Far-right defeated in France, while left-wing alliance comes first 

The far right’s defeat in the second round of the Assembly elections in France will be greeted with jubilance by people of colour, women, LGBTQ people, migrants, and young and working-class left-wing people across France, Europe and beyond. It shows that they can be beaten when a viable left-wing alternative is put forward. This is an important lesson in the context of an emerging and emboldened far-right globally.

The New Popular Front, a left-wing alliance, came in first place. Its programme included reducing the pension age to 60, imposing a wealth tax on the super-rich, recognising the State of Palestine and banning the sale of arms to the Israeli State, raising public sector wages, linking salaries to inflation, and boosting housing and youth benefits. The National Rally came in third place. Interestingly, the turnout was the highest in decades, a stark contrast to that in the election in Britain last week, where the Labour Party received a “loveless landslide”, getting just 34% of the vote, and turnout was the second lowest since 1885.

The vote that the RN (National Rally) received is still an important warning and constitutes a real threat—one that can grow further in the future. Invariably, such a vote spells danger for people of colour, migrants, LGBTQ people and women. As we’ve seen here in Ireland, the emboldening of these forces will mean a rise in LGBTQphobia, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and misogyny. In the aftermath of these elections, the struggle against the far-right must continue—democratic anti-fascist committees should be set up in workplaces, schools, colleges and communities across France—uniting the working class and oppressed in a struggle against a common enemy. This organisation from below is critical to defeating the NR. 

This must linked with the fight for a left-wing government that fights to win the demands for NPF. There should be no coalition deals with the right-wing parties to form a government. These parties are the enemies of the working class and oppressed and created the conditions for the NR to emerge. They have parroted the NR’s racist and Islamophobic filthy rhetoric, and their austerity programmes have alienated many, pushing them into the hands of the racist, far-right. Macron has been deservedly called “the President of the Rich”, who brutally forced through his attacks on pensions, supported the Gaza genocide and demonised and attacked the rights of migrants.  

A left-wing government, linked with the organisation from below of the working class, young people, and the oppressed in the workplaces and streets, must link the daily needs of the majority with the need for revolutionary socialist change. This means breaking with the crisis-ridden, exploitative and oppressive capitalist order and fighting to take the key sectors of the French economy into public ownership under working-class control and management. A socialist France can be a beacon of hope in the struggle for a democratic socialist Europe that is so desperately needed.

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