Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'd Do Anything for France, But I Won't Do That

The first round of the 2017 French presidential elections has concluded, and center-to-center-left Emmanuel Macron (23.8%) will face far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen (21.7%) in the runoff. Center-right candidate Francois Fillon came in third with 20%, while Communist-backed lefitst Jean-Luc Melenchon placed fourth at 19.4%. Benoit Hamon of the incumbent Socialist Party came in a distant fifth with 6.3%.

Le Pen's National Front Party has roots that are fairly described as fascist, and she is a fierce opponent of the EU. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both are fans of Le Pen. And with Macron advancing to the run-off, he quickly earned the endorsements of erstwhile opponents Fillon and Hamon, as well from the French and Belgian Prime Ministers and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

As for Melenchon: he won't endorse anyone in round two. Like Corbynistas in the UK, for all its "by any means necessary" pretensions the French far-left actually isn't willing to do what it takes to stop the far-right from winning. It turns out that it's one thing to oppose fascism by calling for the radical overthrow of the capitalist state and the seizure of the means of production, and it's quite another to do something truly radical like ... vote for a more centrist candidate.

The fact that Melenchon basically has the same view as Le Pen when it comes to the EU (compared to the definitively pro-EU Macron) probably isn't helping matters either -- and the far-left/far-right convergence around Euro-skepticism also buttresses the Corbyn comparison.

Fortunately, polls have Macron smashing Le Pen in a head-to-head race. But still, we've been deceived by polls before. And the decision by Melenchon to, in effect, join Trump and Putin in propping up Le Pen is recklessly irresponsible and deserves nothing but our scorn.

1 comment:

Ben Faber said...

1. The rhymes that this lyric offers have high entertainment value - 'pants', 'ants', 'dance' and 'lance' are at/near the fore; 'advance' is probably less amusing, but more relevant.
2. Thanks for calling this out. Most news coverage I've caught has just been focused on 'OMG, FN is in the runoff, is Le Pen going to win? No FN can't win, we have norms; but conceivably she could win, but I hope she won't win', and has not addressed actual coalition work on the ground.
3. Where does this fit relative to analysis of the Parliamentary elections some time ago (most recent cycle?) when left candidates dropped out of the race in districts that favored the moderate right-wing (ie, to prevent a broader vote split from somehow favoring FN / far-right), and right candidates did not act correspondingly in districts that favored left-wing?
I have no idea where I read that analysis, if it wasn't from you, but I can attempt to find citations if needed.