Small attempt to theorize a democracy of “poles of attraction” where the decomposition of the political landscape into three blocks would actually be the emergence of another political geometry. An attempt to see reasons for hope in news that is both gloomy and worrying, about the D-6 in the second round of the presidential elections.
“The crumbling of the political landscape continues! Such is the general tenor of the comments of political commentators the day after the first round of the presidential elections. The PS less than 2%, LR less than 5%: there are good reasons to see a political earthquake. But are the three emerging blocs just a fragile and ephemeral aggregation, as Thomas Legrand suggests, for example, in his Monday morning editorial? He points out that neither Mélenchon, nor Le Pen, nor Macron owe their score to a deep adherence to their “vanishing” project but to circumstances that brought together voters from different sides: for example, the environmentalists in Mélenchon or the liberal right in Macron. . For Legrand, the decomposition is still in progress and he is desperate to see the recomposition dawn.
The same day I read on LinkedIn (yes, yes, this professional social network is becoming more and more a space for reflection on today’s world) a post by Florent Guignard, known for having created a very pedagogical magazine to decode politics, The Dranch. For him, in effect, there is the emergence of three ideological poles in France that are no longer located on a right-left line. I will summarize it for you but I invite you to look for it on LinkedIn. The pole embodied by Emmanuel Macron has as its “main belief that economic growth will bring progress and individual well-being.” The second, gathered around Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, is the nationalist/identitarian/sovereignist pole. The third pole “believes that the priority should be the preservation of the environment, the fight against climate change and a better distribution of wealth”. These three poles are, for him, three autonomous ideologies and “there is no reason for the capitalist or liberal ideology to be in the center. This dogma is neither more moderate nor more reasonable than the other two. Therefore, it would be better to represent them in the form of a triangle”, he concludes.
It is useful to see clearly that there is no a priori evidence for putting a post in the center. Each pole has its own ideological coherence and relative autonomy. We are no longer in the logic of a vast central pole and two extremes struck symmetrically by anathema, as so many analysts conveniently thought after the 2017 presidential elections. This political configuration is impossible to sustain over time. That would be equivalent to considering that the “circle of reason” –self-proclaimed as such– is the only legitimate one to govern the country, and that for an indefinite time! No democracy can work like that. The triangle removes us from the lazy demonization of the two poles hitherto described as extreme. Getting out of demonization does not mean absolving everything: each pole has its dark side. Naturally, we know how to emphasize that of the nationalist pole, often also in that of the social-ecological pole (the Khmer Greens, not to mention the specific reproaches to Mélenchon). Too often we forget to point out the dead ends and injustices of the work and grow model.
Three poles without a possible majority?
What worries us with this tripartition is that there is no longer possible bipolarization and majority election, so convenient in our representative democracies. It is not because one pole has slightly more votes than the other two that it is legitimate. A very relative majority in a world as chaotic as ours does not provide any solid basis for a government. Is there then a need for formal alliances between two poles? The German example would perhaps push us to go in this direction: a long and precise negotiation of a government pact undoubtedly allows for a peaceful democracy. But does it suit the French situation? I’m not sure about that.
Perhaps we should imagine something else: a “situational alternation” between the different poles. Depending on the circumstances, one pole could draw the edges of the other two poles to itself, as Macron was able to do by bringing together Hulot on one side and Le Maire and Darmanin on the other. The coherence of the binomial is only sustained if the personal equation of the President is in tune with the real situation in the country. In fact, there was a “Macron moment”, but this only made sense if the modernization of the country would continue and be energizing and beneficial for all. Macron was in a way a revival of Giscardism fueled by the fantasy that we had not been able to rid ourselves of the old heaviness of a country too accustomed to expecting everything from the welfare state. We now know that the startup nation was an outdated dream, unable to respond to current challenges: ecological crisis, health crisis, geostrategic crisis. The State spontaneously recovers its place but without a vision of what it should be in the future. We thought that to a large extent we could do without it and we found ourselves managing it in the old way since we did not imagine the new relationships that it must weave with society. It would be necessary to invent a logic of Public/Common Associations when we have never stopped thinking about PPP (Public/Private Associations).
The identity pole, a pole without an attraction effect?
Faced with this collapse of the Macronian dream that the non-campaign has cruelly brought to light, and because the socio-ecological pole has not been able to complete its spectacular rise, we are faced with the danger that it will be the turn of the nationalist pole to successfully conquer the Presidency, this electoral grail. Focused on the conquest of the grail, we do not see that the exercise of the State has nothing to do with the electoral battle. Neither the fantasy of identity nor the Macronian dream is in tune with the times. The aspiration to withdraw, the fear of the other exist of course, but they are sad passions that do not create any impulse, any desire. If Macron was able to make people want to join him, if his pole could be a radiant and attractive moment for a fringe of the other two poles, I am deeply convinced that President Le Pen would not be able to have this effect. domino. . . The legislative elections could turn out to be impossible to win, forcing him just a few months after his election to live together… or to a coup d’état. Obviously, we would quickly fixate on the profound reality of it. Baudruche or apprentice dictator. I cannot conceive of a lasting confinement in lepenismo. Our society is much more resistant to regulation than worried Republicans imagine. Without certainty or naivete, I remain part of the lineage of Alain de Vulpian, oh so socioperceptive, and I want to believe in the vitality of a profoundly democratic society despite everything.
A Macronian pole that can save the presidency but has lost its aura, a nationalist pole that can win but will not have the capacity to drag society in its disastrous wake, then remains the third pole, the one that has lost but is however, the most in tune with the imagination of the world to come. Let us recall the study of the observatory of utopian perspectives that showed that the French had an ecological utopia in mind.
Emergence of the socio-ecological pole in the Legislative?
Let us return for a moment to the fertile intuition of Bruno Latour. Inside ” Where to land? said that the front line between Global and Local that had characterized modernity no longer held and had to be replaced by Earthly Y Above the ground. It is this emergence of the “terrestrial” question that has undermined the classic opposition between conservatism attached to local identities and modernism open to the global world.
The Terrestrial is this new composition between the global necessary to avoid the confinement of identity and the local to avoid the arrogance of infinite growth. Where the left-right divide put the liberal pole at the center of the game, the Land-Air divide now puts the environmentalist pole at the center of the game, in charge of articulating the global and the local. In other words, we understand that the socio-ecological pole can involve the part of the macronists who believe in entrepreneurship as long as it is an “entrepreneurship with a mission” in strong interaction with the interests of society; one can also imagine that conservationists attached to the land could contribute to a form of ecology attentive to the quality of soils and essential landscapes for the renewal of biodiversity.
This potentially attractive pole is still hampered by our political system focused on presidential extravagance (which fits the other two poles very well). There is a form of humility consubstantial to the socio-ecological pole. Mélenchon knew for a while skillfully playing with I and WE, his ego and his emphasis” people But ambivalence is hard to embody in the long run. We quickly see duplicity there.
The legislative elections can therefore be an opportunity for this pole, since there is not one but 577 elections. If it knows how to overcome its multiple divisions, the third pole is capable of placing itself at the center of the game and taking advantage of this rare moment when egos are at a minimum and the expectations of unity are heightened by the successive failure of the popular and presidential primary. Neither the PS nor the Greens can dictate the law. Mélenchon is out of the game and the young shooting guard still hasn’t let go due to the emergence of a new leader. The legislative elections could be played, then, not for the support of a savior but for the fidelity to a promise, that of 2015, that of maintaining the habitability of the Earth. A detailed program of sectoral measures is not needed to gather this majority. Let us also move away from the illusion of the effectiveness of impeccable majorities. What is needed is clear direction and strong negotiating skills.
Such an investment remains unlikely, but I am an incorrigible explorer of even the most unlikely possibilities. And to admit that having only the rejection of the worst as a horizon sterilizes politics. At a time when we have the imperative to be immensely creative. So, this alternative to both the worst and the least evil is up to us to imagine and build it.
Hervé Chaygneaud-DupuyGuest columnist for UP’ magazine – Essayist – Consultant in sustainable development and dialogue with stakeholders
Author of “Citizen for what to do? Building a social democracy”, Social Chronicle editions.
The original of this text appeared on Mr. Chayneaud-Dupuy’s blog, persopolitique.fr
With warm thanks to the author.
header illustration : ©Anne Derenne