Towards the Left’s Renaissance

Humiliated during five years of a dull, useless, pathetic mandate [1], French Socialism is down, as dishonoured and loathed as the British, Spanish, Italian and Greek ones. To achieve such a catastrophic failure, the Left had to make some mistakes, on top of which is the decision of European leaders to join their forces with the right or to let the mind of its leaders be polluted by the social-liberal propaganda according to which capitalism, after all, can be a nice creature. The private sector, acting as its standard bearer, spent the last ten years prospering upon the ashes and ruins left by the so-called crisis which never harmed the rich, but allowed them to launch a global attack on the workers and their rights. Now squashed by the possessing class’s interests and yoke, they’re leaving the Left as in a crepuscular exile towards extremism, putting our backs against the wall: what went wrong with the Left? Answers can be found in France and applied on a European level.

The Socialists in France – and with that word, I refer to a prospective alliance between the Socialist Party’s core and left wing, the Front de Gauche and other radicals – can only have two ambitions: an affordable one being to defeat the social-liberals whose agenda already failed in countless nations in order to dedicate the next five years to creating an entirely new ideology to support the conquest of power,  or an unrealistic one: to win the presidential elections of 2017 or honestly, to simply make it to the second round. Considering François Hollande’s failures as a “socialist” leader and the weight of those on the Left’s reputation, it is at best preposterous to expect the Socialist Party to win an election any time soon: it has already failed on the regional and mayoral level, and will probably fail in the parliament as well. The French conservatives and liberals, on the other hand, will probably stand united behind a sole leader, François Fillon. As a former M. Nobody whose only achievement was a five-year term as Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, he is old-school enough to attract some of Marine Le Pen’s voters, even though she’ll be able to rely on an increasing number of working class people, seduced by her “economic patriotism” and revolted by the Left’s mistakes, failures and treasons, but also victims of the “cultural insecurity” [2] that exists in France. Facing those two mighty, legitimate opponents, the Left has only one option: to take some time and re-evaluate its proposals and projects so that it can be trustworthy again.

By banning the social-liberal ideology which failed dramatically under Tony Blair in the United Kingdom and François Hollande in France – the same way Barack Obama curbed the unemployment rate without fighting the inequalities – from the left-wing parties and preventing its partisans to detain any kind of influence within our political family, the Left would insure itself a stable ideological basis without which one candidate cannot possibly offer a convincing alternative to the capitalist scam defended by the Right. By promoting an alliance with other leftist parties such as the Greens and the Radicals, based on common desires for an ecological revolution and the protection of the workers’ rights, the Left could create a dynamic, almost unstoppable political movement. By proposing to bypass the political establishment in reforming the financial privileges held by our representatives – especially in the French Assemblée Nationale and Sénat – and that, by creating a popular assembly, the Left’s could eventually appear as the anti-establishment party it was supposed to be. By drafting a new, bold pan-European foreign policy acknowledging the necessity for the European Union to represent an independent third way for the world, free from Moscow and Washington’s lobbies and influence, the Left would offer the European people an ambitious future to look forward to. Last, but not least, by finally admitting that, in atimes of economic crisis, the private sector has no interest in practicing a “nice capitalism” nor in improving the workers’ rights and living conditions, but rather wants to maximize its profits, the Left could appear again as the working class’ party and not as the bankers’ servant.

If the Left wants to represent a proactive community of individuals brought together by ideals and values rather than as a passive force serving the Rich’s interests, it has to cease to exist as an ideology suffering from an inferiority complex ; its ambition shouldn’t be to make small adjustments to the liberal dogma whose limits and flaws are becoming clearer by the day, but rather to offer a new socio-economical paradigm based on fairness, merit, popular adherence and the will to display maturity in handling our world’s current existential crisis. However powerful and influential hey may be, the European countries cannot offer such an ambitious platform without revolutionising their own Left first, and that is why even though our ambitions must be global, our precursors and forerunners must appear on the national level to create the proper momentum on the regional scale: a European Renaissance.

This ambition is, as far as France is concerned, only defended seriously enough by two individuals already listed before, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, head of the Front de Gauche (FdG) and Arnaud Montebourg, François Hollande’s former minister of the Economy and Industrial Renewal, who resigned in 2014. Both are pleading for more public investment, intervention from the government, an ambitious industrial and ecological revolution and a necessary adjustment of the European treaties to the current economic situation, thus putting an end to the Union’s pointless, self-destructive liberal drift. Will they make it to the second round? Apparently not. Could they change the left despite of it all? If they were united, yes.

One can only regret that despite their ideological proximity, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Arnaud Montebourg, as well as Yannick Jadot, failed to rally behind a shared platform and champion.  Beyond their slight misunderstandings and different background, the reason why they differ on the strategic level is linked to their different goals: Mélenchon’s victory would be to remplace the Socialist Party as the Left’s reference, therefore making his radical views and ideas the new ideologic basis of the progressives, free at last from the yoke of a corrupt, capitalistic elite that lives like a republican aristocracy. Montebourg, on the other hand, is looking for his revenge against François Hollande; he still believes he can change the Socialist Party from this inside in order to change the Left without changing its structure, with his party leading or dominating the others. Finally, Jadot like any Green, knows that he won’t be elected as the new president. He rather aims at making sure that the ecological issues will be addressed during the campaign, which is a most humble, honourable desire, even though it could further divide the Left.

More than a common platform – which could be drafted by 2020, after the defeat’s trauma and the inevitable war of succession that will follow – the Progressives need a common, ambitious strategy gathering all the leftists, united by a common desire not only to promote a nicer system, but rather a different one. The way the social-liberals turned their backs on the masses to secure the interests of a tiny, self-reproducive, corrupt and hypocritical elite unaware of the real issues faced by the people cannot and will not be forgiven. Hollande’s guilty, they all are, and that despicable clique must go.

[1] La Gauche sans Ordre de Bataille – Hugo Decis, Graduates of Democracy

[2] Nous sommes dans un déni de l’Insécurité Culturelle – Laurent Bouvet, Libération

 

Hugo Decis graduated from a French classe préparatoire a few months ago. He is now a student of the Strategic and International Relations Institute (IRIS) located in Paris. He is the current Graduates of Democracy’s Director of Communications.

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