Collapse of the French: Socialist Party

49 years after the foundation of the French: Socialist Party (PS) the future of this former leftist party is deeply dark. The party of social democrats was reduced to 7,4% of the total vote at the French parliamentary elections. While the PS lost millions of voters, the organisation of Jean-Luc Melenchon (France Insoumise) won over 11%. However the biggest loser in this election is democracy itself. Only 48% of all French decided to vote, proof how deep the distrust has grown between politicians and the working class. La République En Marche, the organisation of French president Emmanuel Macron seems to have won most seats in the first round. His pro-capitalist agenda however will offer no alternative for working class people!

Only one social democratic party in Europe has been able to win a recent election. The British: Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn did what believed to be impossible. Despite the distrust towards social democracy around the planet, Corbyn was able to turn the Labour Party back on the leftist road. This change in course proofed to be popular as many working class British hated the conservative government. Jeremy Corbyn’s party is not yet a workers party, but its victory at the British parliamentary elections shows that with a clear anti-austerity leftist program, you can win elections. Social democracy seems to have forgotten this. Because in France and in the Netherlands, social democratic parties were reduced to minor political formations!

The Socialist Party (PS) in France did not follow Corbyn’s model. They remained loyal to their neoliberal course and paid the price. After five years in power, the PS exposed itself as a typical establishment party. François Hollande’s politics favored capitalists over workers, as he carried out their will. His leftist promises were washed away as yet another social democratic president, demonstrated why working class people cannot trust social democracy anymore. Five years later, the French choose a pro-capitalist president again because the alternative would have been a far-right person running the French Republic. Emmanuel Macron is a right-wing politician and has made his loyalty to capitalist law and order more then clear. He will attack workers rights in the name of ”making France more competitive”!

French workers have abandoned the PS because it refused to fight for their interests. Instead the social democrats (once again) favored the owners of the economy. Meanwhile the capitalist media is portraying Macron as a moderate, a president that is not left-wing nor right-wing. He is painted a liberal, a centrist and a moderate. In reality, the president has already begun his attacks by lowering taxes for the super rich and attacking the French social security programs. Macron’s intentions are very clear. As former minister in the government of François Hollande, he supported the austerity of the former president. Now Macron himself is in command and with ”La République En Marche” behind him, he does not need the old political parties!

The French Communist Party (PCF) refused to ally itself with ”France Insoumise”, the organisation behind presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon. Only 600.000 French decided to vote on the PCF, in 2012 they got almost 1,7 million voters. Had the communist party joined Melenchon, those 600.000 voters would have strengthen the only true leftist political force in France. Revolutionary socialists agree that ”France Insoumise” is not revolutionary and we criticize their moderate leftist program. But unlike the PS and their allies, the organisation around Melenchon is willing to fight for workers and against the power of the French capitalist class. The unwillingness of the PCF to participate in ”France Insoumise” is a mistake. Now the communist party is almost erased!

Will there more more voters in the second round? That remains to be seen. As the French section of the Committee for a Workers International explained:

There can be all sorts of deals and realignments for the second round on June 18th. There will be a big push for more people to go out and vote. But, as Gauche Revolutionnaire has said, given the mass discontent amongst workers, the continuing industrial battles taking place, the counter-reforms in education and the lack of jobs for young people, the more important battles will be in the workplaces and on the streets.

The political follow-up consists in elaborating how a new left force can build on the success of Melenchon’s movement, in pushing for a clear lead on mass mobilisation against the government’s attacks and arguing for clear socialist policies that can gather support and destroy the apparent invincibility of the Macron phenomenon.