The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

New Popular Front:
Anything but a Barrier against the Far Right

Jun 17, 2024

This article is translated from the June 12 issue, #2915 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the Trotskyist group of that name active in France.

On the evening of June 10, representatives of the main left-wing political formations—ecologist Marine Tondelier, Olivier Faure for the Socialist Party, Fabien Roussel for the French Communist Party (PCF) and Manuel Bompard for France Unbowed (LFI)—appeared side by side to announce “the constitution of a new Popular Front,” bringing together “all the humanist, trade union, associative and citizen forces of the left.”

Some might say that the fear of losing their seats for many MPs explains this sudden surge of unity, which was totally absent during the European campaign. This momentum is tempered by the demands of some, such as those of Raphaël Glucksmann, head of the Socialist Party and Place Publique list for the European elections, which could well spoil the family photo.

However, once again, in response to those who are rightly concerned about the rise of the far right, the various left-wing parties are proposing nothing more than an electoral agreement designed to “block the way.” “We are the only ones capable of preventing disaster,” asserted LFI deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis Clémentine Autain. But why such a disaster? Neither she nor any of the representatives of the Socialist Party, the Communist Party or the Greens are answering the question, and with good reason, as they all want to make people forget their responsibility for the rise of the far right.

The Union of the Left, the Common Program and their variants have all been successful. The United Left has already come to power, in 1981. The government included Communist ministers and could count on an Assembly with an overwhelming left-wing majority. But this left-wing government pursued the same policies as its right-wing predecessors. Wasn’t it this United Left government that decided to freeze wages? Subsequently, the various left-wing governments have never reversed the attacks decided by their right-wing predecessors, for example on pensions. These betrayals of the hopes of a whole section of the working class have deeply demoralized it, paving the way for the rise of the National Front, now called the National Rally (RN).

The aim of this new Popular Front is to “transform the sum of the Left’s score into a political dynamic,” in the words of Clémentine Autain. So it’s a question of electoral arithmetic. But what about the real battle to be waged against the RN’s ideas? That’s where the problem lies, because the representatives of the left are all on the same nationalist bandwagon. The Socialist Party and Place Publique have never stopped using militaristic rhetoric to justify their involvement in the war being waged for the interests of Western capitalists against those of the Russian oligarchs. From the Communist Party’s “Produce French,” François Ruffin’s “Buy French,” to the RN’s Bardella proclaiming “France is coming back,” it’s a very small step indeed.

Above all, no one wants to question the dictatorship of capitalists over society as a whole.

For years, the leaders of the left-wing parties have largely contributed to clouding the consciousness of workers, to the point where many today think they are voting for their interests by voting RN. To turn the tide, we need to revive class consciousness, the conviction that capitalism is solely responsible for the economic crisis, climate change and wars, and that it must be overthrown: this is the only real barrier to the ideas of a far-right mercenary of the powerful.