A new stage in the French crisis

Published on 27/04/2022 by PCF

In his April 14 report to the National Council, Christian Picquet addressed three points: the situation in France at the end of the first round of the presidential election; the first lessons of the campaign led by the Communists around the candidacy of Fabien Roussel; the battlefields for the new political sequence. The first part of his presentation, “a new stage in the French crisis”, is shown below. Extracts.

To sum it up, this April 10 highlights, like the municipal, departmental and regional consultations of 2020 and 2021, the rupture of a large part of the citizen body with all forms of political and institutional representation. The highest level of abstention is its hallmark. (…) These elections also reflect a deep anger against the deregulation policies implemented over the past five years, and obviously the tenure of Emmanuel Macron. (…) The simultaneous collapse of the two backbone parties of the alternations of recent decades, the Republicans on the right and the Socialist Party on the left, is the main consequence of this rejection of austerity and the accumulated regressions. in the name of combating the budget deficit or complying with public policies with European Commission directives.

These elections still mark the breakdown of the ideological referents that have long permeated their marks in political and social confrontations. This now pays for the aggravation of the confusion that inevitably results from the lack of hope for change and fear of the future.

The war in Eastern Europe, to which I do not have time to return here, will also have greatly altered the perception of what is at stake in this election for many of our fellow citizens, as well as its instrumentalization by part of the power instead will have led to a loss of substance in the political debate.

It is in this general context that the institutions of the Fifth Republic, the wear and tear of which we have seen on the occasion of every consultation in recent years, are literally out of breath, delegitimized, and can plunge into a real democratic debacle.

These coordinates have just led, at the polls, to a major upheaval in the political balance. In a completely new tripartition in the electoral field, three candidates will have obtained, alone, three quarters of the votes cast, the other nine below 10%, and even, for eight of them, below 5%.

It is worth pausing for a moment on what is now agreed to be the term “useful vote”, which led to this unprecedented concentration of election results. From its origins, the V Republic will have represented a machine to anesthetize citizen democracy, in favor of plebiscite mechanisms intended to have a presidential monarch appointed by the electorate, by virtue of the theory according to which it corresponded to the said monarch. to set. a direct dialogue with people. The presidential election will have, in this context, with a majority vote crushing the diversity of currents present in the public debate, always represented a vacuum to the so-called useful vote. This damaging dynamic will only have accelerated from the moment we decided, in the five-year period, to reverse the electoral calendar to reduce the legislative elections to a simple confirmation of the result of the presidential elections that precede them.

The weight of opinion polls will have taken us simultaneously from a democracy based on adversarial debate to a democracy of opinion that has become preeminent in determining the choices of citizens.
We are coming to the end of this process of insidious suffocation of democracy. The rift between the citizenry and the traditional mechanisms of political representation will have continued to widen, as I said. A number of forces, in order to establish their new legitimacy in a broken institutional field, did not hesitate, for several years, to demand “above all” and to declare that the division between right and left has been overcome.
Consequences of the tendencies to impoverish the debate of ideas that this inevitably engenders, the votes will have been made less and less according to the defended projects, and more and more from supposedly strategic considerations, consisting of eliminating the candidacies that we do not . they want to see them in the second round. That is, the first round has already become the scheme of the second.

So true that, a few weeks before April 10, the polls put Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the left around 11 or 12%, Yannick Jadot between 7 and 9%, Fabien Roussel between 4 and 5%, Anne Hidalgo around. 3%, and the two candidates from the far left at 1%, confirmed by the polls “coming out of the polls” this Sunday, these estimates probably gave a very close view of the real balance of power.

We are thus entering a moment of unprecedented atrophy in the exercise of citizenship, during which a new political regime is born with sarcasm where the ignorance of popular expectations, the disappearance of the confrontation between projects and authoritarianism at the top of the state they go hand in hand. If this strong trend becomes so dangerous for the future, it is because it is likely to allow the far right to break the “glass ceiling” it has encountered so far, even when it achieves high results. While we see clearly that a major reorganization of the reactionary camp is taking shape for the next period, in which a strengthened far right will be able to play a decisive role, no one can ignore the danger, particularly on the left.

All this raises an essential question about the very future of the Republic. In a bipolar or tripolar game, as it emerged from the polls on April 10, the future of the currents that seek to stay out of this reorganization may be to become an auxiliary force of one of the dominant forces. , is that a bit like that? made in the United States, leading for example the socialist current to negotiate its influence and its electoral positions with the machine of the Democratic Party? Or it is still imperative to resist this suffocation of democracy, because it is the condition to be able to lay the foundations of a new Republic, de-presidentialized, returning its prerogatives to a Parliament in the image of a country, therefore designated proportionally, and based on new powers. for citizens and the world of work? The bet, as we can clearly see, is important.

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