Imperialism in Crisis: The Growing Torrent of Repudiation and the Crisis in Parliamentarism – 2022 French Presidential and Legislative Elections

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Proletarians of all countries, unite!

Imperialism in Crisis: The Growing Torrent of Repudiation and the Crisis in Parliamentarism

2022 French Presidential and Legislative Elections

“[…] the historical main tendency is the fusion of the People’s War led by the Party, with that great torrent represented by the millions of non registered, non voting and those blank or null vote casters; this is the torrent, which the Party is helping to structure as part of the sea of masses which necessarily will sweep away the old order of exploitation and oppression.”

The Communist Party of Peru, “Elections, no! People’s war, Yes!”, 1990

Elections is the method to renew the government administration of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, i.e. renew its mediators. Like Marx aptly pointed out: “Every few years the oppressed are authorized to decide which members of the oppressor class will represent and crush them in parliament!” The bourgeois parties are instruments in the service of maintaining the established order, its preservation and evolution.

With imperialism, nations changed from being principally political entities to becoming principally economic entities. This change of substance brought about a crisis in the political state.

Imperialism is the highest and final stage of capitalism also has its sub-stages, and today it is in an advanced stage of decomposition and in its general and final crisis in which it will be swept away. The World Proletarian Revolution is in the stage of Strategic Offensive. This is characteristically expressed in the tendency of those below refusing to live as before and those above being unable to rule as before.

In April of this year, the French presidential election was held in two rounds, followed by the Legislative election held in June, also in two rounds, in which the National Assembly is elected. Both demonstrate the same characteristics of the crisis of parliamentarism on the one hand, and the torrent of masses who abstain from or repudiate the bourgeois electoral farce on the other.

In the first round of the presidential election, held on the 10th of April, Macron from “La République En Marche!” received 27.9% of the votes, followed by Marie La Pen of “National Rally” with 23.2% and others. Several of the major parties received their worst results for years. 26.31% abstained from voting, and together with the 2.2% submitted blank or null votes, this amounts to 28.51%, which amounts to approximately 13.9 million of the population eligible to vote. Meanwhile, the candidate and party which received the most votes, Macron from “La République En Marche!”, only received the vote of 20.55% of the total population eligible to vote. This means 7.96% more lacks faith in, shows disinterest in, or outright repudiates the bourgeois electoral farce than voted for the candidate with the most votes. What a triumph for representative democracy!

Selected Statistics From the First Round of the 2022 French Presidential Election

 Percentage of the total population eligible to vote (48,747,876)In numbers
Emmanuel Macron, La République En Marche! (Changed name to “Renaissance” on September 17th)20.069,783,058
Marine Le Pen, National Rally16.688,133,828
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, La France Insoumise15.827,712,520
Éric Zemmour, Reconquête5.092,485,226
Blank or null votes2.2790,760
Total abstainers and blank or null vote casters28.5113,614,929

With no party receiving a majority in the first round, a second round was held, in which Macron “won” and was re-elected as the President of France. In the second round 28% abstained from voting – the highest since 1969, and 8.6% submitted blank or null votes, together amounting to 36.6%. Macron received 58.5% of the vote (38.49% of the population eligible to vote) and Le Pen 41.45% (27.25%).

The two rounds of the legislative elections were held on June 12th and June 19th respectively, and displayed once more the growing torrent of abstainers, in which a record high of 52.% abstained from voting in the first round, and 53.8% in the second. For the first time since 1988, the elections ended in a hung parliament, as no alliance was able to acquire a majority.

Selected Statistics From the First Round of the 2022 French Legislative Election

 Percentage of the total population eligible to vote (48,953,748)In numbers
New Ecologic and Social People’s Union (NUPES)11.925,836,079
National Rally8.674,248,537
Union of the Right and Centre5.242,568,502
Blank or null votes1.04511,499
Total abstainers and blank or null vote casters53.5326,209,040

The NUPES coalition requested a vote of no confidence in the government, but it did not pass. Shortly after, however, negotiations among the parties to form a stable majority government began on June 21st, but this pursuit quickly failed. Ultimately, the Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne was tasked with the proposal and formation of a minority government.

The legislative elections displayed the tendency of vote dispersal and indecisiveness, and the consequent tendency towards gridlocks in the parliament. It has been described by some as the most indecisive elections since the establishment of the five-year presidential term in 2000. We see in France also the growing torrent of masses of non-voters. These two aspects of the contradiction, the torrent of repudiation and the crisis in parliamentarianism, proves big problems for the imperialist big bourgeoisie in France, like it does more and more in all the imperialist countries, in unequal development. The latter weakens the very foundations of the bourgeois state, and this is filling the imperialist big bourgeoisie and the bourgeois state with dread.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire describe the crisis of parliamentarism manifested in the legislative elections in his own terms, as a “democratic shock”, and that if the other coalitions did not cooperate, “this would block our capacity to reform and protect the French”, i.e. to ensure the preservation and evolution of the old order, of the dictatorship of the French big bourgeoisie. The mediators of the bourgeois dictatorship who posses the administrative task of upholding the old order are failing to come to relative unity of selection of method. This is symptomatic of the crisis of parliamentarism, which is an expression of the crisis of imperialism. The manifestations of the general crisis of imperialism instills them with a very acute and not unfounded sense of danger. Like Prime Minister Borne said: “The result is a risk for our country in view of the challenges we have to face.”

We maintain that we must not place all the weight in the statistics, in quantity, although they reflect something from the quality. But, not all. The principal aspect is the quality, in the impotency and contention of the bourgeois governments in their role, in the crises, in the deepest and broadest masses, the class, refusing to live as before, in rebelling, in rejecting or repudiating the electoral farce and the bourgeois state.

The parties and coalitions in the bourgeois governments represent various factions and sectors within the bourgeoisie, and in the case of France, the imperialist (i.e. monopoly, big) bourgeoisie. Particularly in this period we are in, this comes to expression in a worsening state of collusion and struggle, increased struggle between and inside the parties, that is, struggle over which methods to employ in for the preservation and evolution of the old order. Their days are numbered. They are trembling. With imperialism, they are on a sinking ship, and with this pressure, the internal contradictions among them is expressed in this sharpening internal struggle. The inter-factional contradictions in the big bourgeoisie over the ultimately futile methods for the preservation and evolution of the old order is becoming increasingly more unreconciliatory.

With this crisis in parliamentarism, the state becomes weaker in its foundations, and will have to rely more and more on its armed and repressive forces, and thus it becomes clearer to the people that the armed forces are the backbone of the state, and that every state sustains, defends and develops itself by the use of violence, in the face of which the people need revolutionary violence.

In synthesis, we see that the reactionaries have to develop their electoral processes, which for them represent more problems, including worsening collusion and struggle among them over methods of preserving and developing the old order. This causes the decrepit parliamentary system to rot even more. The old state loses legitimacy among the masses. The foundations of the old state is weakened and through this process it is forced to rely and sustain itself more and more on its armed forces, on blunt repressive force, exposing clearer its character and demarcating itself from the people. The answer to the violence of the reaction to sustain, develop and defend the old order is and will be met by its developing opposite, the revolutionary violence of the people to overthrow the old order.

The rotten nature of imperialism, the decrepit bourgeois parliament and its farcical elections call for the boycott of the elections, it calls for People’s War. We have our eyes, we have our senses. Still, there are those who refuse to see. History will march past them as they are left on the garbage heap of history. The storm is coming. The wind is howling in the tower.