Interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon: “France, that Latin American country”

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By: Luis Casado / Source: Politika-La Pluma / April 20, 2017

Photo credit: La Pluma
Photo credit: La Pluma

Our colleagues from French news outlet “La Pluma” generously gave us the rights to republish this exclusive interview by Luis Casado, Politika’s editor, to Christian Rodríguez, who is in charge of International Affairs for the movement led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the man that could give the world a great surprise this April 23.

Luis Casado: In a few days, the first round of the elections will take place and the media points to Marine Le Pen as the favorite and three candidates as her rival for the ballotage, between them we find Jean-Luc Mélenchon. How do you see your possibilities?

Christian Rodríguez: We need keep in mind that nine multi-millionaires own 90% of the mass media at France. To our eyes, this mediacracy is completely unqualified to offer an objective vision of the reality. There are a few honorable exceptions.

The presidential campaign has had a climate of general political decomposition that affects the right and the far right, as well as the self-denominated “leftist government”.

Among the right wing, judicial scandals tarnish candidate François Fillon, on accounts of economic malfeasance, and Marine Le Pen, for illegally funding her campaign with funds from the European Congress.

The “leftist government”—i.e.: French socialism—, stepped down the campaign of their own candidate. The socialist barons would rather call to vote for neoliberal candidate Emmanuel Macron instead of keeping their promise of supporting Benoit Hamon, winner of the primaries of the French Socialist Party (FSP).

The media—press and TV—compete over offering the “scoop” of the day, leaving the fundamental topics in the hands of others. This environment prevents a serious debate about the programs and proposals at hand, and hides the people’s claims and aspirations. The majority of the citizenship, tired of corruption, doesn’t even answer to opinion polls.

The elimination of the “natural leaders” and “electoral champions”, swept out by their own bases, (like Sarkozy, Hollande, Valls, Juppé) did not clear the atmosphere of political decomposition. The rise of Macron and Hamon, both of them former Ministers for Hollande who “broke apart” from the current president, contributed to increase confusion.

Le Pen’s refusal to appear before the judges, betting on a possible presidential immunity, generates a climax of ending cycle. All of these in the middle of repeated attacks to the power separation, and to the independence of the Judicial Branch by Le Pen and Fillon. Traditional leftist and rightist parties are at a plenum liquidness. It is an unparalleled situation for the post war France, that marks the end of the viability of the 5th Republic installed by General De Gaulle to the Liberation.

So, the polls and surveys have no credibility whatsoever. To the point that they have resigned offering a result, as they used to do until now. Now they are limited to claim that are 4 candidates virtually tied. The people of France shall choose next Sunday.

The spectacular growth of Insubordinate France Movement gives to us reasons to remain optimistic. With the slogan “Let’s sweep them all”, the party emerged from nowhere and raised over 450,000 adherents in the whole country.

There is no way to confirm that Marine Le Pen’s far right will be the dominant political current. The force that abstention has is disturbing. Our efforts are concentrated on convincing and winning votes among the ones that feel defeated, the disenchanted ones and the young people that has never voted. Whatever happens it is important for us to maintain the popular mobilization and growth of the Insubordinate France after the presidential and parliamentary elections.

In 2012, Jean-Luc Mélenchon called to vote for François Hollande on the second row. Today it seems like his first and only term was a failure. What is your opinion about that?

François Hollande Betrayed the the program that allowed him to be elected. To the unfulfillment of his promises it was added the betrayal to the principles of French socialism. Hollande was not able to aspire to re election, and his candidate was defeated at the primaries of the FSP.

At his arrival to power, Hollande did not even applied the traditional measures of the left governments: increasing the minimum wage, or pardoning the trade unionists prosecuted by Sarkozy’s repression.

Later, while backing up in the actual Constitution, his government approved by decree one of the most retrograde and pro-boss that France has ever known since 1910 (the El-Khomri Law). This law was rejected by guilds, unions, the people in general and legislators as well. This is why Hollande leaped over the Congress and made a decree to authorize it, damaging the democratic exercise in the process.

This, plus all the other ultra liberal policies he made, was why a re election was an impossible quest, even for his Prime Minister.

In 2012 Jean-Luc Mélenchon was the candidate of the Left Front (Front de Gauche). Today he is candidate of the Insubordinate France, that was created only over a year ago defined as a citizen movement. What is exactly the Insubordinate France?

Is a citizen movement composed by men and women who understood that there is no political solution that may resign the popular will of the French people to take their destiny in their own hands. It is a movement with power vocation with the main objective to end with the actual institutions and to instal the 6th Republic through the call of a citizen’s Constitutive Assembly. In the case of being chosen, Jean Luc-Melenchon’s first government act will be the call to referendum to impose that call.

We break from a self-proclaimed left, that in its government practice it does not distinguish itself from the neoliberal political forces and that it abandons the citizen’s claims. being leftish or not. The movement reunites citizens without militancy nor any party affiliation, and also left parties.

The references and arguments of the left to mobilize their electorate, the calls to “unity” or to the “values of the left, of the worker movement, etc”, are nowadays massively rejected by the people. This is why we try to reconstitute the left around new reference and ideas, expressed on our program “Our Common Future”.  

After Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s candidature proposition on February 2016, the Insubordinate France began working on its program “Our Common Future”, a program of collective elaboration.

This work was based on the program of his presidential postulation on 2012 titled “First of all, the Human” and in a continuous intellectual production that configured the seven pillars of our project as much as the objectives for the future.

The objectives are the Constitution for a sixth Republic, the fair redistribution of wealth, the ecological planification, the renegotiation of the European treaties, the independence and alternative to the mundialization for the peace, the human progress and the conquest of new frontiers for humanity as are the sea, the space and the dominance of the digital.

Historically, France has centered its interests on the African continent. However, the Republic’s territory spreads over to Latin America. Why the adversaries of the Insubordinate France attack an eventual relation with the ALBA?

It is normal, in a presidential campaign, to dispute the access to the citizen vote. It is not acceptable to build a campaign around lies and inventions. Some people decided to make campaign on the Melenchon, Chávez, Castro, Putin, etc, theme. They talk about Chavez, who has passed away, about Fidel Castro, who also died. There are generating fear about an alleged “dictatorship”.

Between them, the Nouvel Observateur is really mean with its hostility. A weekly newspaper that pretends to be leftist, could at least make arguments on what they agree or not. Butt instead they say “Melenchon or the Kremlin’s peace”.

They also found on our program that France should unite the ALBA. But without explaining what the ALBA is. Instead of informing, the journalists said it is a Chávez invention, and therefore is not worthy of debate. ALBA is an cooperation organization on the Latin American continent. Is the only cooperation association, it has no commercial objectives, like the Mercosur or the TPP. And is not a military alliance. Is an cooperation association between countries of the region. That simple.

And at Latin America we have the French Guiana, a place where there are a lot of social problems, and their actually struggling to get improvements in their level of life. Wouldn’t it be good if Guyana could integrate to the Latin American tissue so that it does not depend on the short dotations sent from Paris?

We also have territories on the Caribbean. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could relate with their neighbours? Our adversaries only talk about “mundialization”, but only of the markets. And when a project to organize an useful cooperation in the benefit of our territories emerges, they treat it as suspicious or dangerous.

What countries are part of the ALBA? Venezuela. Always Venezuela! The country with the biggest petroleum reserves of the world. And we are fighting against carbon energy. Our adversaries claim: “But Russia is at the ALBA!”. They do not know what they are saying. Russia is not at the ALBA. Why do they say this? To generate fear because they think voters are stupid. At ALBA, as in every international institutions, there are also observer countries. Like Haiti for example. Frenchmen have a huge debt regarding Haiti, the first Negro Republic of the world, a republic that we wage war against. We made Haiti pay for the abolition of slavery.

Also Syria and Iran are among the observers. Countries that, along France, must be observer at many international organizations. And also Uruguay. And Paraguay, whose government is product of a coup, but our adversaries will not quote that.

To conclude, we, the Frenchmen, are interested in the ALBA, and it would be positive to integrate it. It would be a way of saying that we are a Caribbean and Latin American country. We are in the region through territories, sea zones, and above all, a population that has similar needs to the ones of the region, despite France being a developed and industrialized European power. The participation of France in a solidary co development project with the countries of the region will benefit all.

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