Thursday, March 6, 2008

Headscratching Time

"Patrons français, soyez fiers de l'être." So said Jean Jaurès on May 28, 1890, and it's Michel Rocard who's reminding us of this today in an article headlined "Tous derrière Laurence Parisot." Meanwhile, Le Figaro--Le Figaro!!--tells us that le patronat is tearing itself apart, that debate is raging in the boardrooms, and that huge stakes in wealth and power are up for grabs. And all because the UIMM--the successor organization to the redoutable Comité des Forges, le mur d'argent, la haute banque Protestante, and all those monstrous emanations of the occult power of das Kapital that one used to read about in history books of a certain sort--made Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac a small but tidy gift of 1.5 million euros to keep himself warm when he is embastillé by the vengeful workers' regime of Nicolas Sarkozy.

Why, one might almost think that the good old days had returned, when right was right and left was left and l'ouverture was as unthinkable as a reversal of gravity. So this is what France gets for attempting yet again to modernize itself. And who is most gleeful about this turn of events? None other than Jean-Marie Le Pen, who appeared on France2 news last night in a jolly mood, hinting darkly that the UIMM had financed his old comrade, the Judas Bruno Mégret, as well as the GUD, the Groupe Union Défense, which even Le Pen appears to regard as an unfrequentable organization, even if one of its former leaders will soon be teaching law at the University of Poitiers and former members sit today on the benches of the majority in the National Assembly.

It's actually almost a pleasure to write this post. The old denunciatory reflexes return; no thought is necessary; and one can indulge in the satisfyingly cathartic expression of the slogan tous pourris! But really, in the end, it's awfully disappointing, since one would like to believe, along with Michel Rocard, that an ethical patronat is not only necessary in France but also possible. Surely even the UIMM can recognize that, although the initial performance of its new head, M. Saint-Geours, has not been encouraging, even allowing for the impossible situation he inherited.

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