Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Plenel, Habermas, and the Treaty Formerly Known as "Merkozy"

François Hollande has had a fairly free ride up to now. He has avoided public splashes, and criticism has been mainly muted, except for the occasional tantrum on the Right. But now, from the left side of the spectrum, comes Edwy Plenel, editor of Mediapart, to remind Hollande that he had promised to "renegotiate" the "golden rule," that is, the treaty formerly known as "Merkozy," but is now content to avail himself of the Constitutional Court decision that no ratification or constitutional inscription is needed to swallow the treaty's terms as if they were not in binding (and in fact they are not very binding, as the wording of the pact leaves enormous loopholes). But for Plenel, who cites Habermas in support of his position, Hollande's complacency marks another step in the drift toward a "post-democratic" Europe, in which national electorates are supposed to acquiesce in the irrevocable decisions of technocrats censés savoir:

Ferme partisan du Traité constitutionnel européen (TCE) en 2005, Habermas s’est alarmé en octobre 2011 de l’avènement européen d’une « domination post-démocratique » dont le pacte budgétaire alors en cours d’élaboration serait l’instrument. « Un tel régime, expliquait-il (lire ici la traduction française),permettrait de transférer les impératifs des marchés aux budgets nationaux sans aucune légitimation démocratique propre. Les chefs de gouvernement transformeraient de la sorte le projet européen en son contraire : la première communauté supranationale démocratiquement légalisée deviendrait un arrangement effectif, parce que voilé, d’exercice d’une domination post-démocratique ». « Le joli mot de “gouvernance” n’est qu’un euphémisme pour désigner une forme dure de domination politique », ajoutait-il dans un entretien postérieur.
I expect this discussion to become more heated at the rentrée.


Anonymous said...

are they just frustrated because they are not the "dominant" party?

Mitch Guthman said...

Indeed, it has already begun. The main story of today’s l’Humanité « Après 100 Jours : Le changement c’est pour quand ? » I think we will soon see similar article in Libération and Le Monde, which, one hopes, might prompt Hollande to finally act.


Having said that, I continue to think that people should withhold judgment for a bit longer or at least soften their criticism because Hollande is the only representative of anything even vaguely resembling the left in Europe or North America (or the center, for that matter) still in the game. If one can’t support him then what else is to be done? There is simply no one else at the moment.

One can only hope that Hollande has been taking his time to prepare his move against the austerity regime and to return Europe to the path of democracy. Or it could be that he’s interest is simply in being president for a single term and he has neither the desire nor ability to lead in this time of crisis. I can only hope for the former even as I fear it may be the latter.

As I say, though, if not Hollande, then who?

Having said all that, I happen to agree strongly with Plenel. The points he makes are very important and completely valid.

Likewise, the frustration and unhappiness expressed in Amartya Sen’s article is understandable. As one might expect, he has expressed himself elegantly and forcefully.

This article by Sen is a very powerful statement which deserves wider circulation in Europe (where it might do so good). His voice is a welcome (if slightly surprising) addition to the fight.

Edwy Plenel said...

Thank you for having noticed this article. Its english version is now available on Mediapart, it's here: http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/180812/vital-debate-europes-elites-have-confiscated-its-peoples: