‘The Battle of France’, a podcast about the discussion facing the future of the 21st century

This Sunday presidential elections are held in France. It is a very important appointment for this country, but not only. What is decided in the only nuclear power in the EU and the seventh largest economy in the world goes further. The rise of the extreme right in recent years, which is represented in Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmourmakes the country a good example of the great battle that the world is fighting today: the choice between nationalism and the liberal order that emerged after the end of the WWII and that Emmanuel Macron is now trying to capitalize, taking advantage of the great rupture that the French left is going through. That is why this podcast, prepared by the RNE correspondent in Paris, Antonio Delgado, is titled as follows: ‘The Battle of France’. It takes a tour in six chapters of the main issues and characters under discussion at the moment through scenarios and characters that, at first glance, may seem unrelated to the politics surrounding the Elysee Palace: General De Gaulle, a small abbey in Solignacthe cathedral and the flea market Saint-Denis or the left bank of the Sign.

Chapter 1: Solignac Abbey

The arrival of a community of traditionalist monks has divided the inhabitants of the town of Solignacin the French region of Limousin. Some neighbors are delighted because they believe that it will revitalize the municipality, but others accuse the monks of being fundamentalists and suspect that behind their arrival there is a real estate project that aims to repopulate France with Catholics. The conflict illustrates the identity debate that obsesses French politics and serves to explain the irruption of Eric Zemour, the candidate of the radical right in the presidential elections of April 10 and 24. It is a phenomenon that we analyze with testimonies from the residents of Solignac and the reflections of the historian Benoit Pellistrandi and international analyst Alexander of the Valley.

Chapter 2: The Saint-Denis Flea Market

We enter the Saint-Denis neighborhoodvery close to Paris, which synthesizes the debate on immigration that is installed in French politics. More than half of the Seine Saint-Denis region is of non-European origin and the most common name among newborns is Muhammad. A phenomenon that the candidate of the radical right, Eric Zemmour, has used to affirm that French culture is threatened by the excess of the Muslim religion. But who is Eric Zemmour? How has it happened in a few months as a talk show host to touch 12% in voting intention? What impact are his extremist and xenophobic proposals having on the image of Marine Le Pen, who until now monopolized the space of the most radical right? Why has France become accustomed to listening to far-right speeches that for decades would have seemed intolerable? We look for the answers with the help of historians Natasha Lillo and Benoit Pellistrandithe international analyst Alexander of the Valleythe union leader, Philippe Martinez, and the lawyers Arié Alimi and Juan Branco.

Chapter 3: General de Gaulle in the Ukraine

The general charles de gaulle He was the military man who led the French troops during the resistance to the Nazis. He was the great architect of the Constitution and the Fifth Republic. He is a political giant in whose shadow French politicians continue to shelter. Everyone from Eric Zemour until Emmanuel Macron They talk about his figure and his political project to defend his ideas about the European Union or the war in Ukraine. “These elections are also disputed in the past,” says one of our protagonists. We analyze the influence of those ghosts of the WWII with the voices of Esther Senothone of the last survivors in France of the Nazi holocaust, the historian Benoit Pellistrandithe international analyst Alexander of the Valley and the lawyer Juan Branco.

Chapter 4: The Left Bank

What happens to the french left? Because the Socialist Party Has he gone in five years from presiding over the Republic to registering a 2% voting intention in the polls? The left arrives very divided in the presidential elections, but fragmentation is not the only factor that explains why Jean-Luc Mélenchonthe candidate of the Unsubmissive France, be the only one with remote options to go to the second round. We investigate the crisis of the French left by visiting two mythical places for it: the latin quarteron the left bank of the Seineand the Montreuil working class neighborhoodheadquarters of the CGT. We talked to the trade unionist Philippe Martinez and the lawyer and activist Juan Branco. In addition, they contribute to the diagnosis the former socialist leader Aquilino Morelle and international analyst Alexander of the Valley.

Chapter 5: The last of the glorious 30

The french economy It’s fine, or so it seems. The GDP has recovered the level prior to the pandemic, the unemployment rate, around 7%, is the lowest in 15 years and, although prices have risen, they have done so at a lower rate than in their countries neighbours. However, Macron does not seem to be managing to capitalize on these good figures electorally. The country lives in a permanent dissatisfaction by a mixture of inequality and longing for past times. Why do the French think they are doing worse than they think they should be? We note that nostalgia weighs heavily in current politics, including in France. We do this with the help of the chief economist at Oxford Economics, Daniela Ordonez; the union leader Philippe Martinez; the political scientist Gaspard Estrada; the historians Natasha Lillo and Benoit Pellistrandi and the lawyer Juan Branco.

Chapter 6: Who is Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron He has been presiding over the French Republic for five years, but nobody knows who he is. No one knows the president’s soul because his enigmatic personality seems to be largely constructed from the scraps of France. A former banker who graduated from the elite National School of Administration, Macron is the paradox turned into politics: the quintessence of the French political system and the symptom of that system’s decomposition. Neither left nor right, populist center, perhaps what best defines him is the tagline that he has made famous: “en même temps”, at the same time, that is, one thing and the other. In the last one we try to decode the French president and find out if, in this war, Macron is the hero of the liberal order or the undertaker of it. We do it with the help of the former socialist leader Aquilino Morelle; the historian Benoit Pellistrandi; the political scientist Gaspard Estrada and the lawyer John Branco.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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