It is hard not to notice that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's efforts to reform France mostly consist of attempting to undo long-held traditions often underpinned by socialism if -- not communism. How did Marxist ideology ever manage to get France so tightly in its grip in the first place?
The Soviet Union was an ally in defeating the Nazis in WWII, with France being "Ground Zero" in that battle. The fear of cooperation with communists did not exist in France in the same way that it did in America. Ideological boundaries have often therefore been blurred: In the wake of the May 1968 French student riots, dominated by extreme far-left social segregationists, the Communist Party ultimately sided with Charles De Gaulle against the extremist student protestors, despite having opposed his prime ministership 10 years earlier. Later, Socialist President Francois Mitterrand's Programme Commun reform package resulted from cooperation with the Communists.
In 1976, a TIME Magazine article quoted France's Justice Minister under center-right president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Jean Lecanuet: "The Communists are in the middle of an identity crisis and are taking up the mask of a certain reformism. If they ever came to power, the mask would fall."
Some might argue that they have managed to come to power anyway.
KGB propaganda expert Yuri Bezmenov – at one point based in Montreal for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -- exposed the blueprint during a 1983 talk in Los Angeles. Not only does it describe what can be seen in France today, but it should also serve as a warning for America.
Bezmenov identified six areas of ideological subversion of a population which would go unnoticed by the average person, much like one would not "notice the movement of the small hand of a clock."
Religion: Bezmenov points out that a religious society cannot be subverted easily because of steadfast basic principles and values. Officially, secular France does not allow for this. The principle stems from the dark historical period of WWII when neighbors reported Jews to Vichy. The state no longer deals with religion in any sense – which was also the justification for the country successfully passing a ban of the full burqa this year. Obviously one can also hold strong, unwavering values without being religious, but if any society is known for a libertine, "anything goes" streak, it is this one.
Education: Bezmenov suggests that subversion is facilitated when hard subjects such as science, math, physics and foreign languages are replaced with "history of urban warfare, natural foods, and home economics, and sexuality." Anything that takes the student away from critical thinking and the ability to make up one's own mind about the world. If there is any system that lends itself to subversion, it is France's: the elite, with few exceptions, all emerge from a few select schools. Control its education, control its elite graduates.
Social life: Bezmenov says that when established links between individuals and groups of individuals are taken away and replaced by imposed, artificial institutions – "artificially democratically controlled bodies" – the chances of subverting the system increases. With social workers, for example, from state-run daycare centers to its extensive social system, France has come to depend on the very kind of system of which Bezmenov warns: "People are on the payroll of who? Society? No, bureaucracy. "Every time a French president tries to cut government spending or wean these workers off the government payroll and towards a more independent existence free of state control, he is met with fervent opposition such as the month-long public-sector strike in 2005 sparked by the Chirac government's 1.5% cut in GDP spending.
Power structure: Bezmenov defines how unelected groups of people can control elected representatives. He is not only talking about the EU, but also something much more powerful on a national level: the media. A handful of Sarkozy spokesmen attempting to explain his position on various issues is a drop in the bucket compared to the French intelligentsia running the media – if only by the sheer volume of the latter.
Labor relations: Destroying the traditionally established links between employer and employee, notes Bezmenov, leads ultimately to the traditional Marxist-Leninist exchange and "the death of natural bargaining." This is where unions come in. The leaders' positions are secure and well-funded, but the individual's right to bargain and sell his work on his own behalf is suppressed along with his economic freedom. When union bosses order a strike, millions spill out into the streets on command. Sarkozy is then stuck trying to make sense with this brainwashed behemoth collective backed by the media's bumper-sticker, "workers' rights," "class struggle" rhetoric.
Law and order: Bezmenov explains that subversion of society towards anarchy occurs through mocking and devaluing figures of law and order. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux is often portrayed in this way in the French press – when defending traditional Western values against cultural affronts such as the hijab and polygamy, deporting illegal immigrants, or cracking down on hoodlum violence at football matches. That kind of portrayal, Bezmenov suggests, breeds mistrust among the people whom law enforcement is traditionally engaged to protect. Anarchy becomes the new authority: "A slow substitution of basic moral principles where a criminal is not a criminal – he's a defendant," says Bezmenov. Much like, in today's France, illegal aliens have come to be referred to as "people of travel."
The Cold War did not end, it just found new battlefields. Bezmenov's warnings date back 30 years. He said it would take about 15-20 years for an ideology to become entrenched in a society, using the weaknesses in societal structures . This is the enemy Sarkozy is ultimately fighting – one with a massive head start. If he fails, one only has to look at Russia or China to see what France risks resembling. How are the people there enjoying their retirement pensions?