A ‘decisive’ result in favour of Sarkozy. Quite. 53-47 split between Sarko and Royal in the 2nd round of the French presidential elections.
A slim margin, don’t you think? Not according to the stenographers of power. Despite getting just over half of the votes, slightly more than his one opponent, Sarkozy’s win is in fact an overwhelming triumph; now the American neo-con with a French passport has a mandate from the people to screw the poor, the immigrants, the workers and students…
Imagine the results were reversed: 53% for Royal and 47% for Sarkozy. Imagine the headlines!
The capitalist class is overjoyed by Sarkozy’s underwhelming victory and this glee is reflected in its media. Had Royal won, there would have been much sulking and a demonisation of the French masses for rejecting the Washington Consensus.
Thankfully, millions have effectively endorsed an attack on living conditions in France. Millions have opposed it, too, by voting for Royal. This will be a weakness; it was a disappointing result for Washington’s man.
The 35 hour week will go if Sarkozy has the guts to face strikes and riots. And he will face it; the bourgeois media will back him up and pump out the message that it is undemocratic to strike against ‘reforms’, that rioters are the conservatives and it is Sarkozy who is the radical. Never mind that it was a historic progressive achievement to enshrine a 35 hour week in law, and the negative impact longer working hours will have on family life.
There will be a struggle. It might look gloomy now, but France’s answer to Margaret Thatcher will face a strong resistance. He cannot unite the French around a platform of reforms that will lead to more unemployment, longer working hours for less pay, and so on.
Token marches and angry speeches will not be good enough. Remember, it was the Great Miner’s Strike that almost toppled Thatcher and the poll tax revolt that finished her off. There has been no reversal of her reforms, as yet.
The gloves will have to come off. If they don’t, the French proletariat can look forward to more homelessness, more rights for bosses, long working hours, high levels of child poverty, and imperialist wars.