Thursday, June 20, 2024

"Popular Front" in France: An old, bankrupt story

Article published in "Rizospastis" daily (here in Greek), Organ of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), on 20 June 2024:

"Popular Front" in France: An old, bankrupt story

"The multi-party cooperation established in France under the title “Popular Front” (Front Populaire) in order- as they say- to put obstacles to the election of a far-right Prime Minister, is presented as an example to follow in our country as well.

This is an electoral scheme that was announced, shortly after the call for snap elections, by political forces that have led the promotion of ferocious anti-popular policies from governmental positions, such as the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste-PS), or have been tested in the entrapment, disorientation and defusing of popular discontent, such as Melenchon's La France Insoumise (LFI) and the mutant Communist Party (Parti Comuniste Francais- PCF).

Their collaboration isn't something new. The “anti-right” and “anti-far right” fronts have a long history in local, parliamentary and presidential elections in France, with the latest example being the 2022 parliamentary elections when these forces formed NUPES (Nouvelle Union Populaire Ecologique et Sociale).

Nonetheless, as confirmed in the European elections and throughout the last years, they haven't “blocked the way to the strengthening of the far-right”, despite their claims that they are capable to do.

Le Pen's party, with its far-right and fascist views being currently smoothed in relation with the past, is reassertint its role as a useful back-up for the bourgeoisie and its political system, being now on the threshold of the premiership, while displayed as a favorite for the presidential elections as well. We shall not forget that, shortly after his election, Macron himself discussed with Le Pen even about the formation of a “national unity” government, while now he appears to support in some regions – apparently not without a reward – the “anti far-right” candidacies of “Front Populaire”.

A look at the program under which the party of Melenchon (the dominant candidate for Front Populaire's Prime Minister) participated in the European elections is revealing of the effort that is being made to once again entrap people's indignation for Macron's policies into harmless – for the dominant system – frameworks. With vague declarations and known delusions, they attempt to turn this discontent into defense, or tolerance, of the prevailing anti-popular policy, which both the current government and Le Pen serve.  

Let's check out some examples: On the question of high prices, they present as a solution the “establishment of a permanent tax on surplus profits which will be extended to all sectors and not only on energy”, as well as “the establishment of a tax on financial transcations (…) so as to discourage speculation”. In France, like in Greece, social democracy and its satellites emphasize on the super profits of monopolies, which are modified according to the interests of their shareholders, taking advantage of the possiblities offered by anti-popular legislation. At the same time, they sweep under the carpet the enormous profitability of the French and foreign business giants, which is first of all ensured by the intensity of labor exploitation and the countless, by all means “legal” and institutionalized, tax exemptions, for which they don't only turn a blind eye, but also play a leading role in their expansion...

They furthermore call for the “establishment of a real European fiscal equality through the abolition of the discounts unjustifiably received by the richest European states. Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Sweden must pay their share fof the European budget...”. This is the concern of “Front Populaire”: To claim better terms for the French capital in competition with other states!

As for salaries, they call for masures to make “transparency mandatory within each company and set a maximum authorized salary in order to reduce the gap of 1 to 20 that exists between the lowest and the highest salary in a company”. Their program lacks even declarations for wage increases, especially in today's conditions of high prices. On the contrary, they propagandize the... fairer equalization of wages downwards and they call this “justice”!

In other respects, they are concerned about the … “democratization of businesses” and ask for “a cap on the share of profits distributed to shareholders for a better distribution of wealth...!”. What they actually say is that a... fairer capitalism is possible, where business profits and popular needs will prosper at the same time.

In issues of imperialist war, the core of their positions is Europe's “strategic autonomy”, which leads to greater militarization and intensity of exploitation, so that it can defend the interests of its monopolies more effectively, complementary of course to NATO. Here, the identification with Macron's government is more than visible, while the positions of Le Pen's party also converge towards the same route.

“By agreening to line up behind NATO, the European Union is part of a US strategy to escalate tensions across the world (…) We refuse any alignment with another power”, they note and add that there is need to “ensure our geopolitical and military autonomy”...

In today's conditions of an upcoming new crisis and war preparations, with the EU and France moving into a “war economy”, the options for the French capital are increasing in face of the parliamentary elections, both for who will be in command of the government in anti-popular politics, as well as for its support from all bourgeois parties. This is actually what the “Popular Front” in France serves as well, revealing the forest behind the tree of anti-far right slogans and confirming the timeless role of social democracy for the stability of the system...".