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The Congress of Les Alternatifs
france / belgium / luxemburg | the left | news report Monday January 28, 2013 19:23 by Guillaume Davranche - Alternative Libertaire
Heirs to the Unified Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste Unifié - PSU, 1960-1990) and the Red & Green Alternative (Alternative rouge et verte - AREV, 1989-1998), Les Alternatifs are a pro self-management socialist current. Today they are made up of two distinct groups trying to be compatible with each other, but with different priorities. [Français]
The Congress of Les Alternatifs
Heirs to the Unified Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste Unifié - PSU, 1960-1990) and the Red and Green Alternative (Alternative rouge et verte - AREV, 1989-1998), Les Alternatifs are a pro self-management socialist current. Today they are made up of two distinct groups trying to be compatible with each other, but with different priorities. The first group wish to maintain a red and green voice within the "left of the left", mainly by means of electoral alliances and the slew of elected officials that they generate. The second, on the other hand, is more focused on "alternatives in action". Both can be found elsewhere in the social movements: trade unions like Sud and CGT South essentially, undocumented immigrants' collective, the Notre-Dame-des-Landes struggle, etc.
The emergence of the Left Front (1), however, caused sharp disagreement between them. The former believe that it is no longer possible to exist without joining. The latter have, to cut a long story short, no desire to start singing La Marseillaise and the praises of "growth" at Jean-Luc Mélenchon's rallies.
Choice of alliancesThis disagreement also weighs on the choice of alliances. Some have been negotiating - unsuccessfully so far - with several smaller parties some of whom are of Trotskyist origin (United Left, Anticapitalist Left, Convergences et Alternative, FASE) for the formation of a red and green pole within the Left Front. Others have more affinity with the proponents of degrowth (the Movement of objectors to growth - AdOC) and the libertarian movement, in particular the former Scalp and Alternative Libertaire. And at this congress, the latter renewed its proposal to Les Alternatifs to form an anti-capitalist, extra-institutional front.
What future for Les Alternatifs?The congress made a clear decision: 56% in favour of joining the Left Front, 35% against and 9% abstained. For Mathieu Colloghan (amember of the minority), joining the Left Front itself "does not bind us to anything, but it actually means a lot for Les Alternatifs. It confirms a strong tendency towards separation of what we imagined was compatible: one foot in the institutions and the classic electoral games, the other foot in experimentation, the social movements and everything that lies outside the system. However, it appears that over time an increasingly evident division has come about. It is also a division that depends a lot on gender and generation". In many departments, in fact, the women and younger militants clearly find themselves in the minority camp. Entering the Left Front risks condemning them to play the role of the red and green soul of State reformism.
Jean-Jacques Boislaroussie (majority camp) who refuses to "water down the basic guidelines such as self-management and radical ecology" is aware of the risk of a split. The greatest threat, however, is not so much ideological liquidation than a grab by the endless negotiation apparatuses that the PCF excels in. Les Alternatifs could quickly find themselves spending much of their energy trying to get a seat here or there or moving the Left Front building a few millimetres to the left. Is it worth it?
Guillaume Davranche (Alternative Libertaire Montreuil) and Jean-Marc (AL Paris Nord-Est)
Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office.
1. Front de Gauche, an electoral alliance made up of the French Communist Party (PCF), the Left Party, the Unitarian Left, Republic and Socialism, the Workers' Communist Party of France, the Federation for a Social and Ecological Alternative (FASE), Convergences et Alternative and Anticapitalist Left.