French students, workers protest against racism or Big Business election

This video says about itself:

‘Neither Macron, nor Le Pen‘: Protesters march against French presidential candidates in Paris

27 April 2017

People are rallying under the motto “Neither Le Pen, nor Macron – against finance and fascism”. It follows a national call for students to block and occupy their high schools. RT’s Charlotte Dubenskij has the updates. Read more here.

By Alex Lantier in France:

French youth protest Le Pen-Macron second round in presidential elections

28 April 2017

Thousands of high schools students protested, blockaded their schools, and marched in cities across France Thursday, amid growing anger against a second round of the presidential elections limited to two right-wing candidates, ex-banker Emmanuel Macron and National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen.

Millions of working people understand that this election offers them only the choice of which president will oversee an authoritarian and militarist regime in France. Le Pen is a neo-fascist. As for Macron, youth widely despise him for his role as economy minister in the current Socialist Party (PS) government, which brutally repressed strikes and mass youth protests last year against the regressive PS labor law.

Thousands of youth marched yesterday and several high schools were blockaded in Paris, Rennes, and Nantes. Slogans included “a choice between plague and cholera” and “neither Marine nor Macron, neither fatherland nor boss.”

in French: ni patrie, ni patron.

In Paris, 20 high schools were blockaded or hit by protests. An unauthorized demonstration by thousands of students broke out on Republic Square opposing both Le Pen and Macron under the slogan “Neither fascism nor free-market capitalism,” and clashes between police and students broke out at a protest on Bastille Square. …

Some students compared the present run-off with that of 2002, the only other time that the FN advanced to the second round. In 2002, this provoked spontaneous mass protests. Today, “I am shocked that no one is protesting,” said Elise. “Everyone was expecting that Marine Le Pen would be on the second round, but that’s just it: it’s horrible that everyone was expecting it! We decided we had to do something against the FN to defend our values. Even if we are not old enough to vote, it is our future. And we do not want a racist and xenophobic party in power.”

Student groups will hold another election protest today at 7 p.m. in front of Paris City Hall.

In Rennes, thousands of protesters marched peacefully before clashing with police when security forces tried to block the march from proceeding to the center of town and fired tear gas. Clashes then spread across the downtown as youth chanted “Macron, Le Pen, we don’t want them.” Referring to the FN’s demagogic claim to be an “anti-system” party, youth also chanted: “The real anti-system forces are us.”

Other protests took place in cities including Lyon, Toulouse, and Dijon. Hundreds marched in Dijon to slogans including “neither the banker nor the fascist.”

The youth protests are initial indications of deep social anger throughout the population at the presidential elections, which saw the elimination of the candidates of France’s two traditional parties of government, the ruling Socialist Party and The Republicans (LR). Voters repeatedly shifted in their preferences and expressed their frustration with a campaign dominated by corruption charges and law-and-order hysteria. Both Macron and Le Pen are widely hated.

After years of war, mass unemployment, and a state of emergency suspending basic democratic rights under the PS government of President François Hollande, there is explosive social anger in the working class. A general strike erupted in the French overseas department of Guyana only a few weeks before the first round.

The critical issue facing youth protesting the elections is to turn to the working class, in defiance of reactionary pro-Macron propaganda of the media, to mobilize it in political struggle against the entire ruling class.

To contain rising class anger and preserve Macron’s fragile lead over Le Pen—polls show her receiving an unprecedented 40 percent of the vote—the press is unleashing a torrent of hypocritical propaganda, slandering those who oppose Macron from the left as allies of neo-fascism. The French daily Libération published yesterday an open letter by journalist Johan Hufnagel. Addressed to “my friends on the left who will not vote against Le Pen,” it raised and dismissed the fate of Whirlpool workers in Amiens facing an imminent plant closure and the loss of their jobs.

“I look at it from all sides, to try to understand your unease about voting for a candidate supported by the right, big business, free-marketeers who would happily sacrifice Whirlpool workers to their big exciting plans, I can’t believe you will not go to the ballot boxes,” he wrote, adding; “Emmanuel Macron appears to some of you to be an adversary, but he is not an enemy. It is Marine Le Pen who is the enemy of democracy, of the Republic, the ally of racists, anti-Semites, of Holocaust deniers, of ultra-violent and homophobic groups.”

These lines are a political fraud. They combine two distinctive features of the bankrupt, upper-middle-class “left” layers that have orbited around the PS since its foundation in 1971: disregard for democratic rights and contempt for the working class.

Firstly, Macron too is an enemy of democracy. A top adviser to Hollande, he supported the PS as it imposed a perpetually extended state of emergency that allows for arbitrary detentions, police seizures, and press censorship. As for the issue of racism and Republican principles, the same PS government in which Macron had a ministerial portfolio carried out a sinister policy of ethnic deportation of the Roma that flagrantly violates Republican principles of ethnic neutrality.

Secondly, Hufnagel’s casual dismissal of the fate of Whirlpool workers itself exemplifies the class forces driving the dangerous rise of the FN. The domination over decades of what passed for “left” politics by affluent middle-class operatives, who are totally indifferent as to whether thousands of workers are thrown onto the unemployment lines, has allowed far-right populists to posture as the true defenders of working families.

racists should not be called ‘populists’

The fate of Whirlpool workers in Amiens, whose plant may soon be shipped to Poland, is a case in point. Macron had planned to meet with Whirlpool union officials in a cynical attempt to exploit the Whirlpool plant for publicity. He did not dare visit the plant, however, or speak to the workers, who bitterly denounced him to the press. One of them told a union delegate going to meet Macron: “Don’t shake his hand. Anyway, he won’t want to touch your dirty worker’s hands.”

Sybille, a Whirlpool worker, told the WSWS: “We’ll all be fired, for sure. Everything is against us. So we have no hopes in Macron. He just thinks we’re illiterates, that our IQ isn’t high enough to vote for him.”

A friend of a retired Whirlpool worker added: “We are working class, so we don’t vote Macron.”

Le Pen took the opportunity to upstage Macron, exploiting the well-known class divide … : she made a surprise visit to the Whirlpool plant to speak to the workers and denounce Macron’s behavior. “I thought it showed so much contempt for what the Whirlpool workers are going through that I decided to come see you,” she said, mocking Macron for eating “fancy cakes” with the unions.

Le Pen’s populist demagogy in Amiens is a warning: amid explosive anger in the working class, those who try to suppress opposition to Macron from the left only strengthen the FN.

6 thoughts on “French students, workers protest against racism or Big Business election

  1. Pingback: Marine Le Pen’s party president, holocaust denier | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Friday 28th
    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The situation is grave for France but there is new hope for a reinvention of the left, says PIERRE LAURENT

    THE second round of the French presidential election will be a contest between the racist and xenophobic candidate of the far-right Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, the candidate selected by the financial world to reinforce the liberal policies afflicting our country for the past 40 years.

    This situation is extremely grave for our country. The far-right reached the second round and the left has been eliminated.

    However, for the first time in decades, millions of citizens, striving for social change, nearly succeeded in carrying their candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon to the second round.

    Voters who were betrayed by the policies of Francois Hollande and Manuel Valls and who worked hard to bring Melenchon to the second round are today experiencing mixed and sometimes contradictory feelings.

    At the time of writing and given the first results available to us, we would like to say to these voters that the nearly 20 per cent score obtained by Melenchon raises a new hope for the future, for the reinvention of the new left our country has been waiting for, to unlock the political system and democracy.

    This result is remarkable and is the first time since 1981 that a candidate representing social transformation has achieved such a score.

    The struggle continues for millions of young people, women and men who aspire to a new society free from the tyranny of profitability; people seeking the true left and policies of justice and social progress that refuse austerity, unemployment and social insecurity.

    We are entering a completely new and exceptional period in the history of our country. Notwithstanding the diversion of “presidentialisation” and its traps, the event is momentous: the two parties, the Socialists and the Republicains, who have dominated French political life for 40 years, were eliminated in the first round of voting.

    Aspiration for change, for a new choice of society, will continue to grow inexorably. The mobilisation of youth and working-class neighbourhoods is a promise for the future.

    For us, this is the essential lesson of the campaign: nothing is more urgent than to continue to remain open to these new aspirations for a genuine citizens’ democracy, to seek the path that will enable us to join forces to build a new social, ecological republic of solidarity, respectful of diversity and the expectations of our people.

    This is a struggle that the Communist Party intends to pursue with all political, social and citizen forces available. We have unprecedented advantages going forward.

    We applaud the campaign of Melenchon, all activists from the Communist Party, the Front de Gauche, la France Insoumise, elected representatives from the Communist Party and the Front de Gauche, and all the citizens who were engaged and voted. This result belongs to you.

    The commitment of our party, our activists and elected officials representing the values of the republic to Melenchon’s campaign brought about promising new alliances.

    Melenchon achieved very good results in cities, cantons and districts where the Communist Party is well established and has a significant network of activists and representatives.

    Melenchon’s results demonstrate a deep desire for change, for greater honesty in politics, more social justice, solidarity, genuine democracy, peace and respect for the environment.

    The French left has opened a new page in history with this campaign. It is a new era for the left. The Communist Party is completely invested in this revitalisation through our project, La France en Commun, and fully focused on the challenges of the 21st century.

    At this time, aware of the huge battles to come and the responsibilities that our party bears, for the second round of voting on May 7 we call for a vote that will block Marine Le Pen’s bid for the presidency and thwart the menace she and her clan represent for democracy, the republic and peace; unfortunately, there is only one ballot that can be used to that effect.

    Le Pen seeks a society of hatred, the rejection of others, racism and xenophobia; a society that would divide those with common interests to benefit her own clan and financial powers; a society that would scorn the fundamental principles of equality and fraternity in the republic in favour of discrimination among the French, among people who live and work in our country, based on their origins and nationality. We do not want this.

    Le Pen wants a dangerous world where all types of war would become possible, where nationalist rivalries would be encouraged.

    With Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and the European farright movements as allies, she would threaten world security if she were president of France, one of the five permanent members of the UN security council. We do not want this.

    It is our duty, for today and for future generations, to prevent her from becoming president of our republic, which would mean that the far-right would have control of all of the instruments of the state.

    Our appeal for May 7 is obviously in no case a show of support for the neoliberal, anti-social programme of Macron, which we opposed when he was a minister and which we will continue to fight without concession whenever workers and their rights and public services are under attack.

    Appeals will be made on the occasion of the May 1 demonstrations by trade unions, and we call for broad participation in International Workers’ Day events to express our mobilisation against the far-right and in support of peace, democracy and social progress.

    Faced with the ballot choices of the second round of presidential elections, the legislative elections to be held on June 11 and 18 are of crucial importance.

    Citizens who carried the banner for social transformation by voting for Melenchon must now persevere and break through with the legislative elections.

    The National Assembly can act as a counterweight to the policies advanced by the government following the second round of the presidential election on May 7.

    On the strength of the result obtained this Sunday, we can elect numerous honest deputes, representatives who will be close to you and defend the interests of the people, as Communists MPs have done for five years, in particular against the so-called Macron and elKhomri laws.

    These representatives will resist the right and the farright, will not make alliances with MPs from Macron’s party to approve anti-social laws.

    These MPs will be a force of resistance and hope in the face of financial greed, fighting hatred and division.

    Communists are fully invested in this legislative battle, which we have understood to be essential from day one; it is as important as the presidential election.

    The French Communist Party is presenting and supporting a new generation of candidates, an equal number of men and women, to bring the people’s voice into the National Assembly.

    The Communist Party calls on the forces of the left and progress, Melenchon’s team and those from la France Insoumise, all of the forces engaged in the campaign, supporters of Benoit Hamon, Socialists and Greens, women and men who want to rebuild a dynamic force on the left for social transformation, to meet, to debate publicly and prepare for these decisive elections together: the second round of the presidential election and the legislative elections to be held on June 11 and 18. 7

    The French Communist Party is ready to engage at once in this effort.

    Pierre Laurent is secretary general of the French Communist Party


  3. Pingback: French young people critical of Le Pen and Macron | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Paris police teargas against May Day demonstrators | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: May Day demonstrations reports | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Macron attacks French workers, joins Trump’s war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.