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The French Socialist Party and its Radical Ambiguity

Alistair Cole

The French Socialist Party has maintained a deeply ambivalent relationship with political radicalism. Throughout its long history, political radicalism has been experienced both as an internal political contest (hence as a form of intra-party struggle for influence) and as a relationship within (and beyond) the broader party system. This article identifies three levels of analysis as heuristics to facilitate a study of the French Socialist Party over the long term. From the perspective of the party as a whole, the party evolves according to its own eco-system, and is shaped by deeply embedded cultural and political traits. A different level of analysis frames the question of political radicalism organizationally, in terms of relations within and beyond the party. Finally, one can also understand the party's relationship with political radicalism instrumentally and strategically, in terms of electoral alliances. Though there is a tension between these three approaches, each contributes to understanding why the French Socialist Party is sometimes considered a European exception.

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Les électeurs socialistes dans les primaires présidentielles à Paris

Marino De Luca

Several parties throughout the world are democratizing their internal processes. The most notable tools for achieving this aim are the primary elections through which electoral candidates and party leaders are selected. This article seek to analyze these “selections” by using survey data relating to primary elections held in October 2011 by the French Socialist Party. In particular, we make use of survey data to describe extensively some social and political characteristics of the voters and to connect them with the electoral performances of the candidates.

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France Votes

Irwin M. Wall

The French elections of 2012 resulted in an unprecedented and overwhelming victory by France's Socialist Party, which gained control of the presidency and an absolute majority in the National Assembly to go with the party's existing domination of most of France's regions and municipalities. But the Socialist Party remains a minority party in the French electoral body politic, its victory the result of a skewered two-ballot electoral system. The Socialist government, moreover, remains hampered in its action by its obligations toward the European Union and its participation in the zone of countries using the Euro as it attempts to deal with France's economic crisis. As a consequence of both of these phenomena the government may also be sitting atop a profound political crisis characterized by the alienation of a good part of the electorate from the political system.

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Le CPE est mort--et maintenant?

Erhard Friedberg

The failure of the CPE does not prove the impossibility of reform in France, but rather illustrates political actors' incompetence when it comes to developing and leading reform efforts. The article argues the foregoing thesis by reviewing different moments when competence in these matters would have been able to make a difference. It then examines the collateral damage of this aborted reform with regard to the adminstration's capacity to act and with regard to the French political landscape from now until the 2007 presidential elections.

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Horizontal and vertical politics

Strategic uses of abajo and arriba in the construction of the Venezuelan socialist State

Stefano Boni

Venezuela; United Socialist Party of Venezuela), has presented itself as los de abajo , but upon taking power has been increasingly perceived as having turned into los de arriba . As chavista egalitarian rhetoric is met with increasing skepticism, the

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The Prospects for Socialist Politics in South Africa

Global and Domestic Trends Following the Failed SRWP Experiment

Giovanni Poggi and Ongama Mtimka

using the experience of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party in the 2019 national general elections as a point of reference for South Africa. We reflect on the state of socialist parties and policies globally since the turn of the twenty

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Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830—1907

Wiktor Marzec and Risto Turunen

that socialist parties and politicians attached to and detached from the concept, but also on the interaction between socialist activists and ordinary working people. Socialist ideas were still not widely known in the Russian Poland of the 1870s, but

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Enlisted in struggle

Being Marxist in a time of protracted crisis

Ahmed Kanna

an analysis both of interlocutors’ narratives of becoming Marxist and their practices in activist spaces, I describe how and why they commit to Marxism and how they navigate moments of intervention or praxis. 2 I argue that the socialist party form

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Le radicalisme dans le parti socialiste aujourd’hui

Gérard Grunberg

The radical component is still alive in French socialism. It finds expression notably in the anti-liberal economic perspective that the international financial crisis has recently reawakened. It is also expressed in the critique of the institutions of the Fifth Republic that Nicolas Sarkozy's "hyper-presidency" has revived. The tendency toward radicalization, however, is also heavily constrained these days for several reasons. The Socialist Party, first of all, has become a party of government. The centrality of the presidential election in the French system and the presidentialist character that the Socialist Party has taken on make a presidential victory a top priority for the party. Too radical a discourse can become, for such a party, counter-productive. The economic environment, moreover, and the situation the country faces makes less and less credible as a political objective the large-scale, state-led redistribution that has traditionally been how French socialism has translated its radicalism into a program of government.

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Jospin, Political Cohabitation and Left Governance

John P. Willerton and Martin Carrier

The April 21st defeat of Socialist party candidate Lionel Jospin in the first round of the 2002 presidential elections shockingly ended the five-year reign of arguably the most productive government in Fifth Republic France.1 The Jospin government of the Gauche Plurielle departed as surprisingly as it had come to power five years earlier, its legacy of unprecedented success in Left coalition building and far-ranging policy construction seemingly voided by Jospin’s embarrassing loss to Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Far Right.