In the end, France did not single itself out. The far right did not come out on top in the first round of the regional elections. The Rassemblement National will have a hard time winning the only French region it still has a chance of taking next Sunday, and it so happens that France has just confirmed an increasingly clear international trend.

Donald Trump has had to yield his position to a man who is putting the spotlight back on public investment, the state and the taxation of large corporations. A coalition across the political spectrum has defeated Benjamin Netanyahu. The Lega is now part of a government of national unity whose priority is to anchor Italy further in the European Union. Poland’s national conservatives are running out of steam so much so that they themselves no longer believe they will win another term in 2023. If the Hungarian elections of 2022 were held now, Viktor Orban would not win. Jair Bolsonaro is losing his footing in Brazil, where a return to power by Lula now seems likely, and even India henceforth seems to be slipping from the grip of Narendra Modi and his Hinduist and nationalist BJP party.

Yesterday’s rising force, the far right is declining everywhere, and the paradox is that this reversal of the situation is taking place in the midst of a shift to the right of the electorates on the five continents.

The themes, culture and nostalgia of the right have never been so dominant since the Second World War. The expression ‘left-wing intellectual’, which was once a pleonasm, is now more of an oxymoron. To put it briefly, this century is becoming conservative because it is so afraid of all the upheavals underway that a growing part of our societies is dreaming of a return to borders, jobs and industries, as well as to morals, which could save them from a great leap into the unknown.

Because they are dizzy with too many technological, cultural and geopolitical novelties, our societies are looking backwards and therefore sliding en masse into the conservatism of the right wings and, sometimes, the nationalism of the extreme right.

Such times necessarily challenge the left, the party of social change and universalism, of openness to the other and to the new.

These times are not left-wing, but the paradox is that the same magnitude of the upheavals underway simultaneously creates such a need for the State, for tax revenues, for an organised fight against global warming and for social cohesion that requires the reduction of inequalities, that this century is burying Reagano-Thatcherism in favour of a return to public power and its interventionism.

These are right-wing times, but the solutions are on the left.

These are so fragile and complex times that the extreme right can quickly regain the upper hand and will soon if the desire for order and reassurance is not quickly satisfied.

Nothing would be more illusory than to believe in the possibility of a return to the alternations between left and right of times past and gone by. On the contrary: as in any moment of great peril, the hour has come for a common front of democrats and democracies.

It is their convergences and not their divergences that the left and the right must emphasise, not necessarily in order to govern together but to contribute in concert to defending the European model of the welfare state, to curb the rise of dictatorships, to strengthen the Union and to make it a constant example of the fight for social justice, freedom and the protection of the planet.

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