Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Taiwan and China. Left Responses. Controversy over Campism shown in France by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s response.

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Across Europe Chinese sabre-rattling against Taiwan has met with different responses on the left.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader (without a Parliamentary seat) of La France insoumise, and part of the left alliance, NUPES, created controversy in France with this statement.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon calls Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit an American ‘provocation’.

Le Monde (English edition) 5th of August.

Amid tensions between Taipei and Beijing, La France Insoumise (LFI) leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon called the US House Speaker’s trip to Taiwan a “provocation,” saying in a blog post published on Wednesday, August 3 that “there is only one China.”

Nancy Pelosi’s initiative, taken as part of an Asian tour, is seen by China as support for Taiwanese independence advocates and a reneging on the US pledge not to have official relations with the island.Read more Pulling the tiger’s tail: Nancy Pelosi’s dangerous Taiwan trip

In his post, Jean-Luc Mélenchon wrote that “Taiwan is a fully-fledged component of China,” using a term used by the Beijing regime but rejected by the Taipei authorities.

….

Chinese Embassy thanks Mélenchon

“The Chinese will solve the problem among themselves. There is no other reasonable outcome possible,” said Mr. Mélenchon, accusing the United States of wanting to “open a new front.” This is not a new position for Mr. Mélenchon, who in 2021 rejected the idea of a “cold war with China” when discussing a proposal for a resolution in the Assemblée Nationale in favor of Taiwan being included in the work of international organizations.

In the evening, the Chinese embassy in France tweeted to thank Jean-Luc Melenchon “for his consistent support for the one-China policy.”

After immediate fall-out from this statement Melenchon buckled down,

Taiwan: Jean-Luc Mélenchon defends his position despite criticism

Le Monde (translation from French editions)

The leader of La France insoumise described Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a “provocation” and reiterated that “there [was] only one China”, triggering strong criticism, particularly in the within the left-wing Nupes alliance.

Within the left-wing alliance Nupes, the national secretary of Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV), Julien Bayou, had denounced Friday “a rather dated vision” and “a real cynicism in terms of geopolitics” on the part of Mr. Mélenchon, while the head of the Socialist Party (PS), Olivier Faure, judged that if “the advisability of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan [was] debatable, the will of the Taiwanese to live in a democracy is not not” .

There were also sharp criticisms from  Raphaël Glucksmann who accused the chief of La France insoumise of being guided purely and simply by « l’antiaméricanisme ».

This is untrue. Melenchon has a long history of ambiguous statements about the Chinese Communist Party social chauvinist imperialists, hostility to Tibet’s Dalí Lama, and even saying that France had much to learn from the Chinese ‘planned’ economic model, for its state directed development).

There has been some serious unpicking of Mélenchon’s statements, notably in Libération:

Mélenchon et Taiwan: «Dire que les Chinois règleront le problème entre eux est un contre-sens»

Interview with China specialist Antoine Bondaz.

I generously translate this as saying Mélenchon’s claim that the Chinese will settle this problems between themselves is a load of bollocks.

If the leader of the French Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, has also condemned the “provocation” of the Pelosi visit some of the radical left have taken a different position on Taiwan.

Campism (France): Mélenchon’s blindness on China rekindles tensions on the left.

Campisme (France) : L’aveuglement de Mélenchon sur la Chine ravive les tensions à gauche.

August 5, 2022,by BOUGON François , DEJEAN Mathieu Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières.

….asking the question of the advisability of such a visit does not mean that one should line up behind the propaganda of the People’s Republic of China in the name of an anti-Americanism inherited from the struggles of the Cold War.

It is indeed to ignore the voice of the Taiwanese who, in their vast majority, reject the “Chinese model” of Xi – the omnipotence of the Party-State, repression at all costs and Han nationalism – , which runs counter to what Taiwanese society has become since the democratisation of the 1980s.

The radical left party Ensemble! (Not to be confused with Macron’s coalition, which stole its name), which has 4 MPs as an ally of La France insoumise in the French National Assembly, has issued this statement:

Défendre les droits du peuple taïwanais 8th of August.

Press Release.

The political and military tensions around Taiwan are the result of Beijing’s stated desire to reintegrate Taiwan, in the name of the “one China” principle, without any consideration for what the Taiwanese people want, attached as they are to their democratic freedoms.

Without even mentioning the ferocious repression of which the Uighur and Tibetan peoples are victims, we must recall the precedent of Hong Kong. The way in which its people have seen themselves brutally repressed and deprived of their democratic rights – in total disregard of the commitments made by the Chinese authorities (“one country, two systems”) – testifies to what the Chinese dictatorial regime is planning to do with regard to Taiwan.

If we can discuss the appropriateness of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, this subject can in no way eclipse the necessary solidarity with the Taiwanese people, respect for their right to self-determination and opposition to any aggression. aimed at prohibiting them from deciding their destiny independently.

On the British left the Stop the War Coalition published this piece by Jenny Clegg a backer of “Anglo Chinese understanding”, ” interested in a “multipolar world”, “China’s unique contributions to Marxism”, and a supporter of the No Cold War campaign.

PELOSI’S TRIP TO TAIWAN THREATENS WAR WITH CHINA

Taiwan is portrayed in the West as a semi-independent democracy threatened by China’s expansionist autocracy; China however sees the island, just one hundred miles from its shores, as kept separate by external backing, its political system permeated by US interests.

For China, it is a matter of sovereignty, reunification its core issue pursued consistently over 70-plus years so as to close the last chapter on its history of imperialist domination.

Taiwan was taken by Japan in 1895 following its defeat of China. At this time China was being divided into spheres of influence by the imperialist powers. However, after the 8 year anti-Japanese war of resistance (1937-1945) which cost some 15-20 million Chinese lives, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed, in recognition of Chinese contribution to the WW2 victory, that Taiwan would be returned to the mainland.

Even if a crisis is averted this time, the US has clearly begun serious planning for a conflict with China. Those hapless ignoramuses who pass as our political leaders are buffeted this way and that amidst the vagaries of US politics: the decoupling that should be taking place right now is between our policymakers and the US warmongers.

If anybody cared what the StWC said this might have created a media controversy.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2022 at 10:37 am

5 Responses

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  1. Melenchon seems to have stopped making dodgy statements on Ukraine, although that formed part of this criticism. He says nothing in his post. I honestly think that the scale and nature of Russia’s atrocities have driven quite a few into numb silence.

    • I had got around to posting on this until until the views of various groups and people within the NUPES alliance became clearer.

      Out of the National Assembly Mélenchon is a strange position: can you imagine Labour having a leader who is not in the House of Commons?

      Marine Le Pen says she’s given up the formal post of President of the Rassemblement National because she has to devote herself to organising the RN group in Parliament – there is an election to choose between Louis Aliot and Jordan Bardella (listening to them on French radio they seem more UKIP/Brexit Party national populists than open fascists). They have 88 MPs – a big increase.

      La France insoumise has 75 MPs, as part of the wider bloc, NUPES, which has 151 in total.

      As this article says, they are coalition, not an “alignment” (that is they do not have agreement on everything) with differences on some (in this case, important) issues.

      Nous sommes une coalition, pas un alignement » : la Nupes face à ses divergences.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2022/08/10/la-nupes-a-l-epreuve-de-ses-divergences_6137636_823448.html

      LFI has no proper internal democracy. Founded by Melenchon it is run by the Chief and his inner circle. I am on their lists as a supporter of the “movement”, the Union Populaire, and its “Action Populaire” arm:

      Bonjour Andrew 👋
      Carte
      SUGGESTIONS POUR MOI DANS MES GROUPES EN COURS PASSÉS ORGANISÉS
      Rejoignez un groupe d’action de votre ville pour militer localement

      No doubt running this takes up a lot of Jean-Luc’s time.

      But the centre of politics in France at the moment, because Macron does not have a majority in it, is the Assemblée Nationale.

      The LFI group is headed by the green orientated Mathilde Panot. Melenchon may well be the “Mentor” of the Science-Po graduate who comes from a background of the voluntary sector/NGOs and had been an MP since 2017. But, elected unanimously, she has plenty of strong individuals in this – much larger – Parliamentary group. who may not have such ties.

      What kind of bond they have to the ‘movement’ which has no formal democratic structure in the country as a whole remains to be seen.

      So I am wary of identifying what Melenchon says with what the effective elected political centre of LFI says.

      Andrew Coates

      August 11, 2022 at 5:09 pm

  2. “Beijing’s stated desire to reintegrate Taiwan, in the name of the “one China” principle, without any consideration for what the Taiwanese people want, attached as they are to their democratic freedoms.”

    For all their bluster, virtue signaling and quoting Long Dead Russians , a lot of the Western Left have a problem with the whole “Self Determination” thingy.

    The SWP’s resident “China Expert” Simon Gilbert (who took on the job after Charlie Hoare decamped to RS21) wrote this in a rare letter to the SW on the subject last November (it followed a begrudging acceptance by him of Taiwanese self determination at the start of the letter *)

    Gilbert : “It should be noted too that the large majority of Taiwanese, whether supporters of reunification or independence, are descended from people who migrated from China at various times over the last few hundred years. The real indigenous people are the marginalised and impoverished Austronesian aboriginals who now form less than 2 percent of the population.”

    This is a curious addition but what Gilbert (and the SWP) is doing here is ‘unpersoning’ Taiwanese and setting up a comparison with Israeli Jews (who the SWP detest and who they say have no agency) and even White South Africans under Apartheid.

    * If a Chinese Invasion did happen the Party would downplay its nominal support for Taiwanese self determination and go full anti Western – a bit like how today they pay lip service to opposing Russian invasion of Ukraine and call for the immediate disbandment of NATO

    IainF

    August 12, 2022 at 4:15 pm


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