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Tribute to Alain Krivine

“The intelligence to put immediate reality into perspective with new historical horizons”

Sunday 10 April 2022, by François Sabado

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I also first met Alain at the Lycée Voltaire in Paris, at the end of 1969, during a public meeting of our high school cell. For us, young high school students, more than a candidate for the presidential election of 1969, it was above all a historical leader of May 68 who came to meet us.

Impressed by what he embodied, what struck me above all was his warmth, his simplicity, his easy access, his listening to the questions asked by the young people present in this room. Already, Alain managed to combine a life as everyday militant with embodying a history, a struggle, and a political continuity.

I was to be an activist at his side for nearly fifty years. The support he gave to the oppressed was constant, whether it was Algeria in 1956, the revolts in Prague, May 68 or Nicaragua. Alain’s internationalism was never abstract: in each of these struggles, he forged links with activists, who sometimes became friends, such as Petr Uhl, one of the leaders of the Prague Spring. These years led him from the Communist movement, from the colonial revolutions to the Fourth International.

At this precise moment, how can we not evoke the duo formed by Alain and Daniel Bensaïd. Working together in the leadership of the Ligue, they tried to make the link between the daily intervention of the organization and the major revolutionary strategic hypotheses. In this duo, Daniel embodied the Ligue in ideas, and Alain was the Ligue in organization.

To achieve this, they had to walk a fine line: distancing ourselves from reformism while seeking the integration of revolutionaries into the real movement of the masses. Alain was unitary: he spared no effort and was always available to support struggles, with the common thread of unity of action and the defence of an anti-capitalist program.

He was obsessed with dialogue with left-wing activists, in particular, Communist activists, and beyond that, trade unionists, leaders of social movements. He put his talent at the service of a permanent approach: to popularize our politics by finding the words, the formulas that hit the mark.

Finally, Alain was a “party man", in the historical sense but also on a daily basis on the ground, far from the image of the sectarian who “cultivates the particular silhouette of their organization”. Let us also remember how much he liked to put himself at the service of others: whether it was to distribute leaflets, to tidy up the room or to serve as a driver for the organization.

He saw the organization as an instrument, an effective means of defending revolutionary ideas. After the defeats of the twentieth century and the change of era we are experiencing, the need for a reorganization of the historical emancipation movement is felt. Alain felt it vividly in the core of his being.

Today, Alain is leaving us as war returns to Europe. His struggles remind us of it: our camp is that of the oppressed peoples, of their rights, never of oppressors. With him, what disappears is more than sixty years of political struggles, and above all a sense of initiative, a rare political sense.

Often those who knew him said of Alain that he “had a nose”, that he grasped situations, the balance of forces. But above all, he had the intelligence to put immediate reality into perspective with new historical horizons. This quality allowed him to resist the sirens of power to which so many others of his generation have succumbed.

Alain embodied the nobility of politics and commands our respect! Finally, a last word to say how precious and necessary Michèle’s presence and support has been throughout his life.

Alain we already miss you.

21 March 2022


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