Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Völkischer Beobachter. 1945-04-27. Berlin kämpft unter Befehl des Führers.
Il titolo dello Spiegel è fuorviante.
«If Macron Fails, Europe Fails»
Se risponde al vero che il fallimento di Mr Macron implicherebbe quello dell’Unione Europea, sarebbe altrettanto vero constatare come Mr Macron sia un fallito senza nessuna concreta possibilità di ripresa.
Il suo tasso di esecrabilità ha raggiunto il 76%: la gente lo disprezza e quasi non lo sta più a sentire.
Ifop quota il suo partito, La République En Marche!, al 18%, dimezzato rispetto al risultato del 2017. Alle prossime elezioni europee non dovrebbe ottenere più di 18 seggi, contro i 25 di Rassemblement national. Ma forse il dato di maggiore interesse non è questo: le sinistre sono massacrate. Il partito socialista è al 4.5%, e solo la formazioni di Mr Mélenchon otterrebbe 9 seggi, che dovrebbero rappresentare tutta la sinistra francese. In altri termini, Mr Macron non potrà contare sull’aiuto dei socialisti: non ci sono più.
Se è vero che in politica tutto è possibile, sarebbe anche vero ammettere che una rimonta di Mr Macron appare del tutto improbabile.
Il Presidente Francese ha perso credibilità ed è al massimo stimato come un tirannello di bassa lega, che si piega alla piazza, basta che questa faccia qualche tumulto. Mr Macron ha paura della piazza e chi ha paura si attira il dileggio.
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Ma se Mr Macron è quanto mai debole in patria, la sua debolezza risalta ancor di più in seno all’Unione Europea.
Si faccia attenzione! Molta attenzione.
Se è vero che i liberal socialisti sono ancora molto potenti in seno alla Commissione, diventata oramai un loro feudo, è altrettanto vero che la sodale Frau Merkel è sul viale del tramonto ed anche lei è debolissima in patria. La sua voce in Europa la si ascolta di sfuggita, ma il suo peso è sostanzialmente ridotto. La nomina di Akk a presidente della Cdu gratifica psicologicamente, ma un presidente eletto con 517 / 999 voti sta in piedi come un castello di carte.
E poi, maggio si avvicina ogni giorno che passa: questa Commissione Europea è destinata a scomparire a breve termine.
Per ironia della sorte, Lega e M5S in Italia, Mr Orban in Ungheria ed i governanti del Visegrad non solo avranno larga rappresentanza nell’europarlamento, ma soprattutto una solida base elettorale in patria.
L’Asse francogermanico si è disintegrato, ed i liberal democratici americani non hanno la possibilità materiale di aiutarlo: Mr Trump prima, due sentenze federali dopo, li hanno messi a terra. Kaputt.
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Lo Spiegel ci ricorda in modo vivido l’ultimo articolo del Völkischer Beobachter, Berlin kämpft unter Befehl des Führers. Ma questi era già morto, suicida.
«Famed German political sociologist Max Weber once argued that the two great drivers of revolutionary power were charisma and rationality.»
«Charisma depends on enthusiasm, rationality on intellectualization»
«Emmanuel Macron would seemingly be the ideal revolutionary. He combines charisma and intellect like few others and believes in the need to change France, Europe and the world»
«Many French people now see Macron’s election to the presidency as something of an accident»
«Emmanuel Macron had no party, little experience, and lots of luck»
«His political opponents destroyed each other»
«Indeed, polls show that far less than half of Macron’s voters in spring 2017 voted for him out of conviction»
«Macron, who suddenly became head of state at the age of 39, first needed to develop his authority. And he did so with a clear strategy, setting out doing so with single-minded determination, seeking to develop charisma through images and symbols, and to carry out his revolution through shrewd argumentation. He put himself at the epicenter of French politics.»
«But this over-personalization had its price»
«Macron loosened the rules for firing employees and broke up the rigid wage-negotiation system. He simultaneously lowered the budget deficit below the 3-percent mark for the first time since 2007. He even modernized the sacrosanct French secondary-school diploma, known as the baccalauréat.»
«The yellow vests don’t have a face, but they have charisma. And they are united in anger. They want a revolution and they want more net income. They don’t care what this might mean economically for their highly indebted country»
«If you abolish the wealth tax but raise the price of diesel by six cents per liter, you are an enemy of the people»
«But the gilets jaunes see themselves as a revolutionary force. And precisely that makes them dangerous to Macron, despite his institutional power»
«Merely staying in office won’t be enough for his reforms to continue. For Europe, this is especially important: A weak French president who entrenches himself inside the Élysée Palace won’t help anyone»
«If Macron fails, Europe fails.»
«Berlin must have an interest in strengthening Macron, because Macron’s quiet decline damages Germany»
Non siamo negromanti, quindi non cerchiamo di prevedere il futuro.
Mr Macron dovrebbe però aver capito che se non riga diritto la Francia torna in piazza e, se ci ritorna, si porta dietro la ghigliottina. Nel contempo, Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer dovrebbe aver capito di essere anche lei appesa per un filo sgualcito. Due debolezze riunite assieme non esitano in una forza.
→ Spiegel. 2018-12-18. If Macron Fails, Europe Fails
French President Emmanuel Macron has tried to calm protesters by raising the minimum wage, among other concessions. But if the yellow vests continue eroding his authority, it’s not just France that will suffer. And Germany is partly at fault.
Famed German political sociologist Max Weber once argued that the two great drivers of revolutionary power were charisma and rationality. Charisma depends on enthusiasm, rationality on intellectualization. According to this blueprint, Emmanuel Macron would seemingly be the ideal revolutionary. He combines charisma and intellect like few others and believes in the need to change France, Europe and the world. The book about his campaign is called simply: “Révolution.” Macron sees himself as a know-it-all in the best sense of the term, but precisely that is also his greatest weakness. Nowhere did Weber write that charisma and intellect magnify each other when combined. A glance at the trajectory of Macron’s popularity in France might lead to the assumption that the two qualities cancel each other out. Can a charismatic leader be a know-it-all? Can a know-it-all have charisma?
Many French people now see Macron’s election to the presidency as something of an accident. Emmanuel Macron had no party, little experience, and lots of luck. His political opponents destroyed each other. Indeed, polls show that far less than half of Macron’s voters in spring 2017 voted for him out of conviction. The rest of his voters, though, indicated that the other candidates, Marine Le Pen first and foremost, were simply unelectable.
Luck is not a factor in Max Weber’s discussion of charismatic rulers. Macron, who suddenly became head of state at the age of 39, first needed to develop his authority. And he did so with a clear strategy, setting out doing so with single-minded determination, seeking to develop charisma through images and symbols, and to carry out his revolution through shrewd argumentation. He put himself at the epicenter of French politics. As a candidate, he was alone. And he remained so as president. But this over-personalization had its price. Macron’s system relied on the complete centralization of power in the hands of the president and of a few intellectually gifted advisors, who sometimes send out text messages at 3 a.m., as Macron does himself. Macron’s IQ-absolutism was successful in his first year. The furthest-reaching job-market reforms in recent French history, which he instituted in fall of 2017, didn’t even lead to a general strike, as had been feared. Macron loosened the rules for firing employees and broke up the rigid wage-negotiation system. He simultaneously lowered the budget deficit below the 3-percent mark for the first time since 2007. He even modernized the sacrosanct French secondary-school diploma, known as the baccalauréat. Emmanuel Macron has already reformed his country more profoundly than all the presidents before him — at least since Mitterrand, who implemented an important wave of modernization starting in 1983.
Macron is proud of his reforms. Rightly so. He believes these reforms will bring growth back to France. Rightly so. He also believes that new growth in France will repair the social imbalances in the country. Rightly so. But Macron is forgetting about the span of time required between reform, growth and social justice. Many French don’t want to wait. They want results. Immediately. The yellow vests don’t have a face, but they have charisma. And they are united in anger. They want a revolution and they want more net income. They don’t care what this might mean economically for their highly indebted country. They loathe the self-proclaimed revolutionary at the top, his aloof reliance on symbols, his know-it-all revolutionary rationality. Although the Élysée’s arguments are technocratically coherent, the gilets jaunes confront them with brutal simplicity: If you abolish the wealth tax but raise the price of diesel by six cents per liter, you are an enemy of the people.
One-and-a-half minutes into his address to the nation last Monday, Macron took a deep breath and addressed those whom he had forgotten: the single mothers, the job-seekers, the excluded. The mea culpa was followed by the checkbook, with Macron pledging to raise the minimum wage, introduce a tax exemption for overtime pay and lower social-welfare contributions for pensioners. It was a classic Macron moment — empathy paired with technocracy, symbolism paired with facts, charisma paired with rationality. Can this approach work? Definitely. But only if Macron can win back his authority.
The hatred of the yellow vests will not disappear immediately. On the other hand, though, the movement has no leverage to derail the Macron system. The government has confronted the violence of the demonstrators with severity, but no political movement has yet emerged. Even if such a movement were born, it would have no influence. Macron is relatively secure in the Élysée until May 2022 and he enjoys absolute majority in parliament. He has no coalition partners to keep happy and no reason to fear a no-confidence vote.
A Need to Build Trust
Even if everything goes wrong, he can still use the same presidential sleight of hand each of his predecessors has used: fire the prime minister and call for a new start. Only very few constitutional systems provide the head of state with the luxury of an institutionalized scapegoat. Leaders with access to a political defense mechanism like that won’t step down, even under the most severe political pressure.
The gilets jaunes know this. The question now is whether they will insist on pursuing their 1789-style overthrow attempt. Macron has made it clear that he is looking for political debate and that he accepts all forms of democratic resistance. But the gilets jaunes see themselves as a revolutionary force. And precisely that makes them dangerous to Macron, despite his institutional power. As such, Macron has to hope that his concessions to low-earners find acceptance and open a path to political dialogue. But Macron also needs to open up. Initially, he focused on establishing his authority. Now he must focus on creating trust and developing acceptance of his chosen path of modernization. Merely staying in office won’t be enough for his reforms to continue. For Europe, this is especially important: A weak French president who entrenches himself inside the Élysée Palace won’t help anyone. It is in Germany’s interest to support Macron.
Macron’s loss of authority at home can also be tied to his lack of support from the German government. Macron’s visionary Sorbonne speech was answered by the German chancellor with a technocratic interview on Page Two of a national newspaper. In the negotiations over further integration of the common currency union, the German government skillfully dragged Macron’s government so deeply into a technocratic debate over implementation that they spent several nights debating subjects like “single-limb collective action clauses,” a specialized bond-condition variant. Thus far, Macron’s attempt to jolt Europe awake has fizzled. Some officials in Berlin are pleased that the German government has taught the Sun King pragmatism. “He is strong with his vision, but we are strong in our implementation,” it has recently been said in Berlin’s government quarter.
But Europe is more than a game of Monopoly, and the German-French partnership is a long-term project. How will Berlin react if Macron doesn’t prevail and an alliance of the far-right and far-left EU-haters surrounding Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon takes power in 2022? Have we learned nothing from the Italian crisis?
Germany and Europe would now be well-advised to give Macron their support. If Macron fails, Europe fails. The French president’s concessions to the gilets jaunes cost money. To start a debate now about deficit rules would be foolhardy. There is no better ammunition for Macron’s opponents. We shouldn’t forget that Germany didn’t abide by the deficit criteria either when it instituted Agenda 2010, the package of welfare-system and labor-market reforms carried out between 2003 and 2005. From an economic standpoint, it is wise to accompany supply-side reforms with demand-side support, which is why the argument that a flexible approach to France should mean a flexible approach to Italy is irrelevant. In Italy, no serious reforms are being undertaken.
Berlin must have an interest in strengthening Macron, because Macron’s quiet decline damages Germany. It would throw France back years economically if the revolutionary power in the country ceased being its president. It might be helpful to remember not just Max Weber, but also Abbé Sieyès, the great theoretician of the French Revolution. In 1799, he wrote: “Authority comes from above, trust from below.” This formula still applies today — to France, but also to Europe.