The virtual opposition left-right in French politics December 2, 2006Posted by The Writers in Politics.
It has always been transparent to me that the opposition between
the left and right in France was always a rhetorical one. The left never challenged the structure upon which the form of power, hierarchies in societies, the formation of the elite etc where created and sustained. We will see that today more than ever,
the re-consideration of the elite is an ever lasting topic concerning contemporary France.
The communist grasp on French politics is another structure similar to the existing structure. The structure of work and human relation, through union and other organisation is inherited from another age than our industrial and post-industrial times. In other words, it did not changed along the change enacted by the French nation as a whole. What structure are we talking about? The one of the local, country side based bourgeoisie and its relay in Paris. Paris which maintain a real (in fact) but virtual (in regard of the stage of our society today) relations with the province, as source of power and domination (intellectual and otherwise).
We are in the XXI and those structures remain, completely inadapted but still have effect, rather desastruous now.
Although, it is common knowledge in France, now that those ideologies and structures are completly inadapted, the right wings politicians thinks they have finally win the moral battle that demonstrate they were all along virtuous. The problem is more complex. In fact, the left organisation and ideology is a mirror of the right wings structure. For example, Jean-Francois Revel rightly denounced the most obvious incohencies of communist ideology. Retrospectively, one sees how the cold war was largely a virtual war in the sense that it is clear now that backward and autoritatian ideologies in the western world will have a rought time to survive in a world of open communication, commercial exchanges and technological advances. It remains that the state and the Parisian intellectual circles have reinforced with all the means possible the raise of the intellectual version of a closed systems of thought such as structuralism. During the 1960’s
where the need for change and adapatation of the French society become obvious to most
of the population, Claude Levy-Strauss, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes etc. where practicing the last remains of an medieval system of thought. As a consequence, it has shaped and formed generations of completely inadapated ‘intellectuals’ who have absorbed a form of intellectual romantism, unabbling them to think for themselves unless by grabbing slogans, large picture of what the world is or should be, but unable to understand the details of their own position within the scheme of things.
Such grotesque inadaptation is not an epi-phenomenon, it is a large scale matter one can see when De Villepin tried to relax the rules of employments. Unions have succeeded
to enrol receptive mass of students, to shout about something that did not concern them in the first place. How is this possible? The disfunctioning are blantant. The system of human relations between the states and its administrated subjects alienates the students themselves. France possesses a mass of people looking backward.
Let us noticed that the mode of manipulation in which students live is not essentially related to the usual leftist movement but is institutional. The union have been able to move a large spectrum of students (not only the social sciences ones). This shows the global desorganisation in which are left masses of young adult which no place in a society that cannot move on without them all.
To finish on Structuralism, apart from the rhetorical device to claim radical brake from other mode of thinking, any scholar on the topic will notice that it is part of the French intellectual framework. The ideas come from the traditional forms of education, notably the catholic church and its love for closed systems of thought, the medieval
frame of mind and the renaissance renewal of this framework through the work of Descartes. In the schooling reform made by Jules Ferry, the ideas of Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim were very much the narrow framework in which all the diversity of France was reduced to.
The right wings have always conserved wisely their main means of dominance, i.e. the economic and political areas of activities. Since the denonciation of communist and related ideologies is a fait accompli, the right wings pre-eminence on the political and economical domains is therefore put into question. This is where the real issue of the reorganisation
of France should take place. This should have taken place in 1945, at the end of WWII. But our elite was still incapable to understand the lesson of history. One of the simple framework one can start to think is the demonstration that Adolf Hitler has carried out, the clash between modern industrial means (here used for destruction) and the old management, a la papa, with its circle of trustees, its moral justification, the
re-inforcement of the sense of the elite through elitism rather than intelligence etc.