France: After Election Time, Let’s Bring on the Time for Social Struggle! 

July 8, 2024 editorial of the New Anticapitalist Party-Revolutionaries (NPA-R) in France, translated from French

[Far-right leaders] Bardella, Le Pen and their ally Ciotti were unable to break out the champagne on Sunday evening, and all the better for it. Seeing the defeated faces of the Rassemblement National (RN – National Rally party) leaders on TV was a small moment of happiness for all those who didn’t want to “try” the far right in government. [Center-right President] Macron took a slap in the face in the first round, Bardella takes one in the second… What remains now is to definitively knock out all racist and anti-social policies, and we won’t be able to do that in the electoral ring.

Bardella Prime Minister is not for this time…

With 143 MPs (Members of Parliament) – admittedly a record – the RN and its allies failed to secure a governing majority, coming third behind the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP – New Popular Front reformist left) and Macron’s friends. The “Republican withdrawal” strategy adopted by the parties present in the second round worked. Despite coming out on top in the first round, and outnumbering each of the other groups in the second round, the RN cannot govern. But its ideas and its weight in political life are growing inexorably stronger, and its electoral results will provide it with an unprecedented financial windfall: no, really, we haven’t seen the last of this deadly far-right poison for the working world and young people. And we’re not done with the pro-rich, pro-business policies pursued by Macron for years, and by right-wing and [reformist] left-wing governments before him, which paved the way for the RN.

A time for bargaining against the working classes

None of the three main political blocs vying to manage government affairs has won an absolute majority. Macron once again sees himself as the “supreme arbiter,” even though his hatred among the working classes is immense: will he and his allies be able to poach other politicians from all sides who share the same servility to the interests of employers, to form an ever more right-wing government? The New Popular Front alliance has already amply demonstrated its divisions and contradictory options. It has put the PS (Socialist Party) and EELV (ecologist party), who governed before Macron, back in the saddle. Will it make it through the first post-election week, or will its cardboard unity come to an end with the negotiations over who it hopes will be Prime Minister?

Getting back on the track of social struggle

Who will enable us to wrest back the extra 400 euros ($433) per month and raise our wages, pensions and income to 2000 euros net per month? Who will index our wages to prices? Who will prohibit lay-offs in the private sector and all job cuts in the public services? Who will allow us to retire at 60 with 37.5 years’ contributions? Who will repeal all the racist laws passed over the past 40 years and ensure the regularization of all illegal immigrants? Who will put an end to the ecological destruction of the planet? Who will put everyone back to work by massively reducing working hours and workloads? It’s not at the Élysée, Matignon or the Assemblée [respectively the President, the Prime Minister, the Parliament] that we’ll get our way! It’s through our struggles, our strikes, our street mobilizations, as in 1936, when after a month of general strike action and workplace occupation, paid vacations, the 40-hour week and wage increases were wrested from the bosses… The Popular Front government had nothing to do with it; it hadn’t even been able to give women the right to vote, or independence to the colonies! For as long as we fail to win the demands that are vital to the world of work, the far right will continue to plant its seeds and spread its racist and xenophobic propaganda. It is to say this, and to convince those around us, that we and other organizations are calling for a demonstration in Paris on July 14.