In search of the lost left wing of Macronie

“Rebranding” operation in “start-up nation”. The Republic on the move officially changes its name, on the occasion of a congress of macronist executives this Saturday in Metz. Exit LaREM, hello Renaissance, a new party which will integrate within it the two satellite forces Agir and Territories of Progress. « Not a merger-absorption, but an alliance of three parties », we say in Macronie, without any status having been fixed yet. Not enough to reassure those who demand that the new party allow more structure and debate on political lines.

“It is clear that this is not how the presidential campaign worked. There was no synthesis work where all the ideas would have been discussed. The program came directly from the Élysée and we aligned ourselves with it”, regrets Philippe Hardouin. This elected official from Ivry-sur-Seine chairs En Commun, a party created in 2020 to bring together several deputies from the majority, with social-democratic or ecological sensitivities. What is called « the left wing of Macronie ». Implied, deputies and executives anxious to establish social counterparts to the liberal fever of Emmanuel Macron, to fight against global warming, when the right wing is more liberal-conservative and focused on security. The two poles of “at the same time”, in short.

But does the left wing even exist? After five years of macronism, it is difficult to retain a great « left » law, except perhaps the PMA law for all. The texts marked on the right (asylum and immigration law, global security, reform of the Labor Code, unemployment insurance, etc.) have, on the other hand, followed one another at high speed. However, for Hubert Julien-Laferrière, ex-MP LaREM who has since been on the benches of Nupes, yes, there was indeed a left wing originally: “In 2017, many left-wing voters, especially socialists, voted for Macron, so it was logical to find LaREM deputies who represented this sensitivity. » There was no shortage of former socialists and even ecologists on the benches of the presidential group, which then consisted of three contingents: one from the PS, the other from LR or the UDI, and finally the last made up of novices from politics, the famous « deputies of civil society ». At first glance, this therefore leaves room for a social-democratic current to express itself within LaREM. But the first disappointments come quickly. « The first government in 2017 has already been a signal: LR takes Matignon with the appointment of Édouard Philippe but also Bercy with Bruno Le Maire, so everything is locked by the right from the start ”, says a former member of the majority. There are certainly former socialists in the executive, but that does not guarantee anything: “The Kohlers, Castaner, Denormandie, Ferrand, they come from the PS but I challenge you to recognize yourself in their politics when you are on the left”she tackles.

Those who have not completely forgotten where they come from are still trying to influence legislation. “In the winter of 2017-2018, we started to meet between left-wing MPs. It was good to see that we weren’t the only ones to be uncomfortable with the start of mandate, says a former deputy. But there was no leeway within the En Marche group, no democratic space. It was managed with an iron fist by the gun-bearers of Macron, Richard Ferrand, Gilles Legendre…” And it is not La République en Marche that will change anything. The former elected official chokes: The party ? It is non-existent! It’s an empty shell with the president’s guards. How to tell you… you don’t do political philosophy with Stanislas Guérini (the general delegate of LaREM, who must leave his post on August 27, editor’s note)! » In fact, decisions are taken at the Élysée, around Emmanuel Macron and the Secretary General of the Palace, Alexis Kohler.

Until 2020, the « left wing » is reduced to this: informal working groups, which struggle to make themselves heard, for lack of structure. Some end up leaving the party, like the fifteen deputies who formed the short-lived group Ecology, Democracy and Solidarity, in the summer of 2020. Others remain within the majority, but try to create structures outside of LaREM, acknowledging the failure of the party to really be one. Territories of Progress (TdP), led by the now Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt, was created in January 2020. TdP seeks to organize a group around Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in the hope of counterbalancing, in government, the influence of the “right pack” (Bruno Le Maire, Gérald Darmanin, Sébastien Lecornu, Édouard Philippe then Jean Castex, all from LR). Two years later, TdP is preparing to integrate Renaissance. How does he stand out in Macronie? “We particularly defend the end of life, the recentralisation of social policies, in particular the RSA, the question of old age and nursing homes”pleads Xavier Iacovelli, senator and number two of TdP.

Better, Territory of Progress can boast of having one of its members at Matignon: Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. A « woman on the left », according to his relatives. It would still be necessary for the one who opened rail transport to competition, reformed unemployment insurance and defended pension reform to be able to demonstrate it… Ditto for Olivier Dussopt. The chairman of TdP must retire at age 65, which he considers to bring « new progress ». Or more or less the same speech as the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, supposed to embody the right wing. Xavier Iacovelli himself finds it difficult to find what would differentiate the two men: “ They do not have the same course, but when you are a minister, you respect the roadmap which is set by the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic. So there is no difference in the substance of the reforms that will be carried out, but perhaps a difference in the method. Olivier Dussopt is in consultation, in listening… Besides, I’m not saying that this is not the case with Bruno Le Maire, I know him less. » Front left wing, then? Territories of Progress fulfills at least one electoral objective. Xavier Iacovelli confirms: “TdP still has the ambition to address a left-wing government electorate, which did not leave the PS out of loyalty but which does not recognize itself in unnatural alliances with Nupes. »

Another actor on the left wing: En Commun, created on the initiative of Barbara Pompili in May 2020, is seen more as a “think tank”. “We stand out on several points, explains Cécile Rilhac, Renaissance deputy and member of En Commun. We repeat that we do not go far enough on ecology, that we must find sources of financing for school and health, if we decide not to increase taxes. It is also out of the question for us to give a blank check to retirement at 65 without social compensation. » Members of En Commun published a note in the fall of 2021 to feed into the presidential program for 2022. It includes around 50 proposals with more left-wing markers, including the obligation of union representation for the platforms of the uberized economy, a taxation of web giants up to 25% of their profits, the legalization of cannabis or even full proportionality. The note went unheeded in the campaign. Without a minister in government, the party is isolated. “We are in an extremely small minority, it is obvious that it will be difficult to defend our positions with regard to the laws which are going to be discussed, a fortiori given the climate in the Assembly conducive to the excesses of the extremes”judge Philippe Hardouin, president of En Commun.

Especially since with the debate on immigration, the new unemployment insurance reform and retirement at 65, the political year will be written with the right hand in Macronie. Emmanuel Macron noted that his voters were now mostly on the right – a shift that started from the 2019 Europeans. The sovereign or strategic ministries – Economy, Interior, Armies, Ecology – are still in the hands of former LRs. Gérald Darmanin and Bruno Le Maire have ambitions for 2027 and squat the media agenda. This summer, the rare attempts to raise the voice on the left side of Macronie have each time ended badly for their initiators.

On July 20 first, the deputy In Common Stella Dupont tabled an amendment proposing to “tax the superprofits of gas and oil companies linked to the Ukrainian crisis”, a measure that goes in the direction of what Nupes proposes. But the amendment was withdrawn two days later, the elected defending herself from any pressure from Matignon or Bercy. On August 10, it was the turn of deputy Sacha Houlié to take it for his rank, after having signed » personally » a bill for the right to vote of all foreigners in municipal elections. If he received the support of the Nupes, he was given an end of inadmissibility by Gérald Darmanin, “strongly opposed to this measure”.

Finally, last example, that of Clément Beaune. Guilty of saying he was ready to“regulate the use of private jets” to fight against pollution, the Minister of Transport would have been violently tackled by Emmanuel Macron in the Council of Ministers:« This must not be a Lépine contest of poorly crafted ideas or demagogues from ministers who want to be talked about », would have scolded the head of state, according to Le Canard Enchaîné. Note that Gérald Darmanin’s proposal to create“military training camps” for young offenders, she did not arouse presidential wrath. For good reason, although under the radar, it was on Macron’s 2022 program. That is to say how much the left wing really weighs.


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