“The environmentalist primary has become the showcase of the battles that are rising on the left”

IThere are two ways to read the course of the green primary, which delivers its result Tuesday, September 28. The first is marked by fatalism: it consists in thinking that at a time of choice, environmental sympathizers remain indecipherable leftists. They are quick to be indignant at injustices but not ready to get their hands dirty in the exercise of power, at a time when the ecological emergency nevertheless requires taking action without delay. The successful campaigns of Delphine Batho and Sandrine Rousseau, who, far from masking their radicalism, on the contrary carried it as a banner to defend one degrowth, the other ecofeminism, shows to what extent the “realists” (supporters of an electoral alliance with the Social Democrats) are still struggling to establish themselves within the French environmental family.

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Having emerged victorious in the first round but with only 2,733 votes in advance, Yannick Jadot found himself in a very uncomfortable situation during the in-between rounds. The MEP, who hoped to cast a wide net by embodying a “Positive and joyful ecology”, has constantly had to defend himself from being too lukewarm, too liberal, in a word too compromised in an ecology called” accompaniement “. Facing him, the other finalist, Sandrine Rousseau, implacable in her argument, prided herself on embodying ” an ecology of transformation ” anti-liberal essence. The aim of this teacher-researcher, now vice-president of the University of Lille, is to “Bring down the structures of domination” by triggering a powerful societal movement.

Conquerors who want to weigh

Those who have memories immediately drew a parallel with what happened in 2011 when the Green supporters preferred to invest Eva Joly rather than Nicolas Hulot to wear their colors in the presidential election. Ten months later, the former examining magistrate who claimed to wash whiter than white in a France polluted by business had won only 2.3% of the votes cast in the 2012 poll. She immediately rallied to François Hollande.

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At the time, the green primary had mobilized only 22,861 voters. This time, the electorate exceeds 100,000 and that makes all the difference. As much as we could consider ten years ago that environmentalists were experiencing a growth crisis linked to their turbulent history and their still marginal weight in the whole of the French left, we must now consider them for what they are: conquerors who no longer want to let themselves be marginalized but on the contrary to weigh with all their weight in the recomposition of the left.

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