Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Ax Falls at Le Monde

Le Monde will, as planned, reduce its staff sharply in order to remain afloat. Some prominent journalists will be leaving. Here is the list (published in Marianne):

International : Michel Bole-Richard (correspondant en Israël), Mouna Naïm (Liban,), en , Fabienne Pompey (Afrique du Sud), Françoise Chipaux (Inde et Pakistan), Francis Deron (Asie du Sud-Est), Thomas Ferenczi, Henri de Bresson et Henri Tincq.

Rubrique Et Vous : Florence Amalou, Michaela Bobasch, Bruno Caussé, Françoise Chirot et Christophe de Chenay.

Le «Monde 2»: Claire Blandin, Michèle Champenois, Dominique Frétard, Cédric Kervice, Sophie Malexis.

Direction de la rédaction et éditorialistes : Jacques Buob, Daniel Vernet, Patrick Jarreau, Eric Le Boucher Jean-Louis Andreani, et Dominique Dhombres.

Supplément radio-télévision
: Catherine Bédarida, Valérie Cadet, Francis Cornu et Jacques Siclier.

Service Culture et le supplément littéraire
: Grégoire Allix, Patrick Kéchichian, Emmanuel de Roux et Martine Silber.

Service France : Christiane Chombeau, Michel Samson, Michel Alberganti, Christiane Galus, Jean-Yves Nau.

Service économie : Eric Leser.`

Dessinateurs : Pancho et Pessin.

Edition du journal
: Bruno Bovani, Christine Clessi, Séverine Fromont, Denis Hautin-Guiraut, Hugues Hénique, François Mégard, Cécile Urbain et Hélène Viala.

Service Infographie : Graziella Boutet, Patricia Coyac, Jean-Pierre Gosselin et Mireille Morfin.

: Josette Rolinat.

: Nadine Avelange, Béatrice Malaussena, Didier Rioux, Marie-Hélène Barut, Evelyne Besrest et François Rippe, Hélène Mazella, Jean-Claude Harmignies, Anne Chaussebourg.

Le Monde de l'éducation : Diane Galbaud et Boris Guillaud.

Ideal Politics

In idle hours I sometimes ruminate on what politics might look like in a world only slightly more ideal than the one we live in. Parties, for one thing, would double as pedagogues, since the way the world works is hardly transparent, and the difficulty of seeing what is really going on gives rise to all sorts of false consciousness.

In the world as it is, however, party pedagogy is often perverse. Take the storming of the Bastille--today's storming of the Bastille, not that of 1789. It seems that the Communist Party (yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus) swooped down on the legendary site with grocery carts full of fruits and vegetables--17 tons of fruits and vegetables--which it sold at "farmers' prices." This educational effort was intended to alert consumers to what many already believe, that the high cost of food is due to "abusive margins by big retail chains." Buyers delighted by low prices turned out in droves. In its zeal to denounce the big retailers--one could almost hear the revolutionary cries of sangsues!--the workers' party conveniently neglected to remind its customers that the labor power of its militants was being donated gratis, that the party treasury had been tapped to pay for transportation, handling, and storage, and that the impromptu sales floor of the place de la Bastille charged no rent and required no outlay for maintenance. Thus the complexity of the real economy was hidden behind the screen of ideology.

But wasn't this the function of commodity exchange as described by Marx? It seems that money is not the only veil alienating consumer from producer, that the cash nexus is not the only generator of myth. How simple life would be if only all human relations were face-à-face. Pity the poor middleman, who has been denounced since time immemorial by those on either end of the food chain. Le grand racket! screams the headline in L'Humanité.

If the Socialist Party weren't consumed with its search for a new leader among its old leaders, it might seize the opportunity to explain to that portion of the electorate that it most desperately needs to reach--the drifting electorate of the left of the Left, nostalgic for the old nostrums yet skeptical that they have any purchase on today's reality--that the workings of the market are rather more complex than either the PCF or Olivier Besancenot allows, and that if anything is to be done about prices and wages, it must begin with a proper understanding of what's actually happening.