Posts Tagged ‘Parti Socialiste’
Summer ‘University’ of the Front de Gauche has just seen a serious spat.
In his key-note speech on Friday night the former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon ended by attacking his own side. He accused his comrade of the Left Front, Pierre Laurent, the national secretary of the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) of being a ”back stabber”. (Adapted from Libération).
Laurent’s response was immediate. On Saturday at the opening of the University of the Left Front in Grenoble, Pierre Laurent denounced the remarks as “unnecessarily hurtful” . But he did not want to “continue the controversy”. Whether this was a purely verbal escalation or not the disagreements about the article of national secretary of the PCF in the columns of Liberation (1) , which called for an end to “provocation and invectives ”overshadowed the first day of debate.
Libération notes that the attendance at this Front de Gauche event was down on last year.
Mélenchon apparently disappeared after making his speech, an absence which did not go down well.
“He is deeply disappointed by what Pierre Laurent said.” one of his supporters remarked. “But this should not last, there is no divorce in the Left Front “.
(1) Laurent notably argued for a strategy for next year’s local elections based on agreements with the (governing) Parti Socialiste. “L’objectif doit rester de faire élire des majorités de gauche en rassemblant communistes, Front de gauche, écologistes, socialistes et forces citoyennes pour empêcher droite et extrême droite de conquérir des villes.” The objective must remain to elect left majorities, bringing together Communists, the Front de gauche, socialists and citizens’ groups, to prevent the right and the extreme-right taking power in our towns and cities.
He also implicitly criticised Mélenchon’s tone in his attacks on the Socialists, and Interior Minister Manuel Vals,. Laurent agreed that the Minister had made declarations (about Islam, about law and order and immigration) that were both opposed to the ‘values’ of the left and had had a “calamitous” effect.
But “Pour convaincre, nous ne devons pas confondre la colère et la radicalité nécessaire avec la provocation et l’invective.” To convince people we should not confuse together our anger and radical determination with provocation and invective. Here.
A “reconciliation” is expected today (Sunday).
The former French socialist mayor Gerard Dalongeville of Henin-Beaumont in northern France has been sentenced to four years in prison on charges of embezzlement and accepting bribes.While Dalongeville could be released after three years, the Criminal Court of Bethune has also banned him from office for five years and slapped him with a 50,000 euro fine.
The sentence stems from accusations that Dalongeville along with his first deputy in charge of finance Claude Chopin and businessman Guy Mollet submitted false invoices between 2006 and April 2009 that benefitted companies up to four million euros.
Chopin was also sentenced to three years in prison along with a 30,000 euro fine and five years of political ineligibility.
Mollet was sentenced to four years in prison as well as a 5,000 euro fine.
Henin-Beaumont is not just any Northern French town.
Hard-left’s Mélenchon battles Front National’s Le Pen in France’s depressed northMarine Le Pen campaigns at an open-air market in Henin-Beaumont May 29, 2012; T-shirt reads, “Leave the Euro”
Reuters/Pascal RossignolBy Sarah Elzas
Two former presidential candidates have thrust a small, economically-depressed northern French town into the spotlight by deciding to face off in the race to win its parliamentary seat. The hard left Jean-Luc Mélenchon has taken his campaign against far-right Marine Le Pen to the industrial desert of Hénin-Beaumont.
Legislative elections 2012. First Round.
Marine Le Pen
FRONT NATIONAL42,26 %22 460 voix
Voix obtenues dans la 11ème circonscription du Pas-de-Calais48,21 %5 172 voix
Voix obtenues dans la commune de Hénin-Beaumont
PARTI SOCIALISTE23,72 %12 609 voix
Voix obtenues dans la 11ème circonscription du Pas-de-Calais16,69 %1 790 voix
Voix obtenues dans la commune de Hénin-Beaumont
FRONT DE GAUCHE21,46 %11 406 voix
Voix obtenues dans la 11ème circonscription du Pas-de-Calais21,21 %2 275 voix
Voix obtenues dans la commune de Hénin-BeaumontSecond Round.
PARTI SOCIALISTE50,11 %26 814 voix
Voix obtenues dans la 11ème circonscription du Pas-de-Calais44,86 %4 906 voix
Voix obtenues dans la commune de Hénin-Beaumont
Marine Le Pen
FRONT NATIONAL49,89 %26 696 voix
Voix obtenues dans la 11ème circonscription du Pas-de-Calais55,14 %6 030 voix
Voix obtenues dans la commune de Hénin-Beaumont
The 2009 Municipal elections were particularly ‘hot’ (see here).
The Front National lost to a united “republican front”.
The former Mining Town – and historic bastion of socialism – faces a renewed challenge from the Front National in the 2014 local elections.
Last week we learnt this.
Nouvelle dissension au sein du Parti socialiste. L’initiative de l’aile gauche du parti d’envoyer une lettre à l’ensemble des parlementaires socialistes et des membres du bureau national de la rue de Solférino, pour demander le report de la réforme des retraites, agace.
New splits within the Socialist Party. The Party’s Left has sent a letter to all Socialist Party MPs and full timers (Rue de Solférino) demanding that the government’s reform of pensions be put off. This has caused serious annoyance.
Le Monde today carries a number of lengthy articles on the emerging divisions within the French Socialist Party.
These include splits over pension ‘reforms’ (that is the kind of ‘reform’ we in the UK know all too well) – here.
Another sign of the changing political climate is the call for a radical shift of fiscal policy to the Left - here
This is an initiative of “Maintenant la gauche” and “Un monde d’avance”, the two main left PS currents, and the Parliamentary groups, “Gauche durable” and ”Gauche populaire”, presented at the ‘Assemblée nationale, a common initiative to influence the government’s policy making.
This platform has a single goal: redistribution.
It is unlikely that these divisions will decrease.
Meanwhile President Hollande is upbeat,
“La reprise économique, elle est là” a déclaré le président de la République lors la traditionnelle interview télévisée du 14 Juillet depuis l’Élysée alors que les économistes prévoient une croissance négative pour 2013. S’il n’a pas fait d’annonces majeures, le chef de l’État a néanmoins préparer le terrain pour une hausse des impôts et tendu la main aux écologistes en affirmant que “tant que je serai président, il n’y aura pas d’exploration du gaz de schiste”.
The economy is on the turn, affirmed the President of the Republic during the traditonal televison interviewer from ’Élysée on of the 14th of July. However economists predict negative growth for 1013. If he did not make any major announcements the Head of State prepared the way for a raise in taxes. He also held out measures to win over the Greens by asserting that, as long as he was President, there would be fracking for gas in France.
French Socialist politician Pierre Mauroy has died at the age of 84
Former French Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy has died at the age of 84, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on Friday.
“A pillar of socialism has passed away,” said Fabius, speaking from Tokyo where he was on an official visit with President François Hollande.
Mauroy had been hospitalised since last weekend for routine treatment following surgery in April 2012 for a lung tumour.
He served as prime minister in the first Socialist government of France’s fifth republic from 1981 to 1984 under president François Mitterrand.
During his term, France voted in landmark reforms such as the 39-hour work week, retirement at the age of 60 and the abolition of the death penalty.
He was also the mayor of Lille, a city in the north of France and a Socialist stronghold, and first secretary of the Socialist Party from 1988 to 1992 before Hollande took over as head of the party.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Pierre Mauroy, who has died aged 84, was France’s first socialist prime minister under the Fifth Republic. When François Mitterrand was elected president in May 1981, he put Mauroy at the head of a government intent on radical social reform. Though his tenure lasted just three years, he remained a significant figure in the French Socialist party (PS) for the rest of his life.
Mauroy’s government was a radical reforming one, implementing a wide range of social reforms including the reduction of the legal workweek from 40 to 39 hours, the lowering of the retirement age to sixty, and a rise in social welfare benefits. Entitlement to paid holidays was also extended from four to five weeks. During the Mauroy government’s first year in office, minimum pensions were increased by 38%, rent allowances by 50%, family allowances by 25% (50% for households with two children), and the minimum wage by 25%.
More on Wikipedia. (Extracts)
“During the 1981-82 period, state industrial investment was substantially increased, 17 billion francs in ”soft loan” credit was provided to private industry, 7 billion francs was set aside to help school leavers, 54,000 new civil service jobs were created, and a major housebuilding drive was launched. Efforts were made to shift the burden of direct taxes away from lower- income groups, while increases in the minimum wage gave the low paid a real increase in their living standards of about 15% in 1981–82. Unemployment benefits were also increased, together with the duration of time in which one could receive them. In addition, the maximum allowable workweek was reduced from 50 to 48 hours.
Upon taking office, the Mauroy Government embarked upon an ambitious redistributive programme. The minimum wage went up in real terms by 11% between May 1981 and September 1982, while the minimum old age pension was increased by 30%. 800,000 elderly people were exempted from paying T.V. licenses, while 1.5 million were also exempted from local taxes. Between May 1981 and January 1983, family benefits were significantly increased, with the purchasing power of the 2,700,000 families with two children raised by 40%. These policies significantly improved the living standards of the less well off in French society, with poverty reduced during Mauroy’s term in office. Family allowances were increased by 81% for families with two children and by 49% for families with three children, while old-age pensions were raised by 300 francs a month for a single person and 3,700 francs for a couple.
Altogether, the purchasing power of social transfers went up by 45% in 1981 and by 7.6% in 1982. Health care coverage was also extended, with health insurance benefits made more widely available to part-time employees and the unemployed. Efforts were also made to promote voluntary retirement at sixty, with a pension ranging upwards from 80% of the SMIC to 50% of a middle-management salary. In 1982, two measures were introduced that extended eligibility for early retirement for workers aged 55 to 59: the contrats de preretraites progressives and the contrats de solidarite-demission. These programmes were aimed at stimulating consumption and aggregate demand by providing firms with incentives to hire younger workers as replacements for early retirees. A year later, “solidarity contracts” were introduced which provided early retirement for older workers aged 55 or above on the condition that firms replace recipients with younger workers. Elderly people benefited greatly from the social and economic measures undertaken by the Mauroy Government, with the real income of pensioners rising by a quarter.["
I had some time for Mauroy.
He was very much in the tradition of the established working class based North of France Socialist party.
Written by Andrew Coates
June 8, 2013 at 11:59 am
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