France: beat the right and the far right! Fight for communism!

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 internal crisis within the Republicans (the main traditional bourgeois party in France) is nothing new. But the split within it has now been consummated – and one might add, in a rather entertaining manner. By turning resolutely towards Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN), the leader of the Republicans, Eric Ciotti, is simply following the lead of a growing number of right-wing voters.

As for his opponents at the top of the party (Wauquiez, Pécresse, et al.), their protests sound all the more hollow given that their usual rhetoric is by and large identical to that of Marine Le Pen and her clique of arch-reactionary demagogues.

The split of the right-wing party Reconquête is a consequence of long-standing differences between its founder, Eric Zemmour, and Marine Le Pen’s niece. Zemmour dreams of being the new Pétain; Marion Maréchal is happy to settle for a ministry. Maréchal is clearly not prepared to go along with the delusions of grandeur of an old journalist who seems to have overlooked the following fact: the conditions for a military-police dictatorship are not at all in place.

Meanwhile, the Macronist MPs are moving helplessly towards a defeat of unprecedented proportions. Furthermore, if a parliamentary majority is found wanting at the end of the second round of these elections, the country would find itself heading towards a major crisis of the institutions of government.

The Head of State had no real option other than to dissolve the National Assembly. But by doing so, he has opened up a perspective of a new and very dangerous aggravation of the crisis of the capitalist regime in France.

The New Popular Front

As we predicted, the dissolution of the National Assembly immediately resurrected the late Nupes (an alliance of Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise, with the Socialist Party (PS), Communist Party (PCF), Greens and others), in the form of the ‘New Popular Front’.

When it comes to dividing up the winnable constituencies, the leaders of the PS, the Greens and the PCF think that La France Insoumise is a perfectly worthy and approachable organisation. Their stream of slanderous accusations against Mélenchon (that he is “antisemitic”, etc.) has come to a temporary halt. It’s time to play the tune of ‘unity’ of their mutual apparatuses… for the duration of the electoral campaign.

Melenchon Image cyberien 94After having attacked and slandered Mélenchon as an antisemite, the PS, PCF and Greens have suddenly found he's an acceptable ally when it helps them gain National Assembly seats / Image: cyberien94

After the fresh experience of the Nupes fiasco, few people are fooled. Many workers, especially among the poorest and most exploited, are watching it with suspicion, even deep scepticism. The inauguration of the unpopular former Socialist President, François Hollande, as a candidate is not likely to reassure them.

However, there are also millions of young people and wage workers who support the New Popular Front because they see in it the only concrete alternative to the far-right National Rally. They have no great illusions about the value and solidity of this new alliance, but they see no other tool at their disposal for attempting to prevent the RN from coming to power.

Révolution is calling for the defeat of the right and the far right at the ballot box. But above all, we call on young people and the workers’ movement to prepare for major social struggles in the aftermath of this election, whatever its outcome.

The CGT leadership should immediately announce that if the RN wins the elections on 7 July, a 24-hour general strike will be organised in the short term – and that this will form the first stage of a mass mobilisation to oust Bardella and his henchmen from power. The mobilisation of our class must be prepared without delay!

If, on the other hand, the New Popular Front forms the next government, serious struggles will be no less essential. As we wrote on 13 June, MPs of the PS and Greens in particular, “will prove very sensitive to the pressure of the ruling class, which will demand the abandonment of all progressive reforms and the pursuit of a policy of drastic austerity, against a background of economic stagnation and deteriorating public finances. […] In other words, we need to start preparing now for major mobilisations to demand the immediate implementation and deepening of the Popular Front’s programme, if it wins. Young people and workers must not trust the verbal ‘commitments’ of Olivier Faure and company; they can and must rely upon their own strength alone!”

The programme of the New Popular Front is even more moderate than that of Nupes. It does not, for instance, provide for any nationalisations: the ‘break’ it proposed does not touch large capitalist property, that is to say, the foundations of the established order. The interests of French imperialism are also preserved, as shown by the commitment to supply arms to Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s regime – and this in the name of ‘peace’!

Despite this, capitalist politicians and journalists are prophesying an economic apocalypse in France if the progressive measures contained in this programme – including a minimum wage of €1,600 and the repeal of the latest pension reform – are implemented. Of course, their aim is to dissuade the electorate from voting for the New Popular Front. But these cries of outrage also foreshadow the enormous pressure that the bourgeoisie would exert on a New Popular Front government, from day one, to abandon the progressive measures in its official programme and pursue a policy of austerity.

Break with capitalism!

On 15 June, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets against the National Rally. If National Rally wins, even more massive mobilisations will be on the order of the day. But then again, we’ll also have to mobilise in the event of victory for the New Popular Front, because we can’t trust its MPs – especially those on its right wing – to resist the enormous pressure from the bourgeoisie.

Let’s not forget the experience of François Hollande's ‘socialist’ government (and its Green ministers) between 2012 and 2017. Instead of attacking ‘finance’, as he had promised, Hollande attacked our pensions, our rights, our public services and our working conditions. Generally speaking, the successive betrayals of ‘left-wing’ governments since 1981 have played a central role in the rise of the RN, which has continued to broaden its electorate among the working class.

The far-right thrives on the crisis of capitalism on the one hand, and the betrayals of the major parties of the reformist left on the other. By refusing to tackle the capitalist system, the governments of Mitterrand, Jospin and Hollande successively became this same system’s managers. They defended the power, interests and privileges of the big bourgeoisie.

Marine Le Pen 8 mai 2021 Image FRANCOIS LO PRESTI Wikimedia CommonsThe far-right thrives on the crisis of capitalism on the one hand, and the betrayals of the major parties of the reformist left on the other / Image: FRANCOIS LO PRESTI, Wikimedia Commons

For decades, millions of workers have seen how alternation between the right and the ‘left’ has done absolutely nothing to change their growing difficulties. Under both, they were plagued by unemployment, company closures, the destruction of public services, increasing job insecurity and many other ills, while a handful of wealthy parasites accumulated ever-more indecent fortunes. This has been particularly true since the 2008 global crisis, from which the French economy has never recovered.

In conclusion, we must strike at capitalism itself. This system is now a monstrous obstacle on the road to social progress, and it cannot be reformed. To speak of a ‘break’ without touching the property of the big capitalists, as the New Popular Front programme does, is to pay lip service to the idea of a ‘break’ while preparing new capitulations.

The ruling class and its system must be overthrown. The big bourgeoisie must be expropriated and the means of production placed under the control of the workers themselves. We must democratically plan the economy in the interests of the vast majority. In short, we need a communist programme. And to implement it, we need a genuine communist party.

In a few months’ time, Révolution, the French section of the Revolutionary Communist International, will found such a party: the Revolutionary Communist Party. It will defend the ideas and programme of Marxism. To help us build it, join us!

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