“This May 1st is an appointment that everyone will watch closely”

The cross : Can we expect a “third social round” which would begin this Sunday, May 1, after a presidential election marked by the assertion of radical currents at the polls?

Eddy Fougier : It is always very delicate to foresee a social movement. But beyond this precaution, it is obvious that there is a particular context currently in France. Zero growth, the war in Ukraine, purchasing power… There are a lot of concerns among the French. The presidential election has also brought to light fairly strong tensions and fractures.

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It is also clear that the unions are revitalized by the union of the left in the process of being created. For them, beyond May 1, there is an opportunity to create balance of power and to show the new government that they are ready to mobilize in the face of challenges to social gains, such as retirement. They are on the lookout and will make this May Day a test. It will be an appointment that everyone will watch closely.

Is the stake not also political, while rebellious France also calls to mobilize this 1er may ?

EF : We are indeed in a pre-campaign for the legislative elections with multiple challenges. We do not know if the re-elected president will have a majority and Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been the catalyst for various social movements. So many elements that can lead to mobilization. On May 1, we will be able to measure whether the unions are united or not, whether there are people there or not, whether other, more violent movements join the traditional processions, as happened in 2018 and 2019. Different anger can be expressed in the street, the context lends itself to it.

That being said, I do not believe in a grand coalition of all protests and all “anti”. The CGT, the antivax, the young people mobilized for the climate and the yellow vests, it’s not quite the same thing. There is a myth in France of the convergence of struggles. However, in 2016, at the time of Nuit Debout and the mobilization against the labor law, some tried to extend the movement to the suburbs and it did not work.

Compared to 2016, doesn’t the novelty come from the expectations created by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s score in the first round of the presidential election?

EF : Around his candidacy, a form of convergence of struggles has indeed worked a little in the ballot box, with a suburban vote, a youth vote, an environmentalist vote, an anti-capitalist vote… Afterwards, we will have to see the results of the legislative elections . If insubordinate France or the National Rally have few deputies, a double feeling of failure and frustration could result in mobilizations. In particular if the government calls into question what is considered to be social gains or if it is not considered sufficiently active on certain subjects, such as the climate issue. Some may then say to themselves that the traditional political route does not succeed and that it is necessary to go through the streets to have an impact on the debates.

Young people in particular?

EF : Yes, in the continuity of the commitments they already have. Because young people are not depoliticized. They simply have a form of mobilization that does not go through traditional political parties and voting, but through associations and actions that can go as far as civil disobedience. Today, a Science Po student does not join the Movement of Young Socialists. On the other hand, he can be an environmentalist and join Extinction Rebellion.


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