THE RESULT of the first round of the French Presidential election has justly been described as a ‘seismic’ shift in the country.
For the first time since the founding of the 5th Republic in 1958, the candidates of the two main parties, the Socialist Party (PS) and the conservative Republican Party, both crashed out in the first round.
The results of this election were closely run with Emmanuel Macron receiving 23.75% of the vote, followed by Marine Le Pen (leader of the neo-fascist National Front) on 21.53%, while the Republican candidate was in third place with 19.91% closely followed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon on 19.65%.
Mélenchon’s rise in the run up to the election was meteoric as his anti-austerity, anti-EU and avowedly anti-establishment movement, France Untamed, raced up the poll ratings as French workers and youth turned on the traditional parties after years of brutal austerity attacks under the PS presidency of Francois Hollande.
For Mélenchon, who has been described as a left-wing firebrand and is a self confessed ‘revolutionary socialist’, to come within a few percentage points of winning the first round is seismic indeed. It represents the massive polarisation within France; a country that has been brought to its knees economically under the diktats of the EU bankers carried out faithfully by Hollande and the Socialist Party and reflects the inevitable explosive class confrontation that is set to emerge following the presidential and the parliamentary elections still to come.
Civil war in France is now certain after these results. Macron, who is widely tipped as the eventual winner, is a former member of the Socialist Party and served as an advisor to Hollande and as his economy minister.
He fled the party in 2016 when it became clear that it was headed for collapse and founded a new movement ‘En Marche’. A former merchant banker at Rothschild, he is credited as the architect of Hollande’s policies of attacking the rights of workers.
He put forward ‘Macron’s law’ which aimed at changing the country’s labour laws to make it easier to sack workers, make it easier for employers to lay off staff and end severance pay for workers when companies go bust.
He also wanted to abolish prison sentences for bosses who broke the law forcing them to negotiate with their workers. One thing is certain, if Macron wins without any real party behind him he will rule with the support of the old political machinery of the hated PS and Republicans, possibly even reaching out to the National Front for support for his anti-working class policies.
Their support will be necessary for him to carry out war against the working class to impose the crisis of the bankrupt French economy on them through smashing all their rights. This will open up a revolutionary confrontation between his rule and the working class. If Le Pen wins it will lead to an immediate civil war in France.
Millions of French workers and youth will not tolerate a National Front president whose neo-fascist roots lie in the old Vichy government that collaborated with the Nazis during the occupation of France in World War II. Far from representing any break with the old order, both Macron and Le Pen represent the death agony of capitalism, desperately seeking to survive an emerging revolutionary confrontation with the working class.
Mélenchon may have walked away in disgust saying he would not vote for either of these two but the working class cannot. In the final round of this election workers should, through gritted teeth admittedly, vote for Macron to defeat Le Pen, but this will not resolve the crisis. It is not a question of who will win but of going forward from the ruins of the 5th Republic to the establishment of a Socialist Republic through the victory of the socialist revolution.
The immediate fight is to build revolutionary sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in France to lead the socialist revolution to its victory. A victory that will join with the revolutionary upsurge of workers across Europe in the creation of the United Socialist States of Europe. This is the way forward.