Alain Krivine, former leader of the Revolutionary Communist League, dies aged 80

Alain Krivine, a far-left figure and former presidential candidate, died on Saturday at the age of 80, his wife told AFP.

Alain Krivine, a far-left figure and two-time presidential candidate, devoted his life to “rebellious” militancy, in the wake of the events of May 68. For three decades, leader of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), which he co-founded founded in 1974, he remained deeply Trotskyist throughout his life, affirming in 1993: “The older I get, the more I rebel”.

A communist youth

Born on July 10, 1941 in Paris, Alain Krivine comes from a family of the Jewish petty bourgeoisie, immigrants from Central Europe. Soon his older brothers, who were all Communist Party, were plotting the route to follow. Headed, in 1955, the Union of Republican Youth of France (UJRF), before taking charge of all communist high school students in Paris the following year.

Krivine then became the main leader of the left-wing Union of Communist Students (UEC) in the “Sorbonne-Lettres” sector, from which he was expelled in 1965 after criticizing the leadership of the PCF. In 1966, as a young history teacher, he was one of the founders of the Revolutionary Communist Youth (JCR).

May 68 Actor

A member of the support networks for the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) in Paris, Alain Krivine was deeply influenced by the events of May 68, in which he took an active part. With the JCR, he oversees and inspires the student movement in Paris, of which he soon becomes one of the leaders, along with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Jacques Sauvageot and Alain Geismar.

“When the police entered the Sorbonne on May 3rd and got us on the buses, the Latin Quarter was in turmoil. We didn’t know where it came from, it was spontaneous,” he says in 2018, half a century later, about this founding episode. “Thousands of students grabbed bottles of beer from the bar tables and beat the police with caps! I said to my friends: + But what is the matter? It was early May 68”.

Nominated 1969 presidential candidate

But after Charles de Gaulle’s speech on May 30, he understood that the movement had failed. The JCR is disbanded and Krivine is imprisoned for a month in the prison of La Santé. Obliged to perform his military service, he learned a few months later from his barracks in Verdun that the political bureau of the brand-new Communist League (LC) had nominated him as a candidate for the 1969 presidential election.

A year after May 68, all of France discover Krivine, curly hair, glasses on his nose and his program: to destroy the capitalist order and redistribute wealth. He won just 1.06% of the vote.

“Shooted on the Social Movement”

In 1973, the Communist League was in turn dissolved, after clashes between some of its members and far-right activists, before being briefly revived under the name Revolutionary Communist Front (FCR). Subsequently, in 1974, Alain Krivine founded the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), of which he remained its historical leader for more than thirty years. He ran for president again that year, winning 0.37% of the vote.

The 1990s were marked by his opposition to the Gulf War, the Maastricht Treaty and, in 1995, the pension reforms in France. “He is attracted to the social movement,” said Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, a figure of the PS and of Trotskyism. “To be revolutionary means to want to reverse a society in reverse,” he said, fervently defending his “100% left-wing” line.

Revolutionary all the way

A journalist for the weekly “Rouge”, the party’s organ, and MEP between 1999 and 2004, he resigned from the LCR political bureau in 2006, while remaining spokesman for the movement until its dissolution in 2009. .

When he retired, he confided: “We have far more reasons to revolt than we did in 1968. The barbarity has worsened. I am waiting for a successful May 68, a May 68 with a program”.

From May 68 to February 2009: 40 years of LCR