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France’s Left Surprises Voters and Stalls Hopes for the Far Right

July 7th has stalled the ascendancy of the far-right and produced a nucleus for hope.


On June 9th France’s far-right National Rally (RN) won first place in the European Parliament elections. The night of those results, Macron called for snap parliamentary elections – which can be triggered by the president to regain public confidence in case of parliamentary deadlock. His strategy was incoherent – he knew the RN was expected to win big again. The president’s goal was to allow the far-right to accede to power in the National Assembly so they could prove their incompetence, potentially leading to a favorable outcome for his successor in a future presidential election.

The French left united two days later to form the New Popular Front (NFP) to counter the far-right and Macron’s bloc. Fraught with disagreements over foreign policy and debates over leadership of the alliance, it seemed like the old problems of the New Ecological and Social People’s Union (NUPES) resurfaced during the first weeks of campaigning.

The first iteration of the parliamentary alliance, created after the 2022 presidential election, fell apart after one year due to infighting. This time, politicians put aside their differences to face the rising tide of the far-right. Major media outlets, the RN, and Macronists criticized the left for its internal divisions and accused certain figureheads as antisemitic or appearing weak on immigration and security issues. In the past weeks, journalists have dug up evidence of antisemitic and racist comments and practices by various National Rally candidates. Investigative report news outlet Mediapart reports that 106 RN candidates held conspiratorial beliefs or had incited hatred in their past.

The NFP was painted as a trojan horse to invite more left-wing radicals to France’s National Assembly – despite the favorable accords with the more moderate PS to run the second greatest number of candidates in electoral districts. ‘Socialist’ ex-president Francois Hollande, who left office with a near 4% approval rating, was given a chance to run with the alliance. He is known for his unpopular neoliberal labor reforms, failed interventionist foreign policy in Mali, and further militarizing policing after terrorist attacks on French soil in 2015.

On the conventional right, the leader of the Republican (traditional conservative party) party, Eric Ciotti, pulled his party into an alliance with the RN. This split his political family in two. Already known for his admiration for the far-right’s program and some of its senior politicians, the move came as no surprise to certain political insiders. But it shocked the public and much of his own camp. The Republican party ran separate electoral lists in different districts, but Ciotti’s move showed that many conservatives were willing to sell out their traditional anti-far-right stance to maintain relevance with the RN.

The first round saw a historically high turnout for the RN (29%) and the Republican conservatives who allied with them (4%). The NFP came in second with 28% in the first round and Macron’s ‘centrist’ bloc fell to third place with 20%.

France has two round elections. Many ‘triangulars’, or three way races, were slated for the second round. The left called on all of its candidates to step out when a ‘centrist’ came in second against a RN candidate.

Macron’s prime minister announced that their candidates would bow out to allow the left to face the RN except in cases where an LFI (radical left) candidate was running. Macronist politicians see the radical left and the far right as equivalent evils. In total, 127 NFP and 81 Ensemble (Macronist) candidates ceded their spots in their races – a hefty political price to pay for the French left, considering its opposition to seven years of neoliberal policies under the current government. 

For four weeks straight, all the major polling agencies reported the NFP would get 2nd place after the RN. 

Macron’s camp was projected to lose almost 50% of its seats in a poll conducted a week before the second round.

In a surprising end to the whirlwind 4 week election, the left-wing alliance made it out on top with 182 deputies (representatives) in the 577 seat parliament. Macron’s Ensemble coalition came in second with 168 deputies, a number of seats higher than projected just under a week ago. Le Pen’s National Rally came in third place with 143. The RN still won the most seats in its history, but failed to meet expectations set by polls and projections throughout the campaign. The second round saw a level of voter turnout not reached in over twenty years.

Now, France’s political forces must cobble together a governing coalition or create a caretaker government administered by a technocrat acceptable to most parties. This will be difficult. The constitution, written in the throes of the Algerian War in part by ex-general Charles De Gaulle, granted many powers to the presidency and does not favor parliamentary coalition building. 

It’s now up to the French left to prove itself to be capable, competent, and clear in its demands. Leading figures of the New Popular Front declared they would only govern to apply their program. Its economic policies include raising the minimum wage, blocking the prices of essential goods like fuel and food, lowering the retirement age, restoring more progressive fiscal policy to tax the rich more and the working class less. It also aims to push for lower class sizes and a recognition of the state of Palestine within two weeks if it is able to govern. 

Liberal and social-democratic leaders around the world took notice of the legislative seat projections on Sunday night. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk tweeted that Moscow would be disappointed and that Kyiv would be relieved by the results of France’s election. Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez saluted the defeat of the far-right. The international left should take notice of France’s unexpected return to its revolutionary and radical roots. 

It may be too early to be triumphalist – after all, the institutional left has betrayed France many times. But the results of the July 7th election lit a spark of hope which can rekindle the hearth of left-wing traditions in the country. 

French Elections : Antifascist Victory and Deep Political Crisis

Election results in France bring joy but also reveal a difficult road ahead


Many thousands of antifascists celebrated all night in rallies around the country on Sunday evening, as the news came through of the second round election results in France.

It had been widely feared that the far-right National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, would be forming a government this week. Instead they were beaten back into third place, with 143 MPs (including their close allies). The left electoral alliance, named the New Popular Front, came first with 182 MPs (and they can count on the 13 “other Lefts” to vote with them). Macron’s group got 168. A parliamentary majority is 289.

Millions of people are feeling tremendous relief. It is not only the results which are important, but how they were won – through the most dynamic left campaign in many decades, involving tens of thousands of new activists,  large sections of civil society, widespread door to door work, hundreds of rallies and marches, and a dizzying variety of events, initiatives and appeals to vote for radical change and against fascism. The whole country has heard the arguments about how it is possible to tax the rich, rebuild our hospitals and schools, and fight against sexist violence and against racism, antisemitism and islamophobia.

And the radical section of the NPF – the France Insoumise (France in Revolt) – obtained very high scores in multiethnic working class areas, resulting in the election of many fine MPs: class fighters who are light years away from some of the grey apparatchiks we are used to. These include Raphaël Arnault, co-founder of The Young Guard, a dynamic antifascist organization that was set up a few years ago. There is also Sebastien Delogu, a taxi driver who led the campaign against the uberisation of the profession as well as Aly Diouara, originally from The Gambia, who is very active as a town councillor in the working class suburbs of Paris and a local leader of the campaign against the genocide in Gaza. Alma Dufour is also worth mentioning, who is known as a leader of direct action campaigns against Amazon.

Deep crisis

But with this election, France has been plunged into a deep political crisis which will last for some time. The situation contains many dangers, but also many opportunities. Every political configuration is fragile and every tactic and strategy contested. There will be swings and turns and turncoats (motivated by panic or worse) and some will act better politically than we thought they would. We must concentrate on the key elements, not on details of tactics, in order to understand what is new and what is possible.

The electoral alliance, the New Popular Front, encouraged by huge pressure from below, has brilliantly succeeded in stopping a fascist government.  This was done through unity and through the inspiration provided by a radical programme. This result justifies the alliance, and the compromises it required, however fragile the NPF may be in the future.

The Rassemblement national activists are demoralized and depressed this week, as they gained only half the MPs they were hoping for. But they still have fifty five more than at the last parliamentary elections. The present relative setback for the far right must be used as a jumping off point to push the fascists back. The hundreds of thousands involved these last three weeks must remain mobilized.

What happens now?

No grouping has a majority in parliament,  and the Constitution forbids new parliamentary elections for 12 months. There appear to be three possibilities: a minority left government, a right-left coalition or a government of appointed experts.

Left leaders have declared their desire to form a minority government.  This might have difficulty passing laws, but some NPF policies, such as reining in police violence, increasing the minimum wage, and price freezes on basic necessities do not require new legislation. Of course, the pressure from bosses and the media will be unprecedented and the mobilization of workers to ensure our interests are defended is essential.  Many NPF supporters understand that a left government must not be given carte blanche. There are, this week, attempts to establish networks of local Popular Front committees to maintain radical engagement of large numbers of people.

Most of the right, aided by a strong media campaign, would prefer a coalition “national union” government, including parts of left and right: including everyone, indeed, except for the France Insoumise and the Rassemblement national. Fear of chaos and disorganization is being used to try to persuade people that this is a reasonable project.

Several leading Macronists are pushing for this idea, and some leaders from the Socialist Party, Communist Party and Greens are saying it should be considered. They may be joined by a small number of France Insoumise MPs led by François Ruffin who are breaking away from the FI, looking for a more “moderate” less left wing option. “We need to calm things down” said Ruffin. This group are pretending that the problem is Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s personality and are joining in the vast smear campaigns against him.

A left-right coalition government would be a disaster for working people. Abandoning the radical measures which people need to reduce misery and improve our schools, hospitals and working conditions, such a government would bring rapid and deep disappointment, and practically guarantee a far-right government in a few years’ time. The France Insoumise has refused this option, and all honest sections of the Left must do so, too. For the moment, Olivier Faure, leader of the Socialist Party, has ruled out such a coalition. Marine Tondelier, head of the Greens, is less clear.

Other commentators are speaking of the nomination of a government of bourgeois “experts” (in Italy at one point they appointed the director of the national bank). This will be presented as a common-sense decision, justified since “foolish politicians” cannot reach a consensus, and because not having a government is “unimaginable”. But how can we imagine that such a government would be on the side of working people?

The crisis is only just beginning. We need to remain mobilized and create structures of vigilance to involve as many as possible of those very large numbers of activists who campaigned for the New Popular Front. These structures must aim at pushing the far right back through mass education, and through mass harassment of all RN events and initiatives.

Do some people have illusions as to what a NPF government can quickly change? Of course they do, this is inevitable. But the way forward is to mobilize against neoliberalism and support a Left government, if one is formed, every time it introduces reforms in our interests, but oppose it immediately if it gives in to the pressure of the dictatorship of profit.


John Mullen is a Marxist activist in the Paris region and a supporter of the France Insoumise. His website is

I’m Sick of Dying Kids

If the goal of life is death, then we live in a surprisingly productive time


To be sure: note that I trust neither the statements of the authorities nor their official statistics. I’m convinced that things are much, much worse. I present these statistics only so that you understand where “worse” begins.

According to statistics, as of June 1, 2024, 550 children in Ukraine had died during full-scale war. 1,400 children received varying degrees of injuries. More than 800 minors were deported to Russia from occupied territories.

Russian news also often features headlines about the deaths of children. After the shelling of Belgorod by the Ukrainian army in February of this year, a one-year-old child died. In May, the bodies of two dead children were recovered from the rubble of a multi-story building that was hit. That same month, a mother and her four-year-old son were killed in a Ukrainian kamikaze drone attack on a car.

Since the year 2000, the Israeli military has killed over two thousand Palestinian children. At the same time, Israelis talk about Palestinians killing Jewish children.

Violence against children. Infant mortality. Interview with the child victim of rape in Russia. Horrifying footage of sobbing children in Gaza. A father returning from war beats his son to death. Spreading these stories fuels hatred. The death of a child is something that can turn a pacifist into a cruel soldier. That’s why such news is beneficial for the government to broadcast, but not beneficial for the people dying in the trenches.

Unfortunately, news of dead children will not stop the violence. Such news only embitters the people. Cruelty leads to a prolongation of hostilities, while child mortality increases.

Does that mean we shouldn’t talk about it? Nope. But it is important to understand that when you talk about love constantly, it ceases to be something sacred and becomes ordinary. When a child’s death is adjacent to sushi commercials, you neither want to eat nor feel sympathy.


Tired of hearing about dying kids, I’d like to talk about dying parents. Frankly speaking, I don’t want to talk about death at all. I’d rather tell you about my last date and why I don’t use almond-scented soap anymore. But something tells me that talking about serious topics in wartime will be more useful. So, I want to tell my friend’s story, which makes me feel like a vulnerable child myself.

My friend has been in Europe for several months now. He is one of the lucky guys who managed to escape from Ukraine, despite the gender-based ban on leaving. But the feeling of relief did not last long. First, Europe returned to discussing the topic of Ukrainian men. A Polish politician suggested sending us back to Ukraine. Lithuania supported the proposal in public space. German politicians announced that they would discuss it, but neither my friend nor I heard the results of the discussion because his dad had a stroke.

While big companies are still arguing about the effectiveness of remote work, my friend did everything possible to arrange treatment for his dad remotely. I witnessed this process, and therefore now nothing will convince me that remote work is not effective. Still, this has limitations. For example, you cannot hug your loved one who, at the moment, needs it more than anything.

People become weaker when they are sick. In their weakened state, patients often want to hide in a room with the curtains drawn and wait out the illness alone. If no one is around, the illness is likely to last longer and be more difficult to tolerate. Yep, the presence of loved ones is a cure-all medicine, but in wartime this medicine is not available to everyone.

Now my friend asks me not to speak to him in a foreign language. When I’m abroad I spend a lot of time learning the language, but now my friend is pissed off at me about it. Before this incident, I knew practically nothing about strokes. Doctors said that, judging by the test results, this was his dad’s fourth attack. A stroke occurs due to poor circulation in the brain. People who have had a stroke lose some parts of their body. The ability to speak can be lost or deteriorate. The patient may forget how to write or read. All this happened to my friend’s dad. Now my friend asks me not to speak a foreign language to him until I can speak fluently because it reminds him of his dad, who now speaks at a speed of 10 words per minute.

Imagine you have to rescue a family member from a burning house. At the same time, you don’t know where the exit is, and all communication passes through a phone with a poor connection. 10 words per minute is torture in such circumstances. It’s worth talking for a few minutes with such a person, and it will begin to seem that the person himself does not want to be saved. The pettiest thing is that you cannot enter that burning house not because you are afraid of burning with it, but because your state will immediately punish you for it. The same state that received support from the European Union and the United States. The same state whose methods cannot be questioned, because it fights for democracy through authoritarian means.

Some doctors said that they could no longer help. Others asked for more money per month than my friend’s annual income. And he managed everything – the hospital was found. Procedures started. The speech therapist was kind. Medicine on the side table. Of course, all this required money. To complicate the situation, his dad had lost the ability to count. He literally couldn’t pay for anything because he couldn’t count the money. Against this background, total distrust arose. It seemed to the patient that everyone wanted to deceive him. He became aggressive. The man needed a loved one nearby, but he was given a sedative.

Infant mortality is certainly scary, but this does not mean that the death of an adult is not. The doctors said that my friend’s dad would recover, but no one could say to what extent. The nurses shared observations regarding his speech. They said that the extent to which he regained speech over the next 6 months would likely be his new norm. When the Baltic countries announced that Ukrainian guys should be encouraged to return to Ukraine by canceling their work permits, my friend’s dad could already speak 22 words per minute.

Now it is not uncommon for strokes to occur in 30-year-olds. Moreover, on YouTube I saw an interview with a girl who was 5 years younger than me and who had already suffered a stroke. There I also saw an interview with a young guy to whom the same thing happened. From these videos, I learned that after a stroke a person is literally locked in a body that no longer act as expected, while some brain activity remains normal. The person understands everything, but cannot say anything. Can’t move. Pisses his pants. Can’t count money to pay the speech therapist.

Smoking can cause strokes. As well as a diet lacking fruits and vegetables. Or the excessive stress in which we have all been living under for 2 years due to the war and forced emigration.

We treat our relatives remotely not because of Russia. We would brave missiles to treat them. We cannot do this because of the Ukrainian authorities, who will send us to war before we cross the threshold of our home.

“By the way, dad, it might happen that Ukraine blocks guys’ bank cards,” My friend says on the phone. “Don’t worry, we can still treat you. The main thing is just do not worry.”

Yep, we treat our relatives remotely. We read news about dying kids. About the fact that Ukrainian guys won’t be sent back to Ukraine today, but might in the future. About the fact that the stroke became a younger person’s ailment. About whether remote work is effective.

Yes, we are forced to treat our relatives remotely. But are we really going to bury them online too?

This piece is a part of  a series, The Mining Boy Notes, published on Mondays and authored by Ilya Kharkow, a writer from Ukraine. For more information about Ilya, see his website. You can support his work by buying him a coffee.

Wolt Claims to be Apolitical but its Actions Suggest Otherwise

Wolt is funnelling money to Israeli businesses and menacing anyone who disagrees.


The Left Berlin interviewed an employee at Wolt about the company’s support of Israel. The employee wishes to remain anonymous.

What happened at Wolt that made you want to speak out?

Israel is one of the biggest markets for Wolt, I think it is the third biggest market. After the 7th of October and everything that happened in Gaza, so around I think November, I heard from colleagues that there were some problems on Slack, like our communication platform regarding this incident, regarding the 7th of October. And that the CEO was involved in that discussion. And the people who told me were pretty disappointed. They are for Palestine and they were disappointed by the reaction of the CEO. So I was really interested in what was happening. One of them sent me the the link of the conversation. So I went there and checked. Apparently in Israel, some colleagues there, some employees involved, they created a link to support the Israeli small businesses, merchants, restaurants and so on, where anyone around the world can go to that link and make a normal purchase. And instead of just sending donations, they will make a normal purchase. So the people there, they make this food and they will donate it.

So when I read everything, I was like yeah, okay. Whatever they can do whatever they want to support anyone. Although no one there needs any support – we will get to that point. So I read something like there was a deleted comment in the conversation. Under this deleted comment, there were a lot of emojis. We use a lot of emojis in Slack and Wolt is famous for using emojis, but all the emojis were very highly disrespectful. Like discussing everything using the middle finger, the shit, and the comments under that deleted comment we’re amazingly bad language. And then there’s the comment from the CEO himself commenting on that comment that work is not a place for discussing politics. And the deleted one was made by someone whose name is Mohammed.

The CEO said go back to work, targeting Mohammed directly. I don’t know where Mohammed works. I don’t know which country he’s in. So Mohammed commented on the CEO’s comment again saying okay, I’m sorry for the political comment. But can we please make the same initiative for the people in Gaza? Then the CEO commented again, repeating his words, I’m telling you, is not the place nor the time to discuss this subject. Go back to work. So first thing came to my mind was, why it is the time and place for Israelis to do such an initiative, but not for other people? So I started to tell everyone around me because there are a lot of pro-Palestinian people working there.

And just a couple of days after that, the management in Finland was bombarded with emails. Because they immediately tried to do something and it was disgusting what they did. They shut down any one who is pro-Palestinian and just let all the pro-Israelis talk in the public channels to everyone and post whatever they want. At the same time deleting anything else that is pro-Palestinian. At first of all, they sent an email apologizing for what happened. And all of the emails they sent, they never mentioned what Mohammed said. What was the deleted comment? I couldn’t find the deleted comment and they didn’t mention what it is. They just said it’s political. But what Mohamed said, no one knows.

They also don’t want to stop this initiative, and at the same time, they don’t want to create a new initiative for Palestine at the moment. And they said, we’re going to find a solution. Just wait. So it took them around a week or two. I don’t remember exactly, but they came up with the solution or what they thought was a solution. What is the solution? The solution was that they going to donate, with DoorDash, $1 million to both parties. To both sides. The Israeli and the Palestinian. But still not creating this initiative to donate for Gaza.

But they never said anything or explained how these donations are going to be sent, through which kind of organization. So the only way that they’re going to send donations is that they’re going to send it to Israel. So that will never reach Gaza whatsoever. And then after that, no one talked about this again. And whatever you say, whatever you send them, they answer we are sorry. We’re working to have better communications. The only thing they did is to delete the emojis. The hurtful emojis under Mohammed’s comment. This is everything they did. 

Does this fit with your experience at the company?

The management, they’re trying to to avoid any political discussion whatsoever. Like before the 7th of October. So nothing was political in any kind of communications inside the company. I will give it to them. Like in this case, they were really professional, until this happened. After this happened, they showed exactly that they are pro-Israeli. But at the same time, while trying their best to keep it apolitical. They keep sending apologies to everyone. We are sorry, we know we are not doing enough, please bear with us, it’s complicated, we don’t know what to do right now, we didn’t face these kind of situations before, etc. So they always have this type of communication. So they tried to not show that they are political in any way.

But supporting Israel was an exception to this?

Yeah. And they are sharing, and they are proud of it, how many millions they collected and so on. I went back to the same channel, to the same discussion. And I saw how much they are proud of, the millions they are collecting. Especially coming back to the subject where I told you that they don’t even need any donations in Israel. The market in Israel is still booming. It’s still going up. It’s like nothing is happening. This is what’s scary. The market in Israel is still doing great. That’s why it’s like, why all these donations? They don’t even need any donations! They are still working. People are still buying. Number are still going higher and higher every day. 

Why do you feel this Israel initiative wasn’t justified?

The point is: Why are we allowing such an initiative to happen and trying everything to prevent the same initiative to happen for Palestinians? Like why these double standards? Like you are not political, okay, I’ll give it to you, but why then are you fighting against any initiative to help the other side.

And how does the initiative in Israel work?

The ones who created the initiative were asking people to take the link and share it with their family and friends. This is how they share the link. It’s not something like when you go online, you can see that Wolt stands with Ukraine and these kind of things. So you give businesses in Israel the money and the businesses just take it as normal business. But they make purchases and they give it to people. So you’re donating to people through the businesses. 

They [Wolt] are open with it. They’re doing it in front of everyone. But as I said, the point is this reaction towards any request to do something for the other side. And the solution they came up with, which is actually disappointing and pathetic.

We’re talking months after the 7th of October, and they are doing really good. So why do they need donations? Why? They’re still doing good. They are showing on TV that it’s a disaster. But everything is still going normally. 

How do others feel about the situation?

When we talk, we are highly disappointed. No one likes the decision they came up with. Everyone criticizes them, but no one publicly could do anything. Like, even the ones who contacted the management, they never wrote anything publicly on Slack. Because every one of us is just afraid that we’re going to lose our jobs. And especially after merging with DoorDash. Then it became very easy for you to be laid off. Because the first layoff, the big one happened exactly after merging. And it came actually from DoorDash, that decision. And 1,500 employees only in Wolt, not DoorDash, were laid off. From all of Wolt worldwide, of course, not only in Germany, but still it’s a big number. In Berlin alone, 15 people were laid off. And the layoffs were not just for anyone. Just like three of the 15 were maybe in their probation, where you can say like, okay, it’s probation, maybe the company don’t need that, or they didn’t reach any agreement, but the rest, around 12 of them were from the best employees. People who helped the company to grow in Germany. They are highly competent. They have great experience. They did a lot. And all of them surprisingly.

Why are people worried for their jobs?

Until now, they have mentioned the layoffs only once. One general meeting someone wrote this anonymous question – I still don’t know if it’s anonymous, to be honest – but someone wrote something about why we don’t have a Betriebsrat (workers council). And they just went crazy and called in the general manager immediately. And then in the meeting she took like 15 minutes just to explain how amazing we are doing and we don’t need Betriebsrat. How safe the employees are, and then sending emails and like talking again in different meetings. They’re trying really hard to show people like, no, no, no, we don’t need it. You are really safe here, while at the same time this was happening, the whole discussion about the Betriebsrat we had no HR. There were zero HR employees. I think we at the time we had only three employees and all of them were on vacation at the same time. So there is no one to solve your problem. Anything you need it has to go to Finland. And from Finland they don’t see anything in front of them. For them, everything is just numbers. They’re just requests coming from strange people. They don’t know even the pictures.


Here is one of the websites through which people could donate food to Israelis. You can read more about Wolt’s initiative in Israel here. 

Fascist breakthrough in first round of elections in France: An anticapitalist perspective

The victory of the far-right Rassemblement National in the first round of elections could give France its first fascist government since the Nazi occupation, but the left has also made advances. John Mullen outlines an anticapitalist perspective on the political crisis in France.


In the first round of the French legislative elections, held on June 30, around 33 million people voted while 16 million stayed home. Ten and a half million (33.2% of those voting) chose the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) and its close allies.

On the other hand, nine million (28.1%) supported the left alliance, New Popular Front, in which the radical left party France Insoumise (FI) is the most influential component.

President Emmanuel Macron’s candidates received 6.8 million votes (21.3%) and 2.1 million (6.6%) voted for the traditional conservative Republicans.

There is plenty of defeatism around. At the same time, there has been more dynamic antifascist activity in the past three weeks than in the previous three years, and this is the most energetic left election campaign for several decades.

Key questions

The most important question is not how many disagreements anticapitalists have with this or that political force. Rather, we have to start with class interests and ask what is useful for working people.

Indubitably, the New Popular Front between FI, the Socialist Party, Communist Party and the Greens is useful to the working class, and it was very much pressure from below which made it happen. Because of the two-round voting system, the mere existence of the Front took a few dozen seats away from the fascists. In addition, its program has mobilised tens of thousands of activists for a real left alternative.

The program, presented as 150 or so priority policies, includes pledges to raise the minimum wage by 14%, end homelessness, dismantle the most violent cop units, declare immediate recognition of the state of Palestine and end arms sales to Israel.

Compromises were made: leaving NATO is not mentioned and the question of nuclear power is absent. This does not means that the Greens or the FI have abandoned their policies on these questions. Each signing party may continue to defend its own priorities.

The parties agreed to share out the constituencies and not stand against each other. This means that some of the candidates have nothing in common with anticapitalists. For example, the Socialist Party chose social liberal and former President François Hollande as a candidate. This was the price of an indispensable alliance.

At present, the fascists are far more powerful inside parliament than they are outside. Despite receiving up to 13 million votes in some elections, the RN cannot organise mass street demonstrations. In most towns they have little party structure. Winning more than 200 seats in parliament, which looks possible, could be a huge step forward for the RN. Therefore, this week the electoral battleground is the key one.

Those on the left who counterpose the left electoral alliance with the struggle on the street are mistaken. The Front has encouraged antifascist activity. Young people on demonstrations are chanting “Siamo tutti antifacisti!” (“We are all anti-fascists!”) and “Front populaire” (“Popular Front”), as well as “Free, Free Palestine!”

Also tremendously useful for working people is the broad antifascist activity that has been storming France this fortnight. Left parties, trade unions, women’s rights groups, charities and pressure groups such as ATTAC and Greenpeace are pulling out all stops, leafleting railway stations and contacting all their supporters.

800,000 people demonstrated in more than 200 towns in a trade union initiative. Women’s rights groups organised marches in dozens of towns. Every day there are rallies called by youth organisations or the radical press, and so on.

A huge outdoor concert on July 3 in Paris heard from Nobel Prize-winning novelist Annie Ernaux and dozens of speakers. Appeals against the far right are surging from unexpected circles. 800 classical musicians signed one appeal, 2500 scientists another, and there have been similar initiatives from social science journals, university chancellors, rappers and rock musicians. Star footballers, cyclists from the Tour de France and many more have added their voices. Academic societies, the left press and the Theatre festival in Avignon have organised appeals or events.

Although trade union representatives often concentrate on the horrific economic policies of the far right, others on the left have rightly prioritised antiracism. At his mass meeting in Montpellier ten days ago, FI leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon put antiracism, and specifically the fight against Islamophobia, front and centre. On prime-time television, FI MP Clémence Guette and others emphasised that racism is at the centre of RN’s ideology.

Mass involvement in antifascist activity of all kinds is one way of countering the 24-hour-a-day barrage of media propaganda about “left and right extremism” and lies about the supposed violence and antisemitism of the radical left.


The electoral campaign of the left, and antifascist activity, are not generally separate. In one week, more than 50,000 people registered as supporters of the FI, and tens of thousands asked to get involved in the campaign. Dozens of buses are criss-crossing the country, bringing FI members and other activists to help out in towns where the RN is strong. Mass door to door canvassing — not a traditional part of election campaigns here — is becoming commonplace.

More antifascist activity, the establishment of permanent networks for antifascist education and combatting harassment, and a stronger FI are all necessary.

Despite the limits of the FI’s “citizens’ revolution perspective”, the party has loudly denounced the genocide in Gaza and brought the fight against Islamophobia into mainstream left politics — from where it had been shamefully absent for decades. It has also succeeded in putting the importance of taxing the rich, moving to 100% organic farming and 100% renewable energy centre stage in the political debate.

If the FI and, in particular, Mélenchon are attacked so viciously, it is because they represent a radical break with neoliberal business-as-usual. This is the reason for their very high scores in multi-ethnic working-class parts of town, and their ability to attract large numbers of new activists.

The second round 

In places where no candidate received over 50% of the vote, a second round of voting will take place between the top candidates. Candidates need at least 12.5% to reach the second round, meaning in some places there are still more than two candidates running.

Macron, having spent years encouraging far-right ideas, is now declaring: “Not one vote should go to the National Rally.” However, some of his MPs refuse to call for a left vote in towns where only the left and the fascists are in the second round contest.

On the left, the question of what to do when a left candidate came third in a town in the first round is causing heated argument. Supporting Macron against RN’s Marine Le Pen has been disastrous over the past seven years. On the other hand, it is possible to withdraw a left candidate without calling for support for the right-wing or centre-right candidate remaining in the race. FI has generally limited itself to campaigning for “not a single vote for the RN!”

The results of the second round of the elections on July 7 are impossible to predict. What those who abstained last week can be persuaded to do is crucial.

The most likely outcome is that there will be no overall majority, but no coalition will be easily constructed. Much of the right will refuse to govern with the RN.

A “government of national unity” including conservative Republicans, Macronists and some Socialists and Greens is being spoken of. This would be disastrous. A national unity government that abandons pro-working class radical reforms is likely to prepare the way for a stronger RN government in a few years.

A small section of the right wing of the FI might even be tempted by this. However, there may well not be enough MPs on the left to make such a government happen. In any case, like every political configuration in this deep crisis, the New Popular Front is fragile.

If no stable government can be formed, extra-parliamentary struggle will be more important than ever. The building of a strong radical left must continue, and Marxists must work inside it while keeping their own fraternal but fiercely independent voice.