Posts Tagged ‘French Left’
Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste accuses of ‘left’ Presidential candidate Mélenchon of using far-right rhetoric.
Accused of being nationalist, chauvinist, racist, germanophobe and a great friend of Putin.
Reports the Huffington Post French edition.
Leading Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste figure, Olivier Besancenot, said this: one gaff too many?
The NPA has published a virulent – to say the very least – attack on ‘populist’ Mélenchon who standing as a candidate in next year’s French Presidential election and is the leader of a small group, the Parti de gauche (left party), essentially a political club around his own personality.
At present his campaign « La France insoumise, le peuple souverain. » (internet JLM2017) has become ‘populist’ and aims to be mobilise the ‘people’ against the ‘elites’. (1) He has declared that unless the European Union changes France should follow the UK and leave (Brexit: «L’UE, on la change ou on la quitte», affirme Jean-Luc Mélenchon)
He is neck and neck in the opinion polls with the Parti Socialiste François Hollande and present President – which is not saying much since at 15% each not a single poll gives either any chance of winning.
More on this article here: « Travailleurs détachés » : Le NPA accuse Mélenchon de reprendre « la rhétorique de l’extrême droite » ,
Jean-Luc Mélenchon made a speech in which he accused workers employed in France, but still formally under the pay andconditions of their home countries (posted employees), of stealing the bread out of the mouths of local workers.
This is his expression: the “travailleurs détachés” qui “vole(nt leur) pain” aux travailleurs locaux.”
Travailleurs détachés : les curieux propos de Mélenchon
Je crois que l’Europe qui a été construite, c’est une Europe de la violence sociale, comme nous le voyons dans chaque pays chaque fois qu’arrive un travailleur détaché, qui vole son pain aux travailleurs qui se trouvent sur place. »
I consider that the Europe that has been built is a Europe based on social violence, as we seen in every country when a posted worker comes and steals the bread out of the mouths of the workers who are already there.
As the article title suggests, the original reads just as oddly as the translation which I have rendered into colloquial English.
Many on the French left are now criticising the former leading figure of the Front de gauche, who launched on his own initiative a Presidential bid, addressing ‘The People’, of being “nationaliste, chauvin, raciste, germanophobe et poutinophile” – nationalist, chauvinist, racist, germanophobe and a great friend of Putin.
The polemic continues.
How the Galloway ‘left’ Campaign to Leave kicked off.
Our old friend George Galloway had been quiet during the last stages of the European Referendum.
After a sparkling start, which saw the dapper gent appear with Nigel Farage in a united front, we heard little of the Respect leader.
The one-time star of Parliament, and international statesman, had been reduced to retweeting others, such as Steve Hedley, the ally of French Trotskyist micro-party, Daniel Gluckstein’s Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique and their ‘internationalist’ rally in support of Brexit in Paris.
Now we know why:
The Independent reports,
The former MP withdrew his allegations against Aisha Ali-Khan and agreed to pay damages along with legal costs.
Ms Ali-Khan brought libel proceedings in London’s High Court after the Respect Party leader published a statement on his website in October 2012.
One notes nevertheless that Galloway has now returned to play an active role in the ‘Lexit’ campaign.
His presence on the Lexit side will no doubt inspire many to follow their ideals.
Daniel Gluckstein (1) National Secretary of the Trotskyist POID (Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique, Independent Democratic Workers Party) Rally Organisers.
The Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist – Rebuild Britain) publishes a report of this Paris Rally organised by the group headed by Daniel Gluckstein which we reproduce.
Paris rally shows support for Brexit A report has been sent to CPBML News of the internationalist rally held in Paris on 28 May, at which speakers from France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Belgium expressed their support for Britain leaving the European Union.
Extracts from the lengthy report:
Alex Gordon, Former President of the RMT, on behalf of the Lexit Campaign.
My name is Alex Gordon. I am speaking as Convenor of #Lexit – the Left Campaign to LEAVE the European Union in Britain and I bring you their greetings.
Present in the hall:
Nigel Griffiths, former Labour Party MP.
Support to the rally was also expressed in interviews with Ben Chacko, editor of the Morning Star, and Ronnie Draper General Secretary BFAWU.
Message of support received from TUAEU, Trade Unionists Against the European Union. (aligned to the Socialist Party UK).
(Note the French version dispenses with the fiction of Lexit and calls simply for Brexit).
We note that a Lexit meeting in London a few days ago in Camden has besides Tariq Ali and others, Caroline Tacchella, from the French group cited above.
(1) Daniel Gluckstein (born 3 March 1953 in Paris) is a French Trotskyist politician for running for French presidential election of 2002 as candidate of the Workers’ Party (Parti des Travailleurs or PT).
In 1968, he joined the Revolutionary Communist Youth (JCR). Then in 1979, he founded the Communist League Internationalist (LCI). In 1991, he was nominated National Secretary of the Parti des Travailleurs. In 1994, as lead candidate of the Parti des Travailleurs for the European elections, he obtained 0.43% of the vote. He was candidate for the legislative elections in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) in 1997. In April 2002, he was candidate in the presidential election, and gained 0.47% of the vote, which made him the last of sixteen candidates in the first round.
- (with Pierre Lambert) Discussion autour de lutte des classes et mondialisation. 1990. OCLC 84677125
- Luttes des classes et mondialisation: le XXe siècle s’achève : putréfié, sénile, parasitaire, l’impérialisme reste une transition, mais vers quoi ? Paris: SELIO, 1999. ISBN 9782906981201 WorldCat
- (with Pierre Lambert). Itinéraires. Monaco: Rocher, 2002.
As Gluckstein’s publications indicate he was close to Pierre Lambert.
Hence the name for this current, the Lambertists.
This Blog has been accused of being unfair to some left groups.
It is absolutely impossible to be unfair to the Lambertists, whose record of thuggery, political chicanery and nationalist ranting has marked them out for decades (see for more details: Christophe Nick, Les Trotskistes, Fayard, 2002).
But all is not well in this small world.
The last of the ‘Lambertist’ Trotskyyists tear each apart.
There is much more material in French but this excellent article gives an introduction.
The “Lambertists” have in recent years been organised in a group called the Independent Workers’ Party (POI). The POI purports to contain four distinct organised “tendencies”: the CCI (Trotskyist), and “anarchist”, “Communist”, and “Socialist” tendencies. In fact it is run by the CCI, the other three “tendencies” being concocted facades.
The POI has been intensely hostile to the European Union, and claims that exit from the European Union is the first step to socialism. It is very influential in one of France’s big trade union confederations, FO, and is said to number hundreds of FO full-time officials among its members.
This is an abridged translation of a survey by Vincent Présumey.
As far as can be seen, the crisis in the CCI/POI (the CCI being the successor to the OCI of the years 1960-80, and the main component of the POI) is coming to a head…
The crisis erupted at the start of the summer, at the time of the Greek referendum [5 July], and seems to be culminating now, as the holiday season ends, with what both sides expected: a split, and not a friendly one.
The apperance on 18 July of a new paper, La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers’ Tribune), clearly signalled a split. We observed that the political orientation of that paper was clearer, more assertive, than that of Informations Ouvrières [the POI paper], where Daniel Gluckstein [main leader of the CCI/POI for decades] is still the nominal editor but seems no longer to have any grip over the content. It was more assertive in the direction of preparation for social, and thus political confrontation in France, thought of as imminent.
It was so because it took the gloves off in relation to the leadership of the union confederations [France has, in effect, several “TUC”s]. It attacks them, among other questions, on that of the European Trade Union Confederation, a structure which is more linked to official EU institutions than to the rank and file of the unions, and which is holding its congress in Paris at the end of September and the start of October. The CGT, CGT-FO, CFDT, CFTC, and UNSA [the five major “TUC”s] are affiliated to it.
Rest of article via link above.
1,2 million demonstrators across France according to the CGT and 390 000 according to the Police.
Huffington Post announces,
Un million de personnes ont défilé mardi 14 juin à Paris contre la loi Travail, actuellement débattue du Sénat, ont indiqué trois syndicats organisateurs (CGT, FO, Solidaires).
Violent clashes during the demonstration against the Labour Law.
Says France 24.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Wednesday urged the hardline CGT union to stop organising mass rallies in Paris against a contested labour reform after fresh clashes between masked youths and riot police at a demo.
On the sidelines of a CGT-led march on Tuesday, gangs of black-clad youths hurled makeshift firebombs at police and broke windows, including at Paris’ main children’s hospital.
“When you cannot organise a demo and take responsibility, leaving thugs in the middle of the march … then you don’t organise this sort of demonstration that can degenerate,” Valls said on France Inter radio.
Police fired dozens of rounds of teargas and used water cannons to disperse the groups of youths during the rally, which police said had a turnout of 75,000-80,000 in Paris alone, roughly three times more than at recent big demos.
The Paris police department reported 58 arrests, including many foreigners, with 24 police and 17 protesters injured.
“We cannot have a general ban (on demos), but we will take our responsibilities. We can no longer have this disgraceful show with things getting out of control,” Valls said before visiting the Necker children’s hospitable to inspect the damage.
As next year’s Presidential election draw near the left looks increasingly likely to be eliminated in the first round, reports the Nouvel Obs.
In a number of opinion polls and different scenarios – all including Marine Le Pen – left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon would obtain from 14% to 15% of the votes against 14% to 15% for a Parti Socialiste candidacy by François Hollande.
In all cases the far-right would be beaten in the second round by a candidate of Les Républicains (right-wing).
I am an internationalist.
My earliest political horizons were made by the German Außerparlamentarische Opposition (APO).
My late teens were formed, apart from the IMG, and the Fourth International, by the politics of a group I worked with closely during the Portuguese Revolution, the Movimiento de Izquierda Socialista. This was a democratic socialist group of the left whose politics were a landmark in our movement.
In France I benefited from the comradeship of members of the Parti Socialiste Unifié who taught me about democratic socialism in the real sense. From hundreds of local councillors, they provided, er…well, a French PM and lots of cabinet Ministers….
In more recent times I have supported the Iranian democratic left, the Kurdish people’s fight for dear life against Daesh, and the beloved Bangladesh secular comrades in their struggles.
I am a member of one of the forces on the Left in the Remain camp, Chartist magazine, and the network, Another Europe is Possible.
I am, like many people, a left-wing European socialist.
I find it deeply insulting that the Bexiters are now claiming the mantle of ‘internationalism’ and trying to use the refugee crisis to their own nationalist ends.
French unions, students, and radical activists in groups such as Nuit Debout continue to campaign against the ‘Loi Khomri”.
The laws will undermine the ability of unions to reach collective agreements (although unions are weak and divided with only 8% members, over 98% of French companies operate within the framework of collective bargaining, compared with under 29%, 63.7% public sector, only 16.0% in the private sector, in the UK, (Here). The ‘reforms’ will encourage local negotiations, means to go over the head of unions, and other devices to weaken the collective system.
They will reduce hard won workers’ rights, getting rid of the ‘red tape’ that helps the system of Inspecteurs du Travil, enforce decent working conditions.
Contrary to the falsehood being broadcast by the UK ‘Lexit’ campaign the pressure for these changes comes from the French Employers’ organisation, the MEDEF, not Brussels or the European Commission.
As can be seen in this banner which links the government, from Hollande, Valls, and Macron, to the Bosses’ federation.
The action by the CGT is considerably more significant than the clashes between demonstrators and police which have been widely reported internationally.
Police fired tear gas in central Paris as an initially peaceful protest organised by unions and students was disrupted by a more radical fringe.
The labour reforms have sparked two months of protests on France’s streets, drawing 68,000 nationwide on Tuesday, authorities said, while organisers put the turnout at 220,000.
Withdraw, withdraw this law of the wealthy, it’s the law of the bosses,” was the message blasted from loudspeakers at the Paris march.
But Hollande said the battle against unemployment was not yet won and he placed the need to reform over his personal popularity, which remains at near-record lows a year ahead of a possible bid for re-election.
“I will not give way, because too many (previous) governments have backed down,” Hollande said in an hour-long interview with Europe 1 radio.
“I prefer that people have an image of a president who made reforms rather than a president who did nothing,” he said.
Police were quick to act as violence by masked youths broke out during the march in central Paris, kicking off another week of nationwide strikes and demonstrations against the package of reforms. Some 87 people were arrested.
Demonstrations were also reported in cities across the country from Marseille in the south to central Lyon and Lille in the north.
Lorry drivers blocked roads and ports in northern and western France, and there were clashes between protesters and police in the western cities of Nantes and Rennes, where thousands more took to the streets.
“We have been ignored, so we will work even harder to make our voices heard,” said Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, at the Paris rally.
The government argues the changes contained in the draft law will make France’s notoriously rigid labour market more flexible, but opponents say it will erode job security and do little to bring down the unemployment rate, stuck at 10 percent and nearly 25 percent for young people.
The labour reform, which would make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers, is likely the last major piece of legislation for Hollande, the least popular leader in modern French history who faces a re-election next May.
Lions Led By Jackals. Stalinism in the International Brigades. Dale Street. Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. 2016.
During Franco’s dictatorship “the defeated in Spain has no public right to historical memory..” observed Paul Preston in The Spanish Holocaust (2012). The movement to recover these memories, beginning in the new millennium, continues to expose this past. The defeated side in the Spanish civil war, and those who fell during and after the Caudillo’s victory in the 1939, are honoured across the world as fighters against fascism. As Preston states, Franco’s war against the “Jewish-Bolshevik-Masonic’ Republic brought the murder of hundreds of thousands in its wake.
Those who escaped prison, death or slave labour faced systematic persecution well into the 1950s. Many exiles passed by Bayonne to France, some joining the French army to fight the German invasion. Amongst the refugees were those who ended up in the invaders’ hands, portrayed in Spanish exile Jorge Semprum’s Le Grand Voyage (1963). Spanish republicans perished in the extermination camps. Around 60% of these died in Mauthausen.
Dale Street is concerned with one of the saddest aspects of the Spanish tragedy: the role of Stalin’s Comintern in the International Brigades. Lions led by Jackals underlines the political and organisational hold of this body that took the decision to form the Brigades in September 1935. André Marty, the leader of the ‘Back Sea Mutiny’, and Communist on his release from prison in 1923, Secretary of the Comintern in the 1030s, he became their effective ‘commander in chief’.
Marty emphasised on the ‘popular front; politics of the Spanish government – the democratic authority the International Brigade had been formed to offer military support against the Franco-army rebellion. Street states that many volunteers “found the idea of Popular Frontism incomprehensible. From their point of view, they were in Spain not just to ‘fight fascism’ but also to fight for socialism and working-class revolution.” The Stalinists, he writes, confused such people with this talk of a “bourgeois democratic revolution”. As he points out, had they – and no doubt those Spaniards who elected the Popular Front and fought for it – if they’d read Trotsky they would have known that this was “Menshevism” and “utter disregard for the ABC of Leninism.”
Socialists will be familiar with George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia (1938) and Ken Loach’s film Land and Freedom. (1995). Orwell inspires his readers with his account of Spain’s “foretaste of socialism” where one “had breathed the air of equality.” Loach puts these moments on screen.
Orwell was to experience first hand the other side of Comintern influence: its war on ‘Franco’s Fifth Column” – the ‘Trotskyist traitors’. The POUM, (Partido Obrero de Unifición Marxista), a fusion between two small anti-Stalin groups, backed the Popular Front and their leader, Andreu Nin (who had indeed originally been close to Trotsky), entered the Catalan government. They believed that socialist objectives tallied with the front against fascism, war and revolution went together. Trotsky himself accused Nin of having rallied to the defence of property. He advocated that the small group should be opposed to all other Popular Front parties, and teach radical forces, notably within the powerful anarchists and syndicalists of the FAI and CNT, to form soviets.
Trotsky’s strategy barely belongs even to the realm of historical might-have-beens. Nin was drawn into practical politics, in a Spain where it is hard to see how a sharp ‘Bolshevik’ vanguard party could be made out of disparate republican, socialist, and anarchist movements, left alone supplanting a Communist Party funded by the only international power offering the Republic serious military aid. Along with that help went a propaganda campaign against the POUM, its banning, and the dissolution of its militia. After the 1937 Barcelona May Days of anarchist and POEM resistance it was tracked down and ‘liquidated’ On Russian orders, and with NKVD direct participation, their leaders were arrested. Nin was taken from his house and shot. Fabricated documents pointed to POUM co-operation with Franco’s Falange.
Lions led by Jackals, describes the way into which those in charge of the International Brigades were infected by this Moscow-driven hunt for ‘Trotskyists’, ‘wreckers’ and ‘saboteurs’. Their training material included the instruction that “As in all other counties, so too here in Spain, the Trotskyists are the conscious enemies of the freedom of the people”. To Marty Trotskyists formed just one part of “multiple networks”, “the Gestapo, OVRA (Italian secret police), the Polish police, the Caballero group, anarchist, socialist and above all the Deuxieme Bureau (French secret service.” Articles intended for Brigaders asserted “the POUM was working in favour of Fascism”. The Independent Labour Party, linked to the POUM through the International Revolutionary Marxist Centre (the non-Trotskyist anti-Stalinist left international grouping, founded in 1932, known as the London Bureau), and whose own volunteers took part in their militia, was singled out. Any dissent, which could include the most minor disagreements, was noted with suspicion.
Street breaks new ground by indicating the details of these politics, and, more strikingly, in the endless, petty and spiteful reports on all Brigaders by the Political Commissars. Real issues of national frictions, personal problems and tensions, are overshadowed by the documents known as “Characterisations”. Often exaggerated concerns about possible infiltration by enemy agents and discipline aside, “thumbnail assessments” range from people’s sexuality, drinking habits, and temperament. Categories, such as Cadre, Very Good, Fair, Bad and Very Bad, were used.
With this licence to the small-minded it is not surprising that along with allegation about somebody’s alleged Trotskyist” or “criticisms of the Soviet Union”, that the sexual activity of some women volunteers is noted.
Stalinism, Street conclude, had “absolute political and organisational control”. On the most prominent Comintern representative, André Marty, Lions Led by Jackals, states that his “paranoid incompetence and general buffoonery guaranteed his failure, even in his own terms, as commander-in-chief of the Intentional Brigades.”
The paranoiac and murderous cadres who exported the purges and efforts to duplicate the Moscow trials to Spain, should nevertheless not be allowed to diminish the courage and sacrifice of the Brigaders, including Communists.
As for Marty he was portrayed under that name in Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), as a suspicious thug with a “mania for shooting people”. These killings earned him the sobriquet of the Butcher of Albacete. 1943 found him the representative of the French Communists in the de Gaulle led Resistance based in Algiers. There was an ascension to become the ‘Number 3’ in the Parti Communiste Français (PCF). Following the Marty-Tillon ‘Affair’ in which included accusations that Marty was a Police agent, he was expelled from the Party in 1952.
Lions led by Jackals is available from here: Stalinism in the International Brigades