July 7, 2022

600 proposals for “a radical change”

« Build a mutual aid society with the goal of harmony between human beings and with nature. » This is how the candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon sums up the « vision of the world for the future » carried by the Popular Union, a new version of rebellious France for the presidential election of 2022. Thursday, November 18, it launched its program book: 60,000 copies published by Editions du Seuil, printed in France under the eco-label Imprim’vert – « eco-responsibility » obliges – and sold for 3 euros in bookstores.

At first glance, The future in common – this is its name, the same as in 2017 – is in line with the latter: we find the same rebellious grape variety and the same vinification, in cooperative mode. All the basic ingredients of « leftist populism », as described by sociologist Manuel Cervera Marzal, are gathered. « It comes in the words of the program, explains the researcher, who recently published a sociology of rebellious France. Left references have almost completely disappeared – the term “left” is itself absent – while the terms related to “people” have multiplied. Populism indeed seeks to translate the right-left divide into a grammar “People versus oligarchy”. »

Danièle Obono, Mathilde Panot, Manon Aubry and Caroline Fiat during a meeting of the Insoumis in October. © Moran Kerinec/Reporterre

« It was not a question of starting from a blank page », confirms Clémence Guetté, who coordinated the programmatic work, Reporterre. The fundamentals of 2017 – WEe Republic [1], ecological planning and sharing of wealth – are still present. The program has, however, been largely « updated », through contributions from activists, hearings with associations, unions, intellectuals …

New: the defense of common goods – water, air – against privatization

On arrival, the 2022 vintage is therefore more structured, with more complex aromas than the previous one: 160 pages, 14 chapters and some 600 proposals, which is double the previous program. « We wanted to take into account everything that happened during the five-year term of Emmanuel Macron, explains Clémence Guetté. We have measures aimed at repealing certain macronist laws – on the state of emergency, on the reform of unemployment insurance – but also proposals taken from the social mobilizations of the yellow vests, #MeToo, the Climate Convention. » Main demand of the movement of roundabouts, the RIC (citizens’ initiative referendum) thus figures prominently in the section dedicated to democracy. An entire chapter is also devoted to the lessons to be learned from the pandemic.

On the ecological side, the transition has been transformed into « bifurcation », sign of the radicality of the turning point to be undertaken according to the Mélenchonists. The method, however, remains the same as it was five years ago: ecological planning. « We have stepped up our work on this subject, reflecting on its concrete implementation. », says Mr.me Watched out. It would thus go through a re-organization of the territory, around the municipalities. A form of decentralization, dear to Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) ? « The State remains the strategist, and sets the objectives, answers Mme Watched out. But we want to give more weight and resources to the municipalities, by eliminating mega-regions and technocratic metropolises. »

Nadine, yellow vest, in Montpon-Ménestérol (Dordogne), in 2019. The Insoumis have taken up proposals from this social mobilization, such as the RIC. © Émilie Massemin / Reporterre

Another novelty is the defense of common goods – water, air – against privatization. The future in common thus relies heavily on the work of the twenty-three rebellious parliamentarians, for example taking up the recommendations of the water inquiry commission or the forest law proposal led by Mathilde Panot.

The rebels have also reviewed their position on Europe, under the impetus among others of MEPs Manon Aubry and Manuel Bompard. No question of immediately leaving the European treaties, it is time for disobedience: « There are many mechanisms, now used by right-wing governments, to disobey European institutions., says Mr.me Watched out. We must find a way between the Frexit and blind submission to neoliberal treaties. » The program thus offers « condition the French contribution to the budget ofEU », or« use the veto power of France, for example to refuse any new free trade agreement ».

Mélenchon relaunches its campaign in a popular bath

Already well supplied, The future in common should be enriched, in the coming months, by « plans d’action » detailed on several themes – Europe, the fight against feminicides and relocation – and precise budgeting. The goal, stated by Mr. Mélenchon in his preface to the book: to have a program « ready to use ». For meme Watched, it is also a guarantee of confidence: « We are not lying to our constituents, we are telling them precisely what we are going to do once elected. » The relatively early publication of this program – the other parties are still in the development stage – should also allow Jean-Luc Mélenchon to take a step ahead of his competitors on the left.

The will of the rebels is to “ put ideas forward »

« The program of rebellious France, in 2017 and certainly in 2022, is the one that is the most detailed, the most quantified of all the parties, observes for his part Mr. Cervera Marzal. He thus reconnects with a tradition of the left of the XXe century – that of the common program or the Popular Front – which has gradually eroded. Over the last thirty years, parties have tended to have more and more lean agendas, focusing instead on communication and personalization around the candidate. » Fewer and fewer voters are interested in the programs. For the researcher, this desire of the rebels to « put ideas forward » has a dual objective: « They note an impasse on the left, and the need to re-found a political project, in particular through a program », he believes. On the other hand, this collaborative program should make it possible to « counterbalance hyperpersonalisation around Mélenchon ». In other words, the militants can thus support those and those whom the personality of the leader bristles that it is not a question of voting for a man, but for ideas.

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