The French Need To Talk To Each Other

13.07.2022

The French, who have historically been the forerunners of political change in Europe, surprised their neighbours in the presidential election (April 10 and 24,2022) and the legislative elections (June 12 and 19,2022).

Only 47% of voters participated in the fourth round, a very surprising result in a country with a long tradition of political activism.

Although 38% of registered voters elected Emmanuel Macron, only 14% elected MPs were in favour of him, forcing him to cohabit with his opponents.

In fact, the National Assembly, which was already no longer a place for debate but a recording chamber for the president’s will, has become a barnum where deputies cut each other off and take each other to task. As a result, not only the Executive, but also the Legislative has become inoperative.

How did it come to this and how can a regime be rebuilt?

The destruction of institutions

In my opinion, it all started in 1986 with the appointment of a “Secretary of State for Human Rights”. What seemed like a good idea was in fact a challenge to the achievements of the 1789 Revolution. Until then, a distinction had been made between the French tradition of ’Droits de l’homme et du citoyen’ and the Anglo-Saxon tradition of ’Droits de l’homme’. The former guarantees rights to those who engage in politics, while the latter guarantees rights provided that the People do not engage in politics. The former is emancipatory, the latter merely puts order without violence.

The French are unaware today that the most widely read book during the 1789 Revolution was by the Anglo-American-French Thomas Paine on this debate. It is at the heart of the difference between French and Anglo-Saxon culture. By accepting the term “Rights of Man”, the French gave up their heritage.

The second step was the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, which erased the ’No’ vote of the French in the 2005 referendum on the European Union Constitution. The French ruling class, believing that it could guarantee its citizens their “human rights”, considered that it alone knew how to make politics and that it could therefore overturn the will of the People.

The third step in 2018 was the new interpretation of the motto of the Republic by the Constitutional Council. The Constitution refers to the “common ideal of liberty, equality and fraternity”. According to the wise men, this principle gives rise to “the freedom to help others, with a humanitarian aim, regardless of the legality of their stay on national territory”. Fraternity is no longer the fraternity in arms of the 1848 Revolutionaries, on which universal suffrage was based, but a simple form of charity.

Please note that I am not questioning human rights, the Lisbon Treaty, or the right to help immigrants. I am simply observing that in order to justify these decisions, we have abandoned what was the basis of the French social contract. Or rather, that noble decisions have been used to trample on our political heritage.

The evolution of the political class

Once these betrayals were made, the political class shrank. Fifty years ago it comprised four-fifths of the citizens, but now it comprises less than half of the registered voters.

Registered voters who abstain are not only showing their contempt for the electoral offer that is being made to them. They also and above all refuse to be co-responsible for the decisions taken by the regime. In a democracy, each voter must assume the decisions of the majority. But this is only possible if all citizens respect the social contract.

When we see the state today sending soldiers to the Sahel to protect neo-colonial interests or militarily supporting a racialist regime in Ukraine, we can only observe that there is a gulf between our practices and our noble speeches.

Rewriting recent political history

In order to justify the destruction of the values of the 1789 and 1848 revolutions, politicians and the media have rewritten recent history based on appearances rather than facts.

Thus, during the last presidential campaign, we heard a candidate, claiming to follow the example of Charles De Gaulle, forget that there were “left-wing Gaullists” and affirm that the General was of the right and had always fought against the communists and the USSR. However, De Gaulle organised the Resistance to the Nazi invasion by relying above all on communists. Then, in 1954, he scuppered the Anglo-Saxon project of the European Defence Community with the votes of the French Communist Party (PCF). Similarly, he relied on the left to give Algeria independence in 1962, on communist workers to build up a defence industry and on PCF deputies to get out of NATO’s integrated command in 1966. And it was the PCF that saved him in May 1968.

Charles De Gaulle, who came from the extreme right, always governed in the interest of the nation and not as a right-wing leader. He fought the communists in domestic policy, but supported them in foreign policy. He participated in the Allied landing in Normandy, but considered it an Anglo-Saxon attempt to colonise France and always refused to commemorate it. He was the only Western head of state to address the peoples of the USSR on Soviet television and has always regarded Russia as a European country.

– Monarchy. However, the Republic means governing according to the common interest, whereas the Monarchy is a regime that assigns power to a single man appointed hereditarily or elected by a few nobles. It is quite possible to be both a republican and a monarchist. Thus Henry IV (1589-1610) declared himself the first ’republican king of France’ by guaranteeing freedom of religion.

This issue is far from marginal insofar as it is the origin of secularism (and not the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State, which, on the contrary, took up the struggle of Philip II Augustus (1180-1223) against the Pope). On the basis of this falsification, a battle was waged against citizens of the Muslim religion, who were equated with supporters of an Islamic policy. It is true that Muhammad was both a spiritual example and a warlord. Historically, Arab culture has always mixed religion and politics, but French culture has not and there is no reason to do so. Muslims are citizens among others, Islamics are opponents of universality.

One candidate, who had rightly begun by denouncing the privileges granted to foreigners, continued his campaign by advocating that social benefits should not be granted to those who had already paid into social organisations, but according to nationality. This xenophobia was immediately punished in the ballot box. The French population is particularly open to others, as shown by the high rate of marriage to foreigners.

Also during the election campaign, Jean-Marie Le Pen and the party he led, the Front National (now Rassemblement National), were presented as opponents of the Republic. Indeed, the FN had many former officials of Philippe Pétain’s regime and opponents of Algerian independence among its leaders. However, in 1998-99, I provoked the constitution of a parliamentary commission of enquiry into a possible factional conduct of the FN. The elements that we brought to the attention of the parliamentarians were quite different: Jean-Marie Le Pen was an agent of the head of the Gaullist secret services, Jacques Foccart. He was in charge of bringing together all the extreme right-wing groups and ensuring that they did not initiate anything detrimental to the Republic.

The FN’s order service, the DPS, was handled by the DPSD (now DRSD), a military secret service. The director of the Front National’s security service was simultaneously the personal security officer of President Mitterrand’s second wife and his daughter Mazarine. He was also a French secret service agent involved in the elimination of Chechen jihadists.

Moreover, President François Mitterrand was not the socialist he claimed to be. Deeply schizophrenic, he divided himself between two families, one official with his left-wing wife, the other unofficial with his far-right mistress. Similarly, he divided his cabinet at the Élysée between left-wing and far-right advisers. For example, François de Grossouvre had created the first Klu Klux Klan cell in France during the inter-war period.

I am only mentioning old and symbolic facts here. It would be possible to continue this narrative by evoking the way in which France supported the jihadists against Libya and against Syria, and then the racial Banderites against Russia. These are all events that directly contradict the image the French have of themselves.

None of these facts reach their consciousness, yet everyone suspects them when you talk to them.

In order to unblock the situation, it is urgent that the French discuss among themselves what they hold as certainties, even though they are disputed. Only by unifying their memories will they be able to build their future. Until then, the French are no longer citizens, but consumers concerned with their purchasing power. They are divided into distinct communities, an “archipelago” as one sociologist put it.

How to deal with the country’s problems

The French agree that it is urgent to restore the authority of the state and to raise the level of compulsory education. These are structural measures that require firstly a consensus on the role of the state and secondly, strong investment.

In the meantime, it is possible to tackle the most important problem facing the country, as well as other Western countries, namely the impoverishment of workers in the face of the incredible accumulation enjoyed by a very few. Today, the five largest fortunes in France own as much as the 27 million poorest citizens. Never, even in the Middle Ages, has such a disparity been known. This makes any democratic procedure illusory.

This sociological transformation corresponds to the phenomenon of economic globalisation, which has nothing to do with technical progress, but only with Anglo-Saxon imperialism. It will obviously be very difficult to dismantle all the international treaties that structure this development. But it is possible, as of now, to put an end to this game of massacre by subjecting all imports to the same regulations as local products.

For example, it is forbidden in France to produce hormone-treated veal, but it is legal to import it and sell it at a lower price than that of local farms. Or it is forbidden in France to make children work 10 hours a day, but it is legal to import textiles made under these conditions and sell them much cheaper than local products.

Everyone agrees on these principles, they just need to be put into practice.

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