This is a statement by Révolution, the French section of the International Marxist Tendency issued as soon as the results of the first round of the presidential election were known.
The results of 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. The recomposition at work on the whole political scene opens a period of major uncertainty and instability. The legislative elections in June will be the first illustration of this. There is no guarantee that they will give the Head of State a strong parliamentary majority.
The bourgeoisie, its politicians and media outlets are all relieved: they avoided "the worst", from their point of view, namely Jean-Luc Mélenchon going into the second round. Now they are going to form a vast "republican" choir calling for a vote for Macron to "block the National Front". Many "left-wing" politicians will advance the same slogan. We reject it because it is absurd and counterproductive. It is the crisis of capitalism, mass unemployment and the reactionary policies of successive governments, that explain the growing success of the "anti-system" demagogy of the National Front (FN). Macron proposes to pursue and aggravate the policy of social regression carried out by Hollande and Sarkozy: the massive destruction of civil service jobs, destruction of the Labour Code, dismantling of public services, tax breaks and subsidies of all kinds for the benefit of the great capitalists, etc. Throughout the campaign, Macron hid his program under a "centrist" veil and many hollow words. But he is entirely devoted to the interests of the ruling class, which demands a drastic policy of austerity.
The FN is a dangerous enemy that must be fought. But we do not fight a fire by voting for the arsonist. The labour movement must fight the FN with its own methods and on the basis of a radical left program which tackles the root of the problems: the control of the economy by a handful of extremely wealthy parasites. In the days to come, the political and trade union organizations of the labour movement must massively mobilise in the street against the right and the extreme right. May Day must take place under the flag of the fight against the reactionary programs of Le Pen and of Macron. Union leaders should put on the agenda a 24-hour general strike.
Finally, we must mobilise to give the Rebellious France the widest representation in the National Assembly in June. The passing of Macron and Le Pen to the second round must not overshadow the major event of this presidential election, namely the enormous success of the campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. His performance is the continuation of the series of upheavals that have recently marked the European (Syriza, Podemos, Corbyn) and American left (Sanders). This is an international phenomenon with a clear meaning: a growing number of young people and workers are looking for a left-wing alternative to the crisis capitalism and to politicians who have been in power for decades without changing anything, or changing it for the worse. The deep crisis of the capitalist system leads to political polarisation - to the right, as shown by the FN result, but also towards the left.
The electoral collapse of the Socialist Party (PS) is a striking illustration of this. Benoit Hamon has paid the price for the labour law and austerity policies of the Hollande government. He also pays for his own moderation and two years of participation in government. At the end of the PS primaries, Hamon could have relied on his clear victory to launch an offensive against the right wing of his own party. He preferred to seek a "central" position. As a result, he found himself in the middle of a chasm.
Mélenchon's campaign has generated enormous enthusiasm among large sections of the population. In particular, the number of young people present at the meetings of the Rebellious France was impressive. This radicalisation of the youth - which is also an international phenomenon - will have profound and positive consequences for the future of the Left. In this respect, one of the stakes of the coming months is to organise the mass of the "rebellious" into a democratically structured party. It will be the best way of consolidating and developing the Rebellious France, and of attracting under its banner the most militant elements of the youth and of the working-class movement.
Massive mobilisations in the street against Le Pen and Macron!
For a 24-hour general strike!
Mobilisation for a "rebellious" National Assembly!