[Marxism] French election

dan d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Thu Mar 29 16:14:31 MDT 2012

Ok, well 25, days to go before the French presidential election.

The Socialist Party (PS) is credited with 28% of the vote, Sarkozy with 
26%, the far-Right candidate LE PEn with 15% and the Front de Gauche 
(Left Front, ex-CP) led by Mélenchon, 13%.

The NPA (ex LCR) will garner 0.5% of the vote, according to recent polls.

The most striking feature of the election run-up so far has been 
Mélanchon's rising popularity, due entirely to his amazing rhetorical 
abilities. Admirers and foes alike are bewitched by his charisma. "Mark 
my words, people ... ARE ... ANGRY ! ANGRY ! They finally, finally, 
understand that they have been hoodwinked, lied to, conned by the rich. 
Well I say, if you earn more than 300 000 a year, then I will take it 
all. Do you hear ? I WILL TAKE IT ALL. 100% taxation. Nobody in this 
country should earn more than 20 times (and that is far too much) the 
minimum wage which I propose to raise to 1 700. And if you don't like 
it, if you refuse to see your perks taken away, then I SAY LEAVE ! YES ! 
LEAVE ! The workers in this great nation can manage things without you ! 
LEAVE ! By caping the amount of wealth that capitalists steal, we WILL 
jobs. Our country will be based on solidarity, not money ! So, I tell 
all you greedy executives : LEAVE ! And we will see how much better 
things can be run by workers ! I will tax all, all finance-derived 
income to the tune of 99% and that will leave us with hundreds of 
billions with which to make our lives, the lives of the toiling masses, 
infinetly better. Education, healthcare, solidarity, less working hours, 
and we, as a nation, will at last be able to truly claim as ours those 
beautiful words : LIBERTY - EQUALITY - FRATERNITY !"
(rapturous applauses)

All the other party leaders have been taken by surprise by Mélanchon's 
sudden so-called "populism". However, even though he has gained 5% in 
the polls in one week, it is doubtfull the Parti de Gauche will manage 
to best François Hollande and the PS. The PS's new strategy to counter 
both SArkozy and Mélenchon is to warn liberal voters that "the RIght 
will use the PArti de Gauche's irresponsible extreme populist fiscal 
rhetoric as a scarecrow to scare centrist voters into moving to the 
right. IT is better to let the Socialist PArty try and get as many 
centre-left voters as possible to vote for change, as we all know 
far-left voters will end up woting for the PS anyway. SO ignore the 
far-left, they will end up voting against Sakozy anyway. The problem is 
not to let their antics scare away the centre-left !"

But despite all this, the outcome now seems pretty certain : the PS will 
win the next French presidential election. They just really don't want 
to promise too much to the far-left, as they know they will need to 
implement "responsible austerity measures" come July. What will the 
ex-CP's attitude be after the election ? They might try to "cash in" 
their electoral success by demanding a cabinet position in exchange for 
support from their parliamentary group. Or they might use their 
influence amongst unions to "draw a line in the sand" when austerity 
measures come up. Either way, Mélenchon is set to become a major figure 
in French politics.

PErsonally, I find his clear imitation of Hugo Chavez's flamboyant style 
borders somewhat on the personality cult.

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