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French left debate need for alternative

This article is over 17 years, 10 months old
The conference of the radical left LCR party saw a crucial discussion about candidates for next year’s presidential election, says Laurent Sorel
Issue 2007

The Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) held its national conference last weekend. The main item discussed was the policy of the organisation towards the 2007 presidential election.

There has been a lot of debate on the left about a single united candidate to challenge the neo-liberal parties in the election.

This follows huge movements in France over the past few years against the European Constitution and the CPE labour law that attacked young workers. These movements brought many activists from different traditions and parties together.

At the conference 58 percent of delegates voted for proposal A. This was supported by leading LCR members Alain Krivine, Olivier Besancenot and Francois Sabado. This was to announce Besancenot as the LCR presidential candidate immediately.

He won 4.3 percent in the 2002 presidential election and has been heavily involved in the movements of the last few years.

Proposal B won 35 percent of the vote at last weekend’s conference. This called for a unity candidate of the anti-neoliberal left. A third proposal received 4 percent.

Besancenot has announced the results and his intention to stand for the LCR.

But he is also ready to stand down if a candidate of a united left is found.

Because of the large number of votes won by proposal B, the LCR leadership has decided that the party should work with the collectives that were initiated for a single left candidate.

Olivier Besancenot told the media, “By announcing my candidature, the LCR has provided the best possible guarantee that at some point in the future there will emerge a unitary candidate to represent the anti-neoliberal left.

“But there are no discussions and many disagreements. The LCR has to be sure that a united candidate will not in the future support the actions of a Socialist Party government.

“If these guarantees were forthcoming, the LCR would not have a problem with a unitary candidate – in fact I’m prepared to withdraw my candidature.

“Now, even more than in 2002, people need an alternative.”

Many activists will continue to try to fight for a single canddate of the anti-neoliberal left.

The LCR leadership has responded to pressure from the movement and from inside the LCR.

The leadership wanted to announce Besancenot as the LCR’s candidate and argue that a single left candidate in 2007 would be premature.

But the pressure was too great for it to do this. The conference vote means that LCR members can continue to intervene in the left collectives.

The LCR has committed itself to actively participate in the national collective, whereas before last weekend’s conference it was simply an observer.

Laurent Sorel was a delegate to the LCR conference from Paris XX branch

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