[Marxism] France: May Day hotly contested ahead of poll
stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Sat May 5 18:58:49 MDT 2012
People from all sides of politics came out on the streets of Paris in great
numbers on May 1.
Ahead of the second round of the French presidential poll on May 6, it was
a highly politicised May Day. In the first round on April 22, the Socialist
Party's Francois Hollande beat the right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
The far right National Front's candidate Marine Le Pen scored a record vote
of about 18%. The Left Front's Jean-Luc Melenchon took about 11% of the
As well as the traditional union-organised workers’ demonstration (which
both Hollande and Melenchon attended), Sarkozy stage a mobilisation of the
“real workers” of France and Le Pen held her own meeting to continue her
populist, xenophobic campaign.
The numbers at each event were contested. Organisers of the Sarkozy march
claimed 200,000 attendees (which is unlikely), and organisers of the left’s
mobilisation claimed 250,000 (although the police claimed a staggeringly
small 48,000 in attendance).
Across France, the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) claimed 750,000
attendees of its rallies.
Regardless of the exact figures, it was clear the mobilisation of workers
was up on previous years. The figures released by the minister for the
interior indicate a nation-wide rise from 77,000 in 2011 to 316,000 in 2012.
“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity’s
original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and through rebellion.” — Oscar Wilde, Soul of Man
“The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind of
dummy?” — Jarvis Cocker
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