From l’Humanite in English

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La cote de Jean-Luc Mélenchon affole les puissants


Translated Saturday 15 April 2017, by  Henry Crapo

Rising rapidly in the polls, the candidate of “France Insoumise” has become the main target for defeat by his opponents. The right-wing press is unleashed, and the head of state mingles his voice in the refrain “Liberalism or Apocalypse”, which seeks to discredit any alternative policy.

Photos: François Fillon (UL) Philippe Desmozes/AFP — Pierre Gattaz (UR) Eric Piermont/AFP — François Hollande (LL) Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters — Emmanuel Macron (LR) Stéphane Mohé/Reuters

Those counting on a choice, in the first round of the election, between Macron, Fillon, and Le Pen, are now losing their nerve, with the rise in support for Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

François Hollande chose the conservative magazine Le Point to break out of his pre-election silence. “There is a peril in the face of simplifications, in the face of falsifications,” he warned. The threat of the extreme right? That’s not what he means. Does he say this in support of the candidate who won the primary in his party? No, he no longer mentions the name of Benoît Hamon … It’s as if the only fear of the tenant of the Élysée, at the end of his lease, is to see vanish his aspirations for a second round of Macron versus Le Pen!

The dynamism of the campaign and the ideas of progress carried by the forces that support Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and by his program, are messing up the deal thought to be in place by his opposition. All Mélenchon’s opponents have become feverish. To the point where the Figaro , yesterday, devoted three full pages to the issue, waving the figures of Robespierre, Lenin and Chavez to try to convince a readership that appeared to be deserting the ranks of its champion. And thus, from Francois Fillon to Emmanuel Macron, there is an expression of fear of the “Communist”.

An involuntary tribute to the PCF’s contribution to the country and its people … “The effort and mobilization must be concentrated on the qualification of Jean-Luc Mélenchon” for the second round, said yesterday, Pierre Laurent, on France Inter . “I hope that the maintenance of the candidacy of Benedict Hamon will not cost us this qualification; that’s why I called for a rapprochement “, he said.

President Hollande Joins the Pack of Dogs Barking at the Candidate of “France Insoumise” 

There floats a perfume in the air, reminiscent of 2005. The same politicians who leagued up against the defenders of “another Europe” [1] now show their claws, destabilized by the wind of social progress that already sweeps away, in its path, some established scenarios. The breakthrough by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, concretized yesterday by an Ifop poll, which places him at the top of the list of political personalities preferred by the French, woke even François Hollande from his torpor.

The President of the Republic, who has been kept busy inaugurating chrysanthemums since renouncing his candidacy, has chosen the weekly Le Point to address today a warning, not against the danger of the extreme right, but against the vote in favor of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s program. In the columns of Franz-Olivier Giesbert’s diary (a choice that is so symbolic), he does not hesitate to take up the lexicon of the right on the “peril” that would consist in “looking at the spectacle of the tribune rather than the content of his text”. Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s dynamics for this presidential election are precisely based on the content of a program, and more so than for all other candidates. During his meeting in Marseille on Sunday, when the 70,000 people present began to chant his name “Mélenchon, president!” He immediately stopped them. “You are not devotees! You are the ones who carry a program. It is called ’the future in common’! Cure people of this mania of expecting of a man a perfection that he can not have! Count only upon your own strength! I will do my share of work, you do yours!”, said the candidate. The opposite of a crowd bewitched by a guru, as François Hollande would have us believe. Hollande’s argument goes all the more badly because his puppy-dog, Emmanuel Macron, to whom he also gives his half-spoken support, spent the entire campaign playing hide and seek with his program, pasting the brand-name “Macron” around his little person and on the renewal that he would be supposed to incarnate. Only Ségolène Royal, decidedly never where she is expected, stood out yesterday in dissociating herself from the anti-Mélenchon pack. “It is an authenticity, and a passion, that the French find in his message,” said the Minister of the Environment after leaving the Council of Ministers. Asked if the breakthrough of the candidate of France Insoumise worried her, she answered: “Why anxiety? No, on the contrary, I think it is better for a person from this side than from the far right. ”

The candidate of En marche! feels the wind turning

Anxiety concerning the extreme right does not seem to be shared by the head of state, who prefers to target Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Because his interview at Le Point naturally brings to completion a five-year period devoted entirely to breaking up the left and burying social progress. Like his spiritual father, the candidate of En marche! he does not hesitate to borrow his vulgate anti-communist from the extreme right . “We have this Communist revolutionary … He was a Socialist Senator when I was still in grade school!”, he mocked at his meeting in Besançon on Tuesday. It is because the candidate of En marche!, whose campaign has hitherto been served up on a silver platter, feels the wind turning. Always leading in the polls, ex aequo with Marine Le Pen in spite of a slight decrease, Emmanuel Macron sees well that he is no longer in the center of the game and that the dynamics of his campaign have had some bad scrapes. “It’s OK; it’s better that he himself saw off the board on which he sits. That leaves me less work to do!” , said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in the margins of a visit to the University of Lille.

When Marine Le Pen takes up the refrains of the president of the Medef [2]

Marine Le Pen is not left out on the sidelines when, in unison with Medef’s quibbles, the extreme right candidate accuses Jean-Luc Mélenchon of wanting “100 billion additional taxes” that will “crush” the French. This is a refrain picked up by Pierre Gattaz, panic-stricken at the thought that one of his two austere champions is missing an important step along the path to victory. For him, a victory of Mélenchon would represent “an absolute catastrophe”. The president of Medef, who, like his predecessors in 2005, is waving the specter of bankruptcy, insolvency, and isolation. Like him, François Fillon chose to put Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the same basket, a practice become common whenever the right is short of arguments. “Believe me, it is not with the communist program of M. Mélenchon, and the return to the franc of Mrs. Le Pen, that the French economy will restart,” he attacked, Tuesday, in a meeting in the Phocaean city. “These people want us to believe that it is the sardine that has blocked the port of Marseilles. This is not serious”, he dared to say, trembling in front of the mirror that the dynamic Mélenchon holds for him. “Once again, they announce, with my election victory, the arrival of the nuclear winter, the rains of frogs, the tanks of the Red Army and the landing of Venezuelans,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon reacted yesterday on his blog . Before warning: “I think I can expect the exact opposite effect: no serious person can lend credence to such ramblings. If those who are responsible for this tirade are ignorant of that fact, it testifies to the unspeakable contempt they have for the intelligence of their fellow-citizens. ”

For the PCF, the deluge of clichés is a sign that a new wind is blowing.

For Pierre Laurent, when he looks beyond the caricature, which he denounces, he sees the anti-communist attacks highlight the wave of hope created by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

There is a return in force of cliches about the communist, knife between his teeth, ready to eat small children. Unfortunately, this is not just a new version of the “City of Fear”, in which the Nuls had dressed their serial killer with a hammer and sickle . No. The attack, although caricatural, is serious. After Les Échos and the boss of Medef, Pierre Gattaz, Le Figaro and also Emmanuel Macron and François Fillon multiplied such shocking formulas against Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The references to Cuba and Venezuela (“Mélenchon: the delusional project of the French Chavez”, for example, was the title yesterday in Le Figaro) replaced those of the USSR, but the promise made in 1981 of “Russian tanks at Concorde” Is not far away. And as usual, communism is at the heart of the target.

First concerned, as national secretary of the PCF, Pierre Laurent did not fail to react yesterday. “We knew that the right wing in this election was brutal. Now we discover in the last days of the campaign, worried when they see the breakthrough of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, they have become really shabby and vulgar”, he charged, on France Inter, castigating “the old anti-communist cliches”. That “the right wing, as soon as it is afraid of losing the controls”, “trots out totally outrageous arguments that were common during the Cold War”. But for the leader of the PCF, it is a bit of the story of the toad and the dove: “It is quite ridiculous compared to what is happening in the country, where hope is sought.”

“Throughout political and social history, each of the bitterest advances in the ballot boxes or in the streets, this discourse on the fear of red has always been waged by those who supported the system and who opposed to these democratic and social conquests”, adds Olivier Dartigolles, the PCF spokesman, who sees it as a sign that “the class struggle is not behind us” and, above all, that “the wind is beginning to blow in the right way”. If he gives a special mention to the Figaro, “which dips his pen in the same inkwell as when the communist ministers arrived at the government in 81” (“no need to wait thirty years to smile”, he adds), The spokesman also considers the phenomenon revealing: “If those who carry out this anti-communist charge fear that the values of the common man supplant the private interests, they are right. We want to reduce the private interests of the financial or political oligarchy to build a project in favor of the common man and the general interest. ”

“Communists are present and fully engaged everywhere”

Faced with a climate that is “increasingly aggressive”, the invitation of the leaders of the PCF is to maintain the course of “a positive campaign, conviction, proposals”, noting that already “The Communists are present and fully engaged everywhere.” “The French feel that there is a historic chance to carry Jean-Luc Mélenchon into the second round and, with him, to have a completely new left,” notes Pierre Laurent, while sending a message to the candidate of the PS: “I hope that the continuation of the campaign of Benoît Hamon will not cost us this qualification. And to those still tempted by a “useful vote” for Emmanuel Macron, “the rallying point of liberals of all kinds”, the Senator from Paris makes the appeal: “Do not make a mistake on this vote. Do not give up your convictions in the first round of this election. ”

The original French articles are on three links: AffoléHollande …, and Deluge …

[1that is, those who denounced those voting “No” on approval of the proposed European constitution.

[2Mouvement des entreprises de France, The federation of French employers.

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