Boycott the elections! Let us prepare the People’s War!

The PCM is fully part of the Boycott 2017 campaign. The platform of the campaign offers clear points of unity for a revolutionary boycott: to oppose the rise of fascism, the necessity of the revolution against capitalism, etc. Thus we participate wherever we are with our forces in this campaign and support all its initiatives.

Bourgeois democracy is the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie!

Every five years, the ruling class repeats everywhere and without interruption that it is time to go to the polls to “express” ourselves. According to the myth of bourgeois democracy, to express oneself consists of putting a ballot in an urn at regular intervals: it’s the way democracy is correctly working.

We communists say it clearly: their elections are a big farce! There is no doubt that their sole purpose is to try in vain to legitimize the system in power by making it appear that it has been chosen and accepted by the majority of the population.

Election after election, government after government, nothing improves for our class, the oppressed and exploited. The PS had promised “change is now”. The reality was “brainwashing is now!”. The results of Hollande’s five years in office speaks for itself: a succession of anti-social and anti-worker offensives, an ever more aggressive foreign policy and an even stronger rise of fascism. Faced with the financial crisis of 2008, the French imperialist bourgeoisie gained aggressiveness both internally (pension reform under Sarkozy, ANI, pact of responsibility and finally the Labor Reform accepted with force with the 49-3 law) and externally iImperialist interventions in Mali, Sahel, Central African Republic, Libya, Syria,…). The policy of the imperialist bourgeoisie to stay in power has the direct consequence of the worsening living conditions of the proletariat in France (rising unemployment and precarious employment, attacks on fundamental labor rights, police harassment in working class neighborhoods, etc.), and devastating interventions abroad that are at the root of the so-called “refugee crisis”, which is actually, above all, another crime of imperialism on the people of oppressed countries.

The ruling class, the bourgeoisie, is trying to make us believe that elections can miraculously change this through our votes. Yet, if we take a closer look at it, never has a ballot paper enabled us to acquire any real social progress; social victories have always been achieved through struggle.

For five years, Bernard Arnault, the Bouygues, the Dassaults have only made profits off our backs and now Fillon, Macron etc. tell us that we will have to tighten our belts, that we need even more liberalization so that they can fire us more easily and that we are going to have to figure out how how to live with the bare minimum. In short, plenty of contempt for the proletarians!

And against these, the proudest representatives of the bourgeoisie, there would be candidates who pretend to represent the interests of the entire French people, from the poorest classes, who wish to achieve a great national and popular unity. Let us begin by speaking about them specifically!

Against the illusion of social-chauvinism!

Hollande’s five-year term arrived after many right-wing governments. Thus the Socialist Party in the 2012 election wanted to gather the masses behind it by advocating a break with the anti-social welfare and racist policies that preceded it. While the economic crisis was the excuse for an employer offensive against the workers, Hollande (who was a candidate at this time) declared that his enemy was the “world of finance”. This sentence brought in and attracted many victims of Sarkozy’s anti-social welfare policies. But the second part of his sentence has often been forgotten – the latter says, “My enemy has no face, has no name.” The “finance world” was thus an invisible enemy, so invisible that the fight against it was just as invisible!

Sarkozy’s five-year term saw the movement against pension reform. The PS wanted to bring all the people opposed to this reform back to the polls. The PS government therefore opened up promises of social progress. The result is now clear: we have had the opposite. This situation caused a total collapse of the Socialist Party. The popularity rate of the Hollande government has steadily declined, and the PS realized that it was impossible for him to win another five-year term. Hence the divisions within this party in crisis have accelerated.

The PS is a bourgeois party responding directly to the bourgeoisie’s interests, its election is based on the fact that it claims to be able to reconcile the interests of the bourgeoisie and the interests of the working class for the progress of “France”. The PS crisis led it to split into two. On the one hand there are the supporters of Macron (not a member of the PS since 2009 but a supporter of Hollande since 2010) who left the government to accelerate Macron’s campaign (this is the case for example of Manuel Valls or Malek Boutih) and on the other hand we have Hamon, who at the end of the primary wants to be the incarnation of the PS’ left.

Hamon and Mélenchon constitute two sides of the same problem: social-chauvinism.

Both claim to have a social democratic legacy and to want to defend the “working class”. In reality, both are serving the imperialist bourgeoisie.

Both call for a united France, without class division. One wishes to make the heart of France beat, or the other wants it to be unbowed – in any case it is not the proletariat that they defend.

Mélenchon, regarding the foreign policy of France, claims in words to want peace but on the other hand he explains that his foreign policy will be based solely and entirely on the interest of the French people. That’s a funny peace that Monsieur Mélenchon proposes to us! Either one defends the strategic interests of French imperialism and continues to maintain the military and economic domination of the French State over oppressed countries, or one defends the international solidarity of the people: there is no between. Let us not forget that Mélenchon is very close to Dassault and that he has always congratulated and encouraged the sale of weapons that bring billions to France through its sales to Qatar, Russia, India or Egypt. He proudly explains that France must continue to sell weapons everywhere because otherwise someone else would do it. This, is the most abject chauvinism: it claims to be social in appearance, but actually it supplies fighter planes to the Indian army, which then are used to bomb indigenous populations and Maoists waging a revolution in the Indian state!

This is only one manifestation of this chauvinism among others. It is also important to note Mélenchon’s remarks on the workers posted abroad or on migrants who should leave if they have no work. Or on the program L’Avenir en Commun, its “Sea Plan”. For Mélenchon, “France is a maritime power that is unaware of itself”, its project consists purely and simply to develop the presence of French monopolies in the so-called “overseas departments and territories” without advancing even once the question of the people’s right to self-determination. The Kanak people should be grateful! Let us not forget that Mélenchon is the one who reintroduced the French flag and the Marseillaise in meetings of the left.

Social-chauvinism is not a solution or a step forward for the proletariat, it is not a step before the revolution that would advance towards it, it is a vigorous enemy of proletariat interests. Social-chauvinism divides the proletariat of the oppressed peoples, it does not allow class solidarity with the proletarians of the whole world. It renders the proletariat impotent by placing it under the leadership of the bourgeoisie, advocating class conciliation, denying even the central character of class struggle with slogans such as “Humans First!” or “Citizen Revolution!”.

The proletarian tactic in the present situation can not be to rank, to ally itself, or to make any illusions about the social-chauvinists, who are in the final summation, representatives of French imperialism.

A few words about the “anti-systems” 

Another phenomenon is that of declaring oneself an “anti-system candidate”, just as Trump did in the United States during his campaign. It is more and more probable that neither the PS nor Les Républicans (ex-UMP) will be in the second round. The two representatives of bipartisanism, who have organized political life and managed the country for decades, have lost so much credibility that their support has collapsed. This was first seen with the PS, which after this terrible fice-year term was starting with almost no chance at all. This may have seemed more surprising to Les Républicains, who are likely to lose an election that they thought was impossible to be lost. Alain Juppé and Manuel Valls, both favorites of the right and left in primary elections, were largely swept away despite media forecasts.

This is also the way to interpret the “anti-system” posturing of all the main candidates: no one wants to embody continuity with traditional politics.

It is obvious that these so-called anti-systems are not opposed to anything but wind. There is no longer any shame for them to claim to be against the system while they are often at the very heart of this system’s working mechanism: former students of big schools like ENA, career politicians and even a banker at Rothschilds for Macron! They represent all the ruling class’ interests and consequently none of them is of course able to oppose the main representative of the rise of fascism: Marine Lepen, also another “anti-system” candidate who has as her legacy a whole political party and being born into a very rich family in a house in Saint-Cloud.

Against with the rise of fascism, only one solution

What is fascism? Fascism is the open dictatorship of the most reactionary elements of finance capital. Since capital can no longer govern by the traditional method of liberal democracy, the most reactionary fringe of capital takes power and imposes itself brutally on society as a whole.

The economic crisis of 2008 saw all its consequences falling on the backs of the proletariat.

This crisis accelerated the rise of fascism in France, Europe and the world.

The PS government has only fueled this rise of fascism through a succession of anti-working class and anti-labor laws. Later, with the establishment of a permanent state of emergency, increasing the power of police, setting up a military occupation of the territory and setting up an extremely powerful repressive legal arsenal in the name of the so-called “fight against terrorism”.

Today the National Front, which embodies this rise of fascism, has its place in the second round guaranteed. The FN has the support of the police, important parts of the army, and have now started to get their hands into education, among senior civil servants, in the university. The bourgeoisie is increasingly openly choosing fascism to stabilize capitalism by the most brutal means. If it is unlikely that Marine Le Pen will be elected, she will certainly be present in the second round, weighing down political life for the next few years. It is possible that this “defeat” in the second round will push a part of the FN to try to replace her. Indeed, the line of the ideologist Florian Philippot, supporting the “social” aspect of the FN to cleanse the Party’s image, created important tensions within it. But fascism is a movement, of which Marine Le Pen is only one representative. Fascism will inevitably strengthen in the coming years, driven by the general crisis of capitalism and the collapse of the historical parties of the right and the left.

No candidate can claim to be able to oppose this rise of fascism. No election can block the rise of fascism. Even without the FN, all parties in power have favored its rise and will continue to do so. The only way to put an end to fascism once and for all is to destroy through revolution. Only socialist revolution can sweep away capitalism and consequently fascism, the method of financial capitalism’s government in times of crisis.

Thus the argument that the boycott would play into the “game of the National Front” is only an argument of the bourgeoisie to try to maintain its legitimacy to establish its power through the traditional political parties. Responsibility for the rise of the National Front will never fall on the proletariat which is not going to the polls – the only ones responsible are the French imperialist bourgeoisie, its allies and its representatives.

Let’s build the three instruments for Protracted People’s War!

Thus we strongly defend the tactic of boycotting bourgeois elections. This tactic is not intended to overthrow capitalism on its own. The purpose of this tactic is to continue to discredit bourgeois democracy, its aim is to reveal in the clearest possible way its true character, which is the dictatorship of capital. Its aim is to unite in action the revolutionary forces around a clear line concerning the elections. And finally, its most important aim is to transform the massive abstention of the proletariat into an even more substantial political act.

We inscribe this tactic in our revolutionary strategy: that of Protracted People’s War. We know that the bourgeois state will not fall by itself, that it can not be transformed from within, that it can not be conquered, but that it must be destroyed from top to bottom; we know the necessity of a revolution. To move towards the revolution we need a clear strategy. The strategy of Protracted People’s War is articulated around the three instruments to carry it out: the Party, the Front and the Fighting Force. We know that the revolution will not happen on a “Great Evening” that will miraculously overthrow the ruling class, we know that it will take place over time time, that it will pass through different phases, that in the beginning we will be in a particularly defensive phase, that this phase will be the longest before reaching a phase of equilibrium which will then allow us to carry out the strategic offensive. We also know that the bourgeoisie will defend its interests to the very end by protecting itself through its armed forces, mainly the army and the police, and that in front of it the people also need to have their armed forces. This is why we need a people’s fighting force, this armed force directly serving the interests of the proletariat. The Party is the General Staff of the proletariat, as Lenin put it, it opposes the headquarters of the bourgeoisie, it brings together the most advanced elements of the proletariat, that is to say those with the highest level of political consciousness and devoting themselves fully to the revolutionary struggle, the Party always analyzes the concrete conditions for establishing the tactics of struggle in each phase of the revolutionary’s strategy. The Front, on the other hand, is the masses organized on the Party’s revolutionary line.

This revolutionary strategy of Protracted People’s War rests on a great variety of tactics. For the bourgeois elections, in an imperialist country like France, the tactic of the active and revolutionary boycott is the most effective tactic of the proletariat to advance in the class struggle, to develop our solidarity and our strength in the struggle and to unmask all Revolutionary opportunists in speech, and reformists in practice.

For the revolution, boycott the elections!

Against the rise of fascism, let us prepare the People’s War!


C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.