Friday, September 20, 2013

Chantal Mouffe on "Post-Politics" and France

The same thing exists in other countries. For instance, in France at the moment we have a socialist government, but François Hollande is not really doing anything which is different from Sarkozy. The same thing happened in Spain with Zapatero. So this is basically what I call ‘post-political’: the fact that there is no real alternative, there is no choice given to citizens. And I don’t think that this is something which is good for democracy.

Of course some people have been arguing that it is good for democracy, this blurring of the line between left and right, because democracy is supposedly more ‘mature’. I disagree with this. For instance in my book, On the Political, I’ve tried to explain the development of right-wing populist parties as a reaction to the lack of choice which is given to citizens. Right-wing populist parties are, in many countries, the only parties who argue that there is a real alternative. Now the alternative that they propose is unacceptable, would not work economically, and on top of that often reflects some form of xenophobia, but they give the possibility of mobilising passion toward change.


Passerby said...

Front National's rhetorical expression of "UMPS" is good illustration of Mrs Mouffe point about presenting themselves as the only "real" alternative.

bbk said...

I agree with you.

Steven Rendall said...

Art--this is not a comment on this post, but I want to let you know that on both my computer and my wife's the right-hand column, under the heading "about this site" is bouncing up and down slightly. It started doing this a week or two ago, and may reflect some problem with the site.

FrédéricLN said...

I agree on much of this quote, not exactly on (FN vote as) "a reaction to the lack of choice". I would say, a reaction to the lack of effectiveness of the one or approximately same policy the right and the left carry out. Which is, er-, a "lack of policy": leaving the major stakeholders occupy and neutralize all the space of policy conduct. Empty words instead of policies. And that's typically present France — not the US, not the UK, not Germany (or not that much), not all all Italy nor Spain. Policymaking in France is just paralyzed. It's unsurprising if people look for a leader with a big hammer.

May I include a link to some related quotes from "marcheurs" (people wandering in France to listen to people), Député Jean Lassalle and scientist Axel Kahn: (in French)