainages citoyens already pledged for a Mélenchon candidacy.

There are also potential left candidacies from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Christiane Marie Taubira  as well as presence of the (Green) Yannick Jadot. Amongst others…

There is a precedent for Montebourg’s bid..

Jean-Pierre Chevènement led the left socialist current, CERES in the 1970s (a founding force in the French Socialist Party, was the most famous French political figures who moved from any form of leftist politics to sovereigntism. In 2002 he stood for President as a republican nationalist. Declaring his candidacy was neither right nor left,  « ni de droite, ni de gauche » he won over royalists, former supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen or sovereignists), socialists, as well as those close to the far left. He was backed by Régis Debray. Chevènement got  5% of the vote.

Of wider interest is the way in which figures of the left have become involved figures clearly on the national populist right. As a comparison Spiked springs to mind, although in France Montebourg has more serious connections,  intentions and ambitions.

Is this a response to the blow against Populism inflicted by the defeat of Donald Trump?

French sovereigntism looks to many like a form of national populism.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 22, 2021 at 12:48 pm