you're reading...

‘Sovereignty is the other name for liberty’ Mélenchon tells 70,000 in Toulouse

Tens of thousands amassed in Toulouse Thursday evening to hear Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Presidential candidate for the radical Left Front, defend France’s national sovereignty in the face of threats from the EU and NATO, and workers from exploitation.

Borrowing the words of historic socialist leader Jean Jaurès and the language of French revolutionaries, the ‘third man’ in the race for the Elysée Palace delivered a powerful speech that once again demonstrated Mélenchon’s capacity to tune into the hopes and fears of the people in the difficult times facing the country.

Organisers estimated that some 70,000 attended the rally, held 17 days before the first round of the Presidential election where incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is facing defeat.

Mélenchon promised that if elected he would call a referendum on the new EU Fiscal Pact, or ‘permanent austerity treaty’ as critics dub it, and membership of NATO. He also argued for stronger workers’ rights such as new powers for employees ‘to pre-empt’ or ‘requisition’ plants faced with closure, a major issue in France where there have been a wave of factory closures and mass redundancies.

‘Political democracy…expresses itself as a central idea , or better still as a unique idea: the political sovereignty of the people, that’s to say only obeying laws that one has personally contributed to with one’s vote,’ said the candidate evoking Jean Jaurès, icon of the Left and native of the Midi region where the rally was held.

‘Sovereignty is the other name for liberty,’ he added.

In a 25 minute speech, the former Socialist often used turns of phrases evoking France’s great revolutionary tradition, with the crowds, despite the rain, chanting ‘President, President’.

‘Once again, you will have to be the crater from which will spring up again the flame of the revolution, which by contagion will become the common cause of all the peoples of Europe,’ said Mélenchon, calling for a new anti-globalisation alliance that would be independent from the United States to avoid being the ‘spare wheel in the imperial chariot.’

‘We are in the month of Germinal (…) France, beautiful and rebellious, happy days are coming,’ he said at the end of his second major open-air meeting, after the 120,000 strong rally in the Place de la Bastille in Paris on March 18.

Next big stop is Marseille, April 14. Watch this space

Check out the manifesto of Front de Gauche

Check out report of Taking of the Bastille on March 18

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

  • Czech & Romanian governments expected to survive confidence votes Fri, but may soon falter over #austerity. Reuters http://t.co/5Dz6po68 2 hours ago
  • #Italy’s agricultural workers join #rebellion against #Monti’s reforms Revolting #Europe http://t.co/eBD36zVE 2 hours ago
  • #Italy: #Immigrants say treated 'worse than animals' report journalists after visit to detention centre. Ansa http://t.co/sIfQO57r #racism 3 hours ago
  • #Italy: 'Dizzy' rise in families living in 'rough' dwellings as no. triples in 10 years - Istat. Ansa http://t.co/uEbeT5gt #precariat #99% 3 hours ago
  • #Italy- 7.6m monthly #pension less than €1,000, 2.4m <€500-istat 4m on <€500, 6m on <€800-union est. Rassegna.it http://t.co/F0I4o8Yp #99%. 5 hours ago
  • €6bn hidden from #Italy's #taxman by 2,000 evaders in first 4 months of 2012 uncovered by finance police. Ansa. http://t.co/pRSUu8bQ #1% 5 hours ago
  • RT @AthensNewsEU: Golden Dawn (@xryshaygh) leader Nikos Michaloliakos i'view: "I respected his [junta dictator Papadopoulos'] national c ... 5 hours ago
  • RT @AlbertoNardelli: About 85,000 more unemployed youth in #Spain over the last quarter alone, nearly 200,000 over past year, total now ... 5 hours ago
  • #Italy's agricultural workers join #strike action over #Monti's reforms. Revolting Europe. http://t.co/96SLsEUh 6 hours ago
  • RT @AthensNewsEU Private sector wages losing ground http://t.co/7uWMlXC6 #private_sector #debt_crisis #99% #austerity 20 hours ago
Follow @tomgilltweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures


A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.


99% of the 167 000 Madrilenos who signed a petition rejected the sell off local water company

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list


Arménio Carlos of CGTP led a general strike in Portugal on March 22


Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Massive Spanish protest

Half a million take to the streets over labour market deregulation


Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France


Anti-social Europe in numbers

RSS Watching Corporate Europe

  • Europe Inc. in crisis - the EU's alliance with big business is a dead-end
  • Les multinationales vampirisent le Sommet de la Terre
  • Das Brüs$el Business – Wer leitet eigentlich die EU?

RSS Hate Crimes in Europe


RSS Discrimination: legal news

  • Denmark - Revision of the Act establishing the Board of Equal Treatment (PDF 51 kB)
  • Romania - National equality body sanctions the posting “Arbeit Macht Frei” on Facebook by the head of the office of the prefect for the county of Mureş (PDF 56 kB)
  • Austria - Amendment of Penal Code re incitement to hatred (PDF 31 kB)

Workers down tools over PM Monti's attack on labour rights