France: The Media and the Strauss-Kahn Scandal

Two months after it burst onto the scene, the scandal surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn continues to occupy a prime position in the coverage of the French capitalist media. Each day brings a bout of more or less anodyne ‘scoops’ against a background of a continuous flow of images.

For example, we have been given every minute detail of the case presented by Miss Banon: her lawyer intends to issue a complaint; he goes to send the complaint by courier; the courier leaves; he arrives at the prosecutor’s office in Paris; he is studied up to the present hour… Each time, we are treated to hours of commentary on the television and radio. Why the courier, once having delivered the complaint, has not himself been interviewed yet we do not know. At the same time, correspondents in New York are giving us hour by hour updates on ‘developments’ on the other side of the Atlantic. To this is added the situation created within the Socialist Party which provides us with dozens of comments and statements.

What we are witnessing is a flagrant hijacking of this affair for political ends. For the Right and the government, it is a godsend; it allows them to avoid addressing more difficult subjects, such as the crisis, rising unemployment, a fresh attack on the right to retirement, austerity measures applied at the European level, the revolt of the Greek people, the war in Libya, etc. The media seeks to fascinate the public with all the more or less sordid details of this affair, following the example of the worst television series.

Prior to this scandal, Strauss-Kahn personified more than anyone else the pro-capitalist shift at the top of the Socialist Party. He has for a long time defended reactionary ideas and politics which have nothing to do with Socialism. His nomination as head of the IMF proved that the imperialists had absolute confidence in him. And he did not disappoint them. Taking up a position at the head of this institution on the eve of the economic crisis of 2008, he then recommended the application of drastic austerity measures in Europe and elsewhere. He was one of the architects of the brutal attack on the people of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, etc. He was “an agent of the ruling class within the labour movement” as Lenin would have put it.

Strauss-Kahn was therefore the ideal candidate of the French capitalist class, in the expectation of a victory for the Socialist Party in the 2012 elections. A section of the ruling class even saw in him a good alternative to Nicolas Sarkozy, whose authority has crumbled. Unfortunately, François Hollande and Martine Aubry state that they have the same programme. This underlines the bankruptcy of the leadership of the Socialist Party as a whole, which puts forward no alternative to the Capitalist system. As a consequence, it is preparing itself to apply a policy similar to that of Zapatero and Papandreou, if it wins in 2012. Such is the problem confronted by all who want to chase the Right from power. From this point of view, the disqualification of Strauss-Kahn from the presidential race changes very little. Whatever the result of the 2012 elections, the labour movement will have to carry out great struggles to defend its rights and social gains. And the French Communist Party must play a decisive role in mobilising workers and youth around a programme that breaks with the Capitalist system.

Source: La Riposte (France)