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French Greens Face Challenge from Historic Ecologist, Antoine Waechter, opposed to idea that ecologists are part of the “political landscape of the left.”

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Antoine Waechter, le 16 mai 2014.

72 Years Old and still Fighting Left-Wing Ecologists.

Today one of the historic figures of the French Green movement announced his own, unasked for, candidacy for the Presidency of the French Republic.

 The ecologist Antoine Waechter candidate for the presidential election.

The 72-year-old environmental engineer wishes through his candidacy “to affirm what constitutes the identity of ecological thought, beyond the right and the left“. (1)

Dubbed by some ‘the walking dead’ Waechter is somebody this Blog (which can recall his antics in the 1980s…) would happily qualify as the personification of everything wrong with Green “beyond left and right politics.” And a lot more. He is standing under the banner of the Mouvement écologiste indépendant (MEI).

This is the current line up of declared and potential Presidential candidates from the French Left. Some, such as Anasse Kazib from Révolution Prolétarienne, will struggle to get the 500 nominations from elected figures (which include local councillors, right down to the small councils which in the UK would be known as ‘town’ councils which here have little power). There are, for example, 35,000 mayors in France.

As indicated below the Ecologists (EELV) and their allies, Génération.sGénération écologieCap écologie et le Mouvement des progressistes)  have yet to decide on their candidate. 112,000 people who have signed a statement of broad agreements and paid a nominal sum began voting in the first round today, the 16th of September. That will end on Sunday, the 19th. Without an outright winner there will be a second round between the 25th to the 28th of September. It is said that is timed to coincide with the German Federal elections (26th of September) in which their counterparts, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, were expected to do well.

Although the French Greens have debated democratic Constitutional Reforms, education, employees’ democracy in enterprises, and taxes for the wealthy and big companies, the bulk of their platform and proposal concerns issues such as climate change, ending nuclear power, and the protection of the environment and animals.

Waechter may call them left-wing but the front runner, Yannick Jadot has talked in the past  « pragmatisme », and une écologie au delà du clivage gauche / droite (beyond the left-right divide). One could say that some of the candidats’ interest in ‘de-growth’ (décroissance), a steady-state or severely limited growth economy stands at odds with the socialist and Marxist approach to developing the productive forces in a durable and sustainable way. Eco-socialism is not on the agenda of the French Greens, they have no clear views on the socialisation of production and full equality There are equally issues which even the most radical Greens have only begun to tackle, like the use of private cars, which is a major cause of ecological damage.

Eagle-eyed readers will note Pierre Larrouturou listed, who from the micro-party, Nouvelle Donne (once close to the Parti Socialiste), who is standing in the initiative the ‘primaire populaire ‘, a self-organised effort at holding a primary for all the left. 83,000 people signed up.

Speaking on France-Inter this morning Christiana Taubira, who has been at the top of those said to win the primaire populaire, even “plebiscited” by it, said, that she does not want to “contribute to the splintering of the left” in an election the left “cannot afford to lose”. To avoid a further multiplication of campaigns on the left she did not wish to be the 7th or 8th left candidate. Taubira, she underlined, would still find her place in backing the left during the 2022 elections.

Declared

NamePartyPrimaryDeclaration
Nathalie ArthaudLOLutte Ouvrière December 2020
Anasse KazibRPRévolution ProlétarienneApril 2021
Philippe PoutouNPANouveau Parti anticapitalisteJune 2021
Jean-Luc MélenchonLFILa France insoumiseNovember 2020
Fabien RousselPCFcommunist designation
(designated)
March 2021
Sandrine RousseauEELVecologist primaryOctober 2020
Éric PiolleEELVecologist primaryJune 2021
Yannick JadotEELVecologist primaryJune 2021
Delphine BathoGEecologist primaryJuly 2021
Jean-Marc Governatoriecologist primaryJuly 2021
Pierre LarrouturouNDpopular primaryJuly 2021
Anne HidalgoPSsocialist primarySeptember 2021
Stéphane Le FollPSsocialist primaryAugust 2021
Arnaud MontebourgDVGSelf-announcedSeptember 2021
Xavier BertrandDVDSelf-announced.March 2021
Jacline MouraudDVDSelf-announced.December 2020

(1) Antoine Waechter practically invented the “beyond the left and right” line in the 1980s. Making his intentions clearer – that is the phrase is directed against the left he often stated, ” «L’écologie n’est pas à marier” marry, ally, that is with the radical left back in 1984. Left the main Green party, les Verts, in 1994 on the line that, “He considers ecology as a political project in its own right, distinct from the right and the left, but being able to ally with one as well as the other. Amongst many cases of his centrist/centre right politics Waechter backed the centre (right) François Bayrou for President in 2007.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2021 at 6:40 pm

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