Left Hook

By Aleksandr Golubov

Before the first round of the Presidential elections is France the third place in pre-election race was firmly held by a former teacher, ex-Minister of Socialist Cabinet  Lionel Jospin, and by now the leader of the Left Front Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Having left behind his not less radical rival, the leader of another front – already National one – Marine Le Pen, Mélenchon have become a real dark horse of this elections, having proved the growth of radical left spirit in French society. His last meetings in Lipp, Paris and Toulouse were ones of the most crowded and emotional, and such high result hasn’t been predicted by anyone recently. Established in 2008 from the remains of the communist party, of various left-wing supporters, and all those who considered socialists and their current candidate Francois Hollande, to be too moderate and bourgeois, the Left Front breathed a new life in the ideas, uniting the upholders of social equality. Times when French communists were forced to give into rent a part of their head-quarters due to financial shortage are fading away.

Mélenchon promises his supporters to  raise minimal wages up to 2200 USD per months, to forbid the companies gaining profit to fire employees and is going to seize completely the part of profits that exceeds 470 000 USD annually. But not only the slogans but the very leader of French left-wing supporters attracts upholders with his charisma. With his peculiar eloquence and humor, targeted against bankers and businessmen, the one promises to incite civic uprising, that should become “sacred honor of each person in the situation when liberty is taken away ". Passionate fan of Faulkner Mélenchon calls himself “noise and fury” of Frenchmen, clearly understanding, that such eloquence approach shall gain response in the hearts of the intellectuals traditionally preferring left-wing values. Thus, he managed to incite in the conciseness of Frenchmen the myths of students protests of 1968, having avoided by this parallels with the Soviet Union, crimes of Stalin and other negative events, which are related to communism this or that way.

As it turned out, implementation of the combinations of “revolutionary” and populist rhetoric resulted in quite successful dividends for the leader of revived leftists – exactly his noisy appearance within French political scene led to that according to sociologic polls, the socialist Hollande now is behind Sarkozy in the first round. Understanding this, Mélenchon counts to exchange his support in the second round for the appointments and influence on decision-making if Hollande gets the victory. Sociologic polls show that it is quite possible with the electorate of the Left Front candidate. However, a great number of not defined voters challenges these estimations. Being in their majority more moderate, they simply can fear of that socialist Hollande shall become the hostage in the arms of more radical Mélenchon, and shall give their votes from the President in power.

Radicalization of political life in France, nevertheless, reflects not only at Mélenchon’s successes – National Front, representing the opposite ultra-right wing of political spectrum also benefits economic crises. In two the leaders of these parties would have gathered more votes than any leader of the race, who represents more moderate views. And despite the fact that the both fronts are ideological antagonists they both are united with rigid critics towards globalization and the European Union, sometimes proving the common nature of growth of their popularity. That “left hook” which we witnessed during this elections is only a part of common for many Europeans and a pretty restless trend to search for the answers on complicated political issues. It’s just ultra right-wing has responded on it a bit earlier.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from politcom.ru