Sunday, December 1, 2013

Front de Gauche: No Enemies on the Left?

The Front de Gauche organized a large demonstration in Paris, gathering some 30,000 participants according to Mediapart. The goal, interestingly enough, was to outnumber the Bonnets Rouges, which FdG leaders have characterized as a corporatist, regionalist, and rightist reaction co-opted by the patronat and the parties of the Right rather than a populist movement. In the presidential election, Mélenchon's goal had been to outdo the Front National, but the enemy of the moment seems to be the Bonnets Rouges rather than the FN. This will no doubt change as the municipal elections approach, unless the BR, who show signs of flagging support lately, rally national support.

6 comments:

James Brown said...

check out the photo by journalist Stefan de Vries (@stefandevries) on his twitter feed:
https://twitter.com/stefandevries/status/407243525928271873/photo/1

It makes Melenchon look like a real chump.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ James Brown,

Politics and personalities aside, unless you screwed up the link, I don't understand the way in which JLM looks like a chump. He looks pretty much the same as always. Am I missing something?

Mitch Guthman said...

I must say that unless there's something under the surface that we can't see (such as JLM or the FdG having already been rebuffed by the Bonnets Rouges), it seems to me that JLM's peculiar worldview in which everyone is divided into followers and enemies has once again lead him astray. It is unfortunate and in many ways regrettable that JLM is the only political figure to the right of MLP with any energy. Nevertheless, he's all that we've got at the moment.

As Donald Rumsfeld might say, you go into a political battle with the political leaders you have, not the political leaders you might want or wish to have at a later time. If not Mélenchon, who?

Mitch Guthman said...

@ James Brown,

Apologies. I looked only at the photo of JLM and not at the background, which I thought was the background to his Tweeter page. On closer study, they match so evidently the monster rally was actually quite an intimate gathering

brent said...

As James Brown and Mitch Guthman have perhaps discovered, the issue of JLM, fraudulent photos, and miscounted demonstrators has been sorted out pretty clearly in this Monde article:

http://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2013/12/02/combien-de-participants-a-la-manifestation-du-front-de-gauche_3523588_823448.html

The questions that remain: why the prefecture made such a major undercount, in contravention of its policy; why so many credulous people were so eager to ascribe fraud to the FdG; why a standard TV montage is considered embarrassing for JLM (but not for any other politicians presented in the same way).

Or more seriously: if rising inequality and regressive tax reform define a pressing issue, and if the FdG is the one coherent and progressive voice in this debate, why is all the attention given to these petty personal and media questions, and none to the content of the protesters' demands?

James Brown said...

Mitch
I mean to say that the photo taken by the journalist makes Melenchon look like someone whose claims have been revealed to be overstated - I think the colloquial American word is chump, but the longer I live in France the more I lose my grasp of the colloquialisms I grew up with. Maybe I should say "blowhard" but that's not a word I used alot. Imo, all politicians are chumps to varying degrees and Melenchon doesn't stand out in that regard. I should hope I do not have a particular animus against him, or most any other politician. I didn't mean to communicate that.
I think Melenchon feels threatened by the bonnet rouges because they're stepping on his turf of bottom-up popular revolt. Thus this stunt of sticking out his chest before the cameras.