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Guide Déficits publics : La démocratie en danger (Hors collection) (French Edition)

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We reply that others are an impasse, and that ours is the only one which makes it possible to start the process of breaking with the existing order, now and everywhere it may be possible, in order to rebuild local, regional, national and international spaces, and beyond that, a world which is liveable, fair and democratic.

The Manuscripts of Tocqueville

Big business and big banks, hiring an army of lobbyists, set the political agenda both at the national and the supranational levels. In the main lines, the content and outcomes of EU neoliberal policies has been similar in all the member States. The correlative decline of democracy and loss of popular sovereignty in Europe reflect a historic shift in favour of capital and against labour. For labour this shift has amounted to a tremendous escalation of insecurity with regard to employment, income, medical care, pensions, and so forth. For capital it has meant the rapacious appropriation of national wealth propelling inequality to levels unprecedented in the post-war years.

The policies of the EU to confront the Eurozone crisis have further favoured capital while worsening the conditions of labour. They have reinforced massive unemployment, specially for the young and in the periphery, compression of the wages, a lack of investment and the decline of the public services. They have also dramatically increased the economic ascendance and the political domination of the core of Europe over the peripheries of Southern Europe and of Central Europe.

Faced with this unforgiving reality, the first requirement for the popular Left is to tackle the belief that the EU could be radically reformed from within, in other words, respecting treaties, following the channels and decision-making procedures of the European institutions.

The machinery of the EU and the authority of the ECJ ensure that the Treaties will continue to be interpreted in favour of advancing neoliberalism. Just as there is no normal politics within the EU, there is also no normal political contestation in determining the outlook of EU institutions. The EU is a transnational juggernaut geared to neoliberal and hierarchical motion.

Rather, it is a hierarchical alliance of nation states that have created the institutional framework of a single market relentlessly promoting neoliberalism. In our view, the popular sovereignty and an internationalist approach are not only compatible but also mutually necessary Therefore, the main dilemma consists of what to do whether a progressive and popular force reaches the government and sees that is not possible to apply a progressive policy without a negative and strong reaction of the economic apparatus of the EU.

In our view, the popular sovereignty and an internationalist approach are not only compatible but also mutually necessary. Thus, it is necessary to defend a political roadmap which combines the national and popular political tasks with an internationalist point of view.

This political roadmap consists in carrying out measures needed for breaking unilaterally the austerity measures, and thus to disobey the Treaties and neoliberal pacts, while building a cooperative framework with other countries within or not the EU compatible with the construction of a new solidarity and alternative economic area in Europe.

The extension of social rights and public services demands a political economy incompatible with the EU Treaties In this prospect, a radical democratic, social and labour agenda should be put in spotlight. The protection and extension of labour rights, the job creation and the extension of social rights and public services demands a political economy incompatible with the EU Treaties. In other words, the assets provide information about how the funds collected by the company have been used; and the liabilities, about the origins of those funds.

For that to become a political reality, however, the popular Left must recapture its historic radicalism, reject the mechanisms of the EMU and the EU, and accept the consequences of this disobedient policy. On that basis it could in practice defend the rights of citizens and migrants, especially of the popular classes.

There must be a rupture with the domestic power structures that have a vested interest in the current arrangements What, then, is the European popular Left to do? If the Left intends to implement radical anti-capitalist policies and effectively to confront the neoliberal juggernaut of the EU, it must be prepared for a rupture. There has to be a break, an upheaval, an overturning of prevailing conditions, for things to change in Europe. There must be a rupture with the domestic power structures that have a vested interest in the current arrangements.

There must also be a rupture with the transnational institutions of the EU that sustain the current arrangements. With regards to the economic and social policies of a popular government, the priority is to implement domestic programmes that directly challenge the power of capital. Each country would have to tailor its own programme according to its needs, but key elements would apply for all. In the short term these elements would consist in lifting austerity, re-extending labour and social rights, engaging in income and wealth redistribution and in public investment in order to satisfy immediate and fundamental needs and aspirations of the working class and the poor.

Boost domestic demand with the aim of reducing unemployment and raising incomes The priority is to lift austerity. Fiscal and monetary policy ought to be deployed to boost domestic demand with the aim of reducing unemployment and raising incomes. In a huge economy, such as the EU, the sources of demand ought to be sought domestically in the first instance. This holds for countries of the core and for those in the peripheries, but also for the hegemonic power.

Germany ought to wean itself from its destructive neo-mercantilism by focusing on its domestic economy. Boosting domestic demand would necessarily include redistributing income and wealth away from capital and toward labour. Inequality has to be tackled as a matter of urgency across Europe, in both core and periphery. It makes economic sense in several EU countries to raise wages as a means of supporting aggregate demand. It also makes economic sense to raise the tax burden on the corporations and the rich, including on wealth. Restoring labour rights and protecting employment as well as re-strengthening the welfare state through provision for health, housing, and education would be integral parts of reducing inequality.

There is nothing infeasible about such policies in contemporary Europe. It is entirely a matter of political and social choices that reflect the balance of power between labour and capital. The required policies can be divided in a social and an economic part. Concerning the social rights, a popular government should immediately:.

Il should also consequently implement a series of economic measures to protect this social agenda and its development:. But these policies imply to disobey the European treaties and institutions, and the latter will necessarily try to prevent their implementation. In fact, the election of a popular government will immediately open a period of intense counter-propaganda and initiatives of the pro-capitalist economic and political forces to neutralise its progressive policies.

It should also reassure the population concerning their savings, the value of their money and their living and working conditions, and address the other peoples of Europe in order to obtain their active support. The necessity of such a defence against the pro-capitalist counter-attack and such a strengthening of the popular support and mobilisation requires that the newly elected popular government should be prepared to promulgate decrees by the first day of its assumption of office concerning:. On this basis and at the same time, it should immediately initiate public discussions with other governments and address the other peoples of the EU in order to launch international campaigns to support these policies.

As previously mentioned, hostility should first be expected from the domestic mechanisms of power whose interests would be directly threatened. Hostility should also be expected from the mechanisms of the EU, since an industrial policy based on public ownership and a range of economic controls would run directly against the logic of the single market.

The neoliberal machine in Brussels would not tolerate a challenge to the institutional organisation of the EU and to the power of the acquis communautaire. Retaliations, be in form of sanctions, be in form of withdrawal of financing, or even the expulsion of the EU would inevitably arise. Faced with EU hostility, therefore, the popular Left should reject the single market and its institutional and legal framework.

It should argue in favour of controls on the movement of goods, services, and capital, in the absence of which it would be impossible to apply a radical programme in the direction of socialism.

Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt

It should also reject the authority of the acquis and the ECJ, thus beginning to disentangle national from community legislation. Finally, it should rely on social struggles to impose achievements in the field of production relations, wealth distribution, cooperation among the peoples, and the caring of the environment as well as on constituent processes to create new democratic institutions at the national and international levels. Ultimately there is no other way to recoup popular sovereignty. This recoup has to be compatible with internationalism, as it is open to solidarity and share policies among different peoples under a democratic cooperation.

If this implies being presented with an ultimatum to exit the EU, so be it. The crucial issue is the question of monetary sovereignty: A popular government should consider two possible options The crucial issue related with how to respond to the very probable hostile reaction of the EU institutions is the question of monetary sovereignty. A popular government should consider two possible options. A crucial step in the path of a popular government would be rejection of the EMU, under a neoliberal economic structure, as it is now.

The monetary union is the backbone of the single market, and the most effective disciplining device for the imposition of neoliberal policy and ideology. The nations of Europe do not need a common currency to engage in free and fruitful interaction with each other, and they certainly do not need the euro. Conversely, the longer the EMU perseveres and the more rigid it becomes, the more difficult it would be to implement anti-capitalist policies in Europe.

For the peripheral nations, and especially for the Southern periphery, exiting the EMU, as it is set, is imperative. Getting out of the iron trap is the way to adopt policies that could expand the economy, absorb unemployment through the creation of well-paid jobs, reduce poverty, and place countries on the path of sustained and ecologically sustainable growth. Exit is certainly not an easy process but by now there is considerable knowledge on how it could be achieved with as little disruption as possible.

Dismantling the monetary union and putting alternative arrangements in its place For the core countries the issue of the EMU is considerably more complex, since it involves altogether dismantling the monetary union and putting alternative arrangements in its place. The EMU should certainly not be replaced by unfettered competition in the foreign exchange markets. Europe requires a system of stabilising exchange rates coupled with a means of making payments among countries.

The technical knowledge to achieve these aims exists, and even some of the mechanisms of the old European Monetary System are still extant. The EU is a huge economic entity in which most trade takes place among member states. In such as economy it is certainly feasible to stabilise exchange rates and produce far better economic results than the euro has done over the two decades of its existence. For that it would be necessary to have a proper anchor country as well as applying controls on the movement of capital across Europe.

Flexibility could then return to rebalancing the external relations of EU economies. With capital controls in place it would even be plausible to devise a new joint means of payment based on principles of solidarity that would be used among European states only to facilitate international transactions and not as domestic currency.

In , it replaced the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, which had been implemented in response to the public-debt crisis in the Eurozone. It concerns only EU member States that are part of the Eurozone. There are strict conditions to this assistance. It would remove the external constraints on the operations of other EU institutions, including the policing of the fiscal activities of member states.

It would loosen the grip of the acquis by removing a host of directives and regulations. It would also remove the harshest disciplining device on labour across much of Europe. If provoked by popular forces, dismantling the EMU could be an important step against the neoliberal regime of the EU.

The political advantage of an alternative currency, even if it is simply complementary, is that it allows, without needing to get rid of the international currency, to respond to several challenges. While it facilitates the emergence of certain secondary activities, which otherwise would not occur with much extension or would be done informally, there would also be greater room for manoeuvre for public authorities to deal with payments.

It could be an ex-ante measure, in relation to possible political conflicts caused by reprisals of the EU for discrepancies due to the economic policy adopted. For example, reprisals for the deployment of policies that do not fit in the European Treaties or the Stability and Growth Pact, and which could threat or execute withdrawals of liquidity or expulsion or exit mechanisms. A distinction is made between real guarantees lien, pledge, mortgage, prior charge and personal guarantees surety, aval, letter of intent, independent guarantee. It would offer a mean of monetary sovereignty that might replace the Euro.

A complementary currency would initially be used for the payment of public employees and services related to the public sector. It would accept the payment of taxes in that currency. To avoid a rejection of the currency, it should have, in a first period at least, parity with the dominant currency. The complementary currency only could play a role of transition and cushioning, of widening the margin of manoeuvre, in an adverse context of rupture with a previous monetary zone.

The characteristics of an alternative currency, in the first instance, but that may be revisable depending on the macroeconomic and political context, could be the following:. Exiting or short-circuiting the EMU could enable concrete economic policies creating a true basis for solidarity in Europe Exiting or short-circuiting the EMU, and eventually leaving the EU, if done in order to implement policies supporting labour irrespective of its nationality against capital, is not a nationalist step, nor would it represent a return to competing and warring states in Europe.

On the contrary, it could signal the emergence of a radical internationalism that would draw on domestic strength rejecting the dysfunctional and hegemonic structures of the EU. It could enable concrete economic policies creating a true basis for solidarity in Europe, and giving fresh content to popular sovereignty and democratic rights, within or beyond existing borders. A popular government requires a long term ecological, socialist and internationalist agenda at the international level.

In this prospect, it should search new alliances within and outside Europe. It could be done by proposing a new solidary framework focused in the cooperation and integration of financial resources, fair trade agreements, exchange of raw materials energy , and investment cooperation.

The aim is to foster popular cooperation and solidarity while breaking with the constraints of the EU Treaties and institutions. The actual form and content of renewed European interaction would depend on the internal social and political regime of member states. If capitalism was challenged domestically, several forms of socialist federal integration would become possible in Europe.

That is a feasible and worthwhile aim for the European popular Left. The sooner it began to engage in open debate and to act along these lines, the better for the people of the continent. The financial crisis that broke out in continues to produce damaging social effects through the austerity policies imposed on victim populations. Bankers, financiers, politicians and regulatory bodies have failed fundamentally in the promises they made in the wake of the crisis — to moralise the banking system, separate commercial banks from investment banks, end exorbitant salaries and bonuses, and finally finance the real economy.

Economic heterodoxy and the programmes of deliquescent social democratic parties lack a structured project for the constitution of an alternative banking system. To remedy this, this proposal attempts to move towards a shared, coherent and operational proposal for an organisational plan for the banking sector and the concrete conditions for its implementation by a popular government that would come to power in Europe.

Hundreds of billions of euros have been used by the European governments to bail out dozens of private banks In the wake of the crisis, hundreds of billions of euros have been used by the European governments to bail out dozens of private banks. No measures designed to avoid further crises have been imposed on the private finance system. The concentration of banks has increased, as have their high-risk activities.

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There have been more scandals implicating the fifteen to twenty biggest private banks in Europe and the United States — involving toxic loans, fraudulent mortgage Mortgage A loan made against property collateral. There are two sorts of mortgages: 1 the most common form where the property that the loan is used to purchase is used as the collateral; 2 a broader use of property to guarantee any loan: it is sufficient that the borrower possesses and engages the property as collateral. The interest is determined by the interest rate, which may be high or low. Over 10 years, the total amount repaid will come to The repayment of the capital is not usually made in equal instalments.

In the initial years, the repayment concerns mainly the interest, and the proportion of capital repaid increases over the years. In this case, if repayments are stopped, the capital still due is higher… The nominal interest rate is the rate at which the loan is contracted. The real interest rate is the nominal rate reduced by the rate of inflation.

There are several LIBORs for some ten different currencies and some fifteen duration rates, from one day to twelve months. The authorities have merely imposed fines, usually negligible when compared to the crimes committed, which have a negative impact not only on public finance but on the living conditions of millions of people all over the world. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates. When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in , the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. The other member countries are divided into groups led by one country. As is the case for the Royal Bank of Scotland RBS , banks that were nationalised at great public expense to protect the interests of major private shareholders are planned to be — or have already been — sold back to the private sector for a fraction of their value.

Lastly, as to whether banks are now financing the real economy, the efforts deployed by the central banks have failed to spark, as yet, even the beginnings of a real recovery of the economy. Socialisation of the banking sector is a necessary condition for a change of social model Because money, savings, credit and the payment system are useful to the general interest, they should imperatively respond to a public service logic and therefore be used and managed as part of a public service.

The financial system must not be a source of profit, detached from the financing of the real economy. Socialisation of the banking sector i. The socialisation of the banking sector cannot be seen as a catchword or a demand that would be sufficient in itself and that decision-makers would apply once they had grasped its common sense. It must be conceived of as a political objective to be achieved as part of a process that is driven by citizens. Not only must existing organised social movements including trade unions make this a priority on their agendas and the various sectors local authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises, consumer associations, etc.

Only very large-scale mobilisations can ensure that the socialisation of the banking sector is actually achieved for such a measure touches the very heart of the capitalist system. Field initiatives involving the population, such as citizen audits similar to initiatives launched, among other countries, in France, Greece and Spain since , can be put in place and supported by a political force aiming at taking the government over.

Generally speaking, monetary and financial issues must no longer be perceived as somehow hallowed and out of reach, so as to create the conditions for the broadest possible involvement on these struggles. For a left-wing movement, it is fundamental to show the population the positive change resulting from the decision to no longer entrust the ownership and management of the banking system to big capital and the enormous advantages entailed by the existence of banking as a public service.

Controlling capital is not necessarily contrary to the European treaties To have room for manoeuvring once in power and to limit the risks of financial asphyxia, a popular government must establish control on capital flow.


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Controlling capital is not necessarily contrary to the European treaties. Article 65 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union introduces a number of restrictions on the freedom of capital movements, justified in particular by the fight against infringements of national laws on taxation or prudential matters or on grounds relating to public policy or public security.

These reasons were called upon for Cyprus in and for Greece in Yet even if control of capital flow was contrary to the treaties, a popular government should assume disobedience. Moreover, the question arises of the place of a measure aimed at regulating capital in the hierarchy of norms, and therefore of the possibility for a government to implement it at once. In several European countries, national regulations provide for measures to control capital movements, such as the regulation of the duration of investments, at the regulatory level and not at the legislative level.

They could therefore be applied immediately upon the coming to power of a popular government. Investment banks must be separated from retail banks in order to protect the latter A popular government should immediately and significantly regulate the financial sector in order to ensure financial stability. Investment banks must be separated from retail banks in order to protect the latter; investment banks will not benefit from any state guarantee such measures were implemented by US President F.

Roosevelt in following the October Wall Street crash. To ensure an efficient monitoring of the financial sector, an Office for Financial Security may also be set up. It would bring together monitoring bodies for banks, financial markets and insurance companies. Its mission would be to:.

Recovering control of the central bank is essential to get the state out of the clutches of the financial markets to finance public services A popular government should also monitor its central bank, with a view to resuming control on its monetary policy and financing conditions. Recovering control of the central bank is essential to get the state out of the clutches of the financial markets to finance public services. While the development of financial capitalism and deregulated finance brought down the real economy in and threatens to do so again, the socialisation of all or part of the banking sector is urgently needed.

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Indeed, two programmatic paths are emerging here: either socialise part of the banking sector with the creation of a public pole conceived of as a stepping stone towards the socialisation of the entire sector scenario 1 , or proceed from the outset to the socialisation of the entire banking system, including the financing and investment banks as well as the insurance sector scenario 2.

Socialisation refers explicitly to collectivisation in which workers make decisions and exercise control, together with customers While the use of nationalisation can lead to confusion with the takeover of banks by the ruling elites within the framework of capitalism, socialisation refers more explicitly to collectivisation in which workers make decisions and exercise control, together with customers, associations and elected representatives — this decision-making instance being further monitored by representatives of national and regional public banking instances.

We must favour a local, high-quality service that breaks with the outsourcing policies currently being pursued. Financial institution staff should be encouraged to provide genuine customer advisory services, while aggressive forced sales policies should be eradicated. However, the transition towards a socialised banking system raises several questions that a popular government will have to address. If a government programme does not provide for the socialisation of the entire banking system, the question arises of the number of banks to be socialised and the criterion of choice.

Beyond its theoretical aspect, it refers to the balance of power that a popular government can rely on, which depends on the mobilisation of the population. In almost all banking nationalisation experiments so far, investment banks have been excluded from the scope of nationalisation laws and kept in the private sector under pressure from the financial community. The establishment of a public banking service will be part of a balance of power for which it will be necessary to be well prepared.

Large shareholders and small shareholders should be treated differently When banks are socialised, the question of compensation for private shareholders also arises. Large shareholders and small shareholders should be treated differently. The major shareholders are actively or passively responsible for increasing speculative and banking activities bearing high risks for savers, the Treasury and society as a whole. Moreover, it goes without saying that the deposits will be protected. If the choice of immediate socialisation of the entire banking sector is not shared by all the forces gathered in the setting up of a popular government, the public banking pole could represent a compromise solution and give this government the means of its policy.

The socialisation of generalist banks must support the wider creation of a public banking pole or public financial pole , whose missions would be to direct credit towards useful projects — supporting an economic, ecological and social recovery plan, strengthening the productive apparatus, directing savings towards meeting social and economic needs and ensuring financial inclusion and access to financial services for all. With a view to the creation of this pole, a popular government will be able to rely on institutions already present in each country — public or semi-public financial institutions such as public investment banks have often been thoroughly misled into adopting a traditional banking behaviour whereas they should be among the key actors of the investment in the ecological transition.

It would certainly be wise to include the major mutual banks in this public sector. This would have two advantages: it would take mutual networks out of the purely financial logic of other major banking groups, and give more strength to the public sector to weigh in the face of private banks, whose socialisation would have been deferred over time in the hypothesis of a process in successive stages. As a rule, in terms of governance, each institution would retain its operating autonomy and its own management bodies in this public pole.

In the Spectator , R. What did the reviewers expect from a narrative that presented itself in this way? More often, though, the question was one of intellectual substance rather than sheer wordage. And certainly a relative absence of plot and occasionally of character development belonged to the immediate connotative field of the sketch. The Europeans was a sketch, not because it was short, or low on narrative development and complication, but because it presented its readers with a picture.

In the Academy , W. To a contemporary ear, these statements sound distinctly belletristic. The richly various characteristics that were evoked in the minds of contemporaries by the idea of the sketch disclosed a number of governing tensions. Form potentially told against feeling, the private against the public register, domestic loyalties against foreign fascinations. And if the sketch did indeed evoke expectations of immediacy and veracity, a close fidelity to the actual, its artlessness inevitably shaded off into the artful, the factitious rather than the factual. As a literary form, its very heterogeneity brought to the surface a series of conflicts about the matter and manner of literary representation.

But, as Hamilton suggests, the term possessed another set of credentials. The judgement sounds, and is, a negative one. True, Hawthorne was provincial; he was anything but an intellectual. Spectator, window, city: the same elements and a similar play between them infuse the opening scene of The Europeans.

But there is, I think, something going on here that has a larger significance than the in any case unanswerable question of whether James was thinking of Hawthorne as he drafted his opening scene. In The Europeans , as Eugenia makes her first visit to the Wentworth house, James introduces a further relationship between centre and periphery, the city and the country.

There ought to be something literary in it; retreating past, and advancing future, and deceitfully permanent present — something like that? It represents — stands for, but also conveys — the original, the unique, the transcendent. But here the terms are meteorological, a matter of temperature, light and atmosphere.

Elsewhere, although the reviewers nodded towards France and realism, their terminology had rather a different provenance. Yet they have an intensity and immediacy, a sensitivity to currents of response that run below articulate meaning, which deserves exploration. These sensory analogies nevertheless serve intriguingly to destabilize any notion of the text as the picture-effect of an object-cause, the representation of a prior presence.

In this instance, the text is no longer conceived of as the end point in a sequence mediated by an originating author. It is, rather like the window in the opening scene of The Europeans , a point of transmission, a hinge articulating separate elements. But James is not suggesting merely that content carries over into form as that in some way content is form, matter manner. America was so essentially sketchy that a more ample literary form would inevitably have failed to do it justice. Quite the contrary: the New World roadside prompts a remarkably quick and final repudiation of the proximate.

James is demonstrably sensitive to the urban environment, the massing of population, the uniform but isolating nature of consumption. The semicolon is used for emphasis, but it also establishes a limitation or gap, and in this way it comes to have semantic as well as syntactic importance. In the opening lines of The Europeans , for instance, forward movement is not particularly pronounced. To replace the first semicolon with a colon would impair the meaning. James invites the reader to read against the grain, to speculate on the relation between the graveyard and the inn and, by extension, between the occupants of these respective locations.

Replacing the semicolon in the second sentence with a colon would again damage meaning, partly because the movement of the sentence is not forwards from cause to effect but backwards from effect to cause: the Bostonians look up and down effect because they are waiting. Realism as modernism, then? In Homer, the return of Odysseus brings about timely knowledge. In the Christian tradition which for Auerbach represented the beginning of European humanism and of historicism, the shadowless landscape of Homer gave way to a very different terrain, one in which the emphasis fell more on epistemology than ontology, more on knowledge — or rather, its absence — than on vision.

Where were the two speakers in the account of the sacrifice of Isaac? The reviewers of The Europeans had no difficulty in recognizing that the effect of a literary sketch depended on what it left out. Are the figures seen by the governess at Bly ghosts or hallucinations? We are not told. Again, we are not told.

And what is the article manufactured in Woollett? Once more, we do not know. I may seem, then, to be repeating a familiar tale. But I want to pursue the point about tone because I think it sheds new light on the familiar tropes of modernity. And if we shift to the structural level, The Europeans seems again to set its face against the modern. The novel itself made repeated references to a lexicon drawn from fairy tales and the Arabian Nights. My point is not only that the scene in the drawing-room is linked to the opening scene — linked by the atmospheric connection between autumn rain and the sleet of May and still more by the posted presence of Eugenia at a window — as that both passages depend for their effect on something like allegory.

On a large canvas a white draped figure, with its back to the spectator, and with a sinister sweep of garment and gesture, prepares to pass across a threshold where, beside a rosebush that has shed its flowers, a boy figure of love staggers forth, and, with head and body reverted in entreaty, tries in vain to bar its entrance. Her surveys suggested that the self-exclusion of women from patriarchal political institutions that had long paralleled the obstacles to women in power and their exclusion by political institutions was also clearly weakening.

Where they are no longer in competition with men, she claimed, women are willing to stand for office. Many of those who originally contested parity have since reconsidered, accepting that despite its failings, there has been evidence both of political will for change and of an opening up of political possibilities for women. In their study, Pionchon and Derville concluded that the electorate was no longer discriminating against women candidates.

Writing in , Sineau, too, had also come to observe that the importance of a law must also be measured by its symbolic effects and that, despite the inadequacies of the application of parity law, it had contributed to establishing the legitimacy of women to exercise power, as evidenced by the election of Laurence Parisot to the head of the Medef , the employers union. Both Fillon governments contained as many women ministers as men.

Alongside the return of Michelle Alliot-Marie Minister for the Armed Services under Raffarin and Roslyne Bachelot, the raft of outsiders, representing the banlieues , immigration, humanitarian organizations even included the rugby coach of the French XV. Parity had also been accompanied early by another almost uncommented novelty, the opening up of local office to immigrants from European Union countries. The latter voted in and around 1, stood for office. The candidate was predictably if somewhat ironically?

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Nonetheless, the major support for Royal's presidential campaign, as elsewhere for Hillary Clinton's Presidential candidacy, the investiture of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, the respect for Angela Merkel in Germany and Michelle Bachelet in Chile indicated the desire for change in political representativity as in political language. Perhaps because custom and politics are seen as belonging to different worlds, and parity has been packaged as a form of French universalism rather than as feminism, Kanak men have generally accepted this major change in women's status despite significant absence of rights to divorce, inheritance, or protection from marital violence for women under customary law.

The election also brought a woman to head a government dominated for decades by the majority loyalist party RPCR. With her came a new party, Avenir Ensemble , and the hope of a politics of greater pluralism and redress of the continuing power imbalance between indigenous Kanak and the descendants of French settlers Maginos-Rey, Joan Scott's work , has well demonstrated these paradoxes — in the light of a Revolution that excluded or subsumed difference within the masculine, women use their difference to liberate themselves from difference.

They must therefore claim that difference is important and is not important. The issue, Fassin came to claim, had become less whether women do things differently in the public forum than how sexual difference is constructed in the play of local politics. What has also occurred, however, for Fassin , is that the universalist vs the particularist battle has shifted and now rages around other questions of identity class, religion, and globalization issues.

From concepts of liberation and the tolerance of difference, France has moved toward the right to recognition of difference and the interrogation of norms. We can reconsider the analysis, not as a source of concern of self-congratulation on the emergence of such questions' Fassin, There are indications that the discourse of parity is increasingly connoting a genuinely new, expanded and expansive political concept of equality within French political theory while still carrying its own somewhat ambivalent history.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Article First Online: 27 March For her, what was at stake behind the word was a strategic feminist victory for gender equality and perhaps even a step on a path beyond binary gender distinctions altogether.

Electoral outcomes and post-parity narratives By examining electoral outcomes and post-parity narratives, this second section of our essay considers whether parity has indeed had perverse effects or split the universalist Republic. Sineau's work had consistently argued, moreover, that ever since de Gaulle had instituted a two-round electoral system in to eliminate the Communists who also elected the largest number of women , this more personalized system that encouraged the election of local or political dignitaries has been unfavourable to women.

And again, in the elections at the level of the cantons , female representation hardly moved from its level of Google Scholar. Badinter, E. Bereni, L. CrossRef Google Scholar. Bhabha, H. Bird, K. Butler, J. Fassin, E. Fraisse, G. Gaspard, F. Maginos-Rey, Z. Bureau des Femmes du Pacifique. Murray, R. Perrot, M. Phillips, A.