Monday, March 9, 2009

Debout, les damnés de la terre

Jean Quatremer takes the threat of serious progress for the NPA in the European elections seriously enough to look at the party's program and sees himself back in 1917 with dollops of feminism and ecologism added to sweeten the anticapitalist sauce.

There will, however, be no "leftist front." A large majority of the NPA rejected the overtures of Mélenchon's French Linkspartei and of the PCF.


MYOS said...

The threat is so real that even Besancenot takes it seriously. Since he won't participate in institutions of elected power until they have become "liberated" from their capitalist chains (sorry if the wording is a bit off, I hope I got the key idea), he decided not to lead a "liste" for fear of being elected....

David in Setouchi said...

Why should he lead the list?

Do the leaders of the other parties do?

No, because if they get elected, then they have the choice between:
-always be in Brussels and thus away from France and the French political debate.
-be in France and not fulfill their duties as Euro-deputies.

brent said...

Jean Quatremer claims to have made the supreme sacrifice of reading the NPA's founding principles, but he might have saved himself the trouble: his 'reading' is so gratuitously inaccurate as to shed no light whatsoever on the actual question. Setting aside the frank red-baiting (pictures of Lenin, references to bolshevik violence, etc.), let me mention a few of his more willful distortions: 1) NPA is not 'anti-Europe' as he claims but in favor of 'another Europe,' i.e. one that is anti- or post-capitalist. The exact nature of this redefined Union is not part of the NPA principles or program because it would be a supra-national construct. For all his invocations of democracy Quatremer finds it ridiculous that the NPA would imagine negotiating rather than dictating the terms of such an eventual Union. 2) Despite NPA's strongly stated intention to use democratic electoral means to attain power, Quatremer takes its reluctance to join coalitions as proof of its anti-democratic nature. In fact the NPA negotiated quite openly with the PCF and PG, declining to form a common list because those other parties were unwilling to commit to a longer-term, post-European-elections alliance. NPA has indeed suggested it would not be a junior partner in a capitalist coalition government, but is that 'undemocratic'--or just tactically distinct from the PS? 3) NPA has formally renounced armed struggle and violence as means. Citing no source whatsoever, Quatremer just flatly denies this possibility--more red-baiting!--asking 'suppose the bourgeois don't wish to be dispossessed' and 'suppose NPA loses subsequent elections'? But these aren't arguments, just circular proofs of his 'undemocratic' assumption. 4) Qutremer reads that control of various social institutions will "pass under the control of workers and the population" and says "Ah-ha--the State." But in fact the NPA's stated principle of auto-gestion and its federalized grass-roots structure presuppose just the opposite: not statism but decentralized local control. 5) And when the NPA calls for 'radical critique of culture' and 'access of all persons to cultural production' Quatremer, without explanation, cries 'totalitarianism.'
In the months and years to come I earnestly hope the NPA's program is subjected to rigorous and informed criticism ... but Quatremer's initial effort, loaded with innuendo, distortion, and outright misstatement, is pathetically inadequate to that task

Unknown said...

Thanks, Brent. Can we go back to sleep now?

brent said...

Sorry--did I wake you?