French Communists and Mélenchon Tear Each Other Apart
French Communists Called to Submit to the Insoumises.
This year will not only see a Presidential election in France.
Following the results in May there will be elections on the 11 and 18 June for the French legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies
Not only is the French Left divided between the Parti Socaliste and the rest (including Greens), but the radical left is itself split.
Last February Jean-Luc Mélenchon decided, with the backing of his political club, the Parti de Gauche, that he would stand for president. Nobody else was consulted.
He launched La France Insoumise last year. This organisation calls itself a “citizens’ movement”. It is not a party. Anybody can join, membership is free. At the grassroots, the “groupes d’appui” (in form similar to Podemos’ ‘circles’ but with no policy making power) can operate, that is to build support, as they see fit. Its programme was voted on through the Internet with 77,038 people taking part. What is not up for voting is the leadership and candidacy of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Being a member is to identify with the “démarche de Jean-Luc Mélenchon.”
He stands at present at around 14% in the polls. If he may get more support in the ballot box than the enfeebled Socialists, he has little chance of getting to the Second Round of the Presidential election.
This is the general framework for the programme of La France Insoumise.
They stand for a
Sixth Republic; re-distribution of wealth; environmental planning; withdrawal from European treaties; peace and independence; human progress; and “on the borders of humanity” (ocean, space and digital).
Ten leading measures were agreed on in the on-line consultation and a following convention,
Quelque 11 362 votants, signataires de la plateforme jlm2017, ont sélectionné dix propositions pour en faire les principaux axes de leur campagne. « Refuser les traités de libre-échange, Tafta, Ceta et Tisa » est arrivé en tête (48 %), suivi de l’« abrogation de la loi El Khomri » (43,5 %), de la « règle verte » (38,5 %), de la « refondation » de l’Europe et son « plan B » (38 %), de la transition énergétique et la sortie du nucléaire (36 %), de la révocation des élus (35,5 %), du référendum constituant (35 %),de la « protection des biens communs » comme l’air,l’eau, l’alimentation, le vivant, la santé, l’énergie, la monnaie (33,5 %), de la « séparation des banques d’affaires et de détail » et d’un « pôle public bancaire » (31,5 %), et du Smic à 1 300 euros net et la hausse des salaires des fonctionnaires (28 %).
Opposition to free-trade treaties, annulment of the recent labour law reforms (loi El Khomri), a green ‘rule’ (ecological guidelines) , “refounding Europe” (changing the basis of existing Treaties), opposition to Nuclear power and its phased withdrawal, laws to allow MPs to be recalled, legislation to allow popular referendums, protection of common property, from air, water, life (a reference to ownership of genetic material) food, health, energy, to the currency (??? – give up on that one), break up of direct ties between banks and business, creation of a publicly owned leading bank, a rise of the minimum wage to 1,300 Euros, and a rise in public sector wages.
This Rally, called by its supporters a ‘movement’, has effectively ended the previous united front of parties to the left of the Socialists.
Mélenchon is now pursing a ruthless strategy for the legislative elections.
As Libération reports today the Communists are not taking his behaviour without hitting back: Législatives : le Parti communiste se rebiffe face aux injonctions de Mélenchon.
Sometimes allies, sometimes opponents, the two parties of the left are tearing each other apart over the legislative elections la France insoumise wishes to impose its will.
La France Insoumise has decided to present candidates in every constituency without bothering to seek agreement with left parties.
To summarise: France insoumise has decided to stand a candidate in each constituency. This means it is prepared to present candidates against the communists. The latter have voted (by a small majority it’s true) to support Mélenchon in the presidential election. No matter. Jean-Luc Mélenchon has asked the Communist candidates – and all those who wish to ally themselves with him – to sign his “charter”. And to give money to his rally. ANd to follow his group’s wishes on where they may or may not stand.
Without going further into the details there are violent rows about particular constituencies, where Mélenchon is prepared to let the right win if the Communists do not agree to his diktat.
Mélenchon is in fact to the right of the French Communist Party on many issues, notably his approval of Russian intervention in Syria (Comment M. Mélenchon nie le peuple de Syrie et ses droits. le Monde)
He is noted for his intemperate comments (Décidément, Mélenchon est incorrigible! 26 November 2016).
The Candidate of La France Insoumise models himself on the ‘populist’ aspect of Podemos. But he has gone further in the populist direction by making nationalist appeals against the European Union in general, and Germany in particular not to mention talk about “les anglo-saxons”.
One can understand why the French Communists are wary of him.