One of the strangest French elections of modern era is taking place today in the hexagonal country, the land of enlightenment and the 5th strongest economy in the world. An election under constantly increasing uncertainty for the future of the country, the economy and above all people’s life. 2017 is more than 30 years after the “glorious 30”, the 3 decades between 1945 and 1975, when prosperity characterized the political and social evolution in the biggest country of Western Europe. The “magical solutions” of the past don’t exist any more and french people have to find the way out.
France is a country that used to be a real economic superpower and above all a dominant cultural international center in the planet. It used to be the home of every idea, of every spirit, from all continents, who found mostly in the capital, Paris, the place where they could develop their talents and thoughts. But today this isn’t the case any more. France is closing more and more to itself, denying its past and its uniqueness, almost being ashamed and complexed of it.
It’s the first time in history that in France, a bank-man is ready to become President of the Republic. A golden boy, without any popular references, grown up in the testing tube of the stock exchanges and banks, is ready to take into his hands the reins of a heavy vehicle, carrying one of the most exceptional cultures humanity ever known. This is like sickness, it’s paradoxal and worrying, but in any case it’s historical.
How did we get here? Why the country who enlightened the world with new, progressive ideas, philosophical thought for the development of people’s life in accordance with the evolution of the technical means, is looking back to the past? If you want to find the answer you should go many years back and take into account two major events in relatively recent french history.
The destroyer of a culture, General de Gaulle
The first is a name, Charles de Gaulle. General de Gaulle was a military man, escaped in UK while the northern part of France was captivated by Nazist Germany. Surprisingly, a fugitive became national hero in the end of WWII and some years later he became the President of the French Republic. De Gaulle was the man who gave to France its modern complex. He achieved to make peoples from former colonies true enemies of France and he also achieved to make France closing to itself for the first time in history. Paris, until the WWII was an international center of thought, art, economic activity and many more. De Gaulle was the first who initiated the idea of a country imprisoned in its borders, in its traditions, putting in the enemy camp everything progressive. That’s why De Gaulle was the President who found against him a great part of French population, mostly from working class and intellectuals, with May of 1968 to be until today one reference of people’s struggles during the 20th century.
But De Gaulle had a lot of supporters, who were able to combine every personal idea with their admiration for the General. So, his presence is history was able to destroy the clarity of ideologies from all the width of the political spectrum, creating left-gaullists, right-gaullists, center-gaullists and everything else that you can imagine with the addition of gaullist, even people self characterized as communist-gaullists. The poison of the transformation of the international center into a “country z” was already in the vains of french people and a great history, started with the Enlightenment was about to die as well.
The terminator of progressive ideas, PCF
The second fact is the evolution of the French Communist Party. The legendary PCF, is one of the reasons that everything progressive is thought as source of evil in France today. Having great power and more influence to the people, in an era when everything left and communist was positively seen in Europe, with the existence of USSR playing a major role for this and the wars of the USA in many corners of the world pushing in the same direction, PCF was considered a regulator on behalf of the people for the progress and prosperity.
PCF actually did play a major role for the development of people’s live, work conditions, being in the front of social struggles who were crowned with achievements for the working class and generally the popular social layers. But PCF left these achievements to social-democrats, who developed a catastrophic mechanism, of corruption and impunity, in order to incriminate everything progressive. The trade unions became a synonym to laziness and very important rights, as the unemployment benefit, were used in an anti-productive and frustrating way. So, PCF actually contributed in order to incriminate the heart of changes towards people’s prosperity and helped to create a “national complex” against good work conditions, satisfactory income, public social security, protection against dismissals and a lot more. In addition, the decline of a society and economy, made people think that their achievements and their rights were the source of it, diving into a self-catastrophic moral.
PCF also destroyed the last wall of protection, the defense against the ruling class who always wanted to take everything back. After the overthrow of socialist regimes in Europe, it was a party who very quickly accused all the history of these countries, leaving the space for the development of an extreme anti-communism in France.
The results are shown today
These two factors contributed in order to move the political thought of French people towards the UV spectrum of the political system. If the ideas of Enlightenment were the visible light, the filters who polarized and hided constantly the progressive part of it, drove the people in a short variety of very similar choices, conservative and out of the nature of the French culture.
Today, a bank-born golden boy is considered as “centrist” and even anti-establishment candidate, even if he is supported publicly by the former Director of the International Monetary Fund and the institutions of the industrialists, even if he was already a minister of the most hated government ever and its Prime Minister publicly calls to vote for him.
Today, a fascist political descendent is gaining more and more power and has the chances to win the presidency, defending ideas who seem very strange to french history, but were nurtured from the years of De Gaulle.
Today, a Social Democrat candidate, who voted for imperialist interventions in third countries, is considered as a “far-left” candidate, having the support of PCF and accused of being almost “communist” by his rivals. Of course, if Marx was alive, he could never be so far-leftist, in order to satisfy the views served by french mass media.
The end before a new beginning?
The rising question in this situation is if we actually live the end of a great country, almost an ideal, who enlighten the humanity for about two centuries. It’s more than obvious that France as we knew it from our books is dead and the problem is if there is the material to make it reborn. History normally replies positively to such questions, but people have to understand their position in it. So, the matter isn’t if, but when this change, this return to the normality of a great country, will occur. It will be a nice tricolore day and people from all over the world, influenced by the ideals of this great civilization will happily sing “le jour de gloire est arrivé”.