Less than five months after a new government was formed in France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls resigned on Aug. 25, taking the entire cabinet with him, after very public criticism of the austerity policy dictated by the European Union. As in other EU countries, the economy in France is in a free fall, after President Hollande reneged on all the promises he had made during the campaign leading to his election in 2012. Unemployment, in particular, has continued to soar.
The charge against the murderous policy carried out by President Francois Hollande on orders of the EU/IMF Troika, was led by Arnaud Montebourg, Economics and Productive Reconstruction Minister. He was sacked along with some of the other “rebels” in the government, who do not question the principle of the policy, just the degree demanded.
Montebourg was replaced by a young banker, Emmanuel Macron, who was Hollande’s Secretary General at the Elysée until a few months ago, and is a strong proponent of supply-side economics.
The Socialist Party is holding its annual “Summer School” this weekend in La Rochelle, where fireworks are pre-programmed. Solidarité et Progrès organizers are there to make sure that happens.
In a statement issued Aug. 27 under the title “Anger and Hope,” Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité et Progrès and former French Presidential candidate, outlined the alternative to the suicidal course France and the EU have chosen:
“The challenge to us is to overcome our anger in order to draw creative energy from it. Anger: [Finance Minister] Michel Sapin, the self-proclaimed friend of finance, who claims to believe that there could be a good finance in the present conditions. Anger: a President Hollande who is rejected by 56% of the Socialists and 81% of Frenchmen names a Prime Minister for the second time, who is rejected by more than 60%. Anger: Europe and France are committed to self-destructive austerity. Anger: while François Hollande and Manuel Valls have capitulated to the financial oligarchy, Arnaud Montebourg proposes to use Obama and Italian ECB President Mario Draghi’s printing press which bails out Wall Street and the City of London, while daring to demand at the same time that we ‘free ourselves from the addiction to public spending,’ although that spending serves labor and the real economy. Anger: the Socialist frondeurs propose to increase household purchasing power from EU5 to EU16.5 billion, and to reduce financial aid for companies from EU41 to EU22.5 billion, which comes down to offering a band-aid for a serious wound, but no new medicine to heal the wounded person.
“Thus, proponents of supply-side economics face off against the defenders of demand, but they all remain within the liberal scheme of monetary supply and demand, without taking into account real production and the needs of human labor! It is true that Mélenchon, with his ‘rustic’ energies, has nothing to feed a better society. It is true that the catch-all populist boulangisme of the Front National is an indigestible pudding. It is true that the official right-wing party demands even more austerity than the left. But that is no reason and no excuse not to change course.
“Let us rather say loud and clear what needs to be said. The banking reform law of July 26, 2013 was a tragic mistake. By allowing the major banks to take control of the government apparatus of our country, the Socialist leaders betrayed their own movement, that of great Socialist leaders Jean Jaurès and Léon Blum. They accepted a world in which the issuance of EU5 only adds EU1 extra to Gross Domestic Product, and the rest disappears into the financial pit. Léon Blum, in 1935, denounced in Le Populaire, the ‘attack against sovereignty by private grabbers of public credit,’ and called to ‘fully exploit the revolutionary situation opened up by that attack.’ Who, from among those in power today, dares to say that 59% of our public debt comes from tax breaks and excessive interest rates of the past? Who will say that the low rates of today only serve to maintain different forms of speculation, while families are ruined by deflation? Who will tell us that the transfer of wealth to lenders and shareholders only amounted to some 3% of French value added in 1980, but amounts to 9% today?
“What is the way out of this system, or rather the way into the future? Leave NATO, the euro and the European Union. Not to withdraw behind national borders, but to join the new world being defined by the BRICS, from Brasilia to Beijing, and from Cape Town to Moscow, a group which, although imperfect, expresses what Jaurès, in Buenos Aires in 1911, called the ‘uplifting power of life.’ A world which, on the basis of a productive public credit policy, is developing nuclear fusion, the energy of tomorrow, and all the high technologies related to it, from robotics to bio- and nanotechnologies and digital technologies, which our country could contribute so much to. This is urgent, because the second phase of the great financial crisis before us is combined with the danger of war. Yes, we have a lot to give and to receive, provided we awaken in ourselves that ‘boldness of combative intelligence and creative work’ which our leaders have lacked for far too long.”