LCR and LO statements

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Thu Apr 25 06:37:35 MDT 2002

For those comrades who do not understand French I post here the LO and LCR
statements on the first round of the French presidential elections:


1. For the first time since 1974, the LCR presented a candidature at the
presidential election. 4.3% of electors, 1,200,000 people, voted for
Olivier Besancenot.  Despite the difficulties of the first round of these
elections, the balance sheet of the LCR's campaign is that it expresses
promising changes which prepare the ground for the emergence of an
alternative politics to that practiced by the parties of the governmental

2. The results of the first round of the presidential elections constitute
a political earthquake. It is a trauma for millions of people for whom Le
Pen recalls the worst times in the history of our country, those of Vichy
and fascism. Le Pen's populism cannot conceal his real politics in the
service of the rich and powerful. He approves of privatization, anti-social
legislation, givebacks to the employers and abusive procedures for the
dismissal of employees.  The new breakthrough of the Front National
constitutes a defeat for the entire workers' and democratic movement. After
Italy, Portugal and Denmark, it is France's turn. In all these countries,
the consequences of the neoliberal policies of left governments have led to
the breakthrough of the neoliberal and far right.

3.  Le Pen's score results first from the campaign waged by Chirac and the
right around insecurity, accepted by Lionel Jospin and taken up also by
Chevènement. But more substantially, the rejection of the policies followed
by successive governments for 20 years leads today to an unprecedented
crisis of political representation. Abstention, which increased by nearly
6% between the presidential election of 1995 and that of 2002, is the most
obvious sign of it. Finally, this first round of the presidential election
confirms that the excessive personalization of the election of the
president, in the framework of the institutions of the 5th Republic, opens
the road to the worst kind of demagogue.

4. Despite presenting himself as a democrat, Chirac is above all somebody
whose moral integrity is tainted by scandal. More than that, having
received less than 20% of votes in the 1st round, it is an electorally
discredited president who will lead the country. Chirac is in fact the
representative of a neoliberal right inspired directly by the programme of
the MEDEF [the French employers' federation]. His neoliberal
counter-reforms are intended to worsen the living and working conditions of
millions of wage earners. The choice of a campaign centred on insecurity
indicates new attacks against democratic rights. The election of the
candidate of the right will lead to a government bent on head on
confrontation with the world of labour.

5. But the political earthquake that the country has undergone is also the
result of the policies of the government of the 'plural left'. Since 1997,
this government has adapted itself to neoliberalism and has surrendered to
the diktats of the financial markets. It has now been sanctioned by the
popular classes who no longer feel represented by this governmental left.
The main consequence of these policies has been the stinging defeat of the
Socialist Party. It is also one of the explanations for the fall of the
PCF, which has seen a brutal acceleration of its historic decline. The
nationalist project of Chevènement has also been rejected. As to the
Greens, if they have resisted the pressure around 'security', they have
confirmed their support for the policies of the governmental left.

6. At the same time, these elections have registered a change in the
relationship of forces on the left, with the far left scoring more than
11%. These elections bring into broad daylight the existence in this
country of a governmental left which has accepted the rules of capitalist
globalization, a left which has been sanctioned, and a popular left of
millions of youth and wage earners who reject neoliberal policies.
In the political earthquake the country has undergone we must now refound
hope on the left, breaking with the record of the plural left government.
The question of a new anti-capitalist political force, of a new party of
workers and youth, is sharply posed. First, by building on the forces of
renewal which were expressed in the candidatures of Olivier
Besancenot and Arlette Laguiller. Lutte Ouvrière and the LCR have in this
sense particular responsibilities. The LCR has already proposed to LO a
discussion around the new political situation and the tasks of
Hope is also represented by the youth who are massively resisting
capitalist globalization and fascism, as well as by trade union and
community activists and those in the social movements. It is ultimately the
activists, Communists, ecologists, Socialists who are asking questions and
finding the way to an alternative politics.

7. Immediately, the first demonstrations of youth reflect the resistance of
society to the rise of the far right. The first priority now is to build a
demonstration of force against Le Pen and the bosses' politics on May 1st,
in every town in the country.
We must bar the road to Le Pen, the worst enemy of the workers, in the
street as in the elections.
The LCR will mobilize so that Le Pen scores the lowest possible vote on
Sunday May 5.
We understand those electors who will vote for Chirac to oppose Le Pen, but
we do not think that Chirac is a rampart against the new rise of the far
On the contrary, he is among those responsible for it, and there is no
doubt that following his election he will take measures against wage
earners, youth and immigrants.
It is a time for a mobilization against the far right and the bosses, a
unitary mobilization of the workers' movement and youth around social
demands which put an end to unemployment and inequality and mobilizations
for the defence of the immigrants without documents.

April 22, 2002

Chirac 19.88%
Le Pen 16.86%
Jospin 16.18%
Bayrou (UDF) 6.84%
Laguiller 5.72%
Chevènement 5.33%
Mamère (Greens) 5.25%
Besancenot (LCR) 4.25%
St Josse (hunting and shooting party) 4.23%
Madelin (rightwing) 3.91%
Hue (PCF) 3.37%
Mégret (far right) 2.34%
Taubira (Left Radical Party, a woman from Guyana) 2.32%
Lepage (rightwing ecologist) 1.88%
Boutin (rightwing pro-family) 1.19%
Gluckstein (Parti des Travailleurs, Lambertiste) 0.47%

Statement by Olivier Besancenot as the exit polls were first announced

Tonight there has been a political earthquake in this country. It is a
victory for the worst enemies of the wage earners and of youth.

The Front National is a current that represents a direct continuity with
Vichy, fascism and the Nazi crimes of the Second World War. Tonight I share
the sadness of millions of people in the face of this advance of the far
right, in particular the millions of immigrants who live in our country.
This is the result of the campaign waged by Chirac and the right - and
accepted by Jospin - on the question of 'insecurity'.
It is also the result of the policies of the governing 'plural left' which
has dramatically cut itself off from the popular classes.
At the same time, these elections indicate a change in the relationship of
forces on the left, with more than 10% for the far left, LO and the LCR.
I would like to thank the 4.8% of electors who voted for my candidature,
the candidature of somebody who shares their concerns and their hopes.
The multiplicity of candidates on the left is not responsible for the rise
of the far right; it is rather the policies followed by successive
governments for some years that are responsible.
Now we have to reestablish hope on the left. First by relying on the forces
of renewal which have expressed themselves, in the candidatures of Lutte
Ouvriere and the LCR, organizations which have special responsibilities in
this new situation.
Hope lies also in the youth who are massively resisting capitalist
globalization and fascism. I ask all the electors of the left, socialists,
Communists, ecologists, but also the community and trade union activists,
to organize a popular resistance to the rise of the far right, all together
against fascism and the employers.

tatement from Arlette Laguiller (Lutte Ouvriere
      in a rough translation
      Sunday evening, 9.30pm French time

      First of all, I thank the 6% of voters who once again have given me
      confidence and supported my ideas.
      I understand the probable confusion of the working classes at the
possibility of seeing a man like Le Pen getting into the second round.
      No-one wants to see Le Pen elected, but if he was, that is to say if
he obtained 51% of the votes in the 2nd round, although that's
      improbable, it would signify a major move in opinion, a tipping of
the scales of such importance that we would have to defend ourselves by
means beyond the ballot-paper.
      We won't change such a situation by voting for Chirac.
      Because Chirac, once elected, won't even stick to his own politics -
he'll look to please above all the 20% of voters who have backed Le Pen.
      I turn once again to the labour movement to say: the rise of the
extreme right in public opinion is worrying. But, outside the ballot-box,
labour movement is the strongest and no-one will be capable of imposing
upon it anything it doesn't want.
      It's not by supporting Chirac and giving him a good conduct
certificate that  we will combat the ideas of Le Pen and that we will
combat his public  support.
      So we must reject the politics of the big bourgeoisie, whether they
are put forward by Chirac, Jospin or Le Pen.
      Moreover, the politics of the Communist Party (which got 3.5% or so)
of participation in the government (i.e., Jospin's government) have been
radically censured.
      This shows that the far left, beyond its score, can be loud (?proud?)
about  its weight in the working classes.

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