French Communists call for left unity

Declaration by Pierre Laurent: French Communists call for left unity to block the road to Macron’s counter-reforms and the Front National

This evening, the candidate of the Front National has been soundly beaten. This is a great relief. Sixty five percent of the voters did not want the head of the state to be someone embodying the FN’s ideas of hatred and division, their racist and xenophobic project, their violently discriminatory, neoliberal and warlike policies.

We Communists are proud to have worked with clarity on this defeat because we know that the FN project continues to threaten the Republic and its unity.

We do not want it, not at any price today or tomorrow.

But tonight, our party is not celebrating. Our country is going through a dangerous and difficult process. This second round sounds, again, a very serious wake up call for all those who are committed to democracy and equality. Marine Le Pen got 35% – 14% more than in the first round.

This is the result of the ‘normalisation’ of ideas of the extreme right that we are more than ever determined to fight. It is also the result of decades of governments hostile to popular interests, and the betrayals and disappointments of successive governments.

We share tonight the profound anger of the millions of people who felt trapped by the terrible choice in this second round of the election. A trap orchestrated by the mechanisms of this clapped out and perverse Fifth Republic. In the future, we do not want to be forced to vote by default to beat the extreme right. We do not want to see the vote for a neoliberal candidate so high.

To do this, we must build towards the victory of a real change in policy that frees France from the tutelage of the financial markets, which proclaims ‘people first’, which tackles the dominance of finance capital by conquering new powers at all levels, which opens the way to a new society of happiness, solidarity, justice, ecology, peace and equality.

These progressive objectives will not be achieved by Emmanuel Macron, candidate of the financial elite. He wants to marketise everything in society. His election is fragile. Millions of voters who voted Macron did so only to block Marine Le Pen’s road to the Elysee Palace. Even in the first round, there were many who voted Macron solely to stop the second round being a run-off between Le Pen and the right-wing Republican Francois Fillon.

Macron’s project is fragile – his plans, embodying reactionary, regressive social policies, do not have a majority in society.

What remains on the agenda is the construction of an alternative social, ecological and democratic transformation in this country and the construction of a new majority to carry it through. Starting tomorrow, and throughout the next five years of the Macron presidency, Communists will be mobilised to advance in this direction with all those on the left who will unite with us for these objectives.

To defeat a Labour Code, which would weaken workers’ rights, we will propose employment and training security to eradicate unemployment and precariousness by creating new powers to force companies and banks to comply, despite the pressure of the financial markets.

We will propose plans to defend and extend social security, against the Macron plans to limit pension rights and privatise social security.

We will put forward a plan to revitalise local and public services, against the plans to sack 120,000 state employees and cut public expenditure by 60 billion euros.

Against plans for authoritarian government based on presidential edicts, we will demand respect for democracy.

We will be fighting against the anti-social projects of Macron, against the ultra-reactionary projects of the right and the extreme right.

It is in this spirit that we want to conduct the legislative elections of 11 and 18 June. The PCF has begun this evening with all its strength. Neither Marcron nor anybody else has a parliamentary majority at this time. In five weeks’ time, our people have a new chance to decide on their present and their future.

Thanks to the vote of millions of citizens for Jean-Luc Mélenchon on April 23rd, with all the forces that supported his candidacy and all those who can join us, we can go very confidently together to elect a strong National Assembly representation, to win a new majority to take action.

We can win in very many constituencies. If the Left is disunited, gains will be limited and this will leave room for Macron’s ‘En Marche’ right, or the extreme right. We have a great common responsibility in front of all the left and environmental voters. It is they who demand we unite.

For this, a broad, equitable and representative national agreement, under a common banner that brings us all together, France Insoumise, the Communist Party, Ensemble, and the Front de Gauche is necessary.

This corresponds to the expectation and the hope of the majority of voters who voted on April 23 for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The Communist Party is ready for such an agreement.

In any case, together we can act to block the road to the Front National in many constituencies where it has been implanted for a long time.

We can choose from each constituency the candidate who will give us the maximum chances of winning.

We are calling again this evening a solemn appeal to the political leaders of France Insoumise: it is not too late to reach such a national agreement. And we remain ready, if this ambition is not shared, to even a more limited agreement. We call for dialogue throughout the country in the coming hours.

Our party is engaged in these elections with an ambition: ‘Bring the people into the Assembly’.

The Communist-Front de Gauche candidates we support, reflect the face of France from the world of work, from the private sector as well as the public, working in all occupations, trade unionists, people working in their areas and of various origins, young candidates carrying out a political renewal as well as experienced women and men, for their responsibility as local elected representatives.

With them, this Thursday, May 11 at 7 pm, we will launch our national campaign at a major meeting at the Japy gymnasium in Paris.

Let us be strong and united tomorrow to continue the struggle against the extreme right and to push back ideas of social regression.

Let us be strong and united now, to engage resistance and advance alternative projects to the policy of social vandalism and worsening inequalities that the new President intends to implement.

Let us concretize thus the promise of a new left, born in the ballot boxes which gave so many Left votes in the April 23 first round of the presidential election.

Pierre Laurent, 7th May 2017


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