Alain Krivine, former leader of the Revolutionary Communist League, is dead

“President” Alain Krivine died on Saturday March 12 in Paris, aged 80 The world with his family. “President” was the affectionate nickname given to him by his friends in memory of this 1969 presidential election in which a soldier wore a tie – then did his second-class military service at the age of 150.and Verdun Infantry Regiment -, a little stiff, the bushy hair and the dark-eyed, who claimed to be part of the May 68 movement, had presented themselves to the vote of the voters as they “disappointment” elections. “The power is not in the ballot box”, confessed the one who started each of his television appearances with: “For the first time a revolutionary candidate speaks to you…”

Born on July 10, 1941 in Paris, Alain Krivine comes from a family of Ukrainian Jews who emigrated to France after the anti-Semitic pogroms of the late 19th century.and century. Enrolled in 17 Years of Communist Youth, the youth organization of the French Communist Party (PCF), where his four brothers also fight, he expresses his disagreement with the political line of a party that rejects Algeria’s independence. He joins a clandestine organization, Young Resistance, which amplifies actions to encourage young soldiers to refuse to go to war in Algeria. It was his first experience of radical militancy that brought him closer to the IV. broughtand Trotskyite International this militant model, trained in the melting pot of the communist family, and will lead him to break with Stalinism.

“Won for the Cause”

Alain Krivine is discreetly cornered by Trotskyist leaders of the Internationalist Communist Party (PCI), including Pierre Franck, Trotsky’s former personal secretary, when he becomes one of the leaders of the Antifascist University Front (FUA), founded in response to the putsch of Algiers. dated April 22, 1961. On March 23, 1962, a shipment of plastic exploded outside the door of the apartment of his father, Dr Krivine, a specialist in stomatology, causing significant damage.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Alain Krivine: ‘Only conservatives don’t dream’

Although he was already “winning” by Trotskyism, he continued to campaign within the left-wing opposition to the Union of Communist Students (UEC). Leader of the Sorbonne-Letters sector of the organization associated with the PCF, he fights for the “tendency law” and the “destalinization” party. The March 1965 Congress led to violent clashes. An eloquent orator, with biting irony, calls Alain Krivine from the podium to the linemen. A year later, unlike the party leadership, the “sector”, which notably refused to support François Mitterrand’s candidacy for the 1965 presidential election, was expelled from the UEC.

Alain Krivine and the activists of “Sorbonne-lettres” then founded the Revolutionary Communist Youth (JCR), which would play an important role in the mobilizations against the war in Vietnam and then during the events of May-68. Alain Krivine, whose brother, Jean-Michel, a surgeon, served on two medical research committees in Vietnam, is a founding member of the National Vietnam Committee alongside mathematician Laurent Schwartz. The JCR, as Trotskyism claims, wants to be open to the new currents of Marxism and in particular to those which are shaking the Third World (castrism, guevarism…) and the Western youth. She made numerous contacts with leaders of revolutionary movements abroad, such as Rudi Dutschke in Germany or Tariq Ali in England.


When in 1968 the first tremors of what would culminate in a general strike and shake Gaullist power, Alain Krivine was a part-time editorial secretary at Hachette. He quickly leaves his post to immerse himself in the movement. The JCR’s security service formed the backbone of that of the UNEF during the main demonstrations of May-68. JCR executives play a role of surveillance and animation, especially during the “night of the barricades”, on May 10, or the attempt to join forces between students and workers at Renault, on May 17, violently rebuffed by the CGT and PCF battalions.

After Gaullist power regained control, the JCR was dissolved by decree on June 12. Alain Krivine then enters a semi-clandestine. He was arrested on July 16 in the company of his wife, Michèle, daughter of the former deputy secretary general of the Unified Socialist Party (PSU) Gilles Martinet. Charged with “maintaining and reforming a disbanded union”, he was imprisoned for five weeks in the Health Department before being released on bail at the request of the new Secretary of State for National Education, Edgar Faure, who is trying to “peaceful” back to school.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Alain Krivine and Alain Cyroulnik: “Well no, we are not going to bury May 68”

In April 1969, the Communist League was born. Besides Alain Krivine, the most important figures are Daniel Bensaïd, Henri Weber and Charles Michaloux. Presenting a candidate for the presidential election is a real challenge. “We want to bring the revolutionary voice of May and June 68 on television, explain to its young leaders. This revolutionary candidacy will lead to the disappearance of the electoral and parliamentary illusions of the CP. We want to break with this view and assert a force on the left side of the CP. †

At the forefront of protests

Personalities from intellectual, literary and artistic circles – such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Michel Leiris, Maurice Nadeau – appealed in his favor. The league manages to collect 230 signatures from elected officials to sponsor its candidate, more than double the required number, one hundred at the time. Alain Krivine then enjoys “special permission”. After leading “a red campaign”, such as the name of the news organization, red, who has acquired the young formation, she will get just over 1% of the vote. He will run again in 1974, after the death of Georges Pompidou, and will collect a meager 0.37%. “I was not elected President of the Republic. I’ve always missed 99% of the votes,” he liked to repeat it.

Meanwhile, the Communist League was dissolved after it violently opposed a rally of the extreme right-wing movement Ordre nouveau contre on June 21, 1973. “wild immigration”† Alain Krivine is arrested again, charged with violating the anti-burglary law and detained at the Ministry of Health. Buoyed by a strong movement of support, he was released five weeks later.

Revolutionary, he remained one all his life, it did not pass with age – contrary to what the title of his Memoirs, published in 2006, says. You pass the years (Flammarion). He has endured more than half a century without ever departing from the belief that: “revolution is possible” Which“There have never been so many reasons to revolt,” attentive to all protest movements that can contribute to social emancipation, to move the lines of the labor movement. “True happiness for any man worthy of this name is to consciously participate in all struggles for emancipation”, he stated in 1973 as he prepared to run again in the presidential election, campaigning on the theme “no truce or compromise”

Read also Alain Krivine leaves the LCR . political office

From Lip to soldiers’ committees, from feminist movements to high school and student mobilizations, from internationalist demonstrations to anti-racist and anti-fascist struggles, from support for undocumented migrants to actions for the right to housing, from coordination to the upheavals of the trade union movement, without the Neglecting electoral platforms, the organization led by Alain Krivine, which became the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) in December 1974, was on all fronts of the struggle. With the constant obsession with “make things happen” and from “finding a political outlet for social movements”, the Trotskyist leader – even though he didn’t like this term – tried to sow “the seeds of the new left, neither social-democratic nor Stalinist”, tirelessly ready to ignite despite setbacks, failures and disappointments.

On all fronts of protest, Alain Krivine was at the forefront, always available, always ready “Help your comrades” to use its impressive list of contacts to popularize an initiative, serve as a relay to broaden the scope of support. The social movement of the winter of 1995 blew tenfold energy into an LCR that thought it could find a broader echo among new radicalized layers.

First elected term

In the European elections of 1999, the LCR joined forces with Lutte Ouvrière (LO). Alain Krivine is in second place behind the emblematic spokesperson of LO, Arlette Laguiller. The list gets more than 5% of the vote and gets five elected. At the age of 58, whoever has more than forty years of political activism behind him is holding a first-choice mandate. The election to the European Parliament allows him, in addition to discovering the institutional political world, to have additional resources and to hire a parliamentary assistant. For a year, a young trade union activist from La Poste, Olivier Besancenot, will hold this position.

In 2002, Alain Krivine convinced him, not without difficulty, to run for the LCR in the presidential elections. The young postman collects 4.25% in the first round of an election in which the PS candidate, Lionel Jospin, is eliminated in the second round, which pits Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie Le Pen against each other. Five years later, Olivier Besancenot is again a presidential candidate, scoring more than 4% at the end of a campaign that sparked unprecedented enthusiasm for a far-left candidate. The League decides to dissolve to make way for a new anti-capitalist party that it hopes will likely broaden the audience of the old Trotskyist formation.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Alain Krivine and Alain Cyroulnik: “Well no, we are not going to bury May 68”

A new generation is taking over. Alain Krivine gained ground and was out of political responsibilities, but he was still there. Although he asserted his pension rights in 2004, he continued to occupy an office above the Rotographie printing press, in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) long after, and continued to distill his advice: “Siempre presented. † A life of a revolutionary… without a revolution.

Alain Krivine in a few dates

July 10, 1941 Birth in Paris

1958 Join the Young Communists

1966 Banned from the union of communist students

1967 Creation of the Revolutionary Communist Youth (JCR)

1969 Establishment of the Communist League

1969 Presidential candidate

1974 Presidential candidate

2006 Publishes “You’re Getting Older” (autobiography)

2009 Dissolution of the League and Birth of the New Anti-Capitalist Party

2022 Died at age 80

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Alain Krivine: ‘Only conservatives don’t dream’