World in View: French elections

May 15, 2017

From the May-June 2017 issue of News & Letters

The first round of voting in the French presidential election, April 23, has been a referendum on the current state, and maybe future, of bourgeois politics. The historic ruling parties have been shut out.

Of the finalists, the great threat comes from fascist National Front leader Marine Le Pen. She hopes to capitalize on the reactionary momentum of Britain’s Brexit and Trump’s election. She must not be allowed to win. She is already succeeding in building a reactionary party that threatens the future.

“Centrist, outsider” Emmanuel Macron represents a liberal bourgeois consensus. He is favored to win next week, with the endorsement of the ruling parties’ losing candidates.

Leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in third. Adopting “populism” from theorist Chantal Mouffe and the hologram gimmick for campaigning in different cities at once from India’s far right President Modi, at times he came close to challenging the logic of capital. Other times he was an apologist for Putin or Assad.

Similar to left-populists Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, Syriza, and Podemos, he represents an international tendency becoming reminiscent of the failed Second International that demands serious thought and critique.

–Gerry Emmett

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