A liberal in economics, the French President, increased social control and attacked the possibility of becoming responsible for one’s own life. There is another path being taken lately by French politics: ending the jungle of free competition to foster wealth, power and knowledge.
Emmanuel Macron as a promoter of unbridled economic liberalism, the case was heard. By abolishing the wealth tax or by modifying the labor code, perhaps the President surprised by the brutality and radical nature of his bias, but this course was expected. Macron, on the other hand, now reveals the other side of his economic liberalism: an attack on individual and collective freedoms, a profound contempt for democracy, secondary attention for human rights.
With his smooth style, his “kindness” and his modernity on his shoulder, candidate Macron had threaded the pearls on the wind of freedom that he intended to blow on our great country of human rights. And we discover, Patatras, a proponent of ordinances instead of parliamentary debate, a defender of the permanent state of emergency, an attacker on the right of asylum, a saboteur of trade union law, a sympathetic international interlocutor of authoritarian and liberticidal regimes.
Emmanuel Macron does not content himself with a masterly propaganda session on France 2 (French state-owned television), an Elysian walk to the rhythm of the most courteous questions in the history of French journalism. He now wants the state to decide what is right and what is not. Welcome to democracy. What surprises me is the astonishment expressed today by Macron and the government at these discrepancies with freedoms. As if, sincerely, these astonished minds thought that it could be otherwise, that Macron ultraliberal would be a defender of liberties and human rights.
Political logic is stubborn
The result of economic liberalism is the strengthening of social control and the weakening of democracy. The fable that the freedom of capital goes hand in hand with justice is a tale for children of the 20th century. The United States teaches us a lesson in this area with Donald Trump: the country of economic liberalism par excellence is led by a liberticidal head of state, a paragon of machismo and racism, a global danger for human rights. In Europe, Margaret Thatcher set the tone for this formula. During his era, tax relief for the richest and the privatization of a chain of public services was accompanied by laws restricting trade union freedoms or a refusal to condemn the apartheid regime in South Africa. Let us not forget that Thatcher considered Mandela a terrorist and let Bobby Sands, the leader of the Irish cause, die.
Macron’s France follows in the footsteps of those recipes sadly tried in Europe during the last forty years, of this binomial economic liberalism – increased social control. On the one hand, the government is offering new freedoms to company captains to give them the possibility, with the collective severance agreement, to dismiss without economic reasons or to separate from an employee on permanent contracts to replace him in the aftermath by a fixed-term contract. On the other hand, it is preparing to increase the control of the unemployed by imposing a monthly activity report on them, by increasing the scoring obligations or by striking them off for refusal twice without “legitimate” reason of a “reasonable” job offer.