Archive for the ‘Front de Gauche’ Category
Portugal’s governing centre-right coalition has won the country’s general election, which was widely seen as a referendum on four years of austerity.
Socialist leader Antonio Costa admitted defeat and congratulated Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.
With almost all votes counted, the centre-right leads with just under 37%, with the Socialists on over 32%.
However, Mr Passos Coelho said his coalition appeared to have lost its absolute majority in parliament.
With 99 seats in the 230-seat parliament, the ruling coalition fell 17 seats short of the number it needed.
Mr Passos Coelho indicated that he was ready to talk to other parties in the next parliament to pursue the “necessary reforms” he wants to implement.
“Times haven’t been easy, and the times ahead will be challenging,” he said, promising to talk to the Socialists with the aim of maintaining a rigorous budget and a reduction in the public debt.
Parties to the left of the Socialists achieved their best-ever result, says the BBC’s Alison Roberts in Lisbon.
Left Bloc won 10% of the vote, securing 19 seats, while the Communists took 8% of the vote.
|Portugal Ahead (PSD / CDS–PP)[j]||1,979,132||36.83||11.0||124||99||25||43.81||11.1||1.19|
|Democratic Unity Coalition (Communists and Greens)||444,319||8.27||0.4||16||17||1||7.52||0.4||0.91|
|Workers’ Communist Party||59,812||1.11||0.1||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|FREE/Time to move Foward||38,958||0.72||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|National Renovator Party||27,104||0.50||0.2||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Labour / Socialist Alternative ACT!||20,690||0.38||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|We, the Citizens!||18,695||0.35||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|Together for the People||14,196||0.26||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|United Party of Retirees and Pensioners||13,739||0.26||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|People’s / People’s Monarchist[m]||3,654||0.07||N/A||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Christian Democratic and Citizenship||2,658||0.05||0.1||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
The Bloco de Esquerda (Left bloc) made a breakthrough. It got 5,2% in the last election. Now it has 10.22%. It’s worth noting that some opinion polls had given them around 5%.
We are Europeans, but not Eurocentric: we want for Europe the same that we wish for the planet. We are Europeans, but not Eurocrats: we believe in democracy. We reject the standardization and lack of respect for the diversity that makes Europe. We are Left. Our opponents are not immigrants, minorities, poor, gays or unemployed, but those who promote austerity. We believe in solidarity, in facing the crisis together, in a Europe that restores hope.
“The Left Bloc (B.E.) was formed in March 1999 by the merger of the People’s Democratic Union (União Democrática Popular, UDP, communist), Revolutionary Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Revolucionário, PSR [ex-LCI], Trotskyist), and Politics XXI (Política XXI, PXXI, socialist). B.E. has had full party status since its founding, yet the constituent groups have maintained their existence as individual political associations, and retain some levels of autonomy, leading to a loose structure.” (Wikipedia)
I would correct Wikipedia on the details of this: the União Democrática Popular (UDP) are former marxist-leninists- that is, Maoists.
The Bloc had a very sharp internal debate last year:
After its ninth national convention, held in Lisbon on November 22-23, 2014, it really looked as if Portugal’s Left Bloc were in serious trouble—split right down the middle. And split not over insuperable differences of political perspective but over its leadership model and who, as national coordinator, should be its public face.
This was the first time in its 15-year existence that a Left Bloc convention had not produced a solid majority (usually around 80%). But this time Motion U (called “Unitary Motion under Construction—For a Citizen Revolt Against Austerity”, with outgoing co-coordinators Catarina Martins and João Semedo as lead signatories) was being challenged by Motion E. This motion was called “A Plural Bloc, Force for Turnaround” and was supported by the Bloc’s national parliamentary caucus leader Pedro Filipe Soares and founding member and MP Luis Fazenda.
Motion E put up Soares to replace Semedo and Martins as the Bloc’s national coordinator.
In the vote for the 80-seat National Board, the Bloc’s leadership body between conventions, Motions U and E both won 259 votes. As a result both obtained 34 seats, with the remaining positions being shared between two of the three other motions that had been submitted to the convention. These were Motion B (51 votes, 7 seats) and Motion R (32 votes and 4 seats).
In the vote on the motions themselves, Motion U won by a hair’s breadth from Motion E, by 266 votes to 258. Motions A (“A Left Response—For a Bloc that attends to the needs of people now!”), B (“Re-found the Bloc in the fight against austerity”) and R (“Reinvent the Bloc”) won 7, 34 and 30 votes respectively.
This overall result, due to some delegates switching from Motion B to Motion U for vote on the political line, raised the possibility that the incoming National Board, which elects the Left Bloc’s Political Committee and National Coordinator(s), would be deadlocked. The headlines read “Bloc ends convention without leaders” and “Left Bloc: leadership coming soon”.
Nonetheless, at the first meeting of the National Board, on November 30, a compromise was reached that won 90% backing and which no-one opposed: the 16-person Political Committee would reflect the proportions of support received at the convention (as required by a change to the statutes) and there would be a six-person Standing Committee (also with proportional representation) and a single national coordinator instead of the gender-balanced two-person coordination formula adopted at the previous National Convention (2012).
Portugal. Le Bloc de Gauche à la croisée des chemins gives more details on the stakes in the disputes.
As a result of these difficulties, which have continued this year, these elections were crucial for the Bloco’s future,
They finally adopted a detailed anti-austerity programme in July.
Despite the name they are not an alliance of separate parties but a party with different internal tendencies. There is individual membership. Unlike Podemos, to which they are often compared the Bloco has no single ‘charismatic’ leader, no internal structure biased towards the ruling group, and certainly has no ambition to be “beyond left and right”.
Their position on Europe is “la défense d’un européisme de gauche” – defending a left-wing Europeanism. That said, their main difference with the Socialist party is over the debt. The Bloco wants a renegotiation. If that fails they claim they are prepared to leave the Euro – a scenario whose probability has decreased it has to be said, after the failure of those in Syriza supporting such a perspective.
Another difference with, for example, the French Front de Gauche, is that the Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português) is not part of the Bloco. They have their own alliance, the Coligação Democrática Unitária (Democratic Unity Coalition – see results above), with the Portuguese Green Party (Os Verdes) and the satellite left party, Intervenção Democrática. Their results improved by 0,4%.
Leaders of the Bloco note a continued sectarian – that is Stalinist – culture in the Communist Party. According to a leading Bloco member, Fernando Rosas, (Wikipedia – in English) the main problem with them is that try to control every political initiative they are associated with.
On their views see the important interview with Fernando Rosas : « La gauche radicale portugaise est l’une des plus fortes en Europe » Dirigeant national du Bloc de gauche, Fernando Rosas analyse la situation politique du Portugal et expose les positions de son parti sur les alliances électorales, la lutte contre l’austérité et la sortie de l’euro. (30th July).
The loss of the rightwing majority and the rise of the Left Bloc Monday 5 October 2015, by
The Portuguese right wing coalition has lost its absolute majority in parliament, but remains the main political force in Sunday’s election. The Left Bloc made a spectacular comeback with the best result ever, almost doubling its voters and more than doubling the number of elected MPs.
This result was built mostly on the performance of the new Left Bloc leadership after the November 2014 national convention of the party. The spokeswoman Catarina Martins had a widely-applauded victory in every face-to-face tv debate with the prime-minister, the vice-prime-minister and the SP leader and gathered the biggest popular support on street campaign in all Left Bloc’s history. The electoral result confirmed this warm reception on the streets in every corner of the country for the last two months. And the two parties that were formed by dissidents of the Bloc with widespread media coverage (Livre and Agir) were now doomed to political irrelevance, obtaining 0.72% and 0.38% respectively. The only small party to enter the Parliament is PAN, which has an animal rights agenda and it is ready to support any government.
French Trotskyist Current, the Gauche Unitaire (Picquet Tendency), Joins the French Communist Party (PCF).
A formal statement has just been issued announcing that Gauche Unitaire (GU), which has a long background in Fourth International Trotskyism, and whose best known figure, Christian Picquet, has been a leading figure in the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, will engage in a process of ‘regroupment’ inside the Parti Communiste Français (PCF).
The Gauche Unitaire was created from a small grouping inside the LCR which opposed to the formation of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA) in 2009. The immediate cause of the split was the refusal of the NPA to join forces with the PCF and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche in a common list for the European elections in 2009.
The background was long-standing disagreement with the NPA’s belief that “between us and the Parti Socialiste’ there is nothing’ – an assertion hard to justify when the PCF retained over 200,000 members and the closely aligned union federation, the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), continued to show an unwillingness to disappear.Behind this it is said that Piquet and his comrades’ turn to a more “centrist” republican democratic socialism cut them off from the belief inside the NPA that the time had come for a radical new movement riding high on the anti-globalisation protests (if one can remember them…..).
The “Picquet Tendency” became the Gauche Unitaire. It was a founding member of the Front de gauche (FdG) the social and electoral bloc of these forces that present united lists for that Euro contest, and subsequent French national and local elections.
Another group which emerged out of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, equally critical of its ambition to incarnate on is own, the radical left, was the closely related Convergence and alternative. This now forms part of the ‘third’ pillar of the FdG) Ensemble .
The Gauche Unitaire identifies itself as democratic socialist, republican, anti-capitalist, and has been a supporter of French laïcité.
It considers that the left needs to change society by ” mobilisations sociales prolongées et de consultations populaires” – in other words, grass roots, trade union and civil society activity, combined with democratic electoral advances.
It is no secret that Tendance Coatesy has very similar views.
Over the last year the Gauche Unitaire has run into difficulty inside the Front de Gauche. A majority of its members have joined Ensemble (which groups together many people with radical left, democratic socialist and feminist ideas, including the ‘self-management’ and left-Green current Les Alternatifs: see more on their site here). GU had formally withdrawn with the FdG over disputes about eligible places on European election lists. It is thought that the group at present is down to well below 100 members.
A declaration announcing the decision for the GU to join the PCF is in l’Humanité and Piquet’s blog today.
There will be a joint press conference tomorrow.
Point presse Pierre Laurent et Christian Piquet
Jeudi 10 septembre à 13h
Siège du PCF – 2, place du Colonel Fabien
Christian Piquet’s Blog:
mercredi 9 septembre 2015
Par CP le mercredi 9 septembre 2015, 12:26
Ce 8 septembre aura marqué une date importante. Dans l’histoire de la gauche autant que dans celle de la coalition à laquelle nous participions jusqu’alors… Le Parti communiste français et Gauche unitaire ont en effet officialisé le processus qui les amène à se regrouper aujourd’hui au sein du PCF.
Une page est ainsi tournée, celle qui avait vu Gauche unitaire, en 2009, se constituer en parti à partir du courant unitaire du Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste, regrouper très vite des hommes et des femmes issus de diverses traditions, et devenir cofondatrice du Front de gauche. Les évolutions de la situation française, les immenses périls qui pèsent sur la gauche et le monde du travail, la situation pour le moins difficile du Front de gauche (sur laquelle j’ai eu maintes occasions de m’exprimer ici) ont amené les militantes et militants de GU, lors du III° Congrès de l’organisation, en juin dernier, à considérer que l’heure était au regroupement, et non plus à la dispersion, à l’éparpillement, à l’entretien de différences n’ayant guère de sens en regard des enjeux décisifs du moment politique présent.
Les convergences entre nos camarades communistes et nous-mêmes n’ayant cessé de se confirmer au fil des années, c’est donc un choix de responsabilité qu’a fait Gauche unitaire. Sur les réseaux sociaux, un journaliste a constaté que cette décision contrastait avec les fragmentations, polémiques brumeuses, claquages de portes obscures, rivalités d’égos ou scission qui rythment la vie du camp progressiste et contribuent surtout à démoraliser celles et ceux qui attendraient plutôt des perspectives d’espoir. Il a parfaitement raison ! Ce jeudi 10 septembre, à l’issue du conseil national du PCF, appelé à se prononcer à son tour, Pierre Laurent et moi-même présenteront à la presse l’aboutissement du processus de rapprochement engagé ces derniers mois. J’aurai ensuite l’occasion de revenir ici sur ce qui m’a motivé, avec mes camarades, dans la volonté d’écrire une nouvelle page du combat pour que la gauche redevienne la gauche. Je reproduis déjà, ci-dessous, la déclaration conjointe de nos deux partis.
« Nos deux organisations ont en commun de puiser au meilleur de la pensée humaine, de l’apport des Lumières, des idéaux mis en avant par la Révolution française, de l’action de Jaurès en faveur de la République sociale. Elles se revendiquent, face à un capitalisme dont la cupidité n’a cessé de grandir, de l’apport irremplaçable de Marx, qui avait choisi le mot de communisme pour désigner le mouvement même d’abolition de l’ordre existant. Si l’histoire tourmentée du XX° siècle a profondément meurtri, et même dévoyé, cette belle promesse de « mise en commun » s’opposant à la concurrence de tous contre tous, il s’agit à présent de la réhabiliter afin de rouvrir enfin à l’humanité un horizon d’espérance. Par-delà leurs histoires propres, leurs traditions politiques respectives, la manière dont ils ont pu appréhender le passé, le Parti communiste français et Gauche unitaire ont pu vérifier, à la chaleur du travail réalisé conjointement, qu’ils se retrouvaient dans une commune volonté de reconstruire une perspective crédible et ambitieuse de transformation sociale.
« Cela fait ainsi de nombreuses années que nos deux formations constatent leur convergence de vues. Elles portent une identique appréciation sur les menaces que font peser les politiques libérales sur l’avenir de la planète et sur la paix, sur les droits sociaux et conquêtes populaires, sur les politiques publiques garantes de la cohésion de notre société, sur les fondements mêmes de la République en France, sur les équilibres écologiques. Elles s’opposent de même aux orientations mises en œuvre par François Hollande et Manuel Valls qui, loin de rompre avec l’orthodoxie austéritaire et le pouvoir de la finance, s’efforcent de satisfaire les désidératas du grand patronat, tournant le dos à la majorité populaire qui avait rendu possible la victoire remportée sur Nicolas Sarkozy en 2012.
Elles mesurent également le risque que la situation de très grave crise sociale et politique que connaît notre pays ne profite à une droite dure et revancharde, avide d’en finir avec tout ce qu’il subsiste du programme du Conseil national de la Résistance. Elles s’inquiètent tout particulièrement de constater que le découragement et l’écœurement qui s’emparent de larges secteurs de la population font aujourd’hui le lit du Front national, de ses idées de haine et de son programme de discriminations.
Elles réaffirment, dans cette situation de grands périls, la nécessité de faire grandir l’exigence d’une autre politique, pour rassembler de nouveau la gauche sur un nouveau projet social et démocratique, et lui permettre de retrouver le chemin du peuple. Elles agissent dans ce cadre pour que le Front de gauche soit un instrument au service d’un tel rassemblement de la gauche sur la base d’un changement complet de cap, qu’il soit à même d’agir efficacement pour une nouvelle majorité de gauche et un gouvernement qui répondent aux attentes de nos concitoyens. Elles se retrouvent, s’agissant des prochaines élections régionales, autour de la nécessité de favoriser les rassemblements les plus larges, aux premiers et seconds tours, à partir de propositions audacieuses récusant la logique de l’austérité nationale, condition pour battre la droite et l’extrême droite, garder à gauche le plus grand nombre de Régions, aboutir à de nouveaux contrats majoritaires à la tête de celles-ci.
« À partir de ces constats, au vu de l’ampleur des défis qu’il s’agit désormais de relever, et en fonction de l’appréciation portée sur ses six années d’action au sein du Front de gauche dont elle est l’une des trois composantes fondatrices, le III° Congrès de Gauche unitaire, fin juin 2015, a considéré que l’heure n’était plus à l’émiettement et à l’éparpillement des forces travaillant à ouvrir une nouvelle perspective pour la gauche. Elle a donc décidé de regrouper ses forces avec celles du Parti communiste français au sein de ce dernier. À la suite des discussions positives ayant eu lieu tout l’été avec la direction du PCF et des échanges, tout aussi positifs, entre militants des deux formations, cette décision a été définitivement ratifiée les 5 et 6 septembre par les délégués des sections de Gauche unitaire, réunis à Paris.
« Le regroupement sera effectif après qu’à son tour la réunion du conseil national du PCF, qui se tiendra le jeudi 10 septembre, en soit saisie.
« Pierre Laurent et Christian Picquet présenteront le même jour à la presse, à 13h, le sens de ce regroupement.
« À la fête de L’Humanité, l’aboutissement de ce processus sera présenté aux participants, à l’occasion d’une rencontre publique qui se tiendra sur le stand du conseil national du PCF, le samedi 12 septembre à 12h.
« Dès la semaine qui suivra la fête de L’Humanité notre rassemblement sera alors totalement effectif au niveau des sections et fédérations concernées, ainsi qu’au conseil national et au comité exécutif national du PCF. »
No I am not going to translate this heavy bloc of left-wing prose, apart from anything else most of the words are the same in English.
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,