Emmanuel Macron is France’s Clinton and Obama, bringing it more neoliberalism

Summary: Emmanuel Macron will soon become President of France. He is their Bill Clinton and Obama, leading them into the next phase of the neoliberal revolution. But France’s elites have chosen a different way to manipulate their people than America’s. We can learn much from these events in France.

“A fantasy is a dream that is nurtured in secret, a desire that does not yet have a reality. ”
— “The Macron fantasy” in Le Monde.

“{Macron is} the man that le Siècle [an important elite Paris club] had always dreamt of: a left-winger implementing a pro-business policy …a young man reassuring for the old.” {Ibid, Le Monde.}

Emmanuel Macron for President - Getty

Since western democracy reached its apogee in the generation after WWII, western elites have worked to roll it back. In both Europe and America they used neoliberalism as their ideological wedge, with its exaggerated belief in the magic of markets and an “invisible hand”. But they adopted opposite political means to do so.

US elites structure politics to provide us with “an echo, not a choice.” We get colorful political conflict to entertain us. Both parties agree on core policies — disagreeing on details and on minor matters (e.g., they do not care about sleeping arrangements of the proles). Clinton implemented “welfare reform” (aka cutting welfare). Obama carefully avoided using the crash to force reforms on Wall Street, did a partial roll-back of the Bush Jr. tax cuts on the rich, and expanded Bush Jr.’s foreign wars and homeland security initiatives.  Now Trump is doing the same to the Right.

French elites are doing the opposite. The presumptive French Presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron, will lead a broad coalition of both liberals and conservatives to implement neoliberal reforms. The far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, provides the illusion of choice — an authorized evil all good folks can condemn. So far they are on track for a major success, with the possibility of France following Germany, Britain, and America to a new era with high corporate profits, continued globalization, and rising inequality.

Emmanuel Marcon

Who is Macron? What does he offer the people of France? He is France’s Bill Clinton, a man from the Left who will use his charming personality to advance a neoliberal agenda in France. He is France’s Obama, running on a platform of all good things — the French equivalent of  youth, Hope and Change. Here are excerpts from two articles describing Macron and his politics. Both deserve to be read in full.

“You know what, Mr Macron, you’re incredibly talented – you’ve managed to speak for seven minutes and I can’t summarise what you think. You’ve said nothing, it’s an absolute void.”
— Marine Le Pen to Macron in one of the debates. From his profile by the BBC, below.

“They know too their Fifth Republic too well to ignore that these ‘progressive’ coalitions are often mirages.” {“The Macron fantasy” in Le Monde.}

The Macron Phenomenon

By Christakis Georgiou at Jacobin.

“Emmanuel Macron’s strong polling in the French election signals a political realignment destined to consolidate elite control.”

“New to politics (he became a public figure less than three years ago, when he became minister for the economy) and with a brand new political movement, Macron draws bigger crowds than any other candidate, saturates the media, and wins political support from across the political spectrum.

“His successes do not solely come from his charm. Rather, sections of the French ruling class have responded favorably to his political project and generated serious momentum for his candidacy. Indeed, the mainstream press and media outlets have given him overwhelmingly positive coverage, showing the extent to which he enjoys the support of key figures within the French power structure.

“The ruling class supports Macron because he can help transform the Fifth Republic’s political-institutional system and preserve its capacity to dictate government policy in the years ahead. Macron’s election would radically realign French politics, clearing the way for a reform agenda that has faced numerous obstacles over the past twenty years.

“Macron belongs to the inner circle of the French ruling class, what Pierre Bourdieu dubbed the “state nobility.” A number of sociologists, from Ezra Suleiman to Pierre Birnbaum, have demonstrated that these high-ranking civil servants constitute the most powerful social group in France.…

“Jean-Louis Beffa …is called the “pope of French industry” and the godfather of the corps des mines, nicknames that reflect his prominence among industrial elites. …he enjoys equal influence on both sides of the political spectrum. …Beffa, who has joined Macron’s En Marche!, admitted in 2015 that he “dreamt to see France governed by a grand coalition with Alain Juppé as president and Emmanuel Macron as prime minister so that they can together implement Schroeder-like {the Agenda 2010 labor market reforms}.” In another interview, he went on, “In all successful countries . . . there is a unity of the Right and the Left around centrist positions.” …

“A list of Macron’s supporters reads like an extract from the “who’s who” of the French ruling class. …

“French ruling elites now see German coalitions as a source of strength for domestic capitalism. Further, they are currently preoccupied with implementing reforms that would restore their credibility in the eyes of their German counterparts. So it comes as little surprise that they want to imitate the German system.

“Indeed, French reforms are the prerequisite for German ruling elites to embark on a broad reform of the European Union and the eurozone. This reform should create a system of fiscal transfers managed by a eurozone finance minister, further centralizing power at the supranational level. Macron, Beffa, and others have repeatedly made this point over the past years.”

————————————

“He seduces everyone, from 7 to 77 years.”
— François Henrot, who was his mentor at Rothschild. From “The Macron fantasy” in Le Monde.

“The head of the PS {Socialists}, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, also found his formula for this UFO in politics. Macron? ‘A start-up …He embodies the post-historical, pro-business and societal left.'” {Ibid, Le Monde.}

“‘You speak well . You have pretty eyes too.’ As if the smiling face of the minister and his teeth of happiness were, at bottom, the best parade in these times ….”>
— Response to Macron by a militant of the CGT {French labor union}, and the reporters’ comment on it. {Ibid, Le Monde.}

“‘We can plunge him into any environment, if the militants wait for him with pitchforks, they leave with a selfie.”
— Socialist Senator Didier Guillaume. {Ibid, Le Monde.}

Emmanuel Macron –
The meteoric rise of France’s youngest presidential candidate
.”

By Lucy Williamson at the BBC.

“In April 2016, Emmanuel Marcon launched a new political movement, En marche! Four months later he resigned from the government and announced he was running for President. …Does he have what it takes to lead the country?

“When Macron finally did go public with his political programme, it was ridiculed for being too vague, too general – a charge that has followed him right through to the last days of the campaign. Macron, his critics say, is for and against everything.

“I’ve seen inside the vacuum of our political system, which stops the majority of ideas because they might threaten the machine, the traditional parties, vested interests… Our political system is blocked.”
— Emmanuel Macron.

“… his manifesto seemed to offer policies for everyone – help for farmers, for industry, for employers, for workers, for entrepreneurs. Tax cuts {for corporations} alongside support for those on low incomes. Spending cuts nestling next to €50bn of public investment. …

“Left-wing stalwarts, including many of the unions, fiercely oppose making it easier for companies to hire and fire staff, set salaries, or extend working hours. Macron has not done well with blue-collar workers, while his far-right rival Marine Le Pen is estimated to have cornered almost half that section of the vote.

“Reacting to her former colleague’s proposals, a senior member of the Socialist Party, Martine Aubry, exploded: “Up until now, Emmanuel Macron thought that being launched as a new product with a sparkling smile would be enough to be elected president. And I always say… when things are vague, there’s a wolf. …

“Now that we’ve seen his programme it’s not a wolf we’re dealing with, but a pack of wolves.”
— Martine Aubry (Senior politician of the French Socialist Party, PS).

His economic programme, said Aubry, “takes up the liberal agenda of the Anglo-Saxons in the 1980s. It’s about reducing public services, reducing deficits, and for workers to work more and be paid less. …“He’s a Blairist,” he concludes. “He’s Tony Blair’s son.” …

“For Macron, politics in France is no longer a battle between right and left ideology, but one between protectionism and globalisation. His staunchest adversary is not the Socialist Party he deserted, nor the Republican Party of Francois Fillon, but the closed-border, anti-liberal policies of Marine Le Pen. And nothing divides him and Le Pen more strongly than the issue of Europe. Macron is alone among the candidates in being enthusiastically pro-EU.”

“He knows how to make you feel you’re the most important person in the world.”
— Macron’s friend, Antoine Marguet.

————————————

The lifestyle you want is out of stock

Conclusions

“There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
— Warren Buffet, quoted in the New York Times, 26 November 2006.

The western peoples have common problems. We can learn much from the struggles of our peers in other nations. What have they done that has failed, or made conditions worse? What have they done that worked? Macron’s election and administration in France will tell us much.

For More Information

Important: A look at the effect of globalization on France (also applies to us): “The French, Coming Apart” by Christopher Caldwell at City Journal — “A social thinker illuminates his country’s populist divide.” It also describes what’s happening to America.

What happened to France’s Left so that a neoliberal “centrist” occupies center stage? In 2012 the Socialist Party dominated France, but Hollande’s team applied a large dose of neoliberalism to the economy. That betrayal of the party’s principles and the subsequent weak economy almost destroyed it as an effective political force. This article by Grey Anderson tells this sad story.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about France, and especially these…

  1. France volunteers itself as a front line in the clash of civilizations.
  2. France on Fire” by Mark Lilla.
  3. Europe’s elites use immigration to reshape it.
  4. Stratfor: Getting to the Root of France’s Muslim Dilemma.
  5. “PARIS 2016: Scenes from the Apocalypse”.

To learn more about neoliberalism.

A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Available at Amazon.

See A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey (2005). From the publisher…

“Neoliberalism — the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action — has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so.

“Writing for a wide audience, David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage.

“Through critical engagement with this history, he constructs a framework, not only for analyzing the political and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.”

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4 thoughts on “Emmanuel Macron is France’s Clinton and Obama, bringing it more neoliberalism

  1. Good format for a Summary. Gems interspersed throughout.
    “… a young man reassuring for the old.” Exactly. And can implement a German dominated fiscal transfer to become finally the United States of Europe.
    As Le Pen says:…”you’ve managed to speak for seven minutes….and have said nothing.” Exactly the idea mon ami!

    We can learn from this? You betcha. Unlikely however, IMO.

    Great info and Harvey’s book, a must read.
    Thx

    Like

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