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François Hollande moves to silence left dissenters in French Socialist Party

hollande-et-parti-socialisteAfter their drubbing in the polls, François Hollande has acted swiftly to ensure his chosen candidate, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, was installed as party leader.  Cambadélis’s task is to ensure that any opposition to the party’s rightwards shift is silenced, notably that of the Socialist Party (PS) left faction, Maintenant la gauche, which opposes deficit reduction, and argues for the replacement the EU ‘Merkozy’ treaty with an EU programme of growth and re-industrialisation, an EU minimum wage and fiscal harmonisation, wealth redistribution and the elimination of tax evasion. Who better to smash the left than a former Troskyist and 1968 student activist like Jean-Christophe Cambadélis.

Two weeks ago, Hollande who was originally elected in 2012 promising to oppose German-led austerity in Europe, appointed as prime minister Manuel Valls, a right-winger who defines himself as a ‘Blairiste‘. Valls’s government is intended to deepen the austerity programme and introduce more “business-friendly” policies. Although Valls’s IFOP poll approval ratings soared to 58% compared with Hollande’s tally of 18%, no-one expects that to last, and some commentators suggest that Valls was appointed in order to discredit him so he doesn’t emerge as a challenger to Hollande in 2017. In response to Valls’s appointment, the Greens, Europe Écologie – Les Verts (EELV), who had fought the local elections in a number of  places in alliance with the Parti de Gauche (PG) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, left the government.

Yesterday, at a meeting of the PS National Council, Hollande’s supporters forced an immediate election. Maintenant la gauche delegates attempted to postpone the election in favour of widespread consultation within the party about strategy and a wider franchise for leadership elections. However this move was defeated by 131 to 54 with 4 abstentions, and then Jean-Christophe Cambadélis defeated left candidate Sylvain Mathieu by a similar margin. His term lasts until the next PS Congress in 2015.

Jean-Christophe Cambadélis does not face an easy task, however. The European elections on 25 May may well see further humiliation for the PS.  A poll published today puts Marine Le Pen’s far right Front National (FN) in first place with 24%, mainstream right in second place with 23% and the Socialists in 3rd place with 21%. The centrist UDI, Front de Gauche and Green show support of  9%, 8% and 7.5% respectively.



  1. terry sullivan says:

    france is a basket case and is dying under the weight of bureaucracy and tax–it has to change

  2. James Martin says:

    Even though Hollande initially made a lot of left noises about the economy (now long forgotten) I think the really noticeable thing about his administration is how right-wing his foreign policy has been from the start. Leading attacks on Libya, interventions in Africa and being at the front for arguing for an attack/military involvement on Syria. All this is far to the right compared to previous conservative administrations (it is highly likely that unlike the right-wing Chirac, Hollande would have been a huge cheerleader for Bush and Blair in the illegal invasion of Iraq).

    1. Rod says:

      Sadly we shouldn’t expect anything better from a Miliband premiership.

      Miliband came out as a ‘humanitarian war’ supporter at the beginning of the Libya crisis*. And had a lucky escape re Syria**.

      Most portentous is the inclusion of a link to Jim Murphy’s ‘Preventative Intervention’ speech (delivered to the Henry Jackson Institute) in Labour’s Policy Documents for this year’s conference.

      At least, unlike Blair, Miliband has given us good warning of his desire to militarise foreign policy. No chance of an ethical foreign policy with One Nation Labour.



  3. Rod says:

    It is notable how many former Trotskyists slide into comfortable and secure careers in established Left parties, including the Labour Party.

    There must come a time when the prospect of a pension plan holds more appeal than fanciful Marxist theorising and revolutionary posturing.

  4. Robert says:

    Labour parties or left leaning parties are having a difficult time they win, then think if we stay to the left we will be voted out, so we have to move to the right, but actually the public wanted a left leaning party that why they voted you in, come the next election why bother with the copy when the real thing is waiting.

    politics for you.

  5. David Ellis says:

    Capitalism has a certain logic. Reformists think they can change that logic so that capitalism benefits more people. That is not possible, slavery is slavery is slavery, so what gets reformed is the reformists who end up doing the bidding of capitalist logic. Once you lose faith in the revolutionary capacity of the working class as identified by Marx basically you are a dead weight feasting on imperialist crumbs and policing working class struggles for the bosses.

  6. David Ellis says:

    To be honest, any government that comes to power promising to end the imposition of austerity on the poor, sick, disabled, young, old, workers and communities without smashing the resistance of the ruling elites via revolution will be a regime of pure demagoguery and will ultimately do the bidding of that ruling elite.

    World-wide 85 individuals now control more wealth than 3.5 billion people. These are levels of concentration of wealth and power that would make even the most powerful feudal monarch blush with shame or crimson with jealousy. It does mean that capitalist democracy even in the wealthy imperialist centres is a complete and utter sham which suggests that people actively vote for levels of poverty they wouldn’t impose on somebody else’s dog.

  7. swatantra says:

    Up yours Francoise, for giving ‘socialism’ a bad name.

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