Tuesday, February 25, 2014

France: NPA and Left Party call for united mobilisation against government austerity and the right

Joint Statement of Nouveau parti anticapitaliste and Parti de gauche

February 17, 2014
Original in French is available here

Olivier Besancenot and Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Delegations of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA – New Anti-capitalist Party) and the Parti de gauche (PG - Left Party) lead by Olivier Besancenot for the NPA, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Martine Billard for the PG met yesterday afternoon in the head office of the PG[1].

The two organizations signed a broad agreement. This agreement related to both the need to not leave the streets to the right, extreme-right, racists, anti-semites, sexists and homophobes of all kinds, by gathering all those on the left who reject the policy of the government. Because “enough is enough”! It is time to express the dissatisfaction of the left vis-a-vis the pro-Medef[2] policies of a government which creates the conditions of the rise of confusion and reaction to which it reverses its pledges!

The NPA and the PG observe with satisfaction that similar concerns arise in several places: call together, the idea of Pierre Laurent[3] of an initiative in April, proposals for an action of the whole of the Front de Gauche. Concretely, the two organizations agree on the need for a national march, in Paris the same day. Given the electoral calendar and demonstrations already envisaged in the calendar, including trade-union mobilization of March 18 to which the NPA and the PG call, the date April 12 seems the best. The two parties insisted on the fact that this date is a just proposal. The success of any initiative will depend indeed on the broadest possible call joining together political leaders, trade-union associations, collectives of workers in struggle (companies which are dismissing workers or threatening to close) and militant teams… It is the collective which will unite them together that will thus be responsible to embody this common will. The two organizations have agreed to work in this direction.


1 The NPA is an anti-capitalist party initiated by the Ligue communiste revolutionaire i(LCR) in 2008, the LCR dissolved itself into the NPA prior to the NPA’s founding conference in early 2009.
The PG established in 2009 following the decision by leading parliamentarians of the Parti Sociliste’s (PS) left wing to leave the party over it’s pro-austerity policies. The PG was a founding party in the Front de gauche (FdG – Left Front) in 2009.
Olivier Besancenot was the LCR’s candidate in the French Presidential electionsin 2002 and 2007 – in which he received 4.25% and 4.08% respectively. These results which were seen as a significant breakthrough for the LCR gave impetuous to the move to initiate the NPA.
Jean-Luc- Mélenchon is a former PS senator. He left the party in 2008 to form the PG. He was elected on the FdG ticket to the European Parliament in 2009. In 2012 Mélenchon was the FdG presidential candidate, campaign, which included a series mass rallies including protests of 100, 000 people at each of the Front’s election rallies in Paris, Toulouse and Marseille – Mélenchon ultimately ran fourth in the first round receiving 11.10% of the vote. Mélenchon is co-president of both the PG and the FdG.
Martine Billard – is a FdG deputy in National Assembly of France and co-president of the PG. Billard is a former member of Les Verts (The Greens) with whom she was elected as a deputy as parted of a “united left” ticket in the 2002. She was an outspoken opponent of the European Constitution and campaign for the “no” vote in referendum on the referendum on French ratification, against the position of Les Verts.
FdG – electoral coalition initiated for the 2009 European elections. The initial adherents were the PG, the Parti communiste francais (PCF – French Communist Party) and Gauche unitaire (united left) which was a split from the NPA.

2 Refers to Francois Hollande’s call for a “responsibility pact” with MEDEF (Mouvement des entreprises de France - Movement of the Enterprises of France), which would consist of reduction in state charges on business including taxation reform and the gradual abolition of company contributions to family allowances, in exchange for a commitment to boost employment.

3 Pierre Laurent is the national secretary of the PCF, co-president of the FdG and president of the European Left Party. Laurent has called for a march against austerity in on April 12.
Three of France’s union confederations Confédération générale du travail (General Confederation of Labour – CGT), Fédération syndicale unitaire (United Union Federation – FSU) and Solidaires have called for a united day of mobilisations and strikes for March 18 to demand urgent action on wages, employmen, social protection and public services.


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