[Marxism] French elections
d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Wed May 9 15:49:32 MDT 2012
The interesting thing about this week's French presidentail election, is
how far the outcome has been predicated on class lines.
68% of industrial workers and 58% of service sector employees have voted
for the new Social-Democratic president, François Hollande. In terms of
income, a clear majority of those earning less than $4,000/month voted
Hollande. A clear majority of French people under the age of 30 also
voted for the Socialist Party.
And, conversely, those over the age of 50 overwhelmingly voted for Sarkozy.
The problem is the ultra-right wing vote, since 18% of people voted for
Le Pen on a clearly fascist plateform. It has now become readily
apparent that the conservative neo-liberal element sees the fascist,
far-right element as a bulkwark against the left. Conservatives are
toning down their pro-Austerity, pro-Business, pro-BCE Europe stance in
favour of more nationalistic rethoric (while still warning that "defecit
spending will send France down the drain"). Fascists, led by Le Pen, are
playing the rural vote, the anti-Euro sentiment, the racist card, but
are nonetheless ready to find "common ground" with the conservatives (on
"society" policies : against gay marriage, against immigration, for the
recognition of "natural hierachies such as the teacher over the pupil,
the policeman over the criminal, the non-corporate small artisan over
The problem for Le Pen is that her constituency is more "anti-rich" than
she is, as it is made up of voters who are a) rural, b) workers and
c)below the national income and education average . She must therefore
strike a delicate balance between her desire to see the pro-Euro
conservatives utterly defeated and her fear of seeing the left make
inroads in her constituency.
The resulting French political landscape looks quite promising for the
Social Democrats, but since we all know that they are not willing to
challenge the Capitalist order, and are focused on a tepid Keynesian
"New Deal for Europe" (Hollande was seen yesterday perusing a heafty
tome on Roosevelt), the result cannot be a win for the working class as
the SD will fold before the interests of Capital. Actually, Hollande is
proposing only very modest adjustements : the end of tax-loopholes for
the super-rich, the ability for the ECB to lend directly to states
instead of private banks and more governmpent spending in education.
Now, that's not what's going to kick-start a recovery, but the fact that
Capitalists are screaming bloody murder about "Stalinism" shows how
insecure the powers-that-be are feeling right now in Europe.
In Europe and the US, the establishement is welcoming ultra-nationalism
with open arms, as "the last refuge of a scoundrel".
So it's about time we stopped voting and started acting. And the best
way to act is to join a radical union and start demanding what is ours,
that is EVERYTHING.
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