Marine Le Pen is happy: her party (RN) got the most votes at the European elections in France. Except it did not win by the expected huge margin; it even got less votes than in 2014. And many voted RN out of spite against Macron.
Macron is happy: his score was not as bad as he feared, gaining votes from the traditional conservatives compensated losing votes to the green, from the people who had voted for him on the second round of the presidential elections thinking they were voting against Le Pen. So, a zero-sum game between these politicians, while almost half the voters chose to stay home.
The real punishment for Macron, the only one that matters, from the working class, which has taken to the streets every Saturday for six months, is still happening.
The electoral landscape is not the real picture
Macron and his prime minister Philippe so pretend to be reassured and declare they can start “Act 2” of Macron’s presidency. In other word, change nothing to the current policy: gifts to the rich, attacks on the benefits of the retired and of the unemployed, attacks on public services… But they are just pretending: they probably not really believe it! Or they are dreaming…
Because in truth, the situation is not just defined by the fact that half of the voters – mostly from popular areas – decided not to vote; nor that a large part of the working class cannot vote because of their immigrant status. In an election, a priest, a nun, a bourgeois living off his private income have as much voice as a worker. But not in real life. If the rich decide to do nothing… nobody will take notice! but if workers start sitting idly by… nothing works anymore!
De Gaulle won by a large margin the elections in June 1968 and the “left” opposition was edged out, one month after the biggest strike in France’s history. But who remembers that? One year after his electoral triumph, De Gaulle had to resign. His 1968 victory has been forgotten. But May 68, which deeply transformed the political climate in the country and inspired the rest of the world, has not been forgotten. The May 68 “leftist” were right, when they famously stated: “elections are a con job!”
Social struggles matter
The 2019 European elections did their job: shuffle the seats between politicians, no more no less. In six months of fight, the yellow jacket movement has deeply changed the political landscape, paralysing a government that feared their reaction. And this movement is not over, the government knows it even though it says the opposite to feel better.
The spread of discontent
And the yellow jackets are not the only ones: strikers in hospital emergency departments, postmen fighting against restructuration, public servants attacked by all successive governments, teachers fighting rising inequalities in education, might take over the mobilisation, and could be joined by workers at Ford, Ascoval, Auchan, Casino, Societe Generale, all threatened by layoffs.
High school and university students worried about the environmental emergency are yet another potential front, if they decide not to be happy with nice speeches, and become radical enough to denounce the people truly responsible for pollution, that is, the bosses at the head of the capitalist system.
The working class determination, its ability to popularise and unify its fights, will be decisive in the next few weeks and beyond.
The electoral episode is over. Let’s go back to what really matters: fighting this government and the rich it serves.