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Allo Sarkozy
May 6, 2007 12:51 PM   Subscribe

newsfilter!! more inside Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy wins France's presidential election.
posted by acro (154 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Polls show Sarkozy, 52, won around 53 percent of the vote. In a victory speech, he promises to be "president of all the French people." Conceding defeat, socialist Segolene Royal vows to "keep on fighting." CNN video stream VLC for video
posted by acro at 12:51 PM on May 6, 2007


France and the EU, and the economy of a United State...

...and so it goes...
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 12:54 PM on May 6, 2007


Don't forget Canada *
posted by acro at 12:56 PM on May 6, 2007


This isn't exactly breaking news; he's led in the polls ever since the first round.

It's pretty hilarious, though, to have even a schmuck like Schumer describing the Chirac policy as a "knee-jerk reaction against the United States". Sarkozy is no internationalist.
posted by dhartung at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


France's Margaret Thatcher.
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on May 6, 2007


Royal blew it when she started scaremongering about the potential for riots in the banlieues if Sarkozy was elected. Ridiculous.
posted by fire&wings at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2007


Riots in the suburbs in 4... 3... 2...
posted by Baud at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2007


A few of the most disaffected planned to vote for Sarkozy to inspire resistance.

A few Muslim voters (I heard the interviews on the BBC) said they were voting Le Pen because he shared their "family values".

Cue reporter swallowing his tongue.
posted by imperium at 1:04 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


An estimated 85 percent of France’s 44.5 million registered voters cast their ballots, according to both polling institutes
posted by jourman2 at 1:04 PM on May 6, 2007


Ah to bad. That chick was hot.
posted by delmoi at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2007


An estimated 85 percent of France’s 44.5 million registered voters cast their ballots, according to both polling institutes

What a sad, way too-much headroom shot of Royal.
posted by phaedon at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2007


An estimated 85 percent of France’s 44.5 million registered voters cast their ballots, according to both polling institutes

Amazing. Compare and contrast: "Only 54 percent of eligible voters [in the U.S.] cast their ballots during the last four decades of presidential elections. Compare that embarrassing number to Italy's 90 percent, Germany's 80 percent, France and Canada's 76 percent, Britain's 75 percent and Japan's 71 percent. We rank 35th in voter turnout out of the world's prominent democracies."
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on May 6, 2007


Bill Maher blasts conservatives who dismiss everything French
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on May 6, 2007


That world—the risk, the obscene money—that’s Sarko. -- "He has will, ego, energy, and an almost embarrassing ambition to be President of France."
posted by acro at 1:14 PM on May 6, 2007


so much for the mandatory 35 hour work week
posted by caddis at 1:15 PM on May 6, 2007


Merde.
posted by AwkwardPause at 1:23 PM on May 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm in Paris right now. It's pretty quiet. Lots of cops on the streets, have been all day, but that's no par for the course. Most of Paris seems to be "meh" about these elections. Probably more excited by the nice warm weather we had today than the inevitable election of Sarkozy.

As an American, it's hard to get upset about a "conservative" who's to the left of most American liberals we might have in elected office.
posted by Nelson at 1:24 PM on May 6, 2007


I can't decide if this bodes well for Hillary or not. Anti-French sentiment in the USA could help her in a weird way. On the other hand if a woman can't win in liberal France; what chance does Hillary have. Some similiarties too in that Royal had a big lead at the start of this year; only to lose it as time went on.
posted by humanfont at 1:25 PM on May 6, 2007


Well maybe if The US of A held elections on a Sunday we might see a larger turnout




Not!
posted by Gungho at 1:39 PM on May 6, 2007


I can't decide if this bodes well for Hillary or not.

Thank god someone was willing to cut to the heart of the matter. Banle-whatever be damned: what does this mean for the 18-month circle jerk known as the US presidential race?

If it helps, I live in Canada, and my provincial government recently voted against a short-term rent control policy, which I'm pretty sure means Kucinich is toast. Might be a two-point bump for Romney, as well, particularly in rustbelt states.
posted by gompa at 1:42 PM on May 6, 2007 [24 favorites]


"You've had enough of this gang of scum, haven't you?" said Nicolas Sarkozy to residents in a Paris suburb affected by rioting. "Well we're going to get rid of them."

The 52-year-old struck an unashamedly nationalist tone, blaming the left for most of France's ills, both economic and social, and stressing that France could not provide "a home for all the world's miseries"

ugh


They're already saying he's going to be the Thatcher of France.
posted by amberglow at 1:46 PM on May 6, 2007


Good thing American right wingers lack the gene for cognitive dissonance, or they'd be really confused right about now.
posted by Flunkie at 1:46 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


And was it the LePen votes that tipped him over? Didn't LePen tell his people to boycott, but there was a gigantic turnout anyway?
posted by amberglow at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2007


I have had it in for the French since the 1950s when I bought a Renault Dauphine. I figure this is payback for those lefty bastards.
The mills fo the god(s) grind slowly but they grind--well you know the rest.
posted by Postroad at 1:48 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


(that nonsense about a mediterranean union is complete bs--he's like "you guys--you Turks, especially--make your own union elsewhere--we're not letting Muslims in")
posted by amberglow at 1:50 PM on May 6, 2007


This is a sad day for France.
posted by interrobang at 1:50 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think Sarkozy could be a good thing in moderation. Time will tell.
posted by bhouston at 1:50 PM on May 6, 2007


If a woman can't win in liberal France; what chance does Hillary have.

She has as much chance as her policies and her presentation allow her. Women have been elected to lead countries as varied as Great Britain, Pakistan, Germany, Israel and the Philippines.

And judging by Sarkozy's majority, it would seem "liberal France" is something of a misnomer.
posted by stargell at 1:50 PM on May 6, 2007


On the other hand if a woman can't win in liberal France; what chance does Hillary have.

Because women are all the same in the dark, right?
posted by stopgap at 1:51 PM on May 6, 2007


fake Sarkozy ad--""Together, without the poor, the foreigners, welfare recipients, the left, the extreme left, the communists, the homosexuals, the HIV+s, the disabled, the Ministries of Education and Culture, independent journalists, blacks, Arabs, and the guy who stole my wife, everything is possible." ; >
posted by amberglow at 1:56 PM on May 6, 2007


the notion that ségolène lost because she is a woman is not accurate. Ségo lost the election due in large part to her own mistakes, saying very foolish and often offensive things, which show either a lack of sensitivity or a lack of knowledge. I honestly don't know why people would vote for Sarkozy, except that he comes across as a nice guy, a bit like Bush.

My personal choice was Bayrou, but apparently he was too sensible for this personality cult election. Neither sarko or sego presented very good choices, in my opinion, although the argument could be made that either would be better than chirac. Sarko scares me, as being too different and not of strong principles. Well, if there are protests I would probably be a part of them but I am not ready to say it's the end of France as we know it.
posted by ryanfou at 1:59 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


gompa writes "If it helps, I live in Canada, and my provincial government recently voted against a short-term rent control policy, which I'm pretty sure means Kucinich is toast. Might be a two-point bump for Romney, as well, particularly in rustbelt states."

That's all very interesting, but it doesn't really relate to the importance of this to US politics.
posted by Bugbread at 2:01 PM on May 6, 2007



I'm in Paris right now. It's pretty quiet. Lots of cops on the streets, have been all day, but that's no par for the course.


CNN Int'l showed a small tear gas thing by Bastille, but it was to clear the area more than because of any real trouble, it seemed. The anchor didn't even try to build it up into a riot or anything. They've had pretty good coverage, including bloggers from all sides, and young voters. He's going to be speaking live outdoors soon.
posted by amberglow at 2:02 PM on May 6, 2007


right now, CNN Int'l is interviewing some very famous philosopher/author guy--only in France--i could never ever see that happening on US CNN. : >
posted by amberglow at 2:06 PM on May 6, 2007


the guy said some in Royal's own party worked against her? Is that so? (they have their own Liebermans?)

This is very sleazy: ...Sarkozy promised pension reforms and limits on unions' ability to strike. Already, the most critical union federations are warning him to expect people in the streets if he tries to push through either change.
"Radical change in an authoritarian manner will lead to a situation of blockage," said Michel Grignard, national secretary of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor. French unions are strong in part because the right to strike is written into the Constitution.
And then there is the French love of their vacations.
Parliament usually is away from mid-July to October, but Sarkozy has suggested he would call a special session to push through legislation while most of the French are vacationing — and when it would be hard for unions to mobilize them.
...

posted by amberglow at 2:13 PM on May 6, 2007


my FPP link to CNN pipeline has Sarkozy at Place de la Concorde rally, doing a good ultra nationalist speech,
"Politics is back."... "I will be the president who will fight against injustices... Get (French) dignity back." I want you to be proud of the French country, of its history."
posted by acro at 2:16 PM on May 6, 2007


amberglow -- Bernard-Henri Lévy
posted by acro at 2:17 PM on May 6, 2007


Ah, BHL... anyone got a cream pie?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 2:19 PM on May 6, 2007


ahhhh--thanks (i never knew he looked like that--Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair is copying his ridiculous haircut, apparently)

Will the coming local elections there help or hurt Sarkozy?
posted by amberglow at 2:22 PM on May 6, 2007


AB -- kind of harsh, his book "Who Killed Daniel Pearl was excellent, but I hadn't heard of the pie thing.
"he is such a po-faced laughing stock that the famed anarchist pie-thrower Noël Godin has hit him a record five times."
posted by acro at 2:25 PM on May 6, 2007


'God is dead but my hair is perfect'.

hah!!! : >
posted by amberglow at 2:28 PM on May 6, 2007


must be coconut cream pies they're throwing at them ... i understand they're a must for perfect hair
posted by pyramid termite at 2:32 PM on May 6, 2007


"In the Footsteps of Tocqueville (Part V)"(November 2005) (Part IV)" (October 2005) (Part Three) (July/August 2005) Part II (June 2005) part 1 (May 2005)
posted by acro at 2:33 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


oh and sarkozy? ... getting elected is one thing ... governing is another, especially when you're governing france
posted by pyramid termite at 2:33 PM on May 6, 2007


he really is an animal: ...In last year's 'circulaire Sarkozy', Sarko proposed giving residency papers to immigrant families with children already integrated in French schools. Some 25,000 applied. It was then just a matter of refusing the vast majority and going to arrest those who remained. Parents were picked up as they collected their children from school. ...

Did he really do this?
posted by amberglow at 2:42 PM on May 6, 2007


All kidding and snarking aside, I'm curious as to how this man's victory will this palpably affect the US.
Trade issues?
War issues?
Other issues?
Please edumacate me.
posted by Dizzy at 2:50 PM on May 6, 2007


Thank god someone was willing to cut to the heart of the matter. Banle-whatever be damned: what does this mean for the 18-month circle jerk known as the US presidential race?

Oh give me a break. To pretend that the potential election of France's first female president doesn't have a relevant and worthwhile discussion factor on the possibility of electing America's first female president- the wife of one of the most internationally-recognized former presidents no less- is nothing short of willfully ignorant. Questions about how much Royal's gender affected her percentage, the aspect of her femininity as it would relate to her policies versus a man proposing them, and how those likewise could relate to Hillary's campaign is exactly what political analysts are supposed to be talking about, not how much someone paid for a haircut.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:50 PM on May 6, 2007


(Please disregard the extra "this" in my first sentence above.)
posted by Dizzy at 2:51 PM on May 6, 2007


Dizzy, i don't think it affects us at all, except that the French might not be so active in opposing us publicly (like in the UN or whatever). We'll see tho, after 08--Sarkozy is in for 5 years, but Bush leaves in 2.
posted by amberglow at 2:54 PM on May 6, 2007


(we're really the Cartman of the world--"i'll do want i want! screw you guys--i'm going home! to Iraq!", etc)
posted by amberglow at 2:55 PM on May 6, 2007


oop-what i want
posted by amberglow at 2:56 PM on May 6, 2007


How strong is the French president? I mean, France is a parliamentary democracy, right? Does Sarkozy's party control the legislature as well?
posted by klangklangston at 3:03 PM on May 6, 2007


espece du con!
posted by Busithoth at 3:04 PM on May 6, 2007


Questions about how much Royal's gender affected her percentage, the aspect of her femininity as it would relate to her policies versus a man proposing them

. . . I'm right there with you, dude . . .

and how those likewise could relate to Hillary's campaign is exactly what political analysts are supposed to be talking about

. . . a-a-a-and now you've lost me. This last topic might be relevant if France had a political culture remotely similar to America's, but that hasn't really been the case since around 1789 (and even then it was its own beast, really).

But please don't let my willful ignorance get in the way of your navel-gazing. With a mere 18 months to go, now's surely not the time to interfere with such urgent vital analysis.
posted by gompa at 3:05 PM on May 6, 2007


They are rioting in France over this.
posted by magikker at 3:12 PM on May 6, 2007


If you're going to hold Royal's loss as a indicator of negative impact on Hillary's chances, you're going to have to point out why, for example, Thatcher's win would not be a positive impact. What is it about Royal that counterweighs Thatcher? Is it that society's attitudes towards women has changed so much in the intervening time? It is that Americans relate more to the French than the British? Is it that Thatcher is not well liked? There has to be something more to the analysis than just "she's female, and she lost, therefore Hillary, who is also female, will lose".
posted by Bugbread at 3:18 PM on May 6, 2007


re the US and women:
U.S. system trips up women seeking presidency

posted by amberglow at 3:18 PM on May 6, 2007


On the other hand if a woman can't win in liberal France; what chance does Hillary have.

France is liberal? You do realize that Mitterand is not only no longer President, but also dead?

the guy said some in Royal's own party worked against her?

She was in many ways her own worst enemy. From the NYer piece, for example:

Last month, Ségolène Royal trumped Bayrou’s quiet idea for a stronger parliamentary system, dressed it up in the flag, and called it the Sixth Republic. The crowds loved that, but Socialist “elephants,” as the Old Guard of the Party is called, were stunned, since she hadn’t bothered to tell them, or even, it was rumored, to tell her partner of twenty-six years, the Socialist Party secretary François Hollande. (She denies this.)

Once you're actually President you can get away with that shit, but screwing your own people is not a way to win an election.
posted by dhartung at 3:18 PM on May 6, 2007


Amberglow: I'm surprised few comments have mentioned the fact that the people who opposed Segolene in her own party were very much traditional Socialists, so it's easier to draw comparisons to Nader than Lieberman, although I'm not sure that fits exactly either.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:18 PM on May 6, 2007


For some additional context on her gaffes.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:21 PM on May 6, 2007


On preview, what dhartung said.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:24 PM on May 6, 2007


If she really was so bad, would she have gotten 47%? The French had other choices, unlike us, no?
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on May 6, 2007


This is a sad day for France.

Why? Royal did little to attract centrist votes to her camp, and she mostly deserved to lose. Sarkozy, so far is saying the right things, and seems to have the backing and political will to make some much-needed reforms. While time will tell on that, I am curious as to why there is such negativity about this outcome.
posted by psmealey at 3:46 PM on May 6, 2007


Amberglow, this is the run-off which means only two candidates in the running.

As to why Sarkozy is seen as a bad outcome, he seems to be incredibly authoritarian.
posted by jlbartosa at 3:51 PM on May 6, 2007


France may be more to the left in terms of the state's role in society, but in many other ways it is far more conservative then America. You can be openly Nationalist, sexist and racist in France and still be mainstream in a way you never could be in America.

For example, can you imagine someone in the Government saying that Hilary "changes her mind as often as she changes her skirt?" (ref)
posted by cell divide at 3:51 PM on May 6, 2007


cell divide, of course not.
she wears pants!
-rimshot

but this government, I think I imagine them saying anything.
posted by Busithoth at 3:57 PM on May 6, 2007


If she really was so bad, would she have gotten 53%? The French had other choices, unlike us, no?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2007


I think I can understand why Sarkozy won.

First is that he seems competent. When he held cabinet ministries under Chirac, his ministries seemed to work better than before.

Second is that he doesn't knuckle under. Back when Chirac still entertained the idea of running for a third term, Sarkozy was selected to become head of the party. Chirac humphed that Sarko couldn't do that and also be a cabinet minister, thinking that this would cause Sarko to refuse the job. But Sarko instead resigned his cabinet ministry. A few months later, when things were going from bad to worse, Chirac invited him back without demanding that he resign as head of the party.

Third, he's talking "law and order". Whether you like it or not, I think that's resonating with French voters who are tired of rioting "youths" and burning cars.

Even though he's the same party as Chirac, I think Sarkozy is seen as a break from the past. Chirac's 10 years were pretty much an unmitigated disaster for France in nearly every way. Sarkozy is unabashedly nationalist and says that France can be great again -- and that is resonating with French voters, as well.

On the other hand, the idea that this result in France predicts anything at all about the US 2008 election is ludicrous. Where did anyone get the idea that American voters look to French voters for guidance in all things? Or in anything?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:02 PM on May 6, 2007


What a strange world we live in nowadays. The French are the ideological enemies of the US despite being the greatest ally America ever had. The British are the number 1 friend despite being the formative enemy. The British are integrating with the Germans and EU citizens have more rights in the UK than Commonwealth members. America once a beacon of light is now viewed as a militaristic empire run amok.

It's like someone erased recent history and shuffled the deck.

Trade issues?
War issues?
Other issues?
Please edumacate me.


I predict nothing will change.

If she really was so bad, would she have gotten 53%? The French had other choices, unlike us, no?


It was 47% and it was in a runoff. The true measure of popularity would be the initial vote.
posted by srboisvert at 4:04 PM on May 6, 2007


The French are the ideological enemies of the US despite being the greatest ally America ever had.

I'm afraid this is a myth.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:27 PM on May 6, 2007


More history on French "friendship".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:30 PM on May 6, 2007


1st round results: ...About 85% turned out to vote, the highest since 1965, but just over three-quarters cast their ballots for one of the three main candidates - Nicolas Sarkozy, of the rightwing UMP party, at 31.2%, Socialist Ségolène Royal with 25.9% and centrist François Bayrou with 18.6%.

While support for the extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, of the National Front, plunged to 10.4%, its lowest in four presidential elections, the sense of catastrophic defeat was felt most acutely among la gauche de la gauche, the far left. Apart from the Revolutionary Communist League postman Olivier Besancenot, who came fifth with 4.13%, none of the six far left candidates mustered more than 2%. ...


I wonder what percentage of the minority vote Sarkozy got this time.
posted by amberglow at 4:38 PM on May 6, 2007


The lessons Sarkozy learned from Le Pen
posted by amberglow at 4:44 PM on May 6, 2007


Royal was greatly undermined by the elite of her own party that did not support her from the start. Her relative inexperience can account for her gaffes, but cannot be overcome unless her party stands behind her.

"A great nation like the United States should not stand in the way of fighting climate change," [Sarkozy] said. "France will make this struggle its No. 1 struggle."
It is sad that such a statement makes me cringe. I seriously cannot wait to see what he is going to do about this one. And how. By all means, lets fight against global warming, while we are destroying core social values.
posted by carmina at 4:56 PM on May 6, 2007


The French are the ideological enemies of the US despite being the greatest ally America ever had.

I'm afraid this is a myth.


yeah, because the fucking frogs were the ones who said that invading Iraq was a bad idea, Den Beste -- just how dumb can they be? they missed the beauty of that cakewalk, thank god the real men in the Bush administration knew better -- talk about "unmitigated disasters", huh? Bush makes Chirac look like Pericles now. And Chirac's kickback trouble really disappears when you consider Dick Cheney's Halliburton Lottery Win.

anyway: it's kind of funny to see how Americans have been conditioned to think of the French as beret-wearing horny Communists, when in fact their being so "liberal" (well, by US standards they are, but then everybody is, too) is just, well, bullshit. see, they think Bush is a gangster, and an incompetent one at that -- that doesn't make them left-wing, but this is very difficult to explain to most Americans because it is a subtle difference that goes against the grain of the US two-party system.

Sarkozy -- whom I don't mind, really -- has managed to push an important button, l'identité nationale, a concept that only one who does not understand France in the least (this thread is most illuminating in this regard) can mistake for conservatism.
Yes, he's very canny -- mayor of Neuilly at, what, 27? -- and really not a fascist in the least, no matter how easy -- and lazy -- it is to compare him to LePen: he's the kind of guy who as ministre de l'Intérieur gave a major press briefing at his home during Chirac's July 14 national address, that's the kind of guy he is. He's fast -- he figured out the law and order thing had legs (didn't take a genius, really), and was lucky enough to find a shockingly weak, almost cartoonishly inept opponent.

Unfortunately for France, he's no Chirac -- he lacks the gravitas, and lacks the idea of France's role in Europe for example. He's a smart tactician, probably weak on strategy, who has made mistakes in his rise to power (betting on the wrong horse really does slow one down) and has managed to correct them, good for him. Chirac had been a great Prime Minister as a young man, then losing the Presidency to Mitterrand really made him bitter. And less effective. At least Sarkozy got his wish faster.
posted by matteo at 5:01 PM on May 6, 2007


I like to go to Direlands blog for an analysis of french politics.
"The crowd in the hall where Sarkozy declared victory after the polls closed repeatedly sang the national anthem, La Marseillaise -- with its famous xenophobic refrain, "Marchons, marchons! Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!" (Translation: Let us march, let us march, May impure blood soak the furrows of our fields.) And Sarkozy's campaign was marked by incessant appeals to racism and the fear of immigrants, symbolized by his adoption of a slogan used by the neo-fascist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, "France, love it or leave it," and by his proposal for a new "Ministry of Immigration and National Identity," which was widely criticized by the left and by anti-racist groups for amalgamating the two concepts and suggesting a fundamental opposition between the two."
posted by kolophon at 5:02 PM on May 6, 2007


But please don't let my willful ignorance get in the way of your navel-gazing. With a mere 18 months to go, now's surely not the time to interfere with such urgent vital analysis.

I would prefer we spend more than 15 minutes on the evening of November 3, 2008 thinking about who should be put in charge of the world's largest nuclear arsenal, largest economy and most heavily funded military. The election has started, it is important, and there is nothing wrong with talking about it. This is especially true when news comes out that may affect the outcome. Many people were calling Royal the French Hillary. Others argued that her election might pave the way for Hillary.
posted by humanfont at 5:07 PM on May 6, 2007


matteo, so Sarkozy is just their gangster? ??

His heavy-handedness, his rhetoric, his planned actions for eliminating the right to strike and union power, his planned privatization of schools and public housing, his crackdown on immigrants, his plan to push thru things while France vacations, etc--all are comparable to our own GOP criminals and gangsters as well as Thatcher. Why shouldn't we see him thru that lens?

If the boot fits, and there are faces underneath it...
posted by amberglow at 5:15 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Even the visuals on CNN Int'l when he came to the stage with his people--all white, except for the hired help who were entertaining. All very similar.
posted by amberglow at 5:18 PM on May 6, 2007


humanfont writes "This is especially true when news comes out that may affect the outcome. Many people were calling Royal the French Hillary. Others argued that her election might pave the way for Hillary."

Hopeful supporters pin their hopes on a random star. Star fails, supporters hopes dashed...and how will this affect the election? Do you think any of the Hillary supporters who were hoping for Royal's election will now decide not to vote Hillary? Do you think any of the folks who oppose Hillary would have voted for her had Royal won? Do you think the undecided voters would see a Royal victory and say "Hey, let's vote for Hillary", but since Royal lost say "No, let's vote for someone else".

I don't see any news here that may affect the outcome of the US elections.
posted by Bugbread at 5:20 PM on May 6, 2007


I have little knowledge of the french political scenario, but it seems Sarko won on "fear management"

1. fear of unemployement
2. fear of strangers stealing jobs
3. fear of civil unrests

Clearly little was done to address some aspect of these fears

a. unemployement is partially caused by outsourcing to less expensive countries..who went to the east, but still remains to sell in the west ? Why industries and commercial interest, of course !

b. presence of "strangers" is caused by the presence of a work offer ; if it isn't met it is also because new generation have more capital then previous and don't want to work for slave salaries...it's not laziness, it's not being in dire necessity. Who gives the work offer to these imported aliens ? Why, industries and commercial interest of course !

c. civil unrest , the events in that banlieus were apparently caused by some accident that escalated protest ; I wouldn't be surprised to find a number of provocatuers hidden among the ranks of protesters..much like the "black blocks" in Genova's G8 meetings ; still one can't set a fire on rock ..possibily the myth of dangerous banlieu was built to instill more fear of internal revolt.

I would also pay a lot of attention to how media was used to influence the votes, how reality was depicted to french people. We must learn the lesson of presenting U.S. with a 9/11 mediatic bombardment and the effects of constantly, incessantly repeating the mantra of terror, insecurity, separation.
posted by elpapacito at 5:29 PM on May 6, 2007


Where did anyone get the idea that American voters look to French voters for guidance in all things? Or in anything?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste


Never thought I'd say this, but I agree with Steven.
posted by Skygazer at 6:09 PM on May 6, 2007


I have little knowledge of the french political scenario, but it seems Sarko won on "fear management"

Which is what the GOP does here--of course we make comparisons--they fit. Fear of the other, and reinforcement that some are better than others (more "French", etc) and that some deserve more or less than others that some share the right values but others don't, etc
posted by amberglow at 6:20 PM on May 6, 2007


I don't see any news here that may affect the outcome of the US elections.

Donors, party activists, pundits, and the right wing noise machine will talk about the Royal loss and what is means for Hillary for at least 1 news cycle. How the Clinton camp responds will determine if this discussion helps or hurts her. A pro-American president of France may help Republicans. Suppose Sarkozy decides to send more French troops to Afghanistan and/or use French diplomatic influece in the Arab world to help stabilize Iraq / give the US a graceful exit.
posted by humanfont at 6:21 PM on May 6, 2007


the French as beret-wearing horny Communists,

Flattery, but thanks anyways.

OK, let's see: if Bush gets elected, I said I'd leave the US, which I did. I think I remember I said that if a too rightist government was ever elected in France, I'd left the country too.

Time to throw a dart at the old map again!
posted by NewBornHippy at 6:37 PM on May 6, 2007


I still love France.
posted by iconjack at 6:46 PM on May 6, 2007


Ah to bad. That chick was hot.

I thought she might win from the MILF factor alone. But as hot world leaders go, she's no queen of Jordan.
posted by zardoz at 7:25 PM on May 6, 2007


Ahhhhh, the French...
posted by tighttrousers at 7:31 PM on May 6, 2007


They're already saying he's going to be the Thatcher of France.

Well, given the economic state of Britain pre-Thatcher and today, the French could do worse than have someone like her.
posted by Dasein at 7:32 PM on May 6, 2007


Is Sarkozy wearing lifts or is Bush a midget too?
posted by amberglow at 7:43 PM on May 6, 2007


Chirac had been a great Prime Minister as a young man

Yeah, great Mayor of Paris, too.
posted by Wolof at 8:06 PM on May 6, 2007


Personally, I would be happy to hear any mainstream politican in the US give a speach that was as left as this

Lets see:

• Global warming (with a friendly, but chastising push for the US to lead on the issue)
• Womens rights
• Helping poor and marginalized
• A Mediterranian Union ala the EU
• Reaching out to Africa
• Reaching out to Europe
• No talk of war or aggressive "Defense"

The nationalism is relatively nomininal, especially with when compared with what both sides of the mainstream US policital sturture hoist on us.

Anyway, nationalism is fine as long as it doesn't result in people attacking other countries. People should be proud of thier heritage and speak highly of it, it's when they decide to start beating on others with differing heritages and viewpoints that that pride exceeds its bounds and becomes a negative thing.

I wish him the best of luck and hope this turns out good for France and the world.

PS: funniest thing about that video to me his how the translator starts with a highly affected accent and then drops into a more relaxed college kid type voice suddenly. The translation annoyed me a bit a first because of the initial racing and stumbling, but once the guy catches his pace he actually the guys doing pretty good in trying to display the emotive vocal nuances of what is being said. Good job there random CNN translator, sorry about being annoyed at you at first.
posted by bluevelvetelvis at 8:31 PM on May 6, 2007


bve, Sarkozy's speech hit the new 'real' issues, but unfortunately, it sounded to me to be framed in the old nationalist rhetoric (this may not be the case). However, it is clear that liberal democracies (U.S., Canada, Australia, France) are repeating the trend seen in the Islamic countries (e.g. Algeria, Palestine, Pakistan) which when offered the chance, elect fundamentalists. The choice of irredentism, whether 'modern' or 'traditional' is ironically universal, and universally dangerous.
posted by acro at 8:57 PM on May 6, 2007


I am curious as to why there is such negativity about this outcome.
posted by psmealey


Why is it a sad day for France? Because conservatism is a blow against freedom and humanity wherever it breaks out. It is a disease of selfishness and fear and hatred and greed. France deserves better, like we deserve better here in America.
posted by interrobang at 9:56 PM on May 6, 2007


conservatism is a blow against freedom

egalité & fraternité, more like. They generally have the liberté part covered, if you happen to be in the in-group.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:23 PM on May 6, 2007


How strong is the French president? I mean, France is a parliamentary democracy, right? Does Sarkozy's party control the legislature as well?

The French President is closer to the US President, but not quite as powerful. He opposes a Parliament with a Prime Minister, and when that body (in practice primarily the lower house, the National Assembly) is controlled by the opposition, then France calls that cohabitation and it can be paralyzing, much more so than in the US.

The President's term, formerly 7 years, was recently reduced to 5 years in part to reduce the frequency and likelihood of cohabitation due to ratcheted presidential/legislative terms.

The current make-up of the Assembly is favorable to Sarkozy (who is of the same party as Chirac), but that can conceivably change with the June elections. (It probably won't.)

And yes, oddly, I agree with Steven's analysis (but of course his xenophobia remains quite silly), and I also agree with matteo's. And I don' t think that's odd. If anyone on the right is looking for a reason to cheer, here, they will probably be frustrated. France is no enemy of the US, but they have a Gallic (and Gaullist) pride in their independence, even among allies or within the EU they helped found. There simply won't be any "poodle" in Paris. And yet it isn't done to spite the US; it's not a rejectionism. They just won't be anybody's tool, or fool. After all, the outgoing President was conservative as well, and he's the one that got the nativist crowd like Den Beste all het up.
posted by dhartung at 10:45 PM on May 6, 2007


It will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the number of torched cars and the inevitable immigrant-nationalist showdown.

Because conservatism is a blow against freedom and humanity wherever it breaks out. It is a disease of selfishness and fear and hatred and greed.

Priceless. Does this ultimate force of evil kick puppies, too?
posted by Krrrlson at 10:50 PM on May 6, 2007


it has been known to drop them on occasion.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:56 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]



She has as much chance as her policies and her presentation allow her. Women have been elected to lead countries as varied as Great Britain, Pakistan, Germany, Israel and the Philippines.

Arguably they did not play up, and to a certain extent rely on their femininity the way Madame Royale did. It's, to me, a great disappointment that the French didn't vote for her. I only hope it doesn't signal the continuation of a shift towards the right.
posted by oxford blue at 11:30 PM on May 6, 2007


I agree with both matteo and SCDB in their analysis. I'd add something else: one major source of frustration for the French voters in the last years is that they have been voting consistently to the right, yet any proposed slightly right-wing policies have been shouted down in the streets by noisy demonstrators. Hence the appeal of somebody like "power-hose" Sarkozy. That is his major similarity with Thatcher and should serve as a warning to those in the left who are too reliant on street politics: respect the vote, or it may come back to bite your arse.

That said, I'm none too fond of the little guy. He's breathtakingly ambitious (which I don't find by itself a great fault in itself: I'm far more suspicious of politicians who claim not to have ambitions of their own), and lacks even the small pinch of morality that motivated Chirac to rule out any approach from his party to Le Pen. More to the point, he has far too many favours from influential friends to pay back, notably to Bouygues (construction firm which also happens to own the main, ridiculously pro-Sarkozy commercial TV network) and the Dassault and Lagardère families (weapon-makers also with substantial media holdings) and he's unabashedly in favour of "economic nationalism". Since corporate welfare in favour of the likes of Bouygues, Dassault and Lagardère is one of the major banes of the French economy, I'm not sure that president Sarko is going to improve things, and that would be dangerous, because without an economic improvement to keep his ratings high, Sarko will be strongly tempted to scapegoat dark-skinned immigrants.

I'm also amused by the fawning admiration of the neocons towards Sarkozy. They appear to miss that he's even more of a French nationalist than Chirac, and thus will be at least as intractable on foreign affairs. His schmoozing of the American right before the election was a purely opportunistic move of a born politician who has left in his wake more than enough political corpses stabbed in the back to make one more than a little bit suspicious of such approaches. And don't forget that none else than Chirac did exactly the same trick during his first presidential election, fondly reminiscing about his time in America as an exchange student, dating California girls and serving milkshakes...

Finally, the Royal campaign was a shambles. Part of it was self-inflicted (she was awfully weak in her knowledge of policy, showed real incompetence in her choice of campaign staff and acted as a party maverick even after winning the Socialist primaries), and part of it due to the incredibly fractious state of her party. It was not a matter of "Liebermans", for the sniping came as much from the left as from the right, it was a matter of a party with far too many big egos, and male chauvinistic egos with that.
posted by Skeptic at 12:14 AM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


As political positions go, the French presidency is an odd one. In normal parlimentary systems without a monarch, the "president" is the head of state but his powers are minimal. Most of the real power is vested in a prime minister -- which is why few people know (or care to know) the names of the President of Germany or the President of Israel.

The French presidency as it currently exists was created for de Gaulle, pretty much to his specification. So it included all the things de Gaulle wanted control over, but none of the stuff he didn't want to mess with.

The President of France has control over foreign policy. He has the direct power to fire the PM or any other cabinet secretary pretty much any time he wants. He also controls domestic policy, but doesn't take care of domestic admistration. All the domestic grunch work is the job of the PM.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:45 AM on May 7, 2007


I wonder how his policies towards domestic security are going to play out. While he was interior minister I had the feeling that he wanted to push France towards more of a police state, but he didn't really have the authority or the support.

A quick google search turns up this interesting entry from The Economist.
posted by timelord at 2:21 AM on May 7, 2007


Ooops, it looks like I posted without really reading my link. The explanation for the photo is rather innocuous.
posted by timelord at 2:23 AM on May 7, 2007


As much as I would prefer a French-like system of government for my own country -- a powerful national assembly (congress), a true multiparty system that necessitates coalition-style governance, a directly elected president and that the government, cabinet and AN can also be dissolved by the president -- I find it interesting that when given the choice, for at least the past 33 years, the French have chosen the most mainstream, establishment-entrenched, conventional men as président, much as we do here in the US. In this time period, they've had Giscard-d'Estaing, Mitterrand and Chirac.

While I am somewhat dubious of claims that Sarkozy is an authoritarian (and even more dubious that an authoritarian could even get traction in France over even the medium term), I am hoping that this election of the son on immigrants does represent something of a break from the past.
posted by psmealey at 4:19 AM on May 7, 2007


timelord, I lived in Paris during Mitterrand's mayoral turn (86-87), and the terrorist bombings turned the heat up by the police, no doubt about it. It's amazing how easily one can adapt to seeing submachine guns resting around the shoulders of the police, even when the barrels were leveled at my head (I was an adolescent).

There was a 72-hour gap from when the police could pick you up and when they had to notify anyone of your whereabouts and provided sustenance.

This heightened police activity didn't stop me from detonating as many petards as I could buy in public parks across the city.
posted by Busithoth at 5:39 AM on May 7, 2007


Interestingly, the CAC 40 is down so far this morning.

At least as of this comment.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:03 AM on May 7, 2007


IndigoJones: buy on the rumor, sell on the news.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:11 AM on May 7, 2007


Priceless. Does this ultimate force of evil kick puppies, too?

It's more into the shotgun blast to the face, followed by the puppy apologizing.
posted by interrobang at 7:28 AM on May 7, 2007


Newsweek: ... Opting more for Bushism than Gaullism, Sarkozy extols the transatlantic alliance with the United States “that enabled France and Western Europe to preserve their freedom.” ... “I have always done all I can—even when our two countries disagreed, as we did over the Iraq war, for example—to ensure that our security services cooperated on a daily basis, in full transparency.” (Transparent to each other, that is. Only rarely did the extent leak into the public sphere.) ... the darker side of Sarkozy—the darker “American” side, if you will—is reminiscent of those Republican candidates in the United States in the 1970s and '80s who set out to capture the unsavory votes of erstwhile bigots like Alabama Gov. George Wallace while distancing themselves from the tainted man himself. ... Sarkozy, playing to working-class French voters who feel overwhelmed by foreign immigrants, even adapted a loaded phrase from the troubled America of the 1960s to attract Le Pen’s voters today: “France, love it or leave it.” ... He’s not the first French leader to promise a revamp of the country’s economic machinery. Twelve years ago President Chirac tried to push through similar measures, only to back down in the face of nationwide strikes and protests that shut down the country for weeks. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:14 AM on May 7, 2007


Twelve years ago President Chirac tried to push through similar measures, only to back down in the face of nationwide strikes and protests that shut down the country for weeks.

That's exactly why I don't expect Sarkozy's "authoritarian streak" to show itself all that much. Right wing politicians in France are still somewhat to the left of George McGovern, largely because of how much sway (and sympathy) the labor unions garner.

If he's going to be at all successful in launching his reforms, he needs to govern very carefully and inclusively.
posted by psmealey at 8:20 AM on May 7, 2007


If he's going to be at all successful in launching his reforms, he needs to govern very carefully and inclusively.
He plans not to -- he's already said he wants to ram things thru this summer. And i think he already used the Bushism "mandate".

good for a laugh or a sigh: Romney on France: In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on May 7, 2007


Mitt never impressed me as being the sharpest tool in the shed, but oh my, that is amazing.
posted by caddis at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2007


And i think he already used the Bushism "mandate".

To be fair, unlike Bush, with 53% of the vote (and 85+% turnout), Sarkozy actually has something closer to resembling a mandate than Bush ever did.

he's already said he wants to ram things thru this summer

If that's the case, and those reforms are unpopular, you can expect to see massive strikes à la rentrée (the busiest time of the year by far in France). Le grève holds French politicians much more accountable to the popular will than any device we have (or use) over here.
posted by psmealey at 10:43 AM on May 7, 2007


Yup. I think he thinks he's learned from Chirac's mistakes, so is trying to move faster...of course, that will just make people madder.

Is it really possible to reform things and still keep all the quality of life stuff? And is his touch delicate enough to do it? (i doubt it)
posted by amberglow at 10:52 AM on May 7, 2007


As one of the people who voted for Sarkozy (I voted on Saturday in New York, which was getting record turnouts), let me explain why a number of things in that thread are wrong: at the end of the day, this second round was about two different views of France:
- On one hand was Royal, who believed that the future of France was predicated on an increase in the social programs offered by the state and a continuation of big government, anti-Europe, anti-globalisation efforts.
- On the other hand was Sarkozy,who saw France's future as one where France is reformed to follow more American-style individual powered approaches by lowering the regulations on creation of new enterprise, re-establishing France as a thought leader on European integration, cutting back the power of unions, and lowering taxes on the top tax bracket from 60% to 50%.

Neither offerings can be completed without the support of the Assembly, which will probably be disbanded with the call for a new election very soon (it's traditional for that to happen after a presidential election and it's a power given to the president). I suspect that Bayroux will get quite a few seats in the new assembly, which will temper whatever extreme any candidate would try to push to.

So why did I vote for Sarkozy instead of Royal? Well, for starters, I didn't so much vote FOR Sarkozy as much as I voted AGAINST Royal. France is to the far left of the political spectrum compared to the United States. In a way, this second turn, if compared with the United States upcoming presidential elections, was between Hillary (represented philosophically by Sarkozy) and Kuchinich (represented philosophically by Royal). What I mean by that is that, while Sarkozy is on the right in France, he would be a center left candidate in the US and Royal would be to the left of that (the right in France is practically inexistent, save the extreme right portion represented by LePen (probably more in line with Pat Buchanan in the United States).

Will major reforms happen? I doubt it. If anything, Sarkozy will probably be able to do things like move the requirement of a 35 hour week to be optional (instead of mandatory as it is currently) and might even be able to push through tax cuts but he will not get the equivalent cuts in social programs, which will be opposed by the unions.

He will probably clash a fair amount on the issue of national identity as he believes (as most French do) that French citizenship trumps cultural diversity. That's a sticking point in most of France these days and neither Sarkozy nor Royal believed in plurality and multiculturalism as the way forward. I think that will continue to be the source of many clashes in the coming years.

One thing missing from this thread is the understanding of the power unions have in France. They're not like US unions in that they basically control the country. Sarkozy will probably make an attempt at wrestling power from them but I suspect he will only get concessions from them and the power center will still be held by them.

The other challenge he will face is that, while he's been a successful politician, he's got two strikes against him: first, he's an immigrant himself (as far as some French look at him) and second, he's not a product of the ENA, the main school for politicians in France. This will make it a little more difficult for him as the French political intelligentsia does not necessarily trust him.

On the international front, I think Sarkozy will probably not be as open about his mistrust of the US as the Chirac administration was but don't expect France to be a lapdog to the US: Sarkozy knows too well that it won't play too well with the rest of France and will be careful to not waste political capital to shore up the Republicans. He will probably be more active on the trade end of things, relaxing some of the trade restrictions between France and other countries, in an attempt to export more French products but he definitely will not support the war in Iraq, which would be political suicide.
posted by TNLNYC at 1:24 PM on May 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


thanks, TNL.

Do Chirac's people like Villepin get fired or pushed aside now? Does he have the power to put new people in at the UN and EU, etc?
posted by amberglow at 1:27 PM on May 7, 2007


Also, what's the deal with the workweek? Many millions of us work way over 35-40 hours/week and don't get paid for it either.
posted by amberglow at 1:29 PM on May 7, 2007


Many millions of us work way over 35-40 hours/week and don't get paid for it either.

And how stupid are we ? Consider this : the best work is done when one is NOT only motivated by money , but also by working situations and prospectives.

Additional working hours and constant wage means that the employer is paying LESS for each our, while probably getting some more work done. At some point the returns of additional working hours are diminishing...that is , if I make you work 12 hours the next day you will be more tired..but sooner or later you will break down, so It is not convenient IF I plan to keep your in the squad.

But I still want you to cost me less for each hour, so I will not pay or underpay overtime, promising you stock options or whatever dream of richies I will make you believe into.

What else could I do to squeeze you ? Why of course, make the work position unstable, making you scared of losing your job position...if you are young you have too little experience, if you are old your experience is now useless. If you can work here, I will ask you to go there and vice versa.

I can also make you pay expensive masters without any insurance you will recover its costs by getting paid more..but my friends who sells masters, HE will certainly give me some of the money I made you give him :)
---

Having some kind of MAX hours/week (combined with a minimum wage) extablished by law implies you must get more dreams or more money or more benefit for working more then X hours. Earning enough to live decently with 35 hours means additional hours will make you live better, even if it will not make you Rockefeller.

Of course if you want to work more because your returns are adequate you will NOT bother with respecting 35 hours, you'll pull much more..but you are getting returns, nobody obliges you to work MAX 35 hours.

Yet fixing a minimum forces enterprises to forget or reduce methods of production that are based -simply- on worker exploitation ; that's the easiest form of enterprise, that rewards companies that can best exploit workers (of any skill and level) who usually have very little or no contractual power, little or no legal and accounting experience.

The counterargument is usually that of a society becoming immensely more rich by having an extremely motivated (by stick and carrot) workforce , as one would reason that these companies would produces goods that would , at the end, benefit everybody by giving better lifestyle, better services, more and less expensive goods.

But there is no guarantee money will be invested wisely , that enterpreneurs will not sit on comfortable revenue streams without stressing too much , after all they are only humans. What is the benefit of an additional hundred million after obtaining a billion ? Why should I risk money when I can confortably live 100 lifetimes on it ? Yeah yeah work hard, when you give the Orgasmatron I will give you 1 million dollar ....yawn....I think I'll go golf.
posted by elpapacito at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2007


Amberglow: the Chirac people will be pushed aside (actually purged is probably the best term here) as it's payback time. Sarkozy supported Balladur, a competitor to Chirac, in 1995 and Chirac never forgot that, trying to push Sarkozy aside ever since. It was only because Sarkozy had enough electoral pull that Chirac gave him the number 2 role (at the ministry of the interior) while simultaneously refusing to give him the prime minister role. Chirac and De Villepin are open about their hatred for Sarkozy (for being too much of a triangulator and not a product of the ENA, the national school of government that most of the top political class (Presidents Giscard D'estaing and Chirac, Prime Ministers Laurent Fabius, Michel Rocard, Edouard Balladur, Alain Juppé, Lionel Jospin and De Villepin, also pretty much 1/3rd of all high office holders in France and most political candidates including Royal). In that sense, Sarkozy is probably going to ensure that only his supporters are in line and so purges it is.

On the 35 hour week, what will happen is that people will be able to work beyond 35 hours. In France, companies are fined if employees work more than 35 hours. As a result, it's almost impossible to start a new company because whether you WANT to work more than 35 hours doesn't matter. What Sarkozy is proposing at this time is removing that being mandatory. So there will be a good side from the standpoints of new startup creation but also expect a downside as large companies will probably use that to get employees to work more than 35 hours. It won't be written down as a rule but I suspect that word will be passed to people who "don't pull their own weight" that they could get passed over for promotions etc. However, when companies start doing that, expect some of the unions to take to the street and massive rallies and protest to happen. So that will probably create more a balance.
posted by TNLNYC at 2:11 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


whether you WANT to work more than 35 hours doesn't matter

Well depends also on the type of job. Clearly if you have a job that requires being present on a workplace it's hard to fake NOT being at work systematically. Yet other position, such as clerical jobs can easily bypass the law by working at home ; hide that under "benefit for good results" or "productivity premium" or give them tasks that just require more time.

But forcing people to live check by check with lame health insurance, insecure privatized value-drained pension plans , without any kind of insurance they will be able to feed and give a decent living to their families..that's recipe for disaster, that's begging for fascism and communism to return.
posted by elpapacito at 2:27 PM on May 7, 2007


elpapacito: Actually, in France, working from home like that would have to be factored in too. Some tech companies have gotten fined, for example, because they "encouraged" employees to learn about new programming language on their own time. That was considered a violation of the 35 hour rule which personally annoys me (I'm cleaning my language up here :) )
posted by TNLNYC at 2:36 PM on May 7, 2007


Isn't Sarkozy proposing doing away with the 35-hour week as well as ensuring that wages associated with this extra time be tax free to employees and employers? This seems reasonable as a measure to stimulate the economy and as an American (wage slave), I would be all over it, but I can see how some in France would point to this as an attempt to erode traditional values. Any thoughts on that?
posted by psmealey at 2:41 PM on May 7, 2007


psmeasley: It does seem reasonable indeed but would have been political suicide to offer to do away with it so his compromise position is to ease the standard by eliminating the restriction, basically gutting that law. The end result will probably be the same but he deflects the negative reaction to it by letting companies take the flack for doing away with it.
posted by TNLNYC at 2:47 PM on May 7, 2007


That was considered a violation of the 35 hour rule

Depends on what kind of "encouragement" it was ...if it was simple solicitation with promise of better conditions and better pay, then it's an idiotic rigid interpretation of the law. If on the contrary the "encouragement" was more of menace of undersiderable consequences (like losing job) or a promise of mobbing, well then it probably was a violation in disguise.
posted by elpapacito at 2:48 PM on May 7, 2007


elpapacito: Actually, as the law is written currently, the idiotic rigid interpretation is the problem. Basically, no one is allowed to work more than 35 hours period, with no exception.

The logic behind it is that it works as a measure to lower unemployment because it creates new "opportunity" for another person to have a job. If 7 people could work a 40 hour week (39 was actually the standard before this law), then a new job is created. Combine that with how difficult it is to fire someone and it becomes a recipe for disaster.

The funny thing is that the intent was well placed (create more jobs) but really failed as employers were not inclined to create more jobs as a result, due to the high cost of increased headcount (salaries in France only account for about 40% of the fully loaded costs of an employee).
posted by TNLNYC at 2:58 PM on May 7, 2007


ahhh...now i get it i think--thanks.

But haven't people been just not reporting it if they work overtime or something? Like when they have deadlines or some project they have to finish that night? Or do the vast majority of people actually clock out at 5pm no matter what's going on at work? (which doesn't make sense to me--i'm in a deadline-driven field, for instance) I'd imagine that people in fashion or publishing or any deadline-driven field routinely ignore the law when they have to then, no?

I've been reading how it's too hard to be an entrepreneur there but if the vast majority and if the culture doesn't want to wholly devote themself to something -- for the money or whatever (i.e., they'd rather have a good quality of life outside of work, which many of us don't have really here, or they're not willing to work late even when it's deadline time or something, etc), that can't be changed by just allowing overtime, can it?
posted by amberglow at 3:38 PM on May 7, 2007


like, how do fashion houses (who work around the clock to get ready for shows, etc) stay legal? or do they just not bother?
posted by amberglow at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2007


amberglow: comp time. you work "overtime" during market and then work 25- or 30-hour weeks thereafter to make up for it.
posted by MattD at 4:40 PM on May 7, 2007


MattD: This is going to sound really rude, but I really don't mean it that way: Is that a guess, or is that the way it's really done?
posted by Bugbread at 4:51 PM on May 7, 2007


An hour long discussion with the Interior Minister of France, Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy talks about his ongoing campaign for the French Presidency and his opponent, socialist candidate Segolene Royale. Sarkozy, the current front runner, discusses France's labor problems and his belief that the French people are ready to embrace significant reforms to their labor markets. Sarkozy interviewed by Charlie Rose
posted by acro at 5:35 PM on May 7, 2007


So I don't get it. Apparently nationalism is bad now? Can't the French be happy being French?

Some sleepy brained one worlders in here.
posted by Sukiari at 5:54 PM on May 7, 2007


Apparently nationalism is bad now? Can't the French be happy being French?

One problem, i think, has been that too many don't consider non-white French people actually to be "French" with all that entails, and the official policy is that there isn't really multiculturalism--no melting pot or different people living side-by-side. Everyone is supposed to just be "French" (which can't work if the white majority isn't accepting that Arab-French or Afro-French kids are as hire-able and as qualified, etc.) Correct me if i'm wrong, anyone.
posted by amberglow at 6:38 PM on May 7, 2007


oneworlders? Here's a list of some of the ongoing nationalistic conflicts.
posted by acro at 6:40 PM on May 7, 2007


It's not so much institutional or official racism (altho Sarkozy seemed to make it that way with the banlieues), as it is cultural and attitudinal racism and/or exclusion, i think.

We say that our diversity is our strength, and that we've come from all over the world to the US and that we all belong and we all have stuff to offer (even tho we still have tons and tons of racism, etc). They don't speak like that of their citizens, i don't think, or make diversity a strength.
posted by amberglow at 6:44 PM on May 7, 2007


more on that whole thing (i hope his facts are right)
posted by amberglow at 6:47 PM on May 7, 2007


What a great country. They get to vote between a socialist and someone who wants to tackle immigration.
posted by Brian B. at 8:52 PM on May 7, 2007


Wow, this has been an interesting thread.

(As an American married to a French woman) I am disappointed by Sarko's election. I have beef with him in that his changes of immigration law as Minister of the Interior have personally affected me - prolonging my wait to apply for dual-citizenship because of retroactive changes in the law and making me less certain that it will be possible. Of course, this is not life-ending but quite a pain in the ass and indicative of Sarko's callousness toward immigrants - of all origins. I believe that it is symbolic of the arbitrary way that Sarko might attempt to rule over his new country.

It is Sarko that worries me, not his platform. He has stopped at nothing to become president. Every media opp; every stunt possible. Maybe he will be "calm" - as he claimed to be during the debate with Sego - now that he has the reins. But he has done a lot to divide people in his ascent to the presidency. I am not convinced that he will know how to unify that which he has divided. It may be a rough 5 years...

Despite my personal dislike and distrust of Sarko, maybe he can liberalize France to where it becomes a place where people can find interesting and satisfying work without years of waiting and tons of diplomas. [It was like that about 20 years ago] I think that the socialists would have been forced to address this issue too, but maybe Sarko can be more effective.

But who knows...

on the nationalism issue

amberglow said:

One problem, i think, has been that too many don't consider non-white French people actually to be "French" with all that entails, and the official policy is that there isn't really multiculturalism--no melting pot or different people living side-by-side. Everyone is supposed to just be "French" (which can't work if the white majority isn't accepting that Arab-French or Afro-French kids are as hire-able and as qualified, etc.) Correct me if i'm wrong, anyone.


I don't think that this is accurate. A Tahitian or somebody from French Guyana or somebody from Réunion Island or the island of Mayotte can be every bit as nationalist as a Parisian or a Marseillais - whatever his color. Are each of these people "French" with all that entails? It might depends on the identity that the individual wants -- but there is certainly a common "French" experience for all of these people. Still, a Lillois (somebody from the very north) is quite different from a Breton or a Toulousan (southwest).

Multiculturalism doesn't exclude nationalism. People of different origins can be nationalist. Patriotism hasn't been fashionable in much of Europe since WWII. But its resurgence in the context of the French elections is not necessarily a "white power" type thing.

About half of the DOM-TOMs voted Sarko - mainly because many of these areas are subject to mass immigration and delinquency problems. These are not "white" regions of France. This means that "non-whites" - whatever that color may be - voted Sarko for stronger immigration laws and for the authority he has promised. These people see themselves as French and are accepted as French by those living in metropolitain (mainland) France.

Multiculturalism is quite celebrated in France and, in turn, France celebrates multiculturalism around the world. Francophone month here in DC was quite impressive, with events from all sorts of francophone sources -- African, Canadian, Asian... France spends impressive amounts of money funding the arts - both within and outside of its borders.

The French seem to largely view the US as a communitarian nightmare where different cultures live in relative segregation and disharmony. This is not completely true, but it is not completely unfounded either. I live in Washington DC and there are parts of town that are completely Afro-American, completely Salvadorian or nearly 100% white. French friends have come to visit and they are always taken back by the fact that the city is so segregated. That there are not people of different origins living side-by-side in France is a misconception -- largely coming from media coverage of the banlieue incidents, I think.


Let's just say that France is not aspiring to be like the US and that France by no means considers the US to be a multicultural ideal.

France is very reluctant to classify in terms of race - both the French State and the people. Race is not accounted for by official State statistics because to do so would be considered racist in itself. This goes to the "Republican Ideal" - an idea one can advance in French society regardless of class or origins -- by means of its public institutions (the elite schools in France are public, not private). However, navigating the opportunities that the Republic offers is quite difficult for those whose families have only recently been in the country -- especially of those families cling to traditions of the places from which they hail. [i.e. no expectation that girls work outside of the home, lack of respect for female authority figures such as teachers, parents who don't speak the French language]

In any case, minority groups (ethnic, cultural or racial if we must) are very aware that -- while their group may represent 10% or 8% or 5% of the total population -- there are very few minorities that hold office in the National Assembly or even as mayors. And regardless of whether or not the State keeps official records of whose skin color is what tint, there are many different ways for people to reject one another and people can be excluded. If someone does have the necessary diplomas and he/she is still consistently refused jobs, then there are not many conclusions to draw.
posted by pwedza at 2:54 AM on May 8, 2007


The main difference between France and USA.
posted by cswilly at 5:58 AM on May 8, 2007


More on Mitt's dopey French marriage contract comments. There is a scifi book, based on the book of Mormon, which features such contracts.
posted by caddis at 7:57 AM on May 8, 2007


amberglow: Basically, it's clock-punching in France. That's pretty much how the rules are set up and that's been a large part of what's been hobbling France in terms of economic growth. The way companies get around it is by having people from their subsidiaries outside of France do the extra work when setting up. In some cases, riders have been given by the government but those are only given to powerful and connected companies, and only with the support of the local unions. Remember that while only 10% of the country is actually unionized, unions hold a disparate amount of power over the country as they work collectively across sectors (unlike in the US). So a strike relating to issues in the car industry can morph quickly into a national strike that affects transportation or other areas.

pwedza: I share your disgust with Sarkozy's efforts in getting to the presidency. He's been motivated for a long time to get there but I don't think one can fault him for being ambitious. I think that now that he's reached the top post, though, he's going to have to tamper his efforts as it will be the only way he can get anything accomplished. Because he's now in power, he can easily be targeted by unions and other politicians without any other cover. That alone will force him to temper his approach but I hope that he will be able to move France back to pre-1981 (basically the Giscard D'estaing era, pre-Mitterand) and get people in France to start thinking again about personal responsibility. Royal would have been a disaster as a continuation and expansion of the same policy, which is why Sarko got my vote.

On the nationalism issue, though, I think that there are more factors at hand. First of all, there is a "born in France" ethos which needs to be broken in order to move forward. As the descendant of a family of "pieds-noirs" (my mother was born in Morocco when it was still a French territory), I've discovered that France can be very specific as to the meaning of French. Going to schools in the Loire Valley with members of aristocratic families taught me that there is still a divide between "true French" (basically several generations on French soil) and others like myself. This dichotomy is at the heart of a lot of recent problems. Americans tend to paint this as an immigrant problem but it isn't. Let's not forget that most of the non-white people of my generation were born in France (or even born from parents who were born in France) so they have as much of a claim to France as do the white people.

However, it is true that French nationalism goes beyond color. France still sees itself as a world leader and wants to be respected in that role. The disconnect comes from the fact that the world has moved on and the XVIIIth century was a long time ago. Since then, the power has shifted, first along the British lines (throughout the XIXth century) then to the US and USSR (throughout the XXth century) and now to Asia and the US. France has had difficulties adapting to that new reality and French nationalism stems from the fact that many people want to see France return to what they consider its rightful position of power in the world. That's the root of the nationalism.

From a power standpoint, the problem is that there is some level of discrimination due to crime levels in poorer areas, which are largely inhabited by non-white families. As a result, law and order is more of a focus in those areas and schools suffer. Because the schools suffer, fewer people graduate from them with a baccalaureate and more of them are moved to the technical track around 6th and 9th grade). When they graduate with a baccalaureate, most of them go to traditional universities instead of entering the "grandes ecoles" which are basically France's Ivy Leagues and the source of most power (that Sarkozy is not a product of the ENA, the "grande ecole" for French politicians may give people a hope for moving outside of the system).

However, there is also a downside to all this is that there isn't that much collectivism among those minorities. Being disgusted with the system, they try to work outside it and then complain that they're not represented within the system. The people who do work the system, however, can navigate through it but are seen as sellouts by their own. In a way, this is not dissimilar to what happens to some African-Americans in the US, who are sometimes seen as sellouts for trying to work the system.

There are, however, a few signs of hope. Over the years, more and more people of non-white background and more and more French people who are not part of dynastic families dating back to French soil in times long passed the monarchy are rising to power. However, their rise is scaring some people and this is used by politicians like Le Pen to mobilize those people, using a fear-based agenda ("those foreigners will take your jobs") to advance their own ambition.
posted by TNLNYC at 9:20 AM on May 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


This goes to the "Republican Ideal" - an idea one can advance in French society regardless of class or origins -- by means of its public institutions (the elite schools in France are public, not private). However, navigating the opportunities that the Republic offers is quite difficult for those whose families have only recently been in the country -- especially of those families cling to traditions of the places from which they hail.
If this ideal is not actually open to all French, then it's not reality. We have affirmative action and minority contract set-asides, and scholarships, and even multicultural and diversity curriculums, etc, for a real reason--they help level the playing field where the dominant culture hasn't changed enough to allow others access and opportunities, and they help show us all that being "other" isn't wrong or "less than". If you actually can't advance if you're non-white (born there or not), then the state has a duty to step in and help make those ideals reality or all talk about "egalitie, fraternite..." is simply bull. It shouldn't matter what traditions people cling to or whether they wear a yamulka or headscarf--whether religious or cultural. There have been studies where CVs with foreign surnames but the exact same qualifications get thrown away 3 times as much as those with regular French surnames. (and God only knows why you have pictures on yours too). On the one hand you say "we're all French", but then on the other you say "well, they don't want to be just like us". Why should they have to be? Why can't they be French and Muslim, or French and very strict at home or about clothing and roles for women, etc? If the ideals are that you're all French together, then the definition of what "French" means must change and evolve as your population evolves.

I didn't mean to speak as if i only mean immigrants--it's actually worse for the non-white French born there--the schools, socialization, etc, all are reinforcing ideals that don't exist for them...The immigrants themselves at least weren't brought up with them.

Every society with former colonies or lots of immigration and diversity has to deal with these things--France turns away from dealing with it.
posted by amberglow at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2007


We're actually backsliding here, as we often do during GOP administrations, but the structures allowing people to move up and thrive remain.
posted by amberglow at 10:35 AM on May 8, 2007


Sarkozy supports affirmative action, but the left in France shouted him down as it goes against the "we're all French" tradition. I suspect he will bring affirmative action back when he has a chance.
posted by cswilly at 10:38 AM on May 8, 2007


Why can't those top Universities set aside 5-10% of slots for qualified minorities? Why aren't there programs to open up Govt. contracts and the bidding process to qualified minority-owned firms?

Unions and Businesses as well should be making it a priority and have non-discrimination clauses and priorities--France is no longer a monoculture, like it or not. There's money to be made catering to, and being representative of, the full range of French diversity. (that's actually how things change usually--because there's money to be made and having a workforce that represents your markets helps make that money)
posted by amberglow at 10:45 AM on May 8, 2007


Sarkozy supports affirmative action, but the left in France shouted him down as it goes against the "we're all French" tradition. I suspect he will bring affirmative action back when he has a chance.
He has to start modeling the behavior he wants to see--putting together a diverse administration would really help there. Having staffers that fully represent all, setting up programs that bring people together, etc...

He's starting off at a disadvantage already with his harsh rhetoric and actions. Who's going to believe he actually means it unless he does it?

How are unions there? Are they diverse, memberwise?
posted by amberglow at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2007


Are there any stats on how many LePen people voted for Sarkozy?
posted by amberglow at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2007


However, navigating the opportunities that the Republic offers is quite difficult for those whose families have only recently been in the country -- especially of those families cling to traditions of the places from which they hail. [i.e. no expectation that girls work outside of the home, lack of respect for female authority figures such as teachers, parents who don't speak the French language]

This is sticking in me--what is the State's role when citizen's rights are being infringed? Take these girls and women--what does the establishment do to help them should they need it? To help them fully take part and take advantage of their citizenships, etc? What responsibility does the State have toward these people? And how does if differ from their responsibility towards those whose way is easier and those who don't face both discrimination outside and inside? And how does all that relate to the ideals and laws?
posted by amberglow at 12:13 PM on May 8, 2007


great article about engagement and the election there
posted by amberglow at 12:19 PM on May 8, 2007


CNN just said that Royal had wanted to meet with Hillary but that they declined (because of the Socialist thing--the media here would have ran with it all year)
posted by amberglow at 2:32 PM on May 8, 2007


He added: “In France, history is something that counts. Please don’t be angry with us because we remember what happened to us. Is there even a single country of the world, at any time of history, that was able to maintain itself in a sustained way in a country that was not its own, uniquely by the force of arms? Never, not a single one, even the Chinese.”
posted by acro at 4:16 PM on May 8, 2007


Why can't those top Universities set aside 5-10% of slots for qualified minorities?

Amberglow: You are looking at this through American shades. First of all, in France, there is not a hierarchy of universities as there is here in the US. There are universities and grands écoles (the very elite - where students gain access solely based on what is called a concours and their grades). Public universities are pretty much all on the same level -- depending on the programs that they offer and the professors... The Sorbonne (not a grand école but a normal public university) is not necessarily better or more prestigious than a public university in Lille or Lyon. And it is not the trouble to address private universities -- the public universities are the elite institutions.


You seem to be arguing that France should adopt American-style "we will reserve you place because of your origins and that you have done relatively well compared to your 'white' counterparts and we recognize that your group of people is poorly represented in our institution" when you obviously don't understand how things work in France or the efforts France makes to integrate people. You assume that because France doesn't engage in affirmative action that no efforts are made.

To get any public position in France - be it a job as a government worker or a place in a grand école - it is done by concours. A concours is a competency evaluation (skills test) that is completely anonymous and each concours is tailored to the position sought. It is fundamentally egalitarian and no concessions are made or points added for any reason -- social class, "race", eye color... Most French do not believe that these factors should play at all -- it is largely viewed as discriminatory.

Once you are accepted into a university on merit, there are many systems in place to help those who will have trouble financing their education -- of course, when tuition is usually less that $500. most of this aid is geared toward paying rent and insurance and such. [also, students in the grand écoles receive a stipend]


Unlike in the United States, admission to a university is only based on scores and the results of the concours -- the fact that your father was a graduate does not play a role in your being accepted (most US school applications have a place to fill out who in your family attended the school). Neither is race considered - only merit - dictated by scores. [I suggest that American anti-affiramtive action proponents also fight against any sort of discrimination - i.e. "legacy"-type considerations - the French would likely see such a practice as horrific and fundamentally against the values of the French Republic]. This is the French idea of equality -- you are judged on your performance. -- not because your skin is brown, green or blue.

This is sticking in me--what is the State's role when citizen's rights are being infringed? Take these girls and women--what does the establishment do to help them should they need it? To help them fully take part and take advantage of their citizenships, etc? What responsibility does the State have toward these people? And how does if differ from their responsibility towards those whose way is easier and those who don't face both discrimination outside and inside? And how does all that relate to the ideals and laws?

How do you conclude that because the State does not generally adhere to affirmative action that it does not represent the interests of its citizens or that it has no responsibility to its citizens? If anything, the French State probably has helped people too much by providing such an expansive social safety net that many people are not motivated to actually work to support themselves. The fact that France does not actively engage in affirmative action does not mean that it promotes discrimination or doesn't protect its citizens against discrimination. A discrimination suit can certainly be filed in a French court. [Also, France does have hate speech laws and other such measures]

The State also intervenes and takes into consideration the special circumstances that, say, young girls of North African descent may suffer. For example, if a North African family decides that after their daughter finishes high school it would be best for her to go to Algeria to be married - even though she has never actually been to Algeria - the State will intervene, stop the family from sending the daughter to North Africa, help her establish a residency for herself, help her with legal matters ... [and this is not an uncommon occurrence]. Many young North African women have split with their families over such issues - or even just their not wearing a headscarf and wanting to work. Don't assume that because France doesn't engage in American-style affirmative action that nothing is done to advance and protect the interests of people from non-white origins. It is just that many efforts aren't solely based on race. [And don't forget that many American institutions meet racial quotas by counting black Africans or people from the Caribbean -- it is certainly the case in my school -- the end result being that the interests of impoverished American blacks are not advanced in the least]


For education, France is MUCH MORE EGALITARIAN than the United States!!! In France, public schools offer the best education. Teachers are extremely qualified - light years beyond average American high school teachers - and each and every public school in the country offers relatively the same quality education. So why does everybody not have the same success?? Because everybody does not have the same life circumstances. Some people have parents that can help with homework and provide insight as to what might be a good direction; some kids have parents who have always lived on public assistance and not held a job for the past five years. But, unlike in the US, the quality of education being offered is relatively the same. But the reality is that if you have a classroom full of wild kids with absolutely no respect for the authority of the professors (especially if they are women) who come from areas of discontent and strife - obviously the end result will not be the same as in a "good" neighborhood. In France, this phenomenon can hold true for people of all color. Not all "white" French are rich and live in "nice" neighborhoods. [There are many areas in France where there is no more industry and "white" people are not well off -- and the results are pretty much the same as for those who live in similar circumstances -- despite the fact that the education being offered is generally the same as is offered to people in "good" neighborhoods]

That sociological factors affect education really is no different here in the US - except here, there are rich suburbs (take Bronxville NY where residents pay a school tax greater than 30k for the public high school) and poor, inner-city Washington DC schools where schools are extremely underfunded. Sure they are both public, but the system is fundamentally unequal -- unless equality only counts for people who come from the same county or region.

The French education system is nationally administrated and - unlike the US - many times the schools in the poor, downtrodden areas receive more funds and attention than do the well-to-do schools. But the schools cannot do everything. The sad realization is that social problems trump education. It is the same thing here - if you give a poor Atlanta high school the same operating budget as a rich suburban school, the SAT scores will not all of a sudden jump from 800 to 1300.

I say the system is difficult to navigate because a family in which nobody has a university education is at a disadvantage to direct their children -- this is exactly the same in the United States. If an American kids parents did not go to university, it will be harder for the child to figure out what to do and where to go.

France has already experimented with affirmative action-type experiments. However, the French criticize affirmative action, US-type in particular, as tokenism -- and rightly so I believe. Having a few places that you are going to fill in the university just because somebody is not "white" does not ultimately solve the problems of the community from which that person may or may not be from. Giving a place in a law school to a rich Trinidadian whose parents are both doctors just to check off a box that says "look at us, we have black people" does little to advance the interests of poor black communities -- and it may even push them down farther by allowing society to ignore them that much more.

you said If this ideal is not actually open to all French, then it's not reality.

But it is -- the system is not closed to "non-whites." Sure, efforts can be made to ensure that "non-whites" realize what they may benefit from - and many such efforts are in place -- but that does not mean that people who do relatively well but not as well as others on the concours and in their grades will be guaranteed a spot because of the color of their skin.

Also, don't imagine that there are no minorities in France who receive a higher education and who ultimately join the work force. That would not be accurate.

There is a difference between what happens in the business world and what happens in education. If somebody is not offered a job in the business world because of his origins, that is not the fault of the university. Private enterprise is not the State and it is hard to force employers to hire people they don't want to hire. Unless you suggest that the French State force businesses to hire minorities proportionally. That is certainly not how it works here in the US. And, in any case, many French businesses purposefully hire "non-whites."


Every society with former colonies or lots of immigration and diversity has to deal with these things--France turns away from dealing with it.

I don't agree. France just deals with it differently than how the US and the UK do. And France is not convinced that the US/UK way is right or even works for that matter.

[Lets not forget that France is not the country with the history of segregation]

In sum, more efforts can certainly be made to help "non-whites" to advance in French society, but US-type affirmative action is not necessarily the way to go.

France generally looks at problems of inequality as social and not racial problems. The US focuses on race and largely ignores social factors. This is why the US tends to put so much stock in affirmative action and France looks elsewhere.
posted by pwedza at 12:39 PM on May 9, 2007


We focus on race, ethnicity, and income/class. No one is saying we do things well, but we officially and legally recognize discrimination and lack of access, and try to remedy it.

If France does not officially recognize that there is discrimination in treatment and access because of race or ethnicity or religion, how does it remedy it? It makes no sense. Saying that merit is all that counts doesn't remedy it. It's proven fact that minorities don't get interviews or get hired at the same rates as white French people. It's proven fact that housing as well has been discriminatory, with many minorities shunted off to banlieues, with fewer and poorer services and access than others. ...

France generally looks at problems of inequality as social and not racial problems.
They actually don't, from my view. Social problems usually don't lead to remedies that promote access and reduce inequality. They most often lead to crackdown, criminalization, and further segregation of the population deemed to be the "social problem". It's directed and targeted at those "others", instead of what "we" and "we all" need to do to make things better.
posted by amberglow at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2007


In other words, it's most often not "We have this social problem", but "They are a social problem"
posted by amberglow at 1:28 PM on May 9, 2007


Regarding concours, the question is, 'is the proportion of ethnic minority entrants to the grand ecoles the same as the proportion of ethnic minority applicants?' If so, there's unlikely to be discrimination on the part of the interviewer. You can't just generalise and say all interviews, all of time, are discriminatory. Of course, if the proportion of minority applicants is lower than that minority's proportion in society then there are larger social problems at play, although these are not necessarily the problem of the university interviewers.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 1:41 PM on May 9, 2007


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