The name of the Belgian green party "Ecolo" stands for "Confederate Ecologists for the Organisation of Original Struggles" (Écologistes Confédérés pour l'organisation de luttes originales). What are the original struggles and how should they be organized?

  • The wiki page you link to says that it is a backronym, so it might not be referring to anything in particular. Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 11:22

2 Answers 2


It is surprisingly hard to find what they mean. With some searching, I found an interview from 2015 with both co-presidents at that time about the name of the political party. In it is stated that the accronym ECOLO was important and the long name was a quick invention to fit. A so-called backronym.

Both co-presidents state the they still consider the long name to be fitting, but don't go into a lot of details about its meaning.

The most revealing part is

Et puis je reste moi-même très attaché à l’idée de luttes originales. Car nous ne sommes pas présents uniquement sur le terrain politique, dans les parlements, mais également dans des activités citoyennes.

Which I translate as

And then, I stay myself very attached to the idea of luttes originales. Because we are not only present on the political terrain, in the parliaments, but also in citizens activities.

My interpretation is that we are meant to read it as a reference to grassroots movements. But it is not exactly a standard way of refering to that kind of initiatives.



I think it may very well have been a bit of specialized, low-usage, union jargon/terminology, before being taken over by the Green party's notoriety (it was founded in 1980). No, "lutte originale" are not necessarily two words you would expect to see naturally clustered together in French.

First, Ecolo is a long-standing colloquial term in French for people with ecological concerns. You can think of at as a, matter-of-fact, neutral "treehugger", minus most of the whimsy/snarkiness/self-deprecation. So it is a natural name for a Green party.

I started out from the hypothesis that lutte originale, i.e. origin struggle wasn't a totally meaningless filler to get the backcronym for "Ecolo".

What I have noticed over time when looking at Green parties is how much their platforms typically voice an intent to push back against capitalism.

So I wondered if there wasn't a bit of that angle going on and Googled the term with some additional fillers and qualifiers and I would hypothesize that lutte originale is a term/jargon associated with unions and/or struggle against capitalism. Specifically, I filtered out what would indicate direct relations to Ecolo itself.

"luttes originales" politique -confédérés -ecolo capitalisme

If you sub syndicat (union) instead of capitalisme, you get some more similar links.

"luttes originales" politique -confédérés -ecolo syndicat

I don't really care to dive deeply into the semantics or etymology of luttes originales, nor do I care to hypothesize overmuch that it was the reason for this choice, but here are some results of that search (with duplicate results turned on). Note that both searches returned few results, so it may just be noise.

(FWIW, I am French-born)

enter image description here

Google's ngram viewer indicates that it was an episodically recurring term for some reason, but that doesn't tell me what the usage was about.

  • From the Google search results though it doesn't seem like to be a set phrase. Except "une politique de luttes originales" (which may be a typo in plural agreement), in other mentions, originales is modifying e.g. formes, méthodes, or it is used as an ordinary adjective "... quarantaine d’années de luttes originales, âpres, difficiles", "dans les luttes originales de certains syndicats plus ou moins proches des anarchistes."
    – xngtng
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 0:21
  • Possible, except that "novel struggle" is a rather bizarre qualification. Then again, lutte is a very very popular word in French Marxist writing and at least 2 or 3 of those links had a dozen or so repetitions of it, so maybe the authors just ran out adjectives to qualify it. Too late to really tell, Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 3:17

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