June 15, 2017
By Isabelle Métral
Two quotes from a related article in l’Humanité, by Lionel Venturini:
« Indeed the central fact concerning the first round of the legislative election is that only 16% of the population (those eligible to vote), mostly older people in favored classes of society, will be represented in the next National Assembly, and will thus hold full power. »
« This transcription of the state of emergency into the common law does not arise by chance. It is an expression of the baring to public view of the truly minoritary character of this presidential power »
Accompanying graphic for that article:
13.43% is the percentage of those on the electoral lists who actually voted for the LREM
70% is the estimated percentage of seats in the National Assembly that will be filled by deputies of the LREM and their close ally.
In the aftermath of the first round of the parliamentary elections, the LREM movement (“The Republic in Motion”) of President Emmanuel Macron, who was elected last April, is sure to have a strong majority in the National Assembly. The promised success is concomitant with a vast demobilization of the popular electorate: less than 50% of those registered to vote participated in the first round of voting on Sunday 11 June. This can be explained by two factors: on the one hand the self-fulfilling prophesy furnished by the polls and abundantly relayed by virtually all media (in the pay of employers), and on the other hand the deep division of the alternative left, sufficient to discourage the electorate.
Paradoxically, the electorate of Emmanuel Macron does not adhere, on the whole, to his devastating program. Only half of his voters in the first round of the presidential election declared their adherence to that political line. But the reassuring illusion that it is possible to transcend the opposition between the right and the left, and the style of this dashing young president for whom everything seems to be going his way, have obviously seduced the electorate.
The success of the LREM movement is also based on the rejection of the “old parties”, some of which, the right wing and the Socialist Party, have actually been largely chronicled in compromising affairs. This rejection of the old parties has also succeeded for the “movement” La France Insoumise(LFI, Rebellious France), created by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the only candidate for the presidential election of the alternative left. One of their main slogans was “Get them all out of here!”, which has as actually been accomplished. Not that he managed to kick the ball between the goal posts after promising showing in the presidential election (nearly 20% of the vote), since he only got 11% of the votes in the first round of the legislative elections. It was a victory in his eyes, nevertheless, since the strategy of the LFI was not to gather the left-wing forces of the Socialist Party to beat the right, but to refuse any alliance with the left-wing parties (ecologists, socialist rebels, and the French Communist Party (PCF )), in order to assert itself as the unavoidable party: “replace the PS” (in his own words), beat the PCF (which had provided almost half of the sponsorships required for his presidential candidacy and which had campaigned for him), all this for the benefit of the leaders of his own party, the Left Party (PG), backbone of LFI, who were very smiling at the end of this first round because they are well placed to win beautiful places next Sunday.
To return to the real winner of this long electoral sequence, the new president Emmanuel Macron is supported by the employers and the banks. Through him, they are the ones who are installed in power.
Its slogan “neither left nor right” is actually a “neither left nor left”. Francois Hollande’s ministers and Socialist Party deputies quickly joined LREM even before the end of Holland’s mandate in the wake of the “hollandaise” policy that betrayed its campaign commitments and converted the so-called “socialist” policy into a governance that filled its supposed right-wing opponents with ease. This, to the extent that very few elected members and cadres of the Socialist Party supported François Hamon, the socialist candidate nominated by the primary for the presidential election, too rebellious in their eyes.
The violence of the program of Emmanuel Macron will not take long to open the eyes of our fellow citizens. The timeline and pattern of “reforms” reveal the haste involved in getting them passed without any real debate across the country, or with trade unions, through the expeditious means of “ordinances” (a procedure authorised by the Constitution “under certain conditions”), which are likely to be adopted by the end of September.
These “reforms” are primarily concerned with labor law, which until now has been governed by a labor code already severely damaged under Holland by the traitorous law called the El Khomri law. Now it is a question of finishing the demolition of the law that guarantees employees protection of the law against the arbitrariness of the employers, the law according to which agreements by industrial sector have precedence over the unequal balance of power between capital and labor at the level of a single firm. It is a question of further undermining the legal foundation of social security as it was established after the Liberation under the communist labour minister Ambroise Croizat, in order to give over to capital new opportunities to invest in the sector of health insurance. It is also a question of accentuating the austerity policy voted in 2013, of strengthening the subjection of the localities to the government by depriving them of the resources of a large part of the local taxes: 80% of the households will no longer pay the main local tax, and the government will be free to decide in what proportion the financial deficit at the local level will be compensated by the budget of the State. It is also a matter of including in the fundamental law specific provisions of the state of emergency, the latter having been once more extended by six months by the government after the presidential election, the time necessary to make these legislative changes.
Under President Hollande, the state of emergency allowed the arrest of hundreds of people, militants, demonstrators against the El Khomri law, who had nothing to do with terrorism. … This president has the pretention to choose, by himself, the journalists of the various media who will be permitted to follow his actions. And what opposition can one hope for from a national assembly with a majority of new-comers to politics, originating, for the most part, from the business sector?
Democracy is in peril. The awakening to this reality is certain to be painful.
The sole arena of combat for the true left wing will be in the workplaces of industry, in the hospitals, in the schools, in the streets, …
The combat will be rude.
Original article in French: Emmanuel Macron est surtout fort des faiblesses de ses adversaires – Translated by Henry Crapo