Eliminate unbridled financial speculation by separating the banks, issue public credit to finance the real economy, leave the euro and the EU in its current form, and join with the BRICS to develop the world are the themes French Presidential candidate Jacques Cheminade has hammered on in his many interviews in the media. Last week, he had a chance to bring his message personally to important constituent events as well.
On March 28, he was the first of the Presidential candidates to speak to a meeting of the French Employers Federation MEDEF for four minutes, followed by a discussion with four directors of SMEs and the audience for one hour (more on that below).
In the afternoon of the same day, he was invited by the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association to give a 15 minute presentation on his policy, and in particular his views of Franco-Russian relations. Cheminade noted that his policy toward Russia would be that of de Gaulle: “entente, detente and cooperation” as well as win-win cooperation to ensure peace in the world. He called for an end to the sanctions, in return for Russia lifting its counter-sanctions, in particular on agricultural goods.
On March 30, Cheminade was at the Congress of the FNSEA, the largest farmer union in France, where he gave a 10 minute presentation to the 1,000 delegates in the hall, followed by questions and answers from the panel for a total of nearly 30 minutes. Cheminade began by stressing that their profession – farming – must be very much future-oriented, as it will have great task of ensuring an adequate food supply for the entire world population. He is confident the French farmers will be able to contribute their share to that effort, “provided we combat the financial occupation” of France, with its policy of speculation on food products and of profits in the very short term, which is incompatible with agriculture and livestock farming.
Draghi Has Money for the Banks, but not for SMEs
At the Medef event, Jacques Cheminade, was warmly greeted by the moderator, who proposed to introduce the candidate in a short portrait of three figures. 1) 100 billion euros per year, which is what Cheminade would grant to investments in the real economy and for infrastructure. 2) 80 bn euros per month, issued by the ECB to bail out the banks, which are really just debts that do not go into the real economy. 3) on a more personal note, 800,000 years, because Cheminade possesses in his collection of pre-historic objects a protobiface from the Paleolithic.
Cheminade opened his presentation, saying :
« One word has almost never been heard in this campaign, another was mentioned but twisted. The first word is ‘industry’. France has become so deindustrialized that industry only represents 12.5 % of our GDP today. At the same time, the population’s purchasing power has stagnated. (…)
“The second word, that has been twisted, is ‘labor’. The preamble of our Constitution… states that eveyone has the right to have a job. But today, labor is considered as a cost, or an adjustment variable, and not as the engine of the economy of tomorrow.
“The question that is asked so often in this campaign is ‘how much does it cost, but how much does it cost?’, and what we hear is ‘There’s no money, we have no money’, when the real question we should hear is ‘how does it make the future better, and what will it cost if we don’t do it?’. You people are entrepreneurs, that is, you are future-oriented, and you employ workers whose qualifications and skills you need to develop by associating them with your performance…”
He then contrasted the globalized, deregulated and predatory financial capital of today to the mission of an employer who creates and develops something for the future. He explained that he is not acting in a spirit of national retrenchment, which would be suicidal, but in the spirit of “recreating a Europe of the fatherlands, of great projects and of social justice, associated with the BRICS movement launched by China, in a system described as inclusive and win-win, without excluding the United States. In my view, three great projects can further the common aims of mankind: space, the oceans (the blue economy) and the development of Africa…
“I am here to discuss with you this opportunity that must be seized, of what we have to do for the France of tomorrow, and not to waste your time and mine by criticizing a system and its well-known defects and dangers.”
In answer to the first question, Cheminade asserted that the EU is a false Europe led by a counterfeiter named Mario Draghi. “Eighty bn euros per month which don’t concern the real economy, is scandalous.” While we can’t de-globalize the world economy, we can de-financialize it, he said.
He came back at several points, during the discussion, on the need for great projects and for Europe to join in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. He was also asked about the need for apprentice programs in France, to help young people, in particular, find skilled jobs in SMEs.
On the question of the debt and economic growth, which came up, Cheminade said that the debt will never be repaid, not only the Greek debt, but that of France as well, and insisted on the need for a Glass-Steagall separation of the banks.