Saturday, July 2, 2016

Michel Rocard, the president prevented – Liberation

One more will hear the grumbling of his phrasing jerky against short-termism and the inconsistency of his contemporaries. Hospitalized at the Pitie-Salpetriere, Michel Rocard, who remain particularly as the father of RMI and Noumea Accords, died Saturday at the age of 85, suites from cancer that he fought for several years. Married three times, he was the father of four children. Since June 2007, and a brain haemorrhage during a trip to India and discomfort in spring 2012 at a conference in Stockholm, it appeared increasingly exhausted physically, but not mentally dull. His recent interview with a river of Point has again demonstrated her that Francois Hollande has made there is little Grand Cross in the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Undeniable statesman Michel Rocard will remain a singular figure of the French left, the second hero of the left, and a familiar voice from the France of the past fifty years. A man of the last century but resolutely turned towards the future, the past, the political arena, next to his fate or at least his presidential plan. Intellectual life mingling of ideas and scientific discovery, to the end, will have participated in the public debate. With a taste for complexity and enjoying the freedom of tone of those who no longer expect much because they have already achieved a lot.

“Hamster scholar”

In unionists scouts, young Michael was “scholar hamster” and it suits him very well. Require with its stakeholders, employees and more with his opponents, Michel Rocard, officially retired from politics since the fall of 2008, has long embodied a form of modern left as reformist, anti- “leftist” and carried by a man of his time, over a brilliant career that has led to Matignon (88-91) early in the second term of François Mitterrand, but left the Elysee gates without ever it can seriously compete there. In 1981, one year before the election, however, he was leading the race at the PS sympathizers.

In its Champs-Elysées offices, graciously made available by a patron to his left, Michel Rocard still receiving the cigarette in his mouth. An unfiltered Gitane. Far from the caricature that Puppets were frozen in latex, the former prime minister was often as inexhaustible as exciting, he raises the issue of debt, the plight of the ruling Socialists or his last trip to the poles ambassador, who was appointed to this position in 2009 by Nicolas Sarkozy. He could well start a conversation about the political situation of the country by twenty minutes before the penguins move elephants from the rue de Solferino. All with an unexpected narrative art as its exacting diction seemed a priori an obstacle, wielding long scholarly demonstrations and sharp protrusions, and making also show a sense of the proven formula. MEP, his last term, for fifteen years and until 2009, Michel Rocard thought there is little that “Europe can not be revived without the English come out” . Brexit he considered a necessary but not sufficient. Its European voice missed the debate, who showed severe with European leaders at the time.

Born in Courbevoie August 23, 1930, in what was then the Department of the Seine, Michel Rocard comes from the middle class and Protestant culture. He is the son of a scientific top flight, former resistance fighter and one of the fathers of the French nuclear bomb, which would have seen continue in the same way. But the student Rocard, little attracted by the hard sciences, singles, family drama, a literary education. And after a literature degree, he graduated from Sciences Po in 1950 (where he met Jacques Chirac and Robert Pandraud). Then Ena in 1958 (called coupon of 18 June), sufficiently rated to include the inspection of Finance – as a certain Emmanuel Macron few decades later. He then embraces a career of “professional” economist in senior management, luggage far from common in the left of the time and has always nurtured his political thinking.

Socialist Militant since its 19 years, Michel Rocard is primarily driven by a European commitment and anticolonial aspiration. It is first member of Socialist Students (SFIO) and became its leader under the pseudonym Georges Servet – the name of a heretic Protestant, it will use for years, until he entered the ENA. But when the war of Algeria declares that the left and tears, it is part of the Socialists who break with the SFIO of Guy Mollet and adhere to the autonomous Socialist Party (PSA). A few years later, the PSA merges with other organizations to give birth in 1960 to the Unified Socialist Party (PSU), that Rocard described as “the place from bringing all those who refused a left that dishonored “ (1). Pierre Mendes-France, figure admired, takes his card the following year. Rocard becomes, meanwhile, secretary general of the PSU in 1967 and then request availability for inspection of finance to take these “modest functions and low paid.”

During the events of May 68, the boss of the PSU, whose organization has hold of the UNEF, the main student union, is found to play a role, considering the significant events and “leftists” already inconsistent. In 1969, after the defeat of General de Gaulle at the April referendum, Rocard door modestly colors PSU presidential (3.61% of the vote). He thus explained in Living Memory , maintenance book published in 2001: “in May 1968 was not far, everyone had in mind that he had something surprising happened which France did not understand much. The message that all this was madness, it was necessary to forget, was insufficient, and the speech Trotskyist or Maoist extremists, claiming to change the economic system, did not make sense. This request for a France which is established dialogue, a France where workers have a right to express their companies on their working conditions, where the union section of company would be recognized, where women’s rights cease, including legal, to be unequal to this point all this was to be blamed and explained to the opinion as a whole. It seemed impossible to François Mitterrand to leave. He had not really followed the movement of May 68, and was not well placed to talk about “ (1). Rocard is launching facing Georges Pompidou and the candidate of the “real right” Alain Poher, but also against the Socialist candidate Defferre, combined with Mendes, which tops out at 5%. “I never ran for anything. I’m the only politicians today have begun with the presidential election, with the exception of marginal candidates “, noted Rocard. In the process, he became deputy of the Yvelines defeating outgoing Prime Minister Maurice Couve de Murville, but it will sontour released four years later.

During the 1974 presidential election, he argues François Mitterrand and his appeal to the people left the germ of the future joint program with the PCF, but Valéry Giscard d’Estaing entered the Elysee. A few months later, the actant “battles” related to decolonization are in the past and that Mitterrand “denounced late but undeniably French colonial adventure” , Michel Rocard proposes to join the PSU PS: only 40% of voters support the project. It still incorporates the PS with a few meager troops, along with some militants close to the CFDT as Jacques Chereque. We are three years after the founding congress of Epinay.

Became member of the executive bureau of the PS and a framework of recognized competence, former MP Rocard was elected mayor in 1977 Conflans-Sainte Honorine (Yvelines) in the process, he won the legislative and recovers his seat in the Assembly. Two years later, very real popularity, he began again to attack the Elysee announcing his bid for the candidacy of the PS for the 1981 presidential It esy calling Conflans. Natural candidate of his camp, François Mitterrand was he, not his intentions. And when it finally launches in November, Rocard was forced to withdraw, in some ways without the knowledge of his own accord. Political and narcissistic wound that never heals really. And between the two men, the longstanding enmity becomes a public record of antagonism, Mitterrand keeping until his death in 1996, the institutional ascendancy and even spiritual magisterium on electoral younger.

second left

Rest at the turn of the 1980s, while in May 1981 looming, the “rocardisme” this second left, begins to embody something for the French. And Michel Rocard, “realistic” claiming Mendes, has in the polls, defending one of socialism as European as decentralizing government, and especially less statist – and even more sensitive to the market economy – that most of its favorable comrades to total nationalization. no options (yet) majority to the left and above, far enough from the Communist orthodoxy that still weighs his weight at the polls and François Mitterrand account well, he rally to his candidacy to reason seeing it as a sine qua non of victory. With success, as we know

While for the first time, a leftist president entered the Elysee Palace, Michel Rocard, that it would be seen, began his government career. Minister of State of Planning and Minister of Agriculture in the Mauroy governments (1981-1983), then in that of Laurent Fabius, from which he resigned in spring 1985 to mark its opposition to Mitterrand maneuver consists of applying proportional to the legislative come. Jacques Chirac, liberal devil, became prime minister, while a thirty deputies FN make their entry in the National Assembly.

Main opposition figure Michel Rocard still enjoys strong popularity. Reelected in 1988, François Mitterrand and is forced to call in Matignon. Incidentally, “Uncle” had declared: “I’ll name him since the French seem to want to [...] But you will see, after 18 months, we will see it through.” This form of cohabitation, icy, between two men of the same board will last until 1991. Rocard used to say that this disagreement led them not to impose endless meetings and so virtuously to focus on the essential.

New Caledonia, RMI and pensions

at Matignon, where a certain Manuel Valls is in charge of the press and where Jean-Paul Huchon directs the Prime Minister, at a time when the Claude Evin, Alain Richard, Jérôme Cahuzac or Marisol Touraine are, to varying degrees, “rocardiens” Michel Rocard does not waste time to act. By June 1988 he obtains the signature of the Matignon Accords actant the rights of New Caledonia to self-determination when the island is plagued by a violent situation. His greatest pride in Matignon and the action for which he says he received more threats. On the social front, it establishes the minimum income (RMI), after a unanimous vote of the Assembly in October 1988. Two years later, it is the CSG, a new tax levied at source whose plate covers all income (work or heritage), which was born. We can also credit the results of the first “white paper” on pensions.

On 15 May 1991 François Mitterrand asked him to resign. Edith Cresson, with the success we know, succeeded him at Matignon. Far from finished with the responsibilities, Michel Rocard became first secretary of the PS after the defeat of the party in the parliamentary 1993 failed experience, there will be street Solferino few months and became an MEP in 1994 after leading the list Socialist European (14.5%) in a very adverse environment where he must face competition from a list Bernard Tapie, supported covertly by Mitterrand, who gives him cruppers. The rocking party in the hands of Henri Emmanuelli with the help of Laurent Fabius.

For Michel Rocard, the wheel has turned and the dream of a new presidential luck in 1995 definitely seems s’ remove. This did not prevent a good ten years later, in 2008, to propose to Ségolène Royal, he deemed unfit to stand down in his favor to save a new rout to the left. He then decides to an alliance with Bayrou. In vain.

Sarkozy elected, former Socialist Prime Minister is one of the figures opening the new president likes to appoint or to whom he entrusts reports. Rocard, tutelary figure of Terra Nova, then creates in 2012 the Collective Roosevelt, with Stéphane Hessel, Edgar Morin and economist Pierre Larouturrou, kind of spiritual son with whom he published in 2013 warning Left n has more room for error. in September, Flammarion publishing the last livrede former Prime Minister, What remains of socialism it? There remained notably Michel Rocard.

(1) living Memory, maintenance book with Judith Waintraub (2001, Flammarion)

Jonathan Bouchet-Petersen Head of department @BouchetPetersen France


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