Monday, March 26, 2007

Out to Loach

News has surfaced that lefty filmmaker Ken Loach—whose latest, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, is currently playing in NYC—is supporting the candidacy of Olivier Besancenot for the French presidential elections. Give me a friggin' break! Besancenot means well, but he's also stuck in an illusory past and preaching for a no-less-illusory future.

Besancenot is the candidate of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR), a Trotskyist party long associated with Alain Krivine, who himself ran for president in 1969, 1974 and 1981. To his credit, Besancenot, a postman by trade, isn't as reactionary and sectarian as fellow far-left candidate Arlette Laguiller, from Lutte Ouvrière, a party that's been called a cult but its opponents and still positions the working class as a revolutionary vanguard despite the fact that a) its definition of said working class is stuck in the 19th century and b) said working class is equally prone to vote for the extreme-right National Front these days.

In a way it's easy to see why Besancenot's anti-capitalist campaign is alluring to Loach: It's exciting to see a candidate who's an actual working man and questions the entire system the world is built on, including, as Loach points out, privatizations like the ones that were so disastrous in England.

But why isn't Loach reaching out to the Parti Socialiste? Too middle-class reformist for his taste? On the one hand that's understandable, and I'll be the first one to deplore the wimpy way the PS has drifted toward the center in the past 20 years. On the other, we need to be realistic: Besancenot has zero chance of making it to the second round; his candidacy is divisive because he's taking essential votes from the PS candidate and could prevent her from reaching the second round.

I know there's no chance this would happen since he probably thinks she's way too centrist, but how great would it be if Loach directed some campaign videos for Ségolène Royal? She needs someone to light a match under her bourgie ass, and he's just the right guy to do it.

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