Posts Tagged ‘sarkozy’

Call him what he likes to be called. (Well, not the marching-in-shiny-boots kind, of course! But quite honorable still.)

Michel Houellebech to some journalists after getting the “Prix Goncourt”:

“I’m not a citizen and I don’t want to become one. There is no duty towards one’s country, none, people should be told about that. We are individuals. I have no duty towards France. To me, France is a hotel. Nothing more.” (in “Faut-il déchoir Houellebech de sa nationalité française”, Hexagone, November 18 2010)

Frédéric Lordon bashes the current pension reform in France in the right direction (not the age of retirement): the reform is about draining the necessity of the public towards financialization — just in the midst of a financial crisis. The details in “Le point de fusion des retraites” (La Pompe à Phynance, October 23 2010). A little, translated quote:

“Here is a pension system that everybody is going to love. One cannot emphasize enough the epochal fit of the French reform. It is about organizing a purposeful attrition of the contributory pension scheme (whereas pretending to save it) in order to better redirect payers towards private capitalization pension schemes. In order words, it is about creating artificially the problem (of the public sector) in order to better demonstrate the turn-key solution (of the private sector), and introduce all kinds of incentives for a silent, perfect, long term substitution which will lead surely to a substantial increase of pension financing through the markets — precisely when market finance has demonstrated, with great fanfare, how far it can go in the destruction of value. This shows enough of the depth of the ideological blindness of the government or, perhaps, of its level of submission to the financial services industry.” (Frédéric Lordon, “Le point de fusion des retraites”, La Pompe à Phynance, October 23 2010.)

And for a hint on the promising business of Sarkozy’s close friends in the pension business, see “Guillaume Sarkozy, futur bénéficiaire de la réforme des retraites?”, Nouvel Obs, October 14 2010). Who said that the anthropology of kinship was useless for the study of global finance?

Luc Boltanski, on the social-racial urge of Sarkozy’s clique and their war against the Roma:

“Political blasphemy consists in shaking moral standards, in proclaiming loud and clear a discourse of hate that is usually censored or hidden. This has always been the strategy of the extreme right. Adopted now by the current power in place, it has two objectives. The first is to remove censorship over hatred. The second is to provoke the moral consciousness of those who are worried by this discourse of hate, to shock them, to make them react so as to tighten the border between the “idealists”, who are depicted as irresponsible, and the “realists and courageous”, those who are truly responsible, those who can speak and act in the name of a silent majority.” (Luc Boltanski, “Nous ne débattrons pas de la ‘question Rom'”, Médiapart, September 13 2010)

This is very much true. But would that mean that counter-blasphemy would be a fair way to respond? Would an intellectual among the “idealists” be compelled to utter something such as, for instance, “Sarkozy, if you like France that much, go and stick it in your ass”? Wow, that would be too wild. A bad idea. (And sticking something in one’s ass is a form of love, after all).

Counter-blasphemy is a difficult political technique.

Another comparison: try this.

Readers interested in the fate of quantified performance can have a look here at the performance targets which accompany the 2009 budget for the French Ministry of Immigration and National Identity (a gem of Sarkozy’s France, already blogged about here). The number of actual deportations (“nombre de mesures de reconduites effectives à la frontière”) should increase to 30,000 for next year. (On the problem of the sinister naming of managerial devices, check out also the meaning of the acronym GESTEL, the database upon which this counting is done here: it looks like it stands for “gestion de l’éloignement” that is, “management of estrangement” or “management of the taking away”.)

Well, national deportation statisticians should actually be thanked. They provided a quite astonishing slogan for the recent donation campaign for the CIMADE (a French organization helping migrants held in detention centers): “behind this figure, lives are shattered!”.

That’s a blatant call for research in social network analysis! Take this piece from Bloomberg news, draw some graph over the nodes in blue, match with some good old alumni database (ENA, Polytechnique, Mines, and the like) and you’ll get the sociological meaning of the word “viable” in the following quote:

“The fund won’t invest in companies that are not viable, Sarkozy said” (Sarkozy Fund to Raise EU6 Billion for Investments”,, November 20th 2008)

Ah, good old sociology.

The mystery of Sarkozy’s atomic urge continues. Now France is going to get its second EPR (third generation pressurized water reactor), Sarkozy announced yesterday (see “France to build second new-generation nuclear reactor”, International Herald Tribune, July 3 2008, and “Nicolas Sarkozy confirme la construction en France d’un deuxième réacteur EPR”, Le Monde, July 3 2008).

Interesting. Especially if one considers that France’s nuclear overcapacity makes even the construction of the first one at Flamanville superfluous (see “2e EPR en France: une décision stupide qui disqualifie Nicolas Sarkozy sur les dossiers énergétiques et climatiques”,, July 3 2008, and also, on the disastrous situation at Flamanville, “A Flamanville, les travaux de l’EPR sont suspendus après des anomalies”, Le Monde, July 3 2008). But it would be of course completely unfair to say that Sarkozy’s decision is pointless. Let us think and find out the clever rationale. Think, think hard.

One humble contribution: it’s about getting some business for the nice pal who is going to get Areva after privatization (see a couple of posts here and here). But wait: this hypothesis might be completely obscene compared to the straight fact that the merger between Suez and Gaz de France does also need to be fed with some nuclear agitation. Which one is the right hypothesis? Beep. The right response already delivered today:

“SUEZ welcomes the announcement made on 3 July 2008 at Creusot by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the construction of a second EPR-type nuclear reactor in France. In this sector undergoing deep mutation, this decision contributes to the safety and competitiveness of the energy supply in France and Europe, as well as to the policy of fighting global warming. Building a second EPR in France will benefit the French nuclear industry at large. The Board of Directors of the new group GDF SUEZ will decide on its options on the question of nuclear developments in France, by the start of 2009 at the latest in line with the timetable set out by the French President.” (from “GDF SUEZ will decide its options on nuclear development in France in early 2009 at the latest”, press release, Suez, July 4 2008)

(Although both hypotheses do not need to be considered as mutually exclusive, no?)

In last week’s issue of Le Canard Enchaîné (muckraking) there is an interesting update about Sarkozy’s plans to sell Areva, the gem of national radiation, to his best friend Martin Bouygues (for an earlier report see also “French Radiance Selling Itself”). The idea is to merge it with Alstom through a holding company in which Martin Bouygues would have a 35 percent stake. See more information in English here (from Thomson Financial News and Forbes). To make it simple, Areva and Alstom would be both valued at about 20 billion euros. That’s a bit on the low side, considering that it seems that the future of the world is going to be Areva’s. As usual, Le Canard provides some facetious remarks from some anonymous source. Here, a collaborator of Prime Minister François Fillon:

“Passing the core of France’s nuclear industry — which is going to benefit hugely from the raise of investment in the power sector — to the President’s best friend, Martin Bouygues, is insane. Let’s be sure that there will be a scandal. Probably with a Putin-Berlusconi sort of touch.” (“Sarko veut offrir le nucléaire français à son ami Bouygues”, Le Canard Enchaîné, May 14 2008)

Come on, don’t be that bitter and buy some stock. This is also the French way.

The amount of evidence in favor of the extreme but plausible hypothesis according to which Nicolas Sarkozy would be, in fact, a dangerous piece of fascist junk (but this is just a working hypothesis) is increasing slightly. This past Thursday, in a much commented TV appearance, he firmly praised against any amnesty to undocumented workers, in reference to recent strikes for work papers (see a couple of background articles from the International Herald Tribune here, here and here). But the problem is that he just confused “régularisation” (giving a work permit, i.e. a green card) and “nationalisation” (granting French citizenship):

“You don’t become French just because you’ve got a job in the kitchen of a restaurant, no matter how fancy.” (quoted in “Nicolas Sarkozy confond naturalisation et régularisation”,, April 25 2008, and in “Quand Sarkozy confond ‘naturalisation’ et ‘régularisation'”, Nouvel Obs, April 25 2008)

Ok, but let’s be fair. This may be just a temporary lapse of awareness, a sign of fatigue, a slight misunderstanding. Perhaps nothing to do with the “Français d’abord” economic unconscious.

(Well, to be checked.)