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a plural movement

I partially responded to this below, but this section of a report on the European left's protest at NATO meeting in Strasbourg is a good take, I think:

At first I had a hard time understanding why people were tolerating the Black Bloc at all, until I understood that they are a part of the French and German left / social movement, with a long history of a sort of co-existence with the other tendencies of this movement. Some aspects of this co-existence were visible when they would provide medical assistance to people overwhelmed by gas, and when some of them attacked a post office the crowd around them booed, and they stopped. As a World Social Forum organizer explained it to me, the Black Bloc is there, they are made by society too – the question is not whether to work with them, but how.

But more important than the Black Bloc – which is a comparatively static movement – the most interesting and encouraging aspect of the demonstration for me was the role of the French New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA).

When the crowd was trapped between lines of police with individuals breaking off with their hands over their heads, most of the left parties and organizations also headed for the hills. It's not our fight, they said. But in this environment the NPA stood their ground. They dismantled the pallet barricades and formed three front lines of activists with arms interlocked at the head of a retreat. Some of their leaders went on and made the hard – but completely necessary – decision to negotiate a retreat with the police. These leaders were verbally attacked for these negotiations by some in the rally, but if the crowd was allowed to remain trapped any longer the slow disintegration would put people in serious danger – the NPA realized this and made a move that showed real movement leadership. I joined arms in their lines of activists to lead the crowd out from the trap we were in. These street leader activists were uniformly young, spirited, calm, and morally disciplined. Some of these young people I spoke to had been members of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) before it dissolved into the NPA, and some of them were new members or sympathizers of the NPA.

The NPA acted in the interests of and as part of the social movement, and they bore a great deal of responsibility. From what I saw, they are true to their claims of being a movement based, pluralist anti-capitalist party; distinctly different from the attitudes and behaviors of a sect.


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