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NPA (France)

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.

Crisis, revolt and the left in Europe

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following presentation is a slightly edited and updated version of a talk given on January 20, 2012, to the eighth national conference of the Australian Socialist Alliance, held in Sydney. The slides mentioned refer to the PowerPoint presentation above, which accompanied the talk. Dick Nichols works in the European office of the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly, based in Barcelona.

* * *

By Dick Nichols

Slide 1

Thank you, comrades, for the invitation to speak—what a pleasure it is to see old faces, and new ones, too! The class struggle may be more advanced in Europe, but I sorely miss what we have created in the Socialist Alliance, as should become clear later in this talk.

My aim is to sketch the present phase of the class struggle in Europe, assess the gains of our side along with the challenges it faces, and hopefully help us all think about what this might mean for Socialist Alliance and the socialist movement in Australia. But the opinions expressed are my own, of course, not the Socialist Alliance’s: so feel free to disagree vigorously!

Europe Against Austerity conference builds enthusiasm for fightback

By Fred Leplat

October 3, 2011 -- Socialist Resistance -- The Europe Against Austerity conference, held in London on October 1, was attended by 681 people including 150 from outside Britain. This happened the same weekend that two big demonstrations took place. In Glasgow, there was the "People First" demonstration of 15,000 called by the Scottish TUC on October 1. On October 2, 35,000 joined a demonstration in Manchester on outside the Conservative Party conference, called by the Trades Union Congress and backed by the Coalition of Resistance and the Right to Work Campaign.

Europe: Statement by the Anti-Capitalist Left conference


Mobilisation of the ENOUGH campaign against the IMF in Dublin on July 16, 2011. One of the European actions the European Anti-Capitalist Left pledged to build.

The following statement was adopted by the anti-capitalist left organisations meeting together in London on June 11-12, 2011, on the call of the SWP (Britain) and the NPA (France) as a follow-up to the previous conferences held in Paris in June 2008 [1], December 2009 [2], and May [3] and December [4] 2010. Text from International Viewpoint.

(Updated April 1) Left statements on Libya: Stop the bombing, victory to the Arab revolution

March 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of statements on the situation in Libya issued by left parties and organisations around the world following the start of the US-led bombing campaign. Statements include those by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt),  Via Campesina, Socialist Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Fourth International, France's New Anti-Capitalist Party, the South African Communist Party, Focus on the Global South, Sinistra Critica (Critical Left, Italy), Portugal's Left Bloc, Brazil's PSOL. There is also a statement signed by 58 communist and workers' parties. More will be posted as they come to hand. See also statements by Socialist Alliance (Australia), the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the New Zealand Greens.

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Tunisia: ‘It is a real revolutionary process’ -- interview with 14th January Front militant

Alhem Belhadj (right) speaking at a session of the French New Anti-Capitalist Party congress, February 11.

February 27, 2011 -- Alhem Belhadj is a Tunisian revolutionary socialist and member of the Ligue de la Gauche Ouvriers (Left Workers’ League). It is a part of the 14th January Front, which unites left-wing groups seeking to push Tunisia’s revolution forward by creating a new government free from members of the former ruling party, and supporters policies reversing neoliberalism.

Belhadj spoke with Green Left Weeklys Tony Iltis on February 12, at the congress of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France, about the Tunisian revolution.

* * *

I think there is a real revolutionary process. Things are going very quickly.

There is a lot of change. Every day, there is some change and there is a big popular resistance.

Tunisia: 14th January Front proposes a National Congress for the Defence of the Revolution

By the 14th January Front*

February 14, 2011 -- The Tunisian revolution is the first of the 21st century. Its shock waves have shaken dictators and Western governments. But it has yet to overturn the ancien regime, and the neocolonial state apparatus that supports it. As an expression of popular unrest it has been fed by the anger of a diverse classes, at least until January 14, 2011. Since that date there has been increasing polarisation between the forces who back the revolution and those of the counterrevolution.

Those on the latter side are attempting to safeguard their constitution and its institutions. With the collaboration with liberal fringes of the democratic movement, Western agents, Islamists and the leftovers of the ancien regime, they are trying to stem the social movement. The provisional government of "national unity" is peopled by former members of Ben Ali’s power structure. This includes a prime minister (from 1999), Mohamed Ghannouchi, who was the architect of neoliberal policies dictated by imperialist financial bodies.

France, WSF, Korea ... International left solidarity with the Egyptian people's uprising

Melbourne solidarity celebrations, February 12, 2011. Photos by Sue Bolton, beats from Al Aqsa Intifada by Rootsman and Muslimgauze, edited by Nick Fredman.

Below are a number of statements and reports of solidarity actions around the world following the overthrow of the US-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. They include a statement from organisations attending the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress in France, solidarity from the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, a statement by leaders of the Socialist Party USA and a report on trade union organised protests in South Korea. Check back for more.

* * *

Statement from left organisations present at the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress

February 12, 2011 -- The overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak change the political situation not only in the Maghreb but on the international scale.

Olivier Besancenot on Tunisia: `I know now that revolution is possible'

Photo: Photothèque Rouge/Akremi Mesbah.

January 26, 2011 -- Collective Resistance -- Olivier Besancenot, spokesperson for the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste, was in Tunisia earlier this week to find out about the revolution happening there. Here are his impressions.This interview first appeared in French on the NPA website. The translation by the Collective Resistance blog appeared on January 26.

* * *

How did this trip to Tunisia come about?

New Anti-Capitalist Party on Tunisia: 'Ben Ali assassin, Sarkozy accomplice!'

Statement by the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste) France, translated by John Mullen for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[This statement was released before the fall of Ben Ali. See "Tunisia's intifada topples tyrant: 'Yezzi fock!".]

January 11, 2011 -- When Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by setting fire to himself after being harassed by the police his act became the spark which is now setting fire to the whole of the “miraculous Tunisia” of General Ben Ali.

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: The movement is far from over; Olivier Besancenot defends mass mobilisations to defeat Sarkozy

The New Anti-Capitalist Party's Olivier Besancenot.

By Sandra Demarcq

October 23, 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- Since May, the political situation in France has been marked by the mobilisations against changes to the pension law. Days of mobilisation succeed days of mobilisation, the movement against pension "reform" continues to develop and put down roots. It is the confirmation of a profound movement massively rejecting not only [the pension changes] but more broadly French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s anti-social, racist and authoritarian policies as a whole. But also the injustices accumulated and accentuated by the economic crisis, whether among the young or among wage earners.

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.

Olivier Besancenot: `We are all Greek workers!'


General strike, Athens, May 20, 2010. Photos by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

By Olivier Besancenot and Pierre-François Grond, translated by Richard Fidler and Nathan Rao

May 14, 2010 -- Le Monde via The Bullet -- The events in Greece concern us all. The Greek people are paying for a crisis and a debt not of their making. Today it is the Greeks, tomorrow it will be others, for the same causes will produce the same effects if we allow it.

(Updated May 21) Thailand: International left solidarity with the democracy movement

Photo by Lee Yu Kyung, Bangkok.

Statements by the New Anti-Capitalist Party of France, Socialist Alliance of Australia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Fourth International, Focus on Global South, Australia Asia Worker Links. See also Asia-Pacific left statement -- `Resolve crisis through democracy, not crackdown!', by Asian left and progressive organisations.

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New Anti-Capitalist Party: Stop repression in Thailand

By the New Anti-Capitalist Party/Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA), France

Download Daniel Bensaïd's `Revolutionary Strategy Today'

By Liam Mac Uaid

March 31, 2010 -- MacUaid -- The International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE) is an Amsterdam-based centre providing activists and scholars around the world with opportunities for research and education. It is offering a imagefree download of the late Daniel Bensaïd’s Revolutionary Strategy Today.

Since the rise of capitalism, socialists have faced certain deep-seated obstacles: the hostility of the bourgeois state, the fitful curve of proletarian class-consciousness and the inertia or active opposition of apparatuses originally built by the workers for struggle.

Fourth International: Report on international situation to the 16th World Congress; Role and tasks of the FI

By Laurent Carasso

February 2010 -- This report will not attempt a detailed survey of the world but will try to stress what is most significant, what, in our view, should come under a common understanding of events and tasks. On many regional situations, the comrades will broadly enrich the discussion through their interventions.

(I) The world situation is marked by crisis

For the first time in history, this crisis is located is explained by capitalist globalisation. No territory is immune. All the economic, social and political factors are interrelated worldwide. The economic crisis is not a conjunctural crisis. This is a systemic, structural crisis: this is the most serious crisis since 1929. The United States has lost 35% of its financial wealth and the Euro zone 25%. And, when governments speak of “emerging from crisis” we do not agree. There may be short-term recoveries, related to policies in support of activity in this or that country, but the countries of the centre -- the USA and Europe -- are not emerging from crisis. The explosion of public debt in southern Europe -- in Greece, Spain -- and the banking and financial uncertainty demonstrate the instability of the situation and a new phase of the crisis, at least in Europe.

The crisis is not over!

France: Sarkozy rejected in regional elections

[*Note: Check chart on right for final figures.]

By the executive committee of the New Anti-Capitalist Party

March 14, 2010  -- Paris -- Two major lessons emerge from the first round of the regional elections.

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