Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Progressive Space

Splintering? Crumbling? What is the right word for what's happening to the French Left? It isn't enough that the PS is split down the middle. It isn't enough that Besancenot's Trotskyists must now share their niche with Mélenchon's French version of Die Linke. Now Robert Hue, who as previously reported here, has quit the Communist Party he once led, is creating his own Nouvel Espace Progressiste. This is the "Field of Dreams" theory of politics: if you build it, they will come. As de Gaulle once remarked à propos of something or other, "Quelle mascarade!"

6 comments:

bernard said...

Should I start mine too ?

brent whelan said...

A confusing field of possibilities to be sure. But what about the Paris-Match poll of a few days ago, suggesting a 49% score for all left forces in the upcoming European elections, with 27% of the total representing the far-left ? Even without the 11% that is the Greens, if these various far-left shadow-parties coalesce in some sort of alliance (not unlikely, given major ideological convergences)--or simply accept the leadership of the NPA, which scores 8% two months before its actual founding--wouldn't a 16% score look a little less shabby than you are suggesting?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Brent, La critique de la raison dialectique is not my favorite book, but there was a time when I, too, looked to "the Left" as a potential "groupe en fusion." Those were hopeful times. That is not to say that the left-wing parties will not collectively poll 49% or even better in the European elections. We know that the electorate is divided about evenly, with this or that group swinging right or left depending on the circumstances, often to register an anti-systemic protest vote. But an expression of ras le bol is not a social or political movement, and I do not see much prospect of "major ideological convergences." The more the parties subdivide, the murkier the situation becomes, and the end result is Sartre's pratico-inerte rather than his more hopeful, if also more utopian, groupe en fusion.

Alain Q. said...

You omitted LO and their new spokeperson, Nathalie Arthaud. She would call this another example of male chauvinism...

I think De Gaulle's favorite word to describe a situation such as what is happening on the Left was : la chienlit..

Anonymous said...

how about "fissaparation"? It refers to reproduction by splitting, the way amoebas do. It does seem to be more popular than heterosexual reproduction, at least among political parties and protestant churches.

bernard said...

I would pay no attention at all to these polls, they will shift a hundred times prior to the only poll I would care about, which is taken on Sundays. Further, I would certainly not use the French result in a European election as a political indication on the state of play in France. Lastly, I expect that the left will score above 50% in the European elections. The reason is pretty simple: the current recession is massive, and is coupled in France with late and insufficient stimulus measures. Now, if the postman and colleagues derive hopes from such results, good for them. It will make for good dreams. One should always have dreams.