ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le choix du Front de gauche
by Mina Kaci
Translated Friday 22 June 2012, by Isabelle Métraland reviewed by
The militants of the French Communist Party wish to continue and to amplify the forward movement of the coalition. The national conference of the PCF was asked to vote on three issues, the third of which concerned the prospect of continued participation in the Front de gauche.
Should we continue with the adventure of the Front de gauche? This question seems to be swept from the minds of the communists, who "massively" approved this third text, bearing on the subject and submitted for vote on Monday and Tuesday, according to Jacques Chabalier, who was charged with presenting the motion. This direction is no longer questioned, so long as the PCF maintains its entire autonomy, a number of participants in the national conference emphasized.
By abandoning his objective of transforming the coalition into a single formation, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has really made it possible to attenuate a doubt that persisted for a majority of communists. This was one of the arguments that prompted Hervé Poly, departmental head of the PCF in Pas-de-Calais, to adopt this strategy in this month’s general election, and to accept to stand as Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s substitute candidate  in the Hénin-Beaumont riding . Meanwhile, he, alongside many others, recognizes that "if the Front de gauche explodes, all the parties that make it up will explode along with it."
But, for certain participants in the national conference, along with others in local assemblies, the choice of the Front de gauche is guided by the fact that "there is no other alternative" to this new political construction, born in 2008, as illustrated by the opinion of Yves Dimicoli (Paris). A conviction that incites him to demand "an evaluation" of the Front de gauche. He is not alone in wishing this. The entire leadership of the party wishes to put their energies toward a critical evaluation of the present period. And in doing so, to reply to the question posed in the introductory report: "What political objective do we fix for our movement? Do we wait for the Socialist Party to fail, or do we create a space for a gathering of forces in order to change things?"
These are legitimate questions in the aftermath of the taking of power by the Socialist Party. Questions all the more important since the debate among communists relative to the positioning of the Front de gauche, in particular with regard to the PS, has been lively ever since its creation. Élisabeth Gauthier (Essonne) speaks of "A Front de gauche that is open, collective, entirely autonomous, without being anti-PS. We need a clear political line, free of zig-zags." While Yves Dimicoli believes that "No one can pretend that we will never be able to make the PS move." And he sharply criticizes the campaign "Front against Front" promoted by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. For his part, Alain Hayot (Bouches-du-Rhône) notes: "We do not always give the impression of being a political force with a global and coherent project likely to create an alternative to capitalism."
But the communists seem to speak with a single voice about their objective to "build a popular assembly ". The Front de gauche seems to them to be the very force capable of energizing this step forward. Many participants in the debate gave witness to the spirit aroused during the legislative campaign, and particularly in the presidential campaign. "The Front de gauche permitted us to get out of the hole in which we found ourselves," affirms Fabien Roussel (Nord). Despite the immense disappointment at having lost seats in the National Assembly, no one, with the exception of André Gerin (Rhône) wished to blame the Front de gauche. On the contrary, the key word in the conference is "amplify". How to go about that? This is the new question.
"What place to provide, and in what framework, for those of our co-citizens who wish to devote themselves fully to work within the Front de gauche, without becoming members of one of its constituent forces, and not wishing that the Front de gauche itself become a political party. There is a vast program included in the introductory report. Many participants in the debate wish that the citizens’ assemblies be reactivated, assemblies that came into being during the electoral campaign, across virtually the entire territory. This debate is now launched within the PCF. It will be continued within all the constituent parts of the Front de gauche, on August 25 and 26 in Grenoble, at its summer university, a meeting open to all militants "who were active in the program these recent months," explains Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the PCF.