Macron’s government of “civil society”

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 10:34

The French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale reports on Emmanuel Macron’s government appointments.


Emmanuel Macron has nominated a relative unknown for his Prime Minister, but Édouard Philippe is a perfect representative of the Deep State of the 5th Republic.

He was Human Resources Director… of the UMP [Sarkozy’s centre-right party] at its foundation, appointing full-time staff for Alain Juppé, until he was sidelined by Sarkozy; after which he worked as a lobbyist for Areva, the company linked to the state which deals in uranium from Niger. That underpins the French nuclear industry – not just civilian nuclear infrastructure, which provides the sole point of obsession for ecologists and the “insoumis”, but also the military nuclear structure and a central node of the French presence in Africa. Philippe, with his unscrupulous hipster look – that’s who he really is.

The rest is yet to come. The Minister for Labour, [Muriel] Pénicaud was HR Director for Danone, whose nominee for Cabinet Director is Antoine Foucher, former head of “social affairs” in [French bosses’ union] MEDEF. The Interior Minister will be Gérard Collomb, a key designer of the “Macron product”, regional baron and local potentate, He has nominated Stéphane Fratacci for his Cabinet Director, who was part of Sarkozy’s “Ministry of National Identity” before becoming a Prefect in Doubs, and expelling Roma from France under Hollande.

The Culture Minister, [Françoise] Nyssen, makes a good impression thanks to the good intellectual reputation of her publishing house Actes Sud, but she is also a publishing magnate who is in the process of cornering the market, and is allied to the Anthroposophical sect, which hates French state schooling. Speaking of state education, we recently heard that at the closing session of a local conference of Departmental Delegates for National Education, the new Education Minister, [Jean-Michel] Blanquer, delivered a speech in which he refused to use the words “state [or public] education”: this right-wing ideologue who supports decentralisation [of schooling] has in any case already been effectively acting as a minister, by being a member of ministerial cabinets under successive governments, of both the right and the left.

Here too is a snapshot of the deep state which is rooted in ministerial cabinets coming out into the light (there is a precedent for this sort of thing in the National Education Ministry: its name is Claude Allègre!). This government, of “civil society”, gives a new meaning to the term “civil society”: an énarque [high-ranking mandarin and graduate of the prestigious National Administrative School] who has hopped through the revolving door between boardrooms and high public office. It is in no sense a government of renewal. It is a synthesis: a synthesis of the recycled UMP right, who have been handed the key posts of the Minister of the Economy (Bruno Le Maire) and budget cuts (the Sarkozyist Gérald Darmanin, minister of “Action and Public Accounts”, the Ministry of the Civil Service having been done away with!) the “left” of regional princeling led by Gérard Collomb, and what links it all together is this so-called “civil society”, which in reality is nothing other than the deep state of the 5th Republic, which is obliged to come out into the light to take matters directly in hand...

Let us be clear: if there is a majority against Macron, Les Républicains, the Front National, and against the bureaucrats who were victorious in June, then the outcome will not be cohabitation, but confrontation with a minority-backed and illegitimate Presidency; and therefore the legitimacy of the 5th Republic will be thrown into question. The struggle for this unity, that is, the struggle to assert debate between all the candidates who place themselves “on the anti-Macron left” could, if one or several political forces organised it on the national level, be victorious. However it turns out, the preparations are now underway for the sequel: unity in class struggle against the Macron bureaucrats.