Archive for the ‘Front de Gauche’ Category
Political Confusion on the European Union Gains Ground on the Left: Jacques Sapir and the Front National.
Jacques Sapir: Red/Brown Alliance Against European Union.
There is an excellent French Blog site which deals in “political confusionism”.
Back in July it picked up on a development that’s hit the headlines in France over the last few days: the call by “left” economist Jacques Sapir for an alliance with the Front National. (JACQUES SAPIR, UN HOMME DE GAUCHE ?).
Like many people (including we note floating voter Tariq Ali who got a column in Le Monde recently hinting darkly at ‘the left’ turning against Europe) he is claiming that the crisis in Greece shows the need for a left-wing anti-European Union stand.
Sapir has gone one stage further than the NO2EU UK left and indicated that he would be favourable to this:
Like certain British Labour politicians he has a fondness for evoking memories of the Resistance.
Sapir gave the Conseil national de la résistance (CNR) as his model.
Sapir is no unknown: a prominent economist, and Director of the Centre d’études des modes d’industrialisation (CEMI-EHESS), he has been close to the Front de Gauche, to Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche and to the “sovereigntist” former Socialist Minister (and leader of the left tendency inside the Parti Socialiste, CERES), Jean-Pierre Chevènement.
On the Confusionisme site Ornella Guyet adds,
Prominent in the current debate surrounding the Greek crisis, a prominent supporter of “de-globalization” – whose theories inspired the Arnaud Montebourg’s (1) discourse on the question – he is also an expert on Russia, known for his softness towards the Putin regime, equally famous for his careerism, his homophobia and his alliances with the far right in Europe. His site Russeurope, given legitimacy by legitimized by its academic pretensions Jacques Sapir is a frequent guest of the salons of the Russian embassy, as well as seminars of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a think tank based in Paris to promote the image of Putin’s Russia in Europe. Not surprisingly, we find his name in several pro-Kremlin media, Voice of Russia and Sputnik News.
More recently, obsessed by the Euro, he has become ever closer to the “sovereigntists” of the Right: the groupuscule Debout la République
Sapir claims that the Front National has “changed” from its far-right origins, and that in any case he was talking about an alliance of the right and left involving a party that has “come from” this transformed FN.
Immediate reaction on the left to Sapir’s ideas was not favourable.
Eric Coquerel, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s close ally, called this strategy “an aberration”. He continued, “Given the scale of the current crisis, we must offer an alternative to fascist and xenophobic reactions. Their nation is not ours. ” Clémentine Autain (Ensemble), a leader of the Left Front has said that “The phenomenon is not massive…but it gives credibility to the FN . “
It is however well known that Mélenchon’s party is openly flirting with the idea of a “Plan B”, that is, leaving the Euro, “if a renegotiation of EU treaties fails .”
They plan an “internationalist summit for Plan B” to be held in late 2015 which bring together those in the like minded “left” who agree to work together on the subject. (More here)
Sovereigntism, that is the belief that the “nation” has the supreme right to decide “its” fate – faced with international forces, from the European Union to NATO – appears to be gaining ground on the British left as well. The collapse of sections of the left to the belief that Scotland would be better off governed by its “ain folk” in the SNP was one indication. After the Greek crisis, anti-European Union voices have become louder, promoting perhaps a return to a belief in a road to socialism outside of the EU.
At a time when fear of ‘foreigners’ – migrant workers, refugees in particular – is reaching an all-time high in Europe, playing with nationalism seems a dangerous gamble.
(1) Left-wing of the Parti Socialiste. Montebourg scored 17,19 % in the first round of the open PS French Presidential “primaries” of the party, which involved 2,700,000 voters who signed a declaration saying the backed the values of the left – without anybody wetting themselves about “infiltration”.
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).
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,
Jennifer Cody Epstein admits was wrong to oppose Charlie Hebdo Award: We expose one basis of anti-Charlie Hatred.
Luz: New Album, Catharsis, on January Murders: On reste toujours avec toi Charlie!
The Guardian Reports.
The American novelist Jennifer Cody Epstein has said that she “fundamentally misunderstood Charlie Hebdo’s mission and content” when she put her name to a letter condemning PEN’s decision to honour the magazine with an award.
She now believes that Charlie Hebdo’s “controversial images – while arguably tasteless, offensive and not even particularly well-drawn – sprang from satire, not hate”.
“It is a profound and crucial difference: if one is to argue for freedom of speech there can be no caveats, no asterisks, no fine print qualifying that ‘freedom’ only applies to expression we don’t consider too upsetting, or doesn’t enrage right-wing fundamentalists with guns,” her letter reads.
She adds that she was “also under the misassumption that Hebdo disproportionately lampooned Islam”, and points to an article by Michael Moynihan in the Daily Beast, in which he highlights the fact that Charlie Hebdo has had more anti-Christian covers – 21 – than anti-Islam – seven – in the last 10 years.
It is worth reflecting on the words of those who oppose Charlie Hebdo root and branch:
While pontificating about “free speech”, criticism of Israel was not tolerated, and any manifestation of the Nationalist Right was regarded as requiring state repression. Charlie Hebdo advocates the “liberalism” of the Jacobins, the argument of the guillotine, figuratively, if not literally. They try to titillate the “educated” classes of France with an illustration of Jesus sodomising God, and other such puerilities on a weekly basis.
Never did they campaign in favor of genuine “heretics”, such as those who questioned the Holocaust, who are heavily repressed in France. Never did they respond to the cause of the continuously vilified, constantly prosecuted, and physically beaten Dr. Robert Faurisson. The former professor of literature at the University of Lyon, removed for his heresy, whose questioning on the matter of the gas chambers at least had the support of socialist-libertarian Serge Thion in France and in the USA of Dr. Noam Chomsky, on the basis of free enquiry. But Chomsky is a rare breed of Leftist intellectual. Most of the CH types the world over believe in free speech only as far as it aligns with their own dogmas. CH served as a mouthpiece for the ideology of the world system in a convergence of Grand Orient politicized Freemasonry, economic liberalism, Jacobinism, Zionism, and Marxism. It is this type of convergence, during the Cold War, under CIA auspices, from which the neocons emerged. A similar process has resulted in parts of the French Left taking a neocon course, Islamophobic, in the name of “universal values,” to the point of supporting U.S. (and Israeli) policies. They are like the Trotskyite luminaries during the Cold War, including Trotsky’s widow, Sedova, Max Schachtman, et al, who ended up being avid champions of the USA.
Any resemblance between the above and the below is pure coincidence.
Sadly Charlie Hebdo had been drifting away from its roots in the revolutionary events of France 1968 for some time. In the aftermath of 9/11 its output became blatantly Islamophobic and increasingly Zionist.
Tim SandersSocialist Workers Party, Socialist Review.
Some key players at Charlie Hebdo were part of the ‘Street Fighting Years’ of 1968. What do you have to say about the way they evolved?
They evolved sharply to the right, like French society as a whole. A friend of mine recently wrote: “…did I ever tell you that Cabu gave me my first job when I was still at the lycee? For five months I was at Le Canard Enchaine; that was in the late ‘80s…. Then he relaunched Charlie Hebdo and I joined him for a while, but I never felt at ease with this team and I broke off with them during the war in Yugoslavia (obviously Charlie was in favour of the NATO intervention) and I moved to London…. Then by the late ‘90s Charlie became definitely a right-wing fanzine, always trying to please the establishment and in favour of ALL the colonial wars