Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mélenchon, Feisty as Ever

A feisty Jean-Luc Mélenchon offers his views on the election. Among other things, he claims that the working class has deserted the UMP almost entirely and is now making up its mind between him and Marine Le Pen:

Vous avez lancé une charge assez violente contre Marine Le Pen, la qualifiant de "semi-démente". C'est la bonne méthode ?
La gauche que je veux entraîner n'a pas d'avenir si elle ne reprend pas le terrain dans le peuple. En milieu populaire, il y a le FN et nous. La droite a elle-même levé la digue et tout ce qu'elle avait sur le terrain ouvrier est parti au FN. Mais il y a aussi une responsabilité du PS qui a abandonné consciemment le terrain parce qu'il se figurait que les classes moyennes urbaines suffiraient à porter un projet socialiste devenu consensuel et non conflictuel.
Je défie Marine Le Pen et ses névroses xénophobes. Mme Le Pen est un poulet d'élevage du Front national. Elle récite des fiches. Il faut la sortir de sa coquille. Je le fais en provoquant la compétition avec elle.

And whatever else you can say about JLM, his language is farther from la langue de bois than any other candidate:
Pour moi, la référence reste le "oui" et le "non" lors du référendum sur le traité constitutionnel européen [en mai 2005]. Toute la question de l'austérité, c'est le retour du débat du oui et du non. Il y a les trois partisans du oui. Ils disent la même chose différemment : "Il faudra payer la dette."Et puis, il y a une quatrième, Marine Le Pen, qui dit : "Si vous ne voulez pas du système, votez pour moi." Mme Le Pen prône un non qui est auto-disqualifié. Personne ne peut avoir envie d'en faire l'expérience. Ce n'est pas un match à quatre, c'est un garrot. C'est une camisole de force, ces quatre-là.


brent said...

"Mais ce qui est une erreur, pour un pouvoir de gauche, c'est d'affronter une crise du capitalisme sans rien construire d'idéologique."

Watching as first Obama and now Newt Gingrich orient their campaigns toward the critique of abusive capitalist practices--and why not, after the scandalous behavior of the financial sector en masse--I do marvel at the French campaign, where the only candidate who seems willing to take this on is JLM, now at 8.5%. (One might also include LePen, but I don't find a coherent critique of finance as such among her sallies.) So my question: are the French voters simply more tolerant of the malpractices that have led to this ongoing series of crises? More fearful of rocking the boat, leaky as it may be? Or might they, like the American electorate, still be susceptible to a populist critique of finance capital--in which case JLM's numbers could take off in the 100 days to come ...

Anonymous said...

Personally speaking, I can't stand JLM. I've never been able to stand him. Will do a blog post on the SOB before le 22 avril (et en français).


Cincinna said...

re MLP: Even a broken clock is right twice a day!

We are all waiting with baited breath for the primary results from South Carolina, due within the hour.
No GOP candidate has lost SC and won the nomination.
They are following the race in France, but the media there doesnt seem to have a clue about the dynamics of this race. They, along with the GOP establishment elites in the US, completely miss the obvious- what regular voters, the average GOP and independent voter, and most Americans on the right side of the political spectrum know deep in their heart of hearts.

Anonymous said...

Cincinna: not sure what most Americans know in their heart of hearts. It seems to me that South Carolina Republicans feel angry and rather than pick someone who can be president they picked someone who reflects their anger and will bash anything/anyone who questions it (or him). Or perhaps they really enjoy contested primaries where millions are wasted on defamatory TV ads.

Anyway, perhaps JLM is the French left's Newt, but I don't think so. How would you call a party whose sole purpose is to help a bigger one win votes later on? In a two-party system those don't exist but there has to be a name for it since most European countries seem to have those. Serious question. I'm thinking something along the lines of "kickstand" but the name may already exist. Anyone knows?

JLM voices voters' anger, too. These graphs depict why they're angry (and as the blog host states "sure it's from the PS but the numbers are real ")
Probably the best graphs I've seen in a while.
Hollande isn't the right guy for angry people. In fact I'm surprised that there's so little energy on either side - the UMP reps sound angry but their anger seems to be entirely focused on Sarkozy's defense, not on anger reflecting citizens'; and Hollande's campaign is lukewarm oatmeal so far, with splotches here and there. He's lucky Sarkozy's completely discredited among independent voters otherwise he'd be toast (yeah, bad breakfast pun intended :p)

So, Mélenchon? Very complementary to Hollande. They don't attract the same type of voters, and since Poutou is media-shy many red-left voters will turn to Mélenchon. Fiery rhetorics aside (which very few actually believe), Mélenchon hopes to push Hollande to a few "more on the left"platform choices in exchange for his endorsement between the two rounds; Hollande will agree on cosmetic changes (like a promise to raise minimum wage once the economic crisis is over...) and a bunch of extreme-left voters who'd never vote for Hollande will end up voting for him. Mélenchon will be in government and will have "saved the little people". Win-win.

As for Mélenchon's campaign to reclaim the "popular" classes from Marine Le Pen (working and lower middle classes = 45% voters -- and Le Pen ranks #1 among them!) Good for him. I don't really see Hollande talking to these voters. He may still, of course, but right now he doesn't. Bayrou has started with his "fils du peuple de France" rhetorics. So, why not Mélenchon too ?


Anonymous said...

@Brent: I don't see JLM's numbers increasing drastically, simply because French voters aren't that radical. Also, most of Mélenchon's ideas simply aren't feasible - 30% increase for minimum wage? As for bringing up "le oui et le non", this really isn't how people are thinking right now. They're concerned with factories closing and industries dying, they're concerned with their children's future (for the first time in years education and unemployment are neck and neck in voters' concerns), and they're afraid France will be treated like Greece was. Mélenchon has a way in because he states that fear and that anger well but his solutions aren't considered believable by most, as far as I can tell. Most voters want someone who is both feisty and reasonable. Sarkozy won on that last time. This time, the left has one feist, unreasonable candidate, and one reasonable but... not very feisty candidate?

Anonymous said...

@brent said... The candidates with the exception of JLM and MLP may not be verbalising voter anger about the financial gangsters but there is plenty of it out there. Google gives a reasonable selection of grassroots activism against bankers. Although Cantona's bring down the banks effort effectively failed to catch on there was fairly strong grassroots activity supporting it. Similarly a cross-party Euro MEPs group led by Pascal Canfin (who earlier launched are sponsoring, in a concerted effort to bring bankers under control.