By Rhodri Evans
In an opinion poll taken during the first two days of the congress of the LCR, fully 31% of French voters said they might vote for a revolutionary socialist candidate in next year's regional elections.
The LCR - Revolutionary Communist League - decided at the congress to endorse joint lists for the regional and Euro-elections with Lutte Ouvrière (LO), the other main Marxist group in France.
In 2002's presidential election, the LCR and LO stood separately, the LCR's Olivier Besancenot getting 4.2% and LO's Arlette Laguiller 5.7%. In the 1999 Euro-elections they stood a joint list and got five MEPs elected, with 5.2% of the poll.
Such results are the product of many years' patient work, starting in 1969 when the LCR's Alain Krivine ran for president with the support of LO and got just 1.05%.
In recent years the revolutionaries have managed to win over a fair chunk of the electorate of the fast-declining and demoralised French Communist Party (which, in its heyday, regularly polled 20-25% of the vote). In 2002 Olivier Besancenot got 20% of the 18-24 year old vote.
The LO-LCR platform for next year's elections eschews revolutionary verbiage and long lists of demands.
It says, plainly and crisply, that LO-LCR will speak up for workers' interests and for workers' struggles against the ruling class; and advocate workers' control over the economy, a ban on mass redundancies, and taxing the rich to expand public services.
It is a model for what the activist left could do in Britain - if only more of the activist left groups had enough fortitude, consistency, and working-class anchorage, and weren't instead chasing after "personalities" with whom to build pastel-rainbow electoral blocs.
There are plenty of such "personalities" in France. There is, for example, Jean-Marie Chèvènement.