by Ramin Mazaheri
Is this the end of France’s mainstream political parties?
The day of reckoning certainly should be near. When 77% of France believes parliamentarians, are corrupt then you have a fundamental problem with your system. If you don’t trust you’re the highest rung of the legislative branch, then that house needs to be purged.
It seems it’s going to happen this election cycle for the executive branch, at least. Legislatively…that will require much more revolutionary spirit.
In my daily reporting for Press TV I’ve covered this “our politicians are all corrupt” story many times over the years. I’m always interested to ask the French the simple question: “Why is France so especially mistrustful of their politicians?” Their response usually is…to defend the system they find so corrupt, LOL:
They say that because they live in such a very, very free country only they are can say these types of things openly (state of emergency nearing 16th month but ignore this). Yes, only the impossible-to-seal mouths of the truly-free French dare speak the truth! The truth being, by implication, that all politicians everywhere are corrupt.
This is, of course, not at all true.
First, the French have some outdated fantasy of other countries being ruled by a secret police, where all criticism can only be whispered in dark alleyways. Never mind the omnipresence of their own secret police.
Second, the entire world does not all share their faithless cynicism in politicians. This is a French cultural problem which runs deeper than hypocrisy, which is a very human foible we all share. I discussed politics with dozens of Cubans recently and I never heard any depressing, cynical thoughts about their politicians as are routinely expressed here. I heard complaints, but different ones, and that is my point.
But, rationalize such cynicism however you like. In fact, let’s move on and just blame the Roma and the Muslims, LOL.
Of course, we still must return back to the reality of staggering corruption in French politics.
The downfall of Francois Fillon, the ‘great man’
Ingrained in Western capitalism and their bourgeois democracies is the idea that the masses are ignorant and that a great man is needed to lead them. A man of moral integrity and prophetic vision – much more than just a “council of grandfathers” must guide the French tribe.
Fillon was that man…according to his campaign platform.
His idea was that only a person of his irreproachable moral integrity could…properly inflict twice as many austerity cuts properly.
He was the clear favorite so this idea actually resonated – the moral part seemed to obscure the austerity part, apparently out of desperation for the lack of moral fortitude displayed by those in the nation’s highest offices.
Fillon was high in the polls and high above us masses in his country manor, just marking an ‘x’ on the calendar for each day he was closer to surely taking office in May.
All he had to do was not screw up, because I can report there was simply not enough proof of support for Marine Le Pen to beat him in the 2nd round, or even make it close. Of course, we are still months from the vote, and things change.
And change they did!
We are now all patiently waiting for Fillon’s proof to disprove “Penelopegate”: allegations that his wife and children got over 1 million euros in ghost jobs.
He hasn’t and he won’t.
He says he will share “proof” of work such as pay slips only with the police. LOL, Francois, proof of payment is not proof of work.
If Frank had any proof…he would have immediately shown it to the media to clear his name and continue coasting to the presidency. However, he only had bizarre identity-politics accusations such as “misogyny” against his wife to counter the claims. I feel bad for the reporters who had to report that without irony….
And how the mainstream loved Fillon! This poster from mainstream magazine Le Point was all over Paris back in November, forcing everyone with a brain in their head to roll their eyes backwards to their personal happy place. It reads “The Incredible Mr. Fillon”.
LOL Le Point, great call on that one! Superb journalistic instincts! Impeccable analysis! I see why you are the top of the top here in France!
Well, every journalist takes orders from whoever signs their paycheck, and the larger point is: The 1% loved Fillon, trusted Fillon, and he was one of them (just on the basis of ghost job income).
Not 1 but both mainstream parties ousted? Pinch me I’m dreaming….
Fillon has absolutely and properly plummeted from 1st to 3rd place in the latest presidential polls. He wouldn’t make the 2nd and final round, were the vote held today.
It’s a shocking fall, but maybe the French are finally punishing people for corruption? If the state won’t do it, as in China, then it’s up to voters. This idiosyncrasy of the Western democratic system – corruption is punished by not winning re-election, as opposed to the prison terms handed out for normal crooks – has clearly worked out fantastically for the 1% in France, who staff Parliament.
Problem is, Fillon is still running 3rd – he could make a comeback.
They all do in France, at least on the right – Sarkozy, Juppé, etc. On the left they are more likely to get permanently exiled – Strauss-Kahn, Cazeneuve, and does anyone see a comeback from Hollande?
Makes one wonder: Which side has the greater moral backbone: The conservative Catholic rural voters or the urban and urbane Socialists? One would think it would be the former, but explain that riddle then?
Anyway, my point to international readers is that the joyful arrival of Penelopegate currently portends the death of not just the already-dead Socialists but the conservative Les Républicains, i.e. both mainstream parties.
That, in a western democracy, is extremely rare, and I can’t recall a postwar historical example in any of the West’s UN veto-wielding nations.
So, now who? Wait…why are you looking at me? I work for Iranian state media, not a fashionable, rich media like Le Point – I must know nothing, right? I didn’t even think Fillon was that incredible?
Frozen mainstream Eskimos float the old out for an icy funeral
Polls currently have 4 candidates within 8% points of each other. I hate to say I told you so, and I’m directing this one towards the US and Trump-Clinton: ignore “margin of error” at your peril.
You can’t call a race when it’s that tight so…check back later.
However, I predict the mainstream media here won’t take this honest and sensible view: The 1% can’t show any disunity among something as important as the presidency – remember how it was “Clinton for certain” in the US?
The mainstream doesn’t want to report the actual facts – that there is chaos, instability and unpredictability in France’s election. Nor is the mainstream media, as Trump v. Clinton reminded everyone, in the habit of listening to the needs of the masses or reporting things properly.
They will circle the wagons around a preferred candidate very soon.
But for now it is fair to say that Marine Le Pen will almost definitely get into the second round…and lose against whoever she faces: There hasn’t been a poll which showed her winning the 2nd round that I’m aware of.
I refuse to believe, because it takes time for my brain to accept change, these most recent polls, which have former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron beating Le Pen 66-33% in the 2nd round.
Maybe my brain was impacted by all the tear gas and other violence thrown my way during the months of protests against his Macron Law to accept the heretofore shocking idea that he could be president in May, or that he should be.
The Macron Law…man, that will stand in infamy. That was the right-wing roll back of France’s labor code last year.
Now THAT was the biggest blow against French culture in recent years, as it brings France more in line with the US-UK-German economic model.
There went France’s worker security – nobody punches a clock here, the vast majority have the stability provided by a monthly salary – but now you can get used to more part-time work like in the three Anglo-Saxon countries I listed. Get used to lower wages, as part-time work always pays worse, but the capitalists love this programmed underemployment – keeps ‘em desperate scared and docile.
There went your French exceptionalism, and the colorblind among us will note that it did not go because of a chubby mother in a hejab pushing a stroller while hoping for the best future for her children…but you believe whatever you want.
There went, sadly, my quiet, no-shopping-allowed Sundays in Paris, which is the densest Western city and so, so busy most of the time. Yeah, let’s turn this place into Tokyo or Manhattan, sounds great.
Of course, it’s not like families need a guaranteed day of togetherness for unity, or like workers need a guaranteed day of rest to be happy and moral the other six. Is there some way I can be a capitalist while I’m sleeping, because I’m just wasting time and time is money, right?
And now, here comes Macron: He will be the lily-white gold-worshipper in the middle of the circled wagons, safely protected from us common Indian savages who simply want to hold on to what little we have and not lose any more.
Get on the Macron train, or think of one hand clapping
Prediction for Le Point’s next cover: “The Incredible Mr. Macron!”
Blame Hollande. Blame him left, right, up and down, because Macron was a nobody until Hollande made him Minister of the Economy. Ugh! We are stuck with Macron for decades, because the pro-banker 1% will keep propping him up no matter what – no pro-capitalist politician ever dies in France. Among the English-speaking media it’s basically St. Macron, sent to destroy the France’s (far more admirable) postwar social model.
Ugh, ugh, ugh. It can’t be. It won’t be.
But it looks like it might be.
Because French voters simply must punish the Socialist Party for their betrayal on austerity, and they will; they simply must punish Fillon for the embezzlement and hypocrisy which he has not been able to disprove whatsoever.
Rejecting the mainstream is the trend in the West or…has this trend died out? We don’t know and it’s not clear, but it’s certainly looking that way more than ever in France.
What about Marine Le Pen? Well, she proposes non-mainstream ideas but is a part of the mainstream – the National Front has been prevalent in the media for decades. She is not like Trump, who is a true outsider form the political game.
Le Pen is capitalizing on all this, recently saying she’s a candidate against the moneyed elite and “of the people” and she is…as long as those “people” are totally White.
Of course, many of her supporters don’t care about a little thing called “minority rights”, which is what prevents Western democracy from being outright mob rule.
Certainly a lot of her supporters suddenly are all about minority rights when you talk about places outside of France…in places like Lebanon when it comes to Christians, to give just one example, but anyway….
Le Pen is sort of in-between on this mainstream idea, I must grant, and the same should be said for the left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon: He gave up on the mainstream Socialists in 2008. That’s ahead of the curve, right? Ya gotta give him that.
But it’s not really that long ago, eh? It’s still hard for many believe in his bona fides as a leftist and many view him as an egomaniac, rightly or wrongly.
He might get over the hump, but he’s currently polling at 11%. In the 2012 1st round presidential election he got…11%. “Stagnation” has certainly been the watchword for France during the past 5 years….
But if you’re asking me who to vote for he’s the best viable candidate. He has so far refused to ally with the mainstream socialist Benoit Hamon: the newcomer Hamon has the hot hand, so the sooner Melenchon would give in the more watered-down his proposals would be in this hypothetical new left union.
And his proposals are great: Like Le Pen he wants a democratic referendum on the Euro, European Union and NATO, and he wants to scrap the 5th Republic and write a new, modern constitution that isn’t tainted by De Gaulle’s postwar paranoia of the people. He’s the only politician who is clearly anti-xenophobia, Hamon being tainted by the Socialist’s mistreatment of Roma, refugees and Muslims.
Going with the capitalist adoration of the “great man”, the “political savior”, “Mr. .00001%” –are you telling me that’s the smug banker Macron?
That is exactly what the mainstream media will probably start spoon-feeding France.
We’ll see how many French swallow it – given that Macron is currently the most popular politician in France, many already have dutifully taken their conformist medicine and are awaiting a pat on the head (and a pink slip).
However, which two politicians have the 2nd and 3rd-highest approval ratings? Hamon and Melenchon, in a tie.
So how the heck do you explain that?! Whoda thunkit just a couple weeks ago?! What does that predict for the election?
You explain it by realizing that rejecting the mainstream is what the past year has been all about across the West. My White Trash Revolution (WTR) theory continues to trend correct.
The right has been dominant, but Fillon’s apparent taxpayer scam could push France’s WTR back to the left.
One can dream.
All that is certain is that there is no certainty today in France’s presidential election.
A lot can change between now and the first round in late April, but the mainstream’s tactics only change, never their goals: They want someone to keep the money flowing to the 1% and that man was Fillon – now it will be Macron, sorry Frank.
Macron is so new, so smug, so Rothschild-y that maybe France’s voters won’t buy the mainstream onslaught that’s coming? That onslaught will be, of course: We must stop Le Pen at any cost, even if it means Macron.
That game plan stays the same with or without Fillon.
But maybe the Left will seize the historical moment and surmount the obstacles which will inevitably be obstructed by the mainstream.
Regardless, I encourage France’s voters to drop their cynicism about politics in general, above all. It’s not normal, useful, accurate or right.