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Why did they go and where?

I live in a medium town in France. My experience is a local one though I heard about similar things. There are about 200 000 around the town for a "departement", region of about 1 million. The last Lcr departement congress gathered about 100 members, allmost all there. First the NPA had about 220 members or more.

But in the LCR they where all "militants" whith a serious committment for the party and the International. It was the last tide of trade unions members, collectives, commitees, associations, to join us. Members of the NPA are different. First we did not (of course) "select" the recruitment on working people like "Lutte Ouvrière". Npa members are usually only Npa members, no trade union, even if they work.

Everyone must assist the "assembly", there was no "cell" of about 8 or 10, only "assemblies" from 20 to 40. That means that no really "work" is decided but only discussions on every topic, internals ones like program and status. People just sit there, payed their money and went out without any action in the real world. How anyone could resists, even if you really want to do something. Add to that, that any new (and candid) new member could arrive in a "feud" when someones were leaving because the Npa was "traitor to the working class" or something else... and so leave at the first meeting.

We received an important number of people with problems... like in the rest of the people, seeking only to talk about their own personal problems. I already knew that when I was in the critics of the PCF in the 1988-90: no action wan possible: only discussing the lack of democracy in the PCF (and how they wasted their lives in this party).

The LCR members (older in general) and others "older militants" who knew each others for 30 years, had the tendancy (and are responsibles for the situation, for me) to do as "we will do everything as ever, so the exterior will think we gained in membership". That left the "new ones" a decorative status.

First they maintained a certain "smoke screen" in all the local trade unions, committees, associations. But they really anoided the others who did not participate to all those social structures. The new ones only came to assist to the "debriefings" of the older fellows activities, exciting?

A meeting a month an nothiing else was the only action of many. The weekly selling and pamphlets reparting in popular markets (there are 5 in the neighborhood) of the last Lcr was deserted except by the old Lcr members. For many new, it is stupid to stick posters on the walls, sell paper and so on, expression is done on internet only. In particular anti fascism! Let me laugh a bit!

So 2 classes of people, one with "traditions" and others refusing any "working class movement tradition" when they felt that these traditions were only a pretext to threat them as children. And it counted few when a new member had long experience but not in the "Lcr and old friend" leadership (people from ananrchist or other tradition), the only leadership possible was inside a group of "friends of 30 years" with a routine of methods which disgusted many.

For me, more than these cultural diferences, this new party arrived at the worst moment, at a shift in the history of the "trotskiist french movement" and it's leadership, formed beetween 1968 and Miterrand 1981. Though telling that "we are the Lcr, the trotskiist tradition and so" (right for the methods) many of the people from the Lcr joined the Npa with the idea of getting finally rid of all that traditions, older and tired, seeking peace and rest in the so called "unity" forever. This concept serves for anything now (and the rest are "sectarians" or "Lutte ouvriere-like").

It is sort of "funny" for me, because in my province we built an Lcr/antiliberal unity coalition in the 1995'-2002', and the opponents of this real unity with 8% of the vote, were those actually claming "that unity is the only way" as a mantra, or Mao red book.

A number of new ones (old in reality, those friends of 30 years) followed the "good unitarian ex Lcr" in the Npa hoping that working both they could get rid of the "communisme revolutionnaire" for real.

They did not because, as in "Asterix", a tiny group of gauls still resist to the new modernity of post stalinism . There is a very tiny majority formed of a minority of the old LCR, with new members that still stays in favor of a "radical anticapitalist organisation". That's for me where we are.

Best anticapitalist salute!

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