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In the face of a vacant left, Besancenot occupies the radical space

The LCR, star of the march

From the French daily Libération, 21 November 2007

Monday 26 November 2007

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A springboard in the demonstration. Olivier Besancenot, who came to give out leaflets at Port-Royal yesterday during the Parisian demonstration, scored a hit and... furthered the promotion of his future party "100 per cent" independent of the government left.

Olivier Besancenot leaflets the march

With the trade unions entering into negotiation with the government, the leader of the LCR is occupying all of the radical space. "It will be a trial of strength to resist the orchestrated campaign aimed at public opinion, the divisions among the trade unions and deal with the cash problems of the least well-off strikers", he analyzes. But he "does not twist and turn" in his support for the strikers, "contrary to the Socialist Party and the Communist Party, who are refusing our proposal for a common initiative" and he definitely hopes to draw some political advantage from it. "There is no one between Sarko and Besancenot", noted an UMP deputy last week. A judgement that was partly verifiable in the demonstration yesterday.

On seeing "Olivier" in his jacket marked "Post Office", railway workers and employees of the RATP [Paris public transport] who were members of the CGT and teachers from the FSU congratulated him: "Bravo Olivier, we are ‘68ers and we are proud of you! ", shouted a woman from the Education Without Frontiers Network [which defends the rights of children of undocumented immigrants]; "He no longer has that slightly haughty attitude, he is very coherent", enthused a pensioner. Many people take the LCR sticker : "Users-strikers: in solidarity ". And they take, without reading it, the leaflet advertising a meeting for "social resistance and the new and the new anti-capitalist party" tomorrow at the big Mutualité hall. Besancenot’s popularity is also an echo of his discourse about the redistribution of wealth. His mentors in the LCR savour the moment: "It is the first time that the League has had such an impact, it is the political expression of those who are fighting back", says François Sabado. "Olivier is their spokesperson", adds Alain Krivine.

It remains to convert the try: "I have my CGT membership card and I voted for him, but I won’t join", explains Patrick, who works at the SNCF. "On his name alone, I won’t go into his party. But if there is Buffet, Mélenchon, Emmanuelli [CP and left SP leaders],yes”, explains one demonstrator, who considers it regrettable that Besancenot is “going it alone".