Saturday, December 6, 2008

No Healing in PS

Martine Aubry announced the new leadership of the PS today, and two things are clear: treachery pays, and there has been no healing or even temporary patching up since the disastrous Reims Congress. Benoît Hamon becomes party spokesperson, a reward for his last-minute rallying. Cambadélis, who bolted from his supposed alliance with Moscovici, takes over Moscovici's job as national secretary for European and international affairs. Montebourg, who also flirted with Mosco for a time, becomes national secretary for renovation. Harlem Désir is responsible for "coordination" (good luck). Pascal François Lamy and Michel Sapin are in; the Royalistes are left out in the cold. Early signs of reconciliation have vanished.

8 comments:

Unknown said...

While Montebourg is a "traître de comédie", Cambadélis is the bad guy "par excellence", and a dangerous one at that. "brute épaisse" is a term that characterizes pretty well many former members of the OCI-AJS.

Jessica said...

Bernard, without getting into the obscure labrynths of personal rivalries that constitutes most explanations for who-hates-who in the PS, would you care to elaborate on your denunciation of Cambedelis? Is it solely his former Lambertism?

I ask only because as an entrenched outsider but amateur student of the PS for 20 years now, I've always thought of Cambedelis as one of the smartest guys in the PS -- his comments in the press often strike me as much more astute and cogent than most and his observations often turn out to be accurate. Was not he the main architect of the "gauche plurielle" strategy of 97 (and, if reports were to believed, the one to sell the alliance on the prospect that left chose its candidates carefully, it could create enough "triangulaires" to win a majority) as well as the first, maybe the only, leading PS figure to recognize the peril Jospin was in down the stretch in 02?

Or am I merely thinking about him as a tactician as opposed to political ideology?

On the larger point of exlcuding the Royalistes, isn't that exactly playing into her hands, helping solidify her image as an outsider to the party machinery and hardening the sense of her movement as an alternative force of renovation?

Unknown said...

I think many of us had more radical political commitments in the past than we have today, so I'm never sure what to make of dark allusions to Lambertist connections. Are we meant to conclude that "entrisme" is still the order of the day? If so, the Lambertistes have taken over, since Camba is with Aubry, Dray with Royal, and Jospin with Delanoë. More seriously, one could read the PS split as an opening for DSK, so the question becomes, Is Camba still DSK's man, or has he struck out on his own? Wasn't Mosco holding DSK's coat, and didn't Camba (Kostas from his OCI days) abandon him? Now, it's true that Camba has a history of jumping at opportune moments. He took a large chunk of the AJS with him when he joined the PS. Perhaps that's what Bernard is referring to. Since I don't know the man personally, I have no basis to judge Bernard's characterization, but, like Jessica, I've never thought of him as épaisse.

Unknown said...

Ok, I guess I did not express myself well.

What I meant to say was not that Cambadelis was or is a dark OCI horse inside the socialist barn. Neither did I want to blame him for having been a leftist many years ago.

What I meant to say was that those who were with the OCI-AJS in those days -the early seventies - were quite particular cookies. If the LC, later the LCR members were generally speaking people who liked to have fun, those who went the OCI-AJS way were definitely not people who enjoyed laughing, and it showed. They trained in clandestine political manipulation and were quite brutal with anyone who did not see things precisely their way. Within the leftist movement, they behaved as political thugs and displayed a brutality that was unmatched among other factions. This brutality was displayed most openly at the time of the breakup of the historical student union (UNEF), which Cambadelis engineered. There is a well known French historian, Benjamin Stora, of the Algerian war who has spoken -actually written - on the subject. So, what I am saying is this: his student years were his formative years in terms of a predilection for certain political methods, and these he has not left behind even though he has been for many years now a socialist. I did not like these methods much then and still do not like them much today. I could never understand why DSK chose this particular enforcer to be his enforcer apart from the fact that he is effective.

Incidentally, and I believe it does show in his way of doing politics (and has nothing to do with the fact that he is with segolene now), Julien Dray was not with OCI-AJS, he was with LCR, and there mostly on an anti-racist basis.

I am not quite sure as well (but I could be wrong) about Cambadélis being the one warning Jospin in 2002. As I recall it, it was an elder mathematician - a member of Jospin's inner circle - whose name escapes me at the moment (and an OCI member for over 30 years) who told him: here of course the important fact is not that he was with OCI, rather that he could do the elementary maths that go with polling theory (needless to say, Jospin rejected the maths as they did not fit with his self-esteem, which reminded me at the time of something Brecht had said regarding East Germany and the people). Whether this is public knowledge or not, I don't recall, though I remember exactly who told me in real time (another mathematician).

Anyhow, between Bartolone and Cambadelis, if I were Aubry, I'd spend a bit of cash on a life raft. You never know when it can come handy.

gregory brown said...

Thanks; thats very interesting. I am an admirer of Stora's works on Algeria and have heard him speak on his own past, so I'd be interested if you recall a citation for what he wrote about his student political experiences?

(PS the post from "Jessica" above was mine, using my wife's computer and blogger account.)

Anonymous said...

Numbers:
Apparently, there are about 300 people in that "Parliament" and Martine Aubry has said she had a 71% majority, not as good as Hollande's 80% but close. Except that Tuesday Nov 25th only about 160 people voted for Martine being designated Chief, and again yesterday, these 210 people shrunk to a paltry 146, which technically isn't even a majority.
But what it tells us, also, is that about 65 people whom Martine wants to count as hers, aren't. 65 people who aren't part of Royal's camp but aren't part of Aubry's either.
Things are going to remain interesting, don"t you think?

Anonymous said...

Moving on from Cambadelis, the article in Le Monde evokes Francois Lamy (an old "écuyer" for Aubry) as member of the Aubry team, not Pascal Lamy as Art mentions in his post.
That caught my eye because I, for once, would be a happier leftist if Pascal Lamy was taken more seriously in the PS. The way he is treated by the French socialists is one more symptom of their incapacity to articulate a coherent, realistic and leftist conception of globalized economy. A pity, really.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the correction, Louis.