Paris-France 07/07/2024 Supporters celebrate the victory of the left in the French elections / Photo: Public Photos

The victory of the left and the defeat of the far right in the legislative elections in France transcends local borders. It represents the resistance and progress, based on the mobilization of the people, in different regions of the planet, of the progressive and democratic ideal, the fight against the rise of the far right that presents itself as a false solution to the effects of the crisis of neoliberal globalization.

Given the favoritism that the far right held, the victory of the left is surprising, but it did not happen by chance. It comes from a decades-long struggle against the regressive tide of dismantling the welfare state that President Macron continued with “austericide”; from the resolute confrontation of the racist, xenophobic, and authoritarian agenda of the far right; from the mobilization for peace and against the genocide practiced in Gaza by the Israeli government; and also from opposition to NATO’s war policy.

These three factors gave the left the credibility it deserved. However, its “trick” was to use the tactic of unity to defeat the far right and open a new path for France. The left quickly overcame its fragmentation and came together in the New Popular Front – a bloc made up of the La France Insoumise party, the French Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the Green Party. The name of the alliance evokes the epic Popular Front that confronted Nazism in the last century.

After the first round, the New Popular Front launched a proposal for unity between the left, the center-right and sectors of the right to preserve French democracy and block the threat of the extreme right. More than 200 candidates were withdrawn to allow the concentration of votes.

This broad alliance, in the country’s tradition, already known as the Republican Front, was enthusiastically welcomed by the people, with strong youth participation. It was a door-to-door mobilization, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the La France Insoumise party said. 67% of French people turned out to vote in the elections, the highest level recorded in over 40 years. There are reports from surveys that demonstrate the level of awareness and engagement of the electorate: more than 70% of left-wing voters voted for center-right candidates when they were more viable; similarly, a large percentage of center-right voters voted for more competitive left-wing candidates.

It should be stressed that the far right has lost, but remains strong. As the French Communist Party (PCF) said, the National Rally has made significant progress in the National Assembly. “It continues to be a serious danger to the Republic. Our mobilization, our unity, will therefore be essential in the period that is opening up,” said a note from the communists.

Since 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen – father of Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally – went to the second round of the presidential elections, French neo-fascism has been on an upward trend. With a chameleon-like tactic of trying to make the far-right’s causes palatable, the National Rally was the big surprise in the 2022 parliamentary vote, with around 18% of the votes and 89 deputies. It has now won 143 seats and will certainly reorganize itself for the next battles, especially the succession of President Emmanuel Macron.

In any case, the success of the left shows the way to combat the extreme right. Programmatic firmness of an alternative to neoliberalism; tactics of cohesion of the left and of a broad alliance against the extreme right; and continuous mobilization of the people.

It will be up to the government that will be formed by the New Popular Front, with the necessary compositions, to give effect to the aspirations that have mobilized the French people, expressed long ago in the demonstrations against the dismantling of the welfare state. Fulfilling this expectation, even in proportion to the difficult conditions of the correlation of forces, could open up a new path for France with repercussions in Europe and beyond.


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