ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Pierre Laurent_ » Le rassemblement sur des choix anti-austérité doit démarrer maintenant »
by Sébastien Crépel and Gérald Rosi
Translated Thursday 9 October 2014, by
On two occasions last weekend, the national secretary of the French Communist Party was warmly received by socialist militants dissatisfied with President Hollande’s and Prime Minister Valls’ policies..
A busy week-end it has been for PCF National Secretary Pierre Laurent : on Saturday he was welcomed by Deputies Marie-Noëlle Lienemann and Emmanuel Maurel at the conference of their Socialist movement “Maintenant la gauche” (To the Left, Now) in the Essonne département near Paris, while on Sunday he attended the conference of the other Socialist left-wing movement “Un monde d’avance” (Looking ahead to the future) in the Landes, a south-west département. On both occasions the socialist militants responded as warmly to his speeches as did the Socialist Summer Conference he addressed in La Rochelle in late August.
Pierre Laurent’s call for all the forces, wanting to meet the aspirations of the majority of French electors who elected Francois Hollande president in 2012 and who are therefore opposed to his governmental policies, to rally without preliminary conditions. He was received with long and warm applause. “In the current political context, water is rising very fast and it just would not be a responsible choice to stop half-way across the ford. The Hollande-Valls government policies only lead us to bankruptcy, and all the warning signs are on red alert,” he declared. “Forces are available on the Left and we cannot wait for a positive signal from this government when change is not on their agenda. The rally of these forces can only be based on a shared commitment to anti-austerity policies. It is urgent to start building this force without delay. Not as a short-time, opportunistic ploy but as a long-term strategy. Such is the great task before us, (which allows of) no short-cuts or ultimatums.”
Pierre Laurent’s addresses obviously met these socialist militants’ expectations. If all of them are disappointed with Hollande, they are scattered among several movements or trends within the Socialist Party, and the PCF leader can be “the link between the various Leftist movements,” as a Maintenant la gauche” socialist tentatively said. “Pierre Laurent is more likely to be applauded by socialists than are Moscovici or Valls,” said Emmanuel Morel, leader of the Socialist Party’s left wing.
The French Communist Party’s national secretary made several proposals, like “cutting VAT selectively”, also “denouncing the typically rightist discourse against public spending,” and he criticized the “40 billion euro CICE tax credit to companies supposedly for ”initiative, competitiveness and employment” as being “the biggest waste of public funds that has ever been staged.” And he too, like former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon who recently gave up the presidency of the Parti de Gauche (Left Party) in order to start a countrywide, grassroots “people’s campaign” in favour of the sixth Republic, argued that “the time has come to set up a sixth Republic based on social rights and on new rights for salaried workers”. Both in the Essonne and in the Landes the audience stood up to applaud his speech.