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by François Taillandier

A Pervasive Absence at the Socialist Party Summer School

Translated Sunday 7 September 2008, by Kieran O’Meara

PSychology of the PS (Socialist Party) summer school

It’s not up to me to comment on the events at the Socialist Party summer school at La Rochelle. A good thing too, because I don’t really give a damn about the Socialist Party, especially when it comes down to knowing whether or not the followers of Martine Aubry, Pierre Moscovici or Armand Montebourg have succeeded, through text messages and lunch dates, motions and counter-motions, in “ring-fencing a pole in the hope of forming an axis”- that’s how they speak… A certain uneasiness, however, a gut feeling which won’t let go has taken hold of me on seeing some images from the last few days, and I wish to speak of these feelings here.

They come across well, they are squeaky clean, our Socialist hierarchs. The women are elegant, you have to admit. As for the men, they have chosen a chic suit-and-tie combination wore openly without a tie, which seems to be the indispensable bourgeois bohemian look of the moment. So I watch them, and the thing that intrigues me, apart from all I have said above, is just how unreal they seem. How shall I put it? They carry an air of lack. There is a pervasive absence. A lack of what? An absence of what?

I have finally got it: History. Yes. As if the body politic constituted by the Socialist Party is suffering from (if you will excuse this unpleasant metaphor) a loss of inherited blood cells, from a sort of historical leukaemia. Because, whatever you may say, the Socialist Party, today’s Socialist Party, is what remains of a whole part of the history of France and its people. A long history in which there have been great men , struggles of the working-class and working people, fierce political battles; and ideas, doctrines, a philosophy; passion, eloquence. An ideal which has had an effect on France and its people. One which has made each of them what they are today.

How shall I put it? I had the impression that the people I saw there did not know this any more. Did not think about it anymore. A bit like the rhinoceroses in Ionesco’s play, who, once they had become rhinoceroses no longer had any memory of having been anything else. The hard disk has been wiped clean. They love that kind of language too: hard disk, program, think tank. That is very chic right now in the microcosmos.

You were saying? The people? The workers? France? Poverty?

Exploitation? Rebellion? Mind your language, please! Let us ring-fence a pole in the hope of becoming an axis.

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