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French Parliamentary Elections: Poll Gives Macron a Majority (310 – 350 seats), Left Alliance (135 – 165), Classic Right (50 -70), Marine Le Pen (20-40).

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Poll says the Nouvelle Union Populaire Ecologique et Sociale, NUPES, (La France insoumise, Parti Socialiste, Parti Communiste Français , EELV and allies) will not win the June Parliamentary elections but will be the leading opposition force in the French National Assembly.

Macron, heads a repackaged party, now called Renaissance (formerly La République en Marche) with his allies in the “Ensemble” bloc, the Democratic Movement (MoDem), which already belonged to the presidential majority during the first term, and Horizons, the political party created by former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe (not without tensions between Renaissance and the former Mayor of Le Havre).

The newly elected President has entered the fray with attacks on Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, prime target of Emmanuel Macron in the legislative battle Le Monde.

In a speech aimed at mobilising his troops on Tuesday, the head of state stepped up attacks against the leader of the new union of the left, who has become the number one opponent.

Macron attacked NUPES as

“an “extreme left” , which would be “united on one thing, degrowth” , “not even agree on nuclear power” (a reference to the PCF’s backing for nuclear energy and the other parties’ opposition to it) . And “who chose communitarianism rather than universalism”  (meaning NUPES opposition to anti-Muslim prejudice).

The issue of Europe Union has been used by Parti Socialiste elderly figures such as José Bové, Jean-Paul Besset and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (all former French Green MEPS) to accuse NUPES of anti EU sovereigntism if not worse. In fact the coalition wants to alter existing treaties to change the EU ” from a “liberal and productivist” project to one instead “in the service of…ecology and solidarity”. It is interesting hat in echoing some of these attacks the President had said only a few days ago, he was ““favourable” to a “revision of the treaties” of the European Union

In a not distant vein of appropriating NUPES themes, Macron now talks of ecological planning  planification écologique) boosting pubic services such as education and health and of mesures to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Followers of the French media will have read an heard even more unbridled rants against NUPES from Marine Le Pen.

One of the Tendance’s favourite French authors disagrees: she welcomes the creation of NUPES as something we were waiting for.

Note: of interest to every serious Trainspotter, The Lambertists (historic Trotskyist group best known member the late ‘Pierre Lambert’ (real name Pierre Boussel; June 9, 1920 – January 16, 2008), through their own mini-front have signed up to NUPES. The POI have joined NUPES and will campaign for them. “En 2022, le POI Parti ouvrier indépendant (POI) rejoint, à l’occasion des élections législatives, la Nouvelle Union populaire écologique et sociale pour laquelle il mène campagne sur son hebdomadaire Informations ouvrières” .

See above Informations ouvrières.

Their deadly rivals, POID Parti ouvrier indépendant et démocratique, (who split from POI in 2015) have not yet responded…….They have their own candidate in the Loriot: Le Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique présente un candidat dans la cinquième (Pithiviers/Fleury)

Written by Andrew Coates

May 11, 2022 at 12:55 pm

Great hopes and expectations on the French Left for the Nouvelle union populaire écologique et sociale (Nupes).

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The launch of the Nupes, “Great hopes and expectations that haven’t been there for years”.

Gauches aux législatives

Au lancement de la Nupes, «c’est un immense espoir qui ne s’était pas produit depuis des années»

Libération.

“Saturday at Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis), a strange thing played out before our eyes: heads that had been looking at each other out of the corner of their eyes for ages found themselves in the same room and under the same flag. The lefts have officially made a fuss. Sorry ! We no longer say the lefts but The new popular ecological and social union (La nouvelle union populaire écologique et sociale, the Nupes) which uses a red, green, mauve and pink “V” sign which means “victory” but which is also the Greek letter “Nu”, evoking the beginning of the acronym and which can be made with one’s fingers. Result: the candidates for the legislative elections strolled through Aubervilliers making “V”s. “

The meeting was streamed live. Apart from speeches by the National Secretary of the Parti socialiste, Olivier Faure, the Communist leader Fabien Roussel and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France Insoumise, LFI), and the LFI chief negotiator of the new coalition, Manuel Bompard, there were contributions from rank and file supporters engaged in social and trade union campaigns:

Even just watching it on the direct broadcast the rally, the “convention nationale” was intensely moving.

Apart from a number of alliances involving the Communists supporting La France insoumise (they backed Mélenchon for President in 2017) one should note that this unifying initiative extending to the Socialists (PS),  Julien Bayou (EELV), Audrey Pulvar (PS) et Clémentine Autain (LFI). In this departmental contest, in Saint Seine Denis (the district including , in 2021 there was this;

Julien Bayou (EELV), Audrey Pulvar (PS) and Clémentine Autain (LFI) have joined forces for the second round of the regional elections in Île-de-France within a Union of the Left list.

One should also note this:

Some people, outside France, (Jacobin’s resident Bordigist) have claimed that the support from the French Socialists (Parti Socialiste, PS) for this alliance signals have just now backtracked on their “neoliberalism” – perhaps not familiar with the country’s politics to know of the 2017 PS Presidential candidate, Benoît Hamon, who campaigned in that contest around these themes.

“Hamon wanted to give all French citizens a basic income, believing that the availability of work will decrease due to automation. He supported a 35-hour workweek, and less if a worker chooses in exchange for state compensation, and supports the legalisation of cannabis and euthanasia. He also argued for sizeable investments in renewable energy, aiming for renewable sources to provide 50% of French energy by 2025, and wants to protect the “common goods” (water, air, biodiversity) in the Constitution. Hamon was also very critical of the neoliberal “myth of infinite economic growth“, which he blames for “destroying the planet” and argues is a “quasi-religion” among politicians, saying:[30] “There is an urgency to change now our way to produce and consume. […] We can negotiate with bankers, but we can’t negotiate with the planet.

Hamon got 6,36% of the vote in the 2017 first round. He left the PS and created the eco-socialist movement, Génération·s . It is part of NUPES, although Hamon himself has largely retired from politics but he has welcomed the move to left unity, “Benoît Hamon salue le projet d’union des gauches.

On feature which commentators have noted is the playing down, and near absence, of Mélenchon’s previous ‘left populist’ rhetoric about the ‘caste/elite/oligarchy’ and the need to “federate the people” against them…

This is a serious examination of the electoral and social basis of the new alliance: La possibilité d’une brèche. Stathis

Has this presidential election had opened a period of upheavals, a breach into which the forces of the left of the radical left may intervene.

For such a possibility to materialise, historical experience teaches us that two conditions must be met: a crisis within the dominant bloc, which releases forces hitherto stuck in the hegemonic system; the emergence of an alternative, that is, a force capable of contesting positions of power with the dominant bloc. These conditions immediately refer to a third: popular mobilisation, the only one capable of overcoming the reaction of the dominant classes to any challenge to their interests and capable of permanently reversing the balance of power.

Stathis, when talking of a Gauche de rupture, a serious break not just with existing state policies, but treaties and structires, does not take into account Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s announcement that while he is campaigning to be French Prime Minister he is not likely to put himself forward for election of the Assemblée Nationale. Many PMs (6 out of 25 in the 5th Republic – yes it sounds a lot to me as well….), he notes, have not been MPs but directly called by the President. Libération helpfully notes the LFI leader’s age, 70, and suggests that he is preparing the way for new figures from his Rally/Movement to take over the reins of responsibility. Pourquoi Jean-Luc Mélenchon ne se représente pas aux législatives.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 8, 2022 at 4:34 pm

France: Parti Socialiste joins Coalition of the Left, Nouvelle Union populaire écologique et sociale, Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste refuses the Agreement.

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Nouvelle Alliance populaire écologique et sociale.

The creation of the Nouvelle Union Populaire écologiste et sociale (NUPES) is historic. It has roots not just as an electoral agreement between the French left parties but amongst France’s ‘people of the left’.

It was hard not to be struck by the words of the Mayor of Lille Martine Aubry (the daughter of Jacques Delors) published in Le Monde yesterday. She is a respected, decades long, Parti Socialiste politician. Aubry, while one may disagree with some, or many of her politics, is one the best and most serious social democratic, pro-European reformers. While Aubry mentioned her reservations about La France insoumise’s positions on European Treaties, including demands to break those LFI disagrees with, the veteran stated,

the voters on the left expressed during the first round of the presidential election a strong desire for unity. This message must be heard. This is why I call on the Socialists to validate this proposed agreement , ”she continued, before concluding:

Let’s meet what the women and men of the left expect from us and do everything to ensure that the greatest number of elected representatives from the left are present in the National Assembly to block the way for the project defended by Emmanuel Macron and the candidates of La République en Marche.

France 24 reports,

The National Council of the French Socialist Party (PS) ratified a coalition deal with three other left-wing parties early Friday to run as a united front in June’s parliamentary elections. A large majority (62 percent) of the council’s members voted in favour, but only after hours of sometimes tense debates.

Debate over the proposal lasted four hours, with some major party figures condemning the alliance with the hard-left La France Insoumise ( LFI), the Greens and the Communist Party (PCF) for the parliamentary elections on June 12 and 19.

In the end, 167 members voted in favour and 101 against, with 24 abstentions.

“This is a clarifying vote,” said party chief Olivier Faure, adding that it shows that the Socialist Party belongs “on the left” and not on the side of President Emmanuel Macron.

Other key party figures, including Lille Mayor Martine Aubry, also backed the deal, despite “reservations over Europe” – specifically, a proposal to “disobey” provisions of some European Union treaties.

According to a list shared with AFP, the deal gives the Socialist Party 70 of France’s 577 parliamentary seats, while candidates from the other three parties will run for the remaining seats.

Of those 70 seats, at least 20 are seen as “winnable” for the Socialists. But some incumbent MPs will be forced to give up their spots so that another coalition candidate can run for their seat – something many Socialists see as unfair.

Former French president François Hollande and his former prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve were among those voicing the strongest opposition, with Cazeneuve going as far as quitting the party rather than joining forces with La France insoumise’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former Socialist himself turned fierce antagonist of the party.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate in this year’s presidential elections, said she did not want to get in the way of a deal that could help combat “environmental and social regression”, while nevertheless criticising a programme that she said “does not include the necessary guarantees on NATO, Europe, or defending secularism”.”

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There will no doubt be fuller accounts of what was a milestone meeting in the Parti Socialiste’s history. It is intriguing to see the issue of secularism, laïcité, raised, given Mélenchon’s earlier positions in the Parti de Gauche, when he was close to the militant line defended by Henri Peña-Ruiz.

Update, here is one account:

There are also those in the PS, who were candidates for the National Assembly elections, who had worked the ground, and now will not stand, who are, understandably unhappy at this. But this affects existing-candidates from all parties:

From the La République en Marche, now in an alliance Ensemble, and named Renaissance, has appealed to those Socialists who do not like losing a democratic vote inside their party, to join them in backing Macron.

The Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste will not join the alliance, NUPES,

A major reason for the refusal of the NPA to join is the presence of the Socialists with their “social liberal” policies and some of the Greens (EELV) who hold similar positions. This is presented in the declaration as a refusal to express a break with liberalism, and (the very dubious sounding), “une rupture avec l’Europe libérale“.

There is also this,

We know that many and many left-wing activists hoped to “see Philippe Poutou at the assembly”, but they must know that at no time was a constituency proposed by the Union Populaire (UP) allowing his election, nor even his candidacy in Gironde. As part of an agreement with the Socialist Party, the UP offered us only five constituencies – not in proportion between the different forces in the alliance – none of which is winnable, nor did they correspond to our local strength. Thus, the PS was granted three times more constituencies than its score percentage in the presidential election, while the NPA was offered three times less than it scored.  Quite a symbol!

Élections législatives : déclaration du Conseil politique national du NPA