Since Thursday, students and youth in Paris, Rennes, Nantes, Toulouse and other cities across France have held rallies and marched through the city streets. The protests were against the right wing nationalist Marine Le Pen and the liberal Emmanuel Macron who are facing off in the in the second round of the presidential election.

With the triggering of Article 50 and an upcoming general election to be fought primarily over the issue of Brexit, there has been much debate about Labour’s position on this key question and how it and the wider labour movement should respond to the Tories’ Brexit plan.

The results of the first round of the presidential election open a new phase of the political crisis in France. As in April 2002, the second round will be between the right and the far right. But much has changed since then. The economic crisis of 2008 has taken place. The probable victory of Emmanuel Macron, in two weeks time, will not lead to the relative political stability that Chirac benefited from in the wake of his victory in May 2002.

After months of turbulent campaigning, the drama of the first round of the French presidential election has come to a close, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen left to face each other for the second round.

Although initially written in December last year (and therefore already overtaken in places by new events and developments, most notably the announcement of the general election), this document written by Socialist Appeal provides an analysis of the main processes affecting British politics and society, as well as outlining the fundamental contradictions facing the ruling class and leaders of the labour movement. It is clear that the current political period in Britain is incredibly intense, and that a radical analysis and perspective is needed more than ever before.

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