Socialist Worker

Francois Hollande’s retreats have given the bigots a boost in France

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2390

Francois Hollande

Francois Hollande (Pic: Lucas Desiles)

France’s centre-left president Francois Hollande has given a chilling glimpse of what could be in store for Britain under a future Labour government.

Hollande capitulated to reactionary protests against his government’s tame pro-LGBT reforms last week.

He dashed any suggestion that same sex couples could have the right to procedures such as IVF to help them have children.

His proposed family law was postponed and stripped of some of its more progressive elements.

A number of rights for gay and lesbian couples were removed last year.

Hollande’s coalition partners accused him of “betrayal”.

An opinion poll on Thursday of last week found that just 19 percent of people backed him—a record low.

Protests against gay marriage last year have developed into a sustained movement of intense homophobia and transphobia. 

Marches have brought tens of thousands into the street, with fascist groups at the centre.

A second day of school stayaways called by the far right affected a tiny minority of schools on Monday of this week.


Far right bigots have claimed that children are taught to masturbate, or to change their sexual orientation or gender in schools.

The reality is a new “ABC of Equality” to promote respect in schools, which most parents back. 

France has not become a country of bigots. 

Only a minority think the law should defend “the traditional family model”. A majority support gay marriage and help for lesbians to have children.

Hundreds of people demonstrated against a fascist Front National meeting in Rennes last week.

But Hollande has demobilised and demoralised the supporters he had galvanised with promises to take on the rich.

Unemployment has risen and the economy has sunk deeper into crisis. 

Hollande has responded with cuts while union leaders have helped keep a lid on workers’ anger.

This created a political vacuum on the left at a time of rising discontent. 

And mass deportations of Roma people have boosted the right.

Hollande’s government was supposed to celebrate a “pact of responsibility” with bosses this week.

It means £25 billion of tax exemptions for them, and £53 billion of cuts to services and benefits. Yet many politicians were critical while the bosses’ organisation Medef said it wasn’t enough.

Stopping France’s drift to the right will take systematic opposition to the Nazis.

But it will also take real resistance to Hollande’s austerity.


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