Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Another Effort, Frenchmen, if you would be Neo-liberals


Perhaps the most depressing upshot of the victory of Nicolas 'I've fucked them all!' Sarkozy (that is, if one isn't living in a French housing estate) is what, once upon a time, might have been called a hyperstitional one: that certain habits of thought will be inscribed by it. Specifically, that it reinforces the mind-boggling brain-lock that There Is No Alternative to neoliberalism, particularly in its current British form: the bloated Brownian debt-economy that is no doubt wonderful if one either a) works in the City of London, b) owns lashings of property or c) is an arms dealer (and what noble professions they are), but is otherwise an overworked rat-run with collapsing public services, an astronomical cost of living and a general air of casual brutality. So we have to hear, yet again the claim that France can't afford its extremely mild Gaullist sub-Social Democracy; again that the British model WORKS, dammit; and again that Modernisation consists of a a queasy time-travelling to the 19th century.


Of course there are many retorts one could make to this: that a country who votes for someone on the slogan 'work more to earn more' evidently desires some sort of self-punishment for having a half-decent quality of life, or that curiously, the waves of migration seem to be south across the English Channel rather than North to use our terrific public transport system and enjoy our happy-go-lucky conviviality. Nonetheless, this election means that we will have to hear this sort of guff again and again and again, as if after it has been repeated often enough it will become true. So as The Institute has brilliantly pointed out, now we have a phantasmatic 'liquidation' (what a delightfully Stalinist term) of 1968 as the equivalent to Thatcher's liquidation of 1945: and the riots have been put in early.


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