Friday, July 8, 2011

Constitutionalizing Social Partner Negotiations

I said the other day that Bernard Girard had persuaded me that I was misinterpreting François Hollande's somewhat cryptic remarks about "constitutionalizing negotiations between the social partners." This was really in the tradition of French social democracy, the argument went. So I decided to move on.

But now I learn from Jean-Luc Mélenchon's blog (the amount this man manages to write while running for president is astonishing, and I have no doubt that he writes it all himself, for better and for worse) that Hollande's remarks found two supporters I wasn't previously aware of: Alain Madelin, the ultraliberal, and Laurence Parisot, the head of the MEDEF. The plot thickens. What's more, according to Mélenchon, Hollande has ignored several invitations to debate the issue and clarify his position.

En fait le plus étrange dans cette affaire c’est l’attitude de François Hollande après que deux personnes ont répondu à son texte. Quelle attitude ? Il ne dit rien, ne contacte personne, n’écrit rien de plus. Bref, un petit prout et puis s’en va. Ce n’est pas du mépris, juste de la gaminerie. Il avance ses idées comme ses blagues. Rien de constant, et mépris amusé pour tous. S’intéresse-t-il seulement à son idée ? Ou bien n’est-elle là que pour dire « je me suis exprimé ». C’est à croire qu’il n’a pas écrit lui-même son texte. Car qui a souffert à écrire compact sur des sujets aussi complexe ne lâche pas prise si facilement que le fait François Hollande. Croyez-moi. J’ai passé une soirée à écrire ma réponse.
I will return to this issue as I learn more. As Mélenchon says, it isn't a small matter, and the support of Madelin and Parisot has me wondering what's up. But at this point, I don't know enough to say.

The substance of Mélenchon's critique of Hollande is here.

Eloi Laurent, "Social-Ecologie"

Another book by a friend, Éloi Laurent, Social-Écologie, is reviewed by nonfiction.fr. This one is a must-read!

Fumaroli, "When the World Spoke French"

Richard Howard, the dean of American translators of French, renders Fumaroli's When the World Spoke French into English. Reviewed here.

A Randy Fellow Indeed

According to The New York Times, DSK invited two hotel employees to visit his suite. Both declined. As previously reported another woman did visit him after 1 AM (allegedly). Is "reckless" too harsh a word?

Clueless Aubry

Really, now: it was not even two weeks ago that Martine Aubry launched her manifesto on digital policy, but now here she is revealing herself to be totally clueless about the Internet:

"Facebook et Twitter, j'ai horreur de ça... C'est typique de cette société où chacun pense à son nombril... Et puis tous ces faux amis... Ce n'est pas mon truc d'expliquer mes états d'âme. La vie, c'est aussi être libre de regarder autour de soi..." (h/t Guy Birenbaum)
If only she had said something about Facebook's privacy issues or about Internet security--something that showed she had the slightest idea what she was talking about. And then, to make matters worse, she repeats the conventional wisdom of the "social media revolution":

Pour autant, Aubry promet qu'elle sait que les réseaux sociaux ont "pu être utiles, pendant les révolutions arabes, par exemple"
But she evidently hasn't been keeping up with the news:

Mais les choses se gâtent dans la phase II de la révolution. Là, le parti va l'emporter sur le portable. Très vite, "les réseaux verticaux vont reprendre le dessus sur les réseaux horizontaux", dit Alain Navarro, ancien chef du bureau de l'Agence France-Presse au Caire et l'un des journalistes français les plus pertinents sur le Proche-Orient.
Le tyran renversé, il faut aller aux élections, avoir un programme, des chefs, des candidats, des locaux, des journaux, etc. L'organisation reprend ses droits. Les vieilles structures de la militance, celles du parti traditionnel, du syndicat, bref les "réseaux verticaux", en jargon sociologique, retrouvent leur pertinence.
A president really should have a more catholic curiosity about the world we live in.

"Un Juif Improbable"

Reviewed by Sylvie Kauffmann. Dominique Moïsi is a friend. Read his latest book, an autobiography (I haven't yet, but I will).

Former DSK Supporters Alienated

One-third of voters who supported DSK before his arrest would not do so now, even if the charges are dismissed. Many, women in particular, are repelled by what they have learned about his sexual behavior. Others are disturbed by what they have learned about his lavish spending.

Intellectuals for Aubry

Fifty intellectuals sign a petition in favor of Aubry.