On The French Political Melodrama episode DLVII: the gilets jaunes don’t seem to be going away! Almost Marx comments

As reported at RFI, the gilets jaunes as a political force does not seem to be ebbing :

‘More than 50,000 people turned out for Act VIII of the yellow vest protests on Saturday.Although peaceful overall,  there were violent clashes in Paris and other big cities in the west France. In Paris, a government spokesperson had to be evacuated from his offices.’

More at The Guardian:

France’s gilets jaunes movement has continued its national action for an eighth successive weekend with demonstrations across the country.

In Paris, there were violent clashes between police and protesters attempting to reach the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of parliament on Saturday. Riot police forced demonstrators back using teargas after coming under a hail of projectiles.

A restaurant boat on the Seine was set alight along with dozens of scooters and motorbikes.

On the Boulevard Saint Germain in the centre of Paris, tourists looked on as a group of protesters, most of whom were not wearing the eponymous yellow vests, blocked the street with a barricade made of rubbish bins, barriers and Christmas trees from a nearby market, which they set alight.

Macron and his political fellow traveler Benjamin Griveaux’s call for : He said Macron had called on ministers to be “more radical” in their attempt to reform the country. In sum , what is called for was defined by the Thatcherite Radicalism of Fillon. The labeling of Macron’s  Jupertarian Politics as a ‘centrist government’ when it is a Neo-Liberal government, only points to the utter lack of the credibility of this newspaper, while the Luke Harding/Manafort fraudulent reporting remains an unaddressed question!

Protesters have rejected concessions announced by Macron aimed at responding to public anger, prompting the government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, to accuse them of insurrection.

“The gilets jaunes movement for those who are still mobilised have become agitators who want insurrection and, basically, to overthrow the government,” Griveaux said.

“They have engaged in a political battle to contest the legitimacy of the government and president. These people who call for debate don’t want to take part in our national debate. I call on them to participate.”

He said Macron had called on ministers to be “more radical” in their attempt to reform the country.

Griveaux was evacuated from his office on Saturday afternoon after “several individuals” used a mechanical digger to break down the door. The government spokesman was taken out of a back door after the intruders reportedly smashed through a grille into the courtyard of an annex to the finance and economy ministry where he has his office.

Afterwards Griveaux said it was not a personal attack, but one on the republic. It is not known if the intruders are linked to the gilets jaunes movement.

The group has turned down the president’s invitation to take part in a national debate, due to begin this month, describing it as a “political trap”. In an open letter read outside Paris city hall on Saturday, they warned Macron: “Anger will turn into hate if from your pedestal, you and your like treat ordinary people like beggars, the toothless, those who are nothing.”

This is a direct reference to Macron’s televised new year message in which he targeted those who “claim to speak in the name of the people” but who are “nothing but the voice of a hate-crowd”.

The letter demanded a “significant reduction in all taxes on essential goods” and a reduction of the privileges enjoyed by high-ranking civil servants and elected representatives.

The gilets jaunes are also demanding the president name a “respectable person” to act as mediator.

“We come together, we can do better and we will do better. And, yes, we will go further,” the letter concluded.

The final three paragraphs of this news report outlines the demands of the gilets jaunes: the 36.5% of spoiled/uncountable ballots in the final vote in the French election, have finally manifested in the politics of the gilets jaunes. The only question that remains: will the dull-witted enarque Macron, and his henchman Griveaux, strike the match to ignite this powder cage?

Almost Marx




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On ‘Becoming Freud’ : Adam Phillips as incompetent Freudian Apologist/Propagandist. A comment by Philosophical Apprentice

I am reading ‘Becoming Freud’ and read this paragraph with amazement :


An apt analogy of Mr. Phillips book: a Studio Head, in the Golden Age of Hollywood, calling in The Wise Hack to do a re-write on a property. Such is Mr. Phillips’ role as the intellectually mendacious redeemer of the Legend of Freud. Call this intervention by its name propaganda!

Freud always presented Psychoanalysis as a Science, not a tool for Jewish Emancipation, from European oppression in all its iterations, but as a methodology for liberation from the interaction between the Id, Ego and Super-Ego and the malign Unconscious. Freud constructs a Melodrama taking place inside the person. But this quote should put the readers mind at rest as to Freud’s commitment to Jews and Judaism:

How can a person raised in ‘complete ignorance of of everything that concerned Judaism’, a  defender of Enlightenment rationality, the author of a ‘Science’ called Psychoanalysis be allied in the project of Jewish Emancipation as Mr. Phillips presents it?

That Phillips somehow thinks that part  of his readership might not be former analysands, and or readers/explorers of Freud and his critics strikes this reader as the myopia of the propagandist: the evidence that leads this reader to that conclusion is the Phillips engages in the denaturing of the language of Freud, his arcane jargon,  to borrow Adorno’s more that fitting description of Heidegger’s rhetorical practice,  is disappeared, in favor of a set of easily understood concepts. All of this is made more palatable by Phillips’ fluid writing style, that serves him well.

To put it bluntly Phillips writes in a time in which the Freud Legend is at its nadir. The reason being, that the critical evaluation of Freud has been the undoing of his ‘Science’ and the rise of Freud as Metaphysician, Jewish Liberator or Jewish Story Teller. In Phillips re-write of Freud: he is what you desire him to be!

Mr. Phillips ‘Becoming Freud’  is the perfect candidate for an Audio Books, since the footnotes are merely superfluous scholarly  garnish, to his version of Freud.  Or to be blunt its like Velveeta Cheese, its ‘processed cheese food’ an ersatz version of the real thing.  It is destined to end up casually placed on coffee tables, or night stands, to give the impression that its possessor is well read!  I found my copy on the remainder table for $4.00

Here is a link to my essay, that contains a long list of writers who approached Freud in a critical way. I can recommend the work of Frederic Crews and John C. Ferrell :

‘Eli Zaretsky on Political Freud, a comment by Philosophical Apprentice’

For the surprising literary antecedent to Freud’s ‘psychoanalytic project’, Cervantes’ Quixote,  see ‘Freud’s Paranoid Quest,Psychoanalysis and Modern Suspicion by John C. Farrell, Chapter 6 ‘Freud as Quixote’:


And see this unsurprisingly hostile review of Mr. Farrel’s book in the New York Times by Sarah Boxer titled ‘Flogging Freud’:


Some of the Evaluations of Freud and Psychoanalysis:

Freud, Biologist of the Mind by Frank Sulloway

Freud Evaluated, The Completed Arc by Malcolm Macmillan https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/freud-evaluated

The Memory Wars, Freud’s Legacy in Dispute by Frederick Crews https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Memory_Wars

Follies of the Wise, Dissenting Essays by Frederick Crews https://books.google.com/books/about/Follies_of_the_Wise.html?id=SKQGIZHuhW8C

Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend by Frederick Crews http://www.amazon.com/Unauthorized-Freud-Doubters-Confront-Legend/dp/0670872210

Freudian Fallacy: An Alternative View of Freudian Theory by E.M. Thornton


The Psychoanalytic Movement: The Cunning of Unreason,3rd Edition by Ernest Gellner, Forward by Jose Brunner


Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry by Thomas Szasz



Which includes many of the books I have read on Freud since I entered therapy in 1969.

Philosophical Apprentice


Added January 04,2019


March 17, 1985 New York Times

Daniel Goleman reports on psychology for The Times. Excerpts from Freud’s letters are from ”The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904,” translated and edited by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson; Cambridge, Mass., and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, c 1985 Sigmund Freud Copyrights Ltd. and J. M. Masson; to be published in April 1985.

WHEN SIGMUND FREUD learned in 1936 that his letters to Wilhelm Fliess, the German doctor who had been his closest friend at the turn of the century, had been purchased from a bookseller by his student, Princess Marie Bonaparte, he was aghast. Freud, by then world famous as the father of modern psychotherapy, wrote her immediately, saying: ”Our correspondence was the most intimate you can imagine. It would have been highly embarrassing to have it fall into the hands of strangers . . . I do not want any of them to become known to so-called posterity.” He later asked her to destroy them.

Almost a half-century later, the full text of that correspondence is being published. The letters have appeared, in part, before; the new edition, however, to be published next month, is the first complete and unexpurgated version. In it, passages never seen before, or quoted only in part or out of context, can be read in full, their meanings and implications presented for all to see.


Freud’s mania for controlling the narrative on his self-conception as an hero figure, is simply confirmed in the first paragraphs of this long report on the Fliess/Freud correspondence by Daniel Goleman. Freud writes to Princess Marie Bonaparte:

”Our correspondence was the most intimate you can imagine. It would have been highly embarrassing to have it fall into the hands of strangers . . . I do not want any of them to become known to so-called posterity.” He later asked her to destroy them.



Added January 05, 2019

Here is more of  Phillips’ breathtaking historical/personal phantasmagoria:

Begin at ‘Out of the turbulent ,uprooted history…’ . The reader can call this by its rightful  name, a Freudian Melodrama aided by Lacan’s borrowings from Saussure. And ending in ‘…the individual’s desire for extinction.’ Don’t call this pessimism, but the expression of Freudian nihilism, pronounced by a revisionist’s failed attempt at his project.



Added January 05, 2019 1:00 PM PST

Its taken some time to come to this realization: what I’ve offered as an explanation for Phillips’ style of argument, as ‘historical/personal phantasmagoria’ is that he engages in the most important tools of Psychoanalysis ‘free association’, in a biographical/historical/personal key. That appears, at first reading, as that phantasmagoria but is simply an adaptation of Freud’s methodology, to discover what the patient does not want to ‘share’ with her/his analyst.

That ‘Free Association’ reads as a meandering, evocative rhetorical style, that mimics, in a way, the aphoristic style of the seer or mystic, or even the Greek Heraclitus.









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Macron Merde episode XCVII: ‘Press Ahead’ is the new slogan for Macron 2019! Almost Marx surveys the apologetics at The Financial Times

Headline:Emmanuel Macron vows to press ahead with France economic reforms

Sub-headline: President acknowledges ‘rising anger’ but calls for patience in his new year’s address

Macron in quotes:

“The results [of economic reforms] cannot be immediate and the impatience, that I share, cannot allow for any renunciation.”

Mr Macron also called out those who “take the pretext of speaking in the name of the people . . . [but] are only the mouthpieces of a hateful crowd”.

Mr. Keohane’s comments:

The president is battling to draw a line under a year of often violent protests in order to press on with economic reforms aimed at lifting growth and bringing down France’s stubbornly high unemployment rate.

Mr. Keohane  as political fabulist:

Elected in May 2017, Mr Macron initially rode a wave of popularity but as 2018 ends his approval rating hovers close to 20 per cent, having halved this year.

Mr. Keohane recalls a ‘wave of popularity’ for Macron. This writer recalls vividly that in the final round of voting in the French elections 36.5% of voters rendered their ballots spoiled and or uncountable. It appears that both the editors of this newspaper, and Mr. Keohane fail to make what might well be the very inconvenient connection, between a high percentage of spoiled ballots, and the rise of the gilets jaunes, and even considering the  possibly tangential, yet possibly very real connection. Macron refers to the gilets jaunes as ‘hateful crowd’ ( A riff on Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’?)

A collection of photographs of demonstrations from last weekend , December 29 & 30 2018, is clear empirical evidence  that the ‘hateful crowd’ is still a vital part of the the continuing Macron Melodrama:


Consider this report from France 24:

Headline: Security tight on Champs-Élysées as Yellow Vests call New Year protest


The above links consigns Mr. Keohane’s paragraph below in the category of the wishful thinking of a fellow traveler:

Mr Macron will hope those gestures, and the falling numbers of protesters on the streets on recent weekends, will allow him to continue with his economic reforms.

Both Macron’s unslakable ambition to be the Leader of the E.U. , even in its state of continuing crisis, first the Greeks and then the Italians! and even France’s inability to meet the EU budget rules, from The Financial Times of February 13, 2017

Headline: France on course to break EU budget rules

Sub-headline:Deficit at risk of breaching eurozone’s limit, says European Commission


The above supplies the reason for Macron’s Austerity, in that its possible failure, or even a strategic backtracking, threatens his Imperial Ambitions. As replacement for  the axis of  Merkel/Schnabel/ECB, at the apex of their collective power, that crushed the Greeks.

The speculations of  ‘Citi’s economics team’ has a  special resonance for Macron, as a former ‘Banker’ and full time Neo-Liberal Reformer.

In a recent note to clients, Citi’s economics team said the gilets jaunes protests “raise the risk of more lasting damage, if they undermine confidence in either the perpetuation of the structural reforms undertaken by Emmanuel Macron or — and more importantly in our view — if they result indirectly in further reducing the likelihood of euro area institutional reform”.

Unless “his popularity picks up again, it is not obvious why other leaders will want to emulate his unapologetically centrist, liberal, pro-European positioning,” the Citi analysts added. “Incentives to do so are inevitably influenced by the perceived political gains this positioning generates.”   

Is that  Citi’s economics team’ ready to consign Macron to the scrapheap, as another failed Neo-Liberal Reformer? That ‘team’ would have preferred the Thatcherite radical Fillon, anyway.  From the January 27 , 2018 edition of the Telegraph:

Headline: Francois Fillon – A year on, the extraordinary fall of the would-be French president is back under the microscope

A year after his likely victory over the political upstart Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential elections was scuppered by a scandal over his British wife, François Fillon is back in the news.

Who killed François Fillon?, to be broadcast on BFMTV, is one of a pair of documentaries due to air next week to mark the moment the conservative candidate’s bid for the Elysée was fatally damaged by a report in a weekly investigative magazine.

His name is also splattered over a slew of newspaper and magazine reports that pore over the weeks after it was revealed by the Canard Enchainé that he paid his wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ euros for an allegedly fake job as his parliamentary assistant.

The devastating report came as Mr Fillon, a former prime minister under president Nicolas Sarkozy, was riding high in the opinion polls, tipped to easily beat both the far-Right candidate Marine Le Pen and the newcomer Mr Macron in the presidential race.

But his past suddenly caught up with him and he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Now the disgraced Mr Fillon has abandoned politics, and his Republicans party, which in its former guise had ruled the country for decades, is reduced to a rump in parliament and is bitterly divided over its divisive new leader’s plans to move it to further to the right.


Almost Marx









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@JananGanesh ‘s injunction: Don’t mourn Bohemia ! Old Socialist comments

Headline: Don’t mourn bohemia — it’s everywhere now

Sub-headline: We think of offbeat enclaves as a thing of the past. But bohemia isn’t gone, it’s just permeated the whole of city life

Mr. Ganesh resumes his rightful place as feuilletonist ,in residence, at The Financial Times, with the exception of the  paraphrases from the erstaz pop sociology of David Brooks, from 2000’s ‘Bobos’. And his claim  ‘I write this as a Bobo with Bobo friends’ – how could Mr. Ganesh allow himself to be subject to the dull-witted reductionism of the trivializing, not to speak of the malign, Mr. Brooks?

Brooks, who morphed into a War Monger, and then into a staunch defender of the IDF’s mass murder of Palestinians. Brooks’ roll-a-coaster de-evolution from Kulturkritik to War monger, and then to the status of self-appointed Political Moralist, makes real the the fact that America is about the rhetorical/political reification of self-created fictions.  The United States of Amnesia is allied to James’ ‘bitch goddess’ of success, as the ultimate measure of the worth of male hetero humans!

Old Socialist


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Stephen Kotkin voices a telling critique of Canadian Frontiersman & full time political/cultural hysteric Jordan Peterson, in the TLS. American Writer comments

Stephen Kotkin voices a telling critique of Canadian Frontiersman & full time political/ cultural hysteric Jordan Peterson in the TLS:

(The clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson contributes a new  twelve-page foreword excoriating Marxism, which in its banalities adds nothing to Ericson’s original foreword.)

P.S. Note that Mr. Kotkin’s remark on Peterson is parenthetical!

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janan.ganesh@ft.com political misapprehensions episode DLXXII: The Democratic Party has rejoined The Party of War. A comment by American Writer

There are in Mr. Ganesh’s latest political feuilleton some serio-comic moments. His perpetual political misapprehension, or is it a cultivated ignorance? that  deserve highlighting , my focus will be as selective as Mr. Ganesh’s!

“Turn out the lights when Mattis leaves”, tweeted Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, upon the defence secretary’s resignation last week.

The ‘Center’ of American political life is now dominated by the alliance between the New Democrats and the Neo-Conservative. Rep. Schiff is a true believer in that Party Line: Russian Revanchism and the myth of ‘Russian Meddling’ in the 2016 election. In sum a full time political hysteric for the New Cold War.

It took the trauma of Mr Trump’s presidency to focus Democratic minds.

Mrs. Clinton was always ‘tougher than any man in the room’ i.e. the absolute ally of the Neo-Conservative War Mongers! The house -broken Schiff just repeats the Party Line!

These intellectual conversions go beyond policy to ways of seeing the world. Parts of the left took to relativism as it oozed out of the universities in the 1970s.

Relativism’ was the Party Line of the critics of Rorty and Post-Modernists like Derrida- too sophisticated for this newspaper writer! Its echos the yammerings of Canadian Frontiersman Jordan Peterson’s attack on the Marxist-Postmodernists, based on his cultivated historical ignorance, masquerading as the current expression of  The Patriarchal Enlightenment!

None of this is to mock. Democrats are ending up in the correct place on lots of issues, even if tardily and for the wrong reasons. Nor is this phenomenon unique to American progressives.

A very sophisticated iteration of ‘mocking’ is Mr Ganesh’s metier! What is an American ‘Progressive’? The drivel that used to be the calling card of Neo-Liberal Ariana Huffington? protege of Milton Freedman and acolyte of Obama? Those ‘Progressives’  have now come to their senses and joined The Party of War! Mr. Ganesh is in an almost celebratory mood, but he can’t leave behind his skill as polemicist!

But of all the US left’s conversions since 2016, the most consequential for the world could be its renewed commitment to American leadership, up to and perhaps including the military kind. There was nothing inevitable about it. The opposite seemed more likely not long ago.

The ‘Left’ in America is not Schiff nor any other New Democrat, but Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, and many others, newly elected to the House. An inconvenient fact, that has everything to do with Mr. Ganesh cultivated myopia!

At least since the Vietnam war soured, Democrats have been coy about the projection of hard power.

Mr. Ganesh can’t bring himself to say that America lost the Vietnam War! It didn’t ‘sour’ as he frames it, in the most trivial terms. Call it the exercise of a retrograde apologetics?

Either way, a party that was trending towards a mild pessimism about American power now increasingly seethes at the declinists, quietists and isolationists.

The ‘Declinists’ ,that Mr. Ganesh includes in his notion that the Democrats ‘seethes’ against, are the Neo-Conservatives, who are the New Democrats staunchest allies in the ‘Political Center’ that is The Party of Perpetual War!

American Writer





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At The Good Grey London Times,episode XXIII: Eamon Delaney warns of the Power Of Putin, as the urgent concern,rather than the threat of the dread ‘Populists’ ! Almost Marx wonders & scoffs!

Headline: Putin poses a bigger threat than populism

We are living in momentous times. The key phenomena of 2016 and 2017 continued to dominate 2018: Brexit and Donald Trump. This was not just because of their own unpredictability and international impact but also because they illustrate a wider disruption of the established rules-based international order. This populist challenge has manifested itself in many different forms.

The opening paragraph gives the game away, framed in the political panic of an apologists for that ‘rules-based international order’ another name for American Hegemony i.e. NATO, and the EU as its partner. Call this what it is Propaganda framed in maladroit Political Melodrama! Brexit and Trump are the twin phenomenon ‘because they illustrate a wider disruption of the established rules-based international order.’ That ‘rule based international order’ didn’t just embrace the Neo-Liberal Mythology, it was its enactor, that clung to this monstrosity  until the collapse of 2008. But still it can’t emancipate itself from this failed Mythology’s thrall! This is the key element in the rise of the dread Populism, that Mr.Eamon Delaney erases from his ‘history made to measure’ : call it utterly inconvenient to his hysterical polemic!

The attack on Putin, as the historical recrudescence of the redoubtable Stalin, is this essay’s reason d’etre! But the Populists must be shamed in print as they are the witting/unwitting accomplices of the Master Political Games-man Putin!

Most notably we saw it with the often violent protests of the gilets jaunes in France, who posed a serious challenge to President Macron’s reform agenda for both France and, ambitiously, for the European Union.

The gilets jaunes’ demands are incoherent and contradictory but the protests represent an angry reaction against globalisation. It is the same with the anti-establishment sentiment behind Brexit and President Trump. Added resentment at immigration and multiculturalism has fuelled similar reactions in Germany, Hungary and Poland and the rise of strongman leaders in Turkey, Brazil and the Philippines. We should, however, not give too much validity to the motives behind these manifestations of anger. Much of it stems from a feeling of individual empowerment and negativity fed by a 24-hour news cycle and social media, which is why it can be manipulated by resourceful governments such as the meddling Russians.

‘President Macron’s reform agenda’ is the defense of the Neo-Liberalization of France. What Mr. Delaney carefully omits from his enthusiasm for the ‘Reformist’ Macron is that 36.5% of voters, in the final round of voting, rendered their ballots spoiled or otherwise uncountable. That already presents what can only be the precursors to the gilets jaunes, if the writer were being historically honest , but propaganda and honesty are antithetical practices if not concepts!

Brexit and President Trump,  added resentment at immigration and multiculturalism has fuelled similar reactions in Germany, Hungary and Poland and the rise of strongman leaders in Turkey, Brazil and the Philippines.

The above catalogue of the ‘bad actors’ and their countries of origin , simply fill out the picture of the what that ‘rules-based international order’ must contend with in the volatile politica present.

The reader is then confronted, after some nearly vacuous preliminary chatter, to the final paragraph of Mr.Delaney ‘s polemic:

One of the greatest international threats is on the edge of Europe itself: the continued threat from Russia. Not only can Vladimir Putin raise the stakes in his Ukraine incursion at will, but he has also been testing western defences, engaging in cyberattacks and meddling in the Baltics and Balkans, not to mention the poisoning of opponents. As we enter 2019, Nato and the EU will need to be more vigilant than ever.

The point of propaganda is to endlessly repeat The Party Line, allied to assuring that the reader is exposed to as many impressions of that Line as possible. As my Latin Professor repeated to us almost daily, ‘repetition is the mother of memory’! The reader can see clearly that repetition of ‘impressions’ is also the key to effective propagandizing!

Almost Marx





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