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 France / Ireland

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PostSubject: Re: France / Ireland   Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:25 pm

Referenda on constitutions and a general election engender very different responses. In fact that's one of the reasons why we have the Yes side resorting to the example of Sarkozy's election, but as mentioned by sandy the promised short treaty and changes by Sarko would never come.

And apart from the first No vote, (and an entirely new constitution being one of the most extreme constitutional amendments you could imagine), the reasons for separating out a general election and the subsequent lack of another referendum should be clear.

This was how the majority of the French electorate (and the majority of the lower and middle income groups who voted no) were disenfranchised and left with practically no choice between the two main 'competing' blocks at the election.
It is instructive to learn that the no vote was, in the vast majority, a class vote against the treaty*.


With regard to an EU wide referendum. I think a complete yes or a no is not that helpful or democratic here.
I think it should ideally be a multiple choice referendum like they've had in Sweden, twice in 1957 and in 1980.

If you disagree, say, with the aspects of the treaty which promote increasing neoliberalism (even after the recession!), increasing defence spending and damaging foreign policy centralisation and repercussions on developing nations, then you could vote against these parts of the treaty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referenda
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referenda#Sweden


*
As French trade justice expert Susan George explains below, the majority of the no vote consisted of "working class and lower middle class people" While "The only social category that voted a majority for the yes was the mid to upper managers and professionals.”"
Almost 60% of the socialists party membership voted no in France, despite the party being for it.






http://www.voteno.ie/resources/?C=S;O=A

Quote :
The French ‘No’ vote of 29 May 2005 in the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty [ECT] was often misunderstood outside France [particularly in Spain]. Many thought it was a right-wing, regressive, anti-immigrant, anti-Turkish or anti-Chirac protest vote.

Probably 18-20 percent of the No vote could be attributed to such motivations, but even our worst enemies--and I say “our” because I campaigned vigorously for the ‘No’--admit that it was a progressive, pro-European rejection of a deeply flawed proposal. We wanted Europe--but not that Europe.
The ECT was a triumph of anti-democratic, anti-social, neo-liberal legislation which would have been nearly impossible to change. The media, political and corporate elites voted massively for the ‘Yes’ [in the rich Paris suburb of Neuilly 85 percent voted in favour] whereas ordinary working people saw through the constant propaganda and mostly voted No [85 percent in one working class suburb of Rouen, for instance]. Turnout was 70 percent--up by more than half from the mere 46 percent that had bothered to vote in the European parliamentary elections a year earlier.

http://www.village.ie/World/Europe/Interview_with_Susan...orge/

Quote :

Speaking about shock defeat of the EU Constitution by the French electorate in 2005, trade justice expert Susan George, who led the ‘No’ campaign, attributed the victory to “the spirit of the French revolution, the spirit of the republic”. She said the defeat of the Constitution “was in the long line of French movements on the left towards human emancipation. Once people found out what was actually in the treaty, which was the hard part to get across, then it was quite natural for them to vote no. It was a popular decision and it was a class vote...working class and lower middle class people voted no. The only social category that voted a majority for the yes was the mid to upper managers and professionals.”

When asked why France voted ‘no’ Susan George explained; “Well they found objectionable the fact that the economy practically took up all of the space in the Treaty. Maybe it was there before in different laws, but it was all spread out and this was the first time that people became aware of what was already there and they didn’t like what they saw. It was a blueprint for neo-liberal economics. It favored privitisation. It gave no protection to public services. It didn’t even call them public services but services of general economic interest and subjected them to competition. The word ‘market’ appears 78 times in the text. The phrase ‘free and undistorted competition’ was there many times also, the free movements of goods, people, capital and services across the borders was repeatedly emphasised, and this was expanded into trade issues with a very heavy free trade bias. A lot of people don’t agree with that.”
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PostSubject: Re: France / Ireland   Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:34 pm

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Speaking about shock defeat of the EU Constitution by the French electorate in 2005, trade justice expert Susan George, who led the ‘No’ campaign, attributed the victory to “the spirit of the French revolution, the spirit of the republic”. She said the defeat of the Constitution “was in the long line of French movements on the left towards human emancipation. Once people found out what was actually in the treaty, which was the hard part to get across, then it was quite natural for them to vote no. It was a popular decision and it was a class vote...working class and lower middle class people voted no. The only social category that voted a majority for the yes was the mid to upper managers and professionals.”

When asked why France voted ‘no’ Susan George explained; “Well they found objectionable the fact that the economy practically took up all of the space in the Treaty. Maybe it was there before in different laws, but it was all spread out and this was the first time that people became aware of what was already there and they didn’t like what they saw. It was a blueprint for neo-liberal economics. It favored privitisation. It gave no protection to public services. It didn’t even call them public services but services of general economic interest and subjected them to competition. The word ‘market’ appears 78 times in the text. The phrase ‘free and undistorted competition’ was there many times also, the free movements of goods, people, capital and services across the borders was repeatedly emphasised, and this was expanded into trade issues with a very heavy free trade bias. A lot of people don’t agree with that.”

Not that different to Ireland then, in terms of the class divide.
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PostSubject: Re: France / Ireland   Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:39 pm

Pax, I'm happy to see that some Irish people well understood what happened in France and I would like it would be the same in France for the Irish vote.

I don't know Susan George but she seems to have totally understood what happened.
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PostSubject: Re: France / Ireland   Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:14 am

sandy wrote:
Pax, I'm happy to see that some Irish people well understood what happened in France and I would like it would be the same in France for the Irish vote.

I don't know Susan George but she seems to have totally understood what happened.

More of Susan George on the Lisbon Treaty in this thread

http://machinenation.forumakers.com/the-open-europe-forum-f30/susan-george-on-the-lisbon-treaty-t865.htm?highlight=george
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