The state of votes
On May 7th, I will abstain
Jean-Baptiste Hubert|translated by: Fangyuan Tan
Abstentionism: a risky choice
Marie Hubert| translated by: Fangyuan Tan
Jean-Baptiste Hubert | translated by: Fangyuan Tan | 2017. October 15. 17:54
The final confrontation will be coming in less than two weeks. For France, it is a campaign which is more likely to be a collective denunciation than merely a confrontation of ideas and visions. But this fact seems to become blurred with the coming of a surrealistic second round, that opposes two candidates who are exceedingly different from each other, and who keep persuading the people without firstly convincing them.
To vote is to adhere to a particular vision, or a program. However, to make a choice between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, is to choose between an ultra-liberalism where the uberisation of economic life is regarded as the advent of a new era, and a national protectionism that drags us to an ancient epoch. It is enough just to look at the proposals for Europe: on one hand, we are promised that a real Europe will be created, a cosmopolitan Europe, where citizenship would be the synonym for a morbid desire of defining oneself as belonging to a group; on the other hand, we are promised to leave Europe if the caprices of France are not respected. Between these two visions, there is a world of difference.
So, what should we do when the impression that the vote indicates is either a France which sinks into a dematerialization of all its principles, or either a France that is rooted in its obsolete traditional conventions? Well, we should abstain. But I am talking here about a citizen’s abstention, that indicates keeping away from the given ideologies, I also talk about a democratic abstention, in the sense that one must respect the choice of all other French citizens.
At the end of the first round, politicians from all sides urged us to vote for Emmanuel Macron while defining themselves as the guarantors of the French Republic, threatening that otherwise we would not be a loyal citizen. But is there something that is more anti-Republican than to stifle all those who have chosen to vote for the extreme? To point them out and taking refuge under Emmanuel Macron - the savior of all citizens? To abstain is also to stand against this hypocrisy which is way too widespread among our politicians, who are pitching from one side to the other, and gaining public opinion while denouncing those extreme misdeeds. The Republican Front, that is supposed to protect us from the evil, places us French citizens in an infantile situation where our choice is spoken for the upper classes.
No. And it seems to be a rather incongruous idea. Why would not voting favor a candidate? It is true that Mr. Macron will lose a vote, but Ms. Le Pen would not benefit from it either. It turns out that my vote won’t go for either of these two candidates since neither of them can represent me. To all those who proclaim that not to vote still means a choice in essence, I will reply that voting against his willing may make him blush.
The role of a candidate to the Elysée is to convey the longing that people should vote for him, if this role is not fulfilled, then why should we fulfill ours as citizens?
Yes, just as you can see. The Abstentionist party received more than 10 million votes during the first round. But I have to admit that in order to reach the head of the French political forces, we had been more or less helped. In fact, this campaign will be marked by corruption affairs, to the point that citizens do not vote for someone but choose to do so against someone else. Today, we vote against F. Fillon and his nonexistent jobs, against Marine Le Pen and her extreme opinions, against E. Macron and his ultra-liberal political view, against Jean Luc Mélenchon, the "French Chavez". Finally, we come to an end that to vote against all, and thus, to abstain. And it worked, take a look at our results in 2012, 20.5% abstentions in the first round, and 28.4% in 2002 (according to Politiquemania).
In conclusion, abstention is totally respectable in the sense that today voting is a right instead of a duty. Moreover, knowing that the president cannot govern a state without a National Assembly standing by his side, the choice of the future president will not change the current situation since neither Emmanuel Macron nor Marine Le Pen holds the support from a government majority. And by the time of the legislative elections, the voting intentions may completely change.
Marie Hubert | translated by: Fangyuan Tan | 2017. October 15. 17:58
The voter card states that: "Voting is a right, and it is also a civic obligation". Today, this right has been taken for granted and is also treated with suspicion. And sure, the political offer is far from being satisfactory to all. Yes, the vote of solemnity is becoming increasingly rare. Unfortunately, this is surely the major defect of representative democracy as it is today. But unless we change the whole system, which is not the subject of the debate, we must face the reality: The National Front has its great possibility to come to the second round, where the abstentionism would meet its interest.
On May 7, these two different candidates will confront each other in all the fields: Macron's openness to the world and Europe against the protectionism and the "national preference" of Madame le Pen: the conventional conservatism against a certain progressivism, an extreme control over legal immigration, and so on. From all aspects, the two candidates are strongly opposed.
It is not about supporting the project of Emmanuel Macron, which obviously does not satisfy everyone. But let’s face the truth: isn’t it better to vote for the least bad one, despite the fact that it would put one's pride aside, and oppose the candidate's ideas in other ways, than not voting for anyone and just taking the risk to see a reactionary and profoundly unjust project leading to an inevitable impact on our lives?
Not to vote for Macron by consideration is a respectable thing, also without doubt a thoughtful choice for those who plan to abstain. It is not about denouncing this choice, and accusing those who will not vote to play the game of the FN.
Nevertheless, this article is for those who are undecided, in order to make them aware of the risks: the victory of Macron has yet to come!
Without feeding unnecessary fear, it is only the matter of witnessing how much we are facing a risky situation. The example of 2002 is not in favor of those who oppose abstentionism. It’s for sure that Jacques Chirac was indeed elected with 82.21% of the votes, against 17.79% for Jean Marie Le Pen. But it is not because at the time Chirac benefited from so many votes, that it will happen exactly in the same way. The situation is different, simply because today the frontistic party comes to the second round with 21% of the votes and not 16%, and the political context is also eminently different, because the vote for Marine le Pen is far more a supportive vote than it was in the past.
A recurring argument is that to vote for Macron today could lead to the further participation in his future plebiscite, and encourage him to consider himself as the one being widely approved by the French. Unfortunately, we know that it is a risk to be taken. But despite everything, voting for Macron seems to be the least bad choice. What he proposes is not irreparable: he does not promise to leave the European Union, nor to reduce the number of legal immigration to 10 000 per year. The project of the National Front project is irremediable.
To choose Macron in these circumstances does not necessarily correspond to a vote of conviction but a practical option. Yes, it is sad, and we all hope for the better: but while awaiting the ideal, we should still vote from our soul and conscience.
It is very difficult to defend the same point of view supported by 90% of the French mainstream media, without even being directly associated with the higher spheres of society who want to govern the trends of all voters that cannot think for themselves. The abstention (in some way, it must be remembered that different types of abstention do exist and that they are not all political) is a symptom of the evil in democracy, it is a reminder that we hope for the better candidates, and the better system.
However, remember 2016 and the victory of Donald Trump. Remember that 99% of the media, intellectuals and large corporations have called on their people to vote for Clinton, being confident that Trump had no chance at all. There is a parallel to the situation nowadays: Macron's victory is not artificial. The reality is that: if we do not vote for him, we would increase the possibility of Madame le Pen to be elected. The desire for growing abstention reflects a certain malaise vis-a-vis the dominant classes. We want to share our anger, our demands, our desires. We want to demonstrate the gap between the social elites and the less well-paid classes. But it shouldn’t be this sort of hatred or anger that leads to another form of power of terrors, a form that has been deeply institutionalized.
Abstention will not do anything. It will not change the system. If it had a chance to be recognized, or to invalidate the election, there’s no doubt that it would be of value. But in this case, not voting leads to the end that others will make the choice for you, and let others choose the candidate who will govern us for the next 5 years. Abstention is a form of voting, which will benefit Marine le Pen, not Emmanuel Macron.
Let us make it clear, whomever the voter chooses, the choice must be respected. But we are in a democratic society, where the debate is at the center of its principles of the regime: we must be able to speak out to everyone. From my perspective, I will simply add that everyone votes from his soul and conscience. It is simply a matter of being conscious, fully conscious, of the consequences of one’s choice.
Jean-Baptiste Hubert|translated by: Fangyuan Tan
Marie Hubert| translated by: Fangyuan Tan
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