The French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale reports on preparations for the June legislative election.
So this Sunday, while the workers of Souterraine barricade their factory with the active support of the whole population, the Elysee is seeing the monarchical ritual of the “transfer of power” from Mr Hollande to Mr Macron.
The new President of the 5th Republic launched his first major political operation this week: the nomination of candidates for “République en Marche” for June’s legislative elections. The media are in ecstasies over “the renewal”, “the youth” and the “balance”. Quote from a provincial daily: “Driven and gifted with a communicative energy […] she is the very image of the connected France that the President represents”.
The Macron boys and girls can be divided into three groups: a bit under a quarter are big names from the right wing; a bit more than a quarter are recycled from the PS; and a majority are “start-ups” who are “complete virgins when it comes to political activity”, whose sociological make-up is in reality very uniform: boys and girls in their 30s or 40s who generally have backgrounds in commerce, financial services, HR management and local government, who are looking for a good salary and stability. If elected, they will owe their loyalty not to the voters but to the President. History is repeating itself somewhat here: we are presented with a “2.0” caricature of the imposition of Gaullist candidates in 1958, where notable Christian Democrats and neo-Pétainists were blended with various bright young things and the first “énarques” [French mandarins issuing from the National Administrative School], the “children of the President”.
The operation will, however, be more difficult and more risky this time, because whereas De Gaulle was the saviour of the bourgeois state, Macron occupies his seat by default, filling the institutional gap that has formed and risks inflating massively. Already, he appears to have lost hope for getting a majority of Macron boys and girls, rather than a majority produced by coalition with LR [The Republicans, Sarkozy’s centre-right party] and that part of the PS represented by Valls and, in fact by the PS leadership, given that Cambadélis has announced, in one of those ambiguous formulations for which he has such a talent, that his party would be “neither saboteurs nor doormats”. We note that the FN, which will be presenting itself as the main opposition as of the evening of 7 May, is in the process of tearing itself apart.
And even this goal, such as it is, of a majority for Macron-LR-Valls, would not be possible if united and democratic anti-Macron candidacies on a platform of repealing the El Khomri law were to become widespread.
Opposing Macron, and depriving him of a majority in parliament would open up an institutional crisis and the struggle to do away with the 5th Republic, repeal the El Khomri law instead of making it harsher: this is the question that should be put to leftwing candidates in the legislative elections who do not support Macron: not whether they will reel off this or that “programme” or promise “participatory democracy”, but if they will act to make these things happen.
We also note that this is a question which shows through in all the calls for “left unity” launched by socialists who supported Benoit Hamon, in particular, who cannot but note that the leadership of their party, having declared itself dead, now intends to use this same party to aid Macron.
The main obstacle at the moment is the position taken by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his “France Insoumise” movement: by standing candidates everywhere (except where Communist Party deputies who had supported Mélenchon’s candidacy were standing), and demanding “unity”, by means of unilaterally rallying people around the “programme of La France Insoumise”, they are the major factor creating conditions of division and permitting the election, by default, of a maximum of Macron boys and girls. This fact should be noted even if doing so provokes howls from the new guard dogs: this is where the regime’s first line of defense is to be found. We admire Mélenchon’s declaration which was intended, on Saturday 13 May, to express his terrible oppositional stance:
“We have to show that this young man’s flights of fancy must be curbed by the wise hand of one who knows where the greatest happiness of the people is to be found.”
Translation: I should be Macron’s prime minister. So long, “6th Republic”: hello, co-habitation! Co-habitation? A Macron-Mélenchon executive? No: democracy. If Macron is beaten in the legislative elections, there should be a real constituent assembly, for a new regime, one that does away with the state apparatus of the 5th Republic.
Except, clearly, being serious: this orientation would not produce an “insoumise” majority, but it is aimed squarely at doing away with any and all representation in parliament based directly or indirectly on the workers’ movement.
In any case, there is an often-striking symmetry between the “En Marche” candidates and the “Insoumise” candidates: the “political virgins” - “and trade union virgins too” [sic!] - are legion here too. At the national level, this is the kind of candidate that predominates with the Insoumises, whose only possible role could be to snatch away the few votes that would stop a victory for the right or for the Macron boys and girls.
This when 28% of votes cast in the Presidential election were looking for a political solution to represent the majority against capital. The fight for united and democratic candidacies against Macron, the 5th Republic and the El Khomri law is not a matter of turning back the clock; it is the fight for the future, because the plebiscitary leagues, “En Marche” or “France Insoumise” are the final form of this past, its final product, a way of changing everything while changing nothing.
Against Macron, the 5th Republic and the El Khomri law: unity and democracy!