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There is no real doctrine in gaullism, as Charles de Gaulle was a pragmatic politician who adapted his actions to the cricumstances of the moment, but they are a few principles considered as unquestionable and some goals to achieve.
- National independence: De Gaulle refused any kind of "vassalisation" from supranational entities (NATO, UN, EEC) or superpowers (USA, USSR). France should not have to rely on any foreign country for its security (thus the creation of the French nuclear deterrent).
- Anti-imperialism: De Gaulle granted independence to French colonies, including Algeria, and presented himself as the champion of the Third World. He also criticized what he perceived as Anglo-Saxon imperialism, notably by opposing the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and by supporting an independent Quebec.
- Popular democracy: De Gaulle preferred a direct relationship between the head of state and the people to parliamentary politics; to some extent, he was scornful of politicians and political games. The strong executive power allowed to the President of France by the Fifth Republic was legitimized by his election by universal suffrage and confirmed by frequent referendums. Accordingly, De Gaulle resigned after failing to obtain a majority in a constitutional referendum, arguing that the direct relationship between the President and the people had been broken.
- Primacy of the State: De Gaulle favoured the public interest against private interests (corporations, trade unions, lobbies, political parties, etc.)
- Economic interventionism: De Gaulle opposed communism and pure free market, favouring a "Third Way" which included substantial state-directed control over a capitalist economy (spatial planning, economic planning, and Keynesianism), the nationalization of key industries and the promotion of national champions.
- Social justice: De Gaulle promoted national solidarity with fair distribution of wealth and performant public services (education, health care, social security).
- Social conservatism: De Gaulle supported France's traditional family values.
Since de Gaulle's death, and the break-up of the UDR, the exact meaning of Gaullism has become somewhat unclear. In 1980s–1990s usage, "Gaullism", or "Neo-Gaullism", referred to the Rally for the Republic (RPR, now integrated into the Union for a Popular Movement, UMP), the centre-right party founded by Jacques Chirac. Chirac has, in the past, adopted both dirigiste and laissez-faire approaches to economics; he later took on a pro-European stance after having famously denounced Europeanism in the Call of Cochin. For these reasons, some on the right, such as Charles Pasqua, denounced Chirac and his party as not being true Gaullists.
citation needed] many objections have been formed, committed to the independence of France, calling for a more social Gaullism and close to the project of General de Gaulle. This is particularly the case with Philippe Séguin, who opposed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and more recently with MP Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who founded his own party, Arise the Republic (DLR) which seems to be the closest to the original Gaullism.[
There are people on the political left who also call themselves Gaullists. Even Socialist president François Mitterrand, who denounced de Gaulle's way of ruling as a permanent coup d'état, was very intent on keeping the nuclear deterrent and asserting France's independence. Souverainist politician Jean-Pierre Chevènement and his Citizen and Republican Movement is also often treated as a left-wing heir of Gaullism.
The expression Gaullist has also been used in the politics of the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. In the governing Christian Democratic party some wanted to strengthen the ties with the United States, the Atlantiker (Atlanticians), others wanted to build up a European counterweight, with the help of France, the Gaullists.
The most notable Gaullist was chancellor Konrad Adenauer, an outstanding Atlantiker, and his minister of foreign affairs, Gerhard Schröder. A typical Atlantiker was Protestant and believed in free market economy, a typical Gaullist was Catholic and tended toward Rhine capitalism with its more regulated markets and state intervention.
A problem to the Gaullists has been that their concept of foreign relationships was based on a strong European integration, which needed support from France. French president Charles de Gaulle actually was reluctant to give more power to European institutions and advocated instead a less tight Europe of the nations.
After de Gaulle's retreat in 1969 and the end of Christian Democratic government in Germany the same year, the distinction lost its prominence. However, Gaullists tended to believe that relations with the United States were more important than Franco-German cooperation.
Gaullist political parties
- 1947–1955: Rally of the French People (RPF)
- 1958–1962: Union for the New Republic (UNR) and Democratic Union of Labour (UDT)
- 1962–1967: Union for the New Republic - Democratic Union of Labour (UNR - UDT)
- 1967–1968: Democratic Union for the Fifth Republic (UD-Ve)
- 1968–1971: Union for the Defence of the Republic (UDR)
- 1971–1976: Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR)
- 1976–2002: Rally for the Republic (RPR)
- 2002–present: Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)
- 2007–present: Arise the Republic (DLR)
- François Mitterrand, Le coup d'état permanent, Plon, 1964
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