ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Pierre Laurent : "Je lance un appel à un nouveau Front populaire de gauche"
by Cédric Clérin
Translated Monday 22 July 2013, by
Faced with a growing political crisis, the national secretary of the PCF (French Communist Party), in an interview with L’Humanité Dimanche, is calling for the assembly of all those who wish to construct an alternative toward "necessary" progress so as to avoid an "explosion" that would profit the right and the far right.
Huma: After having been dismissed from her position as minister for Ecology, Delphine Batho denounced "the surreptitious turn in austerity, which prepares the rise to power of the far right". One would think that you agree with her...
Pierre Laurent. Absolutely. Delphine Batho’s pronouncements following her dismissal were right on the mark when she denounced the heart of the current political crisis: it is the politics of austerity that are weakening our country, that are increasing unemployment and deepening the gap between the government and those that carried the left to power. If this continues, it will, as the recent by-elections show, effectively be an open invitation for the right to return and for the far right to breakthrough. But Delphine Batho also said another very important thing: hope for change, as it was expressed in the May 6 vote, must not be abandoned. Her call is to refuse renunciation, something I am very pleased to hear. It’s precisely the message I sent out June 16th of last year during the citizens’ meeting, with the Left Front, the EELV (Europe Ecology – The Greens) and socialist leaders from the Left Now, for a change in direction. How can the forces that refuse austerity be assembled, so as to revive ambitions for left politics that answer the country’s needs, this is the central question!
Huma: Do you feel that the socialist and ecologist majority is showing cracks?
Pierre Laurent. Cracks are appearing everywhere and for a simple reason. The government wants to impose austerity politics that don’t have majority support from the country. Last year, the forces of change voted for a break from Nicolas Sarkozy and right-wing politics, and called for a massive social, industrial and ecological reboot. There can be no majority if the government follows policy that is contrary to its aspirations, which is again what the recent elections showed. The only way out is a change in direction. The cracks will get bigger: the debates taking place within the PS and the EELV come from this rift with the country, which still desires change. The government will aggravate the political crisis, if it continues down this road. I want to work toward a positive solution through the political remobilization of all those who want change. I am calling for a new Popular Left Front, one large front for social and political action that ensures that the popular desire for change is respected.
Huma: Delphine Batho puts her departure down to lobbying from economic forces, is this not a battle that the government has refused to engage in?
Pierre Laurent. This was evident from day one. The forces of capital, the big stockholders and fortunes are all mobilized to prevent change. When you hear the president of the MEDEF (the Movement of the Enterprises of France), Pierre Gattaz, say that his two enemies are labour laws and national insurance contributions paid by businesses, asking for 100 billion in reductions, you know what to expect. The leftist politics that should be implemented can, on the contrary, only rely on the popular forces of the country. The government weakens itself when against finance it leaves its citizens defenceless, and thus also puts itself under the pressures of capital. There is nothing fated about any of this. The country can support a leftist force that fights against the forces of capital.