Sunday, April 3, 2011

Buisson Offends Again

"Reserve the RSA and RMI for the French," Patrick Buisson told Paris Match. The magazine apparently amended these words after the fact so as not to sound too much like the Front National. But Marine Le Pen wasn't fooled:

Ancien directeur de la rédaction du journal d’extrême-droite Minute, le cerveau du pouvoir ne peut renier un passé qui a laissé des traces indélébiles, et que Marine Le Pen s’est fait un malin plaisir de rappeler sur Canal + : "Patrick Buisson vient de chez nous, par conséquent, il en a conservé un certain nombre de convictions. Le problème c’est qu’il n’arrive pas à les faire appliquer par Nicolas Sarkozy, manifestement".
It's not longer possible to characterize this kind of dérapage from the UMP as shocking. It's become business as usual.

The Socialist Program

Here it is. I will keep silent while awaiting your comments.


Laurent Bouvet reviews Jean-Pierre Chevènement's La France est-elle finie? When I lived in France back in the 70s, I was quite interested in Chevènement's CERES, a movement then on the left of the Socialist Party. As Chevènement's politics took a more nationalistic turn, as I saw it, I became disenchanted, but I continued to admire him as a politician of a certain intellectual integrity. In 2002, appalled by the fragmentation of the Left to which Chevènement's formation of a splinter party contributed, I grew still more disenchanted with JPC's politics, though the man himself never forfeited my respect. To blame him for Jospin's defeat seemed excessive: he remained a politician of deep conviction, and although the consequences of conviction in politics are sometimes unfortunate, the quality itself is rare enough to be admired.

I look forward to reading his book, although I doubt I will be quite as appreciative as Laurent Bouvet is. I don't share the Euroskepticism that seems to motivate both the author and the reviewer, and I am dubious about the revival of "republican universalism" that is supposed to project the French nation into the globalized enivronment without compromise of the principle of republican solidarity. Proclaimed universalism has often served in the past as a mask for the kind of nationalism that figured in the syllogism that Chevènement attributes to Mitterrand: "nation=nationalism=war." For Chevènement, this understanding of history explains Mitterrand's commitment to the European project. If that is what it comes down to, I incline to Mitterrand's side: nationalism, even disguised as republicanism or humanitarianism, is a force of which it is always wise to remain deeply wary.