Socialist Worker

'Non' to Blairism — France's vote was a victory for the left

by KEVIN OVENDEN
Issue No. 1954

Working people in France have delivered a defiant no to privatisation, neo-liberalism and Blairite policies across Europe.

Their rejection of the European constitution on Sunday is a revolt against the elites in France, Britain and Europe, who want us to work harder in less secure jobs, all in the name of global competition.

This was a left wing, working class vote. Some 90 percent of managers voted for the constitution, while 80 percent of blue collar workers voted no.

The biggest swing was among supporters of the Socialist Party (similar to the Labour Party here).

The no campaign was led by the radical left, and the 55 percent who voted against the constitution did so overwhelmingly for left wing reasons. The biggest of them were anger at unemployment, an urge to kick back at the Tory government of Jacques Chirac and opposition to neo-liberalism — which the constitution set in stone.

The far right was marginalised in the campaign.

Its calls to protect “French identity” and oppose Turkey joining the EU came sixth and seventh in a survey of eight reasons why people voted no.

“The French vote is another breakthrough for the left in Europe,” says Oliur Rahman, Respect councillor in Tower Hamlets.

“It has again shown that working people and the left are waking up. We want cooperation across Europe, but we want it from below, democratically and between working people.

“The message to mainstream parties is that if they don’t listen to us, the left will take their support.”

Also see France's no vote was a blow against neo-liberalism


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News
Sat 4 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1954
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