No representative in this vote

May 5, 2017

In the second round of the presidential election on May 7, voters in France will face a choice between the right and the further right.

Neither of the mainstream parties of the center-left and center-right that have dominated French politics made it through to the run-off. But the frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, is the candidate supported by both wings of the political establishment. He is a banker who never held elected office and represents a newly formed political movement, but he belongs squarely to the mainstream of neoliberalism pursued by both the center-left and center-right, having served as finance minister in President François Hollande's government.

His opponent is Marine Le Pen of the National Front, a far-right party whose image Le Pen has attempted to moderate. Le Pen has won much greater support than ever before, largely because of the bankruptcy of the mainstream parties, which have allowed the far right to pose as legitimate opponents of the status quo, rather than what they are: peddlers of xenophobic fear, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant scapegoating.

What should the left do in the second round of the presidential vote? Many are calling for a vote for Macron to keep Le Pen out of power. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who offered a radical left alternative in the first round of voting and won nearly 20 percent of the vote, has argued against a vote for Le Pen, but has not supported Macron.

The New Anti-Capitalist Party's (NPA) presidential candidate Philippe Poutou won admiration during the TV debate before the first round of voting, though his vote total was just over 1 percent. In this May Day statement, the NPA makes the case that Le Pen and the far right will be defeated by social and class struggle, not voting for candidates like Macron.

Against the National Front: A mortal danger for our side
Against all neoliberal policies: We must organize a response

THE YOUTH and the workers have no representatives in the second round of the presidential elections. On one side, we have a racist, xenophobic and anti-working class millionaire. On the other, we have a banker serving the neoliberal program of financial capitalism.

The National Front: Workers' worst enemy

Marine Le Pen and the National Front try to present themselves as defenders of the popular classes. In reality, they are fierce advocates of French capitalism. They are proposing an alternative to globalization to the bosses by granting privileges to French production in the face of international competition. In order to win over the majority to this project, they whip up one part of the population, leading it to reject foreign workers and immigrants.

Yet the solutions they propose will do nothing to reduce the exploitation we suffer. Worse still, in order to maintain their profits in the context of the French national economy, the bosses will have no choice other than to violently attack our wages and living conditions.

Supporters of the National Front rally during a speech by Marine Le Pen
Supporters of the National Front rally during a speech by Marine Le Pen in 2012

Marine Le Pen and the National Front are a mortal danger for our collective rights and all social movement organizations. They would like to ban and repress opposition, protests and the unions.

They stand for increasing the divisions between the oppressed, between French-born and foreign-born, between straight and LGBTI, for the questioning of women's rights.

Macron is not a barrier against the extreme right

We understand the youth and workers who will cast a ballot for Macron to build an obstacle against the National Front. But Macron is the chief representative of the neoliberal policies put in place over the last 30 years.

As Minister of Finance in President François Hollande's cabinet, he inspired the anti-worker labor reform law that bears his name. What is his program? To put an end to the 35-hour workweek, to cut Social Security, to reduce the number of civil servants and to go even further in breaking up France's labor code.

The policies he aims to implement are exactly what prepares the ground for the National Front, aggravating the destruction of our social gains.

Today, we must organize a response--we must represent ourselves!

No youth and no worker can add their voice to the National Front. The most important thing is to retake the offensive on the social terrain, because it is the only way to consistently and enduringly push the extreme right back.

We will unite in preparing to resist Macron's steamroller--he claims to want to govern for six months by decree to push through his anti-working class program. Already in advance of the May 7 elections, we are participating in demonstrations pointing out the danger posed by the National Front, as well as the neoliberal and anti-immigrant policies that feed its growth, and we plan to continue after May 7.

A period of combat is approaching and we must organize tous ensemble--all together--a general strike to reverse the balance of forces. In order to prepare for this confrontation, we need a political force to represent us--to organize our camp against the bosses and the rich. This must be a party of combat, anchored in daily struggles, one that is not afraid to attack capitalist property, one that defends a rupture with both national and European institutions. A feminist, pro-environmental, international party for the revolutionary transformation of society.

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