France

La repentina remontada de la candidatura de Jean Luc Mélenchon en las elecciones presidenciales francesas del próximo domingo 23 de abril, ha vuelto todas las miradas hacia su movimiento, La Francia Insumisa, y su programa. La Corriente Marxista Internacional nunca ha claudicado a la histeria de “que viene el fascismo” que ha caracterizado a las principales corrientes de izquierda europeas en los últimos meses. Al contrario, hemos defendido de manera consistente que están dadas las condiciones para un giro a la izquierda en todas partes.

De senaste tre veckorna har Rebelliska Frankrikes kandidat ökat snabbt i opinionsmätningarna inför presidentvalet: från att ligga på femte plats med omkring 11 procent, till tredje platsen med över 18 procent idag. Samtidigt har andelen som uppger att de tänker rösta på någon av de två ledande kandidaterna långsamt men stadigt minskat: längst till höger har Le Pen gått från en högsta punkt på 28 ned till 24 procent, och den extremt högerinriktade liberalen Macron har gått från en högsta punkt på 26 ned till 23 procent.

The last three weeks have seen a quick progression of the candidate of Rebellious France in the polls for the presidential election: from being fifth with around 11% to being third with over 18% now. This rapid rise has been accompanied with a slow but steady decrease in the voting intentions for the two candidates at the top, the far right Le Pen (from a peak of 28% down to 24) and the liberal Thatcherite Macron (from a peak of 26% down to 23).

With under a month to go before the first round of France’s presidential elections, there is still all to play for, with almost half of French voters still undecided. Arguably the most significant feature of the contest so far has been the almost complete collapse of the traditional parties. The incumbent president, Francois Hollande hasn’t even bothered to stand, so loathed is he by the public. His Socialist Party’s last hope, the “radical” Benoit Hamon, now languishes in fifth place according to recent polls.

Two years ago, an editorial in the Financial Times described France as being in a pre-revolutionary situation. That may have been an exaggeration, but it was certainly a reflection of the impasse of French society. Now that impasse has grown into a full-blown political crisis.

The defeat of Manuel Valls in the Socialist Party primary was celebrated, or at least appreciated, by far more than the 1.2 million who voted for Benoit Hamon. Valls, the former prime minister, is one of the most consistent representatives of the right-wing, pro-capitalist, leadership of the PS.

The 2017 presidential election will not be a normal election preceded by a normal election campaign. In recent decades, French elections have generally been a predictable duel between the Parti Socialiste (PS) candidate and a candidate from the traditional right wing. This norm, however, experienced its first exception on April 21st, 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National (FN) eliminated Lionel Jospin (PS) in the first round.

The 2017 presidential election is at the heart of a new, profound crisis in the French Communist Party (PCF). The National Secretary of the party, Pierre Laurent, has for several months been calling for a “common candidate” of the “living forces of the left,” and says that he regrets the “division.” In the name of this approach, the leadership of the PCF has refused to involve the party and its activists in the campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was the candidate for the Left Front in the presidential election of 2012.

France witnessed a wave of intense class struggle earlier this year with the strikes and mass protests against the government’s new law on labour relations. The law was eventually passed in July and the movement died down, but now the working class and youth is preparing to move from the trade union front to the political.

The [new French] labour law will be adopted in the National Assembly by 22 July, after final feedback from the Senate. The “Socialist” government has won this battle. To do so, they resorted to levels of police repression unprecedented in recent history, as well as a violent campaign of insults and stigmatization against the activists of the CGT involved in the struggle. Using the presence of “thugs” (“rioters”) as a pretext to discredit the movement, the government subjected the latest protests in Paris to massive police supervision and security screening, de facto restricting the right to demonstrate.

The renewable strike movement, which has been launched in several key sectors of the economy over the past three weeks, has had the immediate effect of intensifying the media propaganda campaign aimed at the anti-labour law mobilization since the beginning of March

"On lache rien!” We do not give up! This slogan sums up quite well the mood of militant determination of the French workers’ and youth movement against the El Khomri labour counter-reform which has now entered its third month. Last week saw oil refineries, harbours, nuclear power stations on strike and fuel depots blockaded by striking workers. What stage is the movement at and what are its perspectives?

The fight against the labor law has entered a new, decisive  phase. The development of open-ended strikes and blockades in several key sectors of the economy have changed the dynamics of movement. Everything is accelerating. After a series of “days of action” in the past two months - to which the government responded with police violence and 49-3 (a special article in the constitution which allows the government to bypass parliament and decree laws,) -  the immediate logical goal of the movement has now become to paralyze the economy. This is the only path to achieve victory.

A massive protest movement in France has been taking place since February. Sparked by the announcement of a reactionary new “reform” of the labour laws, this movement is mobilising masses of youth.