French Presidential Election 2017: Nothing Succeeds Like Success. Macron “Selected”. Billionaires and Bankers Rejoice*
By Diana Johnstone
There is great rejoicing tonight in places accustomed to rejoicing. The best champagne must be flowing in places that have plenty of it, chez Bernard Arnault, for example, first fortune in France (eleventh in the world), owner among so much else of the newspapers Parisien, Aujourd’hui France and Echos, all fervent supporters of Emmanuel Macron. The glasses should be clinking also wherever the peripatetic billionaire Patrick Drahi finds himself, born in Morocco, double French-Israeli nationality, resident of Switzerland, owner of a vast media and telecom empire, including the epitome of post-May ’68 turncoatism, the tabloid Libération, which ran a headline calling on voters to cast their ballots for Macron a day after the public campaign was legally over.
The list is long of billionaires, bankers and establishment figures who have a right to rejoice at the extraordinary success of a candidate who got elected President of the French Republic on the claim to be “an outsider”, whereas nobody in history has ever been so unanimously supported by all the insiders you can name.
There should also be satisfaction in the embassies of all the countries whose governments openly interfered in the French election – the U.S. of course, but also Germany, Belgium, Italy and Canada, among others, who earnestly exhorted the French to make the right choice: Macron, of course. All these champions of Western democracy can all join in gloating over the nonexistent but failed interference of Russia – for which there is no evidence, but part of the fun of a NATOland election these days is to accuse the Russians of meddling.
As for the French, abstention was nearly record-breaking, as much of the left could not vote for the self-proclaimed enemy of labour law but dared not vote for the opposition candidate, Marine Le Pen, because one just cannot vote for someone who was labeled “extreme right” or even “fascist” by an incredible campaign of denigration, even though she displayed no visible symptom of fascism and her program was favourable to lower income people and to world peace. Words count in France, where the terror of being accused of sharing World War II guilt is overwhelming.
Surveys indicate that as much as 40% of Macron voters chose him solely to “block” the alleged danger of voting for Marine Le Pen.
Others on the left voted for Macron vowing publicly that they will “fight him” once he is elected. Fat chance.
There may be street demonstrations in coming months, but that will have little impact on Macron’s promise to tear up French labor law by decree and free labor and management to fight it out between themselves, at a time when management is powerful thanks to delocalizations and labor is disorganized and enfeebled by the various effects of globalization.
As Jean Bricmont put it, outgoing French President François Hollande deserves a Nobel Prize for political manipulation.
At a time when he and his government were so unpopular that everyone was looking forward to the election as a chance to get rid of them, Hollande, with zealous assistance from of the major media, leading banks and oligarchs of various stripes, succeeded in promoting his little-known economic advisor into the candidate of “change”, neither left nor right, a totally fresh, new political star – supported by all the old politicians that the public wanted to get rid of.
This is quite an amazing demonstration of the power of “communications” in contemporary society, a triumph for the advertising industry, mainstream media and the billionaires who own all of that.
France was perceived as a potential weak link in the globalization project of eliminating national sovereignty in favor of the worldwide reign of capital. Thanks to an extraordinary effort, this danger has been averted. At least for now.