French ‘socialists’ go the way of PASOK

dustbinFrance’s left is in a sorry state. It took a bashing in local elections in March and then European elections in May. The ruling socialists plunged to an all time low of less than 14%. The radical Front de Gauche, comprising the communists and other leftists like Jean Luc Melenchon, polled just 6.3%, down from the 11% for Jean Luc Melenchon in the Presidential elections in 2012, and no higher than its national elections results the same year. And meanwhile the nasty Marine le Pen and her far right Front National stole the no.1 spot vote with an historic 25% score.

Now the Front de Gauche and a growing group of dissident socialists want to turn the tide back in favour of left policies and are starting to talk seriously about binding together. Joining this left ‘coalition of the willing’ are the greens, former socialist coalition partners who quite the government after the recent reshuffle that saw the right-wing and eco-unfriendly Manuel Valls become PM. Continue reading

The battle for France’s national industry jewel

10591728_sFrance has been in a state of shock since it was revealed last week the company that built the high speed TGV train and steam turbines for EDF’s nuclear reactors was about to be taken over by the yankees. Things scarcely improved when a desperate Paris sought to bring in the Germans for an alternative bid over the weekend.

That the fate of Alstom – one of France’s largest private sector employers and seen as central to the country maintaining its position among the world’s major manufacturing powers – is in the hands of two foreign engineering giants, General Electric and Siemens, is seen as another blow to French pride. It comes amid a string of high profile company closures and record 10% unemployment, a picture that has allowed the Economist magazine to brand the country as the ‘sick man of Europe’. Continue reading

Alexis Tsipras backs mass demonstration in Paris against austerity

Thousands of people protested in Paris on Saturday calling for a change in the austerity policies of President Francois Hollande. The Front de Gauche, whose principle components are the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Parti de Gaunche, led the demonstration that declared “Hollande, enough!” and rallied “against austerity” and for “equality and the redistribution of wealth”. Continue reading

Hollande pays price for austerity in French municipal elections

Hollande tricolouredIt was a disastrous weekend for François Hollande and the French Socialist party (PS) as the mainstream right party, the Gaullist/neoliberal Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), claimed victory and Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front Nationale (FN) also made significant gains. Leaders of the PS left faction, Maintenant la gauche, Senator Marie- Noëlle Lienemann and MP Jerome Guedj, are reported in Le Monde as attacking Hollande for going back on many of the progressive pledges he made  during his election campaign: Continue reading

Is the Front de Gauche of Jean-Luc Mélenchon about to break up?

Front-de-gauche-Jean-Luc-Melenchon-2012There are signs this week that the Front de Gauche founded by former Socialist (PS) Senator Jean-Luc Mélenchon may be in  terminal trouble. It seems that Pierre Laurent, leader of the Communist PCF, and Mélenchon are not on speaking terms. Communist sources claim that Mélenchon makes all decisions without consultation and expects others to fall in line, whilst the PCF stand accused of committing the Front de Gauche (an alliance of the PCF and Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche or PG) to backing the PS list in Paris without agreement. Continue reading