Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The French Tragedy one year after

It is almost one year since the failure of the Referendum on the European Constitution in France (May 29 2005).

Back then, I wrote a post, which was highly criticized and considered as extreme.
I believe it now sounds quite reasonable and moderate in light of the social/political events that took place in the last year in France.

You can judge for yourself whether you agree or not. Here is the post:

The nation state par excellence, has decreed its suicide on 29th of May by voting No to the European Constitution. The French people expressed a strong degree of dissatisfaction towards its political class, the high level of unemployment, the French Constitution, and many other things. It is difficult to disentangle them all, but I will at least point to a few of them.

Chirac is the great loser. He threw all his political weight behind the Constitution. He appeared on television several times. Nevertheless, he suffered a great defeat. His putative father, Charles de Gaulle, would have resigned after acknowledging such a defeat. Chirac is there to stay, it is the only thing he can do if he wants to avoid being jailed. By voting No, however, the French people do not get rid of Jacques Chirac.

The French ruling class. It is fragmented and weak, it is not able to agree on fundamental issues such as the european constitution. France is broken into two halves. The elite who preaches modernity and grandeur. The people who rejects everthing coming from the top. Communication is impossible. By voting no, the French people has just confirmed the conviction of the elite that the people should not decide. Sad, but french.

French unemployment. The French economic model does not work. France has the highest unemployment rate, and it is very natural that unemployed people wanted to sanction their government. The plain fact of high unemployment raises the question whether the french welfare system is viable. I think it is not. It is much more in line with the principle of equality to have less unemployment with less social privileges, than more unemployed with more social privileges. By voting No, the French people entrenched the status quo of unemployment and stagnation. Good for them.

The French Constitution. Yes indeed, the French Constitution of 1958 is equally under fire. The presidential systems with an untouchable president is not desirable. The french people said No to Chirac primarily. They only get rid of Raffarin, the prime minister. This, of course, is not sufficient. By voting no, french people only get what they deserve: a new, weak, right wing government.

The end of Solidarity . France is terrorized: Polish workers, africans, muslims, turkish.. They are all perceived as threats. The threats Mr LePen has talked about for so very long; the threats that have seduced all those who voted for the no to the European constitution.

In conclusion, Egalite', Liberte', and Fraternite' do not live in France anymore. They leave in Europe, in the hopes of those who want to construe a courageous Europe. One that does not fear modern challenges. The call for more justice is coming from central and eastern europe. They want to disenfranchise themselves from the dark communist past. Ukraine was one instance of the call for freedom and justice. There are more to come. And all the courageous Europeans will be there to welcome this call for freedom and justice, and support it through our solidarity. France can rest for today, because tomorrow it will have to face the burden of the darkest decadence since the French revolution.

1 comment:

Euan MacDonald said...

Interesting post, Lorenzo. While I agree that, to some extent at least, events have borne out your predictions - particularly, of course, in terms of Chirac and the issue of unemployment coming to a head - there is still a feeling that you overstate some points. In particular, the concluding claim that "all those who voted no to the European Constitution" succumbed to the scare-mongering of LePen, and the related idea that "courageous" Europeans voted yes, strikes me as more than a little reductive.

I'm still glad that I did not have to decide on how to vote...