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Tag Archives: Jean-Luc Mélenchon

The European Elections

Share the post "The European Elections" This week’s elections for the European Parliament may be the most consequential in the continent’s history. On the one hand, right-wing parties and other anti-establishment “populist” movements may be poised for victories that would further upset what had once been stable assumptions about what the European Union was for: from economic integration to humanitarian values. The ongoing confusion over the United Kingdom’s...

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Mélenchon: “Federate the people!”

Share the post "Mélenchon: “Federate the people!”" Jean-Luc Mélenchon contains multitudes. After the Notre-Dame fire, he was among the most eloquent of commentators, intimately familiar with the history of the cathedral. But his familiarity with the vast panorama of French history did not prevent him from ludicrously comparing Éric Drouet, one of the leaders of the leaderless Gilets Jaunes, to Jean-Baptiste Drouet, the postmaster of Sainte-Menehould, le bon citoyen who...

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The Return of Populism

Share the post "The Return of Populism" Review of Le Retour des populismes : L’État du monde 2019, edited by Bertrand Badie and Dominique Vidal (La Découverte, 2018). The populism industry is booming. According to numbers assembled by Cas Mudde and Cristobal Kaltwasser in their Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017), the number of Anglophone publications containing the word “populism” in the title rose from 300 in the 1970s to more than 800 in the 2000s, rising steadily...

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More thoughts on immigration and the left

Share the post "More thoughts on immigration and the left" Photo by Laurie Shall After a number of comments and conversations since my last post on the so-called “nationalist” left in Europe, I have two quick thoughts I want to add. First, some people have taken issue with my characterization of Sahra Wagenknecht and Aufstehen, her movement within the German left party Die Linke, as “anti-migrant.” I should clarify what I meant here. I don’t think Wagenknecht and her...

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On “Left nationalism”

Share the post "On “Left nationalism”" In the attempt to hold myself to my new year’s resolution of posting here rather than in long Twitter threads, I want to flesh out my reaction to a provocative article published this week in The Nation by David Adler, entitled “Meet Europe’s Left Nationalists.” Adler focuses on Sahra Wagenknecht in Germany, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and Jeremy Corbyn as examples of leaders of major left-wing movements or parties that have given up on...

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The Revolution Will Be Livestreamed

Share the post "The Revolution Will Be Livestreamed" Over the last several years I’ve tried to resist comparisons between Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Bernie Sanders, mostly because these comparisons tend to posit a simplistic notion of “left-wing populism” that obscures the obvious differences in style and ideology between the two men and the movements that support them. Recently, though, coverage of Sanders and younger American socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has...

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Yellow Fever

Share the post "Yellow Fever" France is finally on the verge of a national mobilization capable of bringing the country to its knees: the gilets jaunes movement, which began primarily as a revolt against diesel taxes in rural and suburban areas. It is a fitting movement for the Macron era, since like the the president himself has characteristically claimed to be, it is neither obviously of the left nor obviously of the right. If we are to believe the videos that have...

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The Rule of Law: Battleground for Democracy

Share the post "The Rule of Law: Battleground for Democracy" It has become commonplace to diagnose European politics with a populist disease, even as the meaning of populism is often left vague and contested. Evidence to this effect is drawn from the European left (eg Podemos, Syriza, and Labour under Corbyn), as well as the right (typically Fidesz, PiS, and the Lega Nord). The meta-narrative of the “populist moment,” however, can mask specific threats to democratic...

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A Bad Week for Mélenchon

Share the post "A Bad Week for Mélenchon" Hearing the news of the raids on the offices of La France insoumise and the home of Jean-Luc Mélenchon last week, one might have had some sympathy for the left-wing party and its leader. Whatever the truth of the accusations of financial misconduct against Mélenchon and his campaign team, it was hard to see the timing of the raid on the same day as the announcement of Macron’s remaniement as a mere coincidence. The immediate...

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Mélenchon’s European Tightrope

Share the post "Mélenchon’s European Tightrope" One of the most frequent criticisms on the French left of La France insoumise and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (a criticism I have addressed in other writing) is that the “populist” movement and its leader are not coalition builders. Instead of bringing together all of the left-wing critics of Macron’s presidency, les insoumis proclaim themselves to be the only real movement of popular opposition. This does seem to be integral to...

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