Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Postman Always Rings Twice

17 percent of French voters take a shine to a relaunched LCR as an anticapitalist party. It’s run by the boy-wonder mailman Olivier Besancenot who never worked. It should prove popular among idiots who seem especially disturbed in their unionized jobs, especially in these confusing times where one might have to add up numbers from time to time.

Michael Gurfinkiel, writing the The Weekly Standard has more:

The Soviet empire disintegrated in 1991. The KGB networks, however, have continued to operate, both inside and outside Russia. And Havana continues to serve as a capital in exile for many of them. This accounts for both the spread of Castroite regimes in Latin America in recent years and the consolidation of a global anti-Western alliance, from Hugo Chávez in Venezuela to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. It may also explain the current attempts to resurrect hard left parties in Europe, whether Die Linke in Germany or the NPA in France. In any event, commenting on the recession in France last month, Besancenot expressed confidence that things were ripe once more for "good old revolution."
The party elite of the French far-left are genuine stooges straight out of the 1970’s who look to authoritarian prison states for inspiration – having learned nothing in the mean time, other than the parties themselves are a sort of meal-ticket for the ruling class that lead it. In Germany, Die Linke tried to promote in the last election to head the federal republic with the slogan “Luxus für Alle” or “luxuries for all” to appeal to the same mathematically deficient population that so many times before had made a name for Europe in the world as the continent of blood. Olivier Besancenot is surely aware of that he shares such a noble heritage with both the legacy of what the ideas he’s adopted have produced, and the simplistic methods by which it continues to peddle itself. The historical ignorance, as well as outright stupidity about economics are key. It’s why revolutionaries target the young and the educational establishment.
First, he has no working class background at all. His parents were solidly middle class (his father was a high school teacher and his mother a school psychologist). He went to college--Nanterre University in Greater Paris--and earned an M.A. in contemporary history. He is first and foremost a Revolutionary Communist League apparatchik who joined the working class at the party's request, first as a supermarket warehouse worker and then as a mailman, in order to acquire the politically necessary proletarian credentials. Tellingly, he was co-opted to the LCR's Central Committee in 1996, before he went to work for the postal service.

Besancenot, moreover, never actually worked much as a mailman. Under French law, workers are entitled to long leaves, on full salary, if they serve as officers of unions or political parties. Besancenot is both. And he knows how to make the most of it. He has been on leave almost continuously, either as a union activist or as an LCR figure--assistant to an LCR member of the European Parliament, party spokesman, or presidential candidate. This was his real job, and it was much better paid than his nominal job at the postal service. As a European Parliament assistant, he apparently made 5,000 euros a month.

Besancenot's private life is even more intriguing. His early rise within the LCR was due in large measure to the fact that he was living with a daughter of Alain Krivine, the group's founder and head, who himself ran for president as a Trotskyite in 1969 and 1974. Besancenot later separated from her, but remained Krivine's protégé. Then he met his current companion, Stéphanie Chevrier. A radical activist, Chevrier, 38, is also a top editor at the publishing house Flammarion and reportedly makes 10,000 euros a month with numerous perks. She owns an apartment in Paris on the exclusive Left Bank, where she lives with Besancenot. Her contacts in the French media have apparently been crucial in her common-law husband's meteoric rise.

To whom--one may ask, then--do Krivine, Chevrier, and Besancenot ultimately answer?

From its very inception in the 1960s, Krivine's Revolutionary Communist League was closely tied to the Castro regime in Cuba. Today, Besancenot describes Cuba as a "truly progressive" society. He coauthored a book in praise of Che Guevara in 2007. Last spring, shortly before launching the NPA, he visited his "friends" in Havana, where he "met with various militants." On May 6, in an interview with Rouge, the LCR magazine, he praised the "internationalist" dimension of the Cuban Revolution.
In truth, only in a corroded society where families are temporary things subject more to whim than love, and the state is one’s husband and breadwinner, could such a man thrive – one who, at 34 is considered a “kid” and given a pass on all of those things “kids” do:
The chief reason for Besancenot's popularity is that, like Barack Obama (to quote Michelle Obama), "he's cute." With his boyish face, broad smile, and big eyes, Besancenot appeals to his generational peers, women, and even older people, who tend to see him as their virtual son.

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