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Mélenchon wants to "pit fraternity against hatred"

Translated Monday 28 May 2012, by Helen Robertshaw and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the Left Front, chose to hold his first campaign meeting for the legislative elections in the Pas-de-Calais region at the foot of a slag heap, a symbol of the mining region, in Méricourt.

Before a thousand or so people, he declared that he wanted to "pit fraternity and sharing" against the "face of hatred".

"At a time when, throughout Europe, narrow and closed-minded nationalism is spewing out its poison (...), we will show, through our sheer number and our diverse names, that there is a greater force than the face of hatred: that of fraternity and sharing", declared the Front de Gauche candidate in the 11th electoral constituency of Pas-de-Calais.

"We’re going to come and challenge them right there where they thought they would push us back", he added, referring, without ever naming her, to the Front National candidate, Marine Le Pen, his opponent in the 11th constituency.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon then announced that on June 3 he would organise "a march for fraternity and against austerity, the Emilienne Mopty March", in reference to a famous Resistance fighter from Pas-de-Calais.

The latter notably led miners’ demonstrations in 1941 in the midst of the Nazi occupation, before being arrested, tortured and then beheaded in Cologne.

"To all those who are angry but not fascists [1], I suggest they come with us and get angry, come march with us to show them that fraternity and resistance is what triumphs", belted out the Front de Gauche leader to applause from the crowd.
"The main value in life is love and fraternity. We refuse racism, we’re happy to live together — we must repeat this. We ought to love one another and stick together instead of pointing the finger at one another", he hammered out.

"I want to give back a voice in the National Assembly to these areas that have always carried the working-class message: together we are, together we will live, together we will unite", declared Mélenchon, a few hours after putting in his bid for election at the Arras prefecture.

[1In French, a play of assonace: fachés mais pas fachos.

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