by Ramin Mazaheri
If leaders lead and followers follow, then we’ll have to wait another election cycle to be rid of Emmanuel Macron.
Since Sarkozy l’américain France is a follower. He buried the independence which was a key part of Charles de Gaulle’s worldview. France now follows the lead of American capitalists. In NATO, in globalization, in subordinating the EU to the US, in subordinating French national interests to the EU, in rolling back the communist-inspired reforms it took us average people decades to win, etc.
Brexit and Trump are examples of two nations refusing to follow. Unfortunately, Emmanuel Macron appears likely to win.
If he does, the powers-that-be will have installed him in office for the same reason that Obama was installed over Hillary in 2008 –the regime needs a new face, this time in France.
I don’t want to be cruel, but looking at Francois Hollande is no picnic. Look at my picture and you won’t be surprised when many commenters say the same thing about me – we who displease the eye have a right to be frank without being accused of shallowness.
It’s not about faces, though, but electability. Prior to round one, I had about as good a chance of being voted President of France as Hollande and I’m not even a French citizen. I think with a better haircut I could surpass Hollande’s 4% approval rating.
But Macron is about to become president because the powers-that-be realized that there was no way that historically unpopular Hollande could win, and so he gawn. Those nefarious powers did not get to where they are by being loyal.
Yes, Macron is 100% Clintonian, but what’s happening in France right now is best understood as a replay of the US election in 2008. The much-ballyhooed arrival of Obama proved to be only a brand change – the capitalist/imperialist product remained the same.
Give credit where it’s due: It was a GREAT brand change – it won the Nobel Prize for Advertising, after all. Excuse me, I meant the Nobel Peace Prize.
Because if Obama was if not the puppet of Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democratic oligarchs he was certainly their willing servant: bailouts, drones, deportations, surges, regime changes – on only a handful of issues would I say that Obama didn’t do exactly what Hillary would have done.
With the same Brussels-kowtowing economic austerity plan, the same capitalist/globalization fervor and the same DC-designed foreign policy, Macron has been selected to be the shiny new face of the exact same product.
But I thought we all agreed that we hated Hollande?
Hollande himself has endorsed Macron as being a continuation of his policies. Sensible journalists should be screaming from the rafters: “Well then how can you vote Macron for president?” This is truly the most sensible reason to vote AGAINST Macron, given the one-term reality of Hollande.
If France thinks Macron will give them something seriously different… then that is a case of willful blindness, and that can only end badly.
In 2008 Obama benefitted from a huge historical subterfuge: The concept that voting for a Black man (any Black man) could only mean progress. But, more importantly, it was about restoring America’s global brand after Dubya Bush.
Macron’s historical subterfuge is perhaps less compelling, but only because France’s crimes are not Dubya-era America’s crimes. From a domestic point of view: Macron is 39-years old, and the desire for young blood in France cannot be underestimated. In the UK if you lose you’re out. In the US less so. In France, get in and you stay in.
Anyone think “Penelopegate” Fillon won’t be running for president again? The guy he surprisingly beat in the Républicain primary, Alain Juppé, was convicted of corruption and initially barred from holding office for 10 years. That his sentence was later reduced to 1 year can only be called due to…the word is “corruption”. The French, as they have no problem telling you, are fed up.
From an international point of view, the French brand will be hugely tarnished by a National Front victory.
But it is a lie that a vote against the National Front will mean progress because it a vote against racism, allegedly.
It’s not that the National Front is not racist – it is – but so are all the other political parties in France except the far-left (and even many of those rabid Je Suis Charlies). It’s also not true that racism does more societal damage than right-wing neoliberalism, which touches everybody (almost).
To explain or justify a possible Macron victory one must hack through so many layers of delusion, hypocrisy and stupidity, but those are the mental thickets which occur as a result of incestuous politics.
Macr-Obama? MacHoBama? It’s inbreeding, whatever you call it
France has never had a successful, openly “Third Way” politician.
It was assumed that only the English-speaking world was gullible enough (and anti-socialist enough) to fall for the ruse of “compassionate conservatism”. This absurd idea that “enlightened capitalism” isn’t a oxymoron. Macron’s “neither left nor right” nonsense is, in the supremely condemnatory French sense of the word, “boring”.
Macron is the baby-faced offspring produced by the right-flank of the Socialists and the left-flank of the conservatives. But this is misleading, because it implies two different sets of DNA were involved.
Politically, Macron is the product of incest because the Socialists and Républicains have enacted the same policies so as to become indistinguishable: state of emergency, austerity, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, foreign intervention, obeying Brussels, etc.
And that makes Macron miscegenated royalty, and he’s being treated like that by the media: someone with no faults; someone who cannot be criticized; someone with glowing qualities and glowing beauty; someone with a divine right to rule due to his alleged moral superiority over piggish Le Pen.
Macron is the shiny, distracting part of the old switcheroo – swap out Hollande for Macron, keep the same policies.
We cannot forget that Macron is an economic extremist – he is as radical, on the other pole, as someone who wants to do away with all private property. That’s what Austro-Chicago school neolilberals are: reactionaries against socialism, storing up as much as they can for the day they know is coming – the communist democratic victory of the people over the 1%. Hell, we’d settle for just beating the .000001%.
On foreign policy Macron says nothing – he says as little as possible on anything but the most inoffensive subjects – but it’s certain he will be interventionist: because that is what neo-imperialism requires. That’s what globalization requires. An outlook of avoiding conflict is fundamentally incompatible with capitalism and you can’t talk your way out of that one.
Let’s talk hashtags and let’s talk fast, because we’ve less than 2 weeks
Frankly I think “MacHoBama” is the most accurate, but the “Ho” makes it a bit crude for my Oriental tastes. Feel free to use it, though.
The day after the first round vote the top Twitter hashtag in France was #SansMoiLe7Mai – “Without Me on May 7th”. This is to express support for neither Le Pen or Macron.
France worries more about abstention than many other countries, and first round abstention was 1/3rd lower than the doomsday predictions and only a couple points higher than historical averages. Not bad, considering there are two terrible right-wing candidates.
Frankly, I think France doth protest too much: every article about abstention is less space for debating the issues, and 70% of France said the campaign failed to address France’s economic and social problems. It is a pathetic shame that France won’t count the “blank ballot”, but they don’t want to reveal just how widespread the dissatisfaction is with the establishment politicians, the political system and the current capitalist economic policy.
Many voted for Donald Trump on the basis of ABH -Anyone But Hillary: France needs to realize the slogan needs to be ABM – Anyone But Macron.
They are predicting that leftists will be the group which stays at home in the largest numbers. Well, nothing like fake leftists to destroy an election – why stop after 40 years? It was the idiot, IDIOT Socialist Party Benoit Hamon supporters (6% of the vote) which undercut the actual leftist (not far-leftist) Jean-Luc Melenchon, handing the election to the right. Ugh.
I’m drawing a blank on more motivational slogans…Remember the Macralamo? Wrong country. The larger problem is that France is well-aware that Macron is economically right-wing, but…
France will suffer as long as it remains hypocritical
I brought up Alain Juppé earlier, and he is indeed a great example of how France’s politicians are recycled more often than hippie compost despite committing the antisocial misdeeds that get you Chinese Water Torture treatment in China, and perhaps worse.
But Juppé is also another telling example of French hypocrisy: Despite his crimes, Juppé has been for some time the most popular politician in France!
He recently fell to the 2nd-most popular politician behind failed leftist (not far-leftist) candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who roughly 70% of people approve of…but who only 20% of the country voted for?
Where do I start explaining the lack of logical consistency among the French?
How can they support a candidate who was godfathered by the most unpopular president ever?
How can they forget that they protested for months over the “Macron Law” set of austerity reforms? It was so unpopular even among the ruling Socialist Party that the Prime Minster invoked a rarely-used constitutional clause which gave Parliament only two choices: Vote “yes” in a confidence vote, or dissolve and hold fresh elections. Unsurprisingly, parliamentarians did not vote to fire themselves, and Macron Law passed without a democratic vote.
And yet, much to the dismay of my chronically distended bile ducts which will surely collapse under the appalling strain on May 7, people will vote Macron and call themselves “leftist” just as Americans called themselves “leftist” for backing Barry in 2008.
Le Pen has 2 weeks to get creative, and she already has
Le Pen is ten times as effective as Macron when it comes to speaking and campaigning, if only from watching her media-savvy father.
She has already played Macron for a fool at a Whirlpool factory, where Macron was jeered in a most unpresidential fashion. Those “basket of deplorables” and anti-Macronites had the gall to remind Macron of his industrial policy as Economy minister: sell the assets to the Americans & build nothing.
Le Pen should be able to debate rings around him on the only debate, May 3.
Macron looked terrible in the first debate between the five principal candidates. During the 2nd debate between all 11 candidates prosecutors eventually decided they didn’t have enough evidence to jail him for illegally disguising himself as part of the furniture.
“Everyone knows what side Emmanuel Macron is on – he is on the side of the corporations,” Le Pen told workers outside the Whirlpool factory. “I am on the workers’ side, here in the car park, not in restaurants in Amiens.”
If this quote from Le Pen resonates with you, you will vote Le Pen. If this doesn’t make sense or scares you, you are either an unrepentant capitalist or a total airhead and will vote Macron.
It will ALWAYS come down to class…unless you are fooled into thinking its race. That’s what they did with Obama, and that’s what they want they want to do with Le Pen.
These are 2 terrible candidates, but at least there is a clear choice: You are either with the haves or the have nots. There is no race there.
Theoretically, at some point Macron has to get off racism. Well, Le Pen has never held any power – the National Front holds just 0.4% of all elected offices in France. They are the ultimate paper tiger, but they are the only real “outsider candidate” in this election.
Le Pen simply has to keep following Macron around and bringing up his record and his proposals, and hopefully the French will see the light.
If not, then history repeats itself as farce and we’ll get at least 5 years of Macr-Obama: smooth face, smooth lies, smooth concrete under the bridge where you and your family will soon be jostling for space.
The good news? You’ll be jostling with people of all colors.
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.