by Ramin Mazaheri
It’s the second-largest drop in postwar French history in the first 3 months of a presidency – only Chirac plunged further.
Macron’s approval rating currently stands at 54%, and while that would be (shockingly) good in 2021, it’s terrible for a new president, said this here journalist who insists on context for statistics.
Francois Hollande’s approval rating after 100 days was the lowest in postwar history, at 44%. This means Macron has 5 more weeks to lose 10 points, and that is certainly possible.
Because how is Macron spending his summer vacation? He isn’t taking one. He’ll be at work in August, as his priority is to quickly write a massively unwanted (and second) roll back to the labor code. His goal is to get it passed by Parliament as soon as possible in September, when France is still knocking the sand out of its sneakers.
Of course, Macron has already said he would bypass Parliament to save time, should democracy prove cumbersome.
If the actual contents of his labor code law gets leaked by a conscientious whistle-blower, by the time Macron reaches 100 days in office on August 22 his popularity could be below 44%, and in this way “Hollande Junior” would be besting his no-doubt proud Papa.
One would think that the reality of immediate and record voter disapproval would be enough to immediately deter Macron from his plans, as France is an allegedly well-run democracy, but…Macron simply does not care what you think.
This is a politician who claimed, in the most reactionary sense of “reactionary”, that the progressive rupture of the French monarchy left “a deep emotional abyss” …and now that Macron is in power he is going to rectify that by acting like a king. This is also a politician who claimed, in the most blasphemous sense to pantheists, that he aspires to a “Jupiter-like” presidency.
Despite his clear aversion to popular democracy, Macron is Europe’s new hope, the new leader of the European Union and Western democracy’s golden boy.
Clearly, foreigners don’t know Macron, but who can blame them? The 39-year old political neophyte was as vague as possible during the election campaign. The French knew better, but voted him in anyway.
My take is that now -with the smoke settled and Macron’s plans clearly far more to the right than what he campaigned on – the French see a president who is not here to make friends or maybe even to get re-elected.
Macron reminds me of that boy in school who gives bullies a good name.
Nobody likes a teacher’s pet, especially one who apple-polishes the economics teacher who is clearly in the wrong. Or who apple-polishes the drama teacher who does not explicitly reject accusations that she committed statutory rape of a student, as was the case with Macron’s future wife.
(“Nobody will ever know at what moment our story became a love story. That belongs to us. That is our secret,” she was quoted as saying. Ahhh, what an elegantly French response! I’m sure if she was a man she would have gotten the same treatment and avoided prison.)
When Macron breaks Hollande’s record for unpopularity – and he inevitably will, because the guaranteed failure of austerity means dissatisfaction can only intensify – I’m certain that Jupiter will remain unmoved.
But that doesn’t mean Jupiter won’t accept, and certainly does expect, your material sacrifices.
Do shotgun marriages take honeymoons?
Because if I was forced to marry I think I’d save my money for something – or someone – else.
It’s false reporting for me to say that the recent approval rating poll shows that Macron’s “honeymoon period” is over, because there never really was one among the French public – he is truly a “president of the minority”, and I don’t mean the Rothschilds: take out huge abstention and the percentage of voters who said they chose Macron just to block Le Pen (43%) and the real percentage of the electorate who genuinely chose Macron for his personality or his platform drops to just 24%, exactly his score in the first round.
That means 76% of the electorate intelligently saw Macron for what he is – someone to be avoided, especially when seen leaving the teachers’ lounge.
The mainstream media, however isn’t even close to ending their publisher-ordered romance. The mainstream response in France to Macron’s approval rating tumble was a very public row he had with the head of France’s armed forces. That is idiocy, but confirming and re-confirming idiocy is what gets you places inside the mainstream media.
What would it take for the media to get it right?
They would have to stop laughing at the 34% of voters who gritted their teeth and voted Le Pen; they would have to actually realize that the “man on the street” is not an idiot.
Here’s a “man on the street” quote I got for my Press TV story on Macron’s popularity drop. Sure sounds reasonable to me:
“With Macron’s proposals we will have even more poor people in rural areas than ever, and that will be tragic. For people like me who don’t have a college degree – we will be condemned to a life of poverty. I voted for the National Front because I detest bankers and those who work only for the rich, like Macron.”
This guy had more quotable stuff, and it was delivered with a palpable anger. There was revulsion, and not resignation.
This is the type of person who is mocked by the mainstream media in the West, who is accused of being hateful and reactionary, and is constantly not just ignored but disrespected. His main crime was to be talking about rural poverty in Paris: “Must be his first trip to the big city – what a dumb hayseed!” would be a common reaction in French newsrooms, I can tell you from experience.
But he is actually quite brave: It took guts to admit that he didn’t have a university degree and that he had plenty of fears for his future.
This is the type of person (and I’m speculating here) who lacks money or connections, and who looks at Macron’s future of decreased government assistance and sees himself condemned to a life in the service industry with its horrible pay, worse conditions and societal disrespect.
This is a guy – and I am not at all trying to be cruel or to throw him under the bus – who is perhaps 30 years old, has hair which is perhaps thinning, could perhaps stand to lose a few pounds, doesn’t dress in the latest fashions, and is realizing that French society wants to pit him in a lifetime battle against his peers for crumbs rather than extend the social safety net in a time of economic crisis. He has every right to look at the 1% – to look at those with luck, money and connections (and perhaps less morality or sense of responsibility) – and to turn to the far-right instead of Macron.
Unfortunately in France, as across the West, the Left has had nothing to say to, or even for, this person since the 1960s. It is no wonder he has gone to the far right, but that does not make his concerns, fears and demands any less valid in the slightest.
But, I can guarantee you from personal experience as a reporter in France, not only do mainstream journalists mock this guy for how he voted, they also mock his pain, his concern for the future, his understanding of the past, his appearance, his rural culture, his regional uniqueness and even his god, as it is not Jupiter.
I try to explain to my fellow journalists how this approach is morally incorrect, as the duty of our craft is to help our fellow citizens understand each other, even when we disagree with them on political/moral/social issues (and we inevitably will).
All I can say is: I hope you have better luck with such crusades in your neck of the woods…but don’t stop crusading.
Regardless, the reality remains that the 34% of those voters who chose Le Pen (and those who abstained) haven’t disappeared, and still deserve to have their needs, demands and concerns included in our coverage of France.
The French are not stupid, as they’re happy to tell you
The Americans are not stupid, either: A new poll shows that Hillary Clinton’s popularity is still lower than Trump’s, and that’s after an 8-month Russophobic witch hunt that truly is just a witch hunt because they have still provided no proof.
We can extract two important correlations from this poll for France: the media will not turn on Macron anytime soon no matter how non-existent the evidence, and the French people are not going to be duped into liking Macron.
Trump would probably win again if the vote was held today and, personally, that’s enough to restore my faith in the American people and my proposed historical trend of a White Trash Revolution.
Some have asked me “Why use a derogatory term like ‘White Trash’, when you could use ‘Redneck‘ or ‘Peasant’?”
It’s because, historically and today, rednecks and peasants work too damn hard and ask for too damn little. White Trash may hold the worst jobs which require the least brainpower, but they pay into the system and, dammit, they deserve repayments in the form of government assistance that rednecks and peasants are too proud/indoctrinated to accept for themselves or others.
And what do the 1% call society’s janitors, store stockers and sandwich makers? Do you think they admire anyone who does the vital but mind-numbing factory work, or the drudging toil of farm work which allows us to actually have things to eat? If you don’t have a college degree you may as well be trash to be recycled, with all your value sucked out and reused for the benefit of the 1%.
What I am absolutely certain of is that the phrase “White Trash Revolution” is a far, far better term than “Workers’ Revolution”, which is totally outdated: We are all workers now – Dads, Moms, kids, everybody.
The difference is that 50 years ago you could raise a family on one worker’s salary, but you can’t now. In 2017 everybody works and, in the US, everyone has been yoked to a lifetime of debt peonage no different than the serfdom or sharecropping of yore.
In France, thanks to a better socialist safety net, it means being condemned to life on the margins and a social snobbery which would certainly get you lynched in far-nicer Middle America, whatever color you are: Paris is built on public contempt. And stolen slave wages.
And White Trash is dangerous: Both the US and France are two countries which are full of anger, massive support for foreign and domestic military intervention, and suspicion of any meditation which does not include alcohol.
Again, the only people who aren’t working their backs crooked are the 1% and the uncaught criminals.
Look at size of a schoolkid’s backpack today and tell me he’s not drudging in a salt mine, with 100 times the personal oppression to boot.
Unlike in 1917, we know today that being a housewife is extremely strenuous work, and the proof of that is that it’s very hard to find a woman who wants to sign up for that job, at least with me as her comrade-in-arms.
But one thing the Western Left does not try to do is actually succeed with anyone but their own sense of superiority, and so they hold on to nostalgic terms which don’t resonate with anyone anymore, like “Workers”.
White Trash Revolution in France shaking off a standing 8 count after Le Pen’s loss
There is no need for you to read much further than this, which I’m sure only reiterates what you said yourself just after France’s presidential vote in May: Macron’s election rectified none of our White Trash problems caused by the 1%, and will only aggravate them further.
So of course he’s unpopular…already.
Trash isn’t as dumb as they think, whatever the color. How do you think Trash Revolutions succeeded in places like the USSR, Iran, Cuba and China?
But I can’t tell you how unpopular Macron will get, if he will be impeached, if there will be civil war or if France will invade Germany to get back their money/divert attention from the social looting by the 1% (a modern term which actually does resonate).
But I can say with certainty that the strength of the White Trash Revolution lies firmly in the reality of chock-full, 1%-led inequality which continues to grow. Until that is resolved, demigod wannabes like Macron are simply temporary stopgaps.
Obviously, from a theoretically standpoint, Macron’s victory was the equivalent of a Hillary Clinton victory in the US, and therefore social awareness in France will probably be retarded by several years. However, nobody can predict any revolution.
Trump’s victory was a bourgeois revolution, as it was done through the vote of a bourgeois system, but France is far more likely to have an actual social revolution via demonstrations and strikes, and even possibly as soon as September. It’s unlikely, yes, but far more likely than in the US, where naïve trust in their system will defy any reality, statistical or personally endured.
France obviously needs its own French solutions to French problems, but, like all the West, their Left cannot and will not provide any real solutions to the “worker class” they hold in a contempt which is totally unmodern and yet never so chic.
One must look to truly revolutionary countries like Iran, Cuba and China for modern solutions to our modern, shared problems.
The first thing to learn from them is that contempt is not chic. The second is that Jupiter can never lead the 99%.
One unrelated note…
People ask me: “Why don’t you report on any good news?”
I respond: “I’m not smart enough to write for the Science section.”
I wanted to pass on this report I did – which my Press TV bosses deserve the credit for suggesting to cover it – on the 9th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science, which recently concluded in Paris.
Check out these partial quotes from the person I interviewed in our report:
“…people who are successfully treated are no longer infectious.” – on new HIV treatment.
“…it virtually eliminates the possibility of them becoming infected.” – on a new HIV prevention drug.
It really is a revolution in both the treatment and prevention of AIDS.
Who would have thought we could get this far, this soon? When I was a kid in the early ’80s we thought you could get AIDS from touching your lips to the water fountain, LOL, and I don’t think you had to be 8 years old to have thought that back in those early days of the epidemic!
So, I just wanted to spread the word on this story, because ending the cultural stigma of AIDS is the best way to prevent new cases…which are now treatable, and thank Jupiter for that.
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.