The situation is grave for France but there is new hope for a reinvention of the left, says PIERRE LAURENT
THE second round of the French presidential election will be a contest between the racist and xenophobic candidate of the far-right Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, the candidate selected by the financial world to reinforce the liberal policies afflicting our country for the past 40 years.
This situation is extremely grave for our country. The far-right reached the second round and the left has been eliminated.
However, for the first time in decades, millions of citizens, striving for social change, nearly succeeded in carrying their candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon to the second round.
Voters who were betrayed by the policies of Francois Hollande and Manuel Valls and who worked hard to bring Melenchon to the second round are today experiencing mixed and sometimes contradictory feelings.
At the time of writing and given the first results available to us, we would like to say to these voters that the nearly 20 per cent score obtained by Melenchon raises a new hope for the future, for the reinvention of the new left our country has been waiting for, to unlock the political system and democracy.
This result is remarkable and is the first time since 1981 that a candidate representing social transformation has achieved such a score.
The struggle continues for millions of young people, women and men who aspire to a new society free from the tyranny of profitability; people seeking the true left and policies of justice and social progress that refuse austerity, unemployment and social insecurity.
We are entering a completely new and exceptional period in the history of our country. Notwithstanding the diversion of “presidentialisation” and its traps, the event is momentous: the two parties, the Socialists and the Republicains, who have dominated French political life for 40 years, were eliminated in the first round of voting.
Aspiration for change, for a new choice of society, will continue to grow inexorably. The mobilisation of youth and working-class neighbourhoods is a promise for the future.
For us, this is the essential lesson of the campaign: nothing is more urgent than to continue to remain open to these new aspirations for a genuine citizens’ democracy, to seek the path that will enable us to join forces to build a new social, ecological republic of solidarity, respectful of diversity and the expectations of our people.
This is a struggle that the Communist Party intends to pursue with all political, social and citizen forces available. We have unprecedented advantages going forward.
We applaud the campaign of Melenchon, all activists from the Communist Party, the Front de Gauche, la France Insoumise, elected representatives from the Communist Party and the Front de Gauche, and all the citizens who were engaged and voted. This result belongs to you.
The commitment of our party, our activists and elected officials representing the values of the republic to Melenchon’s campaign brought about promising new alliances.
Melenchon achieved very good results in cities, cantons and districts where the Communist Party is well established and has a significant network of activists and representatives.
Melenchon’s results demonstrate a deep desire for change, for greater honesty in politics, more social justice, solidarity, genuine democracy, peace and respect for the environment.
The French left has opened a new page in history with this campaign. It is a new era for the left. The Communist Party is completely invested in this revitalisation through our project, La France en Commun, and fully focused on the challenges of the 21st century.
At this time, aware of the huge battles to come and the responsibilities that our party bears, for the second round of voting on May 7 we call for a vote that will block Marine Le Pen’s bid for the presidency and thwart the menace she and her clan represent for democracy, the republic and peace; unfortunately, there is only one ballot that can be used to that effect.
Le Pen seeks a society of hatred, the rejection of others, racism and xenophobia; a society that would divide those with common interests to benefit her own clan and financial powers; a society that would scorn the fundamental principles of equality and fraternity in the republic in favour of discrimination among the French, among people who live and work in our country, based on their origins and nationality. We do not want this.
Le Pen wants a dangerous world where all types of war would become possible, where nationalist rivalries would be encouraged.
With Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and the European farright movements as allies, she would threaten world security if she were president of France, one of the five permanent members of the UN security council. We do not want this.
It is our duty, for today and for future generations, to prevent her from becoming president of our republic, which would mean that the far-right would have control of all of the instruments of the state.
Our appeal for May 7 is obviously in no case a show of support for the neoliberal, anti-social programme of Macron, which we opposed when he was a minister and which we will continue to fight without concession whenever workers and their rights and public services are under attack.
Appeals will be made on the occasion of the May 1 demonstrations by trade unions, and we call for broad participation in International Workers’ Day events to express our mobilisation against the far-right and in support of peace, democracy and social progress.
Faced with the ballot choices of the second round of presidential elections, the legislative elections to be held on June 11 and 18 are of crucial importance.
Citizens who carried the banner for social transformation by voting for Melenchon must now persevere and break through with the legislative elections.
The National Assembly can act as a counterweight to the policies advanced by the government following the second round of the presidential election on May 7.
On the strength of the result obtained this Sunday, we can elect numerous honest deputes, representatives who will be close to you and defend the interests of the people, as Communists MPs have done for five years, in particular against the so-called Macron and elKhomri laws.
These representatives will resist the right and the farright, will not make alliances with MPs from Macron’s party to approve anti-social laws.
These MPs will be a force of resistance and hope in the face of financial greed, fighting hatred and division.
Communists are fully invested in this legislative battle, which we have understood to be essential from day one; it is as important as the presidential election.
The French Communist Party is presenting and supporting a new generation of candidates, an equal number of men and women, to bring the people’s voice into the National Assembly.
The Communist Party calls on the forces of the left and progress, Melenchon’s team and those from la France Insoumise, all of the forces engaged in the campaign, supporters of Benoit Hamon, Socialists and Greens, women and men who want to rebuild a dynamic force on the left for social transformation, to meet, to debate publicly and prepare for these decisive elections together: the second round of the presidential election and the legislative elections to be held on June 11 and 18. 7
The French Communist Party is ready to engage at once in this effort.
Pierre Laurent is secretary general of the French Communist Party