No Endorsement of NUPES ‘Left’ Popular Front
No Vote to treacherous SP, CP or petit-bourgeois Greens
By Ian Donovan
In the upcoming two rounds of Legislative Elections, class-conscious workers should critically vote for Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) Party on 12th and 17th June.
But we should NOT advocate votes for his various bloc partners in this election, not for the Greens, who have nothing to do with the working-class movement, who are a petit-bourgeois excrescence on politics who actively support anti-Russian sanctions.
NOT for the treacherous Socialist Party whose President Hollande was deeply involved in imperialist attempts at pro-imperialist ‘regime change’ in Syria, and massive austerity against French workers.
NOT for the Communist Party who support anti-Russian sanctions today. They call for confiscating the wealth of Russian ‘oligarchs’ and giving it to Ukrainian ‘refugees’, a racist, Russophobic position, attacking Macron from the right. They would never demand the confiscation of the wealth of the French bourgeoisie, on the contrary they have repeatedly betrayed the working class with popular front alliances with capitalist parties.
These forces have rotten policies, and their working-class support is marginal. Only Mélenchon inspires class-based illusions among the mass of workers today. It is Mélenchon, and Insoumise alone, who need to be put to the test!
Sanctions, as was frequently pointed out in the case of Iraq, are themselves an act of war. In this period, this is a crucial dividing line. A party that supports sanctions against Russia, an act of war, in the absence of any other good reason for giving it electoral support, cannot be the recipient of even critical support from genuinely class-conscious workers, socialists and communists.
In the first round of the Presidential Elections, the Greens, as a minor petit bourgeois party, hardly set the world on fire achieving 4.63% of the vote. More to the point, they did not give expression to any class sentiment on behalf of working-class people, as their entire political profile is middle class. To call for votes for them would be a betrayal of class independence. That Mélenchon has brought these feeble petty-bourgeois radicals on board his own campaign is a sign of his own reformist weakness and the danger that he could repeat the betrayals of the Socialist Party if given the chance. But he has a new party which needs to be tested to prove that before the working class.
The treachery of the Socialist Party, under former president Francois Hollande, and the discredit that has given rise to, derived from its steep austerity program from 2012 to 2017, whose attacks rivalled those of the Tories in Britain at more or less the same time, albeit at an earlier stage.
For a party like the French SP, whose voters generally support it because it claims to stand up for the interests of workers and the poor, this record was disastrous. Its aftereffects were that the SP fell from winning close to 29% on the first round of the Presidential Election in 2012, and then 51.6% in the run-off with Sarkozy, to being eliminated with only 1.75% on the first round of the 2022 Presidential Election. That is a just reward for a party dominated by a pro-capitalist labour bureaucracy that decisively betrays its own working-class base. Mélenchon’s bringing this pathetic rump of a party on board his campaign is a bad sign of his own left social-democratic politics, which can lead to similar results if not transcended.
The French Communist Party has undergone a long-term decline precisely because of its perennial Popular Frontism, its compulsion to enter blocs with bourgeois forces, and its accelerating reformism and repeated betrayals of the French working class, particularly in the great strikes of 1936, 1968 and also 1995. After each such event its response was always to seek to form another Popular Front, not to fight independently as a party to lead the working class itself. This was inextricably linked to the fact that it always saw itself as seeking power through parliamentary means in any case.
Given its earlier connection with the USSR (often unpopular with backward sections of the working class), it was inevitably outflanked by other reformists who never had such connections. And it was discredited and demoralised by the collapse of the USSR. So now Mélenchon, not the PCF, has become the repository of leftist workers’ hopes in France, mainly because of his working alongside the Gilet Jaunes militants from 2018 and thus making his France Insoumise effectively the political expression of this spontaneous working-class revolt.
It is this that we are giving critical support to by urging a vote for Mélenchon and La France Insoumise, but not his bloc partners. No support to NUPES. Mélenchon’s wobbling away from the more critical attitude he had to imperialism in Ukraine, and his support for sanctions now, is a sign of opportunist retreat. But what we are supporting is the leftist impulse from below that pushed Mélenchon to within a whisker of knocking out Marine Le Pen in the first round in April and opening up a new perspective for class struggle in France.
Beware of NUPES candidates if you don’t know who they are! Check before you vote. Vote only for Insoumise candidates. Put Mélenchon to a real test before the working class – force him to act alone!