Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Delegation from the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine Visits Lviv

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A Ukrainian Correspondent Yuliya Yurchenko – https://www.facebook.com/yuli.yu2010 – reports on a delegation of left wing parties that is visiting Ukraine.

May 5 and 6 2022 : A conference dedicated to the construction of the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine was held in Lviv.

Words of support were expressed by representatives from Denmark (Red-Green Alliance), Poland (Lewica Razem), Finland (Left Union), France (New Anticapitalist Party, Ensemble), Switzerland (Ensemble à Gauche) and Argentina (Left Front Workers – Unity FIT-U ), as well as an activists from the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Belgium.

Reports from the Ukrainian side were presented by representatives of leading trade unions (medical, railway, mining, energy and other sectors), as well as public initiatives (including feminist, ecological, human rights). Attention was given to the threats of neoliberal reforms and the war of humanitarian problems.

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Fighting for Self-Determination – Yuliya Yurchenko explains “For Ukrainians it’s an existential fight. Our country’s identity, territorial boundaries, and our very existence is under attack right now”

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Introduction

Ukraine is fighting a war of liberation against a Russian Ethnic Cleanser state led by a violent far-right imperialist Vladimir Putin. All related issues are discussed in the interview below.

Spectre‘s Ashley Smith talked to Yuliya Yurchenko, author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict (Pluto, 2018). She is a Lecturer in International Business and Researcher at the Public Services International Research Unit, the Centre for Business Network Analysis, and the Political Research Centre at the University of Greenwich.

Material like this is urgently required reading for anti-war activists in Ireland and elsewhere who are in love with the word BUT. “Ukrainians have the right to wage armed struggle” BUT “Oppose Sending NATO Arms to the Ukrainian Resistance – and its right-wing government”. History Lessons are easily unlearned – leading up to the Irish Easter 1916 Rising James Connolly’s left-wing Irish Citizens’ Army proudly promoted a banner : “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”. Many of the guns used in the 1916 Rising were supplied by German Imperialism.

The Butistas talk as much as possible about right-wing characteristics of the Zelensky Government, throwing in wild exaggerations – and say next to nothing about the far more powerful far-right government of Vladimir Putin : promoter of sinister politicians like French Presidential contender Marine Le Pen.

In Dáil Éireann recently Sinn Féin and Labour Leaders Mary-Lou McDonald and Ivana Bacik called for the expulsion from Ireland of Russian Ambassador Yuri Filatov. The right-wing NATO friendly Dublin government vigorously opposed this call. Radical socialist TD’s made no public comment on this proposal, which is gaining some left wing trade union support. John Meehan April 22 2022

What are conditions like for people in Ukraine now amidst this war? What is the state of the military and civilian resistance to Russia’s invasion?

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French Presidential Elections – left eliminated from first round…again

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Dave Kellaway provides his initial analysis on the first round of the French presidential election results.

Source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62053&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook. Also : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/french-elections-left-eliminated-from-first-roundagain/

  Contents  


[First Round results based on the latest estimates (21.00 CET): Not reproduced here.]

Results:

Emmanuel Macron: 27.8 %
Marine Le Pen: 23.2 %
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 22%
Eric Zemmour: 7.1
Valérie Pécresse: 4.8%
Jadot: 4.6%
Jean Lassale: 3.1%
Fabien Roussel: 2.3%
Dupont-Aignan: 2.1%
Anne Hidalgo: 1.8%
Philippe Poutou: 0.8%
Natalie Arthaud: 0.6%

An important conclusion : It would be irresponsible and very dangerous if people who voted for left and progressive parties stayed at home for the second round. Roussel for the CP has called for a vote for Macron to stop Le Pen. Melenchon has already called in his post-election address for his supporters to give not a single vote at all to Le Pen. Excellent. He combined this with a clear call for all the struggles to continue. Phillipe Poutou, candidate of the anticapitalists, has called, like Melenchon, for not one vote to be cast for Le Pen. He called for the biggest possible mobilisation against the far right on the 16 and 17 April.

 A re-run of 2017?

Sometimes history does repeat itself. The incumbent president, Macron, will face a re-run of the 2017 second round against the far right Marine Le Pen. He has continued to hold on to the blocs of ex SP voters and some moderate conservatives from the right wing Republicans party. Melenchon has by a significant margin has been the most voted candidate on the left. His score is two points better than last time and puts his movement in a strong position in relation to the rest of the left. He is the undisputed leader of the left although he is now likely to take a step back, since he will not stand again for president.

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Alain Krivine has left us – “leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing”

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Dave Kellaway writes an excellent tribute. source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/krivine-who/?fbclid=IwAR0w7ZABo272oR3iPRsZIVjcdt2NqoqSrSQBU4QO3k-z4NYa-Qar28_g9X8

Five things we can learn from the life of Alain Krivine.

Alain Krivine, a leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing. Current presidential candidates like Melenchon, who leads the left in the polls with 11%, Roussel, standing for the French CP and Nathalie Arthaud for Lutte Ouvriere have all issued statements yesterday. Former members of Krivine’s organisations who are now MPs in Melenchon’s party or leaders of the Socialist Party also made public their respect for his contribution to the left.

For people of my generation whom he inspired or who worked with him it was a sad day yesterday. Leading members of the British left such as Alex Callinicos for the Socialist Workers Party, John Rees for Counterfire or his former comrade in arms, Tariq Ali,  have all publicly mourned his passing. 

But for many activists reading this who are not over fifty the name might not mean a great deal. If we are to build a deeper and broader political culture of a fighting left then it is important we remember those who went before us. Their lives are sometimes rich with lessons for us today. We learn not just from some of their smarter moves but also from where they may have got it wrong.

What can we learn from Alain?

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“It is the Henri Weber who sang the Internationale with Higelin that we mourn, not the one at the service of the political apparatus of the PS” – Life of a French Activist who shifted from Anti-Capitalist Revolution to Pro-Capitalist Submission

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Often at Irish funeral wakes some people say “Never speak ill of the Dead”. They do not mean a word of it. Mourners relax, dump the fake insincere bland and pious words, and talk about the real person they knew, the Good, Bad, and Ugly sides.

One period in the life of Henri Weber is celebrated in this obituary, a life of revolutionary activism shaped by the May 1968 uprising in France.

Henri Weber, a Revolutionary in the 1960’s

In the 1980’s a second period began in the political service of social liberalism, which is not celebrated. Henri Weber died from the CoronaVirus as the Great Depression of the 2020’s started to cause global havoc. We will continue to lose people who are dying before their time.

Henri Weber was born in Leninabad (now Khujand), Tajikistan, Soviet Union on 23 June 1944. His Polish-Jewish parents had left Poland at the time of the German-Soviet pact but, refusing to become Soviet citizens, were sent to labour camp where he was born. They returned to Poland after the war but four years later left because of prevailing anti-semitism and moved to France. As a student in Paris Weber was recruited by Alain Krivine and became a leading member of the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR) and of the Ligue Communiste (subsequently Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire LCR), French section of the Fourth International. In the early 1980s he ceased political activity and in 1986 joined the Socialist Party. A member of the leadership of the Socialist Party, he held elected positions as a senator (1995-2004) and then as a member of the European Parliament (2004-2014). He died in Avignon on 26 April 2020 from coronavirus. [IVP]

I knew Henri as a JCR activist in the years 1965-67. In the period after May 68, we were fairly close, since I was a student at the university of Vincennes where he was an assistant lecturer in the philosophy department. It was at this time that I had to coordinate the student sector of what was to become the Ligue Communiste. At the end of the Mannheim congress, I became a member of the central committee of the League (1969-70) following a proposal which he initiated. But in the framework of the activities of the defence service of the League, for which I was for a time responsible along with my brother Alain, Michel Récanatti and Romain Goupil, we worked a lot on projects of demonstrations and political events which made the League well known, and it is for this double reason that I saw a lot of Henri.

Henri was one of the leading figures of the JCR, along with Daniel Bensaïd, Janette Habel, Alain Krivine, Pierre Rousset, and in a less public way Gérard de Verbizier. They were the embodiment of this organization which came from the fight against Stalinism, solidarity with the colonial revolution and systematic anti-capitalist and anti-fascist activities, which stood out by its sense of political initiative, its dynamism and its fighting spirit, without sectarianism. Henri and his comrades had anticipated, already in 1967, the role of “sensitive plate” that the student movements could play. They perceived the embers which were heating up under the leaden shell of Gaullism and the inertia of the union leaderships and the PCF. In the demonstrations, they pushed for the radicalization of struggles and supported strikes which escaped the shackles of the union bureaucracies. May 9, 1968, when the JCR opened up its meeting to the movement and where Bensaïd, Weber and Cohn-Bendit rubbed shoulders, illustrated this absence of sectarianism. Unlike the “maos” who two days later invited the students to put themselves at the “service of the people” rather than building barricades, the Lambertists of the OCI, who in their logic of pressure group on the trade union apparatuses counterposed the “general strike” to the battles of “petit-bourgeois students ”and the activists of Voix Ouvrière (ancestor of LO) who learnedly explained that the battles in the Latin Quarter were only a “straw fire” with regard to the struggle of the proletariat, they understood that the straw fire was in fact “the spark that would set the plain on fire”! And when 1968 exploded, Henri and his comrades were ready, they were the ones who could be found on the barricades and in confrontations with the cops (alongside the anarchists). They knew that going to the barricades was in fact the way to the general strike. Henri was one of those who had the political intuition to understand that the events of 1968 opened a historic moment.
— Read on www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php

In the service of “those who led to the catastrophe that we know”.

The loss of his convictions led to a withdrawal from militant political activity and a gradual bifurcation towards the paths of social respectability, then to an increasingly close proximity with social liberalism, from Fabius to Hollande. Even though he maintained friendly personal relations with his former comrades, he put his talent and his rhetoric, which had become an empty shell, at the service of the political apparatus of the Socialist Party , which had long since taken on board the standards proper to the Bonapartist state. Once he had changed course, he went far down this route. The saddest thing was to see him sometimes summon the ghosts of revolutionary strategy to justify submission to those who led to the catastrophe that we know.

Today we will leave the eulogy of his renouncement to the chorus of defenders of these modern times. It is the Henri of the fight for emancipation that we mourn, the comrade, Tisserand and Samuel, the one with whom we trod the streets, La Jeune Garde in his shoulder bag, the one who sang the Internationale with Jacques Higelin, the one who was part of the youth that Liebknecht said was the flame of the revolution.