Arthur Chevalier – Less radical than I am, you will die


L.Moderation does not prevail over radicalism. In the created subject, fanatics suppress the intelligent. They have power, that is, violence, but also a kind of virtue: purity. Political parties are born, prosper, triumph, relying on their most loyal activists, often the most industrious, and the latter always demanding a rapprochement with their ideal. The union of the left at work is a vivid and almost scholastic proof of this law. Jean-Luc Melanchon drew conclusions from history for more than ten years. If his competitors were more cultured, they would know that they have no chance.

Radicality has nothing to do with madness, wickedness or cruelty. In politics, this means being as close to the principles as possible. For example, the centrist party can be radicalized by refusing to propose notable reforms on the left or right. The leaders of the Socialist Party describe Jean-Luc Melanchon as an extremist, they forget that Francois Mitterrand had no other strategy. In his remarkable biography of the first socialist presidentand République, Eric Russell showed how Mitterrand in the 1970s continued to walk on one of the leftmost paths of the chessboard. Even if he was not a communist, to put it mildly, he made many concessions to them, convinced that they were the driving force of unity, the condition of victory. That is why, as a brave Bolshevik and a great comedian, he never stopped insulting capitalism, money and “monopolies”.

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Francois Hollande seems to have forgotten the brightest sentence of his presidential campaign, delivered during a speech in Le Bourget: “I will tell you who my opponent is. […] This opponent is the world of finance. He didn’t believe it, but he thought it should be said. If the left had not broken with its own history, which is also the history of France, she would have remembered that during the revolution she won thanks to her most stubborn, most obsessive, most radical leaders and largest minority. We will not hold an eternal trial over Robespierre here, but there is a fact that no one can deviate from: the composition of the National Assembly in August 1792, namely during the fall of Louis XVI. The Jacobins / Brisotins / Girondins, to the left of the legislature, were powerful and few compared to other representatives. In any case, it is enough to take advantage of the popular movements in Paris, which are the reason for the capture of Tuileries on August 10, 1792, the first step in the king’s campaign to the death.

The lack of nuances and extravagance of the remarks made did not always honor the intellect. He lost to the most determined of his comrades.

With age, intelligence is a lucrative virtue. Jean-Luc Melanchon demonstrated this by turning a separate but smaller party into the first force on the left. However, his own movement was no exception. Where did the man who waved the tricolor in Place de la Bastille declare his commitment to the core values ​​of the revolution, depict nationalism, where justice, justice and patriotism would allow France to avoid social division ?, territorial and economic cynicism? Since then, this promising lightness, this taste for history and literature, has been replaced by rudimentary and vile clientelism about Islamism, the judiciary, and the police. The lack of nuances and extravagance of the remarks made did not always honor the intellect. He lost to the most determined of his comrades. And, obviously, they were not the thinnest.

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The alliance with the Green Party raises several questions. On the one hand, the insignificance of the latter. Although the environment is the main problem of the electorate, which can be called young, EELV could not exceed the mark of 5%. If Yannik Zhado’s republicanism is exemplary, its leaders are optional, if not decorative. Some city council deputies in big cities have turned to ridicule, imagining reforms in which stupidity competes with archaism. The mayor (EELV) of Grenoble a few days ago recalled the nature of his beliefs when considering permission to use burkini in municipal swimming pools. What about abandoning the legacy of the Enlightenment, which favors a racist organization of society where, as Sandrine Rousseau put it, “ecology is not about white people on bicycles”? In short, the environmental party is an areopagus of mostly uneducated leaders, alien to culture in general, the world of knowledge in particular, whose dream is a society where reasoning takes its own mind. Their radicalism could, according to the same rule, destroy all forms of moderation and reduce the alliance of the left to the smallest part of it. And see how business expansion turns into a process of collapse.

book guide

Eric Russell, Francois Mitterrand, from intimate to politicalParis, Tempus, 2021.