Archive for the ‘French Left’ Category
Is the Morning Star in Cahoots with Irrelevant Greek Communist Party (KKE) as French Communists Back Syriza.?
French Communists Stand with Syriza; British Communists Snipe from Sidelines.
The morning the excellent l’Humanité (we shall never forget comrades your front line reports from the heroic defenders of Kobane, never!) leads with this headline:
La France doit défendre l’exigence de justice des Grecs !
Alors que le gouvernement renvoie la balle à Alexis Tsipras après un lourd silence de l’Élysée, de nombreuses voix à gauche exigent une intervention forte de la France.
France must defend the Greek demand for justice!
Whilst the government pushes back responsibility onto Alexis Tsiparis, after a deep silence from the Élysée, numerous voices on the left demand a strong intervention from France.
Ce nouvel acte de résistance à l’ordre libéral et à la guerre qui se perpétue sur notre continent, sous d’autres formes, doit amener à reposer les questions des objectifs de la zone euro, de la restructuration des dettes illégitimes et des orientations politiques.
This new act of resistance to the liberal economic order and to the virtual war which is is waging over our continent, must bring forth a response that questions the objectives of the Euro,the restructuring of illegitimate debts, and (the EU’s…) political goals.
In other words, reform the European Union….
By contrast (Hat-tip: Jim) the Morning Star, paper of the Communist Party of Britain carries this Editorial on Greece today.
Eurozone Cannot be Reformed.
Tsipras wants to persuade other member states to back his vision of the EU as a bloc based on solidarity and to accept a chunk of his country’s debts being written off and the rest rescheduled.
Why should countries with lower living standards then Greece agree to this?
Will Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, which have already writhed on the austerity rack, paying the price of ruthless loan conditions, support a softer approach for Greece?
It is ironic that, while eurozone states led by Berlin refuse to consider any debt write-off, the IMF is less rigid.
It often engineers creditors’ haircuts in return for new loans and conditions that involve revaluation of national currencies.
Eurozone members are denied this mechanism, with the value of the euro set to the advantage of the more developed states, especially Germany.
Germany’s huge overseas trade surplus, even with China, would normally push up the value of its currency, but eurozone membership precludes this.
When Merkel’s predecessor Helmut Kohl and French president Francois Mitterrand pushed through the single currency in 1992, many economists warned that economic union could only work properly in the context of political union.
This is exemplified by the reality of an undervalued euro favouring the richest members while the poorest are denied the benefit transfers and pooling of financial risk that exist in unified states.
Greece’s Syriza government seeks change, but the lacuna in its argument is that the most powerful member states benefit from current arrangements. Why should they change?
Syriza’s commitment to peddling illusions that the eurozone is reformable and could approve an alternative to austerity does not inspire confidence in Tsipras’s ability to win over his EU “partners.”
Whatever Greeks thought they were voting for, their government’s obsession with wearing the eurozone straitjacket makes attacks on living standards, including pensions, the likely price of Syriza’s negotiations.
We are aware that some members of the CPB are supportive of the views of the sectarian Greek Communist Party (KKE Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα Ελλάδας, Kommounistikó Kómma Elládas).
The KKE actively abstained in the Sunday Referendum.
One sympathiser of the CPB has published their reaction, which we suspect lies behind the Morning Star’s comments (21st Century Manifesto),
The governmental majority of SYRIZA-ANEL rejected the proposal of the KKE for the government’s draft agreement to also be placed before the judgment of the Greek people in the referendum together with the issue of abolishing all the anti-people laws that have been passed in recent years and the issue of disengaging from the EU. At the same time, the coalition government explained that the NO in the referendum is interpreted by the government as approval for its own proposed agreement with the EU-IMF-ECB, which inside 47+8 pages also includes harsh antiworker-antipeople measures, worth about 8 billion euros.
In these conditions, the KKE called on the workers to turn their backs on the false dilemma which was being posed in the referendum, using all appropriate means. The forces of the KKE outside the election centres handed out its own ballot paper to the voters which said:
NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE EU-IMF-ECB
NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT
DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, WITH THE PEOPLE IN POWER
Of course, it was understood that this ballot paper would be counted as a spoiled ballot, but together with the blank ballot papers and the abstention it constitutes a political current that disputes the choices of the SYRIZA-ANEL government and also of the imperialist organizations, with whom the government is negotiating for the needs of capital in Greece.
So there we have it: Greece should leave the EU – something many in Merkel’s party, not to mention other right-wingers, would welcome.
Update: British CPB to negotiate unity with Trotskyist World Socialist Web Site?
Since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on European Union (EU) austerity last Saturday, the entire enterprise has been exposed as a political fraud. It is designed to engineer a further capitulation to the EU’s demands, regardless of the outcome of the vote.
Meanwhile on the left:
French left demo in Paris backing Syriza – a few days ago.
Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square to support the Greek government’s attempts to throw off austerity (Photo: Chris Plexidas via Twitter).
The Greece Solidarity Campaign wants a European conference to cancel Greece’s debts, and around three thousand people are at the square now to show their support and hear speeches from a range of MPs and activists including Paul Nowak from the TUC, Owen Jones, Sarah-Jayne Clifton of Jubilee Debt Campaign, Andrew Burgin of Left Unity, and John Rees of the People’s Assembly.
Jeremy Corbyn has said: “There is an escalating crisis of Greek society. There is no sane solution to the situation in Greece that involves repaying this debt. “The only sensible way forward is to cancel the Greek debt – or at least substantial swaths of it – and for the international community to support Greece’s democratically elected government to rebuild its society and its economy.”
Andrew Burgin from Greece Solidarity Campaign said: “We are coming together today to stand with the people of Greece and say: no to austerity, yes to democracy.
The news today:
If Greece does not transfer the equivalent of €1.6bn to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, it will become the first advanced economy to default to the fund in its 71-year history. The country will also take a step closer to what some fear could be its exit from the eurozone and another round of economic turmoil in Europe.
Writes the Financial Times.
It continues on site with a list of “10 things worth keeping in mind.”
One should add another “thing” to remember.
Christine Lagarde is the IMF managing director.
Christine Lagarde was appointed head of the IMF – following Dominique Strauss Kahan’s ‘resignation’.
One reason was that it was “buggin’s turn’ – the post would still be held by a French person, but after the (Socialist politician) this time it would be a right-wing French politician.
Largarde’s political career has taken place essentially in the exalted regions of appointees, beyond more than nominal engagement in electoral politics (councillor in the 12th arrondissement of Paris).
But she was, from 2007 to 2011, Ministre de l’Économie under Prime Minister François Fillon (more detailed summary on French Wikipedia)
That is, perhaps more significantly, during the reign of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
This was a right-wing government pursuing a neo-liberal economic strategy, mired in scandal.
This relates to a notorious, and long-lasting, ‘affaire’.
On 3 August 2011, a French court ordered an investigation into Lagarde’s role in a €403 million arbitration deal in favour of businessman Bernard Tapie. On March 20, 2013, Legarde’s apartment in Paris was raided by French police as part of the investigation. On 24 May 2013, after two days of questioning at the Court of Justice of the Republic, Lagarde was assigned the status of “assisted witness”, meaning that she was not herself under investigation in the affair. According to a press report from June 2013, Lagarde has been described by Stephane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom (a former aide to Lagarde when she was Finance Minister), who has himself been put under formal investigation in the case, as having been fully briefed before approving the arbitration process which benefited Bernard Tapie. Subsequently in August 2014 the Court of Justice of the Republic announced that it had formally started a negligence investigation into Lagarde’s role in the arbitration of the Tapie case.
This is what Lagarde said in an interview with the Guardian in May 2012 when asked about the crisis in Greece.
….when she studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won’t get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care – does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?
“No, I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.” She breaks off for a pointedly meaningful pause, before leaning forward.
“Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”
Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively.” How? “By all paying their tax. Yeah.”
It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time.
“That’s right.” She nods calmly. “Yeah.”
At the time Le Monde commented that the Greeks felt “shocked” and “humiliated” by the Director of the IMF’s lecture on how, after living the life of Riley, they should now pay their taxes.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon remarked that it was Greek ship-owners and the Orthodox Church who ahd avoided paying taxes, not the ordinary people. (Les Grecs se disent “humiliés” par les propos de Christine Lagarde.)
Largarde has made one notable further gaff (Wikipedia),
In January 2015, on the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Lagarde said “he was a strong believer in pushing forward women’s rights”.
Christine Lagarde is a vegetarian and is near-teetotal. Her pastimes include hanging out in the gym, swimming and cycling.
Tariq Ali : Plenty of Books, Should Brush up his French.
The crisis faced by Greece is extremely serious.
The international left, and in particular the European Left, has expressed solidarity with the Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza-led government.
We expect that there will be criticism from the fringes against their strategy.
We support, absolutely, the British Greece Solidarity Campaign.
But there is one person, the ageing sage of Highgate, and Norfolk Lord of the Manor, who cannot resist the opportunity to use the drama facing Greece to pursue his personal vendettas.
In this case against Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the French Parti de gauche and a staunch secularist (the latter playing a big part in Ali’s reaction).
Reading yesterday’s Le Monde in an Athens cafe I saw two long articles. Habermas denouncing Syriza for being nationalist and defending the EU and praising MarioDraghi, etc. A long interview with Melenchon arguing against Syriza defaulting because it would hurt FRENCH banks. I had heard that Melenchon was in a state of degeneration but hadn’t realised that the political cancer had affected his brain. The sooner this imbecile is replaced by his group, the better.
Now there are many reasons to be criticise Mélenchon (if Ali is going to pose as an expert in French politics the accent would seem obligatorily) .
This range from his personal behaviour which is not always very amiable, though personally I find his use of the word ‘connard’ often merited. to his vaunting as a model the alliance between his party, citizens’ groups and the Greens (EELV) in Grenoble (which has just privatised the town’s street lighting). There is also his belief that the French left needs a form of populist left not dissimilar to Podemos. This, he indicates, should be led by a bold-thinking leader, whose identity I am sure everyone can guess.
Recently another reason to be wary of the former French Presidential candidate (2012, 11.05%), a bit more than Ali’s (0,9%) in Southall in 1979, Mélenchon has been strongly criticised for his pamphlet, le Hareng de Bismark, which attacks the German “poison” (an oh-so-funny pun on “poisson”, fish) infecting European politics (see: Quand le pamphlet anti-allemand de Mélenchon agace. Maurice Szafran.
But to our knowledge Mélenchon has always expressed absolute support for Syriza.
As indeed he did in the Le Monde article Ali half-read, where he laid the blame for the present Greek predicament on…….Germany.
La responsabilité intégrale du danger repose sur Merkel et Schäuble [la chancelière et le ministre des finances allemands], qui ont parié sur la tension et l’inertie de Hollande.
The complete responsibility for the danger (facing Greece TC) lies with Merkel and Schäuble (German Minister of Finaces), who have relied on the tensions facing Hollande (French President) and his inertia.
He indicated, simply, that France would also suffer from the results of forcing Greece into a corner, and into destitution.
Al in other words, confused the observation that that this would have a bad effect on French banks, with an argument that this was the reason why Mélenchon was worried about a Greek default.
Or maybe the French was simply too much for the Counterpunch puffer to grasp.
Yesterday Mélenchon issued an argument appeal for France to support the Greek government: Mélenchon à Hollande sur la Grèce: “Tu ne peux pas laisser faire ça.
So, if there is anybody who has “degenerated” it is “Tariq – “Charlie Hebdo had it coming to them” – Ali.
Though – to pursue our own long-standing feud – his politics have been falling apart for some time now: Punish the warmongers: vote Lib Dem Tariq Ali. (2007 Red Pepper).
Ripping Good Fun from Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
The UK’s reputation as the leading Clown Country – the home of stars like Asghar Bukhari (Zionists ate my shoe) and George Galloway (Mia-ow!) -faces stiff competition from Dominique Strauss-Kahn today.
France 24 reports,
Disgraced former IMF boss and one-time French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn made a bizarre public debut Sunday on Twitter, the go-to social network for politicians, pop stars and journalists.
“Hello Twitter! Jack is back,” the once hugely popular Socialist politician declared on his (verified) Twitter account.
His inaugural post has since been retweeted 2,400 times (1) and he has already garnered 20,000 followers since creating his account.
Known by his initials DSK in France, Strauss-Kahn was seen as France’s best shot for president in the 2012 election, won by fellow Socialist François Hollande.
But his bid for the presidency was scuppered in May 2011 when a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault, an incident that destroyed his political ambitions and forced him to step down as head of the IMF.
His alleged victim Nafissatou Diallo dropped charges in the civil case against DSK when he settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. But his legal woes and the damage to his reputation didn’t end there.
In July 2011 journalist Tristane Banon filed a legal complaint against DSK, claiming he had attempted to rape her, but French prosecutors later dropped the charges for lack of evidence.
DSK was also hauled through the courts on charges of “aggravated pimping” in the so-called “Carlton Affair” trial, during which his lurid sexual proclivities – including Viagra-fuelled group sex romps – were enthusiastically reported.
Strauss-Kahn admitted taking part in orgies, but denied knowing that the participants were paid prostitutes and was cleared on June 12 of any criminal wrongdoing.
If “Jack is back”, the French are certainly paying attention.
The Independent signals,
One anonymous contributor to the Le Monde website pointed out that “jack” had a particular meaning in the Urban Dictionary, an on-line compilation of streetwise slang. “ JACK=Highly Attractive and Sexually Intriguing Individual. An Ultimate Sex God.”
Here is what was said, (le Monde )
Urban Dictionary: JACK=Highly Attractive and Sexually Intriguing Individual. An “Ultimate Sex God” …C’est tout à fait ça! :D … J’invite mes amis lecteurs à se familiariser avec le slang. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jack (definition “4”) La 6 est pas mal non plus…
My bet is that DSK would also like this definition of Jack (Urban Dictionary).
The hottest most sexiest guy on the planet. a real comedian, but sometimes doesn’t stop talking. has the hottest eyes, hair, and body. a swimmer.I love jack!
Toilet in Ireland. Usually the gent’s toilet. Usually covered in piss maybe with a shite in the urinal. Accompanied by humorous and often informative graffiti.
L’Express airs other theories,
It’s a reference to a restaurant in the town of Ocre, le Jack is back.
It’s a reference to the film L.A. Confidential, in which Kevin Spacey, as Jack Vincennes, ‘comes back’ to fight again.
Other theories include Jack Sparrow (Johnny Deep, Pirates of the Caribbean), Jack the Ripper…..and so it goes.
(1) At present (15.52) it’s 3,800 retweets and 32.900 followers.
La France doit soutenir la Grèce!
As the Greek crisis develops some new, just now from Libération (adapted)
Monday morning: receiving a delegation of political and community leaders supporting the Greek government, the Head of State said he was convinced that an agreement is “close.”
Will France stand alongside Greece? This is what President of the Republic assured a delegation of signatories for the appeal “The role of France is alongside the Greek people” launched last week at the Elysée, this morning.
In the Green Room of the Elysée, the Head of State reiterated his government’s position on these policies to this delegation from the left, “There has to be an agreement” , ” Agreement is near” and “Tsipras’s proposals are acceptable ” .
“He gave credit to Tsipras for standing up to the Troika demands” , insists Julien Bayou, the spokesperson for French Green Party (EELV) and a member of the delegation.
A note of caution: “Acceptable does not mean accepted. This is a negotiation “
Anne Sabourin, of the Parti Communiste, spoke of how President Hollande sided with Tspiras’ negotiation stance.
“He’s grasped that it’s not Greece that’s being intransigent.” added Eric Coquerel of the Parti de gauche, who was present with other members of the Front de gauche.
Coquerel, however, noted, that one can always leave an audience with François Hollande at the Elysée with the impression that the President is on your side.
Afterwards…..the real facts come into play.
The Economic Times reports,
PARIS: A comprehensive deal with Greece allowing it to remain in the euro zone and live with its debts must be found either at a euro zone summit on Monday or in coming days, French PresidentFrancois Hollande said.
“If we get a deal tonight, that would be better, but if not, we’ll need to set the foundation tonight so that a deal can be reached in coming days,” Hollande told reporters in Paris before he was due to travel to Brussels for the summit.
Latest from Chron.
French President Francois Hollande says “progress has been made in the negotiations” between Greece and its creditors, which include eurozone states like France.
Hollande is urging Greece to find an agreement at a Monday summit in Brussels between Greece and its creditors.
“We must do everything so that an agreement is found tonight,” Hollande said at an event in Paris before heading to Brussels.
If Monday’s talks are inconclusive, Hollande insists an agreement would need to be found “within the next days.”
“France and Germany are aware that Greece must remain in the eurozone,” he said.
More at l’Humanité,
Charlie Hebdo. Lettre aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racists. Charb. Review Article.
Posthumous Bolt of Light.
“This text was completed on the 5th of January 2015, two days before the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, during which Charb lost his life.”
The Lettre addresses the reader, “If you think that criticism of religions is the expression of racism” “If you think that ‘Islam’ is the name of a people.” “If you think that punishing blasphemers will open the gates of heaven for you.” “If you think that left-wing atheists play into the hands of fascists and xenophobes” “If you think that it is essential to classify citizens according to their religion” “If you think that one can laugh at everything except whatever is sacred to you.” “If you think that popularising the concept of Islamophobia is the best way of defending Islam” ………..
“So, dear reader, this letter has been written for you”
Charb (Stephane Charbonnier) would not learn of the response of those he spoke to on the first pages of the Lettre. He was absent after those seeking paradise murdered him, eleven of his colleagues at Charlie Hebdo, a police officer and four customers of the Vincennes Hyper-Cacher.
In France, and across the world, millions expressed their solidarity and love for Charlie and all the victims of the atrocities. But there remained those who responded according to the 19 ready-made ideas about Islam Charb listed. Liberals and those claiming to stand on the left, marked by every single one of them, were prominent amongst those who contributed to a torrent of abuse whose echoes still resonate.
Mark Maguire, on the Stop the War Coalition’s site, stated that Charlie was “a rather unpleasant French magazine” that published “anti-Islamic cartoons”. Others pitched in. It was ‘Zionist’ and ‘neo-conservative’, with the imprint of former Editor Phillipe Val who is said to have promoted these views. It was – it would be an easy task to cite thousands of articles – ‘Islamophobic’. It was vulgar and racist. It specialised in the pornographic mocking of sacred beliefs, above all of Muslims.
The Weekly, as the Socialist Workers Party template set out, was known for its “provocative and racist attacks on Islam”. Norman Finkelstein tried to create an industry out of this holocaust. He declared that the paper was not satire but “sadism” and compared it to the anti-Semitic Nazi Der Stürmer. An apparently anti-racist alliance, Unite Against Fascism (UAF), held a special session at their AGM on why “je ne suis pas Charlie.”
This hostility has not died down. ‘Rules’ for satirists appeared – which Charlie had apparently broken. It should have targeted the “powerful.” Will Self judged that satire ought to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted”. Literary critics, enforcing these new Aristotlean unities of satirical style – breached no doubt by Rabelais, Hogath’s drawings, and the plebeian Viz comic, not to mention early Soviet anti-religious propaganda – have tried to establish their decree. (1) We could call it ‘satirical realism’. Even cartoonists joined the would-be Zhdanovs of correct caricature. As have authors. Read the rest of this entry »