News Release

Socialist Victory in France

The Los Angeles Times reports: “Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday advanced to a presidential runoff election, as a far-right candidate surprised many observers with a strong third-place finish.”

ETHAN YOUNG, ethanyoung at earthlink.net
Content manager for Economy Watch, a blog sponsored by the Brecht Forum, Young said today: “Nationalism — both anti-European unity and anti-immigrant — undercut Nicolas Sarkozy. It should be noted that the Socialist Party in France has been pro-European integration and has pushed austerity. But they are not as closely associated with these policies as Sarkozy who, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has hoisted draconian austerity measures on southern European countries. The French enjoy, and support, a still-substantial safety net, which came from the Left.

“The anti-immigrant Marine Le Pen’s strong third place showing is very important, but it’s not clear where those voters will go. Le Pen has been anti-Euro and anti-austerity. Much of their base is working class. But it’s a fundamentally fascist party which has taken classical anti-Semitism and applied it to immigrant Arabs and Muslims.

“Jean-Luc Melenchon, further left than the first place Socialists, came in fourth place with 11 percent. His party is anti-European integration and anti-austerity. He had surged in recent weeks with very vibrant protests, but it’s clear that did not translate to as strong a showing as some expected. Melenchon just endorsed Hollande, and his popularity will have weight.”