Today (19th April 2016) the city that never sleeps will deliver a verdict on Bernie Sanders “Political Revolution”. Meanwhile Across the Atlantic in France another primary race has just begun – for an independent “people’s candidate” to stand against France’s increasingly unpopular establishment party leaders Francoise Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. France has till recently been a little slow to the global democracy rehabilitation party. But no longer, and as a result the race for the French 2017 Presidential Election is heating up.
Scoop’s Alastair Thompson, now based in France, profiles Philippe Manuel one of 86 largely unknown political contenders who stepped up to become the “People’s Candidate” for France’s 2017 Presidential election. In the process he discusses rehabilitation of the word “Revolution” and backgrounds a race which has all the hallmarks of becoming yet another intensely disruptive political contest.
Philippe Manuel is not your typical revolutionary.
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A French Patriot, decorated tank commander in the French Army and Knight of the Legion de Honour, Manuel graduated from the French Military academy of Saint-Cyr in 1980 before serving in Berlin in the early 1980s and later in a multinational force deployed to Beirut Lebanon.
Upon returning to France Philippe demobbed in 1985 and then worked for several years selling paper products in the Middle and Near East. In 1988 he became an advisor to the Speaker of the National Assembly Laurent Fabius, who had been the youngest Prime Minister in the French Republican history, and who stepped down as France’s Foreign Minister in February.
This was followed by nine years at the heart of France’s civil service first in the office of several French Prime Ministers and ending at the European Commission, working on Justice and Home Affairs in relation to the enlargement of the European Union. Philippe then launched a private consultancy on Public Management and European Affairs where he worked for a range of clients including the Russian Government.
In 2007 Philippe founded the PACE Party – a pan-European Party which seeks to defend, reform and enhance the European project in the interests of preserving the peace which Europe has enjoyed since the end of World War II.
And four days ago the promise of PACE became a great deal more real when Philippe launched his campaign to be selected as the “people’s candidate” for France’s upcoming 2017 French Presidential election by participating in the world’s first ever digitally organised “People’s Primary” election.
His campaign title as you can see in the campaign image below “La Revolution Pacifique” translates as “The Peaceful Revolution”.
LaPrimaire.org is the latest innovator in a fast growing global movement of digital democratic software initiatives. It is the first solution of a new digital startup called Democratic.
Another prominent player in the global digital democracy movement is New Zealand’s Loomis decision-making software platform – which is used extensively by the Podemos Party in Spain, a popular political movement which now the third largest Parliamentary Party in Spain.
Podemos grew spontaneously out of the Indignados protest movement which coincided with and shared many of the ideas of the Occupy movement which coined the idea of the 1% which Bernie Sanders is presently putting to good use in his campaign to win the Democratic Nomination in the US.
Loomis, which was founded by a group of Wellington activists who met during Wellington’s Occupy protests in 2011, is a sister venture of Scoop Independent News in the Enspiral Network. It was via a Loomio connection that I was introduced to Philippe last year.