Monday, April 21, 2008

The New Socialist Party

No, not le Nouveau Parti Socialiste--that's dead, and Arnaud Montebourg has thrown in his lot with Pierre Moscovici, while Vincent Peillon is going with Ségolène Royal. I'm speaking, rather, of the new "consensus" position paper that the PS has adopted in advance of its upcoming "renovation congress." As one might expect of a consensus "declaration of principles" approved by "98 percent" of the party, the style is purest langue de bois, and the document is more notable for what it doesn't say than for what it does. Although "revolution" has been banished at last from the party canon, there is a fallback on the word "revolt": "To be a socialist is not to be content with the world as it is. The socialist idea partakes of both a revolt against injustice and hope for a better life." The "social market economy" has become the "social and ecological market economy," and the "goal of socialist action" is no longer merely "complete emancipation of the human person" but also "the preservation of the planet." Vaste programme, aurait dit de Gaulle. "Progress, synonymous with improvement of human life, is a fundamental value for socialists." Etc.

I could go on in this vein, but it is difficult to raise an ironic eyebrow via the Internet, so I'll stop. One thing is certain: if the PS sticks to this bland mush in its Congress, it will indeed have the "serene and useful" meeting that Ségolène Royal looks forward to on her Web site, but it will be the serenity of lobotomy. Is it really necessary to engage in embarrassing rituals of this sort?

Le Monde finds--or pretends to find--something in this document that eludes my grasp.


Vertigo said...

Can someone tell me what will be the process for November... they will discuss this principles, vote on it and elect a new Secretary? When will the candidates start their campaign? Thanks.

MYOS said...

While Le Monde finds the news worthy of a front-page column, Marianne tends to agree with you, Art.,-le-PS-perd-ses-adherents_a86471.html?PHPSESSID=a038d61835bd05f891df8e4cadd4fe4d

[BTW, I'm "MY", whose full name is no longer truncated]

MYOS said...

vertigo, this is how my friends have explained it to me. It seems very complicated so i hope I don't butcher things.
First they prepare orientation papers. Each group then sends their orientation paper to local groups. The groups discuss and vote. Based on the vote, the local overarching structure changes and elects representatives with a proportional system (1 delegate for the first 50 votes, 1 delegate for the next 100, something like that.) That's in September.
Then the delegates meet in November for the "Congres".
If one group or person gets 50.5% of the vote, they become the Majority and rule. If no one reaches over 50%, there's a second round. Minority contestants negociate something to join a more powerful group. The top 2 or 3 contestants remain. Whoever ranks first becomes the Majority oriention. Everybody else becomes minority.
Then, after that vote local groups vote to decide who will lead.
Hypothetically the Majority orientation can be different from the party leader's orientation.
The campaign has started: Hamon and Royal have started websites to encourage people participation. Moscovici/Montebourg and Delanoe are sure to follow.
There's a lot of mythology about which city will host the Congres. Rennes and Epinay seem to be off-limits because famous "congres" took place there.

Vertigo said...

Thank you for your reply. Its going to be a very interesting race to follow. Do you have any idea who is going to be on top? or is it too early to say. Well, I guess we will just have to wait and see. Again, thanks. :)