Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Global warning

Roger Cohen writing in the IHT brings up about constancy in French politics – the same unchangeabillty that has made economic changed something one can only whisper about. One that holds a nation back. He notes:

«Britain got New Labour and Tony Blair with their slick market-oriented makeover of a tired socialism. In Spain, Felipe González's elegant refashioning of the left helped lay the basis for post-Franco democracy.
While all this happened - not to mention the complete reinvention of central Europe - France managed to pass power from a man who first served in government in 1944 to another who first did so in 1967.
The result is a paradox: a country more attached to ideological debate than any other in Europe, yet operating in an environment where "left" and "right" are often almost meaningless labels and where governance tends to consist of saying one thing - the state is a force for good - while trying to do another - privatize. Running France is above all a conjuring trick.
It is perhaps because the art of the illusionist has lain at the center of French politics since 1945 - beginning with the depiction of wartime events and the Vichy regime - that it has been easier to maintain the various illusions that have preserved this country's strange political status quo.»
Nothing new there, and a perfectly French thing to endlessly discuss in concentric circles, but never do anything about.
«"Our politics are archaic," said Jean-Marie Bockel, the Socialist mayor of Mulhouse and an admirer of Blair. "The Socialist Party is still asking itself if it's social democratic or more radical than that. Marxist ideology continued to be debated. Elsewhere the left has moved on."
Michel Rocard, a former Socialist prime minister, put the situation bluntly in a recent interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, saying it was time to "cast Marxist dialect into the trash can" and calling a growing leftist force in the country, the antiglobalization movement known as Attac, "a monument to economic and political stupidity."

His comments had a ring to them. But the fact is Attac has attracted 30,000 members in its seven years of existence. Its message that American-driven capitalism, known here as neo-liberalism, is making the world more unequal and more unjust has proved compelling.»
Be afraid, and hide the sheep. You never know what other old habits the old fashioned politicians have.

No comments: