Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grunberg on Jacob, Mélenchon, DSK, et tout ça

Gérard Grunberg:

Telos a suffisamment critiqué l’anti-sarkozysme systématique de la gauche pour pouvoir ici critiquer un anti-strauss-kahnisme de droite qui fleure bon l’entre-deux-guerres dans son idéologie. Que le Premier ministre couvre Jacob en mettant en avant l’anti-strauss-kahnisme d’une partie de la gauche de la gauche est peut être de bonne guerre politique mais moralement condamnable. Ici, la gauche de la gauche et la droite se donnent la main pour dénoncer en réalité en DSK quelqu’un qui n’est « pas de chez nous », pas vraiment près du peuple. Quant [sic] Mélenchon condamne « l’affameur des peuples » il y a cette même vision d’une sorte d’apatride qui, à la tête d’une organisation elle-même apatride, martyrise les « vrais gens » par un chantage de nature financière. Pour Jacob, comme pour Mélenchon, DSK n’incarne pas la France. Il ne peut donc prétendre à la diriger. Pour l’instant, les sondages disent le contraire quels que soient les commentaires farfelus que l’on entend ici ou là. Certes, les choses peuvent évoluer et tout dépendra de la capacité de DSK lui-même à faire une bonne campagne. Mais si droite et gauche de la gauche accélèrent leurs critiques de DSK c’est qu’elles savent désormais qu’il sera candidat et qu’il risque fort de l’emporter. Dès lors, dans leur propagande politique, la question n’est pas de savoir si DSK pourrait être un bon président mais de montrer qu’il n’est pas vraiment un bon français, qu’il n’appartient pas à « la France qu’on aime ».
So, the campaign is on, and the IMF will undoubtedly be a major issue if DSK is the Socialist candidate. It will be interesting to see how Sarkozy plays this. The allegedly nefarious role of the IMF is of course a given for the extreme left, altermondialistes, souverainistes, and economic nationalists of all stripes. But Sarkozy, inaugurating the G20 yesterday, called upon his fellow leaders to "renforcer, j'allais dire rehausser" the international institution, which he sees as the instrument of the "regulated" capitalism he now desires. So one campaign tack might be to say, "The IMF will play a key role in governing the economy, and DSK's abandonment of his post in the heat of battle has diminished France's influence in this important spot." This is pretty weak stuff, however, and DSK can easily counter by making a gift to France not of "his person" (that would recall Pétain, as Christian Jacob has tried to do) but of the knowledge gained from his years in Washington.


brent said...

Like others in the French commentariat, Grunberg takes pains to erase the profound differences between MLP's far right and JLM's far left. After all, doesn't Mélenchon share Christian Jacob's vision of DSK as "apatride," a man who "n'incarne pas la France"? Of course, Mélenchon said no such thing, not even remotely. His criticisms of DSK and the IMF have everything to do with trade and development policies, absolutely nothing to do with DSK's allegedly suspicious cosmopolitanism. JLM speaks with the sensitivity to these issues that comes from a lifetime spent on the traditional left, and I would defy Grunberg or anyone else to produce an authentic quote (as opposed to a fabricated, inaccurate paraphrase) that shows Mélenchon playing the divisive politics of ethnic nationalism.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Brent, There is also a "divisive politics of economic nationalism," which sees "la main de Washington" rather than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion behind everything that happens. Historically, moreover, the "traditional left" has not been immune from the vice of conflating economic and ethnic nationalism. Mélenchon himself is no doubt innocent of this, but then Jacob is probably innocent of anti-Semitism. "Dog-whistle politics" works at a sub-intellectual level, and when I listen to Mélenchon, I hear many dog whistles. I know we disagree about this.

Mark said...

Just looks like the French are again faced with choosing between one or another version of a permanent financial directorship reaffirming as if it was necessary their (one dimensional) dominance. Sarko and co are no different, and so can't make the left'ss points or the FN antisemitic one's either. If they are both the same, why would anyone elect DSK? Just because they can't stand Sarko and co? It's possible and sadly probable. Both are just sides just as out of touch as they used to say. Where is a real alternative? It's depressing. His supporters found out all too soon that Obama wasn't who they had fooled themselves into thinking he was. In DSK's case, his partisans won't have the pleasure of being "illusioned" even for a time, unless he dissimulates, making disingenuous noises and faints to the left in order to get elected only to forget all about the moment he takes office. No one's ever done that before, have they? Tell me why I am wrong. I want to be wrong. What does DSK bring to the table? Everyone talks about regulating the financial system, but there's no way or will to do a damn thing about it in my view. Once in the system, you are its prisoner - all that caviar does go to the head.

FrédéricLN said...

Knowledge gained in Washington is easily suspected of being a know-how-to-play-France-down.

But accomplishments at IMF, victories of regulation against systemic risks, States failures risks and banksters predation, might be seriously considered by French voters - if such accomplishments were assessed.

BTW, about the "primaires socialistes", see

Anonymous said...

DSK isn't really "one of the little people". Everybody who has a passing interest in politics knows it. He does represent the "caviar-left" (limousine liberals). What differentiates him from Sarkozy is that Sarkozy had taken pains to speak as if he hadn't attended a posh private school and had speeches that harked back to the 1920s and 1930s dear to many French people's hearts regardless of actual link between Neuilly and the terroir.
(Read "le pain noir" or "des grives aux loups" or any "roman de terroir" with good sales to get the general idea - Guaino syphoned off those with talent.)
DSK hasn't. In fact, as the IMF Chief, he's presented himself very differently and, for better or for worse, he's indeed identified with the international, financial elite - even with the farmer, whose quote links DSK with international markets.
Keep in mind that "cosmopolitan", nowadays, doesn't stand for "Jewish", but rather either for the sexy mag or for Ibiza/NY/*I'm famous parties.

bernard said...

Having known DSK since 1979, I am somewhat amazed that his belonging to the Left, ie. the progressive camp is being questioned. But then, back in 2003, I did go to observe one of the demonstrations against the war in Irak and found that the large noses on those portrayed on the "banderoles", surely by coincidence, had a je-ne-sais-quoi of a new left of the left antisemitism. I guess Krivine must have retired and his followers don't have the same principles.