Spearheaded by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the movement of La France Insoumise (Unsubdued France) can be viewed both as part of the worldwide backlash against globalization, and fundamentally French in its emphasis on the country’s revolutionary heritage. The program of La France Insoumise is divided into 7 sweeping themes:
1) The Sixth Republic: Jean-Luc Mélenchon has termed the current republic a de facto “presidential monarchy”. To his opinion, France needs to shift towards a proportional parliamentary regime. The president, in this new system, would no longer be able to dissolve parliament or benefit from a separate justice system for members of government. A constituent assembly, drawn up from random citizens, would be charged with writing a fresh constitution with new rights.
2) Protecting and sharing. The far-left candidate is ready to fight the predatory finance by protecting what he calls “the real economy”. Or in other words, protect what the left-wing candidate termed “the real economy”. To do so, he believes we should share wealth by hiking taxation on the rich and capping salary differences to 1/20. “Sharing”, under the pen of Melenchon, also means divvying up jobs in the age of automatisation, and thus strictly enforcing the 35-hour working week, when not reducing it to 32 hours in the case of physically demanding jobs, such as night work.
3) Environmental planning. The environment is at the core of Mélenchon’s program. In his mind, only a full commitment could empower a real change. Out of his ideas, although ambitious, Mélenchon proposes to include 300,000 jobs generated by a reorientation towards organic agriculture and a target of 100% renewable energy by 2050.
4) Withdrawal from European Treaties. A vocal critic of the European Union, Jean-Luc Mélenchon supports an immediate exit of the current treaties, whether it be hand-in-hand with other countries with the option of renegotiating a new framework of cooperation, or independently. He also urges the French people to respect the decision by the UK to leave the European Union. France would seek to facilitate Brexit without “any spirit of vengeance or punishment”.
5) Independence and Peace. La France Insoumise advocates a withdrawal from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which Mélenchon has dubbed the US’ “tool of military tutelage”. He rather wishes to build the project of a new alternative alliance between progressive countries and the commitment not to embark on any further wars without the United Nation’s approval. La France Insoumise wishes to place the institution at the centre of the country’s foreign policy. As part of this, Mélenchon further advocates a French exit from the World Trade Organisation and International Monetary Fund, with the aim of emboldening the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development instead.
6) Human progress. Public attention, according to Mélenchon, has busied itself for too long with GDP growth rather than with genuine human progress. The movement puts forward policies to bolster education, including in technical traineeships, and health services in a country that saw its life expectancy decline in 2015 for the first time since 1969.
7) France at the frontiers of mankind. France boasts the second largest maritime territory in the world. Mélenchon proposes to exploit it by pioneering offshore wind farms and marine energy, as well as developing seaweed agriculture and restoring port infrastructure. The candidate reckons that such a plan could create at least 300,000 jobs. On top of this, La France Insoumise also aims to boost funding for space exploration and high-tech and digital sciences.
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