23 mai 2007


Murray Smith sur la campagne Bové

José Bové à Saint-Denis, le 3 avril 2007

Un 'vieux' camarade écossais (et francophone), Murray Smith, a écrit un long texte sur l'élection présidentielle française. Il m'a semblé utile de reproduire cet extrait sur la campagne de José Bové, en particulier pour nos lecteurs anglophones qui ne disposent pas de l'ensemble des textes écrits pendant la période en question et ont du mal à se faire une idée des débats, en dehors les versions 'officielles' d'organisations comme la LCR.

"/.../ Finally there was the Bové candidacy – the most surprising and unexpected one of the campaign, which clearly irritated both the LCR and the CP. Bové had been one of the possible unitary candidates of the collectives in autumn 2006: he had withdrawn along the way – because he felt that he did not have enough support, because he knew that whatever happened the CP would veto his candidacy. In January there appeared an online petition asking Bové to be a candidate. The method has been criticised by quite a few people, notably Pierre Rousset and Daniel Bensaïd, as being fundamentally undemocratic. It certainly left something to be desired from that point of view. But we have to look at the context. The dynamic behind Bové’s candidacy in January was a lot of angry people from the collectives. I have never seen anything from supporters of the LCR majority or from the CP leadership which took into consideration the independents who had been left high and dry when those organisations decided to present their own candidates. What were they supposed to do? Go home and get on with their lives, choose between Besancenot and Buffet? Not much of a prospect. Whether these people represented a minority or a majority of the independent forces in the collectives is neither here nor there, though they won a majority at a national meeting in January They represented a force that was not ready to accept a fait accompli, and there were enough of them to launch the candidacy. And frankly, given the pressure of time, an online petition was one quick way, and maybe the only way, to break the logjam.

The first thing that was absolutely remarkable was that Bové obtained the 500 signatures of mayors and other elected representatives that were necessary in order to stand. His improvised campaign did in six weeks what it took the LCR and LO nine months to do. And it seems that only 15-20 of the signatures came from the unitary CP, and perhaps a few more from left Greens who supported him. What was the nature of his campaign? The LCR has sometimes referred to it as the “radical ecologist” campaign. That is somewhat inadequate – even Bové was a bit more than that, he was also a global justice campaigner, anti-liberal...And ‘radical ecologist’ really does not anything like cover the diversity of his supporters. The starting point of the campaign was to refuse the division brought about by the LCR and CP candidacies, therefore to be the unitary campaign. It was quickly described by the CP and LCR (including some of its minority) as just another candidacy or even a supplementary cause of division. That is going too far. The Bové campaign was not the unitary campaign. But it was a unitary campaign; It was the only one that brought together people from different backgrounds – part of the LCR minority, most of the Unitary Communists, dissident Greens, trade unionists, ecologists, militants from the collectives. The campaign showed the signs of improvisation, its web site was a nightmare, its communication in general was pretty erratic, but it got most of the main issues right, although Bové occasionally made somewhat eccentric statements, like proposing to appoint the freelance ecologist Nicolas Hulot prime minister... But the campaign had a definite dynamic. It won support from significant figures from immigrant communities and Bové spent a lot of time in the ‘banlieues’ where they live and which were the centre of the riots in November 2005. And especially towards the end, his campaign \attracted big meetings. To take just one example, the LCR rightly congratulated itself on attracting 4,000 people to its meeting in Paris in the last week of the campaign. But the same evening, Bové got between 4,000 and 5,000 in the southern city of Toulouse. Any serious analysis of the Bové campaign should look at its strengths as well as its weaknesses. In spite of its modest score of 1.32 per cent it would be a mistake to simply write it off as a failure. For those who read French, it is worth consulting the very frank and lucid balance sheet of the campaign by Jacques Perreux, Bove’s campaign director and long-time leading CP member (6).

Much has been made of the fact that Bové, between the two rounds, accepted a proposal from Royal to make a report on food sovereignty and that he made his call to vote Royal at a press conference along with her. He would also have spoken at the big SP rally at Charléty before the second round if his campaign team hadn’t stopped him. But his campaign team did stop him, and furthermore issued a communiqué calling for a vote against Sarkozy (not for Royal), stating that it had no illusions in Royal and pointing out it did not assume responsibility for Bové accepting the report proposed by Royal (7). Those who opposed the Bové campaign in the LCR and elsewhere largely publicised Bové’s statements around this time, which certainly show some political confusion, though nothing he did or said implies that he would have supported a social-liberal government. But the communiqué of his campaign team was virtually ignored. /.../

Murray Smith, 20/05/07 Lire le texte complet ici ...

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