Friday, April 29, 2011

Du rififi chez les Verts

The Greens are anything but a pastoral symphony of late. First, Hulot challenged Joly as the presidential candidate of Europe Écologie-Les Verts. When a political party has to resort to a hyphenated name, you know there's trouble, and now we have confirmation in the confrontation between Cécile Duflot, the incumbent leader, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the fiery challenger, who accuses gentle Cécile of running EELV as a "Stalinist" regime. Dany has for some time been floating his idea of transforming what he believes has become too much of a "party" back into a "movement," a decentralized federation of "collectives" locally organized across France. Duflot, he alleges, has created a cult of personality around her person.

That may seem a bit rich coming from a man who is a cult of personality unto himself, and the underlying issues remain a bit obscure to outsiders. Yves Cochet blames resentment at the rise of a younger generation, but DCB's desire to have EELV compete in a broad-based primary of the Left suggests something more substantial and fundamental. He sees power as essential to politics, even of the green variety, and wants to be sure that the next head of state is from the Left. Other greens prefer to keep the party as pure as possible, even if that means shunning the direct exercise of power and influencing government by other means.

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