TRIBUNE – The philosopher* reacts to a column by Guillaume Peltier published in Le Figaro and pleads in turn for an assumed and real decentralization.
Reading an article by Guillaume Peltier entitled “Our provinces, a chance for France!” delighted me. I know that the route and the political sensitivity of its author are at my antipodes, but by touching on the Jacobin French political mechanism, it hits the mark and delights me. He indeed writes truly revolutionary things because they go against what all the parties recently present in the presidential elections assert, including his own, and which are all centralizers, statists, Jacobins, to put it bluntly: Parisians.
What does this young deputy from Loir-et-Cher say? That "the inhabitants of provincial France" are looked down upon by the Parisian technocracy because it believes that the only viable model is urban, cosmopolitan, individualistic, uneducated, consumerist, globalist, uprooted, ahistorical. He specifies that we never say that “the majority of French people today live in a municipality of less than 10.000 inhabitants”. He adds that the State pays considerable sums to make the cities even more sprawling with their procession of evils: dehumanization, hyperconcentration, social atomization, anonymization, to which he could have added: pollution, both of bodies and souls. It refers to the landscapes shaped by men for centuries, to the perfumes of the markets, to the sublime of nature which it opposes to the underground lives of metro users. I subscribe.
I also subscribe to his idea that leaving this religion of the cities must aim at inventing a life in the territories, with the roots that alone make universality possible.
Cosmopolitanism has become a nationalism that despises the provinces, in the same way that the Jacobins of 1793 despised the Girondins, which they had shortened because they wanted, among other things, that Paris weigh only 1/83 of the national representation – there were then 83 departments.
The Robespierrots, to speak like Olympe de Gouges, also shortened by the so-called Incorruptible, are not found only among the current well-known devotees of Robespierre: they are among all those who believe that Paris must lay down the law in the provinces – of as much as Paris is no more than the recording room of Brussels…
I share this desire for revolution through the return of power to the provinces. And, to do this, I co-sign this idea that “it is time, in the name of balance and justice, that the France of the provinces benefit in priority from public policies”. There are indeed many talents in the provinces that the centralized technocracy has under its heel.
Not long ago, in a book titled Decolonize the provinces and subtitled Contribution to the presidential elections, I defended the idea that only a Gironde revolution could breathe life into this failed Jacobin France. From Marine Le Pen to Philippe Poutou via Macron and Mélenchon, Hamon or Fillon, all shared in the same Jacobin religion. It is this software that must be thrown in the trash. The extent of abstentionism and then of the blank and void vote testifies that this old model has had its day. In this book, I referred to the analyzes of the anarchist thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and his libertarian communalism, to provincial parliaments, to departmental self-management, to community federations, to imperative mandates, to the need for people's houses as well as citizen forums which would activate a real direct democracy (breaking with the current democratic devices which ape the Jacobin model with local, departmental, regional feudalities, etc.), the restitution of power to viable entities, the extension of local currencies, the creation of experimental schools, and many other avenues.
Most of the time, regionalization consists of transferring secondary powers to the regions while the sovereign powers are retained by Paris. The capital discharges stewardship over the provinces without ever giving them any real power. The management and administration of schools, waste, transport, heritage and air quality, which are the responsibility of the region, are pitiful rattles when the regions should have real autonomy which must be henceforth think nature.
It is the only project that can re-mobilize citizens tired of the media and political game, which has taken precedence over what democracy should be: the power of the people by the people for the people. It should be obvious, it has become a revolutionary program.
To do this, authentic notebooks of regional grievances should be drawn up and genuine states-general of the provinces should be held for the purpose of creating a Gironde Constituent Assembly which would spare political professionals. This was the whole meaning of the Proudhonian project.
I don't know if Guillaume Peltier, who appeals "to all French people on the left, on the right and elsewhere" would subscribe to it, but his appeal opens up immense prospects for France from below, which is quite tired of the escapades of France from above.
*Author of “Decolonizing the Provinces. Contribution to the presidential elections", Éditions de l'Observatoire, 2017.
Source: Le Figaro Premium – Michel Onfray: “Let’s release the Robespierrots and launch the Gironde revolution!”
I do not believe that the provinces are better than the State to manage! the mismanagement of the regional presidents is known, more power to the regions is to return to the small lords of the Middle Ages…..