Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/805/18388

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 April 2014

France: Government punished in local elections

Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

Local elections in France, which took place over two rounds on 23 and 30 March, confirmed the deepening crisis of the 'socialist' government of Francois Hollande.

It is paying the price for its wholesale capitulation to big business interests after being elected in May 2012.

Although mainly elected because he was not Nicolas Sarkozy (the former right-wing UMP president) some hopes existed among workers in Hollande.

But a record number of people (the highest in over 20 years) abstained from the recent elections, showing the extinguishing of such hopes and disillusionment with the entire political establishment, which was especially strong among young people. Almost 40% of potential voters stayed away from polling stations.

In February, unemployment rose to a record high of 3.3 million (4.9 million when taking into account part time workers who want more hours).

Last year the government announced €15 billion worth of cuts to the public sector. Nearly three million children live in poverty.

In Sunday's second round, the governing Socialist Party (PS) was routed, losing control of 155 large towns across the country, despite holding onto Paris.

Despite its own crisis and deep divisions, the conservative UMP was able to make gains, winning 140 towns from the PS.

The historic battering received by the PS has provoked a deep crisis in the government, with the resignation of the prime minister, Aryault, replaced by Manuel Valls, former interior minister.

Hollande will announce a further cabinet shake-up in the next few days, as rumours abound that he may sack a series of other ministers, including finance minister, Moscovici.

Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) won a record number of local governments, with 14 mayors elected, almost tripling its previous high point in the 1990s.

However, this should not be understood as reflecting mass support or enthusiasm for the FN's populist, xenophobic policies.

The FN took power in many traditionally 'socialist' towns, reflecting that the former-social democratic PS's betrayal of the working class is an important part of the roots of the FN's success.

Being incapable of dealing with the crisis that the FN opportunistically exploits, the main parties' response to the FN's resurgence has been to move to the right to "cover its terrain".

The appointment of Valls as prime minister reflects a move along these lines by the PS. Valls, though merely representing a small right-wing faction in the PS, has been made famous for his xenophobic declarations and policies against immigrants, spearheading the expulsion of Leonarda Dibrani, a Roma schoolgirl snatched by police while on a school trip last year.

Vacuum

The FN's rise also reflects the vacuum to the left of the government and the absence of a mass force of the left and workers' movement capable of giving the mass opposition to Hollande a clearly progressive, anti-capitalist character.

Despite being blacked out of the international media, the good results of the Front de Gauche (Left Front, FdG) where it stood independent left lists against the government and the right wing, confirms the potential that exists for such a force.

These left lists (sometimes involving other left organisations such as the NPA) won over 2,000 councillors in the first round.

Where the Front de Gauche's components (especially the Communist Party) stood in alliance with the PS, they largely shared in its humiliation and defeat.

This represents a victory for the policy of left independence from the social democracy which has long turned its back on the working class, a debate which rages throughout the European left.

Here we publish an extract of an article by Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) following the first round of elections (full article online at socialistworld.net).

Clear opposition

The more the FdG clearly stood for an alternative to the government, the better the votes in most cases.

As we said, what was needed was lists of the FdG and the broader non-governmental left without any ambiguity vis-à-vis the PS.

We share the point of view of Mélenchon (leader of FdG), who said it would have been better if the FdG and all its components had a clear line of opposition to the PS and presented united lists everywhere.

It is clear that such lists would have allowed at least the beginnings of an opposition of the left to the Hollande-Ayrault government.

But what Mélenchon does not say is that in the combinations he proposes, he combines the lists with EELV (which supports the government) - this was the case in 90 cities.

In the next few months the Responsibility Pact cuts package of Hollande will start to be implemeted, with many new attacks against public services, wages, welfare and numerous new gifts to the rich and the bosses.

It goes without saying that Hollande has the same policy as Sarkozy - making workers pay for the crisis of capitalism.

Some may have believed that by voting FN it was a sufficiently noisy protest against the policies of the PS and the harshness of the economic and social situation.

It is obviously nothing of the sort. The FN is in no way arguing for the end of capitalist exploitation, or the maintenance of all public services.

The protectionist proposals or discriminatory measures it proposes against some foreign workers only mask the real culprits - the capitalists.

The good votes for some lists to the left of the PS show that there are some real possibilities and the situation shows that there is an urgent need to build a left opposition to Hollande and all the pro-capitalist parties.

Such a broad and democratic opposition, bringing together all workers - youth, unemployed, retired, men and women, French or from abroad - who want to fight against policies that favour the bankers, big bosses and shareholders, can be discussed and put forward from now.

On April 12, a large demonstration calling for a 'Left Revolt' is being organised on the initiative of Mélenchon, Besancenot (leader of the NPA) and most of the forces to the left of the Socialist Party.

This can be the first step towards building a genuine, united struggle against the policies of Hollande and against capitalism.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 2 April 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Real jobs for all!

The truth about the miners' strike

TUSC: No-cuts election challenge grows

Climate change: Socialism and global planning essential

Unplug the 'Big Six' profiteers

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

France: Government punished in local elections

A million march for dignity in Madrid

South Africa: It's your opportunity to make history!


Socialist Party workplace news

Doncaster strike: Fight Tory 'don't Care UK society'!

Probation officers walk out

Victory for Carmarthenshire Unison

Unite EC elections start

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Junk jobs - we're fightin' it!

Kent 'peasants' storm Rochester

FF success: perspectives, planning and persistence

Worcestershire: Is socialism only way of saving NHS?

May Day greetings in the Socialist


Socialist history

London: Quinn Square Rent Strike 1938


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 April 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

France:

triangleFrench Labour reform protests

triangleFrench elections: Macron's win

triangleFrench elections: time to build a fighting left alternative

triangleFrance - Huge voter abstention belies Macron's 'landslide' election

triangleFrance: Macron won't solve economic & social crises

Government:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Elections:

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

triangleUsdaw elections announced - fight for a left leadership, vote for Amy Murphy

triangleHong Kong: mass demonstration against repression

Far right:

triangleBending the knee v Trump

triangleLewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Capitalist:

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

Right-wing:

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2