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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: "Notre engagement est un atout du rassemblement"

by Pierre Laurent (interview with Marie-George Buffet)

"Our Engagement is an Encouragement to Unity"

Translated Tuesday 12 September 2006, by Henry Crapo

Interview with Marie-George Buffet, national secretary of the French Communist Party.

It was a heavily-charged weekend for Marie-George Buffet. After the meeting of the National Council of the PCF (French Communist Party), on Friday and Saturday, she participated on Sunday in the national assenbly of anti-liberal collectives. Despite this engagement, she did not miss, yesterday noon, during a short lunch-break between two sessions of the assembly, the popular banquet organized by the communists in her circumscription on the construction site of the Fête de l’Humanité, with several hundred participants. We met with her in order to take the pulse of the communists at the conclusion of these meetings.

Huma: At the conclusion of these two rendez-vous, which were said to be important, what was the state of mind of the communists?

Marie-George Buffet: The meeting of our National Council confirmed the orientations established by the Congress, that is the engagement of the communists in a battle that will permit the Left to beat the forces of the Right in 2007, to become majoritary, to be the standard bearers of a political program that will truly change people’s lives, that allows itself the financial and democratic means necessary to another politics, and the means to undo the vise-grip of European politics. This measure,with its political content, is accompanied by a will to create a large assembly around the program and the content. I could see that this ambition was similar to that expressed in the meeting of the collectives, where propositions aiming to reduce the breadth of our rallying of potential allies met a firm refusal by the participants, who said clearly, "Our ambition is to create a majority for a political platform of social transformation". Between the meeting of the National Council and that of the collectives, I detected a shared will to action. There are still, of course, in one meeting as in the other, debates on the political translation of this movement for rallying, how the ambition translates into common candidatures, and, above all, about this trap which is the presidential election.

Huma: Concerning this, what about the argument that any candidate drawn from a political party would be an obstacle?

Marie-George Buffet: I feel that that is a position of disunity. For two years already we work together for the "Non" on the referendum, against the CPE (First job contract), to open the way for change. We are all citizens engaged in associations, social work, unions, and politics. We have, justly so, created something new, how to speak together as equals. The Communist party has fully assumed its role in this process. Fully invested in the unitary dynamics, and has most naturally signed the appeal for an anti-liberal rallying. The Communists have fully played their role in making clear the ambition of this rallying, not letting us drift toward a token candidate, because what can really motivate the masses is not to repeat that we refuse to participate in a socio-liberal government (yes, we are agreed on that point), but to say that we aim for a majority around a political platform that provides itself with the means for change and carries with it a new conception of political power. In the same way, the Communists have contributed to enriching the Antiliberal Charter with precise propositions, thanks to work carried out in our Congress, with militants, and with our elected officials. So don’t ask us to provide proofs of our engagement, of which our acts, throughout the referendum campaign and in the construction of this rallying, provide adequate testimony. I feel that the Communist Party, far from being an obstacle, is rather a benefit, making concrete contributions in order that this rallying have a backbone.

To pretend that the Communists are some sort of infantry, whom one can ask to disappear into the cupboards when it comes time to select candidates, would be to amputate the limbs of the rallying, and would declare that this rallying "has no future".

Huma: So you intend to continue to play a fully active role in this rallying?

Marie-George Buffet: Yes, we’re in this to the end, that’s the message of our National Council. So that the Right does not continue to rule another five years, especially when headed by a president who is Atlantist, ultra-liberal, and one who divides the people. So that the Left, not leading to yet another disillusionment, may construct the needed change, and push the Right in the opposition for a long time. We intend to engage ourselves, and be counted for what we are, and for what we bring to, this rallying. In this direction, and this has nothing to do with some partisan esprit de boutique, the proposition, made at our Congress, that the common candidate be drawn from our party, remains valid. I made my own readiness clear, and made clear in what spirit, with a collective of spokespersons in a spirit of equality, and in devoting myself exclusively to that task. If one admits to oneself that it’s a question of carrying the combat as far as possible, making the Left really move, with a real ambition for a majority in transformation, not for 2%, then I can say for myself, and for the Party and the Communists, that we intend to invest ourselves fully, with much will and ambition.

Translator’s note. Related articles:

Hope is Present at the Meeting of Anti-liberal Forces

A provisional group of spokespersons

"We want it to change, and really to change"

The decisions taken in Saint-Denis

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