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Posts Tagged ‘Front de Gauche

France: Left Demonstrates Against ‘Socialist’ Austerity Today.

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The Front de gauche, the  nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA), the left of the Greens (EELV) – against their party’s official refusal to participate, many trade union bodies, and civil society organisations (over 200), are marching today against the Austerity policies of Prime Minister Manuel Valls and President François Hollande.

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the radical left Greek party, Syriza, will be present

While the recent local elections were marked by divisions within the main French left alliance, the Front de gauche, these have not prevented this unified demonstration.

The March is  “contre l’austérité, pour l’égalité et le partage des richesses” – against austerity, for equality, and sharing wealth.

Specifically it is opposed to the government’s “pact” with employers and plans to cut spending.

Leading forces behind the event stand for an “alternative left majority”  as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of the Front de gauche puts it. 

According to Pierre Laurent, (of the French Communist Party, PCF) the “living forces” of the left must unite and construct an alternative capable of winning a majority of the French people to its side. The demonstrations of the 12 April could be the starting point of a new assembly, one that will find expression in during the polls for the European elections on the 25th of  May.

L’Humanité.

Maintenant ça suffit ! 

For a European Movement Against Austerity!

Front de Gauche: Break up over European Elections and More.

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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.

Front de Gauche Demonstrates for a “révolution fiscal”.

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Manifestation du Parti de Gauche, dimanche 1er décemnre, à Paris.

On Sunday Jean-Luc Mélenchon marched  with Bercy Pierre Moscovici. Co-Chair of the Left Party (PG) and  Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the French Communist Party (PCF), heading the procession the Left Front for a “revolution in taxation” and against the planned increase of   VAT on the 1 st  January.

Apart from the Front de Gauche (FdG), Le Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste, Lutte ouvrière and some Greens (EE-LV) took part.

In wintry conditions,  the demonstration (reports indicate) essentially mobilised members of the FdG.  According to  Parti de gauche (PG), 100 000 people were present, this was  70 000 for the (PCF). The Police total was  7 000. Le Monde. 

Pictures of the march in L’Humanité  here.

On factor motivating the marchers was a wish not to let the streets be dominated by the ‘Poujadist ‘ anti-government demonstrations of the Breton ‘bonnets rouges’ and the lorry driver bosses who were out this morning protesting against ‘eco-taxes’.

The character of the bonnets rouges can be seen in the placard held by the demonstrator below,

Thousands of people flocked, Saturday, Nov. 30, at the festival of the Old Plough in Carhaix.

It reads, “France, a paradise for the skivers, fraudsters, and criminals, Hell for the hard-working. We say, Merde to Europe and Merde! to that France.”

The Front de Gauche will hold further unitary actions in the coming January.

Left Unity Party Founded.

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Like many on the Left the Tendance has been following the debates around the creation of a new left party – from the statement  calling for Left Unity – with interest.

Yesterday they held their founding conference with over 500 people attending (Liam’s estimate), and over 1,000 signed up.

The result of the ballot at today’s Founding Conference on the name of our new party was as such. This means we will be “Left Unity” as a new radical force on the left in the UK.  Left Unity. *

Some of us watched the debates through live streaming.

Richard Seymour comments,

A great deal of the conference was necessarily consumed by procedural minutiae and constitutional refinements.  This was exhausting.  The chair was a trembling wreck at the end of it.  I know I wasn’t the only one who, at a certain point in these discussions, began to check out.  There is a reason God made the smartphone, people, and this is it.

The upshot is, we have a party.  It has over 1,000 dues-paying members thus far, 10,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, thirty seven branches, and now a constitution and a basis for action.  What can be done with this?

I have participated in two previous attempts to build a left-of-Labour party: the Socialist Alliance, and Respect.  Both crashed against unforgiving structural limits, notwithstanding the strategic errors made by the leaders of those formations.  These limits began with the severity of the defeats inflicted on the labour movement and the Left in Britain during the 1980s; the collapse of that symbolic space where a certain type of hard Left made sense; and the sweeping completeness of the Blairites’ victory within Labour, such that our main social democratic party was already fully committed to neoliberalism before taking office.

He notes,

The UK has no significant communist or far left parties equivalent to those in Greece, France or Portugal.  It is therefore impossible to do what Left Unity wants to do unless there is a realignment in which a sizeable chunk of the Labour Party, including MPs and councillors, splits.  Moreover, Left Unity is not coming up on the back of some great social movement, and the wider left in which it operates is historically weak.  To all appearances, it has emerged at a most inopportune moment.

The Left Party Platform, won, with some amendments.  It got about three quarters of the votes. Around another quarter aligned with other platforms,  such as the Socialist Platform.

Given that the Weekly Worker describes the Left Party Platform as “Marxism Today” style politics we can expect the damp squibs  of opponents to splutter on and on.

Overwhelmingly it is a positive thing that radical left groups are now organised in a party that can sit down and think out ideas and strategies.

They are also free of the dead hand of the largest groups, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Socialist Party.

There are many people involved in the Left Unity party who have much to contribute to the creation of a vibrant creative left.

Naturally there are others, veterans of the grotesque ‘Respect‘ party – some of some of whom quit it  in the not so distant past – who appear not to have seen fit to publish a balance sheet of that experience.

The Left Party Platform draws inspiration from other European lefts, such as ” Syriza and Front de Gauche.”

The latter is a ‘bloc’ rather than a party, with obviously far greater social and political resources to draw on. Syriza is also a bloc, a party that is an alliance of different platforms, also with a wide social appeal.

Despite these differences some ideas of these groupings could be relevant to the United Kingdom.

But nobody in the Left Unity Party seems to have taken seriously the Front de Gauche’s anti-racist secularism and support for “métissage’” (cultural mixing)  - a very different project to the communalist ideology and practice  of Respect.

Then there is the issue of how the left could win the mass (if minority) support other European lefts have, or, at the very least, serious political representation.

Phil makes a fundamental point,

…the single biggest thing, the challenge I think LU will find insurmountable is, as always, Labour. Only the most blinkered pretend it is fundamentally the same beast as it was in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010. It might be more complex than the rigid schemas of the far left allow, but Labour has shifted back to social democratic politics. It has cottoned on that living standards are being hammered and, as a result, the party is the only one addressing those concerns. When the two main parties find themselves on opposite sides on the bedroom tax, NHS privatisation, house building, energy prices, apprenticeships, economic strategy, care for the elderly, breaking up the banks, and workplace rights, it’s obvious who should form the next government. And while LU is something looking to become something else, so is Labour. Who, for instance, is going to listen to LU when Labour has a realistic chance of putting its policies into practice? Who will be tempted to support LU when it will be massively squeezed by the next election’s high stakes?

The People’s Assembly is an attempt, often with solid results,  to create grass-roots with the aim of stiffening Labour’s resolve in this direction.

It is far from clear that it will be, in this respect, successful.

But the People’s Assemblies have been left unity in practice.

It is to be hoped that the Left Unity Party will continue to join in this work.

* Result of party name:

Left Unity Party 47
Left Party 122
Left Unity 188
Democratic Voice 44

Second ballot
Left Party 139
Left Unity 235

Troubles Appear to Grow in the Front de Gauche.

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We have already blogged  on the  conflicts inside the French left-wing alliance, the Front de Gauche.

The French Communist Party and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s group, the Left party (Parti de Gauche) have basic disagreements about their electoral strategy.

The main source of tension is the PCF’s intention to reach agreements with the French Parti Socialiste for next year’s March local elections.

Matters were brought to head over the PCF’s decision to align with the Socialists for the Paris  elections.

Libération reports today,

The decision of the Communists to ally with the PS for the Parisian  municipal  polls has led Mélenchon and his immediate allies to delay discussions for the European May elections.

The  Front de Gauche is at a standstill. If, at the local level,  teams of their activists are busy preparing for the municipal elections in March, nationally, tensions related to the choice of the PCF to ally with the PS in Paris continue to  relations. “We cannot rewrite history” remarks a key FdG figure. “We have now to  begin discussions on the European elections.” That’s as may be, but the Left Party (PG) of  Jean-Luc Mélenchon has not forgotten the “betrayal” in Paris. His battle with Pierre Laurent (PCF leader)  is continuing … with the hope of wining concessions over nominations for MEP lists.

The article notes that these divisions have led  Mélenchon (a MEP) to equivocate over the election of Pierre Laurent (PCF)  as President of the European Left Party – the bloc of left groups in the European Parliament.

The author suggests that the PG may wish to wait until th e results of the March local elections are known before deciding on the composition of the May European lists.

One should note that the author of this article, Lilian Alemagna,  has written, with Stéphane Allies, Mélenchon le Plébéien (2012).

This book has not, to say the least, received a warm welcome from supporters of the Front de Gauche.

Its tone may be grasped from the blurb, “Rythmé d’anecdotes savoureuses, truffé de revelations…” (full of savourous anecdotes, stuffed full of revelations…).

Critics accuse it of barely going beyond this level.

Mélenchon himself says that Alemagna’s  articles are “venimeux” (full of venom).

However there is objective evidence of strong tensions between the PCF and other parts of the FdG.

Not only the Parti de Gauche, but groups, such as the respected  Gauche Anticapitaliste, opposed the decision to align with the Socialists in Paris.

As we wish the Front de Gauche well we hope that the present difficulties can be overcome.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm