Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, Gauche Anticapitaliste Leaves.

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From 1,15% to Implosion.

“L’interminable chute du NPA” (the never-ending fall of the NPA) is how the Le Monde Blog  Gauche Toujours describes the latest departure from the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste.

The decision by its minority current (40% of the vote at the party’s 2011 conference), the Gauche Anticapitaliste (GA), to join the Front de Gauche (FdG) has created waves.

Over the weekend a special national conference to draw up the balance sheet of their campaign for the  Presidential elections (1,15 %  for the President 0,98 % for Parliamentary elections contrasted with  11,1% for the FdG’s  Jean-Luc Mélenchon)  was held.

The GA’s proposal to join the FdG was rejected by  75 % of the membership who voted (around 2,000 took part), of which  40 % supported a motion put forward by Olivier Besancenot and Alain Krivine. The line adopted shorn of detail is to continue to “construire un parti anticapitaliste indépendant.” The  text offered by the Gauche anticapitaliste received only 20%.

Nevertheless they GA are determined to create a new grouping inside the FdG. They are engaged in discussions with the   Fase (former Communist ‘rennovators’ around Clémentine Autain), the Alternatifs (Green leftists from the PSU and other ‘self0-management’ currents) and another ex-NPA collective, Convergences et Alternatives.

On France-Inter (‘implosion of the NPA’) this morning former NPA Presidential candidate, Olivier Besancenot expressed some regrets and refrained from an open attack on the FdG. While the ‘Trotksyist Postie’ demonstrated tact (and the contrast between his speaking skills and the NPA’s latest Presidential hopeful Phillippe Poutou could not have been starker.

His comrades have been less restrained. “Voir des camarades quitter un parti vivant pour faire un groupuscule soumis à la bourgeoisie à travers les dirigeants réformistes cela choque des militants du NPA.” (it shocks NPA activists to see comrades leave one party to create a groupuscule that subordinates itself to the bourgeoisie through its reformist leadership) is one comment on a NPA forum. Others have expressed the opinion that this break-away by “reformists” with “electoral illusions” was a good, indeed excellent, thing.

The NPA, which had nearly 10,000 members at one point, now claims to have 3 to 4,000 – minus the hundreds who will leave with the Gauche Anticapitaliste to form a new grouping within the Front de Gauche. The basis for their decision has been covered by Tendance Coatesy- here.*

Over the weekend Bescancenot analysed the position of the NPA. On Europe 1 he said,

On est dans des basses eaux, on l’assume. On est en difficulté, on l’assume aussi. Mais on est là, toujours et bien là, y compris du point de vue des mobilisations.”

We are at a low ebb, we admit that. We have our problems, we admit that as well. But we are still there, absolutely still there, including our capacity to mobilise.

He criticised the ‘ambiguity’ of the FdG’s language. “On nous explique que c’est un peu le ni-ni, on n’est ni au gouvernement, ni dans l’opposition . Et pour nous, ça n’est pas le bon positionnement pour préparer les ripostes de demain. “

They say they are neither in the government nor against it. For us this isn’t a good place from which we can prepare a response for the future.

The NPA  is staking everything on a future wave of social unrest.

Gauche Toujours cites the historic NPA  leader Alain Krivine. AFter having opined that the GA will be “gobbled up ” by the FdG he expressed the view  that ““En ce moment, il y a un peu la grève de la grève mais la situation reste explosive”. “At present there are not many strikes but the situation remains explosive” he said.

One of the best informed French left Blogs, La chèvre de garde de la vallée asks why the NPA has refused to form the example of Greece’s Syriza and take part in the formation of broad left blocs to oppose austerity. One should underline that the turn to the ‘Syriza strategy’ is widely shared on the French radical left.

Certainly the NPA faces its own austerity programme. Its dismal electoral results mean the end of any public funding for the party – a loss of 900 000 Euros a year.

UPDATE: L’Humanité: “Le Front de Gauche se félicite du ralliement de la Gauche Anticapitaliste”

The Gauche anticapitaliste has left “« sans colère mais avec émotion » (without anger but with feeling).

Their reasons: l’incapacité du parti à tirer des enseignements de ses reculs successifs (élections européennes de 2009, régionales de 2010 et scrutins nationaux du printemps 2012), le refus d’une réorientation politique qui semblait s’imposer, ou encore le rejet des alliances stratégiques qui a conduit à une marginalisation dont la direction ne s’inquiète pas. Les 17 signataires estiment, à l’inverse, qu’ « à l’heure où l’urgence est à la construction d’un bloc politique et social contre l’austérité, le Front de Gauche constitue un point d’appui incontournable ».

The NPA has refused to draw the lessons of repeated set-backs, (Euro Elections, 2009, Regional Elections of 2010, and the national polls of 2012). It has not changed its strategy in conditions where this would be inevitable, and particularly its rejection of strategic alliances. These have all contributed to its marginalisation,, something which the leadership is not worried about. The 17 people signing this declaration estimate, by contrast, that it is now urgent to create a political and social bloc against austerity. The Front de Gauche is unavoidable basis for this alliance.

* “The Front de Gauche is an asset,and it could bring about such a strategy for real change. The FdG may have lost MPs but remains an important force on the ground.  In the Presidential and the Parliamentary elections it won more votes than the total reached by all the left groupings in the 2007 elections (PCF, LO and the LCR). Its Presidential  campaign in particular raised people’s hopes far beyond those represented by the Socialist Party. If it can be broadened to take in all the radical left, to bring together all those it brought together in the mass meetings held by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, it will be able to give a serious political form to these hopes.”

2 Responses

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  1. A tragedy.I hope that bitterness will pass. Both the NPA and its exs will be in many common struggles. . It is important that this does not impede unity in action. Strategic and tactical differences are not necessarily ones of principle. saying that the FdG will betray is a prediction not a fact. Even if it does having people who can mobilise its left is a good thing.
    Mind you I don’t trust the PCF.

    Jim Monaghan

    July 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    • Bescancenot was careful this morning on France-Inter not to denounce without thought the Socialist-led government and lump them with the Right – he is really an excellent speaker.

      But in the NPA’s discussions you can detect the kind of language from some which we know only too well (this Blog merely cites the latest).

      The NPA seems now to have a problem with the sectarian Trotksyism that has played its part in the UK.

      Andrew Coates

      July 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm


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