Monday, May 08, 2017

Emmanuel Macron and the New French Revolution

It was a beautiful sight. Tens of thousands of people waving red, white, and blue flags,  cheering Emmanuel Macron, France's newest and youngest president, after his victory over the far-right demagogue Marine Le Pen.

Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change.

But while it was a big victory for progressives in France, and a vote of confidence in the battered European Union. 

For Le Pen's supporters, and their camp followers like Donald Trump and Ezra Levant, the results couldn't be more devastating...

Levant must be worrying about his Moscow Washington correspondent.

And wondering whether he'll get in trouble for breaking French electoral law.

While Trump who supported Le Pen, must have felt crushed by the result...


But of course, this doesn't mean that the war against the far right is over. 

Progressives will still have to work hard to win over some of those who voted for Le Pen, or support other right-wing parties in Europe.
Not just those who are too ignorant to know they're ignorant.

But also the desperate and the hopeless.

A vote for the National Front was of course a vote tinged with racism and homophobia. My father looked forward to the time when we would “throw out the Arabs and the Jews.” He liked to say that gay people deserved the death penalty — looking sternly at me, who already in primary school was attracted to other boys on the playground.

And yet what those elections really meant for my father was a chance to fight his sense of invisibility.

In the absence of any attempt by the left to discuss his suffering, my father latched on to the false explanations offered by the far right. Unlike the ruling class, he didn’t have the privilege of voting for a political program. Voting, for him, was a desperate attempt to exist in the eyes of others.

And needless to say that won't be easy.

But at least in France, mobilizing to fight Le Pen and her New Nazis should be easier than in many other countries.

For today at the Arc de Triomphe they'll be celebrating the anniversary of Victory in Europe Day...

The victory over the old Nazis.

So the timing couldn't be more perfect.

And now the decent people of that country have another reason to celebrate. And send out this message to the world:

The fascists have been defeated. Again. 

Can you hear the people singing?

Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Vive la France!!!!


  1. Anonymous8:21 AM

    I don't think of this as a win for progressive anything, more of a holding action. Macron is only the hero we deserve, not the hero we need. "Hey, at least he isn't a crazy neo-nazi. " isn't a ringing endorsement of him or his policies.

    1. HI anon....Macron may not be the perfect progressive champion, but he did defeat a screaming neo-Nazi and for me at this time that's good enough.....

  2. Anonymous9:40 AM

    I agree with Anon 8:21. This was not a progressive victory and there's no way to paint it as one. Macron was the architect of Hollande's disastrous "business friendly" austerity program. When I say disastrous, I mean it was disastrous for the average French worker, not the 1% at the top. I expect Macron to continue the same policies of eliminating workers' rights in the name of "market flexibility."

    Had MĂ©lenchon won, you would have had a true progressive victory. Macron, like Trudeau, is young, bright and shiny, and he says the right things on social issues. But he will continue the failed neo-liberal policies that are exacerbating inequality and driving the rise of the far right. I expect LePen to do much better the next time around.

    1. Hi I said above, Macron beat Le Pen and that's good enough for me. While Melanchon couldn't even make it into the last round. It's fine to wish for a better candidate, but one has to deal with reality. And the fact is Macron does have some things going for him. He isn't chained to any of the old parties, so he's free to create his own movement. And he's a member of the new generation which is making its presence felt at last, and is our last chance to save the world....

    2. Anonymous1:57 PM

      He won't save the world by continuing on the same neo-liberal path that got us where we are. Nothing about Macron's past as an investment banker with Rothschild or his economic policies under Hollande point to someone who will bring positive change to France. He's about as progressive as Steve Mnuchin or any of the other Goldman Sachs drones that populate Trump's cabinet.

  3. Anonymous10:14 AM

    I think Macron is a fantastic choice, but then I voted for OMG NEO-LIBERAL SHILL Justin Trudeau. I'm so sick of bitter fucking progressives who throw a fit every time a country elects a leader who doesn't promise to fix all their problems, drop a million bucks in their bank accounts, and turn the world into some unicorn filled utopia. Fuck off.

    1. Anonymous11:57 AM

      I'm tired of people willing to throw everyone under the bus if they get theirs, but okay.

    2. Anonymous3:03 PM

      I'm tired of the assumption that anyone who isn't miserable as all fuck and blaming all their problems on minorities is fucking rich or something.

    3. John B.8:23 PM

      I can’t speak for all the BFPs and other snowflakes, but I’d probably settle for a nice popsicle and a nod from the head greeter.

    4. Anonymous12:19 AM

      Macron wants to emulate the Nordic model and aligned himself with Varoufakis during the Greek debt crisis.
      Gosh, what a monster.

    5. Hi anon 10:14 am...I share your frustration. I think too many progressives seem to think that politics is a buffet, when in fact it's a much simpler meal or menu. Both Macron and Trudeau are popular for managing to offer people hope. Hope is the weapon of the new generation, and it will crush all in its way. At least that's what I believe and why I'm usually so cheerful. These days I'm a little bashed up, but I still have a smile on my face. In my humble opinion life is too short to live any other way....

  4. Turnout in France was 75%. Macron got 66% of that: 50% of the total eligable electorate. That is an achievement few politicians manage.

    1. Hi rumleyfips....true, and if some progressives hadn't spoiled their votes his numbers would have been even higher. He left Le Pen in the dust and I couldn't be happier....

  5. I'm glad you added that story by Édouard Louis. It is quite an explanation of how ultra-exploited proletarians could vote so utterly against their interests, and blame Arabs, Jews, LGBT+, doubtless "feminists", intellectuals etc. Le Pen senior is very wealthy. Macron's "liberalization" policies will undermine workers' right and social protection, which in the absence of a left option could drive even more politically uneducated people into the arms of the far right, who wants them only as cannon fodder.

    Fortunately MĂ©lenchon's movement also got a good score. Of course I'm relieved that Macron won over the She-Wolf of the FN, but not exactly "happy".

    I also want to look into more by Édouard Louis. His background is very much like that of a close friend of mine, one of the founders of gay liberation in Québec, whose dad in a small town threw him out of the house at 16 and threatened to kill him. Not for anything overt, he could just sense that his boy was "un pédé, une tapette"... There are wiki articles on E. Louis in French, English and other languages, one reference in the French wiki is to the original French version of the NYT article. And I've found books by him in the so well-named "Nelligan", the Montréal libraries search engine. He is only 24 years old!

  6. John B.8:11 PM

    Yes, Simon. But I hope you’re not giving all the credit to the grubby snowflakes. I think at least some of it should go to us twinkle toes and butter cups.

    “Hey, look - over there! It’s the xenophobes and bigots! Who would have guessed? Don’t worry; we’ll save the day. You’ll just have to put a little more effort into those flexibility exercises we recommended.”

    Now I get it. On behalf of the rest of my fellow slugs and powerless losers, I’d like to offer thanks to the progressive centrists for rising to the challenge and delivering us from one of the consequences of the wage suppression projects that they initiated before they were centrists. You knew all along that we were idiots. Well done!

  7. e. a. f.8:16 PM

    I'd have to agree with A. 8:21 a.m. given the way the electoral system works in France, its a run off between the last 2 standing. So you either voted Nazi light or whomever. For most that was whomever.

    It is promising though that the vote for LePen was as low as it was. It was not an ringing endorsement for the winner. We will have to see how this pans out and what he wants to do with the government, given he has not seats in the "parliament".

    Now if B.C. could just get it together tomorrow, Tuesday, to vote NDP and not the pay to play queen Christy Clark

    1. Anonymous12:21 AM

      You seem hung up on having a stagnant economy, mate.

    2. hi e.a.f...nothing can conceal the fact that Le Pen got her clock cleaned. To me that's the main thing. I'm hopeful that Macron understands that it is not business as usual, because if he doesn't he will fail. As for B.C. If progressives can't get their act together to defeat Christy Clark's corrupt regime, they deserve what they will have coming....

  8. Anonymous9:18 PM

    And 12% of the French voters deliberately spoiled their ballots! I heard a CBC Radio interview with some French voters over the weekend, and they seemed to be stuck on the fact that Macron was the austerity/business/neoliberal man of little colour, while who TF knows what nonsense was coursing through Le Pen's tete beyond blaming everyone else for everything.

    Nothing was really settled in France, and if the work-week is extended, vacations cut, and business put in charge just like here in Canada, the US and UK, there'll be plenty of fireworks in the near future, as the French don't seem as placid as Canadians when they get fed up. They get in the streets and complain vociferously. So I hope Macron is fully awake.

    Given the proclivity for Justin worship here, regardless of his less than stellar performance so far in this progressive's eyes, I see Macron as a short term holding pattern who'd better watch his step. He's on probation.


    1. Anonymous12:22 AM

      Yes, what France needs is more socialism.

    2. Hi BM....I agree that Macron has his work cut out for him, and that unless he can chart a new course he is almost certainly doomed to fail. So yes he is on probation. But he is not burdened by an old party platform, so he is free to create his own. And as I mentioned above, he is like Trudeau the candidate of the new generation, and that alone gives him a force field others don't have....

  9. Anonymous9:30 AM

    France is lost. Enjoy your new caliphate.