IWL-FI statement before the second round of the French presidential elections.
The former banker and minister of Hollande, Macron, obtained a meager victory in the first round of the French presidential elections, disputing the second round with the extreme-right, xenophobic leader of the Front National, Marine LePen.
The presidential election opens a new political situation in French politics. The defeat, in first round, of the Gaullists and the Socialist Party (PSF) – the two forces that sustained the regime for over 50 years and that were the axis of the big bosses’ and the UE counter-reforms – marks a point of no-return in the crisis of the Fifth Republic. The defeat has been specially blatant in the case of the PSF, which got a mere 6.3% of the votes and lives an accelerated decline that makes part of the generalized crisis that hits the old social-democrat European parties.
But even the winers of the first round, Macron and LePen, had a low percentage: together, they count only 34% of the total register. We also need to add the major abstention rate, reaching 10.5 million people, with special mention to the 18-25 year-old workers and youth. In the case of the French colony Guiana, the abstention and null votes rate exceeded 80% of the electorate.
The extreme-right votes to LePen, as well as the votes to Mélenchon, who is identified with the extreme-left by the media, show a strong and growing polarization of the French society.
No matter who wins the second round, Macron or LePen, its base will be weak; the next June elections for the National Assembly will not give them a stable majority, and the political crisis will increase in the heat of the social response to the anti-workers and anti-popular offensive that the forthcoming administration is forced to launch, in alliance with the UE, to serve the big French capital.
The crisis of the V French Republic is also the UE crisis
The results, although distorted by an electoral veil, also show the irreversible process of burnout and discredit of the UE among the European working class – in this case, the French one. The UE appears more clearly each time as what it is in fact: a war machine against workers and peoples of Europe.
The labor code of Hollande and Macron shows that the offensive of the UE, far from limiting to the periphery, has strongly affected central countries, particularly France, whose decline regarding Germany has not stopped since the implementation of the Euro.
The crisis of French capitalism and its regime affects the core of the UE, and so the future of the strategic project of the European capitalism since the WWII.
The Front National extreme-right
Marine LePen’s Front National (21,53% of votes) got to the second round taking advantage of French capitalism and its political regime, raising a nationalist-imperialist, xenophobic program, full of social demagoguery. She also took advantage of the discredit on the UE to talk against it, opposing the “French nation” to it and even talking about calling for a referendum to leave the Euro-zone.
But one week before the second round, LePen is already defending her true intentions as a French capitalist party: she announced that, if she wins, she will name Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (sixth candidate in the first round), a Gaullist, as Prime Minister. Now the speech is not to leave the UE but to renegotiate the treaty with German capitalism. Her economic program is no longer incompatible with the Euro. So far, according to Marion Maréchal-LePen, “there will be a debate for months and probably years before we make this decision”.
The “Unsubmissive France” of Mélenchon
The former Socialist minister Lionel Jospin got 19,64% of the votes and did not get to the second turn. He got a good part of the workers’ and popular votes. He ended first in cities like Marsella, Toulouse, Lille, Montpellier, Grenoble and Le Havre, and second in many urban regions.
But the program of “Unsubmissive France”, with a clear nationalist line, does not mention the big companies’ and banks’ properties nor a rupture with the UE, but to negotiate the “modification of the treaties”. It does not break with imperialist French policy either: it proposes the solution of NATO and a constituent assembly to refund the republic.
What is the alternative?
Along the first semester of last year, the French working class featured a powerful process of demonstrations and strikes against Hollande’s labor code (El Khomri). The working class show it could paralyze France, with workers of the refineries, ports, railways and cleaning workers featuring. Sadly, the movement was not unified and centralized in a general strike to impose the withdrawal of the law and defeat the government, as a consequence of the strategy of erosion of the movement by the leadership of the CGT [General Confederation of Labor]. Hollande passed the reform by decree, although he could not impose a defeat to the movement. The current strikes all over the country are the proof of this.
The discredit of the institutions and parties of the V Republic and the lack of trust in any way that is not the construction of an independent force based on mobilization gave place to a non-precedent initiative for a Presidential election: the “Social First Round”, which took place on April 22 and gathered several thousands of workers and activists in the Place de la République [Square of the Republic], called by categories’ and local federations and unions of the CGT, Sud-Solidaires, CNT [National Confederation of Workers], students, unemployed and social movements. The current struggles in course were expressed there, and the call was to unify those struggles. They demanded the abolition of the labor code and freedom for the imprisoned political activists and the end of police violence. The chant was “out and loud, as we tell, we decide, that we will be an unavoidable force”.
The political alternative goes through the construction of this social force to impose the demands, to strengthen combative unionism and self-organization of struggles; to end the V Republic and French imperialist policy; to open the road for a new political and social regime based on workers’ democracy and the social property of great means of production. It goes through breaking with the UE and the Euro-zone and building, together with other peoples, a united Europe of the workers: the Socialist States of Europe. It goes through moving forward on the construction of a revolutionary leadership for France and for Europe.
What to vote for on M7?
In the first round, the IWL called to vote for Poutou, the Ford worker candidate of the French NPA [New Anti-capitalist Party], convinced that this was the most progressive option before the bourgeois candidatures and Mélenchon.
In this second round, we endorse the paintings on the statue of the Place de la République, in Paris: “Ni patrie ni patron” [No nation –LePen- nor bosses –Macron-]. We support the students that demonstrated in French cities against both Macron and LePen. We identify with the workers of Whirlpool, in Amiens, currently struggling against the transfer of the factory, who say: “Don’t vote for Macron nor for LePen, vote in blank”.
Workers and youth cannot support Macron, the candidate of the great capital and favorite of the UE, nor LePen, the torch-bearer of a chauvinist, racist, xenophobic project.
No patrie nor patron! No LePen nor Macron!
Let’s build the social movement! Let’s build an independent and socialist workers’ alternative!