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France

France: 100 years after Jean Jaures' murder, his name still inspires

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

July 31, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- When you travel through France, there’s one name that appears most in public space ― on streets, schools and metro stations.

Not Jeanne d’Arc, Napoleon, or even World War II resistance leader and later president Charles de Gaulle. No, the name you can pretty safely bet you’ll find on some sign in the next sleepy village is that of Jean Jaures.

Jaures was France’s most famous socialist leader and deputy, a tenacious and passionate fighter for workers’ rights and against war, anti-Semitism, clericalism and colonialism.

Trying to explain his huge impact, the young Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky said in 1909: “As an orator he is incomparable and has met no comparison … it is not his rich technique nor his enormous, miraculous sounding voice nor the generous profusion of his gestures but the genius's naivete of his enthusiasm which brings Jaures close to the masses and makes him what he is.”

One hundred years ago, on the evening of July 31, an extreme right-wing nationalist called Villain shot Jaures dead in Montmartre’s Cafe du Croissant. Jaures, accompanied by the editorial staff of l’Humanite, the socialist daily he had founded in 1904, was having dinner before finishing the next day’s edition.

Paul Le Blanc reviews Daniel Bensaïd's memoir, 'An Impatient Life'

An Impatient Life: A Memoir
by Daniel Bensaïd, translated by David Fernbach, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso Books, 2014.

Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE. You can download an excerpt HERE (PDF).

Review by Paul Le Blanc

May 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010) was one of the most respected theorists to emerge from the 1960s radicals of Western Europe. Always inclined to think “outside the box”, waving aside venerable dogmas and shrugging off standard formulations, he found fresh ways, energised with the aura of unorthodoxy, to express and apply truths from the revolutionary Marxist tradition.

France: Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the left after the March municipal elections

To improve the resolution of the subtitles, please press play, then click on the small "cog" in the right-hand bottom corner and change quality to 360p or higher. You may need to restart the video from the beginning. It is also best watched in full-screen view (click on the square on the far right-hand bottom corner).

April 25, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This in-depth interview with Left Party (Parti de Gauche) co-spokesperson Jean-Luc Mélenchon was conducted on April 13, 2014, after the March French municipal elections and the April 12 Paris anti-austerity march. It features comments on French politics after Manuel Valls becomes PM, as well as discussion of European politics and the developments in Ukraine.

France's municipal elections: New shoots in the rubble?

By Dick Nichols

April 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After the first round of the French municipal elections (March 23, see here for coverage in Green Left Weekly), the media mainstream obsessed about the rise in support for the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen. The only other stories found worthy of comment were the collapse in support for the ruling Socialist Party (PS) of president François Hollande and the surge in the abstention rate—to a record 36.5%. (This endnote[1] explains the French two-round voting system as applied to municipal elections.)

According to the Le Monde analysis of that vote, the PS would face losing 90 towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants at the second round (March 30). The FN had a chance of winning between ten and 15 of these.

Daniel Bensaïd: Paris '68, 'When history breathed down our necks' -- excerpt from 'An Impatient Life: A Memoir'

March 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below is an excerpt from the late Daniel Bensaïd's memoir, An Impatient Life, just published by Verso. It is posted with the kind permission of Verso. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

* * *

An Impatient Life: A Memoir
by Daniel Bensaïd, translated by David Fernbach, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso Books, 2014. 336 pp.

France: Activist pressure forces truce within Front de Gauche

January 17 leadership meeting between the PCF and the Left Party.

By Dick Nichols

January 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- To the an almost audible sigh of relief from its tens of thousands of activists, the two main forces in France’s nine-party Left Front (Front de Gauche)—the Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français, PCF) and the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon—have called a halt to hostilities that were not only undermining its chances in France’s March municipal elections but also those of the Party of the European Left (PGE) in the May 25 European poll.

Solidarity saved me from Hitler: Now it must save Palestine

BDS-Sticker2009

 

By Suzanne Weiss

December 8, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In October 2013 I accompanied Suzanne Weiss in a trip back into the history of rural France under Nazi occupation. Suzanne’s interviews there provided a framework for the following talk given by her to Solidarity for Palestine Human Rights at the University of Western Ontario on November 20, 2013. A portion of her speech has been published by Electronic Intifada; the full text first appeared in Bullet, a publication of Socialist Project. -- John Riddell.

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France: ‘Third pillar’ established in Front de Gauche

On December 1, 2013, 100,000 people joined a march organised by the Front de Gauche to demand a "fiscal revolution" -- tax the rich -- and to oppose a January 1, 2014, increase in the regressive indirect value-added tax.

By Dick Nichols

December 5, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The formation of a “third pillar” in the Front de Gauche (Left Front) was finalised at a November 23-24 conference in Saint-Denis of delegates from four of the Left Front’s smaller affiliates: Alternatives (Les Alternatifs), Convergence and Alternatives (Convergence et Alternatives), the Federation for a Social and Ecological Alternative (Fédération pour une Alternative Sociale et Ecologique) and the Anti-Capitalist Left (Gauche Anticapitaliste).

The 200-strong conference, which gave the name Together! (Ensemble!) to the new formation, also involved unaffiliated activists from the social movements and trade unions, all members or supporters of the Left Front.

France: 'We need a tax revolution', says Left Front's Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Part 1.

[For more on French politics, click HERE.]

November 24, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Leader of France's Left Front (Front de Gauche) Jean-Luc Mélenchon was interviewed on November 9, 2013, about the March 2014 municipal elections, and the disputes that have erupted within the front around them. For further detail, see "France: As National Front support grows, strategy struggle erupts in Left Front".

France: As National Front support grows, strategy struggle erupts in Left Front

Part 1.

By Dick Nichols

November 6, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- October was a month of sharp shifts in French politics. On October 4, a poll in the French weekly Nouvel Observateur showed the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen leading voting intentions for the 2014 European elections with the support of 24% of those interviewed—up 3% in six months.

On October 13, in the second round of the by-election for the canton of Brignoles (in the Mediterranean department of Var), the FN easily defeated the mainstream conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), by 53.9% to 46.1%. Until 2011 Brignoles had had a Communist Party (PCF) mayor, but in this election the main left candidate, with a PCF background and supported by the Socialist Party, could only manage 14.6% in the first round.

France: Jean-Luc Mélenchon's speech at the 2013 Fete L´Humanité

(Note: to improve the resolution of the subtitles in each, after pressing "play", click on the "cog" at the bottom of the video, and increase the setting for "quality" to 360p. Then restart the video.)

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon addressed the fete of left newspaper L´Humanité in Paris on September 15, 2013. In this six-part video (above and below) Mélenchon discusses French foreign policy in relation to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the colossal failures of "Chicago School" [neoliberal] economics, the attacks of the European Union, the Front de Gauche's program when elected, religion and politics, and the front's opposition to militarism.

Talk on Gracchus Babeuf and the communist idea (audio)

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Doug Enaa Greene delivered this talk to the Revolutionary Students Union at the University of Utah on May 29, 2013. To read more about Gracchus Babeuf, see Greene's essay at: http://links.org.au/node/3228.

France: Front de Gauche calls huge march against austerity, for democratic renewal

Jean-Luc Mélenchon addresses the May 5, 2013, mobilisation in Paris. Part 2 below.

By Dick Nichols

May 11, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On May 5, the largest left protest ever against the policies of a French Socialist Party (PS) government took place in Paris. To the stirring sounds of the protest anthem “On Lâché Rien (“We Don’t Give In”), up to 180,000 workers, pensioners, unemployed and students marched from the Bastille to Place de la Nation.

They were demanding an end to economic austerity and for a democratic Sixth Republic that would overturn the present Fifth Republic, which is dominated by corrupt and entrenched financial and political elites. The symbol of the march was the kitchen broom, for the “clean sweep of this insufferable political atmosphere”, called for by Front de Gauche (Left Front) leader and 2012 presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

On the day tens of thousands marched with brooms or brushes in hand.

Mali under occupation: France extends combat mission, UN readies a force

[Click HERE for more on Mali.]

By Roger Annis

May 8, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/The Bullet -- France’s National Assembly and Senate have voted to extend the country’s military intervention in Mali. A resolution passed both houses of parliament on April 22. Not a single vote was cast in opposition.

Three days later, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2100, creating a policing mission beginning July 1, 2013. The mission is called by its French acronym MINUSMA. Its projected size is 11,200 soldiers and 1440 police.

Parti de Gauche: ¡Abajo la austeridad!

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3301]

Por Dick Nichols

12/4/2013 -- Sinpermiso.info -- En el tercer congreso nacional del Partido de Izquierda (Parti de Gauche) celebrado en Burdeos del 22 al 24 de marzo, el nuevo grupo socialista, el cual está cobrando fuerza a una velocidad sorprendente, pareció por fin alcanzar la madurez como partido.

Con tan sólo cuatro años de vida, el Partido de Izquierda surgió en el momento en que su principal figura, Jean-Luc Melenchon, quien fuera antiguo líder de las corrientes de izquierdas
del Partido Socialista (PS), abandonara éste después de que las propuestas del PS contra la
austeridad neoliberal lograran no más de un 19% de apoyo en el congreso del 2008.

France: Parti de Gauche vows to build ‘citizens’ revolution’ for ecosocialism

Down with austerity!

By Dick Nichols

April 12, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At the third national congress of the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) held in Bordeaux from March 22 to 24, France’s newest and fastest-growing socialist group seemed to come of age.

Only four years old, the Left Party was born after its leading figure, Jean-Luc Melenchon, a long-time leader of left currents in the Socialist Party (PS), abandoned it after the tendencies in the PS opposing neoliberal austerity mustered only 19% support at its 2008 congress.

France & Mali: Left assesses Mali military intervention and its aftermath

[Click HERE for more on Mali.]

By Roger Annis

March 30, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Two leading voices against France’s military intervention in Mali, Paul Martial and Bertold du Ryon, have written a comprehensive dossier on the subject. It is published in the weekly print and web bulletin of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France, Tout est à nous, dated March 14, 2013 (#186).

The dossier is a valuable overview of the situation in Mali and stands out for its unyielding opposition to the intervention. That’s no small feat in a France that is awash in national patriotism and anti-Islamic prejudice over the issue.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Die Linke salute Hugo Chavez's socialist vision

Above: March 6 press conference by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche, Left Front) on the death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez Frias.

l’Humanité interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spokesperson Front de Gauche (Left Front), France, translated by Dick Nichols

March 7, 2013 -- You have always supported the revolutionary process in the Venezuela, why?

We need to place the Bolivarian Revolution in its continental and historical context. The collapse of state communism was presented to the whole world as the end of history for communist and socialist sentiment and aspiration. But the flame flared up again in South America because the new age of capitalism had made that continent its proving ground. Neoliberalism was tried out there by military dictatorships on the one hand and by Operation Condor and CIA acts of violence on the other. The policies which then got applied were the same everywhere: free and unbridled competition, monetarism and deregulation, leading the whole continent to disaster. It is in this context that the revolutionary flame flared up again. Bolivarian Venezuela has occupied a special place: not only has been it been built on democratic foundations, but it has outmaneuvered the criminal plans of the opponent by peaceful and popular action.

Sortu and Basque left nationalism’s strategic relaunch

For more coverage of the Basque struggle, click HERE. For more on Spain, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols

March 5, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly 10 years after the Spanish high court outlawed its previous political organisations, Basque left nationalism has finally given birth to a new legal party—Sortu (“to create” or “to be born” in Basque). The new arrival is a powerful progressive force for Basque independence—socialist, feminist, ecologically aware and staunchly internationalist.

Its goal is an independent socialist Basque-speaking state that unites the three northern Basque regions in the French department of Pyrenees Atlantiques with the four southern Basque regions covering Navarra and Euskadi (the Basque Autonomous Community) in the Spanish state.

No sign of peace or reconciliation in France-controlled Mali

 French troops arrive in Mali.

[Click HERE for more on Mali.]

By Roger Annis

February 26, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- France perpetrated two large deceptions in conducting its military intervention into Mali six weeks ago. These have been universally accepted in mainstream media reporting.

The first is that the unilateral decision to invade Mali on January 11, 2013 was hastily made, prompted by imminent military threats by Islamic fundamentalist forces against the south of the country where the large majority of Malians live.

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