A perfume of Revolution : French election
I went to the town hall meeting in Lille for Jean-Luc Mélenchon (a candidate for the French Presidential election). What fervor, what hope, what diversity! There were young people, many young people. The room filled, and thousands more unable to enter.
Last May, when I spent six weeks in Paris explaining to anyone who wanted to listen that the revolution could be done by the ballot box, that we could take the power in order to redistribute it by rewriting the constitution, I couldn’t imagine that this same message was going to be carried so far or so fast.
What is being played out today is not the left against the right, nor is it Mélenchon and his past, or France and its possible 6th new republic.
What is being played out today is the old versus the new, it is the western order that is stumbling, it is the base of a pyramid that wants to cut its capstone, it is the wave of the new paradigm wishing to sweep away neo-liberal hegemony over our lives.
Certainly self-interest and egoism won’t leave the surface of the earth, but civilizations evolve. And the system now in place must be stopped.
It is true that this fight is taking place every day, everywhere in the world. But there some high voltage points. And the passing of political power in a nation like France can be one of those. Policy must now embody these emerging values.
Traditional political parties have failed to do so. See for example the Republican (Right party)and the PS (Socialist Party) both other French parties. Today we are witnessing their dissolution. These parties are dead, and will not rise again. Poor Mr. Hamon, he notes that the PS has become a toy in the hands of the game of power and self-interest. Poor Mr. Fillon, he thinks he’s doing so well.
Obviously, our neoliberal civilization has made impressive technological advances, with high ingenuity. Macron (another candidate for his independent party En Marche!) is one of the latest products. The coup is almost perfect, but the error is still huge. He is does not embody a true desire for change that people expect so much. He is an empty candidate, praised by a press in the hands of the powerful, all-too-happy to have a puppet so evolved.
In this collapsing Babylon, fear and anger take some people to the Front National (the extreme right party), who so easily point guilty fingers and stigmatize the others, strangers mainly. Of course, if we continue to vote for the status quo, if we continue to ignore the need for equality, sense, and liberty, the Front National will continue to grow.
For his part, Mélenchon also points out the culprits. But instead of pointing out strangers, he really points to the top of the system, which he wants to cut by creating a constituent assembly. He points at the attitude that we all have towards the accumulation of wealth, and our excesses that have become obscene. He says enough is enough, we want it, and we have to move on to a new system. He is right. It is for that that he attracts generations of humanists, and young people who dream of a more solidary, more ecological world.
Mélenchon leads in his speeches all these young people wanting these changes. Never mind his past, his rhetoric is perfectly aligned with this wave of global change, much like Bernie Sanders, and he is firm on the idea that, yes, today it is possible to envisage integrating new values in the management of the common good. A new constitution.
For sure Mélenchon has his limits. Yes, he carries with him the remnants of the past. But if one sees beyond his character, we can understand the direction we could take if we blow on this flame.
And that’s just the beginning. A new constitution does not happen in five years. This is a transitional phase of several years, requiring everyone’s attention. This is the focal point of the new system. The new citizen must have the intelligence and ability to integrate and embody post-neoliberal values, or even post-capitalist values.
I call the spirits of our time to lay the groundwork for these discussions. And I ask, do not dwell too much on the exit, or the overhaul, of the European Union which is, of course, inevitable.
True, François Asselineau (candidate for the Popular Republican Union party) seems to be better able to directly implement the exit of Europe. Yes, getting out of Europe would certainly be a good thing. If the rules of the game can be rewritten at the national level, it will then be done at European level. And it is indispensable.
Now, the question is, where are we with these “new rules of the game”? Since neither communism nor anarchism will become the main ideologies in our regions, what is the next step? Where will ecological and libertarian desires lead us? Only scraps of answers are emerging : wage caps, universal income, separation of powers (media vs capital vs politics), …
Indeed, we can already foresee the decisions that these future citizen / expert assemblies (whose rules are yet to be defined) will have to make: long-term decisions on subjects like nuclear energy, economic wars, etc… We can’t wait.
In the 20th century the anarchist revolutions were violently crushed by capital, the bourgeoisie, and the powerful. The evolution of conscience, even among the most fortunate, is advancing at great speed. What will happen in the next few years when collective intelligence will take decision-making power and impose rules that endanger capitalism and the accumulation of wealth?
In the age of the Internet, are we really going to let violence from those in power fall on the revolutionaries, anarchists and libertarians of our time, within our own borders? Even with the people’s great dissatisfaction, even with the tools available to the dominant classes, it is hard to imagine that civil wars will erupt. The police and the military surely would not shoot at their fellow citizens.
France therefore has a role to play at the global level. France, of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, is perhaps a country well-placed to be in the forefront of the new ideology that is coming, by being in the same time at the core center of the old one. Yes, a new idea at the center of our society. It combines the solidarity-based safety net as the basis of equality, and advocates a reasoned liberalism necessary to make room for respectful liberty. Everything is here.
This passage will not be easy. It requires courage, the willingness for everyone to see beyond what they know. For example, when I discovered François Asselineau three months ago, many of my French friends described him, sadly, as a sectarian. They were probably repeating, without thinking, the dogma of the media system.
Beyond the practice of participatory, direct, “liquid” democracies, citizen juries and other implementations of more distributed democracies, it is time to draw the outlines of a system. We must strictly limit the scope of action given to neo-liberalism, while sublimating and rewarding this thirst for entrepreneurship, this desire for comfort, by ensuring this solidarity which gives confidence, and redirecting the energy surplus towards actions increasing the vitality of our ecosystem.
The time has come for the communism of the earth, the neoliberalism of gifts, expressive anarchism, overflowing capitalism, and the socialism of faith.
NB : April 24th, Mélenchon didn’t succeed to reach the second round of the Presidential. France is divided. Some are angry, some are sad, some are happy, some are ready. Let’s see how the inertia of Occident leads us. Citizens movement will keep rising everywhere, and why not create a counter-culture.
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