Another World Is Possible With Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Mathieu Desan

Two hundred French educators explain why they're supporting Jean-Luc Mélenchon in tomorrow's presidential election.

A demonstration in Paris on March 8. Jeanne Menjoulet / Flickr

In this presidential campaign that is upending all the benchmarks of the political game, it is necessary to recall the major significance of this vote, which will determine for France as well as for Europe the major axes of the political, economic, and social framework of the coming years. It is thus above all on issues of policy, on the programs of the candidates, and on their capacity to carry them out that it is necessary to decide. Our engagement does not result from an unconditional support for any one candidate: it is above all reasoned and based on criteria we consider decisive.

To begin, any reasonable project of emancipation must today take as its starting point the reality of climate change and the necessity of an ecological transition that implies a radical break in our mode of production and consumption. It is evident that this break cannot come about within the current neoliberal framework, and will require massive public intervention aimed at profoundly converting our economic and environmental model.

The project we support must simultaneously bring about a real economic and social transformation, without accepting any compromise with the dominant forces of finance and large industrial lobbies, and fight toe-to-toe to significantly reduce poverty and inequality, restore public services, and strengthen the power of workers in the workplace.

This project must also put an end to the disastrous policies on teaching and research that submit schools and universities evermore to the diktat of the market under the false pretense of “autonomy,” a simple synonym for generalized competition. These policies have only made teachers and researchers more precarious, and have reproduced inequalities among the youth of our country. It is therefore necessary to restore to them the conditions of work and pedagogical freedom required for carrying out their mission.

Imposed against the will of the French and Dutch peoples, who pronounced themselves clearly in 2005, the current framework of European treaties is a straitjacket that favors dividends at the expense of wages, and prevents any bold economic policy to combat mass unemployment and precarity. To relentlessly engage in a relation of force to re-found the European project is a condition of its survival and the surest way to stop the rise of extreme right on the continent.

Just as a Sixth Republic elaborated by citizens will permit the establishment of truly democratic institutions, the institutions of Europe must be rebuilt to finally serve the people, not finance and the dominant economic powers.

It should be added that the beautiful humanist project of a people’s Europe, ruined and disgraced today by the democratic deficit of the EU, austerity policies, and the shameful treatment of refugees, must imperatively be rehabilitated: by a generous policy of welcome and of cooperation with developing and emerging countries, and by a pitiless struggle against all racist discrimination.

Finally, a policy of clear independence from the great powers, whatever they may be, appears every day more necessary when world peace is in danger.

Of the candidates, only Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the L’Avenir en commun program have formulated proposals that meet these different objectives and, more still, engage a coherent collective approach that can give them substance and not betray voters once again.

The dynamic of unity now belongs to La France insoumise: Mélenchon’s candidacy is on the way to becoming the unitary candidacy of the Left. The uncertain electoral situation more than ever calls for a vote based on adherence to a project, and not on pseudo-rational calculations that are destined to fail, as we have seen with the primaries.

After years of indignation and resistance in the face of social and democratic regressions, let us not miss out on the unprecedented opportunity that is offered to us to implement an innovative program that embodies core progressive ideas, whether it be the distribution of wealth, political ecology, or feminism. Developed in close collaboration with critical intellectuals, this program, appealing to the intelligence and solidarity of citizens, appears to be the only one able to challenge, in the short and especially the long term, the rise of the extreme right.

This is why, on April 23, for us, the vote of reason will be for Mélenchon.