Posts Tagged ‘Parti Socialiste’
For the SWP the French Nouveau parti anticaptialiste (NPA) has been a reference point.
While recognising its strengths there have long been criticisms of its internal regime.
This allows ‘factions’, tendencies and ‘courants‘ to operate. This is not a grudging ‘right to dissent’. NPA’s Conferences are organised around motions from these groups, or alliances – a practice similar to the internal functioning of the French Parti Socialiste.
In a long article last year analysing the marginalisation of the NPA and its coming break-up (France: anti-capitalist politics in crisis International Socialism Issue: 134 Alex Callinicos observed the problems raised by the NPA’s priorities.
Firstly, “The problem is that the NPA’s political life is centred on elections.”
Unlike the SWP whose interest in electing George Galloway in the East End was purely marginal…
Secondly, “the idea that political organisations should respect the “autonomy of the social movements”.
This contrasts with the SWP’s practice of tactical “united fronts” – that is, working with social movements (pressure groups or campaigns) for a short while to organise demonstrations and other protests, and then dropping them in an endless cycle of ‘front-recruitment-new front’. This behaviour has caused great resentment amongst other activists.
The LCR/NPA enjoys a different legacy: enduring respect from activists and social movements.
But the worst fault of the NPA was this.
a third weakness carried over into the NPA from the LCR, namely an internal regime of institutionalised factionalism. There are, of course, longstanding differences over how best to organise democratic centralism. The SWP has, for more than 40 years, insisted that political disagreements should be allowed to crystallise into formally organised factions only in the period of internal debate before a party conference. The LCR and its sister sections of the FI have, by contrast, long maintained the right to organise permanent tendencies. In the Ligue this meant that internal discussion was for a long period of structured by a permanent debate between a “majority” that was itself a coalition and the grouping around Picquet.
Callinicos attended the 2011 NPA Congress,
Comrades in the FI sometimes criticise the SWP internal regime for being too homogeneous and dominated by the Central Committee, but, particularly in recent years, there has often been great uncertainty about the outcome of important votes at SWP conferences.
By contrast, he argues, the NPA’s votes were known in advance.
That is because the entire membership had voted beforehand on what they supported and it was not left to the mandated delegates to decide!
At the 2011 congress the Conseil National Politique, the NPA’s leading body, was selected by representatives of the different platforms reading out lists of their supporters to occupy places allocated thanks to their share of the membership votes. At the best of times this kind of setup inhibits real debate, where minds can be changed thanks to the play of argument. But this has not been the best of times for the NPA. With no faction having a majority, the field is open for manoeuvres and bargains
Alex Callinicos now says (Socialist Review)
The New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France imploded in 2011-12, leading to a very serious breakaway to the Front de Gauche led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. This has weakened the far left in Europe, and indeed the rest of the world. The implosion was caused by political differences and setbacks, but it was exacerbated by an internal regime very similar to the one advocated by some SWP members. All the debates within the NPA went through the filter imposed by the struggle between four permanent factions. Members’ loyalties focused on their factional alignments rather than the party itself.
In reality there has been no such things, outside of tiny irrelevant groups like Clarté, as permanent factions in the NPA with their own special interests.
The first faction to leave the old LCR, just as the NPA was founded, is best known for Christian Picquet . In June 2006 he backed a motion in favour of uniting all candidates to the left of the Parti Socialiste. It got 40% of the votes at the Conference. This tendency received 14% at the last NPA Conference. In other words its actions and its ‘loyalties’ were always part of the flow of debate, and axed towards the general needs of the party. It is now the Gauche Unitaire (formed 2009) and an integral part of the Front de gauche.
Most importantly the former ‘majority’ exploded in 2011.
- The new majority defending the Candidature of Philippe Poutou in the forthcoming (2012) Presidential elections.
- The other arguing in favour of the Front de gauche.
Of the latter Convergence et Alternative joined the Front de gauche in 2011 in advance of the Presidential election in 2012.
In April 2012 for the First Round of the French Presidential election the NPA’s Phillipe Poutou got 1,15 % of the vote (411 160).
The Front de Gauche candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, got 11,10 % of the vote (3 984 822).
This undercut the original NPA view that “there is nothing on the left between us and the Parti Socialiste”
Most of the remaining opposition, in the Gauche ant,icapitaliste, joined the Front de gauche in July 2012.
This account of voting figures from LCR/NPA Congresses do not suggest rigid ‘faction’ behaviour. They indicate a great deal of flexibility, strategic differences and changing allegiances.
They imply a ‘loyalty’ to tendencies, a condition of developing their analyses for Conference resolutions, and deepening their views. But not blind faith in a mini-leadership.
The NPA’s tendencies and factions act indeed as a “permanent” democratic control over the party.
The internal structure cannot be blamed when, on an important issue, participation in the Front de gauche, the minority left.
The political disagreement was simply too great.
There have been none of the psychodramas we see in the present SWP crisis.
What Callinicos is complaining about is democracy.
Written by Andrew Coates
January 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm
France’s steel producers are on the brink. Opposition to a deal over the Loraine Steel Plant, at Florange, threatens to undermine the unity of the French Socialist-led Government.
The Minister leading the negotiations over the future of Florange, Arnaud Montebourg, is a leading figure of the Parti Socialiste (PS) left wing. he advocates ”la démondialisation” (anti-globaliser) and re-industrialisation. He has expressed the view that the company that ran the furnaces, – Steelmaker Mittal, which acquired France’s Arcelor in 2006, is no longer wanted in the country – after years of broken promises . This feeling is widely shared by the firm’s workers.
In charge of the Industry Ministry as ‘ministre du Redressement productif’, Arnaud Montebourg , threatened to ‘temporally’ nationalise the site. When this was dropped this weekend he was on the point of resigning.
There has been a persistent campaign to denigrate Montebourg.
This began from Manuel Valls, of the right-wing of the PS (and admirer of Tony Blair) and now Interior Minister. From the Employers’ association, the MEEDF, Laurence Parisot, has criticised his “muscular” and “interventionist” policies. The EU’s Commerce Commissioner, Karel de Gucht, has attacked his ‘protectionism’.
In some ways this is reminiscent of the opposition Tony Benn faced when he was Secretary of State for Industry in 1974.
There are both similarities and important differences. Benn was described as a supporter of Eastern European style socialism. He was not linked, at the time, to the main demands of the trade unions. Benn ended up marginalised in the Cabinet.
Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government’s take on the Steel crisis faces resistance from grass-roots workers. They have no faith in the agreement, and are intensely suspicious of Lakshmi Mittal. Attempts by the reformist CFDT union federation have been sided-stepped by the present plan, to their great anger and accusations of “betrayal”. The radical left-led CGT federation’s opposition remains a stumbling block for the government. They do not believe that Florange has been ‘saved’.
Crucially there is a political voice to express their demands. The Front de Gauche is not part of the Socialist government. It is free to criticise its decisions. Already the leader of the French Communist Party (PCF) Pierre Laurent, says that they “Le PCF comprend la colère des salariés et élus locaux devant cette démission de la puissance publique” – they understand the anger of the employees and local political figures at this failure to use the public authoritires’ powers – to resolve the situation.
At the moment Montebourg remains at his post.
The reverberations from the Florange could create a deep political crisis. President’s Hollande’s ’social democratic’ turn, that is adopting ‘market realism’, looks threatened by union discontent.
ArcelorMittal, France end feud on steel plant
ArcelorMittal and the French government have struck a deal under which nationalisation of the Lakshmi Mittal-owned Florange Steel Plant has been ruled out in lieu of the company’s commitment to make fresh investment of 180 million euros and not to lay off any worker.
Also, the company will not shut down two blast furnaces at the Florange facility which will retain about 650 workers whose jobs were under threat.
The world’s largest steelmaker, owned by the India-born tycoon, has 2,700 employees at the entire plant situated in the North-Eastern part of the country.
The deal was announced by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday when the deadline for ArcelorMittal to find buyers for the two blast furnaces expired
More, in French:
“Florence était un dossier politiquement explosif. A tel point que l’avenir des derniers hauts fourneaux de Lorraine a failli faire éclater le gouvernement
De sources concordantes, Arnaud Montebourg a menacé François Hollande de démissionner, lors de leur entretien de samedi matin à l’Elysée. La veille au soir, le ministre du Redressement productif avait été sèchement désavoué par le Premier ministre, Jean-Marc Ayrault, sur son projet de «nationalisation temporaire» de Florange.
Bienvenue aux Alternatifs, 9e composante du Front de gauche !
The French ‘Alternatifs’, the Red-Green network with roots in the self-management current and the Parti Socialiste Unifié, has become the 9th grouping, or party, the join the Front de Gauche (FdG). The Gauche anticapitaliste (Ex-Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste and already part of the FdG) announces,
Suite à leur congrès national, les Alternatifs ont décidé de rentrer au Front de gauche.
La gauche anticapitaliste se félicite de cette décision qui contribue au renforcement et à l’élargissement du Front de gauche. La gauche anticapitaliste souhaite la bienvenue à nos camarades avec qui nous partageons bien des combats et des positions politiques.
Following their national conference the Alternatifs have decided to enter the Front de Gauche.
The gauche anticapitaliste is greatly pleased with this decision, which will strengthen and broaden the Front de Gauche. The gauche anticapitaliste greatly welcomes our comrades, with whom we have share many political positions and have worked with in many struggles.
The alternatifs voted 56,37% for this move, 34,75% against and there were 8,88% abstentions).The Alternatifs will campaign for the creation of a “nouveau pôle rouge et vert” (a new red and green axis). The Alternatifs will work within the structures of the Front de Gauche and society at large to promote their policies.
More details of the debates at the Alternatifs’ Congress on their site.
I am particularly pleased because les Alternatifs are a current whose predecessors (such as the FGA*) I have been part of and feel politically close to on many issues.
At the moment with the protests (Libération) at the construction of new runways at Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport, and the confrontations that took place yesterday and this morning, a “green” sensibility is an important part of the French Left.
* La Fédération pour une gauche alternative (FGA) est un rassemblement créé en 1984, sous le gouvernement Mauroy (PS), autour de militants du PSU (Jean-Pierre Lemaire) opposé à la participation au gouvernement et rassemblés autour de la tendance Gauche autogestionnaire, ainsi que quelques observateurs de la LCR (tendance 3). Quelques pablistes (Maurice Najman, [Gilbert Marquis]) et d’autres militants d’extrême gauche (Jacques Archimbaud, ex-PCR, et Patrick Petitjean, ex-OCT) font aussi partie du rassemblement, ainsi que quelques anciens communistes (le sociologue Philippe Zarifian).
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault outlines his new government’s agenda on Tuesday, hamstrung by promises to voters and EU authorities amid an audit warning of 43-billion-euro budget hole.
In Europe, the eurozone crisis still burns and at home his finance minister has just warned that economic growth will be lower than forecast.
The projected two-year shortfall of up to 43 billion euros is what has to be covered with spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the overall public deficit by stages to targets for this year and next.
From Agence France Press.
In the French National Assembly the Front de Gauche group will abstain today on a confidence vote for the new Socialist prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, l’Humanité says.
André Chassaigne a annoncé que le groupe (GDR) du Front de gauche et des élus ultramarins qu’il préside allaient s’abstenir de voter la confiance au gouvernement Ayrault ce mardi après-midi. Une décision comprise et partagée par les internautes de l’Humanité, qui réclament parfois d’aller plus loin.
André Chassaigne, President of the Front de Gauche and French overseas deputies group (GDR, Gauche démocrate et républicaine) has announced that they will abstain this afternoon on the vote of confidence in the Ayrault government. This decision was understood and backed by internet supporters of l’Humanité, some of whom call for the GDR to go further.
The below needs a lot of localised interpretation. For example the Front de Gauche will do a lot better in some places than others, and the same, unfortunately applies to the Front National. But the general trend is to a strong left victory, with a Parti Socialiste lead, their clients in the Green Party (EE/LV) given a largish number of seats by the way the PS carved out a place for them, and the Front de Gauche having an honourable score.
Résumé des intentions de vote au 1er tour
|Opinion- Way||TNS Sofres||Ipsos||LH2||BVA||CSA||Ifop||Ipsos||Opinion- Way||Ifop||BVA||CSA||BVA|
|4-5 juin||1-3 juin||1-2 juin||1-2 juin||30-31 mai||29-30 mai||25-29 mai||25-26 mai||23-25 mai||18-19 mai||9-10 mai||9-10 mai||6 mai|
|LO / NPA||1||1,5||1,5||1,5||1||1||1,5||1,5||1||1||0,5||1,5||0,5|
|Front de Gauche||8,5||7,5||7||8||9||10||7||8||8||7||10,5||10||10,5|
|Parti Socialiste / PRG||31||31,5||32,5||31,5||33||30||34||31||32||34,5||30||32|
|PS / PRG / EELV||35|
|AEI / Divers écologiste||1||0||1||1||0|
|UMP / PR / NC||35||35||34||31,5||32||31,5||33||35||31||32,5||32,5||33||33|
|Debout la République||0,5||0,5||0,5||0,5||1||0,5|
|Un autre candidat||1||2,5||2||5||1,5||3||3|