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Communist Party of France

French troops in Mali ‘for the long haul’; left responds to war

French troops in Mali.

[Click HERE for more on Mali.]

By Roger Annis

February 6, 2013 – A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- ”France is in Mali for the long haul.” That’s the headline of the France daily Le Monde on February 4. The newspaper’s front page, as well as pages 2 and 3, were devoted to a discussion over "what next" for France and the world in Mali.

The views of the newspaper’s editors are explained in a front page editorial. (The editorial translated into English is below.) Describing in the politest of terms France’s historic role in Africa as a slave and colonial power, and summarising the political situation in Mali and west Africa as a “struggle against narco-Islamists”, the newspaper argues for a long-term, Haiti-style tutelage of Mali.

France launches war in Mali to secure resources, stamp out national rights struggles

"The military attack in Mali has been condemned by groups on the political left in France, including the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party [its newspaper pictured above]) and the Gauche anticapitaliste (Anti-Capitalist Left). The latter is a tendency within the Front de gauche (Left Front). Shockingly, the Left Front leadership group has come out in favour of the intervention."

By Roger Annis

January 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometres from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 kilometres north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.

A French armoured convoy entered Mali several days ago from neighbouring Ivory Coast, another former French colony. French troops spearheaded the overthrow of that country’s government in 2011.

France: The rise of the Left Front (Front de Gauche) – a new force on the left

Jean-Luc Melenchon.

[Read more on French politics HERE.]

By Murray Smith

August 2, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Left Front (Front de Gauche) emerged onto the political scene at the beginning of 2009. As the Left Front to Change Europe, it was established by three organisations -- the French Communist Party (PCF), the Left Party (PG, Parti de Gauche) and the Unitary Left (GU) -- with the aim of standing in the European elections of June 2009.

France: After election win, what course will Francois Hollande take?

Francois Hollande.

By Murray Smith

June 24, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Following on the victory of Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande in the May 6 French presidential election, legislative elections were held in two rounds on June 10 and 17. The results confirmed those of the presidential election, but with some particular features.

French politics after the fall of Sarkozy

A young supporter of the Front de Gauche (Left Front).

By Murray Smith

June 7, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After long months of campaigning, the French presidential election came to a close on the evening of May 6. As predicted, the victor, and therefore seventh president of the Fifth Republic, was Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande. However, the margin of victory, at 51.6 per cent to 48.4 per cent, was narrow, and closer than any of the polls had foreseen.

So France now has a new president and a new government, presided over by long-time Hollande ally and Socialist Party stalwart Jean-Marc Ayrault and composed of members of the Socialist Party and its Green and left radical allies. Of course, this government has necessarily an interim character, since it does not have a majority in parliament. Whether it wins one or not will be decided in parliamentary elections to be held in two rounds on June 10 and 17.

Election campaign

France: Sarkozy facing defeat as polarised electorate leans left

Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

By Dick Nichols

April 30, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- The results of April 22 first round of the presidential elections in France directed a powerful spotlight on a society polarised by  economic crisis and the austerity regime of President Nicolas Sarkozy and his ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)  government.

As in the 2002 presidential poll, candidates to the left of the Socialist Party (SP), including Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV), won more than 15% of the vote, while the xenophobic National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen registered its highest vote ever—17.9% (up 7.5% from the 2007 presidential poll).

However, unlike the 2002 contest, this far-left vote did not come at the expense of the SP (which in 2002 was beaten into third place by the FN). This time the SP’s François Hollande took first place, with 28.6% of the vote (up 2.8% from 2007).

France: Front de Gauche's Jean-Luc Melenchon shakes up presidential poll

On March 18, the 141st anniversary of the Paris Commune, organisers were expecting 20,000 to 30,000 to show up for a march and rally to “seize the Bastille” in Paris. Up to 120,000 took part.

By Dick Nichols

April 16, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- There’s no election quite like a French presidential contest. It is a six-month-long race in which nearly every political stable usually has a runner and where the handicapping system is less rigged against “outsiders” than in many other countries.

It puts a premium on personality: a candidate who strikes voters as fresh, sincere and “not a politician” has a chance to win more support than in other elections.

Over the years the system has allowed far-left candidates to make their mark. Blunt and passionate working-class battler Arlette Laguiller of Workers Struggle (LO) was a regular star between 1974 and 2002, when she scored 1.6 million votes (5.7%).

At the 2007 poll, the fresh face was the Revolutionary Communist League’s (LCR) Olivier Besancenot. A young postal worker, he increased the 1.2 million votes he received in 2002 to 1.5 million (4.1%). For a while, Besancenot was rated France’s most popular politician.

France: Not victorious, but not defeated

By Murray Smith

December 8, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is now possible to begin to draw a tentative balance sheet of the vast movement against the reform (or more exactly, counter-reform) of the pension system in France over the last few months. We need to look at the depth and breadth of the movement, the forms that it took and the positions adopted by its various components. And finally at what might be the repercussions and consequences.

The immediate aim of the reform proposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government seemed quite clear. It was to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for retiring with a full pension from 65 to 67, with corresponding increases in the number of years of contribution required. But behind this immediate aim lies the ongoing objective of slowly undermining the public pension system, with the aim of pushing workers towards subscribing to private pension plans, to the greater profit of the pension funds.

Private funds have never been able to develop in France to the extent that they have elsewhere.

France: Workers, students fight attacks on pensions, oppose austerity (+ photo essay)

High school students join a demonstration against attacks on pensions rights in Paris, October 14, 2010. AP Photo/Francois Mori from Boston.com.

By Chris Latham

October 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Since October 12, France has been gripped by intensifying mass opposition by workers and students to proposed counter reforms to the country’s pensions system by the right-wing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Public opposition to the attack has been highlighted by three national strikes each involving millions of people, two national student strikes and a growing wave of indefinite strikes in a range of industries — most notably the crippling shutdown of the oil industry.

Despite the size and intensity of the mobilisations, the Sarkozy government remains defiant, insisting the changes to the pension system are essential to France’s future. The government has threatened to repress attempts to disrupt France’s economic life.

France: An explosive situation; Huge protests against pension law

September 7 rally of 1.1 million in Paris after the pension changes were presented in parliament by Sarkozy’s labour minister. Photo: Wagingnonviolence.org.

By Sandra Demarcq 

October 11, 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- The political situation in France is dominated by the mobilisations against the proposed "reform" of the pension system [that will dramatically reduce the right of workers to access pensions]. This is at the heart of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s austerity policy. Although it is presented as an obvious demographic necessity, it is meeting increasing opposition in public opinion.

Britain: What now for the Green Party?

By Peter Shield

August 17, 2010 -- The Green Party of England and Wales has made some major breakthroughs over the couple of years, the election of Caroline Lucas to the British parliament was one of the few bright points on an otherwise dismal election night on May 6, 2010. At a local level the Green Party now has just over 120 councillors and the two members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The problem however is that the election showed up how patchy and locally concentrated its support base actually is. With the Autumn party conference approaching what are challenges facing the Green Party.

France: New Anti-Capitalist Party `a very exciting initiative'

Interview by Jim Jepps

December 22, 2008 -- There's been surprisingly little discussion in the UK on the launching of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste or NPA) over the water in France. I thought I'd take a look at this interesting and significant new development and so I spoke to John Mullen, the editor of Socialisme International, to see if I could find out more.

You recently attended the French launch of the "New Anti-Capitalist Party". How did it go?

The official founding conference will be in January 2009. For the moment there are 400 “committees for a new anti-capitalist party” all over France. The Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) was the force which proposed and coordinated the foundation, and will dissolve itself into it in a couple of months time. I attended the November national delegate meeting as one of the delegates for my town.

France: Towards the foundation of a New Anti-Capitalist Party

By Pierre Rousset

The political impact of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste or NPA) process is quite important. In a number places, this new political party in construction is already de facto replacing the French Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire or LCR)and is very active.

In June 2007, the LCR launched an appeal for the constitution of a New Anti-Capitalist Party. In June 2008, 1000 delegates met in Paris to give a national-scale dimension to a process which started from the bottom. At the beginning of November 2008, delegates from some 400 committees gathered again to discuss three documents: programmatic references, political orientation, statutes and functioning of the NPA. Around 10,000 activists are presently engaged in the founding process of the NPA – three times more than the total membership of the LCR.

On November 6, 2008 it held its first public meeting in Paris with more than 2000 participants. If everything goes as planned, on January 29, 2009, the LCR at its last congress will decide on its own dissolution. The following days, January 30-February 1, 2009, at its first congress, the NPA will be constituted.

Meanwhile, in Africa ... a tale of two `bailouts'

Rwandan President Paul Kagame distributes mosquito nets. Studies show that malaria, which kills more than a million Africans every year, could be contained in just a few years at the cost of $3 billion a year.

By Jean-Paul Piérot

Original October 11, 2008, l'Humanité article in French: ``Et pendant ce temps, l’Afrique …''. Translated by Gene Zbikowski

While Africa needs US$72 billion a year in aid, hundreds of billions are being freed up to pay Western banks for the consequences of speculation.

France: Olivier Besancenot -- `For a left that stops making excuses'

Hand in hand with the struggles of French workers and students has been the massive growth in popularity of postal worker and Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) spokesperson Olivier Besancenot (pictured).

Recent opinion polls listed “The Red Postie”, as even the capitalist media call him, as the second most credible opposition politician to the right-wing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Besancenot was voted second after the Socialist Party (PS) mayor of Paris and ahead of the parliamentary leaders of the official PS “opposition”.

Below is an excerpt of Besancenot’s speech to an August open air rally of 3500 members and supporters of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NAP), initiated by the LCR, on the challenges for the project.

* * *

It’s in these times of economic crisis that we will have to show just how useful we really are.

We must, in the year ahead, continue to show that we are the most effective opponents of the Sarkozy government and the policies of the French Confederation of Business Enterprises.

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