France

Después de no superar la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales francesas, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a diferencia de otros candidatos perdedores, decidió no apoyar directamente a Emmanuel Macron en la segunda ronda. En lugar de eso, lanzó una votación entre sus partidarios del movimiento La France Insumisa, para decidir si votar en blanco, abstenerse, o votar a Macron en la segunda ronda.

Selon ses propres dires, Emmanuel Macron ne serait « ni de droite, ni de gauche ». Cette posture transcendantale avait pour objectif d’attirer des électeurs confus de tous les bords. Il y est parvenu – grâce à la profonde crise du PS et des Républicains. Mais lorsqu’on analyse à la fois le parcours et le programme de Macron, il ne fait aucun doute que le probable futur président de la République est de droite, c’est-à-dire un défenseur des intérêts de la classe dirigeante et un ennemi acharné de notre classe.

After not making it past the first round of the French presidential elections, Jean Luc Melenchon unlike other losing candidates, decided not directly to support Emmanuel Macron in the second round. Instead, he launched a ballot vote amongst his supporters from the Rebellious France(La France insoumise) movement, to decide whether to cast a blank vote, abstain altogether from the elections or vote for Macron in the second round.

Los resultados de la primera vuelta de la elección presidencial abren una nueva fase de la crisis política en Francia. Al igual que en abril de 2002, la segunda vuelta opondrá la derecha a la extrema derecha. Pero mucho ha cambiado desde 2002. Entre medias, ha tenido lugar la crisis económica de 2008. La probable victoria de Emmanuel Macron, en dos semanas, no dará lugar a la relativa estabilidad política de la que Chirac se benefició tras su victoria en mayo de 2002.

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.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the recent results of the first round of the French presidential elections. Above all, these results represented a shattering of the status quo, with a complete collapse of the traditional parties of the centre left and the centre right.

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.

Los medios de comunicación se han apresurado a destacar el pase de Macron y Le Pen a la segunda ronda de las elecciones presidenciales  francesas –algo que, por otro lado,  esperaban desde el inicio de la campaña electoral. Para nosotros, el elemento más destacado es el gran resultado electoral de La Francia Insumisa que ha emergido como la fuerza hegemónica e indiscutible de la izquierda, algo imprevisto por esos mismos medios de comunicación hace unas semanas.

Τα αποτελέσματα του πρώτου γύρου των Προεδρικών εκλογών, σηματοδοτούν την είσοδο της Γαλλίας σε μία νέα φάση πολιτικής κρίσης. Όπως και τον Απρίλιο του 2002, στον δεύτερο γύρο θα αναμετρηθούν η Δεξιά με την Άκρα Δεξιά. Όμως πολλά έχουν αλλάξει από τότε. Είχαμε το ξέσπασμα της κρίσης του 2008.

Met de resultaten van de eerste verkiezingsronde gaat de politieke crisis in Frankrijk een nieuwe fase in. Net zoals in 2002 zal het in de tweede ronde gaan tussen rechts en extreem rechts. Maar er is ondertussen veel veranderd. De economische crisis van 2008 heeft toegeslagen. De waarschijnlijke overwinning van Emmanuel Macron, binnen twee weken, zal niet tot een relatieve stabiliteit leiden zoals dat bij Chirac het geval was bij zijn zege in Mei 2002. De herschikking van het politieke landschap zal veel onzekerheid en onstandvastigheid met zich meebrengen. De komende parlementsverkiezingen in juni zullen hiervan het eerste bewijs zijn. Er is helemaal geen garantie dat ze het

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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.

Los resultados de la primera vuelta de la elección presidencial abren una nueva fase de la crisis política en Francia. Al igual que en abril de 2002, la segunda ronda opondrá la derecha a la extrema derecha. Pero mucho ha cambiado desde 2002. Entre medias, ha tenido lugar la crisis económica de 2008. La probable victoria de Emmanuel Macron, en dos semanas, no dará lugar a la relativa estabilidad política de la que Chirac se benefició tras su victoria en mayo de 2002. La recomposición de todo el espectro político abre un período importante de incertidumbre e inestabilidad. Las elecciones legislativas de junio serán la primera ilustración. No hay ninguna

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Les résultats du 1er tour de l’élection présidentielle ouvrent une nouvelle phase de la crise politique en France. Comme en avril 2002, le deuxième tour opposera la droite à l’extrême droite. Mais bien des choses ont changé depuis 2002. La crise économique de 2008 est passée par là. La probable victoire d’Emmanuel Macron, dans deux semaines, ne débouchera pas sur la relative stabilité politique dont Chirac avait bénéficié dans la foulée de sa victoire en mai 2002.

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.

We publish here an eye-witness account of Marxist students from Belgium who participated in the March 31st general strike in France, and the subsequent "Nuit debout" movement occupying squares in French towns and cities, reminiscent of the movements in North America, Southern Europe and Egypt five years ago.

With over a million demonstrators, the protests of March 31 confirmed the deep unpopularity of "La loi Travail" [Labour law] amongst the youth and workers of France. That same night, in Paris's iconic Place de la République, thousands of people - especially young people - participated in the very first "Nuit Debout", or overnight occupation of the square. A very enthusiastic atmosphere helped the protesters as they refused to go back home or even fall asleep. Every night since, the square has found itself occupied by workers and youth.

According to the French trade unions over one million people came out onto the streets on March 31 in over two hundred and fifty cities across France. One hundred and twenty thousand in Marseille, a hundred thousand in Toulouse and tens of thousands in the capital.

On March 9th half a million workers and youth took to the streets throughout France, protesting against the “socialist” government's’ unprecedented attack on the labour laws. This was followed by further protests on March 17th.

On January 12th, eight former employees of Goodyear, including five elected members of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT, one of the largest trade union confederations in France), were sentenced to two years in prison, of which at least 9 months must be served.

The regional elections of December 6th and 13th accentuated trends already observed in recent municipal (March 2014), European (June 2014) and departmental (March 2015) elections. Faced with the economic crisis, a soaring unemployment rate and the austerity policies of a "socialist" government, the frustration of millions of voters has expressed itself mainly in two ways: abstention and voting for “le Front National”.

The year 2015 was marked by an unleashing of war and terrorism. Dozens of armed conflicts spread death and destruction in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Millions of people have been killed wounded or forced into exile. On the borders of Europe, Ukraine has descended into a civil war that, according to the UN, has killed almost 10,000 people and injured more than 20,000. The list of countries affected by terrorism has continued to grow. The barbaric events in Paris could be repeated in London, Brussels or any other European city.

The French ruling class have cynically used the recent terrorist attacks as an excuse to clamp down on any dissent whatsoever across the country. The attacks by ISIS have been used opportunistically by president Francois Hollande, the most unpopular president since the 1950s. Increasing austerity and the deepening crisis has led to tensions reaching boiling point, as seen with the recent dispute at Air France, where bosses were chased out of their offices by workers facing redundancy. Although the declared aim of the State of Emergency is to combat terrorism, the French state has wasted no time in seizing the opportunity to attack those on the left.

In the recent days a number of Departmental Unions of the French General Confederation of Labour (CGT) and at least one Federation have come out clearly against the idea of national unity promoted by French president Hollande and by the French ruling class and have rejected the state of emergency which has been declared.

The attacks in Paris have aroused the revulsion and anger of millions of French workers and youth. Three days later, these feelings are still far from dying down. The fear of new attacks is palpable. It is fed by the obvious failure of the authorities to prevent Friday’s carnage, ten months after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This weekend the streets of France’s major cities were all but deserted, bearing witness to this collective anxiety.

Last Friday, Paris was the scene of mass slaughter in which at least one hundred and twenty-nine people, mostly young kids enjoying themselves in cafes and a rock concert, were shot down in cold blood. The killers, shouting Allahu Akbar, discharged magazine after magazine, calmly reloading before killing more defenceless people as they lay helpless on the ground.

Reactionary Islamic fundamentalist terrorism has struck again last night in a coordinated attack on different sites in Paris leaving over 128 dead and more than 100 severely injured. This is a wholly reactionary attack against ordinary working people, many of them youth, enjoying a night out in restaurants, concert halls and a football stadium. We condemn the murderous gang which carried out these attacks and we express our solidarity with the people of Paris.

In less than 24 hours, the image of Air France's director of human resources (DRH) with his shirt torn was seen around the world. The corporate world and the government has used this to bludgeon public opinion into thinking that the Air France workers are “thugs,” in the words of the Prime Minister.

The announcement of 2,900 job cuts by Air France management fell like a thunderbolt on employees. Over the past decade they have already made many sacrifices in terms of pay and working conditions. Many positions have already been cut: the company's workforce decreased from 65,000 in 2004 to 52,500 today. The frustrations of many employees  have now started to bubble over, as shown in the video below.

Muslims in France were the first "collateral victims" of the killings of last January 7-9 in Paris. Anti-muslim propaganda has been a constant theme in the media and in the political discourse in France. Of course by attacking the Muslims they really mean Africans who are the real objective of their attacks. But since the January events, media sensationalism and racist acts have skyrocketed. These constant attacks against one section of the workers of our country must be challenged by the entire labour movement.

Over the weekend several million people took part in demonstrations in Paris and many provincial cities of France. The government and the whole official establishment had called for the demonstrations and announced their participation. On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, declared that the people had rallied “behind President” François Hollande.

As I write these lines the drama in France has just been brought to a bloody climax ending in the death of the two men who killed the staff of Charlie Hebdo. This denouement was as inevitable as the ending of a Greek tragedy. There was no realistic prospect of any other. Three days of high drama that captured the attention of the world have ended with twenty dead, a further unknown number of wounded and a nation in a state of trauma.

The terrorist attack against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has caused a huge wave of anger and indignation throughout the country. In the evening after the attack over a hundred thousand people took to the streets of many cities. The revulsion aroused amongst the masses by this brutal terrorist act has been exacerbated by the fact that many of the victims were very popular and held in high regard.

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