the parody of socialism in France

The debacle of the French socialist party – which seems well on its way to achieving a place in the museum of extinct parties, next to the Frei Democratische party in Germany – can be explained, in large part, as a phenomenon of the class struggle.
Class struggle! Haven’t we all gone beyond that since Reagan and Thatcher freed the free world?
Well, one would think so as class becomes the absent category in sociology and theory. But its sinking into the collective unconscious doesn’t make it any less so.
The postwar years, from the late forties to the early eighties, saw an almost Hegelian progression: the wage class and its unions triumphed in the construction of the welfare state all over the developed world. That very triumph, however, produced the children who buried the wage class – the technocrats and meritocrats whose natural sympathies were for Capital, not Labor. They looked like business execs and they thought like business execs, and if they climbed through the channels of the Socialist Part (or the SPD or the Labour party), they had no sympathy or understanding for the culture and existences of the wage class. However, in the class system, certain kinds are spinkled at random in the top and the bottom: especially women and gays. In that respect, these technocrats did liquidate that old lefty puritanism and patriarchal attitudes. What was never sprinkled at random in the top was, of course, Africans or arabs, and one notices that they are still not sprinkled in any ratio to their population through the top no matter what flavor the government is.

The triumph of the technocrat type meant, long ago, that the Socialist party, founded as the party of the workers, was progressively hollowing out. The parody of a socialist party that now rules France, with a neo-conservative foreign policy, a neo-liberal economic policy, and a dog-whistle social policy (see the Nouvelle Obs for the story of how the PS muckety mucks are using Najat Vallaud-Belkacem as a dogwhistle to the left, the way George Bush used to appoint evangelicals as a sucker call to the right) will, I assume, come in behind the FN and the UMP in 2017, when, if Hollande’s austerity policies are put in place, unemployment should be reaching around 15 percent – it worked so well for Spain, why not try it for France! The meritocrats who read their Mankiew, their Chicago school economists, and have long ago replaced Marx with Hayek, will not be touched by the unemployment – there is always more room in investment banking for the meritocratic-lings, their darling daughters and sons. Magic Fabius money for everyone! Interestingly, it will be the FN that will surely present a more leftist economic platform, or at least a dirigiste one, and I expect even the UPM will show some concern for the unemployed, rather than basking in the glow of MEDEF.


It is hard to imagine France without a left, but apparently this is what is happening. We have to call the European project a complete success in that regard – reinstating the gold standard in the form of the Euro, it was the product and generator of the unbounded rule of speculative capital. You can try to vote against that rule: you will fail.


Brian M said…
As a major francophile, this is indeed a sad story!