France: To Counter Macron, an Electoral Slap in the Face is not Enough!

Image credit: Thibault Camus–AP/Pool

June 13, 2022, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Translated from French

It was supposed to just be a formality, but now Macron’s electoral machine is in a jam! The newly re-elected president may not be guaranteed a majority in the National Assembly (French Parliament). There is only a 20,000-vote margin between the presidential coalition (Ensemble) and the left-wing coalition (Nupes). But nevertheless, this is a slap in the face for this president who took pride in choosing each of the 577 candidates for Parliament: for example, Blanquer, the former Minister of Education, despised by both teachers and students! We are also delighted to see Zemmour’s (far-right politician) policies of hate disappear from the electoral platforms. What will happen beyond this electoral circus?

A Social Crisis, and a Silent Anger

We understand why voters would want to consent to the presidency of the wealthy in the first electoral round, and soon after in the second round. However, these are merely electoral gestures, even if they come from the left.

Electoral abstention is still the most popular form of political protest in the face of growing misery. This is silence and pent-up anger, rather than indifference to social problems. For there is a paradox: the institutional left is returning to political power at full force, but at a time when the working classes are largely abstaining from electoral politics, and questions around social problems are all around us.

Macron, on the other hand, sponsors candidates of the small minority of rich people, wars, pollution, and money. And what about Marine Le Pen, the far-right Presidential candidate? Well, as soon we talk about real problems, when it comes to answers she disappears. No surprise there: you can’t solve the problems of inflation, poverty, unemployment, hospitals, pensions for the elderly with racism.

Is the Left a Solution?

The Nupes calls itself left-wing, and put up some candidates that we can see ourselves in. For example, the baker who went on a hunger strike in order to keep his apprentice who did not have the right papers, or the cleaning lady who led a long and successful strike against a hotel chain.

Many voters, with no illusions in the promises of the Nupes, sought above all to block Macron, and postpone the pension reform. Except that Mélenchon (politician leading the left-wing alliance, the Nupes) and the apparatuses of this so-called left, defend political compromise with Macron, the president of the rich. This is a way for those responsible for social misery and its victims to defend an alliance of the rich and poor. Not long ago, the same Mélenchon praised a vote that would “avoid miles-long demonstrations.” In the middle of the war in Ukraine and colonial plundering in Africa, Mélenchon is aligning himself in advance with Macron, as he has assured us that with him as Prime Minister, “France would speak with one voice.” A reminder of the rotten left-wing governments of the past.

A Week of Doubt and a Future of Struggles

Macron’s political machine has seized up. The president is not even able to answer a high school student who asked him “Why keep ministers accused of rape in the government?” However, Macron knows how to send two gendarmes (police) to this student’s school to question her! Even managing the UEFA Champions League Final (European soccer competition) is difficult for this arrogant political team for whom solution rhymes with repression.

But this political machine will continue its cruel mission even with a small majority. Some will want to vote against Macron in an attempt to block him. We can understand this, but this vote is far from what it will take to counterattack to the social regression that his government is openly putting in place. For this, we will have to go beyond parliamentary maneuvers. We will have to overcome the gloom in the workplaces, and support anger instead, distancing ourselves from individual solutions by recreating solidarity at the base. Then, whatever government backdoor deals have been arranged, we must refuse to pay the bill for their crisis. We must move from the illusory electoral blockade to a real social blockade through struggle, in order to gain respect, to impose social justice, to make the rich back down, and to put an end to their rotting world.