Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘french presidential elections

World of Culture Mobilises for French Election: Pamela Anderson Backs Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

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Image result for borat and pamela anderson

Anderson has always had keen interest in Progressive International Politics. 



“Le Pen et Mélenchon ont tous les deux été espionnés par les États-Unis et les deux sont d’accords pour accorder l’asile ou la citoyenneté à Julian Assange”, a d’abord écrit Pamela Anderson sur son site internet. “Mr Melenchon for President! S’il vous plait”

Le Pen and Pamela Andersonhave both been spied upon by the US, and both agree on giving asylum and citizenship to Julian Assange” wrote Pamela Anderson, on her Internet site. “Mr Mélenchon for President! ! S’il vous plait.”

The candidate for La France insoumise has also impressed Ms Anderson by his work for animal rights (un défenseur de la cause animale) and the cause of climate change.

Huffington Post.

Her grasp of French politics has been, unfairly, criticised:


‘Only French Spoken’ law in Ile de France Public Building Projects.

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Image result for ici on parle francais

Paris region orders labourers to only speak French on building sites

The Paris region has passed a new rule obliging labourers on public building sites to use French, copying action taken elsewhere in France to squeeze out foreign workers. Reports France 24.

The Ile de France region passed a “Small Business Act” on Thursday aimed at funnelling more local public contracts to small French businesses.

It includes a so-called Moliere clause which will oblige firms working on publicly-funded building projects, or in other areas such as transport or training, to use French as their working language.

“This clause is necessary and targets foreign companies who come with their teams, without any of them speaking French. These companies need to improve,” vice president of the region Jerome Chartier said afterwards.

The French government has long criticised EU rules that allow companies to bring in much cheaper foreign workers temporarily, often from eastern Europe, who undercut locals.

Discrimination concerns

EU rules on public procurement prevent states from discriminating against companies from another European country uniquely on the grounds of their nationality.

Opponents to the Moliere clause, named after the 17th century French playwright, point out that it will disadvantage newly arrived foreigners living in France who are able to integrate via the workplace and learn French.

It also risks being difficult to monitor and enforce.

Other French regions Normandy, Hauts-de-France and Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes have also introduced rules requiring companies to use the French language on public building sites.

This law is already facing opposition:

La clause Molière imposant le français sur les chantiers publics, une disposition contestée (le Monde)

La région Ile-de-France et sa présidente, Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains, LR), ont adopté, dans un « small business act », le principe de la clause dite « Molière », une mesure qui vise notamment à imposer l’usage du français sur les chantiers publics.

Let us leave aside the obvious point that no English speaker uses the term “small business act” (the nearest I could find in the 2015 UK, ‘Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act’) though the term has currency in the European Union, this is clearly not aimed at speakers of the ‘langue de Shakespeare’ (another French expression which it would be hard to find used by anglophones).

The measure was introduced by members of François Fillon’s Les Républicains,

It bears an uncanny, and not co-incidental, similarity to the Front National’s key policy of “préférence nationale(sometimes called “priorité citoyenne). That is giving French citizens preference in jobs, education and a number of public benefits, such as social housing.

The present measure does not just affect building sites. As RTL points out, from public works, transport,training to council activities are affected if the rule is enforced.  (“des travaux publics, du transport, de la formation professionnelle, des activités de conseil, etc.”)

Like  Marine Le Pen’s wider idea,  it is clearly discriminatory. And,  as noted, hard to enforce, since it is difficult to see what level of French the “Molière Clause sets – the refined français châtié or (as they would say in my youth) in the manner of  “une vache espagnole? 

This ‘act’, by undermining  the basic principle of equality of rights, it is unlikely to pass through either France of the EU’s legal apparatus.

But coming a few weeks before the Presidential elections this unpleasant gesture is another sign of ‘populist’ barrel scraping from French politicians.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 11, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Dimanche tout est possible!

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I just really like this ‘Une’ of Libération.

There will be more to say on the Day.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

Sarkozy Insults Hollande as UMP Prepares to Negotiate with the Front National.

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@DavidAzariaFR from Here.

Coming back from a UNITE meeting (we didn’t go to the pub) the French Presidential debate was still on the radio.

The BBC sums up what stuck in my mind,

The president called Mr Hollande a “little slanderer”, (Petit calomniateur TC) while his rival said Mr Sarkozy shirked responsibility.

Mr Sarkozy defended his record and said he had kept France out of recession. But Mr Hollande said France was going through a “serious crisis” and was struggling with slow growth.

The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt says it was a long, bad-tempered debate that left the impression that neither candidate liked each other.

There were plenty of angry exchanges, with both candidates accusing each other of lying.

Mr Hollande accused President Sarkozy of “ruining the French economy”, prompting his rival to say he had been unfairly blamed.

“It’s never your fault,” Mr Hollande responded, to which Mr Sarkozy said: “It’s a lie, it’s a lie!”impression of the debate.

The above, and a rather arid exchange of statistics and economics, was my central impression of the debate.

On Europe 1 this morning I heard an actress say that she was now voting for Hollande because only he could unite the French people.

That certainly was the pre-political impression you got of  how people would react to Sarkozy’s agitated, attack-dog, approach. Not to mention his obsession with ‘immigration’ and other far-right themes.

The capacity of the French Right to split the country is now accelerating.

This is the latest on a possible agreement with the Front National.

The outgoing Defence Minister,Gérard Longuet, gave an interview to Minute, an extreme right-wing  weekly . It called for a ‘dialogue’ with the Front National. This was widely interpreted as a call for political arrangements.

Capture de l'interview de Gérard Longuet dans le "Minute" du 02/05/2012.
Now he denies every intending this.
It’s a lie, a lie, etc, etc .
 Latest  on this story Here.

French Elections: The Stakes.

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Andrew Coates on two left candidates challenging Sarkozy with implications for European austerity programmes
If the latest opinion polls are right there is a very strong chance that France will have a Socialist President, François Hollande, by early May. His rival, the present leader of State, Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to make a strong showing in the first round on the 22nd April. April polls – put him 1% in advance of Hollande for that, but for the second it’s 44% Sarkozy for the 2nd against 56% for Hollande. It’s worth noting that it is highly unlikely that a ‘2002’ scenario will be repeated, at most 14-15% in the first round the Front National are very far behind.

The stakes are extremely high. The result will not only affect the politics of the Hexagon. A Hollande victory will shift European politics to the left, and put into question the drastic austerity measures taken by the European Union to defend the Euro. Not surprisingly Sarkozy has tried to spread fear about potential economic instability. He has resorted to appealing to far-right Front National voters promising tough anti-immigration measures to thwart a possible Socialist triumph.

François Hollande is a former Parti Socialiste (PS) General Secretary. The PS’s Declaration of Principles (2008), which Hollande helped draft, bases the party on a ‘historical critique of capitalism’. This system ‘creates inequalities, brings irrationality and crises.’ These features are made worse by ‘globalisation dominated by finance capitalism’. In Droit d’inventaires (2009) he wrote that the role of socialism was not to destroy capitalism but to ‘dominate it, put it in the service of humanity’. This meant ‘fair distribution’ and ‘efficient production’.

Hollande was elected to stand for the Socialists last year in a ‘primary’ open to all who supported left values. He won 56.6% of the ballot papers of the 2.8 million electors taking part.Hollande’s Presidential Manifesto, Le Changement – C’est Maintenant, begins with a critique of finance capital. It calls for an ‘exemplary republic’ expressing hope, justice, and above all equality, the ‘soul of France’. Fiscal reform, a way of asserting public authority over the market economy, is at its heart. The Socialists propose to tax at 40% revenues over 150,000 Euros, and an end to tax loopholes. Hollande offers measures to control finance. He promises to halt the sell-off of publicly owned assets – something the last Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin (1997 – 2002) did not do.

The Manifesto promises to renegotiate the December European Treaty. It proposes to replace fiscal stringency with a strategy for growth. During Parliamentary debates on these EU measures, the Socialists however abstained rather than vote against.

The rise of the more explicitly left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon, standing for the Front de Gauche (FdG), has begun to attract attention even in the British media. Mélenchon served as a junior Minister under the Jospin Government in (2000 – 2002). Inside the PS he was a leading light the left founding in 1988 of the Gauche Socialiste and other groupings.Mélenchon became disillusioned with the PS over the Referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty in 2008. He took part on the ‘Non’ campaign. Despite the success of the no’s their voices were ignored. As Serge Halimi says, this was a sign of a ‘democracy that conforms to the market’, and erodes popular sovereignty (Le Monde Diplomatique, April 2012) As a radical socialist, who draws inspiration from Jean Jaurès and the ideal of a ‘social republic’, marrying democratic and social rights, this was unacceptable. He left the PS in 2008 and, with his co-thinkers, created the Parti de Gauche (PG) the following year.

Standing, at up to 15% in opinion polls he is neck-and-neck with the far-right Marine Le Pen. In the election campaign Mélenchon has held monster rallies – in March he drew 120,000 to the Bastille. He attracted tens of thousands of joyful supporters in Toulouse, scene of the terrible Islamist killings only a few weeks before. The candidate has lyrically evoked French revolutionary traditions, the ‘spirit of revolt’, and solidarity across Europe against finance capital. Contrary to accusations of French nationalism, the FdG takes inspiration from the democratic revolts in the Arab world, and their fight for universal rights, liberty and sharing wealth (Campaign Agreement 31.3.11).The FdG consists of Mélenchon’s own PG party, the Parti Communiste Français (PCF), and the Trotskyist Gauche Unitaire (which left the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, NPA), as well as smaller Marxist, Green and left republican groups.

Mélenchon has attracted international attention for his plan to confiscate all earnings above £300,000 a year (Guardian. 7.4.12). In a similar defence of the interests of the majority against the nantis (hyper-affluent) Mélenchon demands an immediate end to EU-decided austerity measures. Although accused of being ‘provocative’ some believe he has set the terms for the political debate. (Le Monde 16.3.12) Certainly Hollande has re-affirmed his own fiscal proposals and Sarkozy calls for a clamp down on tax evasion.

The FdG Manifesto – L’Humain d’abord – contains much more than taxation changes. It calls for a new participative 6th Republic embodying a ‘citizens’ revolution’. It demands a hefty rise in the minimum wage, the re-establishment of retirement rights at 60 years (the demand of mass strikes and demonstrations in 2009). It advocates ‘ecological planning’, the rights of workers, and a wave of social ownership in place of privatisations.

The FdG is also strongly secularist, defending French Laïcité, and anti-racist, advancing the rights of immigrants.Other left parties, such as the Greens, the EELV (Europe Ecologie, les Verts) and their candidate, Eva Joly, have seen their support evaporate – they now stand at less than 3% in opinion surveys. On the far-left the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) and Lutte Ouvrière, barely register at 0.5% each. In recent weeks prominent NPA members have come out to back the FdG against their own candidate, Phillippe Poutou.

Mélenchon may have criticised Hollande as a pedalo captain, but the FdG clearly stands for a Socialist victory in the second round of the Presidential elections. Their immediate objective is to challenge Marine Le Pen. She continues to gather support from a cross-section of French society, including, surprisingly, a large number of young people (Le Monde 10.4.12). Mélenchon has taken Le Pen head on, and knows how to ‘talk to Le Peuple’. A strong vote for the FdG will almost certainly go to Hollande in the second election round.

It is said that the last couple of weeks of the French presidential campaign are the decisive ones. A desperate Sarkozy is trying to assert his authority and appeal to the far-right. Against him on the left are two thoroughly decent candidates. Hollande, with his steady reputation of support for serious social reforms, and Mélenchon, the man who stands for radical change. The result in May, which will be followed by Parliamentary elections, will not just affect France’s future, but Europe’s and the left in the whole world.

From the latest Chartist Magazine (May-June): Here

Written by Andrew Coates

May 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Pétain Returns to France.

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Maréchal Pétain: still beloved by the French Right.*

“The Front National is respectable!”

These were the words of a Sarkozy supporter about to board a specially hired train to the outgoing President’s May Day Paris Rally this morning on France-Inter.

We are told that up to 50,ooo people are expected at the Trocadéro for Sarkozy’s   «vraie fête» du travail.  

Sarkozy is bidding for re-election on the themes of Real Work, Family, and Fatherland.

Or as Maréchal Pétain called them ” Travail, Famille, Patrie.”

Others, also nostalgic for Pétain will go to the Front National’s annual Jeanne d’Arc event. There they will hear Jean Marie Le Pen commmorating the 600th anniversary of the  «la naissance de la pucelle de Domrémy»  the birth of the Maid of Orleans, as she is known in English.

His daughter, speaking in the Palais Royale, (made up to resemble an Italian Piazza ready for a visit from Mussolini) is expected to call for a spoiled vote in the Presidential run-off this Sunday.

Marine is hoping that the Parliamentary Right will explode in this election and that she, in the shape of new ‘respectable’ far-right party will sweep up the pieces. (Here)

Trade Unions and the left will assemble in unity, and with dignity, across France in 288 marches. In Paris they will rally at the Bastille.

Let’s hope the foul taste of these Pétainists will soon be washed out of our mouths.

* Le 24 avril 1941, le maréchal Pétain instaure officiellement le 1er Mai comme «la fête du Travail et de la Concorde sociale ».

Front de Gauche: New Party in Belgium.

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On the Belgium public radio, La Première, this morning, the new Mouvement de Gauche, was mentioned.

This is an attempt to create a parallel party to the French Parti de Gauche of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the wider Front de Gauche. It was created in April, and has links with sections of the Walloon trade union movement.

The process that led to this began publicly in March,

Leading figures of the French-speaking trade union Congress, La Fédération générale du Travail de Belgique (FGTB) publicly supported Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Presidential candidacy.  Their General Secretary (of the Walloon section), Thierry Bodson was at the head of this move. During the First Round of the French Presidential elections Walloon trade unionists travelled to Lille for a Front de Gauche meeting to express their support. (More Here.)

The founder of the new Mouvement de Gauche en Belgique,  is Bernard Wesphael who resigned from the Belgium Greens in March.

“Le Mouvement de la Gauche démocrate et citoyenne (MGDC) ambitionne d’offrir des alternatives réalistes aux politiques instaurées aujourd’hui dans nos états européens.  L’indignation manifestée en Europe et aux USA doit être convertie dans des actions qui influenceront le devenir de nos sociétés.  La France avec le Front de gauche et son leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon initie un premier tournant.  Un appel à la constitution d’un rassemblement des progressistes européens est en préparation.”

The Le Mouvement de la Gauche démocrate et citoyenne (MGDC) has the ambition to offer realistic policy alternatives to those in place in our European states. The indignation shown in the USA and Europe has to be turned into action to influence the future of our societies. In France the Front de Gauche and its leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, ahs taken the first step in this direction. A Europe wide appeal, to all progressives, is being drawn up.

The new party stands for a “révolution démocratique, pacifique et citoyenne” contre un système belge et européen “sous la coupe des instances bancaires.”

“For a democratic, non-violent, and citizens’ revolution” against the European and Belgium system ruled by the banks.”

Its programme states that they are for a  “Etat neutre et actif contre le communautarisme et les replis identitaires, ainsi que le rôle de la puissance publique sur le plan social.”

“We affirm the importance of an active and neutral (secularist) state. We are opposed to  communitarianism and politics based on people’s identities. We stand for the importance of the public sphere  in the social sphere.”  

“Le Mouvement de gauche appelle de ses voeux un Etat régulateur et protecteur. La puissance publique doit retrouver son rôle moteur dans la mise au pas des marchés”, dit le communiqué qui insiste également sur la garantie de la sécurité publique. “

“The Mouvement de Gauche  calls for the state to affirm its regulatory and interventionist role.  The public sphere has to rediscover its proactive function in reining in the market.  They also insist on its place as the guarantor of public security. ” (More Here)

The site of the Mouvement de Gauche  is Here.

Update: this morning sections of the Belgium Trade Union Federation (FGBT) are calling for a new left party, to the left of the Socialists and the Greens – Here.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 30, 2012 at 11:25 am