April 11, 2022 Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Comrades of Speak Out Now, Translated from French.
The second round of elections will be the Macron – Le Pen duel so hoped for by the bourgeoisie, so played up by the press. This election had twelve candidates, including five millionaires, competing in a campaign that focused far away from the concerns of the working classes, with no debate, and against a backdrop of war in Ukraine, social collapse, and soaring prices. The high level of abstention, the highest in twenty years, was predominantly among the working classes, making the election look like a farce. The left-wing parties of government (SP: Socialist Party and CPF: French Communist Party) and those of the right (LR: The Republicans) were swept aside, the Greens were eclipsed, Mélenchon’s Popular Union party missed making it to the second round by a small margin. What do these elections tell us?
Macron rhymes with dough
The class struggle exists and Macron understands this well. The employer’s candidate, a supporter of easy money and riot cops came in first with nearly 28%, holding only one public meeting. This is not surprising. The country was split between nine million people living below the poverty line, with miserable salaries and appalling working conditions, contrasted by those with insolent wealth. France’s 109 billionaires saw their earnings increase by 30% during the pandemic, and Credit Suisse estimates that three million households will reach one million euros in wealth by 2023. All these rich people enjoyed themselves during the term of this banker, and logically voted for him with discipline. Their candidate’s purpose is to protect the inequality-producing machine that is capitalism and to do away with all our social rights. And to do it with unrestrained violence. We haven’t forgotten the thousands that were injured during the Yellow Vest movement, the seventeen who were blinded, the four hands that were torn off. Nor have we forgotten his hatred of the poor, those names he said were “difficult to pronounce,” and his contempt for “people who are nothing.”
So what are we to think of the laughable appeal made by a certain Emmanuel Macron regarding those who were disappointed by the former president? This circus has gone on long enough.
Le Pen rhymes with “hate them”
So to get rid of Macron, some people are feeling a temptation of the worst kind, so great is their hatred for him. Yet both Macron and Le Pen are complementary and accomplices. Complementary, because they are the best enemies in the world, but also accomplices. For behind a facade of rivalry, Macron and Le Pen both love money, the rich, inequality, and dictators in Africa, Russia, and elsewhere. And if Zemmour’s racist one-upmanship has falsely made her look good, Marine Le Pen in no way represents social progress. On the contrary, her program is one of division between workers based on where they come from, and when she speaks of “the interests of the nation,” it is always to call for a hatred of others, much more than for an alleged love of her own people.
Their elections and our choices
Many workers have put their hopes in Mélenchon’s Popular Union, and very few have chosen the revolutionary vote (Philippe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud). Often they have no illusions in it, but just to want to escape the Macron—Le Pen duel. His party missed its chance by a small margin and some are undoubtedly bitter. This left party that calls itself radical bet everything on the institutions of power, the electoral path. Mélenchon even explained that voting for him would avoid demonstrations, in a word: the ballot box rather than struggles in the street. However, we should do the math: we need to add the abstentions, a wave of solitary anger, to the Mélenchon vote. This anger, which is still silent, and this protest through ballots do not make a movement, but they represent millions of “no’s” to the world of the rich that is leading us to catastrophe.
We, the exploited and oppressed, are a huge potential force. Much more numerous than they are. The second round does not really offer any choices. It remains for us to take our affairs into our own hands without expecting anything from their world. We must build our own, starting now, that of solidarity, of the combative unity of our social camp, of our victorious struggles against their law of money, their wars, their pollution, their misery.