Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bouvet on Le Pen and Mélenchon

The political scientist Laurent Bouvet compares the extremes of right and left, rightly dismissing the idea of a convergence of the two extremes. His more interesting point is that Mélenchon has had difficulty achieving political traction because he is seen as the representative of a party whose base consists of people protected from the ravages of globalization yet promotes an anti-globalization platform:
Le problème politique de Jean-Luc Mélenchon peut finalement se résumer à cette difficulté: il est perçu, à tort ou à raison, comme le représentant politique d'une partie des «protégés» de la mondialisation (c'est-à-dire à la fois les agents de la fonction publique qui sont aussi ses électeurs et les migrants dont il défend la liberté de circulation) alors qu'il tient un discours critique de la mondialisation et qui entend s'adresser à ses «victimes».


Guillaume Durocher said...

His support for the unlimited right of non-Frenchmen to move to France is also part of the problem. That sounds great to students, disenchanted bobos and aging educational functionaries. Not so to many working stiffs who can't protect himself from the consequences by living in a gentrified area.

Cincinna said...

MLP campaigned with her father Tues night at rally in Marseilles. Overconfident or worried? Good luck or kiss of death?
Mis à jour le 21/05/2014 à 09:35

Photo on the page.


Anonymous said...

I made much the same observation as does Bouvet in a blog post two years ago


Passerby said...

Not to mention his personality problem.

Most of his interviews turn into vociferous diatribes, no matter how mundane the topic being discussed. Even a chat with Mahatma Gandhi or Dalai lama would end up with an uproar from Melenchon...
Some French citizens may view his bursts of rage as evidence that he's standing up to "The Man". Others (like me) think that he's just obnoxious and plain rude.

By comparison, I am much more inclined to listen to Besancenot's articulate arguments, regardless of my own political opinions.

brent said...

Bouvet asks important questions, but his explanation for Mélenchon's 'failure'--and 11% of the national vote is at worst a relative failure--rings true for academics, but not for the electorate: JLM may be "perceived as representing a protected class," e.g. civil servants, but that's not how ordinary voters choose their candidates. The working class vote rejects the FdG from visceral anti-communism, and rejects JLM for his acerbic personality. But really it gravitates to the FN because of its deceptively clear and simple solutions.

JLM's Marseilles speech in the 2012 campaign managed to galvanize immigrant and 'diverse' support--not a heavy voting bloc--but he has not been able to articulate a similar vision for franco-francais disempowered workers. This is a failure of vision, not demographics.

A better question would be why the disenchanted left--not just FdG but EELV and large fractions of the PS--haven't been able to articulate a credible alternative to the social-liberalism of Hollands/Sarkozy/Merkel et al. Such a vision--grounded in clean energy, equitable trade, cooperative workplace organization--could appeal across class lines if so addressed, but it will require a less rancorous spokesperson.