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NPA (France)

France: New Anti-Capitalist Party defends democratic right to wear hijab

NPA candidate Ilham Moussaïd.

By Olivier Besancenot, translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (MRZine)

February 3, 2010 -- Le Figaro caricatured my words regarding the candidacy of Ilham Moussaïd, who is on our list in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regional elections. After a serious and complex debate, the Vaucluse chapter of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) made a choice to include on its feminist, anti-capitalist and internationalist lists an NPA member who believes in wearing a headscarf on account of her religious convictions.

[See French capitalist press report below.]

Pakistan: An historic gathering of workers and peasants

The Labour Party Pakistan's Farooq Tariq addresses the Faisalabad worker-peasant rally.

By Farooq Tariq

February 1, 2010 -- An historic gathering took place at Faisalabad, the third largest city in Pakistan, on January 29, 2010. The event was jointly organised by the Labour Qaumi (National) Movement (LQM) and the Anjuman Mozareen Punjab (AMP -- Punjab Tenants' Association), two movements of workers and peasants that, by their defiant activities in several Punjabi districts, have caught the imagination of thousands. For the first time, these two important movements of workers and peasants in Punjab shared a common platform.

The famous Dhobi Ghat parade ground was a sea of red flags that caught the attention of the incoming crowd. Several bookstalls by left-wing organisations and publishers reminded me of the 1960s. Many hundreds visited the stalls.

The high point of the conference was the arrival of peasants from areas including Lahore, Okara, Depalpur, Renala Khurd and Kulyana Military Estate. After travelling from different areas of the country, more than 3000 peasants joined one procession. They wore their traditional dress and carried Dhool Damaka (drums).

Daniel Bensaïd: militant, intellectual, friend

Daniel Bensaïd.

By François Sabado

International Viewpoint -- Daniel Bensaïd left us today, Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Born in 1946 he gave his life to the cause of defending revolutionary Marxist ideas right to the end. He was one of the founders of the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR -- Revolutionary Communist Youth) and the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR -- Revolutionary Communist League, French section of the Fourth International).

A leader of the May '68 movement, he was one of those people with a very sure feeling for political initiative. He had been one of the leaders of the 22nd March Movement. Grasping the dynamic of social movements, in particular the link between the student movement and workers’ general strike, he was also one of those who understood the necessity of building a political organisation, of accumulating the forces for building a revolutionary party.

The quality of Daniel’s intelligence was to combine theory and practice, intuition and political understanding, ideas and organisation. He could, at the same time, lead a stewarding force and write a theoretical text.

Recent experiences in left regroupment and reconstruction

By Jim McIlroy

November 23, 2009 -- How do you build socialism in the First World countries right now? Of course, we are part of a world movement for socialism, including the Third World. We can learn a lot from recent and current experiences in left regroupment and party building that are happening around the world at present -- with all proportions guarded, and realising that there is no direct transposition of one historical, national experience onto another.

When we talk about left regroupment and reconstruction, unlike some of the other overseas examples that I will refer to, Socialist Alliance in Australia is not at this stage a broad left party or a regroupment organisation in quite the same way as some of the other international experiences. But it is a vehicle for constructing one and it is a nucleus for building a broad-based socialist party in the future.

Positive developments in the European left

By Ian Angus

October 7, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- LeftViews recently published an article by Alex Callinicos, a central leader of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party (SWP), on the state of the left in Europe. While conceding that there have been some gains, overall the picture he painted was dire.

Callinicos is an insightful writer on leftwing politics in Europe, and much of his analysis rings true. I’m certainly not going to try to offer a different analysis from my vantage point well west of the Atlantic [in Canada].

But by itself, his article might leave Socialist Voice readers with a picture of unrelieved gloom, when in fact there are some bright spots of note. In Germany and Portugal, leftwing parties made modest but important gains in last month’s elections, while in France and England we’re seeing constructive steps towards greater unity on the left.

Germany

Kanaky: Interview with jailed pro-independence trade union leader Gérard Jodar

Gérard Jodar (right).

This interview with Gérard Jodar, president of the pro-independence trade union federation USTKE (Union of Kanak and Exploited Workers), was published in Libération, issue #14790, on August 17 2009. He was interviewed by Matthieu Ecoiffier. Translated into English for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Annolies Truman.

Sentenced at the end of June 2009 to a year in prison for ``hindering the circulation of an aircraft'' [click HERE for background information to the struggle], Gérard Jodar is one of very few trade unionists to be imprisoned in France –- and his lawyers’ application for a lesser sentence has just been rejected by the appeals judge of the Noumea Supreme Court.

Gérard Jodar explains the conditions of his detention as well as the situation on the ``Pebble’’ [the nickname for New Caledonia, the colonial name for the South Pacific territory of Kanaky, which remains a colonial possession of France -- translator].

A balance sheet of the European elections

Left Bloc supporters in Portugal.

By François Sabado

The principal lessons of the European elections of June 7, 2009, are the following: massive abstention; progress for the right flanked by the far right; a collapse of social democracy; an increase in the votes for the ecologists; while the radical left, left reformists and anti-capitalists maintained their position, without making new advances, except in Portugal and Ireland.

Crisis of legitimacy

First of all, the recent European elections confirmed widespread popular abstention. The rate of abstention, at 57 per cent across the European Union, increased compared to the election of 2004, where it had already, at 54.6 per cent, beaten the previous record. The level of abstention decreased in nine countries and increased in 17. This level of abstention provides a fresh demonstration of the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union and the governing parties which situate their policies within this framework. It is the result of the peoples of Europe being marginalised in the process of building a European Union that is neoliberal and anti-democratic.

New Anti-Capitalist Party of France: `With the people and workers of Iran!'

Statement by the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA, New Anti-Capitalist Party of France), translated by Carmel McGlinchey, Luke Weyland and Annolies Truman for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Since June 13, the day after the rigged presidential election, millions of Iranians have gone into the streets with cries of "Down with the dictatorship!". The ferocious repression has already caused tens if not hundreds of deaths. Young people, women and the residents of the poorer areas who comprise the majority of the demonstrators have now been joined by the trade union movement.

The union of bus workers declared its solidarity, in asserting: "As long as the principle of free organisation and elections is not applied, all talk of social liberation and the rights of the workers is only a joke". The workers of Iran Khodro, the first car manufacturer in the country (with 60,000 employees), engaged in a strike while adding their demands for salary increases and the right to strike to the demands raised in the streets. 

European election: 60% abstain; gains for the right; revolutionary left wins seats in Portugal and Ireland

[See also ``European election: British left discusses urgent need for left unity'' and ``Ireland: Socialist Workers Party calls for a `broad radical left party'''.]

June 9, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance/International Viewpoint -- There was a broad popular abstention in the European elections. Nearly 60% of voters did not vote. Because of this, only a deformed vision of the real relationship of forces in Europe is possible. But it confirms the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union and of the governing parties that implement their policies within this framework, writes François Sabado. Other tendencies emerge, initially a rise of the right across Europe.

The right won in the big countries where it governs: in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Austria and Hungary. In Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Cyprus, the parties of the right also came first.

Anti-capitalist European Left: capitalists not workers must pay for the crisis

May 6, 2009 -- British left groupings Socialist Resistance and the International Socialist Group have joined the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Scottish Socialist Party and others of the European anti-capitalist left in endorsing this statement for the European elections. The statement was agreed at a conference in Strasbourg on April 3, 2009.

* * *

It's not for people and workers to pay for the crisis, the capitalists should pay!

The next European elections will be held during the worst crisis capitalism has known since 1929. Economic, social, financial, banking, food, climatic, it is a global, general crisis.

Once again, the ruling classes want to make workers and peoples pay for the crisis. Governments have given hundreds of billions to banks but at the same time millions of layoffs fall on employees. Unemployment is going through the roof. The purchasing power of wages is falling. The destruction of public services continues.

It's not for people and workers to pay for the crisis, the capitalists should pay!

This policy of European Union institutions has been rejected by the "No" votes in France, the Netherlands and Ireland.

We reject the plans of EU governments that save banks and not people.

We put forward an emergency social and democratic plan:

Another left is possible: The protests in France and the New Anti-Capitalist Party

Workers protest in Marseille during France's second national strike in two months, on March 19, 2009, to demand a boost to wages and greater protection form the crisis. Photo: AFP.

By Nathan Rao

March 23, 2009 -- It would be wrong to see the massively successful protest actions in France on March 19 as distant and exotic, of no particular relevance to us here in Canada. With the economic meltdown heralding a new political era, and with most of the country's left and social movements still stunned and disoriented following their embrace of the misguided and failed Liberal Party-led coalition plan, the French experience is instructive and inspiring.

Birth of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France: a reportback from participants

Toronto, February 18, 2009 -- Left Streamed -- The founding conference of the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA, New Anti-Capitalist Party) was held just outside Paris over the weekend of February 6-8, 2009.

[For more analysis of the NPA, click HERE.]

The conference marks the conclusion of a process initiated following the encouraging election results (1.5 million votes) of the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire's (LCR, Revolutionary Communist League) candidate in the 2007 presidential elections, 34-year-old postal worker Olivier Besancenot.

This process has involved thousands of activists and interested individuals organised in hundreds of committees across France. The new party begins its life with some 10,000 members and in a context of deepening economic crisis and a big wave of strikes and protests against the hard-right government of president Nicolas Sarkozy.

General strike shakes France’s Caribbean colonies

Introduction by Richard Fidler

February 26, 2009 -- Life on the Left -- The general strike in two French colonies in the Caribbean is firm, with no end in sight. It began in Guadeloupe on January 20 and spread to neighbouring Martinique on February 5 as a protest against the high cost of living and, more generally, the gross inequality between the conditions of the black population and a tiny white elite, descendants of slaveholders, who control most industry and agriculture.

The two islands, each with a population of about 400,000, are officially designated overseas departments of France, and the repression of the strikers by the French government, which has flown in more than a thousand gendarmes from the metropolis, has underscored their colonial oppression.

The islands, along with two other French colonies — French Guiana in South America and La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, both of which are experiencing mounting unrest — have the highest unemployment rates in the European Union, double those of metropolitan France. Also, prices of basic commodities and food staples, most of them imported, are much higher.

France: New Anti-Capitalist Party launched; Responses to French Socialist Party's shift to the right

The question in the graphic for a poll published by Le Figaro asks: “over the last month which of the following personalities was the best opponent to Nicolas Sarkozy?”. The New Anti-Capitalist Party's Olivier Besancenot came out on top for the fifth month in a row. From Liam Macuaid's blog.

By Sam Wainwright

Paris, February 14, 2009 -- On the weekend of February 7-8, more than 600 delegates and as many observers attended the founding conference of France’s New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), held at la Plaine-Saint-Denis in the working class suburbs to the north of Paris.

Less than a week before, on January 29, around 2.5 million people took to the streets across the country in a nationwide strike against the efforts of the President Nicolas Sarkozy's government to foist the burden of the capitalist economic crisis onto working people.

France: From the Revolutionary Communist League to the New Anti-Capitalist Party

This contribution was written as part of preparations for the January 2009 congress of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR). The congress agenda includes the political “self-dissolution” of the LCR, to set the stage for the new challenge of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA). The authors of this piece belong to the generation of activists from the 1960s and 1970s; so while principally addressed to members of the LCR, it may be of interest to many others. It first appeared in the January 2009 International Viewpoint, the magazine of the Fourth International.

* * *

By Daniel Bensaïd, Alain Krivine, Pierre Rousset, François Sabado and others 

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's New Anti-Capitalist Party: An exchange between Alex Callinicos (British SWP) and François Sabado (LCR)

LCR presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot

Below are two articles which first appeared in Critique Communiste, and in English in the November issue of International Viewpoint, the magazine of the Fourth International. The first is by Alex Callinicos, a leader of the British Socialist Workers Party. The second, "The NPA, a new experience of building an anti-capitalist party", is a reply by François Sabado, a leader of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).

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.

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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