The second round of the French Presidential elections presented French voters with a stark choice: Macron- attacking the welfare state, raising the pension age, low wages or unemployment, attacks on education. Le Pen- leading a far-right group organising and solidifying neo-fascist support scapegoating both immigrants and Muslims for the breakdown in French society.
Radical French left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon compared this to “a choice between the plague and cholera.” He came within a whisper of being in the second round by obtaining 7,712,520 votes, 22% of votes cast.
The election success of the radical left alternative gave impetus for a united response determined to fight Macron’s plans and replace them with policies that favour workers, the environment, the disadvantaged in society. Saturday 8th May saw an election rally uniting left forces, not seen for decades across France. The NUPES (Nouvel union Populaire- Écologique et Sociale) brings together the left in France including: France Insoumise, the French socialist party, the greens, the communist party and other radical forces forming a powerful electoral pact for the French general election June 2022 (1).
They have a radical alternative to Macron’s sustained attacks on the less well off in society.
The election rally launched the new formation and had speakers representing established radical left parties. There were a range of speakers over three hours, notably (3):
Olivier Faure, Secretary of the French Socialist Party, responded to Macron’s demonisation of the left as ‘feral’ savages.
“Who are the real savages in this country? Those who think another world is possible, or those who do everything to stay in their positions- exploiting the planet, exploiting people, keeping them in their place?
Five years ago, I believed that Macron was a man of the left, that he would transform the left… not for long. Who could believe this today?
Instead of being frightened of the radical left ‘Insoumis’, the greens and Communists, radicalised socialists- don’t be afraid anymore. Vote for and not against! Vote for what you truly believe in for a change! “
Fabien Roussel, National Secretary of the French Communist Party, said there was a real possibility of effecting change for millions of people across France who have been longing for change: workers, retired, women, families, the young. The general election could see a majority in Parliament and a programme that could be implemented immediately on the 1st July:
Wage increases, retirement at 60, jobs will be created for young people. A united movement can put an end to Macron’s attacks on unions and civil liberties. We can make the big tax evaders like Amazon pay their way. Stop share dividends being paid when workers are being made redundant. We won’t just repeal Macron’s laws, we will bring in new powers to intervene in our communities, on the boards of company directors.
Danilèle Obono, French MP France Insoumise Paris, focused on the reality of human rights in Macron’s France.
“A country based on Human Rights where-
We will restore justice and dignity to the victims. We will pass an amnesty for the ‘Yellow Vest’ protestors who fought Macron’s policies. In order to restore justice and dignity, we will establish a Truth and Justice Committee to investigate each case. We will ensure that law enforcers are trained and understand the reality of discrimination, racism and sexual harassment women face. No Justice- NO peace! We need justice to get peace- Let’s fight to win!”
Prime Ministerial candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon ended with a call to arms and the importance of starting a new page in history. The key was not what divided us in the past, but can unite us and effect real change over the next thirty days and after.
Candidates are being launched across France and the campaign is gaining momentum in the coming days and weeks before the French General Election 12th and 19th June 2022. A radical left movement in France could make history and show what a united left movement can achieve.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.
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