@AudreyTonnelier diagnosis ‘The Macron Problem’ @LeMonde_EN: March 31, 2023

Old Socialist comments.

The Reader wonders where Ms. Tonnelier, was during all the ‘excitement’ , or even the promise of Neo-Liberalism, Macron StyleFramed as the highfalutin ‘Jupertarian Politics’. Tonnelier expresses her disillusionment, of a kind. Macronism was, is, and will always be, about the Public Relation’s savvy of a class of Technocrats, and their allies in the Press!

In America readers of that journalistic dinosaur ‘Time’ were regaled by with celebratory notion of Macron as the apostle ‘French Renewal’ . While the once editor of Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, swooned over Macron, that rated front cover status, usually reserved for the latest ‘Movie Star’ on the rise, or more pointedly on the has-been on the ‘skids’. And or the lurid ‘True Crime Drama’ as reported by Dominick Dunne.

 Of the Early Macron now long forgotten, in the wake of his ‘Pension Reform’ and the full scale Rebellion… as The Middle Class finally pays attention, to what the gilets jaunes are/were about.

Headline: ‘The government’s amateurism on pensions contrasts with the efficiency Macron displayed in 2017’

Sub-headline: With the accumulation of political errors and technical mishaps, the presidential camp is losing its image of a party of reason, writes Audrey Tonnelier in her column.


Ms. Tonnelier’s expression of disillusionment. While Macrons ‘Jupertarian Politics’ expresses itself as utterly Anti-Democratic!

It is difficult to say at this point. Twelve months and 10 days of national protests on, the failure of the government to convince is obvious. Not only did the government fail in federating a solid political majority around its objective and choose to use Article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass the bill without a vote in Parliament, but it also appeared to be the one turning down the outstretched hand of the unions.

Last week, Macron lamented “that no one (…) proposed a compromise.” In doing so, he deprived himself of welcome support in a moment of unprecedented social tension.

There is more. Even before the clashes that followed the use of Article 49.3, errors of communication and other approximations on the substance of the reform were a feature of the political and parliamentary debates.

What is called for here, is a ruthless rhetorical pruning, as Ms. Tonnelier drones on…

But it soon became very difficult to distinguish the characteristics of the current and previous reforms and the public turned critical.

The controversy over the employment of older workers, a mathematical consequence of the raise of the retirement age according to some government members, before accompanying measures to support the hiring of people over 50 were discussed, made things even more complicated.

Finally, the allusive nature of an impact study of the reform on many aspects, starting with the “redistributive” facet of the bill – Who will benefit from the new bill and to what extent? – also contributed.

The utter failure of nerve, of political candor, in sum, of the cowardice of Ms. Tonnelier, to address Macron’s ‘Jupertarian Politics’ as the expression of Anti-Democratic Imperatives – yet foretold in her ‘the efficiency Macron displayed in 2017′ as a pre-apologetic?

Old Socialist

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The Times & it’s ‘reporter’ @patrickkmaguire on the ‘political fact’ that Jeremy Corbyn inspires the ‘jitters’ in ‘long-time loyalist’s’

Political Observer comments.

The Reader confronts this from The Times:

Headline: Jeremy Corbyn could start a new party. Does he have the friends or funds?

Sub-headline: Talk of a run for London mayor is wide of the mark, but Corbyn’s exile may be the catalyst for a rival to Labour. It’s giving some of his long-time loyalists the jitters


Do the editors of the newspaper ‘think’ that their readership has forgotten this ‘book review’ by Dominic Sandbrook of Tom Bower’s book on Jeremy Corbyn?

Headline: Review: Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power by Tom Bower — portrait of a monomaniac

Sub-headline: If Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, he would easily be the most dangerous, most indolent and least intelligent holder of the office in history


This ‘book review’ was part of the campaign of hysterical defamation against Corbyn, carried out by the respectable Times. By the Dailey Mail’s Dominic Sandbrook, might The Reader see an emerging pattern? The headline and sub-headline give the game away, but an exploration of the ‘political diagnosis’ offered by Sandbrook via Bower is ‘damming’ …

This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. It is a forensically detailed portrait of a man with no inner life, a monomaniac suffused with an overwhelming sense of his own righteousness, a private schoolboy who failed one A-level and got two Es in the others, a polytechnic dropout whose first wife never knew him to read a book.

It is the story of a man who does not appear to have gone to the cinema or listened to music, takes no interest in art or fashion and refused to visit Vienna’s magnificent Schönbrunn Palace because it was “royal”. It tells how he bitterly opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, deeply regretted the fall of the Berlin Wall and praised the men who attacked New York on September 11, 2001, for showing an “enormous amount of skill”. In some parallel universe, this man would currently be living in well-deserved obscurity. In reality, Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition and the bookmakers’ favourite to become our next prime minister.

Mr. Bower as ‘biographer’ described by Sandbrook …

For the veteran biographer Tom Bower, whose previous subjects include Mohamed al-Fayed, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell, Tony Blair and Prince Charles, Corbyn is the easiest target imaginable.

The Reader might look to Mr. Bower’s latest book on Meghan Markle, as ‘reviewed’ in The Telegraph… more of that ‘pattern’ emerging?

Headline: Unlike Oprah, Tom Bower’s unauthorised Meghan Markle biography will pull no punches

Sub-headline: After scathing books on Prince Charles, Robert Maxwell and Simon Cowell, the bloodhound of biography has a new target: the Duchess of Sussex

The Telegraph sub-headline sums up the ‘literary career’ of Tom Bower: ‘the bloodhound of biography’. A not very discreet way of naming opportunism

The Reader can explore, for herself, what I have presented, of this verifiable record of Anti-Corbyn Hysteria, and the part played by Sandbrook, Bower and The Times.

In this political moment of self -serving political amnesia, is the operative strategy of both Newspapers, Writers and Citizens: call it a survival strategy? This newspaper now presents itself as an ‘honest reporter’ ,on the future of Jeremy Corbyn in any context? Some quotation of this ‘news story’ by Patrick Maguire:

Patrick Maguire is Red Box editor for The Times. He is the co-author of Left Out, the authoritative history of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Penguin Books provides a quick summery of The Times’s political hack’s ‘History Made To Measure’ of Corbyn and Corbynism:



A blistering narrative exposé of infighting, skulduggery and chaos in Corbyn’s Labour party, now revised and updated.

* A Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and i Newspaper Book of the Year *

Left Out tells, for the first time, the astonishing full story of Labour’s recent transformation and historic defeat.

Drawing on unrivalled access, this blistering exposé moves from the peak of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity and the shock hung parliament of 2017 to Labour’s humbling in 2019 and the election of Keir Starmer. It reveals a party at war with itself, and puts the reader in the room as tensions boil over, sworn enemies forge unlikely alliances and lifelong friendships are tested to breaking point.

This is the ultimate account of the greatest experiment seen in British politics for a generation.

‘Gripping… Every bit as good as people say’ Guardian

‘Reads like a thriller…told with panache and pace’ Financial Times

‘The definitive post-mortem of the Corbyn project’ Sunday Times


  • A stunningly good book with jaw-dropping revelations on every page, Left Out is the ultimate inside story of how Jeremy Corbyn went from the brink of victory to one of the worst defeats in British political history. It is both a breath-taking work of political journalism and a gripping first draft of history that is unlikely ever to be bettered. Unquestionably the political book of the year

TIM SHIPMAN, author of All Out War


The incestious character of the Anti-Corbyn hysterics.

Briefings seldom come as lurid. At least not when they concern Jeremy Corbyn and emanate from the heart of Sir Keir Starmer’s office, where caution and message discipline are valued above all else. The hard left had got the band back together, said a breathless Labour official: Corbyn’s closest aides had reunited in the office of Lutfur Rahman, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, forming an ensemble cast of Team Starmer’s pantomime villains.

Banned from politics for five years after his conviction for corrupt electoral practices in 2015, Rahman returned to haunt his former party last year. Free once more to stand in his east London fiefdom, he beat Labour and reclaimed the mayoralty denied to him by the courts. Now, this senior party official said, the Corbynites plan to repeat the trick.

Seumas Milne, the Guardian columnist turned spin doctor; James Schneider, once Milne’s deputy; Amy Jackson, the former leader’s political secretary; Andrew and Laura Murray, the father and daughter who advised Corbyn. All were apparently ensconced in Rahman’s office, planning the Corbyn comeback: an audacious run for London mayor against Labour’s Sadiq Khan.

Little wonder an aide to Starmer should paint such a picture so vividly. Here, in Westminster, is the dutiful Starmer, preparing Labour for government and atoning for the sins of his predecessor. And there, in the lair of a disgraced populist, is the Corbynite cabal responsible for Labour’s worst ever defeat, plotting to undermine the party they left in ruins. With this political morality tale, asserted confidently as fact, there was only one problem: not a word of it was true. But like all horror stories, it reveals fears seldom acknowledged aloud and taboos rigidly enforced: in this case that the Corbynites are determined to derail Starmer’s leadership.


Patrick Maguire is the perfect Times defamer of Corbyn, to opine on the comic notion of ‘Starmer’s leadership’: being that Starmer is Tony Blairs political catamite. But Maguire has a mere 976 words left, to expatiate on Corbyn. How might The Reader approach this almost insightful comment, larded with a weak attempt at a pastiche of an exhumation of a ‘Psychoanalytic Methodology’?, demonstrating the utter weakness of his presented claims?

His true ambitions are more modest but no less significant. As The Times revealed this week, Corbyn has resolved after months of deliberation to run against the Labour Party in the seat he has won comfortably at ten general elections over 40 years. Stubborn by disposition and infuriated by his successor’s diktat against his candidacy, Corbyn was always likelier than not to choose defiance and potential martyrdom over acquiescence with Starmer’s mission to rewrite the rules of Labour politics and cast him as a villain. As another source familiar with the former leader’s thinking said: “It’s become personal.” Even before Starmer’s decision Corbyn had released a video, uncannily shot in the style of a party political broadcast, in which he gladhanded constituents and trumpeted his record of local activism. He believes he can win.

Corbyn’s electability has been proven over time, for the House of Commons, yet:

So Corbyn will fight on, isolated from the handful of MPs still loyal to the politics Starmer is determined to expunge. One question, however, is still outstanding: whether Corbyn will pitch himself as a reluctant victim of the Labour establishment, running to give a voice to local members denied the right to vote for him — as Ken Livingstone so successfully did when blocked from running for London mayor by Tony Blair in 2000 — or set up a new party entirely.

Hotter heads in his inner circle believe he could easily do so with the Peace and Justice Project, the campaign Corbyn set up in the weeks after his initial suspension in the winter of 2020 with patrons including Ken Loach, the former Bolivian president Evo Morales and the rapper Lowkey. “They’ve denied it for three years,” one former adviser to Corbyn said. “But Peace and Justice was always going to become a party.” Len McCluskey, the former general secretary of Unite, is among those who have privately urged the creation of a new movement. Friends questioned his seriousness until he tweeted on Tuesday: “I urge comrades to join the Peace and Justice Project.” Doubters worry that it is doomed to fail without cash from left-wing unions still affiliated to Labour, particularly if its ambitions stretch beyond north London.

On one crucial question, however, this most dysfunctional of socialist families is agreed: Corbyn will not back down now, no matter how many of his friends put their own futures first. “Our message is clear,” Corbyn said this week. “We are not going anywhere.” Trapped in a party determined to purge them, his old comrades are quietly saying the same thing.

While not just carefully avoiding The Labour Files – The Crisis I Al Jazeera Investigations’ , that eviserated the ‘Corbyn Anti-Semitism Scandal’: that involves the whole of British Corporate Media. That ‘Centrist Neo-Liberalism’ of both the Tories and New Labour, defines ‘political rationalism’?: Corbyn acts the part of the toxic outsider, to the virtuous insiders of that ‘Centrist Neo-Liberalism’. So the cadre of Patrick Maguire, Dominic Sandbrook, Tom Bower, and many others, in various ‘respectable’ Newspapers and their journalists: lying by calculated omission, has become the sine qua non of these ‘Centrists’ , who will write a History Made to Measure, featuring an utterly irrational Corbyn?

Political Observer

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Matthieu Goar, in Le Monde, on ‘original Macronism’…

Almost Marx views the unfolding ‘French Political Melodrama’, through the Matthieu Goar lens…

Headline: The pension crisis signals the end of ‘original Macronism’

Sub-headline: Some of the French president’s voters are beginning to doubt his ability to emerge from the current situation. They lament the disappearance of the Macron of 2017, and his reformist spirit and ability to overcome divisions.


The Reader confronts this Macron apologetic wondering …

September 2022. Emmanuel Macron had been re-elected several months previously, but his second term had still not gotten off the ground. His supporters in Parliament had spent the summer finding ways to stem the decline in purchasing power, and his ministers talked about energy conservation as winter approached. But no one really knew what the re-elected president wanted to do with his five-year term, apart from managing crises. One of his advisors, between two coffees near the Elysée, raised his hand and mimed a dive bomber: “The pension reform, it mimed a dive bomber, enter the atmosphere like that.” It was as if the main proposal of Macron’s presidential campaign was going mimed a dive bomber, to dispel the doubts and the clouds that hung over this second term.

This Reader calls this an apologetic of a Le Monde kind.

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A collection of his catch phrases: of ‘still not gotten off the ground’, ‘ways to stem the decline’, ‘energy conservation as winter approached’ , ‘ apart from managing crises’, ‘mimed a dive bomber’, ‘mimed a dive bomber’ , ‘the clouds that hung over this second term’

The Goar preliminary diagnosis?

In the spring of 2023, the pension reform did come “hurtling.” But it has not put Macronism back on track, nor his second term. The social and political situation is both paralyzed – a 10th day of national action took place on Tuesday, March 28 – and volatile, with increasingly violent clashes between the security forces and some protesters.

Like a cluster bomb, the reform has, above all, shattered the last hopes of “original Macronism,” to use the expression of Richard Ferrand, former president of the Assemblée Nationale (2018-2022). The Macron of 2017 dreamed of a systemic reform of pensions; the Macron of 2022 stalled on a parametric and budgetary reform. The former minister of the economy promised disruption by seeking out women and men of substance from all political backgrounds; he has failed for weeks to convince some 40 right-wing MPs to vote for his reform and finds himself facing a fragmented Parliament. The 2017 candidate wrote his book Révolution (2016) to give hope to the disappointed members of the “old parties,” to the young, and to the abstentionists; now he is forced to resort to Article 49.3 of the Constitution to force through the reform without a vote.

More selective ‘catch phrases’: ‘the pension reform did come “hurtling.”, ‘increasingly violent clashes between the security forces and some protesters.’, ‘shattered the last hopes of “original Macronism’, ‘The Macron of 2017 dreamed of a systemic reform of pensions’, ‘the economy promised disruption by seeking out women and men of substance from all political backgrounds’, ‘wrote his book Révolution (2016) to give hope to the disappointed members of the “old parties’, ‘to the abstentionists’ , ‘he is forced to resort to Article 49.3 of the Constitution to force through the reform without a vote’,

Following this, I’ll use Mr. Mr. Goar’s subheadings, in my self-serving skeletal form:

‘An immature leadership’

It is as if the pension reform has made official the sidelining of Macronism, as was already perceptible during his first term in office, with a clear shift right during the 2019 European elections.

This consequence of the pension reform is causing despair among his long-time followers. It worries the remaining left-wing ministers and MPs of the presidential camp who never abandoned the president throughout his first term. They admired his political intuition, especially when he launched a “great national debate” in 2019 after the Yellow Vests crisis.

Since the onset of this new crisis, which is causing him to drop in the polls, some advisers have been clinging to the fact that between 25% and 30% of the population approves of his performance, a score similar to his result in the first round of the 2022 presidential election (27.85%).

(Editor: the resort to polling data is not a surprise!)

Bernard Sananès, president of the Elabe Institute, said, “The Yellow Vests came from working-class backgrounds and there were low-income pensioners on the traffic circles [where many protests occurred]. It was not necessarily his electorate. Today, he is facing French workers with, for example, two-thirds of executives opposed to the reform. This is the heart of Macronism. In 2017, he had not benefited from the honeymoon period, but there was a reformist momentum. In 2022, there was neither the one nor the other.”

Macron reminds every French person of their boss’

“We are in a critical moment where anything can happen. The French no longer believe in politics. The crisis goes beyond the question of pensions and calls for a democratic reset,” said Gilles Le Gendre, MP for Macron’s Renaissance. “Only the president can succeed. With one condition: His sincerity cannot be questioned. He must therefore take a step back and entrust current affairs to a solid government.”

While waiting for this eventual rebound, the liberal English-language press, which admired Macron in 2017 before becoming more critical of this “French president,” mimicking certain Bonapartist tendencies, is now observing his apathy with circumspection. In an article published on March 24, the Financial Times sarcastically commented on the situation in Paris: “the metro is becoming a theoretical concept, while rats pick through heaps of uncollected garbage.” “Since Macron became president in 2017, popular anger has targeted him,” summed up Simon Kuper in the British daily. “Macron reminds every French person of their boss: an educated know-it-all who looks down on his staff (…) He cast himself as ‘Jupiterian’; but most voters just saw a jumped-up little ex-banker dressing up as king.”

(Editor: I had to laugh at this linking to the Neo-Liberal @FT , and Simon Kuper one of it’s lesser propagandists.)

By electing him over far-right politician Marine Le Pen, the French didn’t vote for his pension reform but to avoid “the devil,” Kuper argues. He believes that the president, a man who likes challenges, could be the man for the job if he set about renovating the Fifth Republic or changing the Constitution. It remains to be seen whether he still has the political fuel to get out of the trap he himself has created.

Matthieu Goar fails to confront Macron’s failed Neo-Liberal Project, under the apologetic descriptor of ‘original Macronism’. The French Middle Class confronts what the gilets jaunes knew all along!

Almost Marx

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Reading @DouthatNYT on Bethany Mandel: who frets, not about her ignorance of the word/concept of ‘woke’, but about her comments going ‘viral’. Douthat acts as excuse maker.

Queer Atheist comments.

Headline: What It Means to Be Woke

The first paragraph of Douthat’s essay is revelatory:

This week the conservative writer Bethany Mandel had the kind of moment that can happen to anyone who talks in public for a living: While promoting a new book critiquing progressivism, she was asked to define the term “woke” by an interviewer — a reasonable question, but one that made her brain freeze and her words stumble. The viral clip, in turn, yielded an outpouring of arguments about the word itself: Can it be usefully defined? Is it just a right-wing pejorative? Is there any universally accepted label for what it’s trying to describe?

Douthat offers the notion of ‘brain freeze’ as a would be defence of Mandal’s ignorance. Yet the OED offer this definition from 2008:

woke adjective earlier than 2008

View OED entry

#staywoke. In the last few years, the injunction to ‘stay woke’ in the face of racial discrimination or social injustice has ensured that woke, an originally African-American variant of woken or awake, has received wide currency and considerable attention. Woke was among the candidates for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in 2016, when its development and usage were explored by Nicole Holliday for the OxfordWords Blog. The OED is currently seeking any contextual evidence (i.e. not from a glossary or definition) of woke meaning ‘well informed’ or ‘alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice’ that dates from earlier than 2008.

Although first recorded in the nineteenth century in the literal sense of ‘awake, not (or no longer) asleep’, figurative use of woke has been traced back to 1962 in a glossary of ‘phrases and words you might hear today in Harlem’. This glossary accompanies a New York Times article titled ‘If you’re woke, you dig it’ by novelist William Melvin Kelley. In it he discusses the constantly shifting street slang used in urban African-American communities and provides the following definition of woke:

Well-informed, up-to-date, (‘Man, I’m woke’).

1962 New York Times Magazine, 20 May, pg. 45

Despite this mid-twentieth century origin, contextual evidence has been difficult to find. The only twentieth-century example we have located is in an extended metaphor from a 1972 play by Barry Beckham that, seemingly by coincidence, anticipates the word’s later use in racial and social contexts:

I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr. Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon stay woke. And I’m gon help him wake up other black folk.

1972 Barry Beckham, Garvey Lives, prologue, pg. 1

Further contextual evidence next appears in 2008, when American singer-songwriter Erykah Badu used the words ‘I stay woke’ as a refrain to her song Master Teacher. In more recent years it has been particularly associated with the activism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Because it began existence as a slang term that was more likely to be spoken than written, finding early examples of woke could require consulting unusual sources like transcripts, personal letters, pamphlets, or signs. As mentioned, we are particularly interested in identifying contextual examples in the sense of ‘up-to-date, aware’ or ‘alert to racial and social injustice’ from prior to 2008, but any evidence (even glossarial) earlier than 1962 would help us to enrich the word’s entry in the OED Online.

Can you help us find earlier evidence of woke?

Posted by OED_Editor on 25 June 2017 15.53

Tags: 1960s, 2000s, North American, slang

This might have been the beginning point, on which to start a conversation about ‘woke’. But Mandel seems more concerned about her ignorance being on public display.

Not to forget, that ‘woke’ has become a dismissive epithet, to characterize thoughts, opinions, politics, sexual orientation, gender identity etc. , etc. as beyond the pale of respectable bourgeois discourse. Undeterred Mr. Douthat chatters on, presenting his own essay as a source:

Headline: The Religious Roots of a New Progressive Era

Sub-headline: Welcome to the post-Protestant Reformation.

Queer Atheist

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SPIEGEL International on the SVB/Credit Suisse crashes. Gerald D. Suttles, with Mark D. Jacobs in ‘Front Page Economics’, of 2010, offers an analysis of these recurring ‘Financial Crises’!

Old Socialist comments

Headline: SVB’s European Shockwaves Silicon Valley Brings Disruption to Global Finance

Sub-headline: Rising interest rates have plunged the financial markets into turbulence. Regional banks in the U.S. are facing bank runs while in Europe, Credit Suisse is on the brink. Is a new global financial crisis coming?

By Tim Bartz und Michael Brächer

17.03.2023, 17.46 Uhr

It all began a week ago with the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in California, a financial institution known in the startup scene, but which most average investors had never heard of before. The bank experienced rapid growth in recent years, but completely misjudged the consequences of the recent interest rate increases and was facing collapse as its panicked clients rushed to empty their accounts

Following a series of emergency meetings, American financial authorities were forced to do something a number of regulatory and liquidation provisions had been designed to prevent: rescue a bank with government help.

Shortly afterward, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to the country: “Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe,” he said on Monday. “Your deposits will be there when you need them.”

Despite Biden’s efforts, though, stock markets around the world plunged this week, with bank shares bearing the brunt of the slaughter. Investor trust eroded by the minute, and even German financial institutions, like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, saw their stock prices temporarily plummet into the abyss.

They were statements reminiscent of pledges made by other leaders during the last crisis. Then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel told her compatriots: “Your savings are secure.” Mario Draghi, Lagarde’s predecessor at the ECB, was even more dramatic: “Whatever it takes,” were his words.

The situation at Credit Suisse then provided the cherry on top of this troublesome week. For years, the Swiss bank has been stumbling from one homemade scandal to the next. Once a beacon of the Alpine banking industry, the institution burned through billions with bad investments in addition to providing financial services to corrupt politicians, war criminals, human traffickers and drug dealers. In the fourth quarter of 2022 alone, wealthy and concerned clients withdrew 107 billion francs from the financial institution. The exodus has continued this year.

The reader need only look to Gerald D. Suttles, with Mark D. Jacobs ‘Front Page Economics’ of 2010, for a critical analysis, that is not just a relevant history of 1929, 1987, 2008, but of the Political/Economic present!

Old Socialist

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@NYT and @LeMonde_EN consider Macron’s ‘Pension Reform’.

Old Socialist comments.

The New York Times :

Headline: Macron Faces Pivotal Week in His Attempt to Change France at Its Core

Sub-headline: Huge crowds are again expected to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age before a decisive vote that could redefine his nation and his legacy.

@NYT publishes Roger Cohen’s apologetic for the Neo-Liberal Macron’s attempt to rob French Workers of retirement at 62, surely not a surprise? A sample of Mr. Cohen’s ‘reportage’:

A favorite phrase of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, is that in life “you have to take your risks.” He did, and rose from nowhere to lead France at the age of 39. Now, six years later, he has decided to risk his political future on reshaping France at the very point where it is most resistant to change.

Mr. Macron’s battle with the French street over his plan to raise the legal age of retirement to 64 from 62 is expected to culminate this week in a decisive vote in both houses of Parliament on Thursday. Before then, if the last several weeks are any guide, the president can expect more than a million French citizens to rally in protests around the country, hoping to beat back the change. In Paris, they will demonstrate in streets piled high with trash, uncollected because of strikes.

With his attempt to overhaul France’s pension system, Mr. Macron has taken on the fierce French resistance to a world of unbridled capitalism, the nation’s deep attachment to social solidarity and the pervasive view that a long and painful sentence of work is offset only by the liberating rewards of a pensioner’s life. It is an enormous gamble.

“Every country has a soul and the soul of France is equality,” François Hollande, Mr. Macron’s predecessor as president, famously said. Profit remains suspicious to many French people who view it as a subterfuge of the rich. The 1.28 million protesters in the streets of France last week — 3.5 million according to labor unions — had an unequivocal message for Mr. Macron: “Work less to live more,” as one slogan put it.

Note that ‘worker laziness’ is and will be, the almost silent rhetorical armature, of the Neo-Liberal Cadre’s self-presentation. Think of the Greek Crisis of 2014, and the invention of the ‘Virtuous Norther Tier’, verses the ‘Profligate Southern Tier’ reframed for this political occasion.

More samples of Mr. Cohen’s ‘reportage’ :

Mr. Macron, 45, appears unmoved, resolute in his conviction that the change is essential to France’s economic health because today’s workers pay the pensions of a growing number of retirees, who live longer.

“It’s simple,” Mr. Macron said last year. “If we do not solve the problem of our retirees, we cannot invest in all the rest. It’s nothing less than a choice of the society we want.”

That may be logical, but the reservoir of sympathy on which Mr. Macron could once depend has evaporated. The pivot point of his second term, still less than a year old and accompanied until now by sense of drift, appears imminent.

Europe’s wunderkind is wounded. To some degree, he is vulnerable. Yet he insists, in the quixotic style he has often demonstrated, on the most difficult of changes at a time when 40 percent of French families say they struggle to make ends meet.

Cohen gives the game away with this descriptor: ‘Europe’s wunderkind’ . He has written a 1,546 word exercise in apologetic propaganda.

What to make of this from Political Technocrat Alain Duhamel ?

Mr. Macron’s hodgepodge centrist political party, Renaissance — formerly known as La République en Marche — with the backing of the center-right Republicans, should prevail, but support seems to be wavering and the outcome is unclear. Renaissance holds 260 seats and the Republicans 61, with 289 votes needed for a majority.

“It’s not a given that the reform passes,” said Alain Duhamel, an author and political commentator. “A month ago, I would have said 80 percent it goes through; now I would say 60 percent. Macron has taken a risky gamble. The logic of it is evident, but not the urgency.”

The Reader can work her way through this political monstrosity. That ends here, on the note of ‘healing’ , an exercise in Bourgeois Centrist Babble, the sine qua non of The New York Times.

If he can push the reform through, Mr. Macron will certainly follow up with offsetting social measures, including attempts to improve working conditions and broaden on-the-job training. Mr. Beaune, the minister delegate for transport, described the core idea as “work more but work better.” 

Whether this will be enough, should the legislation pass, to heal the rift that has opened up in France over pension reform is unclear. Much will hinge on such healing, because a France at war with itself is likely to benefit the political extremes of the left and right. 

From Le Monde:

Headline: French pension reform: Trade unions fill up war chests to support strikers

Sub-headline: Trade unions can boast of large funds to help mitigate the loss of income for employees who take days off work to protest the French government’s divisive reform. One such fund has no less than €150 million.

By Thibaud Métais and Bertrand Bissuel


What might The Reader make of this @LeMonde_EN coverage of the ‘Trade Union’ response to Macron’s ‘reforms’? Can The Reader grasp the fact that ‘Class’ plays an active role in this ?

From buckets filled with spare change during protest demonstrations to online solidarity pools fed by multi-digit amounts, strike funds have reappeared in the wake of opposition to the French pension reform as national days of action – the eighth is Wednesday, March 15 – have gathered momentum. They provide support to those who take days off work and do without part of their salary, in a context aggravated by high inflation.

How many of these solidarity systems are there across France? The myriad initiatives have not been comprehensively counted to date, but an interactive map allows us to locate some of the bigger ones, as indicated by sociologist Gabriel Rosenman, a former railway worker and SUD-Rail activist, who is working on a thesis on the subject. In late 2019 and early 2020, during the mobilization against the proposed universal pension system, “up to 380 online strike funds” had been counted, he recalled.

Two main practices have emerged. One has a sectoral or local dimension. It includes, in particular, online solidarity pools opened at the initiative of union sections or federations, such as the CGT-Cheminots (Railway Workers’ Federation) or the CGT energy branch, and fed by donations, in order to support the women and men participating in “long strikes,” explained Rosenman.

“The other approach is to set up funds financed by a percentage of union dues. These funds are reserved for members and are released to allow those involved – for example, precarious workers – to participate in demonstrations of strength that take place on an ad hoc basis,” Rosenman said.

The whole of this essay, and the sub-set Legal support and The ‘balance of power’ is what Journalism is, and should be . Not Roger Cohen’s Bourgeois Centrist Babble! Macron and Macronism is the product of a retrograde nostalgia, for the utterly failed Neo-Liberalism of Hayek/Mises/Friedman, that collapsed in 2008. And demonstrates that The Coal and Steel Cartel, imagined and realized by Jean Monnet, that metastasized into the ungovernable E.U.-the failed Utopia’s of these toxic Actors, keep maladroitly re-inventing themselves, in the political present, via Public Relations experts, the misbegotten issue of Edward Bernays!

Old Socialist


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On Bob Dylan at 81, in the New York Times.

Old Socialists reminisces…

If I recall correctly I first heard Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues’ on Lloyd Thaxton Popular Music/Dance Party on KCOP channel 13 , 1965, that its was a revelation, of a kind, is to understate.

I walked to Sears Compton and bought Bringing It All Back Home and played it, on my dad’s old portable record player : Strauss Waltzes, his favorite, I even liked them. I next purchased The Times They Are A-Changin’ to my disappointment this from his Folk Period. Followed by Highway 61 Revisited , Blonde on Blond , John Wesley Harding.

After that I went to Compton College, and Cal-State Long Beach, as it was known then, being a Highschool Dropout was … no more records, or even a radio, for some years. My interest in Dylan just faded into the background.

What caught my attention today was this ‘story’ in The New York Times, by Jim Windolf. In New York Times World ‘you’ have to be Trump, Putin, Xi Jinping or Ye (Kanye West) to qualify for bad press!

Headline: Bob Dylan, at 81, Still Gives the Camera What It Wants

Sub-headline: A new ad campaign for the fashion brand Celine highlights the troubadour’s hidden talent.

Although he comes from a time when musicians risked being called sellouts for endorsing products, Mr. Dylan has had seemingly no compunction about lending his image and songs to advertisements for Apple, Pepsi, Cadillac, Airbnb, IBM and several other corporations. Perhaps most memorably, he appeared, along with the model Adriana Lima, in a 30-second TV commercial for Victoria’s Secret in 2004. That appearance seemed to make good on something he said during a 1965 news conference. “If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?” one of the many reporters in the room asked him. “Ladies’ garments,” Mr. Dylan replied.

Mr. Slimane photographed Mr. Dylan in Los Angeles in December. In one portrait, the 81-year-old Nobel laureate is shown with an acoustic guitar. In another, he is playing a Gibson electric. For fans who have seen him on his recent concert tours, the sight of him with those instruments was noteworthy: His main weapon of choice of late has been the piano or organ. “Dylan’s been 99.9 percent keyboard-based for 20 years now, but he actually did pull a guitar out a few times not too long ago,” Ray Padgett, who chronicles his live performances in the Substack newsletter “Flagging Down the Double E’s,” wrote in an email.

To speak in the rhetorical mode of the very distant past: is Bob Dylan just another ‘sellout’? To reach even further back in time, a Clifford Odets, or like a Bud Schulberg, or even an Elia Kazan? Maybe these last two examples, too much? Or as my friend Sandy opined, Dylan was ‘just exploring new opportunities’, she, in thrall to Neo-Liberalism’s etiolated vocabulary, of the self-serving…

Just listening to Dylan’s Murder Most Foul almost 17 minutes of rambling lamentation: American Historical personalities, Musicians , The Zapruder film, Oswald and Ruby make their appearances : the reader can find the full cast of characters here. If The Reader was expecting “J’accuse…!” she would be – is it Dylan in his dotage?

Old Socialist

P.S. I forgot one of the most important political/propaganda figures, on the Warren Commission: Assistant counsel, Arlen Specter, who invented the ‘Magic Bullet Theory’, a fiction that became exemplary of Warren Commission Science.

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@nytdavidbrooks plumbs the depths of the belief in ‘The Self-Destructive Effects of Progressive Sadness’: or Brooks as a would-be Freud?

Former Analysand comments.

The first paragraphs of Mr. Brooks’ essay are attempt to establish his premises, via a potted social history, what else to name this meander?

One well-established finding of social science research is that conservatives report being happier than liberals. Over the years, researchers have come up with a bunch of theories to explain this phenomenon.

The first explanation is that conservatives are more likely to take part in the activities that are linked to personal happiness — like being married and actively participating in a religious community. The second explanation is that of course conservatives are happier; they are by definition more satisfied with the established order of things.

The third explanation, related to the second, is that on personality tests liberals tend to score higher on openness to experience but also higher on neuroticism. People who score high on neuroticism are vigilant against potential harms, but they also have to live with a lot of negative emotions — like sadness and anxiety.

I’ve paid only casual attention to these debates over the years, mostly because, during the Barack Obama years, for example, liberals didn’t seem sad. Massive crowds of young Democrats were chanting “Yes We Can!” at Obama campaign rallies built around hope and change. Audiences thrilled to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” an optimistic, celebratory and multiracial account of America’s founding. There was an assumption of confidence — America is moving forward, the arc of history bends toward justice.

Some quick notes on the establishing of his argument.

One well-established finding of social science research is that conservatives report being happier than liberals.

The first explanation is that conservatives are more likely to take part in the activities that are linked to personal happiness — like being married and actively participating in a religious community.

The third explanation, related to the second, is that on personality tests liberals tend to score higher on openness to experience but also higher on neuroticism.

The next paragraph include Barack Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton, a 21st Century Minstrel Show. that reflects what? Next this exhausted political cliché ‘the arc of history bends toward justice’: to paraphrase Truman Capote this isn’t writing but typing. Freud was, at the least, an inventive, if befuddling propagandist! Perhaps that was the point of the Dead Letter of Psychoanalysis, and Mr. Brooks ‘free associations’?

Here is a critical review of Chernow’s book on Hamilton, that was the basis Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway kitsch,

Headline: Hamilton: a flawed portrait: Chernow supposes too much and verifies too little.

By Willard Sterne Randall  |  May 2, 2004


I’ve paid only casual attention to these debates over the years, mostly because, during the Barack Obama years, for example, liberals didn’t seem sad. Massive crowds of young Democrats were chanting “Yes We Can!” at Obama campaign rallies built around hope and change. Audiences thrilled to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” an optimistic, celebratory and multiracial account of America’s founding. There was an assumption of confidence — America is moving forward, the arc of history bends toward justice.

More Brooks historical reductivism, at high speed ‘free association’ :

Gradually, that atmosphere changed. First, smartphones and social media emerged and had a negative effect on the nation’s psyche, especially among the young. Then the election of Donald Trump darkened the national mood, on right and left.

Young liberals were hit especially hard. A 2021 study by Catherine Gimbrone, Lisa M. Bates, Seth J. Prins and Katherine M. Keyes looked at the emotional states of 12th-grade students between 2005 and 2018. Liberal girls experienced a surge in depressive symptoms. Liberal boys weren’t far behind. Conservative boys and girls also suffered from higher rates of depressive symptoms, but not nearly as much as liberals. Sadness was linked to ideology.

The sentences/paragraphs now become the historical descriptors of Brooks as diagnostician of a ‘receding’ American Malady:

Lord knows the right has gone off on its own jarring psychological journey of late, but many on the left began to suffer from what you might call maladaptive sadness

First, a catastrophizing mentality. For many, America’s problems came to seem endemic: The American dream is a sham, climate change is so unstoppable, systemic racism is eternal.

Second, extreme sensitivity to harm. This was the sense many people had that they were constantly being assaulted by offensive and unsafe speech, the concerns that led to safe spaces, trigger warnings, cancellations, etc.

Second, extreme sensitivity to harm. This was the sense many people had that they were constantly being assaulted by offensive and unsafe speech, the concerns that led to safe spaces, trigger warnings, cancellations, etc.

This rhetorical style is also self-destructive. When maximalist denunciation is the go-to device, then nobody knows who’s going to be denounced next.

say that liberal sadness was maladaptive because the mind-set didn’t increase people’s sense of agency; it decreased it. Trying to pass legislation grounds your thought in reality and can lead to real change.

Brooks’ final paragraph gives way to hope?

I share the widespread sense that the “woke” era is winding down. Things are calming down. I hope people are coming to the same corny conclusion I have: If you want healthy politics, encourage people to have confidence in their ability to make a difference — don’t undermine that confidence.

Former Analysand

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@NYT opines on the ‘evolving danger’ of ‘West Bank Armed Groups’.

Political Observer comments.

@NYT is getting nervous about:

Headline: In West Bank, New Armed Groups Emerge, and Dormant Ones Stir

Sub-headline: The small but influential Lions’ Den network has attracted young Palestinians disappointed by their leaders and angry at Israeli violence. Veteran fighters are restless, too.

Isn’t the right to resist the occupier codified?

Headline: Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle

Sub-headline; It’s time for Israel to accept that as an occupied people, Palestinians have a right to resist – in every way possible.


Stanley L Cohen is an attorney and human rights activist who has done extensive work in the Middle East and Africa.

Long ago, it was settled that resistance and even armed struggle against a colonial occupation force is not just recognised under international law but specifically endorsed.

In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (pdf), as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere.

Finding evolving vitality in humanitarian law, for decades the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) – once described as the collective conscience of the world – has noted the right of peoples to self-determination, independence and human rights.  

Indeed, as early as 1974, resolution 3314 of the UNGA prohibited states from “any military occupation, however temporary”.

In relevant part, the resolution not only went on to affirm the right “to self-determination, freedom and independence […] of peoples forcibly deprived of that right,[…] particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination” but noted the right of the occupied to “struggle … and to seek and receive support” in that effort. 

The Times opinion columnists, Tom Friedman and Bret Stephens, are unapologetic apologists for Zionism: that has reached the point of Fascisms, under Netanyahu and his gang of armed, porcine thugs, aided by a lawless ‘Settler Cadre’.

Political Observer

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On The Political Rehabilitation of Ian Buruma, @TheEconomist & @FT.

Political Observer comments.

The doubtful Reader should consult The Economist, here:

Headline: Three stories of collusion during the second world war

Sub-headline: Ian Buruma examines the motive s and results of betrayal in “The Collaborators”


The Reader confronts this benign sentence:

That, broadly, is the theme that holds together these three stories of the second world war, told in intricate but fascinating detail by Ian Buruma, a prolific Dutch-born chronicler of modern times.

The New York Times of Sept. 19, 2018 offers this:

Headline: New York Review of Books Editor Is Out Amid Uproar Over #MeToo Essay

From reading Cara Buckley’s reporting Buruma seems removed from anything like responsibility-perhaps he was not used to dealing with criticism, for what appears to be, in sum, his laziness or just disinterest? Might this be key to reading his latest book as ‘chronicler of modern times.’ ? Could this be the place holder for ‘History’ , of a kind? The New York Review ‘scandal’ never appears in The Economist essay! Buruma as a victim of #MeToo, makes him very attractive to The Economist?

The Financial Times offer a review of Mr. Buruma’s book here:

Headline: The Collaborators — case studies in survival and betrayal

Sub-headline: Ian Buruma profiles three figures whose wartime actions remained mired in accusations of treachery — and delusion


Again there is no mention of Mr. Buruma being fired from The New York Review of Books! The concluding paragraphs of Rana Mitter’s essay, a professor of the history and politics of modern China, University of Oxford, offers Buruma’s book as reflective of: ‘We are living through another era when resistance and collaboration are real, and Buruma’s powerful book is also a warning for our own times.’ In sum Buruma writes a History, and Rana Mitter maladroitly attaches America’s Proxy War in Ukraine, to ‘a warning for our own times.’

Weinreb’s hometown is now known as Lviv, in western Ukraine. Today, resistance is the most visible Ukrainian reaction to the horror of the Russian assault. But the Ukrainian authorities are investigating some 450 cases of collaboration in areas liberated from Russia late last year. Many of those accused will have faced choices similar to those of Kersten or Weinreb: should they try their luck by profiting from new masters, or just try to survive in dangerous and turbulent circumstances?

Still other Ukrainians are wrestling with dilemmas of identity; just as being Chinese or Japanese became a sharp binary choice for Kawashima in the war of the 1930s, so speaking Ukrainian or Russian now becomes a signifier of identity too. We are living through another era when resistance and collaboration are real, and Buruma’s powerful book is also a warning for our own times.

Political Observer

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