Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Parfois, résister c'est partir"

Christiane Taubira has resigned (or "been resigned," as they say in French). It is surprising that this didn't happen earlier, in view of her public opposition to the very unfortunate nationality stripping measure that Hollande wants to enshrine in the constitution. I stated my criticisms of this proposal earlier and expressed my surprise that a president could tolerate such open defiance. Now, as the amendment comes up for debate in the Assembly, she is going. Whether she left or was pushed out doesn't matter. She tweeted:

Parfois résister c'est rester, parfois résister c'est partir. Par fidélité à soi, à nous. Pour le dernier mot à l'éthique et au droit.ChT
She was the last minister truly de gauche, and with her departure the government now fully assumes its neoliberal, sécuritaire orientation. Taubira's replacement will be Jean-Jacques Urvoas, who is closely associated with what has been called "the French Patriot Act." Who in the audience at Hollande's 2012 campaign speech at Le Bourget would have thought we'd wind up here?

Taubira will be remembered primarily for the gay marriage bill, which she ably shepherded through the Assembly. The vicious attacks on her person by racists of the extreme right will also be remembered. The opposition branded her laxiste, and after the departure of Montebourg, Hamon, Filipetti, et cie. she stood as a symbol of a rapidly fading memory of a different and possibly imaginary Socialist Party. Her departure will make little difference to policy. Hollande and Valls had already set their course. Now we will see how well they have judged the political winds. My guess is, not well at all.


bert said...

I'm reluctant to get on Valls' case.
The reason may be that I never saw anything in Hollande beyond spinelessness and flab.
If you never bought Le Bourget to begin with, disillusionment is less of a problem.

And properly cooked Valls, that hasn't been sitting around for ages under a heatlamp coated in a putrid hollandaise, might not taste quite so offensive.

That's an unknowable counterfactual right now, I'm aware.
But it's worth considering what the realistic options are for the presidential elections, even at this late stage - even now that Hollande has run down the clock and made such considerations essentially moot.

Mitch Guthman said...

Obviously I picked either the best of times or the worst of times to begin learning about France and her politics. I'm deeply confused. As I wrote earlier, I think it's was a serious mistake for Hollande not to Taubira when she "vetoed" one of his signature proposals on terrorism. His failure make him look weak and it also suggested a certain lack of thoughtfulness about the underlying policy.

The only somewhat plausible political justification was that Hollande did not want to dismiss his last remaining link to the base of the Socialist Party. I don't personally but that explanation but, okay, it's an explanation that supposedly makes Hollande looks somewhat savvy instead of merely weak. But, having endured the jibes and shown what my French people no doubt see as unacceptable weakness, he now dumps her, thereby presumably further alienating the left and still looking weak in the bargain. So what was the point if waiting so long to dumps Taubira?

FrédéricLN said...

Excellent and useful post, thanks!

BTW, Mrs Taubira was not socialist; she co-founded a local party in French Guyana, Walwari, which self-defines as progressive; some commenters or competitors suspected Walwari of sympathy with the far right (I think this was inappropriate; but basically, as far as I know, it was not supected of sympathy with the far left). And Mrs Taubira's candidacy at French presidency in 2002 was supported by the center-left Parti Radical de Gauche.

So when we have to conclude that all members of the present government are "less at the left" than Mrs Taubira… it means, less at the left than the center-left.

Anonymous said...

She was on On est pas couchés yesterday, where she tried to present three-part structured answered (Ia, Ib,Ic, IIa IIb is about as far as she managed to get through) to interviewers who clearly wanted one-liners. She showed she knew the difference between media noise and what she'd done, she deflected a lot, and she was often biting, pointing out the inanity of some questions, often deservedly but sometimes simply as a deflexion. She was praised by Philippe Torreton for her quotes and erudition, and savaged for it by Yann Moix (she said she was very disappointed in hearing that, as she had another image of him as a man of letters).
After a while it got tiring, as would watching someone used to graduate lectures and refusing to play the game, thrown into a rapid-fire infotainment program.

Alexandra said...

I have great respect for Mme Taubira, but part of being good at politics is knowing how to calibrate to your audience. Sounds like she failed miserably at that.

Meanwhile I'd love to know what you all think about the 3/4 no-shows in the Assemblé National today for the very important vote on the state of emergency. Is this cowardice? Callousness? Proof that 577 members for a country the size of Texas is excessive?