Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Party Ritual

The various Socialist courants are to submit their position papers to the consideration of party members this week in view of the upcoming Congress of Reims. Fabius is first out of the block. His summary statement can be read here. The document is an unconscious parody, a work of hucksterism rather than political thought or analysis. It is sort of an expanded bumper sticker of the genre that runs "think globally, act locally," but it would be more precise to describe it as "think grandiosely, act defensively." So we begin with a brisk--femtosecond brisk--overview of the global situation: China is big and getting bigger, oil is pricey and getting pricier, the West is no longer the center of the world, liberalism makes everything worse, and the Left has failed to appreciate the new lay of the land and the failure of liberalism (in case you missed it the first time). So much for the big ideas. Now come the various lines to be held: France needs more innovation and more small businesses, so let's invest in research and create a small business administration. Already the gap between the diagnosis and the remedy is beginning to seem, well, rather wide. And then we need more redistribution of wealth (always a good idea, but let's not dwell on the details). Protection and solidarity: more sine qua nons of la gauche de toujours. Ecology: check, we're modern as well as traditional in our idea of socialism. Republican equality, laïcité, and education: you can never go wrong with these. Euro-volontaires et internationalistes: sounds good, doesn't commit to anything controversial like an actual agreement among the 27. Nobody's against Europe, as long as they can have a Europe of their own. "We need a proud, aggressive, and open party." Check. "We propose a strategy of clear and winning alliances." Opponents presumably favor murky, losing alliances. Oh, and by the way, Fabius opposes the "presidentialization and peopolisation of the party."

If this whets your appetite for more, you can read the full document here.


David in Setouchi said...

I'm surprised that you're using the French meaning of liberalism in English... Is that a mistake from your part, or am I missing something?

(or are you acting as the opposite of Delanoë who using the English meaning in French and confuses everybody)

Unknown said...

It's not a mistake. I am assuming that readers of this blog recognize the European use of the term. It's tiresome to repeat this every time it comes up.

MYOS said...

Since "presidentialization" is a subproduct of the "quinquennat", how does Fabius propose to oppose it? By reverting to septennat?

Unknown said...

MYOS, The quinquennat certainly reinforced the presidentialization of the regime, but presidentialization just as surely existed before the quinquennat. One way to oppose it would be to allocate more power to the legislature: control of its own agenda, for example, the right to initiate legislation, to approve nominations, to hold committee hearings, to subpoena government documents.

Anonymous said...

You're being unfair, in my opinion. The point of the exercise is to remain as vague as possible and I bet all the papers will be just as BS.

What is missing is anything specific about the EU. Fabius could have foudn a niche there, though he apparently doesn't want to revisit that.

Unknown said...

Yes, quite right, I'm being unfair.

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