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Front de Gauche (France)

France: Front de Gauche debates ‘uniting the people’ vs ‘uniting the left’

"We want to federate the people" -- Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

By Liam Flenady, Brussels

September 14, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- About 200 activists from France’s Front de Gauche (Left Front) gathered in Paris on September 6 to discuss the group’s future. The front has been in limbo over the past few months after disagreements about strategy led to a weak performance in the European and local council elections in May.

The meeting took place at a time of controversy in French politics. The once social-democratic Socialist Party (PS) President Fancois Hollande had sacked the cabinet and appointed a new one — the second time since the start of the year — and the far-right National Front (FN) topped the presidential opinion polls for the first time.

On top of this, Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) that is one of main groups in the Left Front, stood down as Left Front co-president. Melenchon announced he would soon launch a new Movement for a Sixth Republic.

This political instability is an outgrowth of a deeper economic malaise. Since Hollande’s election in 2012, the economy has stood on shaky ground. The economy has stagnated for the first two quarters of the year.

‘Fighting nationalism and the troika is our goal’, says Party of the European Left chairperson

Pierre Laurent.

Read more on the Party of the European Left

Pierre Laurent interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk

August 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front (Front de Gauche) in France and many others.

While attending the Ninth Summer University of European Left, Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk got a chance to discuss the challenges and plans of the European Left with Pierre Laurent, its current chairperson. Laurent is also national secretary of the French Communist Party, which is part of France’s Left Front.

* * *

Denis Rogatyuk: I thought we would begin with the question on the mind of all the different left and progressive political parties in Europe — the question of the European Elections. Do you think the European Left fulfilled the best possible outcome in these elections?

'Broad left parties': Murray Smith replies to Socialist Alternative's Mick Armstrong

Mass rally for Greece’s opposition Syriza party in Athens in May 2014.

By Murray Smith

June 23, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mick Armstrong of Socialist Alternative, Australia, has written an article which sets out to criticise what I have written over the last 15 or so years on broad left parties ("A critique of the writings of Murray Smith on broad left partes" (PDF), Marxist Left Review, Summer 2014). I would like to reply to some of the points that he makes.

Britain: Behind the strong vote for far-right UKIP

Anti-UKIP protest.

For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]

By Dave Kellaway

May 26, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Despite a strong support for the far right, the radical anti-austerity left maintained and increased its votes in some countries such as Greece, but also Spain and Portugal.

European election: Jean-Luc Mélenchon campaigns for the left (video)

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 240p 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).

May 13, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Excerpts from Jean-Luc Mélenchon's speech to Front de Gauche (Left Front) supporters at a 500-strong meeting in the town of Alès (Gard department, Languedoc-Rousillon region) during the May 2014 European election campaign.

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.

Party of the European Left’s fourth congress: building unity to build hope

By Dick Nichols

February 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When the 200-plus delegates finally voted on the two main documents presented to the fourth congress of the Party of the European Left (EL), held on December 13-15, 2013, in Madrid, there was a faint murmur of surprise at the degree of support received. After all, the EL is a mix of different but related political sensibilities, bringing together “anti-capitalist, communist, socialist, ecologist, feminist, eco-socialist, republican and other democratic forces”[i].

Its affiliates embody different national political cultures and are based on all sides of the widening north-south and east-west economic and social ravines that cross Europe, the European Union and the Eurozone. Moreover, it is only 10 years old, created in 2004 in a forced march driven by the process of European integration and the need to compete with other European “party families”.

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.

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: 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.

France: Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon opposes attack on Syria

Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon discusses the threat of a US attack on Syria, broadcast September 1, 2013. Below is an earlier TV appearance by Melenchon in which he also discusses Syria. (Note: to improve the resolution of the subtitles in each, press play then click on the "cog" at the bottom of the video, and increase the setting for "quality" to at least 360p. Then restart the video.)

European left statements against the threat of US-led war on Syria (updated Sept. 3)

Below are a number of statements (or news reports of statements) by European left parties on the crisis in Syria. More will be posted (or expanded) as they come to hand.They include Die Linke (Germany), Syriza (Greece), the Party of the European Left and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (France).

Die Linke: German government's support for war coalition is insanity

August 27, 2013 -- Die Linke -- "A military strike of the US threatens to escalate the conflict in Syria to become an international war“, warns Christine Buchholz, member of the executive board of the party Die Linke.

The attack of the US army using cruise missiles threatens to cause a wildfire, further aggravating the suffering of the Syrian population. With the assault the US government does not help the people in Syria but will solely demonstrate its military supremacy in the region.

Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle said yesterday that Germany "in close coordination with its allies" will be among those „that consider consequences to be appropriate. "This boils down to nothing else but support of impending military assaults. The support of an evolving US-led war coalition is insanity".

Europe's 'lefts' and the capitalist crisis

Front de Gauche (France) leader Jean-Luc Melenchon with SYRIZA (Greece) leader Alexis Tspiras.

For more on the developments on Europe's far left, click HERE (see also the pink tabs and the end of the article)

By Francois Sabado

May 20, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The situation of the "lefts" in Europe cannot be understood without starting from the crisis, its multiple dimensions and its effects on the social and political field. Hitting head-on all the organisations and parties linked to the history of the workers’ movement, precipitating ruptures, it obliges political forces to recompose around new axes.

Richard Seymour on the rise of a new left in Europe

By Richard Seymour

May 19, 2013 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Speech presented at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb.

* * *

I think the title of this talk, "The rise of a new left", is clearly to some extent projection of a desired outcome; of course, there are elements of a new left visible. Not just the indignados and occupiers, but also the radical left challengers: Syriza, the Portugese Left Bloc, Die Linke, the Scandinavian red-green alliances, Front de gauche in France, maybe some elements of the Pirate Parties ...

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.

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.

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.

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