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    "I have against me the bourgeois, the military and the diplomats, and for me, only the people who take the Metro."


    Social Gaullism refers to the ideas of the left-leaning factions of the Gaullist movement, founded by the iconic french leader Charles de Gaulle. Usually in the minority in its own side, this school of thought represented between a quarter and a third of right-wing voters in France throughout the second half of the 20th century. Similar to One-Nation Conservatism and Christian Democracy, it could be described as an economically center to center-left, civically moderately statist, and culturally center-right ideology.

    History

    The founder of Social Gaullism could be de Gaulle himself, who was greatly inspired by Catholic social teaching and promoted statist and social-democratic economical ideas since the 1940s, when he was leading the Free France and the Resistance against the german occupation. Strongly keynesian and protectionist, he developed after the war a particular rhetoric that allied patriotism, conservatism and a taste for social justice.

    During his return to power in the 1960s, on the other hand, he showed himself closer to his right-wing supporters, making Georges Pompidou his prime minister. At the end of his mandate, he nevertheless made a return to a more social policy, truly creating social Gaullism. After his death, Pompidou, Chirac and especially Sarkozy were all elected as Presidents of France by proclaiming themselves Gaullists, but without really adopting this social rhetoric.

    In opposition to these neo-Gaullists close to the neoliberal right, politicians from this political movement formed an internal opposition from the 1970s to the 2000s. Demanding a return to a dirigiste and eurosceptic policy which they considered closer to the ideas of General de Gaulle, these social Gaullists, however, never succeeded in establishing themselves as the leaders of the right and have today practically disappeared.

    The failure of Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Philippe Séguin in the various major elections in which they participated buried this political movement.

    Chabanism

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Social Gaullism was represented by WW2 hero and mayor of Bordeaux Jacques Chaban-Delmas. He was one of De Gaulle's most trusted advisors and one of his potential successors. After the death of the General, his other student Georges Pompidou becamed President in 1969 and chose Chaban as his Prime Minister. As the head of the government, he tried to seduce the moderate-left with ambitious social reforms (in order to prevent them from getting closer to the communists). He also made authoritarian choices, notably by dissolving several far-left groups and passing harsher laws for protestors and delinquents.

    But his desire to embody a social Gaullism more open to change earned him the annoyance of President Pompidou, who ended up replacing him in 1972 with the more conservative Pierre Messmer. After that, Pompidou died of a severe disease in 1974, and Chaban ran to replace him in the presidential elections caused by his passing.

    Supported by the Gaullist party (the UDR), he was nevertheless betrayed by the right wing of the movement who found him too far to the left and preferred to support the liberal Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (although not a Gaullist), who would be elected. With this defeat, Chaban-Delmas lost his legitimacy and Jacques Chirac, one of the leaders of this betrayal, replaced him as leader of the party (which would then become the RPR) while partly keeping his social rhetoric, before converting to neoliberalism in the 1980s. Chaban-Delmas will then never succeed in imposing his vision and will be relegated to a supporting role on the right.

    Seguinism

    In the 1980s when the Neo-Gaullist right embraced neoliberalism, part of the movement, led by Philippe Séguin, opposed this choice and took up the torch of social Gaullism. Close to Jacques Chirac , although disappointed that he abandoned his initial ideas, Séguin tried throughout his career to bring the RPR back towards a more dirigiste political vision. He was Chirac's Minister of Social Affairs from 1986 to 1988 then President of the National Assembly from 1993 to 1997. In 1992, in the name of the independence and liberty of France, he opposed the Treaty of Maastricht and pushes left-wing President François Mitterrand to submit its ratification to a referendum. Despite an energetic campaign and growing popularity, Séguin narrowly lost this vote (the "yes" to the treaty won at 51%). This opposition to a supranational Europe will be the cause of his fall, because the economically more right wing of the party will try to block his path. Even if he was Chirac's main support during the 1995 presidential election and allowed him to win by bringing him his speech on the "social fracture", it was his rival Alain Juppé who became his prime minister after his election.

    Despite real popularity, Philippe Séguin will never succeed in establishing himself as a potential successor to Chirac, whose advisors convinced him that he could not be elected on a Eurosceptic program. After his failure in the Paris municipal elections in 2001, Séguin moved away from politics and then died in 2010, once again leaving Social Gaullism an orphan.

    In today's France

    Currently, France's right is divided between Macronists, The Republicans (successors of the Gaullist RPR) and the Far-right. None of them took up the ideas of social Gaullism, having all more or less embraced supranational Europe and neoliberalism. However, some small Eurosceptic parties have used this term to refer to themselves, showing that this ideology still has an influence.

    Some politicians today claim to be social Gaullists, but do so more out of electoral calculation than out of conviction.

    Relations

    Friends

    Frenemies

    • Social Democracy - We have a lot in common, if only you could embrace patriotism and respect for traditions !
    • Chiracquism - You should have listened to me instead of following these neoliberal ideas
    • Sarkozysm - Same as above but worse (Guaino likes you for some obscure reason)
    • Social Liberalism - Kennedy was based but Giscard stole our chance to rule France in 1974

    Enemies

    • Neoliberalism and Conservative Neoliberalism - Screw you, you destroyed everything the General had done
    • European Federalism - "We are sovereign or we are not, but we can never be half sovereign" (Philippe Séguin)
    • Neoconservatism - Screw NATO, France needs to be independant and shouldn't fight unjustified wars abroad
    • LePenism - Stop pretending we are alike, you are literaly the heir of these anti-gaullists "salauds"
    • Marxism-Leninism - You are a threat to peace and democracy !
    • Nazism - Same as above but way worse, plus we fought against your during WW2



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