French postman delivers far left message
• New party 'anticapitalist' rather than communist
• Popular leader confident of wide base of support
* Lizzy Davies in Paris
* The Guardian, Friday 6 February 2009
* Article history
French communist postman and head of the Revolutinary Communist League Olivier Besancenot
French communist postman and head of the Revolutinary Communist League Olivier Besancenot. Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images
A radical postman with a Trotskyist manifesto and plausible manner will today seek to relight the flame of revolution in France by launching a political party that aims to unite the far left and overthrow the capitalist system.
Olivier Besancenot, one of the country's favourite opposition figures, presided last night over the dissolution of the 40-year-old Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) before this morning proclaiming the birth of his New Anticapitalist party (NPA).
Hailed by supporters as an inspirational project exploding on to the political scene as French people cast round for an answer to their economic woes, the party is an eclectic mixture of traditional communists and members with more contemporary motivations ranging from feminism to climate change.
"We are an anticapitalism project which brings together many different political trajectories - people with no particular party political affiliation, people from the unions, young people," Besancenot, 34, told the Guardian at the LCR's final conference on the outskirts of northern Paris.
Besancenot, whom Nicolas Sarkozy likes to dismiss as a rabble-rousing extremist, rejected the accusation that his policies were headline-grabbing but impractical.
"What's really impossible is maintaining the capitalist system which we have now," he said. "We have seen how unsustainable it is."
Aside from its telegenic young postman, the NPA's chief calling card is clear: as the economic crisis lays bare the dangers of unbridled finance capitalism, the message of collective ownership and redistribution is hitting home more effectively than it has for decades. Even the rightwing Sarkozy spoke last month of the need to find a "more moral" version of capitalism.
"With the crisis, the people are seeing the capitalist system as it really is and how it can degenerate with catastrophic effects on the social sector," said Philippe Doreau, a member at the final day of the LCR's congress. "The facts are there - and they vindicate our argument."
As unemployment rises and social unrest spreads, so Besancenot's star is gradually rising. In 2007's presidential election he garnered 4% of the vote, but pollsters now suggest he could attract about 18%. Already, the NPA claims to have almost three times as many members - around 9,000 - as the LCR.
His boyish, clean-shaven looks and straight-talking style have endeared him to a large part of the population simultaneously enraged by Sarkozy and frustrated with the Socialist party, which is only just starting to gather momentum after months of almost mute opposition. But it is also the NPA's change of image from the stuffy and intellectual LCR that has pulled in new blood. The decision to remove the word communist from the new name was thought crucial to the success of a 21st century far-left party - and one which has proved effective in wooing younger people easily alienated by references to the dialectic of the past.
"You know, Marx and all that, that's our history," said Lucas, a 17-year-old member with a ponytail and tie-dye shirt. "But I prefer to call myself an anticapitalist rather than a communist. It's all stuff from another time."
Daniel Bensaid, a high-profile Trotskyist and one of the original founders of the LCR, said he was optimistic about the future.
"This new generation, the 'Olivier generation', comes from all kinds of social and cultural backgrounds," he said. "Young people and kids from the banlieue [suburbia] who maybe don't share our history but who nevertheless can now feel part of the movement for change."
Besancenot was given a hero's welcome by protesters during last week's nationwide strikes and demonstrations. Chewing gum and dressed in leather jacket and jeans, he explained yesterday that his shifts had been interrupted for 10 days by a workers' strike "for better pay".
Asked whether it felt strange to deliver letters in Neuilly, France's wealthiest and most conservative town, he shrugged. "Well, you know, it's work. I guess even the rich need their public services."
Friday, February 06, 2009
Εβγαλε τα Σφυροδρεπανα Τελικα ο Κριβιν...
Μετα την υποστηριξη στο να σταλουν στρατευματα του ΟΗΕ στη Γιουγκοσλαβια η ΛΣΡ (Λιγκα της Γαλλιας) εκανε αυτο που περιμεναν ολοι. Εβγαλε τελικα τα σφυροδρεπανα και εγινει και αυτη μια νεα αντι-καπιταλιστικη οργανωση στα λογια, αφου την ιδια πολιτικη εχει τοσα χρονια.