Jean-Luc Mélenchon had set a goal of finishing ahead of the Front National's Marine Le Pen in the first round of France's presidential election.  --  He garnered only 11% to her 18%.  --  But after the results were announced Sunday evening, he was unbowed in remarks to supporters in the place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad (Paris 10e & 19e), which are translated in toto below.[1] ...




Posted by BFMTV

April 22, 2012

We’re going to do this in two parts.  First, a résumé, and afterwards --  how many of you there are!  but [laughing] be quiet down there in front! -- and afterwards, we'll make a few more explanatory remarks.

[Shouting:  "Lower the flags!"]

That's right, because if you leave the flags up I can't see anybody anymore.  It's as if I were having a meeting with flags. 

My friends, insofar as they're reliable, the first estimates they've given us allow us to draw certain lessons.  The first one that stands out is that our people [i.e. the French people] appear firmly resolved to turn the Sarkozy page.  [Cheers.]  The total vote of the parties of the right, adding up all them, is in decline compared to 2007.  [This proved not to be the case.  On the right in the first round of the 2007 presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy received 31.18%, Jean-Marie Le Pen received 10.44%, Philippe de Villiers received 2.23%, and Frédéric Nihous received 1.15%, for a total of 45.00%.  According to the Ministère de l’Intérieur, the scores for the right in 2012 are 27.18% for Nicolas Sarkozy, 17.90% for Marine Le Pen, for a total of 45.08%.  On the left, in 2007 Ségolène Royal received 25.87%, Olivier Besancenot received 4.08%, Marie-George Buffet received 1.93%, Dominique Voynet received 1.57%, Arlette Laguiller received 1.33%, José Bové received 1.32%, and Gérard Schivardi received 0.34%, for a total of 36.44%.  According to the Ministère de l’Intérieur, the scores for the left in 2012 are 28.63% for François Hollande, 11.10% for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 2.31% for Eva Joly, 1.15% for Philippe Poutou, and 0.56% for Nathalie Arthaud, for a total of 43.75%.  Thus the right has increased by only 0.08%.  The left has risen by 7.31%.  --M.J]

But the extreme right's score is very high.  [Indeed, Marine Le Pen's vote was the highest ever obtained by the Front National in national elections.  --M.J.]  We were therefore right to concentrate our campaign on the analysis and the radical critique of the extreme right's proposals.  We were right to do so, and if we hadn't done so, perhaps the result this evening would have been even more alarming.  It is alarming!  So this is the moment for me to say how alone we felt at certain moments of this battle.  One of them was imitating [i.e. the extreme right -- alluding to Nicolas Sarkozy], the other was pretending not to see [alluding to François Hollande] (In French:  ‘L’un imitait, l’autre ignorait.’)  And we carried on our own backs the main part of the fight.  [Angrily:] Shame on those who preferred to target us rather than help us!  Always remember the names of those who refused to get involved in this fight or, even worse, who preferred to repeat the slanderous and anti-Communist arguments of the far right against us! 

At this hour it is the Front de Gauche's score that holds the key to the final result in its hands.  It is therefore all of you, and not myself, of course, who have this decision, because the truth is that is we who we will have been the new political force -- the only one -- that broke through and that was born in this election.  We are the ones, consequently, who have the key to the result. 

I therefore call on you in all honesty fully to take on this responsibility without bothering about the comments, impressions, and little prognostication games that I hope nobody is going to be tempted to engage in.  And I say once again, very clearly, at this hour, in all honesty, there is nothing to negotiate.  Our commitment doesn't need any approval, or anyone's cajoling, to put forth all its strength. 

I call on you to mobilize for the rendez-vous that are ahead of you.  On May 1, behind our unions, with the working class, in the struggle -- our camp, our political family, the world of labor and its claims.  I call on you, on May 6, to come together, without asking anything in exchange, on May 6, to beat Sarkozy!  [Cheers.] 

I ask you not to drag your feet.  I ask you to mobilize as if for making me the victor in the presidential election.  Ask for nothing in return!  Only the act of your conscience!  Why?  The battle that we're waging is not a personal battle, nor even a battle in a single country.  It's a matter of turning the table upside down, of reversing the way things are going, which, in Europe, is keeping every people under the yoke of the Sarkozy-Merkel axis.  We have to shatter it in France!  [Cheers.]  That's what we're going to do!  And because we're going to do it, then it will be perfectly clear that we are the ones making the decisions from now on, on the left, and in the country.  [Cheers.]

And let’s raise ourselves up to the level of the power that has been given to us by our coming together.  Let’s calmly continue to pursue our path, for, I'm telling you, inescapably, history is coming to meet us and we're going to meet it.  Inescapably!  The solutions that we have defended, and principally that of sharing wealth and changing the régime, will be put on the agenda by the clash you can see coming.

Whatever the president of the Republic is elected, the financial world has already decided to attack the French people, and so whoever’s in charge, he’ll have no other choice to submit or to resist.  And when it comes to resisting, there is only one force -- ours!  [Crowd chants “Resistance!  Resistance!”]

Keep in your hearts the feeling of a job well done.  Never forget the images of the strength of your coming together.  Never again let yourselves scatter apart, be separated.  The very first time, we succeeded in being among the frontrunners.  The next time will be for the final conquest of power via the ballot boxes of democracy.  Long live the Republic!  Long live the working class!  Long live France!

Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7219
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.