Olivier Besancenot is to head the regional election List in the Ile-de-France – “ à contrecoeur” – reluctantly. He stands in a weak position in this area.
Depuis que sa direction a été mise en minorité à la mi-décembre, le NPA n’a pas d’orientation nationale sur les régionales et les fédérations gèrent localement leurs accords. Résultat : dans trois régions, le NPA s’allie avec le Front de gauche ; dans trois autres, il part avec les amis de M. Mélenchon ; en PACA, avec les Alternatifs… Ailleurs, il se présente seul, avec le soutien du Mouvement des objecteurs de croissance.
Since mid-December, when its leadership was put in a minority, the NPA has no national strategy for the regional elections. The result? In three regions the NPA has allied itself with the Front de Gauche, in three others, it is alligned with the ‘friends of Mélenchon’ (Parti de Gauche), with the PACA (left alternative republicans), the Alternatifs. Elsewhere it is standing alone, with the support of the Red-Green ‘Objectors to Growth’.
En interne, l’absence de ligne trouble les militants et ça tangue. Les minoritaires, partisans de listes avec le Front de gauche, refusent de faire la campagne. L’amertume en gagne même quelques-uns qui se retirent sur la pointe des pieds. “Le choix de partir seul est pour moi l’expression de l’échec du projet NPA”, écrit Leila Chaibi, démissionnaire de la direction nationale.
Internally, the absence of a line is worrying the activists and (leaving their politics askew) is hardly to be wished for. The minority, who want a common list with the Front de Gauche, are refusing to campaign. Bitterness has gone so far that some have backed off completely. “The decision to go it alone is for me the expression of the set-back for the NPA-project”, writes Leila Chaibi, who has resigned from the national executive.
There are currently three main positions in the NPA on this: A) the position above (let local groups try to work out their own ‘unitary’ strategy – the current Majority’s position), B) No alliance with the Front de Gauche and C) Alliance with the Front de Gauche. (More here). Indications from the membership show strong support for B, with backing the two other lines however, when put together, nearly equalising this score.
Despite the popularity of the go-it-alone stand, it appears then that the good sense of many local NPA activists has resulted in agreements with other political forces of the left. Others still riding into battle without allies, are, we can judge, even from this distance, making a serious error. It should not forgotten that the real problem is not intra-left, but the complete mess represented by the Parti Socialiste. Apart from the never-ending farce of Ségèlone Royal, there is its steady drift rightwards. The Socialists’ are trying to align with the right-wing French Green Party – les Verts – and they are attempting to reach agreements with the pompous centrist François Bayrou. They are following in the foot-steps of the Italian Democratic Party which destroyed the country’s left. Which has left Italy ruled by a blustering tyrant. The stakes are extremely high. Sarkozy will never be defeated by the Socialists’ strategy. Nor by the NPA standing ’seul contre tous’. The Front de Gauche is an attempt to fight back. A serious effort to refound the left. To emulate Die Linke.
Pete has described on this Blog the way of alliance in Languedoc. “Here in the Languedoc our list includes the NPA, RdG, PCF, Fede, Alternatives, GU and Objecteur de croissance (Red greens).” Mind you does mention some PCF people now standing under the (racist ex-Parti Socialiste) Frêche ticket (he was expelled for his racialist rants, such as calling ‘harkis’ – Algerians who fought on the French side in the war of liberation - ”sub-human”).
These comrades deserve support. The challenge by the real French left against a proto-’Italian’ turn will have repercussions for the whole European movement.
Though I somewhat doubt if we’ll hear much of this side of the story in the British left press.