Friday, May 05, 2017

I don't have a good feeling about this: French election edition

French polls still seem to show a strong lead for the "centrist" Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. The Guardian reports Emmanuel Macron vows to be 'president for all of France' after first round win 04/24/2017:

Macron’s critics for a long time called him a “champagne bubble” that would burst. A former investment banker in a country where voters distrusted banks, he had been appointed as economy minister by François Hollande. He quickly became the most popular minister. He also served as a presidential adviser in the gilded anti-chambers of the Elysée palace – effectively the architect of Hollande’s pro-market, business-friendly reforms that so alienated voters on the left.

Macron’s presidential bid was a mass of contradictions, critics complained. He was a member of the elite top tier of the civil service, on friendly terms with business leaders and powerbrokers, yet vowed to fight the “system”.
But Macron is committed to the predominant EU neoliberal economic doctrine, aka, Herbert Hoover economics, Heinrich Brüning economics, Merkel-nomics, the Washington Consensus, the IMF/World Bank dogma.

So this is not a good things for workers and for the large majority of the people in France.

Yanis Varoufakis has endorsed Macron over Marine Le Pen, Why we support Macron in the second round Le Monde 05/02/2017. He makes his concerns clear. But he also shares a story of what he takes to be a serious attempt by Macron to help Greece resist the draconian economic measures forced onto them in 2015:

During my tenure as Greece’s finance minister in early 2015 Emmanuel revealed to me a side of him that few progressives have seen. While the troika of Greece’s lenders and the Berlin government were strangling our freshly elected left-wing government’s attempts to liberate Greece from its debt-bondage, Macron was the only minister of state in Europe that went out of his way to lend a helping hand. And he did so at a personal political cost. ...

By crushing the Greek Spring the troika did not only deal a blow to Greece but also to Europe’s integrity and soul. Emmanuel Macron was the only member of the establishment that tried to stop it. I feel it is my obligation to ensure that French progressives, as they are about to enter (or not to enter) the polling station in the second round of France’s Presidential election, make their choice fully aware for this.

For my part, my promise to Emmanuel is this: I shall mobilise fully to help you beat Le Pen with the same strength that I shall be joining the next Nuit Debout to oppose your government when, and if, you, as President, attempt to continue with your dead-end, already-failed neoliberalism.
Luis Martín describes the challenge for the left in the likely case that Macron becomes President in Open Democracy 05/01/2017:

When Emmanuel Macron made it to the second round of the French presidential election last month, banning Marine Le Pen from occupying the Élysée Palace for the present time, the EU breathed a sigh of relief with our European representatives and various heads of state echoing their euphoria. The threat to the Union had, once more, been averted. But sadly this is as myopic as Brussels can be.

Macron may very well prevent the Front National’s rise to power next Sunday, but by what margin and for how long? The epic demise of Macron’s former Socialist Party has left its electorate fractured among him, Benoît Hamon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, so the young former Minister of Economy and maverick investment banker is doomed to endure an extremely weak presidency after the legislative race in June. This is particularly dangerous if there is no clear alternative in sight.

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