Mélenchon’s Campaign To Transform French Politics From the Left

The Bernie Sanders of France offers a progressive populist program to remake the Republic.

Cole StanglerApril 20, 2017

French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon holds a rally aboard a barge on the Canal de l'Ourcq, sailing from the suburbs to Paris on April 17. (Julien de Rosa/IP3/Getty Images)

This post first appeared in Jacobin.

I think we are similar to Bernie Sanders, who rarely spoke about “the Left,” but about the people against the 1% or the billionaire class.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s cam­paign for the French pres­i­den­cy has explod­ed in recent weeks — reach­ing third, with­in touch­ing dis­tance of the sec­ond round in some polls. In addi­tion to send­ing jit­ters through the finan­cial mar­kets, the suc­cess has trans­formed the French elec­tion, offer­ing a left alter­na­tive to the bat­tle between the estab­lish­ment and the far Right.

But what are the pol­i­tics of the cam­paign? And what is behind its suc­cess? The move­ment behind it, France Insoumise (“Rebel­lious France”), bor­rows from the Latin Amer­i­can and Span­ish pop­ulist expe­ri­ence, most promi­nent­ly exem­pli­fied by Podemos.

Raquel Gar­ri­do, one of its nation­al spokes­peo­ple, is a long-time com­rade of Jean-Luc Mélen­chon, hav­ing cofound­ed the Left Front with him in 2008. In this inter­view, trans­lat­ed by David Broder, she speaks to jour­nal­ist Cole Stan­gler about the cam­paign and its aspi­ra­tions for a Sixth Republic.

Can you tell me a lit­tle bit about what dis­tin­guish­es this cam­paign from the one Mélen­chon ran in 2012?

The main theme for this cam­paign is to change our con­sti­tu­tion and to allow the French peo­ple to do it them­selves through a process called the con­stituent assem­bly, which is a direct ref­er­ence to the French Rev­o­lu­tion. The idea is to abol­ish the cur­rent régime, which we call the pres­i­den­tial monar­chy.” We con­sid­er it an oli­garchy and want instead to have a repub­lic: for the peo­ple, by the people.

I think that’s why we’re being talked about so wide­ly. One of the rea­sons why the cur­rent régime is lack­ing con­sent in French soci­ety is because the process for elect­ing offi­cials allows them to behave incon­sis­tent­ly with their cam­paign promis­es. The main cul­tur­al char­ac­ter­is­tic of the cur­rent polit­i­cal class is impuni­ty. They do what­ev­er they want because they are absolute­ly unaccountable.

That cul­ture of impuni­ty starts with the pres­i­dent him­self. We’re the only self-iden­ti­fied demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­try where you have one man who has such con­cen­trat­ed pow­er — elec­tions of hun­dreds and hun­dreds of peo­ple in dif­fer­ent insti­tu­tions and he actu­al­ly decides what the par­lia­ment will be talk­ing about, the par­lia­men­tary agen­da. The pres­i­dent behaves in such an unac­count­able fash­ion that it actu­al­ly spreads like a cas­cade across the entire polit­i­cal class.

Most elect­ed offi­cials in France today lack legit­i­ma­cy, are elect­ed with very low turnouts. There’s a deep sense of dis­gust among cit­i­zens with this polit­i­cal class. That cre­ates chaos and insta­bil­i­ty. When the Magna Car­ta — the core rules you’re not sup­posed to be dis­cussing — those rules that are sup­posed to allow polit­i­cal dis­cus­sion and con­flict in a demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety, when those core rules are not agreed upon by most of the peo­ple, then your soci­ety is unstable.

In 2012, because we were talk­ing about over­throw­ing the old régime and hav­ing a new one, we were con­sid­ered to be intro­duc­ing anx­i­ety and insta­bil­i­ty. Today, French soci­ety has changed. The fear is there, the chaos is there. Vio­lence between com­mu­ni­ties, vio­lence between the police and the youth, ter­ror­ism, ter­ror attacks com­mit­ted by French peo­ple against oth­er French peo­ple. I think the time is now ripe for what we’re say­ing — that we need a peace­ful solu­tion to these tensions.

And that’s why the same per­son, Mélen­chon — who in 2012 peo­ple maybe thought, Wow, this is too rad­i­cal, too sub­ver­sive” — now seems wise. Because he has been cri­tiquing this, has expe­ri­ence and a trans­par­ent method­ol­o­gy for bring­ing us all togeth­er as one peo­ple, the idea with the Con­stituent Assem­bly is to refound the nation itself.

What is a peo­ple, what is the nation, le peu­ple? It’s a com­mu­ni­ty of peo­ple who are exer­cis­ing pow­er togeth­er. If you’re not doing that, you’re a mul­ti­tude of indi­vid­u­als most­ly com­pet­ing for bits and pieces of what the cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem will leave you, fight­ing for a job, fight­ing for aid and help.

There are oth­er big themes of the cam­paign — wealth redis­tri­b­u­tion and social jus­tice — which are clas­sic pro­pos­als in a sit­u­a­tion of great inequal­i­ty. Then you have cli­mate change and pro­tect­ing the only ecosys­tem which allows life for human beings. But before we address those issues, we need to gain the pow­er to actu­al­ly have an impact. That is the con­stituent assembly.

In 2012 Mélen­chon stood as a can­di­date of the Left Front, an alliance of left-wing par­ties. This time he is stand­ing as a can­di­date of France Insoumise, can you explain what that is?

It’s a grass­roots cit­i­zen move­ment, our ide­ol­o­gy is human­ist pop­ulism. In many ways we have adopt­ed the pop­ulist strat­e­gy of Chan­tal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau.

That means ask­ing: what is pop­ulism? It is not a régime; it is a pro­gram. It is a demar­ca­tion strat­e­gy between a them” and an us.” That could mean an eth­ni­cal­ly pure us” set against for­eign­ers — and that is far-right pop­ulism. But it can also be the us” of the peo­ple against the them” of the oli­garchy. That is our strat­e­gy and our move­ment, which is intend­ed to build some­thing beyond par­ties. It has con­struct­ed itself by design — real­ly delib­er­ate­ly — as some­thing dif­fer­ent from the car­tel of par­ties we had in 2012.

Indeed, France Insoumise is the instru­ment which allows the widest aggre­ga­tion and the great­est effec­tive­ness in set­ting the debate as the peo­ple ver­sus the oli­garchy. Rather than in terms of left ver­sus right, which does not mean a lot for most French cit­i­zens today.

What was your inspi­ra­tion for this project?

First of all, Latin Amer­i­ca from the late 1990s onward, the return of the con­stituent fig­ure as the approach to access­ing sov­er­eign­ty. That had a great impact on us at the end of the 1990s and in the ear­ly 2000s, we knew the con­stituent assem­bly as a French inven­tion. Yet for years, no one in France pro­posed such an assem­bly. We under­stood that the con­stituent process abol­ished an ancien régime, in terms of both eco­nom­ics and polit­i­cal parties.

With the dis­ap­pear­ance of the ancien régime—which, for instance, in Ecuador they called the par­tidoc­ra­cia (par­ty­oc­ra­cy) — there is again this same divi­sion: an oli­garchy ver­sus the peo­ple. The aim is to make the ancien régimes polit­i­cal instru­ments dis­ap­pear with that sys­tem. Through the con­stituent process, new polit­i­cal instru­ments take form.

We watched this very close­ly, and in France it took some time for us to learn. We were still hes­i­tat­ing, we did the Left Front. … But now I think that those [Latin Amer­i­can ones] are our most imme­di­ate ref­er­ence points, because the polit­i­cal instru­ments for reach­ing pow­er — whether in Venezuela, Ecuador, or Bolivia, for exam­ple — are new. Not the old Com­mu­nist par­ties or the old social-demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ties or trade-union move­ments. This is not a ques­tion of recom­pos­ing or reor­ga­niz­ing par­ties in crisis.

We were watch­ing when the con­stituent assem­bly crossed the Atlantic and came to Ice­land with the finan­cial cri­sis. Then there was the Arab Spring and the con­stituent assem­bly in Tunisia. The one in Egypt, which was trag­i­cal­ly mas­sa­cred. And then final­ly, indeed, we were hap­py to see Podemos’s con­stituent process, because we have the same his­tor­i­cal roots as Podemos. That is to say, a ref­er­ence point in pop­ulism, a human­ist pop­ulism. That is the case even if now their sit­u­a­tion is more com­pli­cat­ed, since Podemos ulti­mate­ly returned to dis­cus­sions with the Unit­ed Left.

But in any case, we are con­fi­dent that what we are doing in France real­ly is a new expe­ri­ence. Mean­ing, for the moment we are in a stage of cre­ation. We have com­mon ref­er­ence points, but there is nowhere where we can look and say We’re doing exact­ly what they’re doing.” We take on this respon­si­bil­i­ty of being pio­neers, in con­struct­ing the new.

How does France Insoumise relate to the Left?

France Insoumise is a polit­i­cal instru­ment designed for con­struct­ing the Sixth Repub­lic. The rea­son we want the Sixth Repub­lic is that its con­struc­tion is a social and eco­nom­ic project. In the ancien régime the wrong peo­ple are mak­ing the wrong deci­sions, destroy­ing the plan­et and impov­er­ish­ing mil­lions. So the [Sixth Repub­lic] is not neu­tral, in the polit­i­cal sense of the term. It is not neu­tral or fea­ture­less, it is not a blank page. And we are say­ing what we want.

For exam­ple, when there is out­sourc­ing we want work­ers to have a right of over their work resources, in the form of a co-oper­a­tive. That is one exam­ple of an ant­i­cap­i­tal­ist mea­sure. Or again when we want to pri­or­i­tize the pro­tec­tion of the ecosys­tem, includ­ing by restrain­ing the omnipo­tence of prop­er­ty rights, for exam­ple. In our pro­gram there are very marked left ref­er­ences, but the word left” does not appear.

We do not appeal to the iden­ti­tar­i­an patri­o­tism of those who think that we have to save the Left” or be left­wing.” It is far too minori­tar­i­an. We want to win. I think we are sim­i­lar to Bernie Sanders in that way, who rarely spoke about the Left,” but about the peo­ple against the 1% or the bil­lion­aire class. Every­one knows who Jean-Luc Mélen­chon is, where he comes from, from what posi­tion he speaks. But we do not ask of peo­ple that they first pro­claim them­selves left­wing before they can have a con­cern with democracy.

This also has impacts on our poli­cies. One mea­sure in the 2017 pro­gram that was not in the 2012 pro­gram is the right to recall rep­re­sen­ta­tives between elec­tions. This is our way of putting ethics into pol­i­tics, of bring­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty to polit­i­cal behav­ior. That mea­sure was not there in 2012 because the par­ties who made up the Left Front would not agree to it. They said, Well, elect­ed offi­cials in gen­er­al do not agree with this mea­sure.” Par­ties have a ten­den­cy to be trade unions for rep­re­sen­ta­tives rather than frame­works in which cit­i­zens can orga­nize them­selves on the basis of their polit­i­cal affinity.

So in the Sixth Repub­lic will there be par­ties? Yes, there will be forms of orga­ni­za­tion based on polit­i­cal affin­i­ty, since there needs to be a con­fronta­tion of ideas. If there is no con­flict­ual­i­ty, there is no democ­ra­cy. But not the par­ties of the Fifth Repub­lic, which are already in decline. They will die togeth­er with the Fifth Repub­lic. No par­ty today has a con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­gram, they are not made for that. They are orga­nized to hold pow­er with­in the Fifth Repub­lic. There will be a new polit­i­cal ter­rain. The idea is not to recom­pose or repair the dam­aged par­ties of the Fifth Repub­lic, but to allow new instru­ments to organize.

What do you see as the future of France Insoumise, as a movement?

The move­ment has a his­toric voca­tion: to achieve the Sixth Repub­lic. So when we have 130,000 peo­ple march­ing from the Place de la Bastille to the Place de la République with French flags, with Phry­gian caps, with all demands that are linked to fun­da­men­tal rights from abor­tion to assist­ed sui­cide, even to the inter­net and net neu­tral­i­ty, things that cor­re­spond to a cer­tain era, I feel that the peo­ple are fight­ing for a refoun­da­tion. They will not return to a clas­sic way of doing pol­i­tics. So this is a fight until vic­to­ry. The most dif­fi­cult part of our work, dis­cred­it­ing the Fifth Repub­lic, is already done.

Gen­er­al­ly, when you are young, you are told you can be rightwing, left­wing, cen­trist, what­ev­er you like, but don’t touch the con­sti­tu­tion, because that’s the foun­da­tion. Form polit­i­cal opin­ions, but don’t think about the legit­i­ma­cy of the con­sti­tu­tion­al rules. But once major sec­tions of soci­ety start talk­ing about the legit­i­ma­cy of this or that arti­cle of the con­sti­tu­tion, that means that the con­sti­tu­tion itself falls to the lev­el of con­flict­ual delib­er­a­tion. So it los­es its con­sti­tu­tion­al force. The def­i­n­i­tion of a con­sti­tu­tion in the soci­o­log­i­cal sense is that of a high­er norm that enjoys a con­sent going beyond the major­i­ty. It is not just majori­tar­i­an. It is extra-majori­tar­i­an. It is a con­sen­sus. But in France we have the inverse.

There is a con­sen­sus for say­ing that our sys­tem is a pres­i­den­tial monar­chy. No one dis­putes that. For exam­ple, when we have the debates no one con­tests the idea that we are in a pres­i­den­tial monar­chy. Today, the debate is whether we can revise and change this con­sti­tu­tion a lit­tle from with­in, using the cur­rent MPs, or do we have to start again? What remains to be built is the desire for the con­stituent assembly.

That is a patri­ot­ic desire, one to assem­ble a peo­ple, and that is a lot more dif­fi­cult in a soci­ety like ours, bruised by pover­ty, vio­lence, hatred and racism. It is dif­fi­cult, but we will get there. Or else the fas­cists will. Basi­cal­ly, the future, it’s us or them.

How can we explain the rise of the Nation­al Front (FN) and Marine Le Pen?

Today there is a bedrock of vot­ers in France, a very coher­ent vote, that explains the prob­lems of soci­ety by say­ing there are too many immi­grants. Theirs is quite a sim­ple analy­sis: If the immi­grants weren’t here, there would be more work for me, my chil­dren, etc.

There are oth­er themes put for­ward by Marine Le Pen such as the cri­tique of the Euro­pean Union, com­pe­ti­tion from East­ern coun­tries, the euro ques­tion. But the cri­tique of the Euro­pean Union exists among oth­er can­di­dates too, includ­ing our­selves. Ulti­mate­ly what makes the Le Pen vote is the ques­tion of xeno­pho­bia, a cer­tain con­cep­tion of the nation as an eth­nic rather than civic ques­tion. This idea that we can­not make a peo­ple togeth­er with Mus­lims, or any­one not descend­ed from what a French­man was across the ages.” These are mythol­o­gized con­cepts — after all, there is no French ethnicity.

They real­ly are pop­ulists in that regard, in the sense that Laclau and Mouffe give that word. They con­struct a them” and an us,” and it is very clear what that is. The them” are the refugees who arrive flee­ing war, the eco­nom­ic immi­grants, the Mus­lims with their demands to be able to wor­ship, etc.

There are peo­ple in France who agree with that. I would not say it is 20 per­cent of vot­ers. When they get high per­cent­age scores, for exam­ple at the Euro­pean elec­tions, that cor­re­sponds to dis­as­trous lev­els of absten­tion. At the Euro­pean elec­tions they got 25 per­cent. That is a very strong score. But there were four mil­lion FN vot­ers out of six­teen mil­lion. I real­ly think that the chal­lenge is turnout. They thrive on civic apa­thy.

So it is in their inter­est that there is no cam­paign. That those who are dis­gust­ed by pol­i­tics remain dis­gust­ed. The con­text looked okay for them: there was a sit­u­a­tion on the Right where the can­di­date is mired in scan­dal, the Social­ist Par­ty (PS) was a total­ly off-putting spec­ta­cle, with its betray­als and its unkept promis­es. So they thought that they, too, will abstain. Peo­ple were watch­ing all this at a dis­tance and think­ing, what a hor­ri­ble spec­ta­cle, I will stay at home. That was the FN’s cam­paign. It does not go to the peo­ple to cam­paign, it does not stim­u­late debate, it has no event to gath­er the peo­ple. It has a strat­e­gy to make its sig­nif­i­cance felt, to give its own sol­id base more rel­a­tive impor­tance. And that base is ide­o­log­i­cal­ly solid.

There has always been a far Right in France. And yes, it is strong right now. But our task is to drown out these peo­ple with the non-fas­cist votes. And that is what we are seek­ing to do. As we have spo­ken not to the Left but to all those who are dis­gust­ed, as we have opened the cam­paign, we have built an effec­tive antifas­cist strategy.

As a cam­paign we ori­ent towards the inde­pen­dents, the dis­gust­ed,” we have to speak to them. For exam­ple, Jean-Luc Mélen­chon is the only can­di­date who talks so much about work. Real­ly, about the fact, quite sim­ply that as we live our lives, there are things that are made by human beings — work­ers. That is work. From this point of view Jean-Luc Mélen­chon has a dis­course very much con­nect­ed with the work­ing class. But we do not speak to them as the Left, we speak to them as the work­ing class. Speak­ing about the Left is not the same as talk­ing about work. The word left” is not present in Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s dis­course. But he does talk a lot about the work­ing-class condition.

Has this influ­enced your think­ing on a joint can­di­da­cy with Benoît Hamon?

Yes, because I think our strat­e­gy of speak­ing to the dis­gust­ed, which can lead us to vic­to­ry, would be com­pro­mised if we took on board part of the peo­ple who are dis­gust­ing them. And the PS is dying togeth­er with the Fifth Repub­lic. That is not the fault of Benoît Hamon, who is a good per­son. It’s not his fault, it is the end of a cycle. So we have to choose between Fifth and Sixth Republics. We would be com­pro­mis­ing our chances of vic­to­ry if we head­ed off to save the PS soldier.

So per­haps we would gain a point or two from among the cen­ter-left, but we would lose any chance of speak­ing to those who are not asso­ci­at­ed with the par­ties. And it is among them that our chances of vic­to­ry lie. And our objec­tive is to win, not to recom­pose the Left or to take over the lead­er­ship of the Left. If our objec­tive was to take over the lead­er­ship of the Left we could do that. But it isn’t. Our objec­tive is to win the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. So we need to speak to the dis­gust­ed. And if we go and talk to them say­ing, look, now I am friends with Valls, with Hamon, with all the oth­ers, then it will be fin­ished, they will no longer be with us.

In truth the ques­tion is not even being posed. The PS has nev­er, ever thought about giv­ing up in our favor. If they did, then the ques­tion would be posed in a dif­fer­ent way, of course. But they have nev­er posed it like that: They have always thought that we would have to give up to sup­port them. Even today — and they believe the polls, and that they are at 8 per­cent and we are at 19 per­cent — they con­tin­ue to believe that we need uni­ty behind them.

In the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions it is even worse. All these Social­ist MPs who have sup­port­ed the government’s poli­cies have today lost all legit­i­ma­cy in the eyes of the peo­ple. So our can­di­dates are can­di­dates who will sup­port the Sixth Repub­lic. This is not a frat­ri­ci­dal” strug­gle between the true Left and the false Left, or between trai­tors and purists. That would be gauchiste; that would be a far-Left cam­paign. And we are any­thing but. The hard core of peo­ple with Mélen­chon came out of the Social­ist Par­ty, and our objec­tive has always been to gov­ern. And we have been prepar­ing this pres­i­den­tial cam­paign since 2004.

In the cam­paign you have pro­posed a crit­i­cal strat­e­gy towards the Euro­pean Union — a Plan A to reform it from with­in but a Plan B to exit if this does not work.

Jean-Luc Mélen­chon was the first to bring a real response to what hap­pened to Tsipras in Greece. No one had real­ly for­mal­ized the idea that in order for there to be nego­ti­a­tion you have to be psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly pre­pared to break it off. Oth­er­wise you are not real­ly nego­ti­at­ing. This is the ori­gin of Plan B.

It is a quite basic pro­pos­al. If you go look­ing for a job, or you demand a wage increase, and you say I will not work unless you pay me five thou­sand dol­lars a month” but in truth are pre­pared to work for one thou­sand, that is not a nego­ti­a­tion. If, con­verse­ly, you tell your­self you real­ly will not accept less than three thou­sand dol­lars, that you would go and look for anoth­er job, then you real­ly are nego­ti­at­ing, because the guy fac­ing you under­stands that he will lose you. That is con­ceiv­able at the lev­el of every­day human rela­tions, but no one on the Euro­pean Left had thought seri­ous­ly about how to apply it at the lev­el of Euro­pean nego­ti­a­tions. All of the large forces thought, We will nego­ti­ate but stay what­ev­er happens.”

To run a cam­paign on the basis of hav­ing a Plan B is a depar­ture and it is impor­tant. Plan A already speaks about fis­cal and social har­mo­niza­tion, that means hav­ing a frame­work which is not set­ting work­ers into a gen­er­al­ized com­pe­ti­tion, but on the con­trary allows a bet­ter qual­i­ty of life for every­one. And if that is not pos­si­ble, then we will do the same thing — a har­mo­nized frame­work — with those who are will­ing. And that prin­ci­pal­ly means tar­get­ing the coun­tries of the Euro­pean south. Putting mon­e­tary and eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, and pub­lic invest­ment, back into open dis­cus­sion. We face chal­lenges, such as the eco­log­i­cal ques­tion, of plan­e­tary impor­tance. So it we must have supra­na­tion­al action.

But the recent expe­ri­ence of the Euro­pean Union is proof that first of all we have to resolve the prob­lems with our own domes­tic oli­garchy. Rather than divide polit­i­cal life between those who are for leav­ing the Euro­pean Union and those who are for lib­er­al Europe — and that is the divid­ing line the far Right draws — we have drawn a divid­ing line between the French peo­ple and the oli­garchy. The far Right sim­ply wants to destroy the Euro­pean Union, we want to make peo­ple see what is wrong with it.

A cri­tique lev­eled at this cam­paign is that it is more nation­al­ist than before. A few weeks ago at the Insoumis march from Place de la Bastille to Place de la République many com­ment­ed how many French flags there were. Could you com­ment on these changes?

We are patri­ot­ic, not nation­al­ist. Patri­o­tism is love for one’s own, while nation­al­ism involves hatred for oth­ers. In fact, accord­ing to the lit­er­ary and polit­i­cal def­i­n­i­tions, that is the dif­fer­ence. The far Right is nation­al­ist. We are patri­ot­ic. And patri­o­tism is an empa­thy, an affect towards one’s com­pa­tri­ots. We real­ly think that, inso­far as our nation has been a civic nation since the French Rev­o­lu­tion, it is not defined by any reli­gion or skin col­or or even lan­guage, it is uni­ver­sal. Our home­land [patrie] is republican.

Our patri­o­tism is uni­ver­sal­ist. It is a patri­o­tism of the Enlight­en­ment. We think that pre­cise­ly what our patri­o­tism allows is the affir­ma­tion of cit­i­zens’ right to gov­ern them­selves. That is what our nation­al sov­er­eign­ty is, first of all mean­ing a pop­u­lar sov­er­eign­ty. Before any­thing else it is the ques­tion of the people’s polit­i­cal pow­er. And for­tu­nate­ly for us, in our nation­al his­to­ry these two things are linked. That is why we think that the far Right is not tru­ly for sov­er­eign­ty, because it sup­ports only nation­al, not pop­u­lar sov­er­eign­ty. It is for Marine Le Pen hav­ing pow­er, not the French.

And what about the singing only of the Mar­seil­laise” at the end of ral­lies, rather than it with The Inter­na­tionale” as before?

At the Place de la République Jean-Luc did ulti­mate­ly sing The Inter­na­tionale.” It was not on the speak­ers. But ulti­mate­ly he start­ed singing and then it spread and peo­ple sang along a bit.

We are not about wip­ing away a piece of his­to­ry. But it is true that we rec­og­nize some prob­lems. In 2012 our cam­paign was bright red and Left Front” was writ­ten in big let­ters. Now we are in pas­tel hues of grey and blue, the logo is the [Greek let­ter] phi, which rep­re­sents phi­los­o­phy, the love of knowl­edge. We have a dif­fer­ent code, because we think it’s urgent­ly necessary.

In These Times is proud to fea­ture con­tent from Jacobin, a print quar­ter­ly that offers social­ist per­spec­tives on pol­i­tics and eco­nom­ics. Sup­port Jacobin and buy a four-issue sub­scrip­tion for just $19.95.

Cole Stan­gler writes about labor and the envi­ron­ment. His report­ing has also appeared in The Nation, VICE, The New Repub­lic and Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times. He lives in Paris, France. He can be reached at cole[at]inthesetimes.com. Fol­low him @colestangler.
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