France: Left parties discuss alliance


Even before its official launch at its founding congress on the outskirts of Paris on February 6–8, the new Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) has had discussions with the Left Party (PG) on the possibility of forming a united Left Front (FG).

A separate meeting was held with the French Communist Party (PCF) on the possibility of a joint ticket for the European elections and to build the biggest possible "left struggle front" in the current social mobilisations.

The NPA was initiated by the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) to build a broad-based party that can unite anti-capitalist forces. The LCR is dissolving into the NPA to facilitate its construction as a genuinely new, broad party of the anti-capitalist left.

It already has more than 9000 potential members, significantly larger than the 3500 members of the LCR.

The discussion among left parties comes in the context of huge mobilisations against the pro-business response of the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy to the financial crisis, which the parties are participating in.

According to reports of the discussions on the NPA website, the FG could unite all forces opposing the Treaty of Lisbon for the June European Parliament elections and play an important role in mobilisations against neo-liberal responses to the economic crisis.

The PG, a recently formed party based on a left split from the Socialist Party (PS), has proposed a "permanent front" that would contest the presidential elections in 2012.

Both the NPA and the PG are opposed to sharing power at any level with the PS, which has implemented the same type of neoliberal policies as the conservative forces.

On January 29, up to 2.5 million transport, education and public sector and other workers participated in a massive national strike.

The eight unions behind the strike have decided to await Sarkozy's response in a national televised address on February 5 before taking further action.

On February 2, university teaching staff across France vowed to go on an unlimited strike, with demonstrations scheduled for February 5 and 10 against a reform bill that would transfer power from the state to university chancellors and their councils.

In Guadeloupe, a French colony in the Caribbean, the entire island has been shut down by a general strike since January 20.

It is a measure of the current strength of the left that the left-wing party discussions were reported on state-run television on February 1.

Olivier Besancenot, LCR presidential candidate in 2002 and 2007, is placed by polls as the second most popular politician after Sarkozy.