New Anticapitalist Party
|New Anticapitalist Party
Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste
(Central Committee) ;
Main spokesperson :
|Founded||February 8, 2009|
|Headquarters||2, rue Richard-Lenoir 93100 Montreuil|
|European affiliation||European Anticapitalist Left|
|Seats in the National Assembly|
|Seats in the Senate|
|Seats in the European Parliament|
|Seats in Regional Councils|
|Politics of France
Constitution of France
Parliament; government; president
The New Anticapitalist Party (French: Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste ; French pronunciation: [nu.vo.paʁ.ti.ɑ̃.ti.ka.pi.ta'list], NPA) is a French political party founded in February 2009. Its name was originally intended to be temporary; a vote on the name being held at the founding congress on 6–8 February 2009, where NPA won over "Revolutionary Anticapitalist Party" (Parti anticapitaliste révolutionnaire) with 53% of the vote.
The party (launched with 9,200 members) was intended to unify the fractured movements of the French radical Left, and attract new activists drawing on the relative combined strength of far-left parties in presidential elections in 2002, where they achieved 10.44% of the vote, and 2007 (7.07%).
The party is closely associated with postal worker Olivier Besancenot, the main spokesman of the former strongest far left party, the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR). In March 2011, Myriam Martin and Christine Poupin were elected the main spokespersons of the NPA. In May 2012, Myriam Martin supported the candidate of the Left Front, Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the 2012 presidential election against the candidate of the NPA, a worker and union activist at Ford's car plant in Bordeaux Philippe Poutou, who came eighth in the first round with 411,160 votes, 1.15% of the total votes. She left the NPA in July 2012.
At the founding conference (6 to 8 February 2009), 630 delegates voted on a series of documents, which had gone through a long process of amendment and re-amendment in local and regional assemblies.
- The first document "Founding principles" detailed the party's analysis of the impasse of capitalism and the need for both mass mobilization, and, in the long term, the overthrowing of existing institutions.
- The second document was the provisional rulebook, which will remain in effect until the next conference.
- The third document was the Perspectives document, which attempted to set out priorities for the year ahead, and key demands to be pushed for in the immediate future.
- Finally, a document on the European elections expressed the attitude of the party towards the June European elections.
However, a number of contentious issues within the party - especially those relating to secularism, religion and islamophobia - were left open for further debate, leading to a number of difficulties and a tendency to devote considerable time and energy on internal debates, rather than activity.
Besancenot has stated that it has no single leader, and is instead run collectively, and represented by elected spokespersons.
The basic structure of the party is the local committee, which organizes local activities. A National Political Council decides on general policy. Delegates to the Council are elected at the congress on a proportional basis, thus ensuring the representation of different tendencies or 'platforms'.
The party's stated aim is to "build a new socialist, democratic perspective for the twenty-first century".
Olivier Besancenot has said that the party will be "the left that fights, anticapitalist, internationalist, antiracist, ecologist, feminist, opposing all forms of discrimination". The LCR's distinctive identification with Trotskyism will not be continued by the NPA.
Unlike in previous LCR documents, although feminism is very present, patriarchy theory is not mentioned. Such issues as the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan, a rise in the minimum wage, and public services are accepted by all members of the NPA.
Alliances and splits
Debate continues within the NPA about what sort of alliances with other groups are acceptable. The majority of militants emphasize the dangers of allying with forces which are likely to end up in joint local or national governments with the Socialist Party (PS). A minority believes there is work to be done in wide alliances with antiliberal parties of the left, such as the Party of the Left (PG).
In January 2009, the NPA signed a joint declaration with several other parties of the left, calling for the building of the January 29 national strike. A minority (16%) claimed that such unity in the strike movements means sufficient basis can be found for joint slates at the European elections, while the majority made a sharp distinction between alliances for social movements and electoral alliances. The party received 4.98% of the vote in the European election.
Discussions were held in the course of 2009 with other parties to the left of the PS, concerning the possibility of joint slates for the regional elections in 2010. Finally, the NPA presented independent lists in a majority of regions, but joined the Left Front in three regions, and the Left Party in two others.
Since its foundation, the NPA has suffered a number of breakaways, and by the end of 2012 total membership had declined to approximately 3,000, compared with 9,200 at the time of its Founding Conference in February 2009. In addition to the loss of individual members, three organised groups have left the party in order to join the Left Front: Gauche Unitaire in 2009, Convergences et Alternative in 2011 and the largest of the three, Anticapitalist left (Gauche Anticapitaliste) in July 2012.
In addition, failure to reach the required level of support in the presidential and parliamentary elections has deprived the party of state funding, leading to a financial crisis. As a result of these setbacks, the NPA is currently engaged in an internal debate with the aim of refounding the party and reforming its internal structures. However, the NPA continues to be active in various social movements. It produces a weekly newspaper, Tout est à nous ! (originating as a slogan to be chanted on demonstrations, the name roughly translates as 'Everything belongs to us !') and a monthly magazine of the same name.
New Anticapitalist Party became the target of criticism after Ilham Moussaïd, a Muslim woman wearing hijab, became a candidate for 2010 regional elections. Supporters of the party were noted to chant slogans against Islamophobia and the party's move was considered by some as "radical pragmatism".
|Election year||Candidate||1st round||2nd round|
|# of overall votes||% of overall vote||# of overall votes||% of overall vote|
|2012||Philippe Poutou||411,160||1.15 (#8)|
- "Le Nouveau parti anticapitaliste d'Olivier Besancenot est lancé", Agence France-Presse, June 29, 2008
- "'Le Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste ne doit pas être une LCR relookée'", Le Monde, June 30, 2008
- "Le Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, c'est parti", Radio France Internationale, June 30, 2008
- Interview (in English) of one activist by the Daily Maybe
- Ongoing coverage on the NPA in LINKS (in English)
- New Anticapitalist Party press release, 28 March 2011
- Le Monde (Paris), 9 November 2008
- "Le Nouveau parti anticapitaliste d'Olivier Besancenot est lancé". Agence France-Presse. June 29, 2008.
- "Le Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, c'est parti". Radio France Internationale. June 30, 2008.
- Le Monde (Paris), November 9, 2008
- Politis. 9 July 2012 http://www.politis.fr/Nouveau-divorce-au-NPA,18958.html
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- "Le NPA présente une candidate voilée", Le Figaro, 2 February 2010.
- "Far-left party reveals ‘veiled’ female candidate", France 24, 3 February 2010.