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France: neither one, nor the other!

Editorial of n°60 Revolution
Part 2 - Against the ‘Republican Front’!
The comrades of Révolution (the International Marxist Tendency in France) did not call for a vote for Chirac in 2002 (against Le Pen’s father); nor for Macron in 2017 (against Le Pen herself) – and we certainly do not call for a vote for Macron in two weeks time. The so-called ‘Republican Front’, to which we are summoned by many ‘left’ leaders, is a lamentable policy of class collaboration. Instead of mobilising youth and workers in a serious struggle against all reactionary forces (Macron’s La République En Marche! included), calls to vote for Macron confuse, blur class lines and demobilise our camp – in short, they strengthen our opponents.

Of course, Le Pen is an enemy of our class. Her party and its social base are made up of ultra-reactionary elements, who dream of “settling scores” with immigrants and left-wing activists. Behind the laughing mask of the “appeased” politician, Marine Le Pen’s mind is full of racist, sexist prejudices, and other semi-feudal rubbish. But the trash littering her mind – and the minds of her most faithful supporters – is one thing. The real balance of power between the classes is another thing entirely.

This balance of power completely rules out any possibility of a Bonapartist dictatorship in the short term, not to mention a fascist regime. To those who proclaim the imminence of fascism, let us remember that such a regime means the destruction of all organisations of the workers’ movement, pure and simple. One would have to be observing the political and social situation from a planet very far from our own to claim that such a danger exists in France.

Over the past five years, the ‘yellow vests’ movement and other mass mobilisations have given an indication of the collective power of our class once it begins to move. Moreover, this collective power would have manifested itself in a much clearer way had it not been systematically hampered by the passivity and betrayals of the official leaders of the labour movement, starting with the union leaders. Let us not forget the scandalous attitude of Laurent Berger (CFDT) – this conscious agent of employers within the trade union movement – in the face of the volcanic eruption of the ‘yellow vests’ in 2018. And let us not forget the attitude of Philippe Martinez (CGT) at that time either, which was hardly better. The ‘yellow vests’ movement was an explosive and spontaneous mobilisation of the deepest layers of our class. It opened up the possibility of overthrowing the Macron government, on one condition: that the leaders of the left and the trade union movement seize the moment. To say the very least: they did not seize it. In fact, they pushed it away with all their might.

If Marine Le Pen wins the election, she will have to try to make alliances with a section of the right in order to find a majority in the National Assembly. Assuming she succeeds, this will put the reactionary politics that the French bourgeoisie needs at the top of the agenda. This includes anti-social, anti-worker, pro-capitalist policies, a programme of drastic counter-reforms – in a word: a Macronist policy. Highlighting the extent of the racist demagoguery of the government, it would hardly be necessary to change the current Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin: he already does the job perfectly.

The election of Marine Le Pen would not mark the beginning of a Bonapartist dictatorship. On the other hand, it would complete her “normalisation” – her official transformation into a banal, bourgeois politician who, in defending the interests of big business, is obliged to take into account the balance of power between the classes. She would not throw union leaders in prison; she would invite them to the Elysée for a “Social Conference”, just as Macron did, and would even serve them petit fours, as is the custom when “negotiating” regressive social policies with the union leaders.


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