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10 May, 2017

People are getting tired of choosing between the 'lesser of two evils'


Serge Halimi of Le Monde Diplomatique spoke to The Real News network about the new golden boy of the elites in France, Emmanuel Macron.

Halimi analysed, among other things, the origin of Macron's voters and the fact that the parliamentary system in France favors the political formations promoted by the establishment:

People are getting really tired of having to choose between the 'lesser of two evils'. And this time they decided not to do it all the more the because of the fact that they knew from the very beginning that Marine Le Pen stood no chance of being elected, and they didn't want to give a mandate to Macron who would enact liberal poor market policies and deregulate the labor markets. So it was really very difficult for left-wing voters to give a mandate to someone who would enact policies you would have to fight a few weeks after you helped elect him.

Macron's golden boy image and actions account for the fact that despite of his landslide victory, 56 percent of the workers voted for Marine Le Pen. Of course, Paris, which is the most bourgeois of the major French cities, gave a landslide to Macron - received 90 percent of the vote there.

You saw in this vote, a prosperous and educated France that voted for Macron and won. And the richer city is in terms of how much income it tax its residents, the more likely the city is to vote for Macron, who incidentally promised to eliminate much of the wealth tax.

One thing we must emphasize, the fact that Macron is really the elected president of the prosperous France and of the middle class, and that Marine Le Pen got a lot of support from the working class. And this is something that will stay during Macron's term, and I think the policies he has in mind, especially the deregulation of the labor market will insist on the features of his program, which is a program meant for the wealthy.

The result Mélenchon got was not the highest the left had in France. You had, several decades ago, the Communist party that got more than 20 percent of the vote, but it's still a very good result he got in the first round.

Now, the question is the extent to which this result will translate in parliamentary seats. And the parliamentary system is such that its very unlikely that Mélenchon will get that many seats. We have 577 seats in the National Assembly, and most of the projections say that Mélenchon will be able to get 40 or 50 seats at most. So, maybe we will be surprised by what happens in the next few weeks, but the most likely outcome will be Macron getting almost the majority of the seats in the National Assembly. The right, getting 200 seats more or less, and then, Mélenchon and the extreme right getting very few seats because the system is rigged against parties such as the National Front and the Left International Assembly.


Halimi describes the characteristics of Macron's middle class voters that fit to the description of the journalists who work in the mainstream media, given by the sociologist Alain Accardo:Journalistic titles hire journalists whose social background – socially, culturally, educationally and morally – fits perfectly with what the current capitalist order asks for. People working in media are mostly middle-class types with the same interests, favouring consumerism, hedonism, libertarian individualism and unconditional Europeanism from Brussels.

The middle-class, which has not collapsed yet in France, still has the characteristics that fit to the neoliberal regime. However, it is obvious that this tank of voters has shrunk significantly, and the establishment is struggling to keep them inside the desirable 'status quo' with tricks like the supposedly 'fresh', apolitical image of Emmanuel Macron, the threat of Le Pen's 'evil' figure that comes from the Far-Right, or, the illusion that they have the right to participate equally to almost every economic activity.

Yet, the middle class is not homogeneous. The neoliberal nightmare that Macron is about to bring for the workers, will effect also the lower middle class layers. Macron then will discover that it will be very difficult to find the right balance in order to finish the job for the elites. He will have to get all the help he can from the Brussels-Berlin axis, in order to secure the desirable conditions for the new Feudalism.

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