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Clémentine Autain: “The far right and Macron are not the same”

With 21.95% of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the rebellious opened the door to a rally on the left bringing together the PCF, EELV and the NPA, for the legislative elections. For MP FI Clémentine Autain, after beating Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election on Sunday, the challenge will be to inflict a defeat on Emmanuel Macron in June.

What would a victory for the far right represent on Sunday?

A terrible journey at the end of the night. It should not be forgotten that the extreme right primarily targets minorities, in particular foreigners, Muslims and inhabitants of working-class suburbs. Women, targeted by a misogyny constitutive of their political identity, will be the first victims. The extreme right will turn the rule of law into paper casseroles. Freedom will be under surveillance, and the anti-social policy, which we contest at Macron, will continue. It’s a dangerous cocktail when we know the models of Marine Le Pen: Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Viktor Orban. And if Le Pen and his friends take power, let’s beware of their ability not to return it…

How to avoid this risk, Sunday April 24?

With insubordinate France and the Popular Union, I fought so that Marine Le Pen was not present in this second round. Now that we’ve narrowly missed that goal, the usual “republican front” moral can it save us? I do not believe that. Since 2002, we have been explaining that we must avoid the worst. However, the least worst of 2017, Emmanuel Macron, is of great social violence and draconian. We are therefore in front of a bone, especially with the younger generations who are not irrigated like the previous ones by the anti-fascist fight. Moreover, unlike 2002, we have no monster and immediate demonstrations. A spring broke because people are angry at a form of non-choice, after going so close to the second round with the candidacy of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. That is to say if the situation is dangerous. We must carry out work to raise awareness of what the far right actually covers. A simple slogan of the type “vote Macron” seems to me likely to divide the great emancipatory family, and we will thus not be able to be massively understood on the very meaning to be given to this vote. In reality, it is Emmanuel Macron who bears the responsibility of bringing the voters together. I hear so many people can’t stand the idea of ​​putting a Macron ballot back in the ballot box. I see the difficulty and I am worried about it. By proposing retirement at 65, among other things, he does not favor a vote against Marine Le Pen. With the policy pursued during his last five years, he has put us in danger against Marine Le Pen. But Macron and the far right are not the same. When we say “not a voice for the far right”, it is our way of entering the game so as not to draw an equal line between the two. But it is also an invitation for everyone to take their responsibilities.

If Marine Le Pen is beaten, Emmanuel Macron will have five more years at the Élysée. How should resistance to its ultra-liberal policies be organised?

We will have to defeat Macron in the legislative elections. This requires building a majority in the National Assembly. It’s ambitious but we have to be. The election of April 10 shows us: having ambition allows us to carry ourselves high. This is the responsibility we have, with the Popular Union. We must live up to the votes that have been granted to us, in particular those from young people and working-class neighborhoods. They came to the polls thanks to the campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, contributing to our score. It obliges us. We must continue and amplify this dynamic, by aggregating ever more.

Precisely, what rallies do you want on the left for the legislative elections? Letters were sent to EELV and the NPA, and a first meeting was held with the Communists. Are you optimistic?

I have the optimism of the will! Millions of people are in concrete need of it, because they are waiting for an increase in their salaries, means for public services, the end of draconian laws… And there is an urgent need to carry out the ecological transition and to build a new Republic. I know the resentments to overcome. The very violent words towards Jean-Luc Mélenchon during the campaign, coming from Anne Hidalgo and Yannick Jadot, and to a lesser extent from Fabien Roussel, built walls when we needed bridges. I also know that, on the merits, programmatic and strategic points remain to be discussed. Finally, I note that the proposals for discussion made during the presidential campaign to the PCF and EELV remained a dead letter. The declaration of the rebellious parliamentary intergroup on Tuesday clearly reaches out, on firm but open bases. She proposes a method: to come together on the merits to identify a coherent majority perspective. I invite all the forces and personalities of the left and of political ecology to seize this open door.