France: The Philistines Have Arrived!

Will newly elected President Nicolas Sarkozy eliminate the French Ministry of Culture? Apparently the right-wing Gaullist has plans to do exactly that, as reported by Christophe Jakubyszyn of Le Monde. For those who don’t speak French, ARTFORUM magazine has picked up and published the details of Sarkozy’s scheme:

“In a bid to reduce the French state, Sarkozy plans to merge certain ministries; the ministry of culture may be looking forward to a fusion with the ministry of education ‘in order to promote artistic education in schools,’ writes Jakubyszyn. If a fusion is not in the works, then the ministry of culture—like the ministry of agriculture—may well be axed from the state.”

While most of the corporate press burbles about the “reforms” Sarkozy intends to implement - it should be apparent that his administration represents nothing but the most retrograde form of reactionary politics. As noted by ARTFORUM, “Whatever Sarkozy’s plan for the ministry, to be announced this week, the results promise a drastic change for the relationship between the French state and contemporary art.”

I would add that as Sarkozy and his allies advance with their pro-big business agenda, they will be met with strong opposition, especially, in this case - from those sectors who comprise the county’s arts community. Overall, the German news magazine Der Spiegel warns of trouble ahead for French society: “So far, nearly every attempt at reform by a French government has ended with burning barricades.”

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