Monday, January 28, 2008

The Left of the Left

La Forge describes itself as an "independent think tank" of intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats, and activists who "analyze and decipher society and advocate solutions." Its founders include Benoît Hamon, a left-wing Socialist, and Noël Mamère, a Green. It is close to the anti-globalization movement, as indicated by the presence of the economist Liem Hoang-Ngoc, who is also a member of the scientific committee of ATTAC.

La Forge has released what it calls a "contre-expertise" critical of the Attali Report on numerous counts. I don't want to take the time to examine this document in detail, but I do want to call attention to a quote from (former no. 2 at MEDEF) Denis Kessler that appears in the report and that has been cited numerous times in the press in recent weeks. Kessler said that "the French social model is a pure product of the Conseil National de Résistance. It is the result of compromise between Gaullists and Communists. The time has come to reform it, and the government has set itself to the task." For La Forge, the Attali Report is the blueprint for reversing this "model inherited from the postwar years."

One could write a book about the implications of this rhetoric as employed by both the right (Kessler) and the left (La Forge). I must avoid the temptation to turn this blog post into a first chapter. Nevertheless, I think it is worth calling attention to this latest avatar of the Vichy syndrome. The Sarkozyan policy, we are given indirectly to understand, is nothing less than an attack on the Resistance. It is the return of foreign Occupation, a reversion to the Dark Years. This is not the first attempt to link Sarkozy to Pétain. Alain Badiou explicitly makes the connection in his book De quoi Sarkozy est-il le nom?

Is French political thought particularly prone to this sort of mythologization of memory? Is it possible to approach the present directly in France, without recourse to specious historicization and paranoid lieux(-communs) de mémoire? I sometimes wonder.

Insider Trading at SG?

Bakchich reports that in the days before the scandal broke, trading in shares of Société Générale increased nearly fourfold. Since the scandal erupted, the shares have declined 20 percent in value.

LATER: See also here.