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National Assembly. André Chassaigne: "We Are Living a Historical Moment"

Translated Monday 3 December 2018

Interview published in l’Humanité on Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Faced with the majority’s carelessness in the face of the Yellow Vests’ mobilisations, the Communist deputies intend to table a motion of censure. Their leader explains why the government must change.

Huma Why did you take the initiative to solicit other parliamentary groups to table a motion of censure?

André Chassaigne While our fellow citizens continue, in various forms, to mobilize to reject the policy of the president of the ultra-rich, it is urgent to take strong action. The communist deputies therefore decided to use the institutional weapon at their disposal to counter the government’s catastrophic management of this crisis. We have therefore asked the deputies of the France Insoumise and the socialist deputies to table this motion of censure, which aims to obtain the resignation of the government.

Huma You must have at least one-tenth of the National Assembly, or 58 members, to table the motion. Are you confident?

André Chassaigne Our three groups have 62 members. And the voice of the people is strong enough for us to have the input of progressive MPs of other sensibilities. But the most important thing is that the members of the parliamentary majority take their responsibilities and vote on this motion to carry the voice of the majority that is expressed in the country.

Huma Why do we have to change governments? How is this one no longer legitimate?

André Chassaigne The government has failed to persist in a contemptuous attitude that fuels legitimate anger. His stubbornness in "maintaining the course" at all costs threatens civil peace and weakens the economic activity of our territories. Its censorship would constitute the birth certificate of a new government, whose mandate could not ignore the legitimate economic and social demands of the popular movement that is currently crossing our country.

Huma The Yellow Vests have put social issues back at the heart of the political debate. What is your analysis of this movement, which is destabilizing macronist power, when previous social mobilizations had failed?

André Chassaigne I read the "people’s directives" sent to the MPs by their spokespersons, I saw this Saturday the images of the junction of the yellow and red CGT vests, I exchanged views with demonstrators in my riding. It is undeniable: social issues are clearly at the heart of all mobilizations. And these are the demands that communist militants and parliamentarians consistently and decisively make. After speaking at the announcement of the increase in taxes on gasoline and diesel, anger raised awareness of the need for a radical policy change. We are living in a historical moment where the combination of mobilizations finally opens up real prospects for social progress in connection with ecological progress.

Huma One of the specific features of this movement is its autonomy from trade unions and political parties. What does this mistrust reveal and what role can political organizations, particularly the PCF, play?

André Chassaigne This requirement for autonomy expresses a great distrust of trade union and political organisations. A mistrust that the President of the Republic and the government have constantly nurtured by excluding the constituted bodies. They are now paying a heavy price and are aware of how difficult it is to engage in dialogue in the face of unstructured movements. Our responsibility today is to provide answers by taking into account the challenge of our institutions, with which we are associated. We must intensify exchanges with all those who are mobilizing, make our proposals and actions known in order to bring them to fruition, and relay the demands with strength and the will to obtain concrete results. For the past eighteen months, we have been bringing this cry from our people, this cry from the world of work and our territories, to the Chamber. Since the first day of the mobilisation of the yellow vests, we have been at their side. And it is together that we can get the government to resign. The tabling of a motion of censure is one of the levers to be used to force the power to transpose into law as quickly as possible the demands expressed by the multiple mobilizations.

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