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France's Socialists to Be Tested After Two Years of Francois Hollande

In an extensive piece in Le Monde, Serge Halimi’s analysis of France’s current political turmoil gives clarity to the history about how and why the French economy has taken a sharp turn for the worse.

And according to Halimi, part of the problem has to do with an unwelcome cultural import from a certain Western nation:

The split between voters and their elected representatives is partly the result of the Americanisation of French political life: the largest parties are now simply electoral machines, cartels of local officials who rely for support on the ranks of senior citizens (3). It is easy to see why new members do not want to join: the instruments of any policy alternative seem to have been cast aside. Protests against gender education in schools or objections to tolls on motorways have no effect on the resources allocated to national education or to the level of tax avoidance, but they do provide an opportunity for a get-together, and the satisfaction of forcing a minister to give way. But the bitter feelings return a week later, when it is clear that nothing has really changed because nothing depends on a minister’s decision. Or on the Elysée.

—Posted by Donald Kaufman

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