Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The End of Rocardism

In my American Prospect article as well as in previous blog posts, I wrote that Hamon's victory marked the end of the Socialist Party of Épinay, the creation of François Mitterrand. I omitted to say that it also marked the end of the party of Michel Rocard, the "second left" that promised not a compromise between Communism and reformism but rather between socialism and the market. Hamon was one of Rocard's young lieutenants, as was his main rival in the primary, Manuel Valls. Valls pushed the market side of the second left to an extreme, while Hamon pushed its utopian longings past the breaking point.

As the picture below shows, Mélenchon was also part of the young Rocardian team; so was Cambadélis; so were Bartolone and Moscovici. Rocard's disciples are everywhere in today's PS, but their common origins cannot mask their present disagreements. Nothing remains of the socialism of the 80s. A new new left will have to be invented from the ground up.

Today, the PS is in total disarray. Deputies are fleeing; several have announced that they will support Macron. Cazeneuve has told Hamon that, while he is the "legitimate" candidate of the party, having won the primary, he will nevertheless have to be a "rassembleur" and assume responsibility for Hollande's "bilan." The absurdity of this demand--as though Hamon did not run explicitly against that bilan and win handily over its defender Valls--demonstrates the impossible position in which the party finds itself. And the impossibility of the party's position is all the embarrassment of its candidate, who represents a party the majority of whose officials and permanent staff do not support him.