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Sunday, June 26, 2022

The trap

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Today there are regional elections in Andalusia and the second round of general elections in France. When the results are known, analysts will wonder how it is possible that a segment of citizens who have historically voted to the left have turned to the far right. The documentary is dedicated to explaining the French case, but with a generalist vocation Return to Rheimsrecently released on Spanish screens.

Based on the book of the same name by the Gallic sociologist Didier Eribon (Ediciones del Zorzal), the suggestive and controversial film makes you think. It describes the evolution of the French working class over the last half century, X-rayed through the sociologist’s working-class predecessors, men doomed to alienating work in the factories, and selfless and suffering wives who had always chosen the left and the someday . perhaps embarrassed to admit that they voted for Le Pen’s Front National. “My whole family was ‘communist’ in the sense that membership in the Communist Party was the indisputable horizon of its relationship to politics, its organizing principle. How did it become a family that found it possible and even almost natural to vote for the extreme right?

The film develops two main reasons, among others: the first, more local, is the structural racism of the white working class in the face of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Algerian or sub-Saharan immigrants (like the Spaniards or Portuguese earlier). . An even poorer and more marginalized class than his emerges: the immigrants. The second reason is more universal: the systematically unfulfilled promises of the left-wing parties, who say one thing in the opposition and practice the other in the government, or because they interfere with the logic of the right, or because they are powerless to fulfill the programs with whom they were brought to power. Citizens who feel abandoned, who watch those who call themselves left forget and take no action on behalf of the most disadvantaged: they behave like the right. The betrayal leads them to never trust them again, and they take refuge in the populist speeches of Le Pen and company.

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The director of the documentary, Jean-Gabriel Périot, photographs François Mitterrand. When he was elected president in 1981, market pressures forced his government, composed of socialist and communist ministers, to reverse many of the measures they had begun to activate: raising the minimum wage, expanding public demand for investment, curtailment of the working day, nationalization of the main banks, increase in the state deficit, etc.

In the decades that followed, as globalization became pervasive, it was even more difficult. North American Conservative analyst Thomas Friedman writes that it forces all countries to put on a “golden straitjacket” consisting of the hard and fast rules to which all governments must conform: free trade, free capital markets, balanced budgets, minimum government… “If your country If it hasn’t taken steps to create one, it will soon,” concludes Friedman. This would mean the impossibility of other types of politics, whoever wins the elections.

Along the way, the director of the film and the author of the book engage in the debate about meritocracy. Both define themselves as working-class children who have managed to use the social elevator. The director makes it clear that these are politically instrumentalized individual cases: “When we get positions that weren’t intended for us, the system uses us to say: ‘Look, you’re good at this, you can do that. ‘ My brothers and my cousins ​​didn’t reach my situation, and if I did, it wasn’t because the system worked, it was by accident. Using it as an example makes a section of the working class use it as a counter-example and think that if they don’t get it, it’s because they got it wrong.

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Source elpais.com

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