Even if he had not accomplished anything else, Jacques Chirac will be remembered for three of his policies which bear a historic and global significance. First, he opposed the Iraq war and the subsequent threats to Iran, expressing also his support for a “multipolar”, more democratic world order. Second, he provided French citizens with the possibility to have their say by referendum about the European Constitutional Treaty, in reality the neoliberal regime imposed upon all Europe after the Maastricht Treaty. Third, he was one of the first leaders worldwide who recognized the enormity of the threat man-made climate change projects not only to human civilization but to the very survival of humans and superior forms of life on our planet. Adressing a historic speech to the Earth Summit of Johannesburg in 2003, he launched the then historic phrase:
“Our house is burning down and we’re blind to it!” ( Notre maison brûle et nous regardons ailleurs)
In a way he was the last “real” politician occupying the post of the President of the Republique Francaise… he was certainly not the “last Gaullist,” as Gaullism had died out with the General himself– not to mention that the historical era in which Chirac exercised his presidential duties was very different from the one in which De Gaulle was operating.
Still, there was a clear and strong influence of Gaullist traditions especially in Chirac’s foreign policy. De Gaulle of course incarnated more than a vision of an independent France; he also incarnated the social-democratic social contract reflected in the economic program of the Conseil National de la Resistance, a result of a compromise by which the communists among the French Resistance in WW2 implicitly gave up their potential claims to power and building socialism in return for social concessions. De Gaulle himself, influenced by Jaures in his youth, was a partisan of a “third way” between Capitalism and Socialism, of an “alliance” between Capital and Work and of “worker participation” in running enterprises… ideas first expressed by the French “Utopian Socialists.” After defeating the students’ and workers’ Revolution in 1968, De Gaulle set out against the most reactionary part of his own camp in order to open the way for worker and popular participation. However, without disposing of the support of the Left and the Trade Unions, he was defeated by a French bourgeoisie who were terrified by his ideas (the same French bourgeoisie whose majority had supported Petain and the Vichy regime back in the ‘40s against the General). The fact that he imposed an arms embargo to Israel after its attack in Beirut contributed significantly to his defeat.
Not many of his views have survived in the era of the triumph of post-Soviet and post-Maastricht European (and global) neoliberalism. Still, Chirac was paying at least lip service to the Gaullist social vision by proclaiming his desire to struggle against la fracture sociale. His successors all claimed their ultimate goal was to permanently eliminate the “French exception.”
Chirac was the last President who was in touch with his people and had relative autonomy from large Financial Capital and modern day imperialism. Compare, for instance, the way Chirac addressed the 2005 revolt s that took place in the French Suburbs and what Macron has done and is doing to the Yellow Vests. Both Presidents used oppressive measures (Although Macron has undoubtedly been more brutal), but Chirac was still speaking to his citizens as the “father” of the nation, trying to take into account their problems and anxieties, trying to persuade and unite them (like De Gaulle had in 1968), while Macron, the Rothschild banker, is completely incapable of hiding his deep contempt for his people and nation. He is not proposing anything beyond the prospect of endless social suffering which he sees as normal and natural.
Chirac’s successors, Sarkozy, Hollande and now Macron, were/are more or less puppets of World and French Finance, without any degree of freedom or autonomy from Financial Capital and without any strong moral, national or ideological reference points. They represent a kind of fake and fraudulent politician typical of the era of financial capitalism evolving into a fully totalitarian system.
Sarkozy was a little bit more ambitious, and at least played around with the idea of pretending to be a new “De Gaulle.” His dream, however, lasted less than 48 hours, as it was duly explained to him by CRIF that he has no right to name Hubert Vedrine as his Foreign Minister given his supposedly pro-Palestinian views (at least this is the version of events as reported by Le Monde at that time). Having learned his lesson, he transformed himself into the more valuable asset of the Neocons in Europe, playing a crucial role in destroying Libya and all the traditions of the Gaullist Foreign Policy in the Middle East. Then came Hollande, elected upon his promise to fight against the “real enemy”: the “world of Finance.” He did that by appointing the Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron as Minister of the Economy, with the mission of giving up Alstom, the jewel of the French technology and industry, to the Americans. Upon fulfilling his mission, Macron took also the job of the man who appointed him, ending unceremoniously not only Hollande’s career, but also that of the French Socialist Party itself! After being elected, he proceeded to govern France as if it had been sold to him wholesale.
In France, as well as in Europe in general, there has been a tendency toward fake pseudo-politicians who are more than willing to play their role in facilitating a “total” system of control by the international financial elite. As already explained, Macron is unable to hide his contempt for his people and nation, he was even unable (or unwilling) to sing the Marseillaise during his inauguration, although everyone around him was. He cannot avoid expressing his un-human nature because he lacks some of the basic qualities a human being should have. Both his policies and his character push him to behave exactly as Marie Antoinette did, without understanding she was hastening her own end, as Macron is in his relationship to the Yellow Vest Revolution.
In our next two articles we will try to examine more closely Chirac’s struggle against the Neocon’s project of dominating the Middle East and his decision to call the May 2005 referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty.