Saturday, June 03, 2006

In The Words Of Ségolène, It Takes a Village...

Socialist favorite for the candidacy in the 2007 presidential election, Ségolène Royal has stirred a controversy with her remarks following the most recent riots in Seine-Saint-Denis, and elsewhere, in France. The uproar stems from the inherent contradiction between what she said and what her party normally adopts as an ideology. Thus, she finds herself in conflict with her own party and accused of France's most feared label: "lepenization". It would be as if Hillary Clinton came out against affirmative action, or said that children should be raised by two married parents, one of each sex. She would be accused of "goldwaterization", or "buchananization". In our current (and hopefully temporary) culture, the merest suggestion of firmness is seen as extremism.

What exactly did she say? I do not have entire speeches, but here are some fragments, from Via-Resistancia, a Google group.

In the city of Bondy, in Seine-Saint-Denis, she carefully read from prepared notes a scathing indictment of Sarkozy's policies and offered draconian (but socialistic, and sometimes comical) solutions:

"The failure of the current anti-crime policy is flagrant...It's an absolute failure...(Sarkozy) is a creator of trouble, disorder and inefficiency...We are producing crime on a massive scale...A strong hand must regain control...

"It is possible to live in a country where people are not afraid of each is time to put in place an efficient, just and lasting policy of security to restore law and order...everyone must be at his post, fulfilling his function, from the family, to the school, to the public agencies, even to the police."

She said that the left has underplayed the importance of security for a long time. With regard to the responsability of parents:

" the first act of disobedience on the part of a child, the parents must be forced to attend classes in parenting schools...the trouble-makers who destroy school life should be placed in boarding-house relays...these students are failures, but there is no room for pity...

"...the position of 'school monitor' must be created to provide sports activities for the trouble-makers.

For adolescents over 16 years old:

" the first criminal act, a special training service manned by the military must be provided, its mission would be humanitarian or vocational...this would permit them to become acquainted with the vastness of the world and to realize how lucky they are to live in France...

She added that it had been a mistake to eliminate military service.

"It's a global approach...It all depends on each person being in his place, in his role, with his educational responsabilities, with the skills that correspond to the needs of the young. Then, the police could concentrate their efforts on the fight against major crime."

During a visit to Orchies, in the department of the Nord, she insisted that she knew what she was talking about when she made her anti-crime proposals concerning minors:

"I feel that I must question a certain number of proposals. They have already been tried. I know what I'm talking about: for four years I visited middle schools in troubled areas...At the first criminal act by a minor, why not offer - and I would keep my promise on this - alternatives to prison, solutions that can be tested little by little on a small scale..."

Again she suggested:

"...humanitarian work programs, manned by the military, the national police (gendarmes), the firemen, all the professions in uniform that symbolize the Republic, the Nation...

"That doesn't mean that you eliminate the other professions in charge of educating the will be necessary to develop on a massive scale, in the vicinity of the middle schools, boarding schools that serve as temporary relays...

"I am not treading on Sarkozy's terrain, I am on the terrain of the people who are suffering...Where is the greatest suffering? In the issues of unemployment and uncertainty, and in the issues of criminality and acts of violence...

"The right does nothing...Some even think that this situation is deliberately maintained because it could be useful during the campaign if the riots started up again in the ghettoes...

Regarding family assistance, she insists on controlling the payments, not eliminating them, as the right would prefer:

"Controls...this means that the payments will continue to be issued, but someone will be in charge of monitoring these payments, until the family gets back on track...

She said these controls would respect the family.

Ségolène's proposals are completely in the socialist tradition, even though they appear to be "conservative". First,the notion of putting people into work programs rigorously controlled by the government, the notion that rehabilitation is possible and almost inevitable, the idea of each person in his place, doing exactly what he is skilled to do is reminiscent of a communist utopia, the lofty vision of these unassimilable immigrants thanking their lucky stars for being in France, etc...It is pure socialism, in my opinion. I'm sure it is no coincidence that Hillary and Ségolène arrived on the scene simultaneously. Somebody up there is pulling the strings of this puppet show.

Ségolène is known for promoting "family values", and has written books on the subject. She has marketed herself as a "caring" person with a strong will. Like Hillary she was born into a very conservative family, where religion was not only primary, but all-encompassing. This may explain both women's feminist-oriented transformation into pasionarias of socialism. They both maintain the hard-nosed discipline and strict attitudes of their childhood world, adapted to socialist ideology.

The following, from a website devoted to Ségolène Royal, is a discussion of her position on homosexuals:

In a communiqué, Ségolène Royal, socialist leader of the Poitou-Charentes region, assured lesbians and gays of her desire to "fight against all discriminations".

She took the occasion to declare her full support for same-sex marriages and adoptions, after several months of reflection and of seemingly contradictory statements. But she was always reserved on the topic, never opposed to it, like Lionel Jospin...

In this communiqué Ségolène Royal reminds us that these two questions have already been decided within the Socialist Party. This was clearly acknowledged in another communiqué in which the party of François Hollande reaffirms that (in the 2007 socialist agenda), "marriage, with all its benefits, must be open to all couples, adoption should be available to same-sex couples, and a re-working of the notion of parental authority must allow for a consideration of co-parenting." The Socialist Party furthermore declares that the "difficulties encountered by sex changes should be followed more closely and humanized, the PACS (Civil Union Pact) should be improved and the fight against homophobia re-enforced".

Ségolène Royal also cited certain measures taken by her when she was minister, particularly the two required hours of sex education in middle school (1998), and the availability to students of a pedagogical brochure that emphasizes the "right of every person to live freely regardless of sexual orientation" (2000), and that discusses the topics of homosexuality and homophobia...

A reminder that Ségolène Royal and Socialist Party leader François Hollande have been living together in a civil union for 25 years and have four children.

Galliawatch posted another long article on "Ségo" several weeks ago.


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