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Front de Gauche (France)

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.

France: New Anti-Capitalist Party congress wrestles with challenge of the Left Front

[Click HERE for more analysis and discussion of French politics.]

By Dick Nichols

February 15, 2013 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The four years since the founding of France’s New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) have been a roller coaster rise and fall for the organisation, which was created in 2009 on the initiative of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), the former French section of the Trotskyist Fourth International.

The party’s rapid early growth seemed to confirm the premise on which it was founded — tens of thousands of France's workers and young people wanted to get active against capitalism’s crises and crimes, but were wary of existing left organisations and looking for a new sort of political home.

France: As Hollande takes the social-liberal road, what prospects for the left?

France's Socialist Party President Francois Hollande with the Left Front's Jean-Luc Melenchon.

By Murray Smith

February 7, 2013 – KritiskDebat (Denmark ) and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is just over seven months since the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande capped his victory in the presidential elections by winning a working majority in the elections to the National Assembly.

It probably seems longer to him. It has been a hard half-year. Hollande won the election by standing on a program that was distinctly on the left by the standards of the Socialist Party. Partly this was to position himself as a clear alternative to his conservative opponent Nicolas Sarkozy. To a not insignificant degree it was to hold the SP electorate against the strongest challenge from the left for thirty years, in the shape of the Left Front (Front de gauche) and its presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon: The Guardian interview


Jean-Luc Mélenchon interview, the Guardian by lepartidegauche

On December 17, 2012, the British Guardian posted the above interview with the leader of France's Front de Gauche (Left Front), Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

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.

Greece in the eye of the storm (the Greek left, SYRIZA and the limits of the concept of ‘left reformism’)

SYRIZA rally. Photo by SYN Flickr.

By Paul Kellogg

November 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, originally published as six notes at PolEcon.net. Republished here with Paul Kellogg’s permission.-- An economic crisis of enormous proportions has erupted in a first world country in the global North. The scale of the economic crisis in Greece has few modern equivalents, and is at the root of a massive social and political upheaval. Navigating that crisis poses difficult challenges for the social movements in Greece, and has important lessons for activists around the world. The article that follows is an attempt to provide information that can assist those, unfamiliar with the situation in Greece, in navigating this situation.

Europe: Greece, Spain, Portugal – the arc of resistance to austerity hardens

 On September 25-26-27, 2012, up to 50,000 demonstrators tried to encircle the parliament, calling for the resignation of the government and declaring “democracy kidnapped”. There were violent clashes with police.

Read more by Murray Smith. Read more analysis of Greece, Spain, Portugal and France.

By Murray Smith

October 16, 2012 -- Frontline, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It sometimes seems as if Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has been going on forever. But in fact it really only manifested itself in 2010, a result of the bailing out of private banks with public money and other public spending due to the crisis. And in May of that year Greece became the first country to ask for help and to receive so-called “aid” – really, it cannot be repeated too often, loans that must be paid back – from the now infamous "Troika", the IMF-ECB-European Commission.

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

Radio report: This week in Europe with Dick Nichols -- Greek and French elections

May 12, 2012 -- 3CR Solidarity Breakfast program -- Dick Nichols, Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal's European correspondent, discusses the week's (ending May 12, 2012) developments in Europe on Melbourne community radio 3CR. He discusses the election success of SYRIZA in Greece, the presidential election in France, developments in Spain, and what these mean for the rest of Europe.

Solidarity Breakfast

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.

Britain: The space to the left of the Labour Party just got huge

 

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

"An opportunity has opened up, in the teeth of a worsening economic crisis, for the left to offer a real alternative. This demonstrates, as with Mélenchon in France, that the left can make the running even at a time of severe economic crisis. The opening of such a space raises, once again, the issue of a new broad, pluralist, party to the left of Labour ..."

April 15, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- George Galloway’s Bradford West victory, like the student revolt in December 2010, the inner city riots of August 2011 and the Occupy movement in October was an event that no one predicted. Yet, as Galloway said in his acceptance speech, his election was the most sensational result in by-election history involving a left candidate. He polled 18,341 votes (55.9%) with a 10,140 majority. His Labour Party opponent Imran Hussain won a humiliating 8201 votes (25%), although this was a triumph compared to the Liberal Democrats' (Lib Dems) 1505 votes (4.6%).

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