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The protests in France and the politics of public associations: lessons that need to be extracted

Протесты во Франции и политика общественных объединений: уроки, которые нужно извлечь

The translator’s Preface

Our black hundreds, unequivocally declaring his absolute willingness to go outside with a gun at the ready, should only happen in our events, such as those that shake today France, provide an opportunity to understand how in principle might look like a reflection of social protest on the right. There is no doubt that well – disperse, crush, not to suffer and ruin – to the pain you want and the black hundreds of the French. But, at least until you can. All it would have looked pretty pathetic, if not increasing roar of war drums, if not for the gang of armed thugs, here and there we meet wherever capital has to work with elbows and fists. Somewhere these thugs armed with Kalashnikovs and mortars, some police with guns and batons, but it is only whips but the prayer book, but that hardly gives reason for seduction.

That looks really pathetic, as it attempts to comprehend the “French autumn” from the standpoint that the West since ancient times called “left”. They often say that there is nothing worse than the rage of the petty bourgeois. Forget to add: and nothing more ridiculous and absurd fury of the modern left-liberal intellectual. Those who like us, rather than funny, and sad, will welcome in the comments.


There is nothing surprising in the fact that right-wing forces in the face of marine Le Pen or Donald trump, trying to capture the protests that swept France in recent weeks. In fact, because these protests may indicate a new phase, opening up new opportunities for the left, and at the international level. These opportunities are linked to the unity which detects a different non-privileged strata of French society in his rallying against the economic and political elite. At the present time the rejection by protesters of increasing fuel prices added to various other economic requirements, such as: increasing the minimum wage, a shorter working week, improved pensions. Moreover, the agenda does not include any of the popular right – wing slogan- no slogan on the prohibition of the migration or the slogan “zero tolerance” against offenders, nor any other nationalistic concept.

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The protests are appalling ruling elite of France, because they offer the prospect of wide unification of the masses – and is the Achilles ‘ heel of the political system of the Fifth Republic. Those in power know very well: it is necessary to unite diverse groups of disadvantaged (and they include working class, poor, provincial, national and racial minorities, immigrants, gays, women, etc.) as the days of the current political elite are numbered. A wonderful example of such inter-class enterprises delivers Argentina in 2001-2002, when the proletariat, the unemployed and the middle class rose up in a wave of militant and angry anti-government protests caused the resignation of the neoliberal President Fernando de La Rua.

Over the past quarter century, the right was able to put together their own Union opportunists, hypocritically calling itself anti-elite (anti-elite). The rise of the right during this period was largely due to their play on the growing discontent of the lower classes, the remaining irrelevant in the era of globalization.

Ernesto Laclau (Argentine analyst-postmarxist) showed that right-wing populism in these years, like any populism was based on several similarities of different social groups, and makes possible their unity, but at the same time he leaned and they also fomented antagonism between them and the groups declared “elitist”. For supporters of the trump that represents the far right in the US, one of these “elite” targets wasteful managers, living beyond their means. Hedge funds and other financial institutions set about restoring order and discipline with the help of rush work and at the expense of ordinary workers, managers and bureaucrats. This “anti-elite” Alliance left behind not only managers, in the spirit of F. Ross Johnson, but also the universities, the “liberal” media (in fact, the centrist, not a liberal), “liberal” Hollywood and the intellectuals of all kinds, including scientists.

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Nothing remains but to listen to all the bullshit that Fox News feeds people without higher education.

Around trump joined the workers, deceived by these pseudo-elite (allegendly elite) groups; victims of political correctness; the third member of this anti-elite of the Union of right forces have become “winners” (many of them direct the fraudsters), those who know how to fuck the system, little trumps the flesh. “Non-systemic” policy in the spirit of trump are the people’s protectors, despite the stuffed purse.

But the duplicity of these politicians, as well as the duplicity of trump, you cannot hide, eventually it will inevitably become apparent. The deception lasts too long, people can not smell the trick. Bush, following the advice of Karl Rove, he hides his face behind the mask of ostentatious stupidity and created an image of anti-Washington politics only on the grounds that he preferred his Texas ranch to the White house. But how can the son of the former President of the United States, a multimillionaire, to claim the status of “non-systemic” policy? Obama claimed that title already on the grounds that he was black. But obviously his loyalty belonged only to his patrons, regardless of skin color.

Events in France show the stillbirth of the social Union, based on cheap right populism. Many of the “yellow jackets” he moved to the major cities of the province, gave in the same time fertile ground for levanovskogo the “National front” (and for the Republican party in the US). But the slogans and demands of the demonstrators atypical for the right-wing, not to mention the fact that some of them lived all my life in big cities. One interpretation of right-wing populism is that it reflects a revolt against the rural primitivism of urban civilization. Obviously, this is not the case of France.

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Performances in France, relate exclusively to economic problems. In this regard, they shed new light on the ongoing debate about the left strategy. Common place today is the fact that the working population of the cities most concerned about economic issues, there is a key change agent. The second such place is the emphasis on national unification, first of all, with the middle class. Most people on the left, including me, believes in the importance of both approaches and tries to emphasize problems associated with both. But in politics, as in life generally, the key skill is the ability to set priorities – it is impossible to give equal attention to all important issues.

Events in France have shown that of the two approaches, the highest priority must have a first – economic. In contrast to the period of the revival of the left of the 60-ies, when the Association gave him the momentum that we are now living in that quarter of a century that was marked by years of economic stagnation and deteriorating living standards of a substantial part of the population. Now left, it is first necessary to link economic issues with progressive slogans and overcome the split associated with emphasis on the policy of national unification. The rise of spontaneous protests in France gives hope that the new public Association, the left filled with content will be far more meaningful than it is now, when they are right scammers.

Steve Ellner, Monday, December 10, 2018


Translated By E. Morgunova

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