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by Patrick Le Hyaric (editorial)

French Presidential Elections: The Left has to Stand Up!

Translated Tuesday 17 April 2007, by Patrick Bolland

There are are only seven days to the election. Everything is still possible. The network of militants that is spreading out throughout the country can still avoid all the traps and create the conditions of a new hope. So, we say: Stand Up on the Left!

Clearly, in the private offices of the French financial elite, they have decided to use, as never before, their considerable wealth and clout to divert the presidential and legislative elections from the real issues at stake, particularly by obscuring the urgent social questions. The French should be given the opportunity to choose a project, a legislative programme developed by the majority. Instead, they are being served up from the political kitchens a fishy-smelling concoction that will shift the whole French political system towards the right. This is why there has been no debate presenting contradictory views, all of which has been fed this weekend’s rumours on phony voter-intention polls.

The arguments that have been elaborated in the Davos Forum, at the IMF, by the French entrepreneurial elite in the MEDEF, in the two right-wing parties, Bayrou’s UMP and Sarkozy’s UDF – the messages from all these circles is the same: change towards a more progressive system is impossible because of the debt, because of Europe, because of globalization. Their goal is to stop the electors from seeing that a positive response to their social and democratic aspirations is possible, and the this can be achieved through a new political, economic, social, democratic, European, coherence of the Left, as Marie-George Buffet has been repeatedly saying. Yet this is certainly in the national interest.

Economic progress depends on social progress. The obnoxious conniving, the creation of a “cooperative competition” between right-wing extremist Le Pen and Sarkozy after Le Pen recognized Sarkozy’s candidature aims at turning our country into a nation dominated by the law of the hard-line ultra-capitalist jungle, akin to the Bush or Thatcherite models.

But all the electors to the left, all who remain attached as we do to the ideals of the 1936 Front Populaire, to the Resistance under the nazi occupation, to the Liberation and the major social and political struggles since then, have to remain vigilant, active, combative up to the end to make sure that their ideas, their profound aspiration for change – thanks to a Left that is strong in its diversity – is not derailed by other schemes.

A so-called “American Left”, incarnated by Michel Rocard and Bernard Kouchner, has emerged in the last week of the the first round of the presidential campaign. It is proposing an alliance with part of the Right, aimed at burying French socialism and communism once and for all. Rocard and Kouchner have always felt more comfortable in centrist and Giscard d’Estaing-oriented governments rather than in alliances with the Communists, because they oppose all major policies of the Left. It was the Rocard government that invented in 1990 the CSG (Contribution sociale généralisée) a new unfair tax to pay for social security, against which the Communists voted a motion of non-confidence. And the group of Socialist ex-cabinet ministers known as the “Graques”, has called for the same alliance with sections of the Right, with the particularity of these ex-Socialists today being made up of the CEOs of French capitalist companies, since they are all heading up major private corporations or banks.

Calling as they have for an alliance with Bayrou, just a week before the the first round, amounts to a major assault Sergolene Royal’s Socialist campaign and giving credibility to the right-wing Bayrou, who is understandably ecstatic. All the political manoeuvring has anti-communism as a backdrop: an organized elimination or denigration of Marie-George Buffet’s initiatives and ideas. At the same time the media are giving more attention than ever to Le Pen in his hole in the ground.

We see this “American Left” is harping back to the debate what Socialist militants wanted to avoid by voting against Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s candidacy for party leadership. It is also opposed to what had been rejected five years ago by Socialist voters, supported by the Communists and Ecologists, who had defeated the Right in regional elections to create new Left majorities in the regions and blocked, in a wide-ranging Left common front, the approval of the ultra-liberal European constitution.

In these conditions, in the very name of the founder of l’Humanité, Jean Jaurès, we launch an appeal to all electors of the Left in all their diversity: You who so keenly want to see a victory of the Left, of a Left that stands for change, You who reject the mirage of a “third force” which would simply be a crutch of Big Money, You have only one effective way of stopping the drift which some are already proclaiming, towards a social neoliberalism mixed up with an antisocial liberalism – the choice is to vote for Marie-George Buffet in the first round of the presidential elections and for the candidates she is supporting in the legislative elections.

Marie-George Buffet is the only candidate to call for all the Left to work together to change the daily lives of the people in a positive way to change. She represents a combative and effective Left, because the number of votes she wins will become a way of holding back the Right, the Extreme Right and Big Money.

A vote for Marie-George Buffet will also be a vote for an alternative policy to the variants being proposed by the Right; she serves the interests of an authentic political platform of the Left. History shows us clearly that a strong Left, in which the Communist Party plays an influential role, makes advances in solid and lasting social and democratic policies possible. Marie-George Buffet represents such a guarantee. The higher her score, the more this will create the conditions for the victory of the Left. But, above all, she is the assurance hopes are not deceived, nor led astray.

There are are only seven days to the election. Everything is still possible. The network of militants which is spreading out throughout the country can still avoid all the traps and create the conditions of a new hope. So, we say: Stand Up on the Left!

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