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International Communist and Labor Press

For a 21st century Communist Party manifesto

Proposal for a basis for discussion at the 38th Congress of the PCF

Translated Monday 27 August 2018, by Hervé Fuyet

Proposal for a basis for discussion at the 38th Congress of the PCF :
For a 21st century Communist Party manifesto

The text resulting from the National Council was voted by only 49 of its members out of 91 voting and 168 members. The unity of the Communists demands a much bolder, more coherent and clear text for a truly extraordinary congress. That is why, in our diversity and in order to get the CPF out of erasure and stagnation, we propose another common basis for discussion. To bring members together, it proposes a real debate on the substantive issues (assessment, new orientation, change of direction) very badly treated in the text proposed by the current management.

After the vote from 4 to 6 October, this common basic text, if adopted, will be amended until the Congress.

Our 38th Congress is vital.

In June 2017, the communists decided, at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, to convene an extraordinary congress. Our electoral weakening and our loss of national visibility were and still are at the heart of the concerns of the communists who want to regain the influence of our party and rebuild a revolutionary organization of our time.

It is up to the Communist Party, French and internationalist, to assume this ambition in the face of the strength of capital which is adorning itself with the finery of modernity, in the face of the depth of its systemic crisis, but also in the face of the attraction of reformist ideas of conciliation, as well as those of nationalists and xenophobes who designate scapegoats.

It is all the more necessary that Macron and his government take advantage of the political confusion and the absence of credible progressive alternatives to lead to a forced march to destroy the French social model. They seek to make France, alongside Germany, the second pillar of a Europe at the service of the capital, financial markets and world order they need.

Macron claims that his options are the only ones capable of pulling France and Europe out of the very deep crisis of a capitalist system that he intends to save. In reality, this policy will accentuate France’s vulnerabilities and social fractures in a world in crisis at a time when a new aggravation of global difficulties is being prepared, more brutal than the 2007-2008 crisis from which the forces of capital did not want to learn any lessons.

After a period of observation, important struggles develop. They concern the very foundations of the French social model, from which they seek a new development: public services and enterprises, demands for equality, especially between women and men, rejection of downgrading and discrimination, equality of territories and environmental issues, social protection and its method of financing from the wealth produced, employment, its security and promotion, wage increases, all battles over education and training, the rights and powers of employees in the workplace.

There has never been so much need for revolution, for revolutionary ideas and struggles; for a communist party and project to enable the popular movement to enlarge and strengthen itself to the point of forcing the government into setbacks, imposing new conquests, opening up a political solution. Their absence in the political arena leaves the way open for all nationalist, populist, xenophobic, racist or anti-Semitic clawbacks.

What a challenge for the French Communist Party!

But after its erasure in 2017 and its disastrous result in the legislative elections, its vital prognosis is engaged.

All this constitutes an electroshock. That is why the members wanted an extraordinary Congress for a strategic reorientation, a new mobilization in the action and the development of a communist ambition.

A strategic and organizational review is necessary to allow a debate without taboos, and to take bold decisions.

We consider that the common basic proposal voted on 3 June (by 49 votes out of 91 voters and 168 members of the NC) does not meet the requirements of the debate, any more than it makes it possible to analyse precisely the situation of the world and that of our party. Refusing to formulate clearly the terms of the debate, it allows neither the discussion on the reorientation and changes that so many communists think are necessary, nor the taking of initiatives by those who aspire to change the existing order.

It is not a collage of options and clever syntheses that our Party needs to build a real and active unity of the communists.

We propose a common basis to answer this essential question:

Should we continue in the erasure, in a practice of the blow by blow, in an illegible strategy, and in the lack of ambition and incarnation? Or are we collectively building the way for a profound political renewal of our organization, capable of strengthening our influence and our place within an effective gathering for our people?

For the most consequent debate of the communists and clear choices, this common basic proposal intends to bring precise elements of answer to the following central questions, by combining them with the ambition of a new internationalism:

do our current difficulties result from a poor implementation of the choices made over the last twenty years, or are these choices themselves to be called into question?
What are our strategic, organizational and electoral assessments? What is the record of Dominion Command activity?
What place for living Marxism to arm the struggle and for the confrontation of ideas at all levels?
Is a strategic reorientation necessary or is it sufficient to seek to better maintain the same course under the name "new social and political front"?
Should we resign ourselves, in the European elections, to a new erasure of the party and its ideas in the name of the rally behind a possible head of the list from another political formation? Is it not rather a question of building a list of broad gathering initiated and led by the PCF?
how to define the objective of communism, the ways and means to achieve it? What dialectic is necessary between our proposals, the immediate struggles, the indispensable stages and the communist aim that is built in this movement while enlightening it?
is a profound change in national leadership necessary? What commitment from leaders to an effort to reorient ideas, practice and action?
This is a critical time for our political strength, and therefore, for its ability to effectively serve popular and class interests in the future.
We do not resign ourselves to the idea that the extraordinary congress could sink into habits, repeat them and refuse to question them.

We want to get the CPF out of the spiral of erasing and weakening.

We share this conviction that there can be no revolutionary transformation without a strong and influential Communist Party, which carries this ambition.

We share the need for a renewal of our organisation and an ambitious revival of our political work, closely linked to the national dynamics of our activists.

It is these priority issues that bring us together and bring us together.

That is why, in the diversity of our analyses and reflections, we propose this text as a common basis for the discussion of the 38th Congress of the Communist Party.

We are making it available today to all communists to allow the development of ambitious transformative actions of our Party instead of the paralysis linked to the search for false balances.

We hope that as many activists as possible will seize this opportunity, in a search for the convergence and unity that are essential to the success of an extraordinary congress, restoring tomorrow our Party’s full capacity for action through a clear political and strategic perspective.

We formulate it in six chapters:

A critical assessment
Our responsibilities in the new phase of the crisis of capitalism and society,
Communism of our time: ethical ideal, historical aim, path of struggle
A new internationalism to meet the challenge of capitalist globalisation
For a new strategy of popular gathering and unity,
For a useful, active, bold and innovative, internationalist and revolutionary communist party.
I. A critical assessment
A critical assessment is needed to assess the causes of the party’s current situation and to redefine our strategic approach.

Successive failures are in all memories:

2002: our political erasure in the "plural left" instead of autonomous action on ideas and in struggles leads to failure in the presidential election ;

2007: our immersion in the’anti-liberal committees’, when we should have taken the banner of the rally with our substantive proposals the day after the 2005 referendum, leads to a new collapse of our presidential result.

2007-2008: At the extraordinary meeting of the section delegates, a majority of the Communists refused to dilute the party into a "new political force". The 2007-2008 crisis opened a new field for the input of ideas and action by communists. The 34th Congress confirmed the majority will to continue the PCF and to develop its ideas. But the direction privileges little by little, to the detriment of the promotion of our ideas for the action and for a rise of the influence of the party, a conception of the Left Front as a process of electoral alliance and rapprochement with J.-L. Mélenchon. This one certainly left the PS but by showing his attachment to François Mitterrand. He does not hide his objective: to merge within a new social-democratic formation the components of the Left Front, in the confusion between reformists and revolutionaries.

2012, the Left Front, denying our idea of "battle fronts", tends to transform itself into a candidate’s electoral machine, promoted by the Party’s summit in order "not to start 2007 over"; yet it has opened up a hope of change and pushed the SP to move as far as the famous "my enemy is finance". But he failed to offer a radical and credible alternative to the whole left, his candidate carrying less and less what in The Human First was the original contribution of the communists.

2012-2017: the Communist Party delegates popular initiatives to Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Apart from the start of a campaign on the cost of capital which was quickly abandoned, our party is disappearing, despite the efforts of its militants on the ground: it leaves an excessive place for the PG on its lists in successive elections (European, municipal, regional) and limits its role to being a facilitator of summit meetings, without a battle over content.

2017: the decision of the 37th Congress to hire a communist candidate in the run-up to the presidential elections is not respected. The field is open at Mélenchon. Despite the Communists’ strong demand for autonomy, expressed overwhelmingly in national conferences, the CPF aligns itself behind an increasingly populist and aggressive, even nationalist candidate who advocates social democratic economic solutions. And all at the cost of an incredible waste of financial means and activists!

Under these conditions, after major setbacks in the municipal and regional elections, marked by the loss of many communist elected representatives, our result in the legislative elections (2.72% of those expressed) is the worst in our history.

Indeed, France Insoumise benefiting from the national identification of its presidential candidate, competition proved deadly for our candidates in the vast majority of ridings. However, we obtain 10 deputies including 5 elected under the very rare agreements to withdraw the IF in the first round.

These results do not reflect the PCF’s real audience in the country, nor its potential to regain influence. But they are a new factor of weakening, of loss of national visibility.

This weakening is not inevitable. Its main cause is the political choices initiated by our main leaders and stubbornly pursued despite alerts and failures.

These errors have a link with the doubt that took hold over communism after the disappearance of the USSR, seeming to consecrate a definitive triumph of capitalism. The lessons of this attempted revolution, which shook the world but was finally defeated, continue to generate important debates in the communist movement. What is certain is that the disappearance of the USSR placed us, in the 1990s, in the challenge of an in-depth analysis and the choice of a communist novation. Instead, the successive directions of the CPF were won by renunciation, until choices that destabilized and destructured our Party, until the abandonment of the battle to enterprise and the scrambling of the Party’s class tracking in society.

II. Meeting the challenges of the crisis

1. Gathering for a way out of the crisis of financialized and globalized capitalism

As another catastrophe looms, the crisis of capitalism challenges us to come together to open a way out.

In 2008, an overaccumulation of material and financial capital broke out in all developed capitalist countries. After the crash of 2000-2001, governments and international institutions were mobilized to save capital and increase financial profitability: money from profits, public funds and credit was used to fuel soaring prices and investments; digital technologies, which generated massive human labour savings, were monopolized by multinationals. The results: unemployment and over-exploitation of workers greatly aggravated, an increased shortage of outlets amplifying the world economic war, the levying of monstrous neo-colonial rents on the peoples of the least developed countries and increased risks of armed confrontations.

This crisis has destabilized the dominant intellectual patterns and called into question the legitimacy of the capitalist system. The idea that it is necessary to break with this system can grow: still it is necessary to draw the paths of such a break.

On the right, as among the socialists, the response to the system’s crisis has been to increase public intervention in favour of profits and an allegedly "regulated" market.

On the contrary, to emerge from the crisis, a new public intervention would have been needed to put the money, the wealth produced and the money created at the service, not of increasing profitability, but of the development of each and everyone, while respecting the planet. The urgency was to reduce the domination of globalised capitalism by making progress, in the struggles, in the ballot boxes and in the institutions, in demanding other rules, other criteria and, in particular, new decision-making powers for workers over all investment choices.

This challenge has not been met. The dominance of ideas of competition for profit persisted. The domination of social democratic ideas on the whole left, insufficiently fought, also persisted. All this paved the way for a neoliberal, ultra-reactionary and authoritarian reaction and for the populists who added to the confusion and confusion.

The contradictions between the logic of capital and new human development needs have thus been accentuated.

With the digital and information revolution, a new economic efficiency, based on information sharing, becomes possible. The aspirations for knowledge and creativity are increasingly vivid and shared the new place of knowledge in society opens up new possibilities for emancipation but multinationals use productivity gains to lower the "cost of labour", make jobs insecure and make training subject to their profitability requirements. Employees whose jobs are eliminated are rejected as unemployed.

The demographic revolution, with the increase in life expectancy, the possibility for women to control procreation, the new relationships that are being established in couples and families, is bringing new freedoms, but capitalism is using it to market all the times of life.

Finally, humanity today has the power to threaten its ecological niche: the planet. The requirement to expand capital no longer preserves our environment and endangers the human species.

We must develop the Marxist understanding of these transformations and the conquest by workers and peoples of their social and democratic control.

One of the most sensitive effects of the crisis is the unprecedented increase in inequality, to the point where new struggles for equality and solidarity are developing.

2. The demand for equality between women and men: an unprecedented and profoundly revolutionary global movement

The release of women’s voices against gender-based and sexual violence has just denounced the illusion of an "end of history" in terms of gender equality. The right to control one’s body is at the heart of a decisive feminist struggle all over the planet. The fight for equality at work - including pay and career development - as well as outside work, for the sharing of powers and roles, must be fought with determination right down to our organisation.

3. In the face of increasing racism and xenophobia, new forms of solidarity are being sought

Racism and xenophobia are fuelled by divisions caused by unemployment and competition for employment. They are based on the extent of discrimination, too frequent in police actions, but also on the denial of the right to work and to housing, access to public services in deprived areas, access to knowledge and culture. They are used to organize the war of all against all, starting from identity and community retreats which, for some of the most dominated, seem to be the only way to respond to protection needs in the face of social violence. They offer a field for the instrumentalization by sectarian groups, even terrorists, of the social and moral distresses that strike too many young people. We must show that these unbearable humiliations, these visible forms of the lack of substantive equality in the Republic, reveal the extent and multidimensional nature of class inequalities.

Migration policies and the unworthy treatment of refugees in France and in Europe revive racist ideas and reflect the desire for a "fortress" Europe. They go hand in hand with the acceptance of neo-colonial wars and the plundering of dominated countries that generate survival migrations. They mask the refusal of a great expansion of public services to meet the needs of all populations instead of opposing them.

But all of this gives rise to new mobilisations and solidarity which testify to the potential for rapprochement because, as Marx wrote, "work under white skin cannot be emancipated where work under black skin is stigmatised and withered".

The capitalist responses to the crisis are fuelling authoritarian excesses that threaten democracy, world stability and peace. It is urgent to regain, individually and collectively, power over our lives.

The unbridled commodification that reduces people to things and costs comes up against the aspiration, more and more widely shared, of personal fulfilment and freedom. Capitalist logic increasingly needs authoritarianism and violence to impose itself.

4. Youth struggles are symptomatic of new aspirations and the violence they face

Young people pay a high price for the social, democratic and cultural setbacks imposed by capital. Young people are heavily hit by unemployment. They are forced to pass through long airlocks of precariousness, before hoping to reach a stable situation allowing them to project themselves into the future. Although better trained than their parents, they will probably live less well than they do. They are victims of stigma and discrimination, especially in the poorest neighbourhoods.

It is a source of distress, but also, more and more, of revolt and mobilization: high school students and students against "Parcoursup" claim their right to high-level training, young railway workers, young civil servants and in companies are often in the front line in hard struggles for rights, dignity, wages.

Our time is one of violent conflict between the old capitalist world, eroded by over-exploitation and financial cancer, and of immense possibilities of emancipation and sharing that open the way to a new civilization. A new, deeper and more global shock is brewing. Everything suggests he’ll be more violent. To face this shock, to fight this battle, we need the Communist Party.

We must give ourselves the means to warn of the catastrophe that has just occurred, to act, to gather and enlighten in action on the need to challenge capitalism for a change of society and civilization. Let us open the debate on what can be a society that emerges from its domination but has not yet gone beyond it to truly abolish it, a society that is building its socialist transition to a higher civilization, communism.

The development of communist ideas and proposals in society, at the service of revolutionary actions and transformations, is today a major political challenge in France, Europe and the world. This is the key to our extraordinary congress.

III. Communism of our time: ethical ideal, historical aim, path of struggle
The communist aim is a radical transformation of our society for a society of sharing wealth, but also power, knowledge and roles. It is the aim of a society without classes, without wars, going beyond nations; a society where exploitation and alienations are abolished. In this communism is radically opposed to capitalism and its ideology, liberalism.

Communism is both the aim and the path of a society whose goal and means gradually and in stages become the emancipated development of each and everyone, as a person and in society, or as Marx said as an "integral individual". A society where "the free development of each person becomes the condition for the free development of all".

In this sense, the immediate struggles to be organised and the gatherings to be built must contribute to opening the way towards this new society. Communism is therefore inseparable from ambitious social objectives, new powers and new financial means, which mark a radical step towards this aim.

1. Communism on the agenda

The crisis of the capitalist system and its contradictions of unprecedented depth open a new historical period. With the beginnings of the information technology revolution, and its sharing requirements, the prospect of going "beyond" the capitalist market takes on a more concrete character.

The development of each person’s capacities becomes necessary for the common good of society as a whole. This meets the formidable aspirations for personal emancipation.

The new needs for creativity in work and in democratic debate are pushing for workers to take power in companies and citizens in institutions.

The whole system of delegation of power must be overcome, as called for by the deep crisis of parliamentary democracy, but also by the stifling of employees’ creativity in companies by employers’ monopolies of power.

An overcoming of capitalism in order to abolish it is therefore no longer just a utopia, an idea that should be formulated without putting it into practice.

It is a process of revolutionary and democratic transformation that we must seek to build through our proposals and our project, and to bring to life at the heart of social struggles and ideas.

An effort of renewal and innovation is indeed before us as well as a battle of ideas is to be waged. For the communist ideal, long identified with the great hope raised in the world by the Soviet revolution and the building of the USSR from a backward Russia, has been disfigured by terrible excesses of the Soviet system and has been reached by its collapse into a deep crisis.

2. A revolutionary process

Communism is a historical process of successful abolition of capitalism, pushing all the civilization gains of this system, and suppressing its evils, towards a new civilization. This is the overcoming of capitalism.

It is a question of overcoming the confinement of each person in the alienations of a work, a consumption and a social life dominated by a production in the service of commodification and accumulation. And, by going beyond the submission of activities to capitalist accumulation, we would advance social efficiency for everyone’s right to happiness.

This means a revolution in the social relations of production:

- a social appropriation of the means of production, exchange and financing, of the management of companies

- the advance of job security or training, with activities to develop everyone’s capacities, going beyond the capitalist wage system, towards a classless society.

Beyond the economy, this also means continuous institutional innovation, with direct, decentralised powers of intervention by all social actors and citizens. This would push democracy to the development of economic and political self-government.

In this new civilization, everyone would have all the effective means to contribute to his own happiness. Strengthened by new values, this civilization would allow the development and creativity of each individual and of all, together.

Humanity could put an end to all social dominations and all forms of discrimination, for a society of equality in difference. It would become capable of transmitting the Earth to future generations, respecting its integrity, diversity and beauty.

3. To carry a communist project

Labour, employment, wages (labour market), public services and human development, the role of enterprise and production, power, political institutions, finance and globalisation are the areas of communism that we must invest immediately. A communist project must include transformation axes on all these sites. Without constituting a programme, these must be coherent for effective transformation. Its configuration must change at the rhythm of the experience acquired through practical struggles, as well as at the rhythm of the advance of knowledge. All in all, it is a question of making progress in practice by bringing together, despite the inevitable conflicts, contradictions, compromises and uncertainties in a construction that can really change society.

Transformative social objectives

Employment at the heart of social transformation: our job security and training proposal:

This is part of the move towards a job security or training system enabling everyone to combine chosen mobility with increased security of income and rights. This system, fully implemented, would make it possible to eliminate unemployment, revolutionize the content of work, overcome the opposition between work and non-work, while meeting the need for flexibility, progress and adaptability of modern production. Progress in its construction is inseparable from the defence and promotion of effective social protection because it is financed from the wealth created in enterprises. Essential elements of immediate progress towards this project have already been the subject of a bill proposed by the Communist deputies.

A new expansion of services and the public sector:

Public services must be a cornerstone in building a new citizenship. It is a question of challenging the domination of the European Union by the market and blind competition, to promote a system of cooperation in which renovated public services and new public enterprises would play a decisive driving role.

It is essential to promote public enterprises in the production and service sectors, aimed at responding effectively to popular needs and securing employment and training. This implies a profound transformation of management with new criteria, an effective barrier to the entry of private capital, financing emancipated from the financial markets, the powers of intervention of employees and consultation with users, very numerous and intimate cooperation in France, in Europe, in the world.

New powers:

The conquest of a participatory democracy and intervention:

It implies the creation of new powers, a considerable expansion of freedoms and the achievement of effective equality, ensuring that everyone has the means necessary for its achievement. The role of employees in the company and the populations concerned must predominate, instead of the monopoly of capital and its representatives. This issue is at the heart of today’s class struggle. It is a question of transforming the management of companies to make them assume an aim of social, territorial and ecological efficiency. We also need new institutions for a new Republic that goes hand in hand with a new European construction.

Financial means :

Emancipating society and the financial market economy

Money and currency are the major instrument of capital’s domination over the economy and society. A communist project must promote by struggle a completely different system of financing. Financial markets, major shareholders and big business impose a financing and management logic that subjects companies to the domination of capital. We have to break with that for a completely different reasoning. Power must be taken over the use of money from companies (profits), the state (public funds), banks (credit), insurance (savings). Instead of serving profits, the cost of capital, tax evasion, this money must finance efficient investments, employment, training, research, ecology, gender equality and so on. It must also finance public services in the territories instead of leaving the public debt under the control of the financial markets. This transformation axis concerns all levels of intervention: regional, national, European and global.

IV. A new internationalism to meet the challenge of capitalist globalisation
French communists cannot think of their role in society without thinking about the profound upheavals experienced by the planet, without working on links of solidarity with communists and progressive forces, without placing the struggle for peace within the demands of another society.

1. Deep changes in the world

The beginning of the 21st century is a time of demographic, ecological, technological, economic and geopolitical upheavals. For example, China’s GDP is now comparable to that of the United States Africa could become the most populous continent by the end of the century.

We are witnessing the generalization and exacerbation of the scourges of the system, but also the appearance of radical innovations and potential overall transformations:

widespread salarisation in all countries and concentration of humanity in the cities, but with massive unemployment, soaring precariousness, competition between employees all over the world, and the explosion of new ecological and health problems ;
industrialization of the world, but also the beginning of the information revolution and the domination of real companies by increasingly monopolistic and speculative financial capital.
global climate challenge, drastic loss of biodiversity, deforestation, soil artificialisation, diseases linked to the environment, but also an increase in global awareness and technological potential to cope with them ;
generalised financial cancerisation but a worldwide rise in awareness of the responsibility of banks, multinationals, tax havens and global organisations (IMF...) ;
the rise of the affirmation of the emancipation of individuals, men and women, but also of an individualism that destroys traditional solidarities ;
opening up to other nations, cultural areas and other rules, but also challenging traditional state protections with regressions of acquired social rights as well as the exacerbation of supranational dominations ;
The rise of opposing fundamentalisms and conservatisms, Westernist and "Islamist", at the same time as the rise of multiform emancipation movements.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the failure of the Soviet experiment, to have believed that it was enough to affirm the proper history of French communism in order to emerge from the consequences of this failure was a mistake: a communist assessment of what the Soviet Union represented is indispensable to get out of the demonization built against us by the spokesmen of capital and to continue with tenacity the development of our original self-managing project towards a communism of our time.
2. Widespread confrontation or cooperation and peace?

Far from the "end of history", inter-imperialist competition and domination were relaunched: hyper-marketing of the world; massive financialization leading to technological and commercial domination by multinationals; American unilateralism and strengthening of NATO at a time when the world was already becoming more multipolar.

The 2007/2008 crisis, which hit only the developed capitalist countries, weakened the image of capitalism and the position of global hegemony of the United States.

Faced with this, American imperialism is increasingly aggressively using the dollar, its informational technological advance, its economic weight and its military potential to revive its hegemony.

There are fundamental phenomena that oppose it:

the information revolution which accentuates the contradictions between the development of productive forces and social relations of production
the political, financial, cultural and political institutions that have hitherto ensured the global hegemony of capital are being shaken as they become unable to channel the discontent of peoples
the emergence of organizations seeking to emancipate themselves from American or even Western tutelles (BRICS - Shanghai Cooperation Organization - COP, etc...).
the search for a new type of multilateralism and zonal agreements against unilateralism and American protectionism,
With Trump in power, a new phase of the US counter-offensive began. However, it faces various resistances on all continents.
What future for the world: generalized confrontation or cooperation and peace?
China and Europe, Russia, in different capacities, are particularly challenged.
For the communists, it is a question of building a new internationalism capable of opposing cooperative responses to these logics. It is a question of giving life in all circumstances to our anti-imperialist values of peace and solidarity. An essential axis of battle is for France to emerge from NATO and play a leading role in Europe and in the world for a rapprochement, a new alliance, with developing and emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey, etc.). China, a huge country in a position to challenge the world leadership of the United States, deserves a consistent analysis and without a priori, especially since it is led by a communist party claiming Marxism. Action against wars and for disarmament, which must be expanded, must go hand in hand with action against social and economic insecurity. To this end, it is a question of radically transforming international institutions and contributing to the advent of an alternative monetary instrument of global cooperation to the dollar. This meets the expectations of many countries.
We must give a much greater place to the international dimension of our action and to our contribution to another globalisation. The national council and the communists must be regularly seized of the analysis of the international situation, informed of the debates within the PGE, of relations with the communist and progressive parties. These must be developed in an approach of listening, mutual respect and solidarity. The situation requires a new capacity of initiative of our party in Europe and in the world for common actions.

3. Another European construction

We must put an end to the current European construction designed to serve the domination of capital, with the ECB at its heart supporting the financial markets, the multinationals and the big monopoly capitalists. Far from the promise of a Europe of cooperation and unity of peoples, we owe it colossal unemployment, deindustrialisation, the questioning of public services and generalised austerity, authoritarianism, the martyrdom of the Greek people, fragmentation between the north and the south, internal divisions within each country. We also owe to him the rise of populism and the extreme right, up to positions of power as in Italy, a reinforced domination of the United States and the dollar. It is therefore not surprising that it concentrates popular anger, as the result of the 2005 referendum showed. Our responsibility is to give perspective to that anger.

We all agree on that. But we have differences on how to end this construction.

A choice has prevailed since several congresses: radically transform the European Union and its treaties; act for a re-foundation of European construction with alternative proposals. It was a question of situating ourselves on European ground and grasping the aspiration for European construction, while considering that the national ground is fundamental and that it is indeed the requirements of capital that shape European construction.

Comrades believe that it cannot be transformed and that it is necessary to affirm the right of every nation to disobey the treaties until it leaves the European Union if necessary to respect popular sovereignty. They consider that the European institutions must be rendered obsolete in order to build another model of cooperation in Europe and in the world, freed from the institutional tools that the founders of the European Union gave themselves by and for capital. The nation remains for them the privileged ground of the class struggle.

Indeed, the position of the CPF has changed profoundly during the 1990s and since. But these choices were made without a sufficiently broad debate and the tenacious battle they called for was not really fought.

This highlights the serious lack of collective work that should have been initiated by successive national directorates at the same time as their inability to take action initiatives on these issues.

However, current events demonstrate every day that the responsibility of European countries has become considerable for genuine global co-development cooperation with poor and emerging countries and for peace.

We refuse to yield to the sirens of federalism. We are fighting the headlong rush into closer integration under the leadership of the Merkel-Macron duo. We reject a fortress Europe. Another European construction is necessary, faced with the aggressiveness of the imperial-liberalism of the United States, to take up colossal challenges: unemployment, exacerbated competition, the dictatorship of the dollar and world finance, global warming, the decline of bio-diversity, massive migrations of survival, social and territorial fractures, peace.... This is indispensable to counteract the effective loss of sovereignty caused by capitalist globalisation, to promote nations openly in equality and respect for their diversity.

If we are unlikely to be able to decide these questions at the next congress, it is essential that we educate them and confront them with the reality of great popular battles that will both carry anger and win victories.

Let us fight, in France, in Europe, with the progressive forces, with the communist parties

to mobilise money for employment, public services and goods and social protection, and thus for another role for the ECB.
against destructive competition and for new cooperation in solidarity between equal and respected sovereign nations.
against the militarisation of the European bloc accelerating the mad race towards major conflicts.
for other treaties enabling cooperation in solidarity between equal nations and sovereign peoples.
We want to change Europe for another globalisation.
V. For a new strategy of gathering and popular unity
The failure of the Left Front calls into question a strategic conception of gathering, of the relationship to struggles, to the battle of ideas and our aim, and of political practice. The agreement at the top, limited to a lowest common denominator, has taken precedence over everything else, thus renewing the shortcomings of previous experiences.

Our aim is democratic and revolutionary. It is therefore necessary a majority gathering, whose content is equal to the real transformation of the existing order in society, companies and institutions: this is the strategy of the PCF.

It involves constant debate, both with unitary construction partners and with workers and other citizens.

Our strategy constantly requires us to evaluate, to the point of readjusting them, how our initiatives in the struggles and our action in the institutions contribute to progress towards our aim. Important though they are, elections are only a moment in the revolutionary activity of the communists. And agreement on a program can only be a lever.

1. The social bases of the gathering

A popular unity is possible. However, it remains to be built, all the more so as the feeling of fractures and divisions has increased. The unification of the workforce is decisive. The world of work and creation in its great diversity (from the working class to managers, from nurses to teachers to researchers, from the unemployed to the precarious, from status workers to non-status workers, from young people to retirees, from artists to artisans to small farmers) has fundamentally common interests: to reverse the domination of financial capital. This is expressed by a growing common protest against unemployment, precariousness, low wages, the risks of decommissioning and alienation at work. This is also expressed in aspirations to lifelong learning, to mastering the meaning of one’s work, to sharing responsibility up to and including management, to mastering personal trajectories, to reducing working time for self-development and for a better life outside work.

The progress of these common factors is a threat for the big bosses, for their conception of the company. To support the leaders, Macron used the full force of the state with its reactionary reforms. They are working to recover the sensitivity of qualified employees to the issues of competitiveness, modernisation, efficiency and financing, while playing on the sensitivity of urban strata to ecological issues. They seek to integrate them into a gathering that would sacrifice workers, the working classes and the unemployed.

At the same time, they seek to cut the social demands of potential emancipators from the struggles of women, youth, foreign workers, as well as those concerning identities or ecology.

In contrast to this work of division, it is a question of making everyone aware of the fact that they are facing the same logic, the same adversary and how their own aspirations to be fulfilled have in common a double need: quality public services throughout the territory and job, training and income security.

Dominations - gender, generations, capitalism, racism... - reinforce each other. The struggles against these dominations can support each other for a common emancipation.

It is all this, the social basis of the gathering that we want.

2. The irreplaceable role of the Communist Party

It is necessary to aim for bold social objectives, to work constantly on contradictions in order to raise awareness of the need, in order to achieve them, to upset the logic of the system, both in terms of financial means and institutional powers. Who else but the Communist Party can assume this role, when the dominant ideas weigh so heavily, even among all our left-wing partners? The prevailing understanding of the agreement has so far opposed all this and has led to our erasure.

We are very attentive to the need for a new society as we are to the difficulties of the social movement and its contradictions. To contribute to their overcoming, we develop a body of ideas and proposals which, with the contribution of living Marxism, make it possible not to suffer the hegemony of dominant ideas, to shake them up and to bring effective answers to the problems posed. This is essential to change the balance of power, even to changes in institutions related to elections and struggles.

3. Being present with our own candidates in all elections

It is essential to be present with our own candidates in all elections. Our ambition is to have, by reinforcing the influence of our ideas, as many elected representatives as possible, at all levels. They act in the service of workers and their families, and to make a difference. However, the presidential election, the principle of which we oppose, is a structuring moment in political life. It is an opportunity for each formation to debate its project and its ideas. The party must work to create the conditions for a communist candidate in the 2022 presidential election.

The 2019 European elections deal with major issues and are a stage in the political process under way. The confinement of the debate in the false alternative "for or against Europe" is deadly for our class struggles. A further erasure of the party and its ideas in the name of the rally behind a possible head of the list from another political formation would have serious consequences in the municipal elections. Let us lead the battle on our ideas and build a broad gathering list initiated and led by the CPF.

4. Political Recomposition

The 2017 presidential election triggered a major political reshuffle. Macron manages to get through provisions that the big bosses have long dreamed of. He would not be, he claims, either right or left, and the only one to take up the challenges of modernity. There would be no alternative. He uses the extreme right on one side and Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the other. It can do so all the better because, on the right, and even more so on the left with the erasure of our party, no one opposes counter-proposals worthy of the challenges of the 21st century.

It is up to us to dispel illusions: we cannot get the country out of the crisis, without calling into question the capitalist dictatorship of profitability, by fighting to take power over the use of money. Many current examples demonstrate this: Ehpad, hospitals, relocations, Alstom, SNCF, ecology, local authorities, etc....

For the time being, there are important differences on the left: it is the responsibility of the CPF to publicly explain the terms in order to seek to overcome them.

The landscape to the left is devastated. The SP, very weakened, remains unable to free itself from social-liberalism and to make a critical assessment of the Dutch five-year period. Socialists seek to rebuild a social democratic pole. The environmental movement is in crisis. France Insoumise channels part of the left-wing electorate, but isolates it in the impasse of electoralism, in a protesting posture that seeks control over the social movement without respect for its claiming priorities and its need for independence. Jean-Luc Mélenchon draws the protest towards populist or even nationalist options. He plays with a word, apparently strong, which masks very reformist options. He evacuates the class dimension of combat, going so far as to declare that the management of the company is the business of the bosses alone.

The communist approach must be deployed in three directions: political construction, battle of ideas and social struggles.

5. An active popular and political union

We must walk on two legs: struggles and political constructions. This requires autonomous initiatives of the CPF politicizing the struggles, with constant openness to the debate of ideas, and at the same time the formulation of a strategic proposal to the entire left to open a truly alternative perspective to Macron.

Communists must constantly work for the broadest possible gathering of all wage and popular strata, to develop awareness of the contents and conditions of the necessary changes, and to create the conditions for the union of the forces of progress. This is not an end in itself: it is a means for the implementation of new policy choices. It is a question of building an active popular and political union to emerge from the crisis.

We must reach out and challenge all the political forces of the left, without any privileged partner a priori, on the answers to the precise questions posed by the struggles.

Tackling the domination of capital is decisive. But the idea that this is not a political issue predominates, just as it predominates in our people, including on the left, the idea that we could just adapt to it. That is the major obstacle that our party must address. This is decisive for reorienting our strategy and anchoring it.

6. The battle of ideas

We can no longer start by seeking agreement at the summit, by submitting "joint campaigns" there. This way of decreeing a unity by the top corsets the initiative of action and proposal of the CPF. It lowers the level of requirements and the need for consistency to be shared as widely as possible to win.

So, in addition to the fronts that struggles and current events impose, we propose that Congress decide on a permanent campaign on the cost of capital. We want to increase the radical challenge of the profitability criteria imposed by employers, shareholders, banks and financial markets, by opposing them the need for another use of money for employment, the creation of wealth in the territories, the satisfaction of social demands and ecological needs. Considered necessary by an overwhelming majority of communists, this campaign would be transversal to our various communist battles, social as well as societal, and would reinforce them.

Such battles in a strategy of the CPF as a vector of gathering and popular unity would help to build the necessary foundation to redress our influence and organized forces. They must make it possible to jointly mobilize activists, in the company and in the localities, and elected communists, in the diversity of their respective roles and political moments.

7. New relations with the social movement

Our relations with the social movement (trade unions, associations, ecological mobilisations, ZAD, Nuits debout...) must be rethought. It starts from concrete demands for the satisfaction of which it claims powers of intervention, in a non-delegatory dimension which makes it refuse to sink into the game of political alternation.

The CPF proposes to push back statism, the delegation of power. It wants to be part of the construction of a real alternative to the political forms of liberalism in crisis. It is therefore necessary and possible for it to build new relations with the social, trade union and associative movement. The search for alternatives would be powerless without a connection with those who are fighting for concrete objectives. And the components of the social movement are faced with the question of linking their struggles to the aim of an overall alternative without which they cannot lead to lasting victories.

VI. For a useful, active, bold and innovative, internationalist and revolutionary communist party
There is a need for a revolutionary party. This party cannot confine itself to supporting the struggles and echoing the protest against neo-liberalism. It must contribute to opening up the political perspectives that the struggles need to win sustainably. It must organize and work this in continuity, develop within it popular education, theoretical elaboration and exchanges.

The misguided break with the conception of a "guiding party" has led us to abandon our ambition to be at the forefront of struggles and ideas, to play the active role of scout that should be ours. This led to the suppression of what was the strength of our organization, especially the corporate party, and to an eclectic theoretical relativism at the expense of a living and open Marxism on the great debates of ideas.

Much work has been done in the party to analyse, understand the contemporary situation, its different aspects, its contradictions, its aggravation and formulate proposals. But the successive national directorates were unable or unwilling to create the conditions for the collective reflection of the communists so that they could appropriate and enrich these works. Under the pretext of facilitating a minimum gathering, the management has never sought to do the work of popular simplification of our proposals in the public debate with action initiatives capable of gathering.

Our proposals were practically only used in the Congress texts and, very little, in the election campaigns. Is this not at the root of the party’s loss of visibility and credibility? Many comrades sounded the alarm at different times.

Today, would Macron have as much space to impose reforms that all have as their pivot the fall in the "cost of labour" if the Communist Party had conducted a long-term campaign on the cost of capital?

This congress should give our party back a great revolutionary ambition and redefine its role.

The popular movement - and citizen intervention, however essential they are, are not spontaneously transformative, any more than communism develops naturally in society. Defending threatened social progress, contesting the sharing of wealth does not spontaneously lead to questioning the powers of employers and capital.

The creation of Social Security, a major social innovation that gave a foretaste of communism, did not fall from the sky. It was the product of a junction between considerable struggles and a revolutionary idea, translated by the communists in the institutions after the Liberation.

To make the majority demand for other choices, it is necessary to put forward original ideas capable of pushing back the hold of dominant ideas. We must move forward on transformative solutions equal to the transformation challenge posed by the crisis. Let us confront our proposals with the other political forces of the left, let us act so that the struggles take hold of them.

The identity of the CPF, in the class struggle of our time, is inseparably democratic and revolutionary.

Our action must have a twofold dimension: to contribute to bringing Macron together to back away until the conditions for an alternative policy are created and, inseparably, to promote progress towards overcoming capitalism.

1. Revitalize the organization of the party to the enterprise

Let us take the fight to the heart of the capitalist system: companies and banks. It is necessary to relaunch the organization of the party at the enterprise. This land has been abandoned. The 37th Congress had even decided on a National Council on this issue. It never happened.

Yet business is a decisive place of class struggle. A place of power over the economy, society and daily life, it is also a place where employers can impose their ideas. A place where experiences and mentalities are forged on which dominant ideas such as building a class consciousness can be imposed.

It is so true that successive governments, in the wake of the Medef, have never stopped making the company the central piece of their policy, seeking what Holland has been able to describe as a "historical compromise" of subjection of employees and society to employers’ objectives. With Macron, this project takes on a much greater scale by aiming at an unprecedented destruction of social achievements, while seeking to integrate as much as possible the wage-earning sector into its political choices from within the company.

To free politics from the dictatorship of the market, there must be effective social ownership of companies and banks, and of all the institutions linked to them. Just as we do not intend to delegate politics and the general interest to the top of the state, we must refuse to delegate the management of companies with the production of wealth to capitalists. The separation between economics and politics is at the heart of capitalism and its alienations. We want to go beyond it.

It is therefore vital to really revive, without contenting oneself with Congress promises, the life of the party and the organised struggle so indispensable in and around companies. It is also the condition for advancing a class consciousness and a political unity of the workforce in its diversity, on all the issues that concern it, in the company as in the city.

2. Bringing political battles to life in the territories

In the territories too, the Communist Party must engage in immediate local struggles, while seeking to advance ideas for change in politics and society. Thus through the defence of the various public services so necessary to the populations, we can make perceive the national and political stakes of the local decisions. It is up to us to explain that they result from a political logic: to reduce public and social expenditure at any cost, while sparing the capitalist waste which is the source of public deficits and debts, and to deliver whole sections of human activity to the market and to capitalist profits. We can use these local struggles to make proposals for a logic other than that of the rate of profit.

3. The elected

The existence of the party and its organization are essential to sustain such battles in proximity. The role of elected representatives is invaluable in giving them credibility and visibility, in giving them access to essential information, in bringing these struggles to the places of institutional power, whose levers of action must be used while showing their limits. It is together, activists and elected representatives, that we can create the balance of power that will enable us to wrest the means for a dignified life for everyone.

The challenge today for our party is to advance towards a participatory and intervention democracy, thus opening the way to the progressive construction of a self-managing democracy.

4. Training activists

This requires a new methodical effort and follow-up reorganization of the formation of militants at all levels of responsibility based on the contributions of living Marxism. It is not only a question of enabling them to appropriate them, but also of being able to be actors in the elaboration of our advances and proposals.

Starting from the fundamental role of class struggle in history and the role of capital, Marx’s critical analysis, going beyond so-called utopian socialism, laid the foundations for a much more rigorous vision of socialism and communism. It is from this analysis that he showed the need for the existence of communist parties and an International. Today, neither dogmatic sclerosis nor eclecticism confused with openness, we must encourage theoretical creative work in connection with struggles and experiences, with the ambition of a new cultural hegemony on the left and in society.

5. Work on a new party organization and its strengthening

For all this we need to analyse the functioning of the party lucidly. Since 2012, we have witnessed a presidentialist drift in the party itself, which has stripped the governing bodies and the communists themselves of any real control over decisions affecting the future of the party. The disappearance of the election of the national secretary by the CN for the benefit of the Congress participated in this presidentialization.

It is vital to really work towards a new organisation of our party and its strengthening.

Let us enhance the role, means and sovereignty of local organisations (territories and companies). The abandonment of the cells has in fact seriously impoverished the democratic life of the party and weakened its roots on the ground. This has helped to reduce the capacity of chapters to act and reduce the number of comrades participating in debates and initiatives. Building on our existing strengths and strengthening them, we must aim for a new effectiveness for action, strengthen our damaged social anchorage and seek a connection with what is emerging from new in society.

Sections must be designed for the development of their political life and action decision-making, well beyond the section GAs.

The departmental federations are essential. They must allow exchange, decision-making, coordinated action on the same department and support to the sections.

Without weakening the departmental level and without "styling" it, it is necessary to give the regional level a role commensurate with the responsibilities of the party.

The National Council, elected by Congress, is the only national governing body. It must be able to fully assume this responsibility. The CEN must serve to prepare its decisions and drive their implementation in connection with current events, and not to replace it. CN must be able to decide its agendas and regularly review the implementation of its decisions. It must be directed towards the reorganization and strengthening of the party.

Restructuring our organization requires a tenacious and intense effort. To progress, it is necessary to experiment, to mix experiences and to seek new ways of doing things. To share that. At all levels, management must be able to decide, monitor and evaluate them.

CommunistS should become an open medium for sharing information and experiences, instead of just being conceived as a management newsletter.

Humanity is essential for the CPF. She’s in danger. The communists spread it and support it financially. They wish to be involved in the necessary debate on its editorial orientation.

The content of the Party’s national communication is highly criticised. In connection with decisions of political reorientation, our means of communication must in particular be tools at the service of the precise battle of ideas on our proposals and allow an identification of the party.

Let us give four major immediate priorities:

identify, structure and develop our strengths in companies;

to make our party an exemplary feminist organization;

to become attractive again for young people and to give, with the necessary means and assistance, a new impetus to communist youth and student organisations;

take initiatives to help organize an international network of revolutionary forces for an internationalist battle for another globalization (peace, economy, climate, migrations...).

The principle of thematic or company networks in the CPF has been in place for several years. Many communists are involved. Is it not necessary, in order to conceive an effective development with regard to the objectives of the party, to carry out an evaluation under the responsibility of CN?

New technologies are a tool for efficiency, initiative, information transmission and consultation. We must be careful not to use it as a means of centralizing power and work on training to enable every communist to access it and thus combat the digital divide within our party. These technological means help militant work but do not replace the necessary debates in territorial and business organizations.

All of these represent important transformations in our party.

Experience shows that it is not enough to have a detailed record of decisions adopted at a congress, which will remain unimplemented. It is up to the congress to define a conception of the party and an organizational orientation. It is the new National Council which must be in charge of the development of precise decisions by placing these questions on its agenda. It will be necessary to examine the possible transformations of our statutes which these transformations call for on the basis of an assessment of experience, with a view to the 39th Congress.

In any case, to change this society, the party must allow the political intervention of workers and all those who are excluded, in the proximity as well as at the national and international levels. This will take a lot of effort. But local political life, training and access to responsibilities are indispensable for, in the same movement, repoliticizing, responding to the political crisis and starting to undertake revolutionary transformations.

We choose communism!
The world needs revolution. It needs communist ideas, a communist manifesto for the 21st century. Our people need a Communist Party, rich in the commitment and diversity of its militants, a Communist Party united in action for what is its raison d’être: to go beyond capitalism until its abolition, until the construction of a new civilization free from exploitation and all oppression.

"One day, however, a day will come in the colour of orange

A palm day a day of foliage at the front

A naked shoulder day when people will love each other

A day like a bird on the highest branch"

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