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Jean-Louis Trintignant (1930 – 2022).

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Jean-Louis Trintignant, one of the best actors associated with the Nouvelle Vague, passed away yesterday at the age of 91. He performed in 120 films, as well as making a career in the theatre to which he largely devoted his later years (Jean-Louis Trintignant et son triomphe tardif au théâtre).

Ma nuit chez Maud (1969), a talking film (“un film parlant”), that could be called Pascal’s Wager and Seduction, by director-auteur Eric Rohmer, Et Dieu… créa la femme (1956), Brigitte Bardot’s most famous vehicle, Amour (2012), a beautiful study of old age, tumble out from a stream of memorable films in which Trintignant appeared. Even if only seen years after it came out, A Man and a Woman ( Un homme et une femme), 1966, in which he starred with Anouk Aimée remains one of the best cinematic love stories ever presented. Twenty years later it was followed by Un homme et une femme : Vingt ans déjà (1986).

Trintignant starred in two milestones of political cinema.  As Marcello Clerici, the agent of Mussolini’s state charged with the murder of Professor Quadri, an outspoken anti-Fascist intellectual exiled in France, in Bertolucci’s  Il conformista (1970) and the Examining Magistrate in Z (1969) by Costa-Gavras,  a lightly-fictionalised account of events around the assassination of the democratic left Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis  in 1963, are enduring performances.

Scrolling down the long list of films Trintignant appeared in there are too many to cite, from the hugely enjoyable La Crime, 1983 (short for la Brigade Criminelle) to Rouge, (1994) in the series, Blue, Blanc Rouge by Christophe Kieślowski . One of the last films in the cinema he appeared in Happy End (2017) was, like Amour, produced by the radical Austrian director and screen writer Michael Haneke.

There are also too many tributes to list. Here is a link to the Guardian’s. Jean-Louis Trintignant obituary

While not deeply involved in politics but on the left, Trintignant was a “communist sympathiser” in his youth, and during the struggle for Algerian independence, the Algerian war (1954-1962) refused to back the French military attempt to retain colonial power. 

“He was 24 years old when the latter broke out and he was called up to do his military service. He recounted in 2017 in the Journal du dimanche that the army had  “done everything to try to get me to reform. I made myself ill because I didn’t like this war at all. I was hoping not to go there but did not wish to to be a rebel either…”Finally sent to Germany, then to Algeria, the army made him pay harshly for his pacifism and his refusal to condemn the Algerian National Liberation Front which was leading the fight against colonialism.” (Jean-Louis Trintignant et la guerre d’Algérie : un épisode un peu oublié) The Algerian site Dernières Informations d ‘Algérie (DIA) says that Trintignant was a “a friend of the Algerian cause.”

In 2012, Trintigant said he was “against authority, politics” , and “rather a socialist. Even an anarchist. […] The idea of ​​anarchy appeals to me very much, even if I know that we won’t save the world with it” ” (Here)

Written by Andrew Coates

June 18, 2022 at 5:35 pm

Red Brown Thomas Fazi, “there’s no worse prospect for the French working class than a second Macron term – not even Le Pen. “

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‘Left Sovereigntist Goes Full Red-Brown.’

Thomas Fazi (Net site) was a prominent ‘left’ Brexiteer. He has a long history of ‘left’ Sovereigntism, that is the faith that the national state is the basis for an alternative to ‘neo-liberalism’ – by taking control of the economy away from globalisation. Published by Pluto Press Fazi had the right to a favourable, if mixed, review on the site of the groupuscule Counterfire, which runs the People’s Assembly and is influential within the Stop the War Coalition.

His 2015 Book got this notice,

Most on the left would agree with Fazi’s analysis of the crisis and how the wealthy elite saw the crisis as an opportunity to ‘re-engineer European societies and economies according to a radically neoliberal framework’ (p.155). Fazi becomes controversial in his belief that it is possible to radically reform the EU and the Euro. He argues that to give up on the vision of an alternative European Union would represent ‘a renunciation of the left’s historical goal of seizing power to change the political and economic structures from below, above and within’ (p.164).

The Battle for Europe Orlando Hill. 2014.

During the EU Referendum, in which the same groupuscule Counterfire campaigned for Leave, Fazi wrote a book, with William Mitchell Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Press 2017). The organisation of John Rees and Lindsey German carried a review,

I consider this book to be essential reading for several reasons. First, it provides an excellent description of the effects of neoliberalism and a perceptive analysis of how neoliberals have co-opted the state and persuaded it to act for narrow corporate interests. Second the authors highlight the reasons behind the weakness of the centre-left’s response to the GFC vis-à-vis the right and third, they show that an acceptance of MMT is crucial in developing a meaningful and powerful policy strategy to improve the living standards of the population.

Reclaiming the State – book review Phil Armstrong.

Let us leave aside the fact the most economists on the left consider Modern Monetary Theory (MNT) to to be gibberish. (see Against MMT James Meadway.) The main thrust of Fazi and Mitchell s towards the making the nation state a springboard for left policies – ignoring the necessity for combined international action, institutional and movement based, to make left policies real.

Fazi himself joined the red-brown The Full Brexit network, which brought together Brexit Party members (mostly part of the Spiked ex-RCP network) , Communist Party of Britain members, and left sovereigntists, Blue Labour, even some Tories, to campaign for Brexit.

Since then Fazi has written for Tribune, the inevitable Jacobin, and…..Spiked,

Why Brexit is an economic success story

21st of February 2022.

The Project Fear predictions could not have been more wrong.

What’s the lesson to be learned from all this? It’s that a country’s economic fortune largely depends on its domestic policies, not on being part of free-trade agreements or supranational organisations such as the EU. An obvious corollary of this is that the more policy space a country has, the more chances it has to succeed. This is why organisations like the EU (not to mention the eurozone), which limit what policies national governments can enact, do more harm than good.

Fazi has expanded his interests to ‘Vaccine Madness’, and the Ukraine, “In this article I explain how the conflict in Ukraine is a godsend for America, allowing it to reassert its economic and military hegemony over Europe under the guise of a new Cold War against Russia/China, relaunch a declining NATO, replace Russia in the field of gas exports and turn the clock of West-East relations back by several years. The Old Continent, on the other hand, will pay a heavy price for all this.”

Like many red-browners Fazi is impressed by Marine Le Pen’s programme,

Le Pen has castigated the “neoliberal” logic of many of her competitor’s proposals — particularly the tightening of the conditions for the recipients of in-work benefits and the raising of the pension age, both of which Le Pen has consistently opposed. Indeed, it is frankly difficult to see how anyone in good faith could describe Le Pen’s electoral manifesto as neoliberal. If anything, it is a moderate redistributive programme of Keynesian orientation based on state interventionism, social protection and the defence of public services. Its measures include the strengthening of public services such as hospitals, widespread reductions in VAT, wage increases for healthcare workers and other sectors, tax exemptions or free transport for young working people, the construction of 100,000 social housing units per year, the renationalisation of motorways, and a tax on financial wealth. Nothing particularly radical — but neoliberal it certainly ain’t.

After all, the notion that a state should prioritise the well-being of its own citizens would have been considered self-evident up until not too long ago — even among Left-wing parties and voters, as Sahra Wagenknecht, former leader of the radical-Left German party Die Linke, notes in her latest book Die Selbstgerechten (“The Self-Righteous”).

In a vein familiar to readers of Zeev Sternhell’s books, such as Ni Droite ni Gauche, l’idéologie fasciste en France (1983), Fazi considers that, “this whole affair really encapsulates why the Left-Right cleavage no longer makes much sense.” The article linked to is headed, “Patriots vs globalists replaces the left-right divide.

Who cares if a civil war erupts on France if Le Pen bans the public use of the Muslim veil.

One wonders if Fazi will get get a good reception in Counterfire again.

Fazi contributes to the overtly red-brown US based Compact magazine: Why Brussels Hates Orban Thomas Fazi, Compact Magazine April 5, 2022.

“Slavoj Žižek, and anti- rootless cosmopolitan campaigner Paul Embery (Blue ‘Labour’) , Thomas Fazi, ‘left’ Brexit ultra published by Pluto, Conspiracist Greenwald, and frequent Fox News guest, and, the creams on the tart: How NATO Lost Its Way Peter Hitchens. and Ukraine Is the Ruling Class’s Latest Propaganda Ploy Lee Smith.”

Written by Andrew Coates

April 22, 2022 at 2:32 pm

Éric Zemmour Peroration at London’s Royal Institution Cancelled as Far-Right French Presidential Contender goes on Trial for Race Hate.

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2022 : Charlie a déjà les affiches de Zemmour - Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo Helpfully Suggests Zemmour Campaign Posters.

A few weeks ago an article in the French press remarked that it is tempting to run a new story every day about extreme right, will-he-or-won’t-he-run-for-President Éric Zemmour, the dances of the seventy veils as he shows his latest provocations, the cadres of the far-right backing him, amongst the crowd are (there is a constant stream) the anti-Semite Hervé Ryssen, radical identitarians like Daniel Conversano, up to the outermost fringes (latest, “La Famille gallicane“), his social network successes, and his wealthy backers, beginning with Charles Gave, and his potential electorate, “an alliance between the patriotic bourgeoisie and the popular classes” (i.e. workers, unemployed and lower middle class), with highest support from Marie-Le Pen and classic right-wing François Fillon voters (BFMTV) There has also been this, “France’s chief rabbi called Eric Zemmour, a Jewish journalist and far-right provocateur thought to be weighing a presidential bid, an antisemite.” (Times of Israel. 2.10.21)

For those welcoming the split on France’s far right between Zemmour and Marine Le Pen, which has weakened the support for her Rassemblement National, one should caution that the major effect has been to drag French political debate on the terrain of the identity anti-immigration politics of this pair and to render almost inaudible the campaigns of the fractured left wing candidates (at least 7 of them). In this atmosphere it is wonder that Michel Onfray has drawn together an alliance of sovereigntist ideologues in his magazine Le Front Populaire. axed towards the nationalist right but including one-time left-wingers. As Yves Colman has pointed out, the former left drawn to the politics of this side are no longer evidence of ‘confusionism’ but part the national populist far right.

The polemicist’s most recent book, La France n’a pas dit son dernier mot (France has yet to say her last word), is a vulgar self-regarding, self-pitying 359 page long journal starting in April 2006. Launched to boost his campaign, over 205.000 copies have already been sold. This long pamphlet has a title whose rancorous tone that sounds like a cornered villain shouting “You haven’t heard the last of me! Come And Get Me Coppers!”.

It is a “man obsessed with the idea of ​​an inevitable fight to the death between the “native” French people of true national stock and the “enemies of France”, full of whingeing about feminism, gay marriage and his least favourite Daily, Libération, lightened by memories of playing Monopoly in a lost paradise of Gallic culture – Suburban France. Amongst the sustained hatred against the Great Replacement, a war waged by “envahisseurs prédateurs “(Predatory Invaders) we learn that in the Battle of Civilisations only France has a truly “Great” (Grande) Cuisine.

One of the few passages of note, as the writer talks of his brushes with famous people – his list of dining companions outclasses The Goncourt Journal – is a convivial visit in 2015 to Régis Debray, a sage much liked by New Left Review. Zemmour describes the once-upon-a-time revolutionary as his own Barrès (novelist and founding figure of La Terre et les Morts refrain) and Paul Valéry (greatly loved poet and essayist, yes I find the reference to him obscene, Le cimetière marin is one of the best poems ever written, his is the subject of a book by Debray, out in 2019). The one-time guerrilla says that he feels like he is living like a monk during the Fall of the Roman Empire, looking at ancient Greek manuscripts in which nobody else is interested. Debray said that he agrees with Zemmour’s views in his best known books, Le Suicide Français about everything except women, Islam and Vichy. Look it up, “J’ai bien lu votre Suicide français. Je suis d’accord avec tout. Sauf sur les femmes, l’Islam and Vichy” (Page 216).

Britain is now catching up on the permanent news machine that is Zemmour:

Royal Institution cancels event with far-right French pundit Éric Zemmour

Guardian.

London’s prestigious Royal Institution has cancelled an event at which the far-right French TV pundit Éric Zemmour was due to speak on Friday.

Zemmour, who has convictions for inciting racial hatred, is due to arrive in London on Thursday as he ponders a potential run in France’s presidential elections next year.

He was due to speak in the grand surroundings of the RI’s headquarters in Albemarle Street off Piccadilly, in an event billed as “Eric Zemmour in London”. The venue appears to have been deliberately chosen for its grandeur and association with the RI, which was founded in the 18th century to promote science and research and which boasts Prince Charles as one of its patrons.

The RI stressed that it had not invited Zemmour to speak and had only cancelled the booking after researching his background.

In a statement it said: “The RI has taken the decision to cancel a private venue hire booking for an event featuring the media commentator and politician Eric Zemmour.”

It added: “The booking was received at short notice and was one of many the RI receives each week. Following a process of due diligence the RI has taken the decision to cancel the venue hire event and therefore Mr Zemmour will not be speaking at the RI.”

Meanwhile.

Many famous and even notorious French writers and statesmen have sought refuge in England over the years. It’s the proud boast of the English to have hosted generations of exiles and dissidents from Voltaire to Zola, Napoleon III to De Gaulle. That was then. Zemmour appears to offend the tender sensibilities of today.

 I hear through a paper cup through a very long piece of string that on orders from Number 10, Conservative MPs have been banned from meeting Zemmour in London this week, for the absurd reason that this is a sensitive time in Anglo-French relations. As if Anglo-French relations have not been sensitive for 1,000 years. 

Michael Gove was said to be interested in meeting Zemmour. I’m guessing that won’t happen. It seems like a missed opportunity. Zemmour has at least a theoretical chance of being the next president of France. Is it smart that London should snub him? A cheeky Boris would be rattling Macron’s cage, inviting Zemmour to Downing Street for a cup of tea and a photo opp.

Zemmour will go ahead with private dinners in London as he raises money in advance of a possible declaration of his candidacy on 5 December at the gigantic Zenith concert hall in Paris. Where he’s not been cancelled. He has been speaking right across France recently without being cancelled. That he’s been shut down in London is pathetic.

To be honest I was not surprised to hear that Zemmour had been blacklisted (if you’re allowed to say that). For all its grandeur, the Royal Institution is evidently thoroughly woke, and only took the booking in the first place because it was too dim to refuse the money. It’s also been fairly broke, one reads. 

François Fillon, the French presidential centre-right candidate five years ago until he was written out of the script by a corruption investigation, spoke at the Royal Institution, so presumably it’s not French politicians generally who are unacceptable. As they say in France: ‘C’est comme ça.’ There have supposedly been 25,000 lectures at the Royal Institution but in our age of Cancellation, Eric Zemmour’s will not be amongst them.

Zemmour sill stands at 17% in opinion polls to Marine Le Pen’s 16%. The chances of there being a run off between a far-right candidate and Emmanuel Macron remain very very high.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 18, 2021 at 9:30 am