France’s major left wing parliamentary parties are set to launch a no confidence vote against Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government. It comes as the ‘Gilets jaunes’ yellow vest movement show little signs of easing up on their militant protests.
Despite concessions ceased by the Macron administration in face of the widespread militant riots, including a temporary six-month suspension of controversial increases to fuel taxes, the cross spectrum protest movement has remained committed to the struggle. “The French don’t want crumbs, they want a baguette,” yellow vest spokesman Benjamin Cauchy told French news channel BFM.
One of the main parties that makes up the anti-Macron parliamentary left pursuing the no confidence vote is the French Communist Party, a longtime critic of Macrons neoliberal reforms that seek to smash the still strong French trade union movement. The historically communist linked union the CGT has already previously participated in violent demonstrations against the governments reforms and now with farmers set to go on strike next week, the radical trade union movement will likely attempt to capitalise on the success of the yellow vests.
Other left parties partial to the no confidence vote discussions include Jean-Luc Melenchon’s La France Insoumise party. Melenchon, a figurehead of the french left, looks to be the likely radical left candidate set to face off against Macron if such a vote is successful. The more mainstream French Socialist party has also joined in the talks with First Secretary Olivier Faure stating, using the hashtag #Gilesjaunes, “We’ve decided to work together to file a no confidence vote next Monday. During the coming days, we will seek to increase the number of signatories. We have to show that other ways are possible,”
Despite the left unity sentiments not usually seen in other countries, the parliamentary French left will unlikely succeed in passing the no confidence motion due to Macrons LREM party holding a parliamentary majority of 308 in the 500 seat National Assembly. Unless there is a serious defection of deputies, the vote will fail. The government is far more likely to collapse as a result of the dismantling of the French Fifth Republic. It would however, not be the first time radicals have triggered a total collapse of the French political system.
The talks come as both left and right are currently undertaking moves to co-opt the anger and militancy of the yellow vest movement. French fascist leader Marine Le Pen has called for the dissolution of the French National Assembly, no doubt seeking to capitalise on fresh elections in a manner similar to Charles de Gaulle after the May uprising in 1968. On the ground various left and right factions in the yellow vest movement have clashed with each other as well as police. In one incident notorious French Neo-Nazi Yvan Benedetti was knocked out by yellow vest anti-fascists who recognised his presence.
This weekends events will no doubt be a turning point for the movement as the government fears major violence in the coming days. The movement has grown rapidly since its inception and now includes an interlinked union of workers and students. It is clear that this familiar union will struggle tirelessly, as they did in ’68, for their near revolutionary reforms. If such an effort is successful, it will no doubt set France on a new course to that of neoliberalism.