Archive for the ‘French Left’ Category
US State Secretary lays flowers to Ukraine’s heroes from the Heavenly Hundred on March 4 in Kyiv.
Russia’s seizure of military control over Crimea has brought Ukraine to the brink of war. This crisis represents the coming together of three distinct conflicts.
First, there is the struggle that has been going on for more than a decade among the corrupt and thuggish bunch of oligarchs who have dominated Ukraine since independence in 1991.
Secondly, there has been a genuine popular movement against the now exiled president, Viktor Yanukovych. This has expressed anger at the corruption of the entire political elite in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, this movement harbours illusions in the European Union (EU). Moreover, thanks to the historic weakness of the left in Ukraine, the far right has played a significant role in the “Euromaidan” occupation in Kiev.
Nevertheless, those who claim Yanukovych’s overthrow was a “fascist coup” are parroting Moscow propaganda. He fell because the section of the oligarchy who had previously backed him withdrew their support.
Third, and now most important, is the inter-imperialist rivalry between Russia and the West over Ukraine. In this conflict, Ukraine matters much more to Russia than it does to the United States or the EU.
A Ukraine that was fully integrated into the EU and Nato would be a step towards Moscow’s worst nightmare of being encircled by the West. President Vladimir Putin went to war with Georgia in 2008 to prevent this nightmare being realised.
“Putin is engaging in an inter-imperialist power play.”
“Socialists in the West must of course oppose any military intervention by the US or NATO in Ukraine. But the crisis reminds us that imperialism can’t be reduced to American domination. It is a system of economic and geopolitical competition among the leading capitalist powers.
Rather than tail any of these powers, we must fight this entire system. This means opposing Russian intervention in Ukraine. Never has the slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow but international socialism” been more relevant.”
This is a seriously thought-out analysis and, despite all the temptations to contradict the SWP, many of us will agree with comrade Callinicos.
The Stop the War Coalition says some of the same things.
This is highly relevant.
We should also take no lessons from those who have supported intervention in the past in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and who proposed major air strikes in Syria as recently as last August. Nor should we believe concerns about national sovereignty from countries which have launched drone attacks on Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
There are many political differences in Ukraine that can only be resolved politically and by respecting the language and civil rights of all concerned. But the background to this lies far beyond the borders of the Ukraine in terms of conflict between major powers.
The expansion of the EU and Nato eastwards has led to the growth of a neoliberal and militarised agenda in the region.
We disagree with this to the extent that it tilts towards exonerating Putin and other Russian leaders from their own responsibility for the crisis.
But, to those who do not instinctively bristle at the lectures on democracy given by American and European politicians,not to mention the show of U.S. support for Ukraine’s new leadership, Secretary of State John Kerry, we observe.
- Has the US “freedom agenda” achieved stable political liberty in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya?
- Did the US’s support for the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution”(2004 -5) create a solid democratic foundation for the country?
How have others on the left reacted to the issues the Ukraine face-to-face raises?
James Bloodworth provides a summary of the position of British left groups on Shiraz Socialist.
It would appear that few organised groups (apart from the Communist Party of Britain) hold the idea that the Ukraine has undergone a “fascist coup.”
James manages to find some statements by individuals, such as the flatulent Gorge Galloway, who rave against the “fascist and ultra nationalist coup in Kiev”.
But is this (Left Unity) part of making a “moral equivalence” between unwanted Russian military intervention in Ukraine and economic assistance requested by the Ukrainian government to support its ailing economy”?
Left Unity takes the position that there can only be a political solution to this crisis and that neither foreign military intervention nor foreign political and economic intervention provide the answers to Ukraine’s complex problems.
Whether under the flag of US, NATO, Russia or the European Union, military intervention only ever makes the situation many times worse. So it is in Ukraine. The West’s hypocrisy in condemning Russia for breaking international law is breathtaking: nevertheless, Russian troops hold no solution to the crisis.
A different reading would suggest that this about right. That there is no “political solution” worthy of support that encourages further steps on the neo-liberal road. Plans for drastic austerity in the Ukraine tend to demonstrate Left Unity’s point. It would be said that this is a position which represents the majority of the Left.
The majority of the left’s generally even-handed position contrasts with the hysteria whipped up by intellectuals such as Timothy Synder (Moscow is in thrall to a far-right Eurasian ideology), Anne Applebaum (Russia heads a new conservative International ) and Bernard-Henri Lévy (Putin is playing a Sudetenland over the Ukraine).
It is interesting that comrade Callinicos’ own even-handed stand has received a warm welcome from members of the Novueau Parti anticaptialiste (NPA). (Forum des marxistes révolutionnaires)
Their party has inclined to the opposite error: too great enthusiasm for the new government in Kiev and too much emphasis on the faults of Russia’s leaders in creating the crisis.
The French Communist Party has launched a declaration “Solidarité avec les communistes ukrainiens” against the country’s far-right – which has attacked their members and offices.
The PCF also declares in a formal statement,
For the last three months the Ukraine has been ablaze with a mercilessness struggle for power between oligarchs, all as corrupt and venal as each other, and who have been made wealthy thanks to neo-liberal policies backed as much by the European Union as by Russia.
The European Union, Russia, the USA – via NATO, or directly – have been engaged in outbidding each others, threatening the us of force, or military escalation. The Ukrainian people have been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
The French Communists warn of the danger of “groupes néo-nazis.” But they empathise that the need now is for all for immediate measures to be taken in the Ukraine to ensure that the people of the country take their own destiny in hand.
They call for an end to the “Logic of war” and the cynical “tête-à-tête” between the West and Russia.
It’s hard not to agree.
Lenin’s Tomb writes,” I have been given permission to publish this excellent paper from the Penser l’émancipation, closing plenary, Nanterre, on February 22, 2014. It was written and delivered by the excellent Houria Bouteldja, a member of Le Parti des indigènes de la République.”
On anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
It also designates an enemy: the Jew as a Jew, and the Jew as a Zionist, as an embodiment of imperialism, but also because of the Jew’s privileged position. The one who occupies the best seat in the hearts of the White, a place for which many indigènes are fighting.
Because they dream of becoming the Prince’s favourites, but without questioning that Prince’s legitimacy: the legitimacy of the White Man. As we, in the PIR, often say: “The spontaneous ideology of the indigènes is integrationism.” And in the end, if Soral’s strategy is working, it is also because he revalidates arabo-muslim virility that was the target of racism and colonialism — I will not detail here another episode, the one with Ni Putes Ni Soumises and Femen.
Must we condemn this youth? Are they fascists?
My reply is No!
Now, the trouble is that we are not integrationists. And integration through anti-semitism horrifies us just as much as integration though White universalism and national-chauvinism. We abhor anything that seeks to integrate us into whiteness; anti-semitism being a pure product of Europe and the West. As a decolonial movement, it is self-evident that we cannot support Dieudonné.
Yet we could not condemn him in the manner of the white Left, because there is a certain dimension that has escaped the Left, but one that is clear to any indigène with a modicum of dignity. It is what I have recalled in an interview in 2012: “For me Dieudonné is not Soral, because he is a social indigène. I cannot treat him as I treat Soral. I thoroughly disagree with his political choices: the fact that he has been seduced by Soral’s nationalistic views, that he knows nothing about Palestine and Zionism, and his alliance with the far-right.
At the same time, I feel ambivalent. I would start by saying that I love Dieudonné; that I love him as the indigènes love him; that I understand why the indigènes love him. I love him because he has done an important action in terms of dignity, of indigène pride, of Black pride: he refused to be a domestic negro. Even if he doesn’t have the right political program in his head, his attitude is one of resistance
This “excellent Houria Bouteldja” has other views of note,
“Pour Houria Bouteldja, porte parole du mouvement], sans être une tare « le mode de vie homosexuel n’existe pas dans les quartiers populaires ». Dans un droit de réponse à l’article la mettant en cause, elle rappelle notamment ses propos exacts sur le sujet, tenus le 6 novembre 2012 dans l’émission télévisée Ce soir (ou jamais !) de Frédéric Taddéï: « Je ne crois pas à l’universalité de l’identité politique homosexuelle. Je fais la distinction entre le fait qu’il peut y avoir des pratiques homosexuelles effectivement dans les quartiers ou ailleurs mais que ça ne se manifeste pas par une revendication identitaire politique.”
So gay life does not exist in the working class housing estates, which the ‘indigènes (self-appointed) claim to represent.
They certainly do their bit to make sure this happens.
In 2012 they shouted down and attacked gay writer Caroline Fourest.
She was attacked in September that year at the annual Fête d’Huma by the Indigènes de la République and the Indivisibles. They prevented her from talking about her latest book against the Front National.
As a kind of ‘autonomous rights’ movement (indigènes is taken from the time of French colonialisation) for the civic status – lack of – of the ‘natives’ in the French empire one thing sticks out about this groupuscule (apart from his willingness to use thuggery against opponents).
It is its American-UK defence of ‘multiculturalism’.
This explains perhaps the following (distastefully phrased),
So what has happened between these two generations: the potentially pork-eating immigrants who were tied to the Left and the non-pork-eating immigrants drifting towards the Right?
The bully continues,
On the front of the radical Left, we have witnessed: complicity of parts of the radical Left with moralistic anti-racism; hostility towards autonomous immigration movements; collusion and active complicity with islamophobia; focusing on fascism at the expense of structural racism and a critique of white supremacy that cuts across the radical Left itself; the centrality of the Holocaust at the expense of the history of colonialism and slavery; clientelism in the neighbourhoods (in particular in Communist Party municipalities); white anti-Zionism, that is an anti-Zionism that is supportive of resistance movements that resemble the left (the PFLP for example) and that is contemptuous of those who do not resemble it (such as Hamas at the time of the attacks against Gaza).
It would be interesting to hear how his group which also backed Hezbollah not considers them.
On Syria – motus!
One heartily agrees, however with this statement,
For this to be possible, we must be accepted as we are: a group that is racially and socially dominated, not necessarily clear-cut on several issues: not clear-cut on capitalism, not clear-cut on class struggle, not clear-cut on women, not clear-cut on homosexuality, not clear-cut on Jews.
That is “”la reconnaissance par l’Etat de ces différentes langues, cultures et spiritualités comme autant de besoins sociaux et comme des composantes à part entière de la communauté politique et culturelle et des institutions qui la constituent.”
State recognition of the different languages, cultures and spiritualities as social needs and integral parts in themselves of the political, cultural and institutional framework.”
This is Seymour’s Twitter Reply to someone who tweeted him about this,
Street Battles in Nantes.
Violence erupted when about 20,000 people demonstrated against an airport project near the city of Nantes on Saturday, leaving six riot police officers injured.
Environmental activists have been protesting for more than a year against the government’s plan to build a new airport for the west of the country, with some activists occupying the area by living rough in makeshift wooden cabins.
Police have tried several times in vain to evict the squatters and have had to contain many demonstrations. Reuters.
Agence France Presse also reports,
Riot police moved into the western French city of Nantes on Saturday, clashing with hundreds of anarchists who broke shop windows, destroyed bus stops and pillaged the city centre.
At least eight police officers were hospitalized after violent confrontations with up to 1,000 “radicals,” the prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique region said. Fourteen people were detained.
The rioters had joined an estimated 20,000 people protesting against plans to build a regional airport. Officials did not say whether protesters were injured.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the delinquents were from the “radicalized ultra-left” and were waging an “urban guerrilla” campaign.
The protests turned very violent as “autonomous” groups broke away.
The evidence remains today,
On the route taken by the demonstrations the day before, this morning we could still see marks of the events. Municipal workers were busy erasing tags and paintings on the walls, including those of the mayor. The façade of a Vinci Immobilier (Estate agents), ransacked on Saturday, has been replaced by wooden boards. Vinci is linked to the airport project. On sites a little further away, lay the blackened carcasses of a giant drill and a bulldozer. The façade of the administrative court, is still painted with large amounts of red paint, and on the ground floor several windows were broken, making it unrecognisable. A huge“Zad Everywhere” was tagged on the main entrance door. Zad means “deferred development zone” of the airport. This acronym has become a symbol of the opposition.
On Kervegan, one of the oldest districts of Nantes island, the cobblestone streets were scarred by large holes. They have been replaced by the earth where the pavement had been torn up. Barricades were erected and then set on fire. At the transport hub of the city, the Place du Commerce, all the ticket booths and the offices of the Society Nantes transport were burnt out. The paving stones for several tram lines were torn out.
In Deep Trouble.
Eric Coquerel of the Parti de gauche of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, writes today,
The turmoil this week has unfortunately confirmed that the contradictions of PCF makes it impossible to stay together, despite everything, for the launch of the European election campaign.
(Les soubresauts de cette semaine ont malheureusement confirmé que les contradictions du PCF rendent impossible de démarrer ensemble, malgré tout, la campagne européenne. )
There is a lot more, about the disagreements with the French Communist party over the local elections. The PCF has, in some cases, formed agreements with the ruling Parti Socialiste.
The sticking point is Paris where the PCF have put the Front de Gauche logo on a list arranged with the Socialists (see heavily over-written and wordy statement by the PdG).
The key part of this otherwise impenetrable text (backed by 97% of the party) is that the Parti de Gauche have issued an ultimatum to the Communists, to swear loyalty to them and that they will not form any alliance with the Socialists for the two elections of 2015, the cantonal and regional.
Those close to Pierre Laurent, the head of the PCF ,who is not on speaking terms with the PdG leader, say that Mélenchon, now decides everything – on his own – in the party. They comment that they, the Communists, are now expected to agree to whatever he says as well.
Nothing is clear about what will happen.
On France-Inter this morning it was reported that Mélenchon is flailing around, meeting with dissident Greens and Socialists, as well as the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA).
More in le Monde today.