Home > Features > In Memoriam - Obituaries and appreciations > Tributes to Alain Krivine > “The solidity of a rock and the flair of a perfumer”

Tribute to Alain Krivine

“The solidity of a rock and the flair of a perfumer”

Sunday 10 April 2022, by Charles Michaloux

Save this article in PDF Version imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

First of all, I would like to thank Michèle Krivine who invited me to speak here. And above all to tell her of our affection and our gratitude for her righteousness and strength, which supported Alain to the end and allowed him to pass peacefully, in a difficult situation, surrounded by his family.

Alain had a beautiful and full life. Until his last breath he fought for what he believed to be true and what he knew was right. Like others, he was not protected against mistakes, setbacks, disappointments. He knew how to recognize and ward them off, often with sharp humour. But also, he savoured the victories (and there were some!) to feed his personal machine to convince and to fight.

In all fields since his early youth, he tirelessly campaigned for the proven revolutionary conviction that was his to meet the reality of the transformations and upheavals of society. Thus, he was in all the struggles, with a modest presence that commanded respect. Quite the opposite of a dogmatist in short.

His personality was marked by an impressive fidelity and unwavering constancy, combined with an unfailing open-mindedness and a tireless interest in what was new and promising.

The solidity of a rock and the flair of a perfumer, that was what characterized him. Rock and nose: the words made him smile, but he knew it was our mark of respect and friendship.

His political career, over more than sixty years, embraced all major political and social events. And always, with the common thread of a desire to build the necessary instrument to change the world, with the same determination of the Left Opposition in the Union of Communist Students and the PCF in the JCR, the Ligue communiste, the LCR, finally the NPA and always the Fourth International.

I first met Alain in 1965. I was in my final year at the Lycée Voltaire; he was my history teacher. At the time I was in the JC (the youth wing of the PCF) and opposing him in the PCF and the UEC. One day, after the class, he invited me to stay. He then asked me, “Are you a Communist?”. Young and proud, I answered: “Yes, does it bother you?”. “Not at all,” he told me, “So am I.” He offered to talk to me. From there dates my commitment to him and our friendship, never belied by differences in the latter period.

My bright memory begins there. It ends unfortunately with the image of a suffering and diminished man who no longer resembled this rock with a fine political nose. The pain of losing him is added for me to others symbolized by this photo taken during the rally organized by the Ligue to celebrate the centenary of the Commune in the spring of 1971, in the wake of May 68, on the crest of major international mobilizations.

In this photo are Henri Weber (who later distanced himself politically by joining the PS, but who never repudiated his old friendships), Daniel Bensaïd (the ever present accomplice and inspiration), Gérard Verbizier (the internationalist conscience of the big family), Alain Krivine naturally and myself.

They are all gone, and I miss them – along with our ardent hope, which always lived in Alain. Thank you, dear Alain, for serving it so long and so well.

21 March 2022


If you like this article or have found it useful, please consider donating towards the work of International Viewpoint. Simply follow this link: Donate then enter an amount of your choice. One-off donations are very welcome. But regular donations by standing order are also vital to our continuing functioning. See the last paragraph of this article for our bank account details and take out a standing order. Thanks.