On ecology, democracy and the ‘French Third Way’

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“ Ecology, namely the question of the compatibility between human life and the sustainability of the ecosystem, itself brings us back to the democratic question. For ecology reveals, scientifically, the equality of all humans faced with a problem that is going to affect them. Of course, the rich have a lot more means for self-preservation than the poor do. But rarely is there a general problem that threatens human life as a whole. If this life disappears, then even the children of the rich will not have a planet left. There we have a problem. So this is a task for society, and we call for a democratic means of action to deal with it. Obviously we want very serious measures for that, and the worrying thing is that we now have a government packed with lobbyists (…) All the partisans of so-called social-liberalism or the Third Way, all the people who said there is no alternative, now have their own party, and it is Macron’s party. The party of no alternative. We think that this is a point of strength for us, because now at least it is clear where people stand. All those people are going off to govern together ”

Hadrien Clouet, ‘Resisting the Macron Surge’, Jacobin Magazine

On the French Socialist Party and rebuilding the French left

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“ It is difficult to say what the PS is today. Its figures, its staff, its members are not one single entity. Part of it has gone off toward Macron and En Marche. And it is also important to be clearly aware that the reason it got 6 percent was that it embodied defeat and had no prospect of winning after the Hollande years. There was a very strong sense of disillusionment (…) The Parti socialiste is no longer the leading force on the Left, but the Left is not yet in good shape. What really interests me is how we can accomplish the challenging task of rebuilding the Left. That means a Left that concerns itself with the March for Dignity and Justice, a Left that makes feminism relevant for our own time, and a Left that can bring the popular classes back onto the political terrain ”

Elsa Faucillon, ‘The Left Under Macron’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On who the Italian Left should take inspiration from

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“ What model of the European left should inspire the Italian left? Should it be the English Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn or the French President Emmanuel Macron? The answer, in fact, is already contained in the question. If it’s the left we’re talking about, the model can hardly be Macron and for a simple reason: Macron is not a leftist ”

Davide De Luca, ‘Why Macron is not a leftist’, Il Post

On the mainstream dislike of old-style socialism and the collapse of centrism in the UK

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“ The Guardian is a big influence, and it has to be said that both its comment writers and its news editorial stance have been about as pro-Corbyn as the New York Times was pro–Bernie Sanders — that is, not at all. And for the same reasons. These are the liberal elitists. It’s people who don’t like old-style socialism. All the identity politics around Corbyn, they’re different than the ones around Sanders, but they were there. Lots of mainstream feminists don’t like Corbyn. In the end, Corbyn has proved you can run a traditional left campaign and energize young people. The other possibility is so dire — a right-wing Conservative and racist UKIP alliance government. The Guardian, which I write for, has had this hope that some centrist party would emerge, a bit like Emmanuel Macron in Paris, or like the Clintonite Democrats. But that kind of politics has collapsed in Britain, and the Liberal Democrats, who are the small third party here, just have really not done anything ”

Paul Mason, ‘The Movement in Corbyn’s Wake’, Jacobin Magazine

On going beyond anger to counter neoliberalism

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“ While we are all clicking and fixing our eyes on the never-ending Trump show – the handshake with Macron, the hand-holding with May – he is, she argues, enacting policies that are systematically moving wealth upwards, and crucial questions are not being asked loudly enough: Is your social security safe? Is your healthcare safe? Are your wages going to be driven down? He benefits so much from that focus away from economics (…) Anger and rejection of the status quo will never sustain people on its own. The triumph of neoliberalism is the idea that the alternative is always even worse. To overturn that there has to be a boldness and a recapturing of the utopian imagination. If we can’t do that, then I really don’t think we have a chance against these guys ”

Tim Adams & Naomi Klein, ‘Trump is an idiot, but don’t underestimate how good he is at that’, The Guardian

On why if Macron loses, it will be his fault, not Melenchon’s

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“ For some Macron is a most unbearable turmoil of Le Pen’s victory, for others he’s not. If Macron was a bit more tolerable for them, the first would perhaps vote for it, and if Le Pen was less frightening for them, perhaps the latter would not vote for Macron to avoid her. In short, there is no great principle, nor universal rule: every vote has a part of conviction and a part of sacrifice and doubt, and each weighs the two parts with its meter, not with that of the others. Those who do not want to vote Macron obviously ‘knows how to distinguish between Macron and Le Pen,’ like those who deny dinner because they only have a worm dish or plum covered with mold; they see the difference between worms and a plum. To attribute to any leftist who does not want to vote for Macron a whimsical infantile selfishness is just as childish, supposedly, and incapable of sensitivity to the reflections and doubts of others: and the history of the elections is always made of contexts such as this (Trump also won because many Sanders voters did not vote for Clinton, and they have widely explained the reasons, the 5 Star Movement will also win thanks to those who would not vote for Renzi, etc. […]) ”

Translated from Italian.

Luca Sofri, ‘Turarsi il nez’, Wittgenstein