“Who were We?”, forthcoming at Fayard in May 2018

Who were we? A defense and illustration of the human race

Abstract

How do we respond to the very real threat of the extinction of humankind? In Le dernier qui s’en va éteint la lumière (2016), I characterized this way of “soft”, at the limit of pure and simple denial, accompanied by the embarrassing requirement of its childish request that any attempt at a solution must, in order to be considered, prove that it will make a profit.

Continue reading “Who were We?”, forthcoming at Fayard in May 2018

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Where is the French revolution on the move heading? by Pierre Sarton du Jonchay

Guest post. The French version is here.

The generalisation of unemployment insurance to all entrepreneurs is a break with ordo-liberalism and a practical and paradigmatic entry into the universal knowledge-based economy. Work recognized as such by labour law is no longer defined as a subordination to an employer who is the sole owner of the surplus value, but as an investment by the individual entrepreneur in a production of potential surplus value for society as a whole. Continue reading Where is the French revolution on the move heading? by Pierre Sarton du Jonchay

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Let us explain to Germany what we expect of it TODAY

Published here in French.

For ten years now, we have been hearing the same refrain from other European leaders to justify their procrastination towards the German authorities: “After the elections, things will be clearer”! However, from German election to German election, things are not clearer once the vote has been completed, but more turbulent and, from this point of view, we’ve hit the jackpot today. Let us draw the right conclusions: let us explain to Germany what we expect of it TODAY. That would be impossible because there is no government? nor a coalition? nor maybe even a chancellor? Let us take advantage of this: let us explain to each of the German parties what we expect from its nation, and from itself in particular, TODAY.

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Statesmanship is back! China and Saudi Arabia

Comments can be made here.

José d’Acosta, a Jesuit, was a missionary in Peru and Mexico in the second half of the 16th century. His contact with the Aztec culture was the cause of his profound disarray. “What is the meaning of the abominable cruelty taking place every day in front of me?”, he wondered. One day, his enlightenment took place:”God, he said to himself, staged such a theater so that we could imagine what a world without him would be”.

Similarly, Mr. Donald Trump was given to us to prove the horror of a nation leader lacking all statesmanship. On the contrary, China for the past five years, and Saudi Arabia for a few hours now, show us the return of statesmanship at the head of the nation. Corruption causes a disruption to the functioning of human institutions and it is good practice to start their recovery by eradicating it.

Someone in the shade whispers to us:”These are but autocrats strengthening their power. Let’s give them a hard time! »

What’s the answer? José d’Acosta knew it no doubt:”Vade retro Satanas! »

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China’s 19th Communist Party Congress during my journey in China, by Michel Saloff-Coste

Guest post. Also on his own blog.

China’s 19th Communist Party Congress ended Tuesday, marking the start of a new era led by President Xi Jinping that was catalyzed, in part, by President Donald Trump, Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, told The New York Times. Trump’s “negative attitude toward liberal world trade and climate change” encouraged Xi to take the reins of world leadership, Shi said.

Continue reading China’s 19th Communist Party Congress during my journey in China, by Michel Saloff-Coste

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Catalan leaders in court facing crimes of more than 30 years in prison, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post. Open to comments here.

Disloyalty or Dissent?

Political dissent is still evidently constitutionally defined as disloyalty in some instances in Spain. Is this a sound basis for the rule of law in a democracy? Discuss with reference to the Spanish constitution of 1978 and the founding principles of the European Union.

Continue reading Catalan leaders in court facing crimes of more than 30 years in prison, by Duncan Sutherland

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The Chinese Exception

(Published in French on October 18th 2017 in Le Monde as Qu’est-ce qui met les Chinois de si bonne humeur ? and in L’Écho as L’exception chinoise)

It is hard to imagine that there would be today a people somewhere approving without any soul-searching the policy pursued by its government or the economic circumstances of the nation. We are thus stunned to hear that since 2010 over 80% of the Chinese people express the view that they are satisfied with the direction taken by their country. And here is not a statement more or less tinged with government propaganda as it shows in investigations carried out by the American think tank Pew Research Centre.

Continue reading The Chinese Exception

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The Best Laid Schemes (Part 2), by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

As may be readily gathered from the cartoon on the front page of today’s issue of The New European, which is what Brexiteers refer to as a Remoaning rag, the notion of halting the Brexit process appears to be gaining traction, at least among the chattering classes. How realistic might this prospect be, particularly in view of the fact that the talk in Blighty is actually overwhelmingly of softening Brexit rather than abandoning it?

Continue reading The Best Laid Schemes (Part 2), by Duncan Sutherland

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The Best Laid Schemes (Part 1), by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Improbable though it may now seem, the supreme leader of the British was only recently reckoned by many of her (mostly southern) subjects to be a political magician who might well contrive to deliver what was conceived of in the heart of darkest England as a successful hard Brexit and thereby miraculously bring about the dawning of a new age of wondrous economic opportunity in a fondly imagined land of broad sunlit uplands, from the majestic summits of which the British would contemplate the impending ruin of the European empire from the oppressive bonds of which they had sagely managed to escape.

Continue reading The Best Laid Schemes (Part 1), by Duncan Sutherland

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Where There’s a Will (Part 2), by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already declared that she is determined that there will be a further Scottish independence referendum and at a time chosen by the Scottish Parliament. Continue reading Where There’s a Will (Part 2), by Duncan Sutherland

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Where There’s a Will (Part 1), by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Improbable though it may seem, it happens that Guy Verhofstadt, who is lead Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament, envisaged immediately after the UK EU referendum result that Scotland would be able to hold an independence referendum before Brexit took effect (such as the Scottish First Minister is proposing) so that that country might apply to remain within the EU if that was what its population wanted. Continue reading Where There’s a Will (Part 1), by Duncan Sutherland

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Back to the Drawing Board, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

On Sunday evening, when it had been fairly confidently expected that UK Prime Minister Theresa May would be invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon on Tuesday, thus initiating negotiations for the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union yesterday, news suddenly began to trickle in to the effect that there was to be a press conference at the official residence of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday, when an important announcement would be made.

Continue reading Back to the Drawing Board, by Duncan Sutherland

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Honest Abe foresaw dishonest Donald! by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post. Abraham Lincoln warned us : the day will come when Trump arises. Let’s be ready to denounce him.

Dear Paul,

It is noteworthy that the Trump executive order signed on January 27th, apparently discriminating against foreign nationals on religious grounds, seems to violate the US constitution (and thus undermine the rule of law)!

Continue reading Honest Abe foresaw dishonest Donald! by Duncan Sutherland

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Chilcot Report – Rats in a sack, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Dear Paul,

On the subject of the video of Robin Cook’s resignation speech in 2003 which you show beside your regular Friday video, I just wanted to say how much I appreciated seeing that again. A model resignation speech, listened to intently by Jeremy Corbyn, as the video shows. At the time when the speech was delivered Mr Corbyn was, as is well known, one of those back-benchers who were very much involved in opposing the proposed invasion of Iraq.

Continue reading Chilcot Report – Rats in a sack, by Duncan Sutherland

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Another Blot on the Escutcheon, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Dear Paul,

I thought you might find it interesting to take a look at Nicola Sturgeon’s Twitter page following the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war, “the UK’s most shameful foreign-policy action in years”, as the leader of the Scottish National Party’s group of MPs, Angus Robertson, has just said in the House of Commons.

Continue reading Another Blot on the Escutcheon, by Duncan Sutherland

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How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

In the weeks and days leading up to the referendum on UK membership of the European Union a message was being transmitted loudly and clearly from Germany and indeed elsewhere: if the UK decides to leave the EU, it will be shooting itself in the foot. This was not some modern-day equivalent of a broadcast by Lord Haw Haw, peddling some big lie. It was informed opinion. Very few people in England seem to have been listening, however. What they were hearing instead was the Leave campaign wittering on about “independence day”, which would be June 23rd if a majority of the UK voting public expressed support then for withdrawal from the EU.

Continue reading How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot, by Duncan Sutherland

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“Confusion Now Hath Made His Masterpiece”, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Dear Paul,

I’m rather fond of Shakespeare myself, not least Macbeth. With reference to your post on Boris Johnson and the tragi-comic events which are unfolding in England on a daily basis, I think it is as well to bear in mind that intense existential national debates are now under way on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border. Continue reading “Confusion Now Hath Made His Masterpiece”, by Duncan Sutherland

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Ah, the endless complexities of English identity!, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post. As a comment upon Le temps qu’il fait le 30 juin 2016.

Ah, the endless complexities of English identity as defined by place and social rank but especially social rank in its relationship to forms of language, which function not only as communication, of course, but as mechanisms for defining and identifying who belongs to which class and merits the privileges thereof and who does not.

Continue reading Ah, the endless complexities of English identity!, by Duncan Sutherland

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Scotland – “A Terrible Beauty Is Born”, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Since Sunday morning, when the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, answered a question on a BBC Scotland television programme known as Politics Scotland concerning a House of Lords advice note which had been circulated on the subject of legislative consent in relation to legislation giving effect to Brexit which would have to be submitted to the Scottish Parliament, her answer has been picked up and spread around Europe by distinguished media organizations from ARD in Germany to La Stampa in Italy (not forgetting VilaWeb in Catalonia).

Continue reading Scotland – “A Terrible Beauty Is Born”, by Duncan Sutherland

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Scotland and Brexit, by Duncan Sutherland

Guest post.

Dear Mr. Jorion,

Having read what has appeared in your blog so far about the complexities of the decision taken by the people of England on Thursday (but not by the people of Scotland), I wonder if you are yet aware of a complexity which has just been raised in Scotland today.

Continue reading Scotland and Brexit, by Duncan Sutherland

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