- Date published:
9:30 am, May 4th, 2017 - 138 comments
Categories: capitalism, elections, Europe, International, Left, Media, Politics, Propaganda, social democracy - Tags: france, liberalism, nationalism
The French presidential election has come down to a choice between two evils – one greater and one lesser. Liberals ‘everywhere’ are demanding that voters put their cross, tick or mark next to the neo-liberal banker Macron to thwart the chauvinistic nationalism of Le Pen. For what it’s worth, that’s their ‘lesser of two evils’ argument.
But does it stack up? Is it the only game in town?
This is from Olivier Tonneau writing in the Guardian.
I had lunch in a Parisian cafe recently with a journalist who had spent the whole French presidential campaign vilifying the leftwing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and trumpeting the merits of the centrist Emmanuel Macron in the columns of a respected (if declining) centre-left weekly.
I asked him if had there been a deliberate effort among intellectuals and mainstream politicians to engineer a run-off between Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election. “Why, of course,” he laughed. “We’ve been at it for a year.” Considering how obvious the strategy had been, I cannot claim to have revealed much of a secret. Still, it’s nice to know I was not being paranoid.
The crucial bit Tonneau misses, is that alongside the vilification of Mélenchon, there was the hyping of Le Pen. She was the ‘bogey man’, set to deliver France to Macron and liberalism.
Liberal media keep doing this – perversely building up chauvinistic nationalism and/or its spores by running around like the ‘bubble-headed booby’ from Lost in Space screeching “Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!” – and pointing to the threat they themselves are busy trying to fashion from muck they’ve scooped up.
It was the basic game that played out in the US. Sanders was vilified. Trump was hyped. And Clinton stood by, ready to sweep to victory, courtesy of the assuredly negative reaction to the ‘pussy grabbing and what-not’ hype of Trump. In that instance it didn’t work out.
In the UK, where the ‘bogey man’ has been UKIP – while Labour has been relentlessly hammered across all media because Corbyn and “left” – well, it kind of isn’t working out there either. UKIP policies now appear to be part and parcel of the Tory – Ukip in suits – election package.
But let’s assume this works out in France – that voters flock to Macron and the chauvinistic nationalism of Le Pen is temporarily set back? What then?
France had the notion after WW2 that they’d be the coachman of Europe driving the German workhorse of Europe. Herr Schäuble will be disavowing them of that notion under a Macron presidency. The neo-liberal Macron will use his Presidency to lay the groundwork for the Troika to triumphantly drag the chains and shackles of austerity up the Champs-Élysées. And against a likely backdrop of growing resentment, the liberal establishment will continue to vilify the left and fear monger around a chauvinistic right. They’ll be banking that a crushed left and the fear of the ‘bogey man’ will keep delivering the voters back their way. But it’s not going to work forever. At some point, people will have had enough and cast around for somewhere else, or someone else or anything else to give their vote to.
But where will they go if the liberal establishment’s hammering of “the left” has been successful? And by the way, it has to be successful, because liberalism, in France as in other places, now depends to an extent on being an undisturbed parasite within the host body of Left parties. (Macron spawned from the French Socialist Party)
It ends badly. Liberalism yet again (not entirely unlike the 20s and 30s) successfully suppresses “the left” and becomes the handmaiden to forms of fascism.
So maybe if you happen to be French, have a vote and want liberalism ended to create the space for the beginnings of a decent society; even just a social democratic one that puts society before finance, then cast some form of tactical vote for Le Pen.
And then, crucially, organise and agitate like a bunny.
Le Pen would head the powerful Council of Ministers (essentially the Cabinet) who are appointed from the National Assembly. But the Front National currently has a grand total of only 2 members from a total of 577 elected members of the National Assembly and the next election for the National Assembly is on 11th and 18th of June. It would look like a one term, lame duck Presidency is in the offing, as opposed to a powerful Macron Presidency enjoying support from his old party and from across the political spectrum.
Under Le Pen, media will have lost the ‘bogey man’ that’s meant to deliver voters back to the tender mercies of the bankers and financiers and they’ll be hard pushed to vilify “the left” during the term of a Le Pen presidency when that would only serve to bolster the chauvinistic nationalism they apparently regard as being so ghastly.
And in that scenario, “the left” gets space to breath – to prosper and grow, while liberalism and threats of totalitarianism both fade as a direct result of that.
Aw, but you know what? Whether you’re French or not and regardless of what situation liberalism’s creating in your country, it’s maybe for the best if you don’t bother yourself by thinking about it. It’s probably safer and easier to just keep following instructions. Do your docile duty and vote for the supposed lesser of the two evils and at best wind up snaggled in a liberal hell stretching down through an endless stream of tomorrows. Aye… do that.