Christian Picquet, former editor of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire paper Rouge, will no longer be able to hold on to his full-time post in the LCR office after the poor level of support won by his tendency at their recent conference.
Picquet is the leading figure in the Unir (meaning “unite”) tendency in the LCR which calls for the unity of the entire “anti-neo-liberal” left on the model of Germany’s Die Linke and is thus very critical of the LCR’s current “new anti-capitalist party” project as too left-wing. At the LCR congress in late January Picquet was a leading advocate of the “Platform B” resolution calling for a broad-party initiative: but Platform B won the backing of only 14% of delegates, as against 83% for the Platform A new anti-capitalist party project.
After Picquet had made a public stand for his position and received such poor support, the incoming leadership meeting on 15-16 March argued that Piquet’s tendency could not continue to run the paper (there has been tension over this for some years). The LCR agreed to pay for one person working part time to promote and organise the minority. The statement on the LCR website (http://www.lcr-rouge.org/spip.php?article1362) pointed out that Picquet, the editor of Rouge, had refused to attend a meeting of the Secretariat (of which he was a member) for two years!
The Unir faction have complained that they are being silenced, an allegation similarly levelled against the LCR by conservative daily Le Monde, who ran the title “LCR leadership sack their main oppositionist”. But how is it undemocratic for the LCR leadership to “only” accord €12,000 euros a year for Picquet’s tendency to finance their meetings and activities, “only” one part-time employee (who could be Picquet himself, if his tendency so wishes) and “only” a weekly column in Rouge? It is not incumbent on the LCR majority to let Picquet, opposed to the group’s main project, set the tone of their press. A paid job in a Trotskyist group is not a job for life.
Indeed, the main problem is that the LCR leadership do not cut sharply enough against the “movement-ist” politics Picquet espouses: in the recent municipal elections they from the start ran joint lists with all sorts of forces, from Greens to Breton nationalists. The LCR is right to give the fullest freedom of debate, regular space in the paper for minorities to express their views and their representation on committees. But that does not mean that minorities should have veto power.