As predicted, the ruling socialist party was defeated. Everyone was waiting for this, but the entourage of President Francois Hollande, until the last moment, hoped that the blow would not be so crushing. In the end, the reluctance of left-wing voters to vote for "their" candidates in the first round is quite typical for France. People dissatisfied with the policies of the socialists - and their helplessness and venality for left-wing voters have been dissatisfied for over three decades - in the first round they stay at home or vote for various small parties. But in the second round, they are still at the polling stations so as not to give the victory to the right.
This time this recurring miracle did not happen. People did not come to vote for the socialists. Not only is Hollande unpopular, in the eyes of many of those who voted for him in the presidential election, he was even worse than right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy. Moreover, the prime minister Manuel Waltz, who pursues a neoliberal policy with a determination that none of the rightists have shown, has a massive hostility.
As a result, the socialists lost power in more than 30 regions, including some cities that have been bastions of the party for decades. The worst result of the ruling party in France for all history republic.
At the same time, Hollande’s entourage and sympathizers journalists console each other with what could be even worse: in several regions of the Socialist Party, the majority still retained, despite the frank disgust that it causes to its own voters. Already great joy!
The success of the right-wing center, headed by Nicolas Sarkozy, is essentially a logical consequence of the defeat of the socialists. Although there are some nuances here. By the end of his presidency in 2012, he was the most unpopular leader in the entire history of the republic, the whole country laughed at him, and the toilets of provincial bars were decorated with homemade caricatures of the head of state. Sarkozy’s rating was so low that he was advised not to run again. He ignored these tips and lost.
Hollande’s victory in 2012 was impossible to explain except for the general dislike of Sarko. He was a strikingly impersonal and inexpressive candidate, not even a politician, but simply a party functionary who quietly made a hardware career and gradually grew to the post of president of the republic. Literally from the very first day after his election, his rating began to fall, and fell continuously - with the exception of a short moment when the sympathy of the French towards his president rose slightly due to his scandals with women. Finding that the president is cheating on his wife, the citizens of the republic came to the conclusion that the head of their state was at least somewhat human. But when the scandals subsided, and it turned out that neither the ex-wife, nor the new mistress really had anything to say, everyone remembered that the ill-fated Hollande was still a statesman, and his rating quickly collapsed again.
Against this background, there was a triumphant return to politics of Nicolas Sarkozy. All of his anti-records have long been beaten by Hollande. And if at one time “Sarko” was considered the most unpopular politician in France, now Hollande is so firmly entrenched in this rank that it is impossible to compete with him.
Behind the personal unpopularity of the current president, there is, however, something more than his personal qualities, or rather, their complete absence. In the last decades of the twentieth century, the socialist party rose to power in France as an organization expressing the interests and expectations of state employees, teachers, doctors, and other, as we would say, “state employees”, lower levels of management, and the provincial intelligentsia. It was supported by the still strong Communists in those days who relied on the industrial working class, especially in the south of the country. Since then, much has changed. The Communist Party has declined to such an extent that it no longer speaks for the elections on its own, acting within the framework of the “Left Front,” uniting it with several small groups that have broken away from the socialist party. At the same time, the French “Left Front” does not have its own face, figuring, rather, as a coalition of allies of the socialist party, giving it “critical support”. Regardless of whether the leftists join the government with the socialists or remain outside it, their political line can be distinguished from the social party line only in a number of nuances that are very interesting for political scientists, but completely indifferent for most French people. As a result, the presence of LF in parliament and government bodies is steadily declining, despite the fact that in the 2012 presidential election, its leader Jean-Luc Melenchon took fourth place in the first round, receiving 11 percent of the vote. These were the voices of protest within the “left camp” itself: the same dissatisfied voters who tried to hint to the socialists supported Melanchon, which would be a good idea to reckon with the mood of their supporters.
Meanwhile, over the years of being in power, the Socialist Party not only merged with it, but also radically changed its political and social orientation. Its leaders were confident that their voters would not get away from them anyway and would support them no matter what they do in practice. But it was necessary to earn the trust of the financial markets, which in 1981 year reacted extremely negatively to the election of the first socialist president, François Mitterrand. Since then, the concern for gaining the trust of financial capital has grown into a valuable idea, and therefore there is no party in France that is so consistently focused on protecting the interests of bankers than the socialists. In addition, the Socialist Party is very successfully - in the face of its functionaries and experts - integrated into the structures and apparatus of the European Union. It consistently supported all market reforms undertaken from Brussels and provoking a protest by the majority of the French. Finally, this party is completely free from the manifestations of French nationalism, and therefore, unlike the right, is ready to meekly carry out any instructions coming not only from Brussels, but also from Berlin.
If the heirs of General de Gaulle still remember that France was once a great independent power, then similar memories are completely alien to the socialists. They know that real power is in the structures of the European Union, in Berlin and Washington.
And, most importantly, they like it.
The political existence of such socialists was ensured by two factors. On the one hand, for more than two decades, they systematically lured all the other leftists, including well-known intellectuals, popular journalists and leaders of a number of Trotskyist organizations who presented themselves as extreme radicals, but at the time when they needed to make a really important choice, they invariably called for support of socialists. as the "lesser evil." On the other hand, the Socialist Party in every way stimulated cultural differences between the "advanced middle class" and "backward" social groups - such as workers, farmers, or provincial petty bourgeois. Hence the importance that the socialists attached, for example, to same-sex marriages. Homosexual couples themselves are not too interested in such things, but for the Hollande party this had a symbolic meaning: it was possible to mobilize around them supporters of tolerance, if there are no other ideas or other slogans.
In the Russian press, one can often find the assertion that the socialists relied on the voices of more and more numerous immigrants in France. But it is not. The rhetoric on the rights of immigrants was not addressed to Arab guys from the suburbs who never voted for the social party - until recently they did not go to the polls at all - namely, the white liberal elite who cultivated the same idea of tolerance.
The Socialist Party and its left-wing vassals could hold their positions relatively safely until such time as an alternative appeared for their frustrated and disoriented voter. But this alternative, in the end, arose, but not on the left, but on the right - in the face of the “National Front”, headed by Marine Le Pen.
Intellectuals associated with the socialist party, responded to its growing success with a stream of indignant statements about the "rise of the far right", "racism", "anti-Semitism" and even the "fascist threat". But all this had no effect. Firstly, because the elite intellectuals who have used all their talents and knowledge to serve those in power and haves for several decades cause hatred among the lower classes. And the more they attack someone, the more they interest those whom they attack with their curses. And, secondly, the rhetorical attacks on the NF ignored the real processes that led to the rise of this party. And, above all, the radical changes that occurred in the “National Front” itself.
After Marine Le Pen inherited the leadership of the party from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, not only the policy and ideology of the French nationalists began to change, but also their social base.
“Dinosaurs” were expelled from the party, they cleaned out the sad racists and the evil anti-Semites who had so entertained the press in previous years. They were replaced by immigrants from the Communist Party and simply worried inhabitants, who believe that in France the authorities think too much about the interests of foreign banks and too little about their own citizens. At first, the NF drew to its side the voices of industrial workers abandoned by the left in the name of the novel with the “creative class”. Then immigrants began to join the ranks of the front. Unexpectedly for many, but quite naturally, in fact, it was Le Pen’s party that turned out to be the first and so far the only political organization that managed to actually mobilize the support of the population of immigrant neighborhoods. She helped Senegalese, Algerians and Moroccans with French passports to feel like real full-fledged citizens of the country who do not need the arrogant indulgence of the "left" intellectuals who shove them into the ghetto of "multiculturalism."
Sociologists were well aware that the growth of immigration is hitting, first of all, not for the “indigenous” population - except for the poorest part of it - and even more so, not for the “white” elite, but for the same immigrants who came a few years earlier. . It was they who unanimously supported the words of Le Pen that, instead of accepting new waves of immigrants in France, it is better to spend money on helping the development of the economy in the Arab countries and create jobs where people traditionally live.
At the same time, Marine Le Pen began not only to reproduce social slogans forgotten by the Communists, but also spoke about the ideals of national dignity and state interest, forgotten by the Gaullists. She turned out to be the only politician who openly spoke out against the European Union and against the subordination of Paris to the instructions of Berlin. The NF’s rhetoric also reflected the traditional dislike of the Gaullists for American domination in Europe.
Finally, in the propaganda of Marine Le Pen, another topic arose, previously traditional both for the Gaullists and for the Communists - the need for friendly relations with Russia.
In fact, the NF not only picks up ideas and topics abandoned by other parties, but also refers to their social base - abandoned and devoted. That is why, for the first time in two decades, the rhetoric and policy of the National Front has created an opportunity for political mobilization of the French lower classes, not divided according to the principle of race, religion or ethnicity.
Against this background, the hysteria of intellectuals about the right threat had the opposite effect. What is this racist party for which the non-white population is massively voting? If “multiculturalism” worked on splitting, splitting up and dividing society - quite in the spirit of the well-known principle of “divide and rule” - now in France we are witnessing a revival of civil nationalism, abolishing racial and religious differences.
Of course, not everyone liked the policies of the new leadership of Le Pen in their own party, many of the “veterans” of French nationalism had to leave the ranks of the NF. But the result of these changes was a radical coup in French politics: in the 2015 elections of the year, the NF took second place in the number of votes, pushing the socialists to third.
The distribution of future presidential elections in 2017 becomes more or less clear. Since they will participate in them, Sarkozy, Hollande and Le Pen, it is immediately clear who will be in the second round. The socialist party is on the path of irreversible decline. Voters have already punished Hollande, and will be punished again. The point is not that the socialists are to blame for the crisis that objectively embraced all capitalist countries, including Russia, but that they betrayed their ideas and their voters. For it will have to pay.
However, it is unlikely that Le Pen, despite all its successes of the previous few years, will be able to win. In the second round, both parties will unite against her, on which Sarkozy is counting, already preparing his return to the Elysee Palace.
Of course, a surprise is not ruled out: if against the background of a mass non-appearance of voters of the socialist party and an equally massive mobilization of "new French" from the immigrant lower classes, who previously simply did not vote, Le Pen will be able to win in the first round. But at the moment such a prospect still seems unlikely.
Only the question of what the French left is waiting against such a background remains open. The paradox is that the policy proposed by Marin Le Pen in France, in Greece or Italy, is promoted by the left parties, SYRIZA and Podemos. However, it is significant that in both cases we are talking about new parties that do not have strong roots in the political establishment - which is also characteristic of Marine Le Pen. Against this background, part of the French left is trying to form new political movements that criticize the European Union and defend French sovereignty. The trouble is that the niche is already occupied by the "National Front". And, trying to enter into serious politics, such groups will have to face a choice: to cooperate with nationalists or remain marginal. In Greece, SYRIZA was able to form an office by joining a coalition with a moderate nationalist party. However, in Athens, the left were in the majority, and did not risk, by and large, neither their reputation, nor their dominant position in the government.
In France, the choice is much more difficult and painful. But if the French left does not break sharply and definitively with the policy aimed at subordinating the country to the European Union and NATO, do not abandon the rhetoric of "multiculturalism" and do not regain the traditions of social struggle, they have no future.