The results of this election, with the domination of reactionary forces underscored by the strong showing of the far-right Rassemblement national – just two years after they made it to the run-offs in the 2017 presidential race – should give the left pause. This situation raises serious questions about the future of France. Aspirations for changes in the political landscape, widely held in France and throughout Europe, are not focused at this time on policies of social and democratic progress.
The heaviest responsibility for the advancement of the RN lies with Emmanuel Macron, who has spent months doing his best to create this confrontation with the party of hatred. Not only has his LREM party failed to place ahead of the RN, but by orchestrating this face-off, and by implementing neo-liberal, deeply anti-social policies, the French President has provided the RN with a boost in political credibility. This cynical game has a catastrophic cost: it endangers the Republic at a time when authoritarian and xenophobic parties have made disturbing gains in several European countries. Our apprehension is heightened by the demagoguery and lies, the racism, and the stigmatisation of refugees that contaminated many campaign speeches.
Estimates that were available at the time of writing indicate that voters turned out in much higher numbers than had been predicted. And yet this does not resolve the crisis of democracy that has been submerging our country for years. Tens of thousands of voters, in particular those from the working class, youths, and voters on the left, felt uninvolved; this opened the way for the right, from Macron’s party and the LR, as well as the far-right, to claim most of the seats in the European Parliament.
Despite the excellent campaign carried out by Ian Brossat and the other candidates on the list, and the work of activists from the PCF and République et Socialisme, as well as citizens from all walks of life, our list Pour l'Europe des gens contre l'Europe de l'argent (“Europe for the people not Europe for money”), did not achieve the results we hoped for. Our proposals, our work on the ground to defend popular demands, our respect for all the forces of the left make up an advantageous, progressive alternative to the policies of Emmanuel Macron.
Because of the iniquitous balloting method which eliminates any list that earns less than 5 % of the vote, we will not be able to send members to the European Parliament. This lack will be sorely felt as the struggle for Europe for the people, not money, grows ever more urgent. Yet we will fight on, with our partners from the European Left Party and the European United Left parliamentary group, in all the struggles and battles against neoliberalism and nationalism that threaten Europe and France.
The main lesson to be learned from these elections is that we need to rebuild the left in order to provide solutions to the acute crisis our country is experiencing today.
In total, the different lists that claim affiliation with the left, which were divided on the question of Europe, earned barely one-third of the votes cast. It is now time to work for unity. This is the meaning of the solemn appeal that we make today to all of the forces of the left and all those who vote left.
Our country is awash in deep anger with regard to the inequalities that are created by policies that only serve finance and capital. Nothing is more urgent than to halt corruption and offer our people a perspective of social progress and justice; renewal of the values of equality, fraternity and democracy; the protection of the environment, under threat from capitalist greed. This is the only way to bring hope back to the majority and defeat the president of the ultra-rich and his fake “adversaries” on the far right.
While respecting the diversity amongst the forces of the left, we must, we can build broad unity around proposals that split away from neoliberal policies. We can build and obtain progress for workers who are fighting for better conditions in the work place, alongside their trade unions; with the many citizens who came out for the Yellow Vest protests or who participate in climate-change actions; with grass-roots associations. We can stop the government’s counter-reform on pensions; block the undemocratic reforms of our institutions that are now being prepared; work together for an overall salary and pension increase; expand social security; set up an emergency plan to save public services; reverse the privatisations thrust upon us, starting with the Paris Airports; carry out a determined effort against tax evasion; promote better use of public funds, banks and businesses. The French Communist Party will fully participate in this work of rebuilding the left. We invite all forces of the left and the environmental movements to meet quickly in order to share thoughts on initiatives to undertake, and we call on our fellow citizens to participate actively in taking back control.
Let us move forward together. Let us begin by sketching out the popular union that can change the destiny of our country and of Europe. The Communist Party is engaged with determination in the battle for social transformation.
le 28 May 2019