by Jean Ortiz, communist university teacher
picture above: One of a kind. Hollande with French big business bosses
This isn’t a slap in the face, it’s a lynching, a humiliation, a masterful thrashing, a left uppercut, a final disavowal. François Hollande, who wanted to appear to be “Normal above all,” to the point that he competed with pizza delivery boys on motorbikes, the man who declared war on finance, is stark naked this March 31 morning, “en pelota,” (1) and his joyous adhesion, dead to any sense of shame, to neo-free-tradism, has been violently rejected by those on the left.
The sanction is enough to make one despair. The workers don’t like those whom they consider to be collaborators, and apostates always wind up in the black holes of history. The March 30 vote is, first of all, a red card (2) for Hollande-ism. The vote is not a tsunami-like adhesion to the right wing, but the shipwreck of the hopes engendered by promises that, in the end, have not been kept.
The betrayals of the values of the left, of indicators of social class, of the interests of the majority, of the needs of the weakest, of the impoverished, of the exploited, must be paid for, in cash, sooner or later. By dint of indecently kissing up to the bosses, of wallowing with the MEDEF (3), of crawling before Mrs. Merkel, of scorning the labor unions, of debasing our country, of making a “transatlantic” rag-mop of France, of taking from the poor to give to the rich, you wind up no longer having anything socialist about you, nor even anything social-democratic. You become a sort of new right wing, and folks always prefer the original to the pale copy that is the renegade.
All this would be despicable were it not for the fact that the class enemy is taking advantage of it to grab hundreds of city councils, to walk off with their potential, to sweep away years of welfare state protections, of popular and democratic management, in a context that is becoming increasingly difficult.
All this would be despicable, if those who were going to get it in the neck were the barons, the notables, the “socialist elites,” the holders of multiple offices, those-who-pay-the-tax-on-big-fortunes.
No, no, those people are going to continue stuffing their faces, fattening their wallets, and reveling in social disasters, disasters that they themselves caused.
No, no, the ones who are going to get it in the neck even more, who are going to tighten their belts, cry in the run-up to pay-day, sacrifice their health and their children’s futures, are the workers, the civil servants, the retirees, the unemployed, the people working precarious jobs, the working women, the small farmers, the casual workers in the entertainment industry, “those who’re at the bottom”…
Precisely for that, the “Socialists” of that stripe, who bury Jaurès, Allende and Negrin (4)… are begging to be suitably fought and condemned. They don’t know the relationship of forces, and they advance only when the people shove them. Now is the time for the deployment and the structuring of a real socialist and independent Left Front, on the basis of class principles and values, with a clear objective: to advance towards a new anti-capitalist society, what many of us call “the socialism of the 21st century.” This in no way contradicts the need for a united, creative, combative, strong and coherent communist party… The people and the socialist prospect need one more than ever before.
In view of the field of ruins of this March 30, there’s no time to be lost. There isn’t any “plan B” and we haven’t many cartridges left. The worst is yet to come if we are not able to confront the coming challenges, notably the European Union elections, in a different way than the municipal elections.
It’s not that Hollande didn’t understand anything: he has conscientiously applied the MEDEF’s program and the policy of the European Union and of the “troika”(5), with his whole heart and unscrupulously. And it matters not who the next Prime Minister will be. Whether it be the pursuer of Roma or one more under-handed, after having hit bottom, he can’t go any lower.
The counter-offensive begins now.
(1) “en pelota” – Spanish for “naked”
(2) A red card is a penalty card that is shown in many sports after a rules infraction.
(3) The MEDEF is the main association representing French bosses.
(4) Juan Negrín y López (1892 –1956) was a Spanish politician. He was a leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). He was the last Loyalist premier of Spain (1937-39). He worked together with the Communists to the end and died in exile.
(5) The troika is the tripartite committee led by the European Commission with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which organized loans to the governments of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus.
Original l’Humanité article: Au front camarades !
by Jean Ortiz
Translated Sunday 6 April 2014, by Gene Zbikowski