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Bloggers take on European elites
BBC News ^ | June 2, 2005

Posted on 06/03/2005 11:40:03 AM PDT by John Jorsett

The French newspaper dubbed Marseille law teacher Etienne Chouard "Don Quichotte du non".

Mr Chouard did not much care for the EU Constitution, but instead of simply voicing his upset to his neighbours, he wrote an essay and set up a blog to explain why he was voting 'Non'.

Just ahead of the vote, his blog was getting 25,000 hits a day and his anti-constitution broadside had been photocopied, faxed and blogged about across France.

Despite overwhelming support for the constitution by the governments of both France and the Netherlands and a huge media campaign by political leaders in both countries, voters have rejected the constitution.

And just as the media and political establishment in the US found during last year's presidential election, European elites have now felt the sting of these online upstarts, the bloggers.

An 'enormous force'

Mr Chouard, the teacher turned blogger, has become a folk hero for the 'Non' campaigners who rebelled against what they saw as an out of touch political elite.

Fans posting to his blog have asked where they can send contributions to erect a statue of him in Marseille,

He took issue with the 66,000 word constitution saying that it would be difficult to amend and that it did not lay out the separation of powers between agencies.

The "Yes" campaigners argued that the blogs were perpetuating myths and half-truths, French internet consultant Stanislas Magniant told the BBC.

But those opposed to the constitution found the internet in general and blogs in particular as one of the ways to get their message out, he said.

"Proponents of 'No' have said the mainstream media have been shamelessly in favour of the 'Yes'. They said the internet was the main area where the democratic debate can take place," he added.

But it was not just Mr Chouard, Nicolas Vanbremeersch of the blog Publius actually expected more online activism than took place in France after the role of blogs in the US presidential campaign last year.

But he told the BBC News Website that both "Yes" and "No" campaigners used the internet and weblogs extensively.

However, the "Yes" side's internet efforts were too late and too little.

"The 'No' side, the extreme left, was very organised on the internet. The 'Yes' side has been late in taking up blogs as interactive tools," he said.

The political left already had many internet sites ahead of the constitutional campaign and they quickly launched blogs for the campaign, he added.

Mr Magniant is not ready to say that blogs were a determining factor in the referendum, but he does believe that blogs dramatically lowered the barrier to entry to take part in political debate.

"In terms of grassroots power, (blogs) have been an enormous force," he said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
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1 posted on 06/03/2005 11:40:03 AM PDT by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett

Hehehe


2 posted on 06/03/2005 11:43:40 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: John Jorsett
"Proponents of 'No' have said the mainstream media have been shamelessly in favour of the 'Yes'. They said the internet was the main area where the democratic debate can take place."

Hooray for the people of France!

To Hell with the Propaganda Machine (i.e. "the mainstream media")!

3 posted on 06/03/2005 11:49:44 AM PDT by Savage Beast (The Left IS the Dark Side.)
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To: John Jorsett
What's interesting is that we have come almost full circle. 200 years ago most of politics was local. 1:1, townhall style. Blogs are the modern day electronic version of a townhall where people are reconnected again.
Rather empowering actually. The elites with their printing presses and their TV stations and radio stations are not the only ones with the ability to sway opinions now.
4 posted on 06/03/2005 11:53:28 AM PDT by ProudVet77 (Warning: Occasional intelligent posts hidden by sarcasm.)
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To: John Jorsett

Let the revolution begin!


5 posted on 06/03/2005 11:54:42 AM PDT by reagandemocrat
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To: John Jorsett

"Une Constitution démocratique n'est pas de droite ou de gauche, elle n'est pas socialiste ou libérale, une Constitution n'est pas partisane : elle rend possible le débat politique, elle est au-dessus du débat politique.

"À l’inverse, le TCE, en plus de fixer la règle du jeu politique, voudrait fixer le jeu lui-même !

"En imposant dans toutes ses parties[12] (I, II et surtout III) des contraintes et références libérales, ce texte n'est pas neutre politiquement : il impose pour longtemps des choix de politique économique qui devraient évidemment dépendre du débat politique quotidien, variable selon la conjoncture. C’est une sorte de hold-up sur l’alternance des politiques économiques.

More here:

http://etienne.chouard.free.fr/Europe/


6 posted on 06/03/2005 12:14:36 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: ProudVet77

#4

Nicely stated.


7 posted on 06/03/2005 12:15:40 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: CasearianDaoist

""The 'No' side, the extreme left,"

Uhmm... does anyone else find this peculiar? In effect, this implies that extreme leftwing nationalists were behind the defeat of the EU constitution in France. Kind of like blaming skinheads for all the antisemitic activity in France in recent years, when it is fairly obvious that radical Islamists are behind quite a bit of it. Looks like they're taking a page out of the US playbook.


8 posted on 06/03/2005 12:25:14 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
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To: John Jorsett; All

There is one critical difference in europe. Some nations still charge PER MINUTE for land line phones.

It is not like here in the USA where dialup is ulimited time.

In addition, when the minimum wage can be 400-600 euros PER MONTH, affording a computer and internet acces in not cheep.

It is why internet cafes are such a european staple.


9 posted on 06/03/2005 12:29:04 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: RegulatorCountry
In reality, the no was across the political spectrum. It was about national sovereignty more than anything else. That is just MSM spin that it was the "far" anything that voted against it. The only completely solid "Yes" block is the one that is filled with elites of Brussels.
10 posted on 06/03/2005 12:34:00 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: RegulatorCountry

I believe the analysis is that the right and the far left kiboshed the EU for different reasons and the centrists were all voting for it


11 posted on 06/03/2005 1:28:15 PM PDT by littlelilac
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To: littlelilac

"I believe the analysis is that the right and the far left kiboshed the EU for different reasons and the centrists were all voting for it"

This is the sole attribution for the defeat in the article above: "The 'No' side, the extreme left, was very organised on the internet. The 'Yes' side has been late in taking up blogs as interactive tools," he said."

I see no mention of the Right in this at all. Are you referencing the article in question, at the beginning of this thread?


12 posted on 06/03/2005 1:34:31 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
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To: John Jorsett

The European fascists must get control of the internet!


13 posted on 06/03/2005 2:01:34 PM PDT by TheDon (Euthanasia is an atrocity.)
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To: proxy_user

"Les journalistes sont un rempart essentiel, moderne, pour protéger la démocratie."

Big mistake numero uno.


14 posted on 06/03/2005 2:21:34 PM PDT by nairBResal
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