Lapa 1 no 1 lapām (as)


Publicēts: 17 Sep 2012 11:47
French Communists just want to have fun
By Tony Todd (text) ... -new-order
Some 500,000 people attended France’s annual Communist Party festival just north of Paris this weekend. The “Fête de l’Humanité” is a vibrant mix of left-wing politics rolled into a hugely popular music festival.
This weekend France celebrates all things left-wing with a vast festival outside Paris organised by French Communist daily newspaper l’Humanité.
The “Fête de l’Huma” has taken place every year since 1930, except for a brief hiatus during the Nazi occupation.
Originally organised as a means to raise funds for l’Humanité, the popular music event has become a major fixture of the French political calendar marking “La Rentrée” [the return to work after the summer break] of the Left.
Organisers expect 500,000 people to attend the event, which is made all the more popular by the low entrance fee (20 euros for three days) and a musical line-up which this year includes British band New Order, rocker Pete Doherty, US singer-poet Patti Smith and the French National orchestra, among many others.
The Fête de l’Huma is a political movement in itself – posters throughout the festival, which has taken on the aspect of a small town, call for a referendum on the EU fiscal treaty and for an end to unpopular austerity policies.
But above all, the event is a meeting place for French and international left-wing movements, with hundreds of stands serving French regional food and wine amid intense political debates.
‘A chance to have fun with your mates’
France’s hugely influential trade unions are omnipresent.
Pierre Esparseil, an employee of French energy giant EDF and a representative of the CGT union, was attending the festival with a dozen of his union “comrades”.
“Most people are here for the party in a political atmosphere that brings us all together,” said Espareil, who had travelled from Toulouse in southwest France.
“It’s a chance to have fun with your mates, meet like-minded people and enjoy the food, drink and music. I suppose some people are just here for the politics, but I haven’t met any of them in the 18 years I’ve been coming.”
Communist Party member Laure Perrin, 29, told FRANCE 24 the festival represented the “struggle and hope” of France’s diverse left-wing movements in a “spirit of optimism”.
“We’re here to celebrate our pride in our politics,” said the young party activist. “It is our chance to network, meet people, engage in debates, and just party.”
Spanish Civil War remembered
The festival boasts an extraordinary variety of political and social movements.
Some 80 countries are represented. The Palestinians have no less than four stands, alongside Communist movements from Iran and Iraq, an Algerian secular group, Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin and a women’s rights tent complete with a kitchen producing large quantities of couscous.
British trade unions and political organisations are conspicuous by their absence.
The ACER-AVER association, which represents the memory of the International Brigades from the Spanish Civil War, has a particularly popular stand.
“We’re here to celebrate and remember the values of those who fought for the Republican cause in Spain,” said Bertrant-Puig Georges, a Spanish émigré whose father fought against Franco and was exiled to France with thousands of other Spaniards after the bitter civil war.
“The cause for which they fought is still relevant today. People all over the world are still fighting for their freedom in the face of oppression. That is why we are here today.”

Re: Eirokomunisms

Publicēts: 26 Apr 2014 21:11
US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism
Text by Thomas HUBERT

Latest update : 2014-04-17
In his latest book, French economist Thomas Piketty warns that modern-day capitalism leads to unsustainable levels of inequality. While he is often linked to France's Socialist Party, his writings have made him unusually popular in the US.
Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has only just been translated into English – several weeks ahead of schedule, due to popular demand – and the New York Times’s star columnist Paul Krugman has already described it as “the most important economics book of the year — and maybe of the decade”.
The French economist’s current US book tour is turning into something of a red carpet event. So far this week, he has met the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors as well as Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
“The Democratic Party, especially the Obama administration, has been in contact with us and using our findings for a long time,” Piketty told AFP in Washington.
On Wednesday evening, he was due to give a conference at the City University of New York, along with economics Nobel Prize laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman.

Capitalism's inherent flaws

In “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, Piketty warns that free-market economies will see ever growing concentration of wealth in the hands of those who already hold capital.
“When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based,” he wrote.
The Paris School of Economics scholar argues that in the long run, earnings from possessions such as property and financial assets grow faster than the rest of the economy – especially workers’ wages. This, he warns, leads to deepening inequalities with serious social consequences.
The belief among free-market economists that capitalism will regulate itself and lift the general population towards higher incomes is flawed, according to Piketty, because it is based on observations made during the 20th century, a war-ridden age unlike any other.

Peace brings inequality

“The sharp reduction in income inequality that we observe in almost all the rich countries between 1914 and 1945 was due above all to the world wars and the violent economic and political shocks they entailed (especially for people with large fortunes)”, he wrote. But in peaceful times, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.
While he builds upon the work of previous scholars of income equalities, from Karl Marx – who believed the accumulation of capital would cause the end of capitalism – to Simon Kuznets – who expected inequalities to level out as economies grew – Piketty’s success is linked to the strength of his 20-year-long research on income trends. He boasts an unprecedented set of “data covering three centuries and more than twenty countries”.
Piketty’s main suggestion to break the inequality cycle is to impose a worldwide tax on capital, which he acknowledges would be very difficult to achieve.
Such proposals are of course less popular with conservative Americans than with Obama’s supporters, and Piketty’s success in East Coast liberal circles cannot be mistaken for a blanket endorsement by US economists.

Weak on policy proposals

University of Texas economist James K. Galbraith regrets that the “meticulous examination of the facts” in the French scholar's book “does not provide a very sound guide to policy”.
Even the appreciative Krugman acknowledges that Piketty’s theory does not account for the recent spectacular rise in the income of managers such as the CEOs of multinational companies, which is not derived from their existing wealth.
Still, Piketty believes his views are more readily accepted abroad than they are back home. “In the US and broadly everywhere outside France, I enjoy a less narrowly political reception,” he said in Washington.
His closeness with members of France's ruling Socialist Party have placed him firmly on the left of the French political spectrum.
In 2007, he was economic advisor to Ségolène Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate who lost the election to conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and is now France’s environment minister. He is also the former partner of Socialist politician Aurélie Filippetti, now the country’s culture minister.
He is not, however, close to President François Hollande -- whom, according to AFP, he described as “rather bad”.

Re: Eirokomunisms

Publicēts: 14 Dec 2015 19:36

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