France

Three decades ago, between April and July 1994, the Rwandan government organised the extermination of almost 1 million people belonging to the Tutsi ethnic group. This genocide was aided and abetted by the French government, which both financed and armed those responsible, often referred to as ‘génocidaires’. But still, to this day, the French ruling class has not fully and openly recognised its responsibility for one of the most monstrous crimes of French imperialism.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call snap legislative elections, with the final round this weekend, is proving a massive headache for the bourgeoisie. The prospect of Macron losing any semblance of a parliamentary majority is spooking the markets. At the same time, the rise of Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) is provoking hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in protest.

The results of the first round of the legislative elections are roughly in line with what the polls predicted. The turnout (66.7 percent) was much higher than in 2022 (47.5 percent). Who did this benefit? Not the Macronists, whose defeat was severe. The higher turnout benefited the left-wing New Popular Front and, even more so, the far right. This is shown by comparing the results – by number of votes – in 2022 and 2024.

Round one of the French legislative elections is on Sunday. The French communists call for a vote to beat the right and the extreme right at the polls, but we also anticipate major social struggles whatever the composition of the next government. That is to say, even if the left-wing New Popular Front wins, after round two on 7 July. In the following article, we analyse in more detail the storm sweeping French political life, as well as the different possible scenarios and the resulting tasks for the labour movement.

The result of the European elections and the dissolution of the National Assembly have acted like a catalyst on the political situation in France. That which was latent and maturing slowly has suddenly come to fruition.

The European elections in France swept away the parliamentary house of cards on which Macron’s government rested. The polls were a clear debacle for the government. Against a backdrop of massive abstention, the right-wing National Rally (RN) list received 31.5 percent of the votes, compared to less than half that for Macron’s list (14.6 percent). Exposed to the high risk of a no confidence vote, Macron preferred to take the lead and announce the dissolution of the National Assembly, in which he has not had an absolute majority since June 2022, triggering snap legislative elections. 

New Caledonia has been rocked for several days by riots that have so far claimed six lives. This uprising is the result of repeated provocations by the French imperialist government. In 2022 – after Macron forced through a referendum on independence in spite of his promises to the contrary – we published the article below, in which we wrote: “The French government welcomes the result, but the problem is by no means settled – and is bound to resurface, sooner or later.” Since then, the government has pushed ahead with a process of electoral reform that constitutes a significant provocation for the Kanaks.

The crisis in NUPES – the ‘union’ consisting of La France Insoumise (FI), the Socialist Party (PS), the Greens and the Communist Party (PCF) – is increasingly taking on the air of a bedroom farce: shouting, declamations, doors opening, slammed, and then opened again, etc. Boredom mixed with irritation is spreading among the audience, and little by little the auditorium is emptying.

On 17 October, the Paris prefecture banned a meeting, which was to be held at the Bourse du Travail the next day, to demand the release of pro-Palestinian activist Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, detained in France for nearly 40 years. On the evening of 18 October, at the time of the meeting, the Paris Labour Exchange was closed under the surveillance of the CRS (riot control police).

In France, as elsewhere, the extremely brutal response of the Israeli government to the Hamas attack on 7 October has aroused the indignation of millions of young people and workers. But in the name of "Israel's right to defend itself" and "the fight against terrorism and anti-Semitism", the Macron government decreed that this indignation was unacceptable and must be silenced, at all costs.

This article, marking 60 years since the end of the Algerian war of national liberation, appeared in Révolution, the paper of the French section of the International Marxist Tendency, in March 2022.

We are witnessing a profound crisis of legitimacy and moral decomposition of the entire capitalist system. Former US President Donald Trump's latest legal drama is just one more in a ceaseless succession of establishment scandals, blunders and internecine disputes at all levels. From parliament, to the police, to the press, to religious institutions – every pillar of bourgeois rule is rotting from the inside out. Why is this happening, why now, and what does it mean for the class struggle?

Last week, a French policeman shot an unarmed French-Algerian teenager (Nahel M.) in the chest after a traffic stop. Before pulling the trigger, Nahel was told “I will lodge a bullet in your head”. A video of the brutal slaying was uploaded to social media, resulting in a massive outpouring of rage that swept the country.

At the time of writing, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, is delighted with the results of the fifth consecutive night of riots, which was “calmer thanks to the resolute action of the forces of the 'order' [the police].” This statement is very relative. In response, let's put things into perspective. The fifth night was perhaps "quieter" than the fourth and, above all, than the third. But in relation to the “100 days of appeasement” announced by Emmanuel Macron on 17 April, it was still very agitated! (Note: this article was originally published 29 June and has since been updated. ...

Around 100 members of Révolution, the French section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), gathered in Paris on 16 and 17 June, for our 2023 National Congress. Attendees came from Paris, Toulouse, Marseilles, Lyon, Montpellier, Grenoble, Brest, Morlaix, Lille and Rambouillet. We also welcomed comrades from the IMT’s sections in Switzerland and Belgium, and were joined by Fred Weston from the International Secretariat of the IMT.

Whatever its scale, the 14th “day of action” against Macron’s rotten pension reform, scheduled for 6 June, will have no more effect on the government than did the 13th. Even if Macron did not really obtain the ‘appeasement’ he was hoping for, he can conclude that, on the pension reform, he has undoubtedly won the battle, at least temporarily. However, from the point of view of the French bourgeoisie, it is a Pyrrhic victory in which the winner emerges much weaker, overall, than the loser.

Our Brazilian organisation (Esquerda Marxista) recently sat down for a discussion with Jérôme Métellus, leading member of Révolution (the IMT in France), about the powerful movement of strikes and protests that rocked French society starting in January. This struggle, triggered by Macron attempting to hike the retirement age, has entered into a phase of stagnation, but the situation in France is more polarised and enraged than ever.

In his inaugural speech as President of France in 2017, Emmanuel Macron said that he wanted to “convince our compatriots that France’s power is not declining, but that we are on the threshold of an extraordinary renaissance”. Since then, the decline of French imperialism has accelerated, both economically, geopolitically and militarily. This is particularly the case in Africa.