By Francis Dubois in France, 20 June 2017:
Since Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential elections and the historic collapse of the Socialist Party (PS) in the presidential and legislative elections, the media is insisting that a great transition is taking place from the PS to Macron’s Republic on the Move (REM). …
And last week, at the Vivatech conference in Paris, Macron insisted that during his presidency, France would take on new life, along the lines of a young tech company: “I want France to be a nation of start-ups, a nation which thinks and acts like a start-up.”
This fantasy narrative, on which the media based their promotion of REM and Macron—and which provoked legitimate distrust, doubts and hostility in the population—is misleading from top to bottom. …
A former candidate of the far-right Arise France (DLF) party, which allied with neo-fascist Marine Le Pen during the presidential campaign, was also on the REM legislative slate. …
They are drawn virtually exclusively from the most privileged forces and will run a government whose social base is limited to the layers closest to the financial aristocracy in the affluent middle class and the security forces.
The startling 57 percent abstention in Sunday’s legislative election underscores again their isolation from the vast majority of the population, a fact that even the media outlets closest to REM are compelled to admit.
The daily Libération noted, “According to interior ministry data, more than half of the candidates nominated by REM are in management or higher-level intellectual professions … three times their weight in France’s working population.” It added, “REM is also the party which has the most forces drawn from management in the private sector (18.4 percent), doctors (21 of 537 candidates), and university professors (17).”
Approximately one-third of Macron’s candidates, or 156 people, ran their own businesses, a fact that provoked the following comment from Le Monde: “In general, the so-called ‘civil society’ represented in REM is made up of CEOs, doctors, lawyers, private-sector managers or advisers to political officials. The Republic that is on the march there is that of the higher social and professional categories, of dynamic managers, and important people in the provinces.”
L’Obs for its part observed the large weight in REM of “business owners, CEOs, leaders of start-up firms, and small business leaders” and quoted Médiapart: “The Republic on the March is a … world of people who are doing pretty well, or rather very well, just like the main electoral base of Emmanuel Macron.”
The educational backgrounds of the REM candidates was equally revealing. According to Le Monde, around 40 percent of them came from the so-called grandes écoles, major schools where entrance is dependent on special examinations that provide leading personnel in state administration, industry, commerce and finance. These include the Paris Institute of Political Studies [or Sciences Po] (50 candidates), the National Administration School (ENA, 10) and the High Commercial School (HEC, 9).
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Another French Minister has gone, now of Defense
For the second time this week, a French minister has resigned. Sylvie Goulard, Minister of Defense,
Dear NOS TV, Ms Goulard was not Minister of ‘Defense’. Macron had renamed her department from the euphemistic ‘Defense’ to ‘Armed Forces department’. Cynically, one might say it is an improvement that a ministry waging neocolonial wars all over the world no longer hypocritically claims these wars are ‘defense’. Though it would have been even less hypocritical to call it Ministry of Wars instead of ‘Armed Forces Ministry’.
has resigned because of an investigation of her hiring staff of her party MoDem in the European Parliament.
Goulard, the highest-ranking woman in the cabinet, writes in a statement that she does not want the investigation to harm President Macron‘s attempts to deal with political corruption scandals. Neither does she want “the honour of the armed forces to be mixed with an investigation that is completely detached from the army”.
Several French politicians are subjects of investigations due to the use of money from the European Parliament for party activities in France itself. That research also focuses on members of Macron’s cabinet. …
This morning, Minister Ferrand of urban planning and housing also announced his departure. This is related to a study of financial malpractice with his company five years ago.
Fri May 26, 2017 | 4:16pm EDT
New French government resists pressure for minister to step down …
President Emmanuel Macron‘s government faces ethical questions just over a week after it was formed after media disclosed that Richard Ferrand, a close ally of Macron, had rented business offices from his female partner and had also employed his son as a parliamentary assistant.
The media spotlight on Ferrand, who is minister for urban planning and housing, is embarrassing for the new president, who has made it a priority to clean up a French political scene that is frequently beset by corruption scandals.
Macron resisted today’s resignation of Ferrand for a long time; Ferrand being his second in command.
Homophobia, anti-Semitism in Macron’s party: here.
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
With a 42% turnout French workers humiliate Macron
FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République en Marche, has won a parliamentary majority, just weeks after his presidential victory. With nearly all the votes counted, his party alongside its MoDem allies, won more than 300 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.
It will however turn out to be a pyrrhic victory since the turnout for the election was at 42%, the lowest for many years – the biggest party was the one that stayed at home, while only a minority turned out for the allegedly new party and the new leader. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe acknowledged the low turnout, promising his party would act for France as a whole. Just how this could be done he did not indicate.
In fact Macron did not sweep the board as expected, but did manage to surpass the 289 seat threshold required to control the National Assembly. The conservative Republicans and their allies now form a large opposition block, with 131 seats, down from the 200 seats in the last parliament.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen won a seat for the first time, but her party performed very badly, with 8 seats while the Socialists, one of the pillars of the Fifth Republic were smashed with between 41 and 49 seats. Socialist leader Jean-Claude Cambadélis immediately announced his retirement. The leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his France Unbowed party did very well and won between 26 and 30 seats. Melenchon suggested that the result showed that France was in a state of ‘civil general strike’!
The pyrrhic nature of Macron’s victory can be seen by the ferocity of his anti-working class programme, and the massive class struggles that attempts to carry it out will summon up. He is pledged to impose budget savings of £51bn in the next five years, as well as cutting the number of public servants by 120,000, as well as bringing in anti-union laws to make sacking workers easier, as well as slashing pensions, as well as encouraging competition to undermine France’s nationalised industries, and introducing deregulation in France in a way that would have made Margaret Thatcher proud.
In fact, the French trade union position, has always been that it would rather see a revolution in France than allow a ‘Macron’ to do to France what Margaret Thatcher did in the UK. The huge stay away shows that the French workers did not fall for all of the propaganda that Macron was new, had a new programme and would bring in a new France. The reason for the 58% stay away is that Macron has a track record and is an ex-Socialist Party economic minister associated with attempts to steamroller through parliament ‘Macron’s Law’, a battery of anti-trade union and anti-working class measures.
As the Socialist Economy Minister he wanted to legislate for bus lines to be able to operate along routes that compete with state-owned railways. He wanted to abolish prison sentences for bosses who fail to respect rules governing negotiations with their employees. Other Macron changes to labour laws would streamline labour tribunals so that employers could sack many more workers easily through faster trials that would produce ‘less uncertainty’. Macron’s Law also simplified layoff procedures so that firms that cut jobs at struggling plants would no longer have to negotiate severance packages.
Such was the opposition in the Socialist Party that the French socialist government invoked Article 49 of the constitution, that allowed passing the bill as if it were adopted by the Chamber of Deputies. The measure, and the way that it was introduced produced massive street battles between trade unionists and the riot police. Article 49 however also allowed lawmakers to retaliate with a no-confidence motion that if successful, would have brought down the government.
Macron’s law was defeated, but the civil war that it created destroyed the Socialist Party, and almost brought down the Fifth Republic. Now reinvented as a dynamic new leader of a new style party filled with new people, Macron, supported by ex-President Hollande, leads a government that will attempt to bring in more Macron Laws.
However he sought a really massive majority in the parliamentary election, rather like May in the UK, but he did not get it. What he got was a 42% turn out and the prospect that the battle will be rapidly transferred from the ballot box and Mélenchon’s ‘civil general strike’, to the streets where the CRS will have the job of taking on the French trade unions in a series of revolutionary general strikes.
The Pyrrhic nature of his victory will soon become crystal clear, as the man with the ‘new’ politics backed up by the old leaders, and the French ruling class, but with minority support nationally, takes action to destroy all of the gains that the French workers have made.
It is more than obvious that in the battles ahead the French workers will have to build a new and revolutionary leadership to defeat Macron, bring down his government and go forward from the Fifth Republic to the French Socialist Republic. This will be done in an alliance with the workers of Europe in the great battle to replace the bankers and bosses’ EU with the Socialist United States of Europe!
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