Macron can’t fob off the Left with peanuts

The Week (US) - - 14 News - Pas­cal Riché


Now we know what Em­manuel Macron meant when he pledged to gov­ern from nei­ther Right nor Left, said Pas­cal Riché. The French pres­i­dent’s eco­nomic pol­icy has turned out to be solidly rightwing, but to make up for it, he’s dis­tract­ing the Left with sym­bolic ges­tures. He is plan­ning a na­tional day of com­mem­o­ra­tion of the events of May 1968, when France teetered on the brink of revo­lu­tion: There were gen­eral strikes, fac­to­ries were oc­cu­pied, stu­dents hurled rocks at po­lice. It’s a risky gam­bit for Macron. For years, bring­ing up that mo­ment in his­tory was taboo, avoided by both Left and Right for fear of un­leash­ing new pas­sions. Then, in 2007,

Ni­co­las Sarkozy vowed to “liq­ui­date” the her­itage of May 1968, blam­ing its left­ist le­gacy for in­tro­duc­ing an “any­thing goes” cyn­i­cism into French pol­i­tics. Macron seems to be go­ing to the other ex­treme. A tech­no­crat, who ti­tled his re­cent book Révo­lu­tion, he knows how to co-opt French myths for his own ends. But will an­noy­ing the Right re­ally pla­cate those who feel be­trayed by his mar­ket re­forms? Help­ing out France’s rich­est peo­ple by abol­ish­ing the wealth tax—an ex­tra levy for peo­ple with more than $1.5 mil­lion in as­sets—is hardly bal­anced by “serv­ing up bowls of peanuts to com­mem­o­rate an un­fin­ished revo­lu­tion.”

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