Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Mélenchon to take a Back-Seat on French Left?

with 2 comments

Now to Take a Back Seat? 

The co-President of the Parti de Gauche, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has expressed his weariness, and his wish to take some distance. He estimates that the Front de Gauche has suffered a setback.

(Interview à Hexagones,Exclusive Interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The leader of the Left Party announces his willingness to take a step back,  recharge his batteries, and says that it is time for him to pass the baton of leadership to others. He also noted the failure of the Left Front, and denounced the role of the media in the electoral breakthrough of the National Front.)

Mélenchon cited the need to escape from the pressures that his intense political activism, over the last five years, have brought.

He expressed the view that as a “big tree” he risked stunting the growth of the others in the left political “forest”  from growing.

It is time, the former Presidential candidate for the Front de gauche said, for new faces inside the Parti de gauche (his own group inside the bloc) to take a more prominent roles.

Mélenchon offered a critical balance-sheet of the Front de gauche, notably against the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) and their electoral arrangements with the Parti Socialiste (PS).

He did not hesitate to criticise the “functionaries” who had attempted to isolate the great man. (1)

concluded that his time would be spent in giving a detailed content to the general ideas of the left. Above all, “La question pour nous n’est pas de faire un parti révolutionnaire, c’est d’aider à la naissance d’un peuple révolutionnaire». The issue for us is not to build a revolutionary party, but to help a revolutionary people be born.

Adpated from Libération.

This follows troubles inside the Parti de Gauche earlier this month.

A small number of leading figures resigned their posts, protesting at the “centralisation” of the small party.

Tensions et démissions au sein du parti de Jean-Luc Mélenchon 3.7.2014.

The set-back of the European elections has produced a number of responses.

The Parti Communiste Français has talked of building a “people’s front”, (Passer du Front de gauche au front du peuple.)

It is known that dissatisfied members of the ruling Parti Socialiste (‘frondeurs’) are upset above all with plans to cut spending and toe the line of budgetary ‘rigour’.

Ensemble, the third force in the Front de gauche (grouping a number of left currents), has proposed expanding to a broader  “anti-austerity” front.

Is something like a French People’s Assembly on the cards?

(1) Les Echoes fills in the dots,

“Sans les nommer, il met en cause Pierre Laurent, le secrétaire national du Parti communiste ainsi que Ian Brossat, adjoint communiste d’Anne Hidalgo, responsables d’une stratégie d’alliance qui a « complètement décrédibilisé ce qu’était le Front de Gauche, explosé entre ceux qui ne voulaient pas d’alliance avec le PS et ceux qui se sont vautrés dans cette alliance.»

Se montrant très critique sur la ligne adoptée par le Parti communiste « plus institutionnelle, plus traditionnelle, où on continue à penser que la gauche est une réalité partiaire, organisée et qu’on peut rectifier le tir du Parti socialiste »,



2 Responses

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  1. Even though I voted for him (twice) my view is that Mélenchon is an opportunist but one who saw, from within, the potential of an opening to the left of the PS; understood that nothing substantial on the left can be built without the PCF but also thought, like Mitterand, that he could eclipse the communists.

    The PCF, long in the tooth, took note of how they had paid the price for cohabitation with Mitterand in government and since has wisely stayed clear of entanglement at government level whilst allowing people on the ground to decide what tactical course to take in the municipales.

    It is hard to see what objection Mélenchon, as someone who evidently still see some left forces remaining within his old party can have ‘in principle’ to the PCF reaching agreement with the PS locally. Of course, where the PCF is the stronger force locally there are better agreements to be reached with the PS and where the PS is stronger there is always the danger of being trapped into the PS agenda but these are tactical matters to be decided on the balance of probabilities at municipal level.

    However, the sectarian imperative, which he carries from his (long) time as a trotskyite, inevitably manifested itself in this ‘in principle’ opposition to municipal deals with the PS. Here he tried to outflank the PCF on the left, calculating that the very substantial forces in the PCF that oppose the central party leadership might go along with the separate PdG lists in the Paris election.
    This was a miscalculation, as the PCF left dislike left opportunists like him even more than dislike their own right wing opportunists.

    And this from a long time member of that party through its torturous accommodations with French imperialism. Indeed, it is over his support for the projection of French imperial interests abroad that Mélenchon is most sharply at odds with the PCF.

    Having pissed off some leading members of his own party with his highly centralised style he now makes a bid for the ‘anti party’ Occupy and indigno tendency railing against the ‘institutionelle’ tendencies of the PCF. This is familiar stuff and nothing but a manifestation of his petit bourgeois antipathy to organised working class politics inflected with a bid to colonise another constituency.

    Nick Wright

    July 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm

  2. Personally I think whatever issues there are about Mélenchon’s personality (there are many: his habit of calling journalists ‘connards’ to their face is a well-known one), the main problem is that he appears not have outgrown the practice and mentality of Parti Socialiste ‘club’.

    That is,a little bande de copains around a chief.

    Andrew Coates

    July 24, 2014 at 12:02 pm

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