by Ramin Mazaheri
The Hollande era has ended, and the Macron era has begun –one must look to Brussels to find many who are happy about it.
This is not a column about Hollande’s reign, and reign is the right word for a man who leaves the country in an 18-month state of emergency, i.e. a police state dictatorship. But it would be too long to list all of Hollande’s crimes against France’s humanity and France’s humans, legal citizens and otherwise.
That is a column for another day.
It’s absurd to read the mainstream media’s coverage of the undearly departed Hollande: They are trying to convince us that he “didn’t deserve his unpopularity”, that he was “misunderstood” or that he “will be appreciated later”.
All of these false narratives arrogantly and shockingly whitewash his four years of record unpopularity, and they also show whose side the mainstream media is truly on: the side of power, and not the people.
If you are on the side of the French people you do not write such revisionist hagiographies of such a flagrantly undemocratic president – you condemn; you reflect the judgment of the people. That’s the only way a journalist should be able to cash their paycheck with a clear conscience.
Hollande betrayed his promises to fight for the rights of his people so scandalously that it is absolutely justice that he was betrayed in the end: Macron appears to have manipulated Hollande perfectly.
I’ll drop the repugnant Hollande with this clear statement: Hollande did not deserve any better than this – to be betrayed by the unknown he plucked from the chorus, groomed for power, and whose name was on the handle of the knife in his back.
Who is this kid we’re stuck with?
A fundamental question which will likely dog Macron: Is Macron an authentic person?
I covered the recent passing of Fidel Castro for Press TV and I heard from everyday people over and over – many of whom had met Castro – that he was an “authentic person”. I thought: “I hope people say the same for me when I pass on.”
But I am a nobody and I do not seek power over others – if I am an inauthentic person the circle of people I hurt will be limited. An inauthentic president, however, ruins entire nations.
Macron’s wife is a good indication that he may not be an authentic person. They met when she was his high school drama teacher: How can any actor ever be considered an “authentic person”? Actors pretend to be anyone but themselves, after all; they are people who perfect the craft of lying in public.
Trump was an amateur thespian, and I don’t think he even stops for five minutes to ask himself who he really is.
The fact is that since the advent of moving pictures politicians increasingly have nothing to do with intellectual accomplishments, ethical standing or even military discipline/selflessness – they simply know how to lie with poise after reading the polling data, which they throw out once in office.
A word about France’s new first lady, Brigitte Macron, née: Brigitte Trogneux: She was not just a simple drama and French teacher, as is commonly reported. She is also an heiress of the Chocolaterie Trogneux family. The former failed politician is not as rich as Theresa Heinz Kerry, but many are at a loss to explain America’s love for ketchup.
I’ve known plenty of 39-year olds who “kept it real” – the jury is out on Macron.
So far the MacronLeaks have not turned up much. To be honest, we journalists in France need more time – we have been busy with the transfer of power. However, Macron is from the new generation which grew up with home video games and computers in his private schools – he’s not dumb enough to leave digital evidence of malfeasance, one assumes.
So far the biggest thing has been that the Macron team paid hundreds of thousands of euros for polls. Obviously, this needs to be probed deeper, but I bring it up because Macron has just announced his prime minister.
The old lady, or ladies, who would be prime minister (ministerette?)
A front-runner for Prime Minister was Laurence Parisot, who is now the head of the national bosses union – yes, even bosses get a union in France, and they are almost supremely powerful in the political-business sphere, as you can imagine. Parisot owns and runs perhaps the top polling firm in France, IFOP, the French Institute of Public Opinion.
This intersection between polling and politics should worry any citizen. Of course, market research firms sell polls – that’s what people who are too dumb to be journalists and too uncreative to be advertisers do – but the obvious temptation to manipulate public opinion with false polling should preclude someone from holding office in a normal democracy.
However, Parisot was passed over. Many assumed it would be current IMF chief Christine Lagarde. It was not.
Many assumed it would be some old lady – any old lady – because the 39-year old Macron married a 64-year old woman, so he clearly works well with the elder female generation.
People are asking: “When will they stop bringing up his wife’s age?” They won’t, at least outside of France. That’s because most everyone assumes there is a moral component to sex, love and marriage. A winter-summer romance, especially on the flip-side of the usual gender, is going to provoke questions and that’s life in the public eye.
But this, however, is France. Mitterand had a secret family which the press dutifully covered up; Hollande secretly dated an actress. If Macron has certain needs – however varied his may be – that 39-year old men have…well, he’s in the right country to keep it under wraps.
Or maybe he’s already found that mistress that every French president seems to have: Angela Merkel.
Hey, shortly after appointing his Prime Minister that’s who he flew off to see…but my imagination insists on keeping visions of that meeting purely work-related. It’s bad enough Merkel has damaged so much else!
Is Macron even capable saying “no” to Merkel? Regardless of any possible attraction, it’s much more likely this generation’s Margaret Thatcher will act as the inexperienced Macron’s guru, and all we can do is just groan yet again.
As Marine Le Pen said in the lone presidential debate: “In any case France will be governed by a woman: either me or Madame Merkel.” Ouch!
But, for form’s sake, Merkel was not appointed French Prime Minister
Who? Well, that’s not such a bad response – maybe Macron is going to do what he promised: totally regenerate France’s pool of politicians. Polls said that was the 2nd most-popular reason why voters chose Macron over Le Pen. Neither the Socialists nor the party of de Gaulle advanced to the 2nd round for the first time ever in large part for this important reason.
The new PM may not even last a month, however – it all depends on the “Third Round of the Presidential Elections”: next month’s legislative elections.
Macron’s list of legislative candidates is also pleasantly surprising, in this vein – there are only a few dozen recycled Socialists among his first 430 of roughly 580 candidates. Half are new to politics (probably businessmen, I imagine). We’ll have to wait for the final list, but now is the time to be optimistic: Maybe there really will be new blood in the halls of French power? Maybe the Socialists will get the punishment they deserve? Maybe the Conservatives won’t keep getting ghost jobs on the taxpayer dime?
It would be very easy for Macron to blow up the system: He has already said that he is not envisioning a career in politics. His hope appears to be to stay president for 10 years and then go back into the private sector and make more Rothschild-type of money.
As I wrote, this is good in the sense that it reflects the democratic will of the people – well, at least one current of it. However, there are clearly drawbacks to having your country run by mercenaries.
It is very easy to blow up public service when you have no intention of recreating a better public service. Isn’t this the overarching goal of neoliberalism? Reflect on this at your leisure….
The goal of Western politicians is not to create a better government, but to end social services and become billionaires. Look at the Clintons; look at Barack Obama, who is somehow planning to own an NBA team on the salary of a university professor and presidential pension.
There is no guarantee that Macron’s party will win a majority in Parliament – that’s actually opposed by 61% of the public – but bringing in political neophytes also has a nefarious advantage: they will be easy to control and whip into line. Hollande’s far-right “deforms” – not “reforms” – suffered from too many Socialist “rebels” (LOL) who refused to back them. Macron saw up close how Hollande had to bypass Parliament, threatening it with dissolution, in order to pass the right-wing labor code rollback known as the “Macron Law”.
It sucks to be ruled by a Westerner – welcome to the 3rd World
Here is what the new prime minister thought of Macron – per an interview with French centrist paper Libération, dated January 18 of this year:
“Who is Macron? For some, impressed by his ability to seduce and his reformist rhetoric, he will be the natural son of Kennedy and Mendès France. We can doubt this: the first had more charisma and the second had more principles. For others, he will be Brutus, the adoptive son of Caesar.”
Wow…was this the best buddy Macron could find to be his number two? Can’t Macron play nice with people his own age? Compare me to Brutus and I wouldn’t hire you to run my lemonade stand.
“Macron, who takes no responsibility but promises everything, with the ardor of a youthful conqueror and the cynicism of an old truck-driver. If I dare to say it, he acts like a used-car salesman.”
Sweet Mary, whose side are you on?! Why on earth are you going to work for such a man, then? Do you just want money and power, is it? Who is worse – you or your boss? Sheesh….
The luckiest countries – whether they know it or not – have revolutionaries as leaders instead of politicians. Ho Chi Minh, Sankara, Khomeini – all were simple people who lived simply, with no desire for material wealth. You might not agree with them, but damned if they weren’t authentic people.
In the West it’s nothing but total phonies running the show. There’s no metric for it, but the effect this has on increasing individual alienation must be astronomical.
Who with a normal salary would really rather have a Hillary or a Macron instead of a Castro? All Cubans want is the West to lift their blockade – they don’t want Western culture. Of course, Westerners assume the Coloreds surely want both: Excuse us while we either bust a gut laughing or an eye vessel from excessive rolling.
Well, Brutus lasted only a year in power. Macron appears likely to be the 3rd consecutive 1-term president in France – such turnover is great for established capitalists and terrible for the long-term management of society’s needs.
But we should not be cynical from the beginning: The owl of Minerva flies at night. That’s a dramatic way of saying that we can’t properly judge until time has run its course.
But it is midnight for Hollande, and the very real victims of austerity hope it comes crashing down on him like the thunder of hell.
I’m getting pretty dramatic here, eh?! Macron and his wife would likely applaud.
Best of luck enjoying your Macron era!
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.