WSWS reporters interviewed Clémence, a student in Amiens and job seeker, about the French presidential elections and the call of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) to mobilize the working class against the two candidates and prepare for oppose the next president.
Clémence said that after the first round she felt “great consternation. The fact that Macron, who has openly embraced the far right, and Marine Le Pen are in the second round is a disaster. There was also a great abstention which shows the lack of confidence in the ruling political class.
Clémence criticized the calls of the PS (Socialist Party), the Greens and the PCF (French Communist Party) to vote Macron: “The instruction to block the extreme right of the left and the avowed right is hypocritical, because his government has taken xenophobic, Islamophobic and politically racist measures. I am thinking in particular of [Gérald] Darmanin, a violently Islamophobic royalist minister. Big business makes the decisions, and all of this leads to an atmosphere of hypocrisy and the destruction of our most basic rights.
She added that the PS is “very hypocritical” when it “calls for support for Macron. All the satellites of the bourgeois state have adopted the same views without questioning the fact that Macron has taken reactionary far-right measures to always reduce democratic rights. And police violence is expected to increase.
Clémence also noted the protests that erupted in universities and high schools in Paris and across France after the first round. She said: “The police let through the fascist thugs from the far-right youth movements who attacked the students who were blocking the political science university. It is interesting, the call “Ni Macron, ni Le Pen” launched by the students: in their protests, they called for broader struggles, and for maximum solidarity with the masses so as not to be isolated and so that it does not lead to failure.”
On the regrouping organized by LFI (La France insoumise) with the PCF, the Greens and other pseudo-left parties after the first round, Clémence said that it was an “opportunist” alliance and a “bourgeois coalition measure”. She pointed out that it is a medium that “has betrayed the interests of the popular classes and the working class that it claims to represent”.
About the candidate Lutte Ouvrière (LO, Lutte Ouvrière), Clémence declared: “Nathalie Arthaud, who calls herself a revolutionary communist, did not utter the words ‘socialism’ or ‘revolution’ in her remarks. For them, these elections are only a springboard to make themselves heard.
On topics like the pandemic, Clémence added, these parties “talk about it a little but often from fraudulent angles, like the abolition of mask wearing, health standards, against a Zero COVID policy. They make very little mention of internationalism or the creation of an internationalist party.
Clémence underlined the demoralizing impact of these organizations on young people: “There is a massive rejection of politics within the bourgeois framework, but they lack perspective. Many are demoralized and no longer believe in anything or other social perspectives because this system promotes capitalist ideology. And even if we are aware that capitalism is not adequate and validates the cause of the destruction of the planet and the living conditions, many young people are lost.
Clémence expressed her interest in the active boycott policy advocated by the PES and explained how she understands it.
She said: “It means not registering to vote, showing our disagreement with the capitalist system in place which only favors the leaders of this class which exploits and oppresses us. It also means organizing mass demonstrations, strikes, independent mobilizations, outside the traditional union framework, contrary to what LO advocates for example. This means above all appealing to our brothers and sisters of the international working class, organizing meetings to propagate revolutionary and profoundly socialist and communist ideas.
Clemence particularly applauds the idea of creating action committees and other organizations of struggle that would be independent of the national trade union apparatus.
She said: “The current trade union cadre is eaten up by parasites, by bureaucracies. Even the CGT did not support the railway workers, even if it was the longest strike since May 68, nor did it support the Yellow Vests. It is also very important to organize outside of these political bodies in the face of the pandemic and the danger it represents for children and to act to protect the population from this highly transmissible virus.
Clemence notably underlined her agreement with the idea that no candidate has anything to offer workers and young people.
After the elections, she said: “There will be more economic insecurity for students and young people. Macron will condition the “Revenu de solidarité active” (RSA, a minimum income for those who do not work) to compulsory internships and it is criminal for those who have only that to survive. And the far right has similar plans. Common perspectives are ecological perspectives, we don’t have to profit from the exploitation of nature. Currently, according to reports, there are three years left to take concrete green measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
She added: “The most important thing now is to organise, to create a strong labor organization with the aim of acting, of informing, of giving a real socialist and Marxist anti-capitalist perspective to improve living and working conditions. and above all to allow a revolution that will allow the destruction of the sclerotic system which has nothing left to offer to anyone except the billionaires and the wealthy owners.