The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty

Photo by Blandine Le Cain | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Blandine Le Cain | CC BY 2.0

 


Paris.

The 2017 French Presidential election marks a profound change in European political alignments. There is an ongoing shift from the traditional left-right rivalry to opposition between globalization, in the form of the European Union (EU), and national sovereignty.

Standard media treatment sticks to a simple left-right dualism: “racist” rejection of immigrants is the main issue and that what matters most is to “stop Marine Le Pen!”  Going from there to here is like walking through Alice’s looking glass. Almost everything is turned around.

On this side of the glass, the left has turned into the right and part of the right is turning into the left.

Fifty years ago, it was “the left” whose most ardent cause was passionate support for Third World national liberation struggles. The left’s heroes were Ahmed Ben Bella, Sukarno, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, and above all Ho Chi Minh.  What were these leaders fighting for?  They were fighting to liberate their countries from Western imperialism.  They were fighting for independence, for the right to determine their own way of life, preserve their own customs, decide their own future. They were fighting for national sovereignty, and the left supported that struggle.

Today, it is all turned around.  “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left.

National sovereignty is an essentially defensive concept. It is about staying home and minding…

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