In the recent municipal elections in France the right wing did well, mainly at the expense of the Socialist Party which pays a heavy price for carrying out draconian austerity measures at national level. Unfortunately, in many towns the Front de Gauche (Left Front) split, with the Communist Party forming an alliance with the Socialist Party, and the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) presenting joint lists with the Greens.

Nearly five years after it was formed, the Left Front [Front de Gauche] is passing through a turbulent period. In a number of cities – and not minor ones at that – the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Left Party (Parti de Gauche, PG) have decided not to stand joint lists in the first round in the March 2014 council elections.

Francis Smaïl is a CGT shop steward – délégué du personnel – at Air France at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport, near Paris. The history of the persecution he has suffered over many years cannot be told here. But we want to bring most recent developments to the attention of workers, both in France and internationally.

On 5 May, more than 100 000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Paris in answer to a call from the Left Front, around the demand for a “Sixth Republic”. The Left Front is essentially an alliance between the Communist Party (PCF) and the Left Party (Parti de Gauche), led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The attendance shows the capacity of the Left Front to mobilise massive support, as it did on an even more impressive scale during the presidential elections one year ago.

Below we publish an interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left wing formation Front Gauche in France . Jean-Luc Mélenchon participated in the French presidential elections earlier this year and received 11,1% of the vote. For more material on Mélenchon please read the following articles (Mélenchon as candidate of the Left Front – What campaign, on what programme? and Massive support for Mélenchon). The interview was first published in the French Marxist paper La Riposte.

Since François Hollande came to power in May, unemployment figures have increased every single month. They have now gone over the 3 million mark. If we add those people who are surviving on a few hours work but who are registered as looking for a steady job, these official figures rise to 4.5 million. It is estimated that another 1 million people are out of work but, not being entitled to benefits, they are not registered at all.

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