Thursday, December 4, 2008

Update from France

Some belated closure on a story I wrote about here: Toward the end of November, Martine Aubry was declared the winner of a very close vote for leader of the French Socialist Party.

Aubry is considered further to the left than her defeated rival Segolene Royal.

Their party has been ambivalent over last few decades regarding the degree to which they should actually be socialist. When they came to power for the first time in the Fifth Republic (the constitutional system that has been in effect in France since 1958) in 1981, winning both the presidency and a parliamentary majority, the Socialists enacted a program that included, among other things, nationalization of certain businesses. Within a couple of years, socialism did what socialism does, and the resulting economic problems forced the party into a U-turn. In the meantime, for the most part, they have been socialist in name only.

The party's recent leadership election indicates a nearly even split between leftist and centrist factions. There's been some speculation that the party might split along those lines.

But these days, when even a Republican U.S. administration is nationalizing businesses like crazy, who knows where anyone stands in a debate about socialism?

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