Wednesday, April 18, 2012

French elections: Create a revolutionary current in the Left Front

By Le Militant, a socialist journal

In Le Militant, we said in June 2011 that Jean-Luc Mélenchon could come out in the lead in the first round. Not because of our illusions, or enthusiasm, but by cold analysis, which is this: the relations between classes.

We are keeping a cool head: whether it will succeed or not, the movement aims to undo Sarkozy and confront the regime of the 5th Republic and the boss class. We are aiming for that confrontation. If Mélenchon is in the lead then the confrontation will come faster and stronger, and if not it will still advance. In any case, we must organise. In the Left Front in particular, the question is posed of the organisation of the thousands who are mobilised.

That is why Le Militant is taking part actively in the campaign for a Mélenchon vote, and is raising the need for a democratic government which repudiates the so-called “public” debt and breaks with the 5th Republic.

What is at stake in this election for millions of workers is kicking out Sarkozy, while the candidate that the media presents as the only one capable of achieving this, François Hollande, does nothing to lead a mobilisation with a programme which responds to the needs of the working population.

The media and the political establishment want give the impression that:

• Hollande is the only one who can beat Sarkozy, with votes from the centre;

• François Bayrou, candidate of the “centrist” Democratic Movement, with his electoral capital is important and must be addressed;

• that abstention will remain at a high level because working-class and poor voters do not know who to vote for;

• that blue collar workers who are victims of the crisis can only vote for the National Front.

That is why the campaign by the Left Front and Mélenchon has usefully confronted Le Pen and put her on the defensive, and shown that there is nothing inevitable about leaving the political space open to her, by exposing her chauvinistic and racist demagogy.

By building a dynamic campaign that directly challenges Sarkozy, the president for the rich, Mélenchon has created an enthusiasm responding to the needs of the millions of workers who have suffered successive defeats since 2002, notably in the strikes of 2003 and 2010, giving a political opening to the majority rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005. This did not signify a nationalist rejection, but a refusal of the constitutional freedom given to bosses and to the markets to do what they wanted without social restraint.

An anecdote: at the start of the electoral campaign, the leaflets distributed by the PS were blue, the colour that Sarkozy’s UMP uses a lot. Now, PS leaflets are red — the same colour the Left Front uses.

Mass rallies at Bastille on 18 March (120,000 people), at Toulouse (70,000 people), Lille, and Marseille (100,000) have expressed the need for a clearly left-wing campaign to beat Sarkozy. Activists at these rallies will not be satisfied just with voting but want to mobilise beyond the ballot box to stop cuts and impose measures which favour the working population.

Beyond the presidential election, the left as a whole must fight to win a large parliamentary majority, in which the Left Front has substantial weight.

There too, nothing is inevitable. If Hollande is elected, he will want to limit the influence of the Left Front by asserting PS supremacy in the future parliamentary majority, or by looking for alliances with the centre, or by trying to buy the entry of Left Front ministers into his own government.

For now, given that Hollande intends to apply a programme of managing the debt crisis, there can be no question of entering such a government. That would certainly be the first key test of the longevity of the Left Front after the elections.

In any case, with the debt crisis and the “deficits”, and the predictable policy of Hollande for managing the crisis in the same way as Zapatero (Spain) or Papandreou (Greece), social tension will not let up. There is no possible half-way choice: either managing the debt at the expense of the workers and those relying on the welfare state, by means of privatisations, sackings and cutting wages, or the reconstruction of public services and worker’ rights through measures aimed against capitalists. Either ratification of the Sarkozy-Merkel treaty, or repudiation of the debt: no half measures are possible!

Furthermore it is important to note that this is the first time that a left-wing electoral campaign has put the need to finish with the 5th Republic front-and-centre, and the need to return to a real parliamentary regime by calling a constituent assembly. This radical democratic demand is very bad news for all institutions created over the last thirty years through decentralisation and regionalisation, likewise for all the European institutions which are European in name only and which are all political tools for the exclusive benefit of capitalists and bankers.

For the Left Front to play a useful role in the coming period, it needs to orient its programme in a clearly anti-capitalist direction. It is the responsibility of all those who support anti-capitalism and real socialism to work to this end.

This is why Le Militant is proposing to all to create a revolutionary current within the Left Front, pushing for the adoption of an adequate programme to meet the crisis of the capitalists and aid the political and social mobilisation at all levels.

2012 has not yet finished surprising us!

mercredi 18 avril 2012

Article published first in Worker’s Liberty:

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