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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Fausto Bertinotti à la relance…

by G. D. S.

Fausto Bertinotti on the Rebound.

Translated Thursday 31 July 2008, by Gene Zbikowski

The former general secretary of Communist Refoundation launched an appeal to rebuild the left which was backed by an overwhelming majority.

From our special correspondent.

He still unites the troops, obtaining two standing ovations, the first when he appeared on stage; and the second, which lasted ten minutes, following his speech, which took the form of a manifesto for the future. This was the first congress since Bertinotti joined the party in 1993 in which he was not its general secretary. “When you say : ‘lead the opposition,’ without metaphysics, opposing the government’s policies is an immense duty. Above all, it means building a new sense of belonging,” warned Bertinotti, who now assumes the role of director of Alternatives for socialism, a think tank magazine uniting left intellectuals.

For Fausto Bertinotti, the construction of a new left-wing political force may make it possible to fight against the right at a symbolic level. “Immigrants have become scapegoats,” was his analysis, thus picking up on several previous speeches. According to those speeches, the right was able to win by appealing to “common sense,” by managing to respond to the neo-conservative crisis by intensifying fears and a struggle against the poor. “There’s every reason for a general strike to break out, and yet it isn’t on the agenda,” Bertinotti said regretfully. “For that to happen, there has to be a politico-cultural change which will make it possible to renew confidence in the effectiveness of struggle.” He therefore called for the “rebuilding of a new labor movement, one that is not a make-over of the 20th century movement,” but an “innovation for today.” And he called on the left to renew the “criticism of labor” necessary for “a criticism of capitalism.”

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