The protests in France have shown that too easily the left are swayed by the far right.
There have been protests raging against Macron in France for weeks now. The protests by the ‘yellow vests’ initially started as a reaction due to a planned hike in tax on diesel. However, the protests have spread in their focus and for many are a chance to express their deep frustrations with Macron’s centrism, neoliberalism and an economy that is failing the working class.
Left wingers across the UK have followed what is happening in France with optimism: it shows that centrism is failing and centrism is often seen as the greatest source of frustration and the biggest obstacle toward securing a left wing society. This is utterly misguided. The left continues to underestimate the threat that the right, and the far right, pose. Centrism is a failure, but its failure is also allowing the far right to grow rapidly and that is something we must combat.
“Centrism is often seen as the greatest source of frustration and the biggest obstacle toward securing a left wing society”
Yet, the left have been happy to celebrate that in France, left wingers are marching alongside the far right. The left are holding hands with Nazism, and swathes of anti-Semitic memes and comments can be found online, stemming from those taking part in the protests. Anti-Semitism is a major problem in the left (as it is in the far right, although at least the right never pretend to stand for social justice) and by marching with Nazis and allowing these horrific incidents of bigotry to happen, it just shows the failure of the left. The left is too focused on justice only for the white working class; everyone else is treated as a threat.
If the left are willing to march with Nazis then they do not stand for social justice, and activists in the UK should not in any way support any protests organised, led by and/or contributed to by the far right. On a weekend where Owen Jones and activists marched against Tommy Robinson, some left wing activists then came out in praise of what was happening in France as a chance to stick it to the establishment.
The left should never be willing to work with Nazis for any gains at all. We must always be opposed to them. That does not mean not holding centrists like Macron to account, but it means firmly putting social justice on the agenda and not selling out marginalised people in any way. If you’re willing to work with Nazis then you are the problem.