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Left/Right

I work with a lady from the Greatest Country In Europe If Not The World, let’s call her S., who is pro-Right wing — elle va voter pour Sarko. That is to say, she is conservative. Which is to say she thinks that she stands for all that is good. It is interesting, because she is a nice enough person, and I really can’t see her endorsing the sort of things that conservative politics, in the end, tends to endorse. But for S., hearing “right” is tantamount to hearing “holy,” while hearing “left” is tantamount to hearing “EVIL.” She expresses her political views on occasion, and smiles slightly self-consciously but surely self-pleased, saying things like “He’s not Right enough for me!” or “She is so stupid, she has no program!”

I told her if I were French I would vote for José Bové, and she said “then there there wouldn’t even be a State! We’d all just sit around smoking pot!” I am a bit unsure about whether Bové’s election would bring about either of these things, but I am sure that it would make Monsanto (and their ilk) unhappy — for reasons that please me. I suppose it might appear to her like I am simply the mirror reflexion of her political stance, and that I cringe at the word “right,” but that’s wrong: I cringe at blind backing of political movements and the disregard of progressives as pot-smoking hippies. The little I know of French politics, outside the direct action of José Bové and other altermondialistes, suggests to me that Sarkozy is a pandering little aspiring-fascist with a knack for saying idiotic things, and a desire to militarize French civil society; Ségolène offers little improvement and is more a symbol of the decline of establishment progressive politics in the North. C’est la vie.

What glittering stardust or stinking shit does each person have attached to simple short words like left and right? More important, of course, is how these associations are played upon by cunning admen and opportunist politicians, and how they were engendered by the structural apparatus of society in the first place.

[et pour quoi doit-on utiliser le prénom de Ségolène et le nom de Sarko?]

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