French elections – A workers’ tribune
By Manu Georget
Below we present an article by Manu Georget, a former CGT shop steward at Philips Dreux, who fought against the closure of the factory in 2010. He is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Current in the NPA (www.ccr4.org), in which our FT comrades in France are active.
When the Left Front talk about insurrection or defending the Paris Commune, what are they really saying? What is behind these radical phrases? If we examine their programme, it is clear that they reject a revolutionary viewpoint. In fact, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s revolution is electoral and the only message we wants to transmit with his radical speech is for people to vote for him. At the end of the day, he wants to restrict the social forces in struggle to the framework of existing institutions, that is, to channel the social discontent among the workers towards the elections.
Mélenchon merely maintains illusions in the so-called democratic bourgeois institutions and the idea that social change is possible through elections. He celebrates and defends the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution of 1789, but not in order to highlight its insurrectional aspects (which are in stark contrast to the electoral way) but in order to maintain a national discourse. The project of the Left Front is built on a pseudo-critique of capitalism which puts the nation first. By doing this, they are serving the interests of imperialist France, which is harmful to workers of the entire world.
He doesn’t make any in-depth criticism of French capitalist society or its ruling class. The programme of the Left Front proposes the modernisation of French industry.
It condemns the financial oligarchy that corrupts the ‘French Republic’. It proposes that there is a ‘good industrial bourgeoisie’, with whom the workers have a common interest; taking as its model the post-war period of accumulation – the golden age of French imperialism, a period when there was social peace and high productivity thanks to the state monopolies and the co-opting of trade unions for the benefit of the bosses.
Workers don’t need the social-chauvinist and class collaborationist programme of the Left Front! They need a radical change of society – the end the capitalist domination, that is, a social revolution.
In order for the struggle against the bourgeois state and its institutions to be successful, workers have to acquire class consciousness. The working class has to gain confidence in its capacity to organise society collectively, without subjecting itself to capitalists. In order to stop the capitalist gangrene, one must put one’s confidence in the class struggle – build a revolutionary organisation armed with an internationalist programme and perspective, with the aim of uniting workers and exploited youth in every country against the ruling class! Only this kind of political organisation can end this system of exploitation and build a new society, without oppressors and oppressed. With that perspective, we fight with our comrades in the Revolutionary Communist Current, inside the NPA and in the class struggle.
The Left Front: is an electoral coalition formed by the Left Party, the French Communist Party and a section of the Green Party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is its candidate.
UMP: Union for a Popular Movement, a centre-right party, the party of incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Socialist Party: its presidential candidate is François Hollande, who has received support from sectors of Sarkozy´s party and which opinion polls forecast will go through to the second round.
NPA: New Anticapitalist Party: Its presidential candidate is Philippe Poutou, a car worker from a Ford factory.
Translated by Mei Cabrera