Protect the population, the Republic and fundamental freedoms. Promote the victory of peace, solidarity and progress

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Attacks on November 13th:

Protect the population, the Republic and fundamental freedoms. Promote the victory of peace, solidarity and progress.

The attacks that hit France on the night of Friday November 13th were the most serious terrorist acts ever perpetrated on our soil, leaving 129 dead and 352 injured. We are all deeply wounded and infinitely sad. We hold dear the memory of those who lost their lives and offer our support to all those who experienced the horror of that night, those who lost a loved one or friend, or who are standing by victims still struggling to survive. We applaud the exemplary actions of public safety, health and security agents, the police and other national and local civil servants.

Each one of us, and all of humanity, was hit by the assassins in Paris and Saint-Denis on November 13th.

In Beirut the night before, November 12th; in Ankara, last October 10th; in Sousse Tunisia in March: assassins under the command and following orders of Daesh (a.k.a. Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL) struck in busy, popular neighbourhoods, places where people meet, relax, enjoy sports or cultural activities, seeking to make as many victims as possible. In each case, young people were targeted above all.

They want to establish a permanent climate of terror, hatred, division and violence – and those who answer them with words of war only fuel their fury.

Protect the population and protect the Republic and democracy

The safety of all is our priority and it must be ensured, but it cannot be dissociated from the protection of freedoms and basic rights that are the foundation of our Republic. To sacrifice any part of our freedom would be a victory for Daesh terrorists. Indeed, for Daesh, terrorist actions in our country seek to push French society into contradiction with our democratic values and to create a situation of chaos. This is called the “strategy of tension”, a tool of terrorism. The objective of Daesh terrorist actions is not a military victory in France, but the political destabilisation of society through terror and fear.

We reject the notion of “the enemy within”, which has echoes of the darkest moments of our history. All of the people in our country have been affected and are united in paying tribute to the victims. And all of the people of France, without discrimination in regard to origin, culture, political, philosophical or religious affiliation, must be protected and enjoy the full benefits of civil peace.

We approved the declaration of the State of Emergency in the hours following the attack of November 13th, but the French Communist Party will support an extension only after weighing the risk to the principles of protection of the population, the Republic, and fundamental freedoms; the parliament must deliberate on any extension in accordance with the law. In any event, this situation, which involves restriction of public freedom, can only be accepted on a temporary basis.

The president has invented the dubious neologism terrorisme de guerre (English language newspapers have generally quoted the president as saying “France is at war”: translator’s note) in order to “demand a constitution that can manage a state in crisis". To create a constitutional reform from scratch, as the president announced on November 16th, is an extremely serious matter, and can only encourage Daesh in its objective of spreading death and terror. We cannot fall into Daesh’s trap, nor can we leave the field free for those who would take the opportunity of the unspeakable events of last Friday to diminish our liberty and rights.

In this regard, the escalation of a discourse focused on war, security and identify, as advanced by the right and the National Front in particular (they have created a vile poster campaign Choisissez votre banlieue – presenting a “choice” between a veiled woman and a young girl with French colours on her cheeks, ready to go to a football match) can only be condemned and combated assertively. This poster, like the scandalous anti-immigration, anti-foreigner demonstration in Pontivy, Brittany (which ended in violence and four police complaints), should have been prohibited on grounds of disturbing the peace. The government cannot let such acts go unchecked.

For Communists, there is no ambiguity: any form of stigmatisation or suspicion in our country regarding Muslims must be condemned with firmness and determination. Any racist or xenophobic aggression, verbal or physical, can only be considered as an aggression against all of the people of France.

We do not accept that the refugees in France and in Europe should be the scapegoats of terrorism: they are the first victims of Daesh, the Syrian regime and more generally, of war. The odious conflation expressed by the right and the far right is not only false, it is dangerous. The right of asylum must be fully respected in France and in Europe.

Rather than new laws or political announcements, the protection of the entire population on our soil above all requires human and material means for justice, the police, civil security, health, intelligence services and the operational defence of the country. All of these needs, along with public spending in general, have been sacrificed to austerity measures that serve the financial markets.

A parliamentary evaluation of policies and means engaged in the fight against terrorism is necessary, beginning with the information law that was recently passed and condemned by both intelligence specialists and human rights activists.

The measures taken to combat terrorism cannot be only executive decisions; they must be strictly controlled by law and given parliamentary consideration within two weeks.

The Republic for all: a progressive response to the terrorist threat to divide French society

The real sustainable answer to the terrorist aggression of Daesh is the resistance of the French people, in our diversity and unity. We must say together: “You hit us, but your action is destined to fail: you will not defeat us, you will only seal our unified aspiration for peace and our values of liberty, equality and fraternity that are the foundation of our Republic and our democracy”.

This genuine, popular national unity can only be shaped if our country faces up to the inequalities, discrimination, domination, racism and injustice that erode us from within. When a significant number of French youth join the ranks of jihad, falling into abjection, French society must question the world of violence, war and chaos that we live in, and the state of our society where too many young people feel out of place, search in vain for meaning, see money as the ultimate gauge of value; a world where the worst forms of violence are glorified. When Prime Minister Valls speaks of “social apartheid”, he is giving a name to the abandonment of a whole swathe of the population. We, on the contrary, are partisans of the Republic; of more public service; ambitious cultural, political, and sport policies. French society needs to build itself up around a collective, liberating hope and struggles that will lead to emancipation.

In the exceptional conditions created by the attacks, how will the regional elections scheduled for December unfold? Maintaining the elections is an act of democratic affirmation, but it is indispensible that exceptional measures be taken in turn to guarantee voters’ freedom of choice, pluralism, equal treatment of candidates and voter participation. Media, especially public media, can and must play a major role in this regard: far-reaching modifications of election campaign organisation are needed. It is neither normal nor admissible that, following the meeting at the Élysée and the parliamentary session, November 15th and 16th, the declarations of the French Communist Party’s national secretary and the group’s chairmen were censored, purely and simply.

This election will be the people’s first opportunity to make a national political statement since November 13th.

Above all, it is important to achieve a high level of participation, an act of public resistance, a massive show of democracy in the face of terror.

It is an opportunity to express political choices: priority to social justice, to real democracy, to the development and humanisation of public services; a unified front against austerity, the rule of the rich, social and cultural desertification. Our candidates and our lists are the only ones to defend policies that will promote job creation and reboot industry, develop all public services, encourage thermal renovation and housing construction, and more.

We also oppose policies that would further divide the people of France, set individuals and terrorists against each other in competition, and stigmatise some.

The list of Communist and Left Front candidates means to defend choices that are truly of the left, using regional policies as democratic levers to bring improvements to the lives of our fellow citizens, to give meaning to politics and to take back power over our lives.

Whatever makes society strong, whatever makes social relations more human, will push back violence.

The French Communist Party calls on all activists, in these exceptional and difficult circumstances, to resume the election campaign in all dignity and with an aim to participating in citizens’ mobilisation.

We want to, we must, resist the logic of war

Building a society based on common good is the best defence against violence and chaos born of the systemic crisis of capitalism and its contradictions.

The para-military methods used by this new type of mercenary, galvanised by obscurantism, must not cloud our vision of the nature of the problems that we are facing – indeed that people around the world are facing. Those who are saying that “France is at war in its own land” incur a heavy responsibility.

The goal of Daesh is to draw France and “the West” deeper into the conflicts in the Middle East, Syria and especially in Iraq. The involvement of western military powers – and we have observed the effects of the war in Iraq, its collapse and the destabilisation of Syria – is exactly what Daesh wants, strategically and ideologically. Its strategy of “war at all costs” consists in polarising the situation by isolating the democratic and progressive forces of Iraq and Syria, positioning itself as the central player and the only alternative to foreign powers’ ambitions in the region.

Countering terrorist violence with military might alone and without any political strategy aiming for a return to peace and development for the entire region would be a grave error and enable Daesh to achieve the goals of its war: the capture of territories and wealth, the control of populations, the establishment of a caliphate built upon the ruins of Iraq and Syria. Daesh has a political project for this region of the world.

As a promoter and crafter of the so-called “war of civilisations”, Daesh is setting a trap for French society and the people of the Near and Middle East – a genuine war zone – and indeed for all the people of the world.

Our country and our people have the opportunity and the capacity to avoid this trap. Together, we can refuse terrorism and the ideology that feeds it here in France, and the wars that ravage the Near and Middle East that serve as terror’s justification.

The French Communist Party stands in solidarity with people struggling in the Near and Middle East and Africa.

We stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants; France and Europe owe them hospitality and asylum. Our solidarity extends to the forces of democracy in Syria and Iraq, as well as the people in Rojava and the Kurdish YPG, who are on the front lines combating Daesh; we offer our solidarity to the Yazidi in Iraq, to the Lebanese, the Tunisians, the Afghans, the Libyans and the Eritreans: to all people who are subject to Daesh and jihadist violence. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, whom the great powers of western nations and the government of B. Netanyahu have decided to sacrifice.

We want to increase our solidarity with all democratic and progressive forces in these countries, as they struggle for peace and to defend the interests of their people; to free the Near and Middle East and Africa from domination, exploitation and oppression. The Kurds in Rojava, Syrian Kurdistan, have clashed violently with Daesh in the military field in defence of their country, Syria, as well as the region; they are in favour of a democratic, egalitarian, secular, multicultural and environmentally friendly society – the exact opposite of the political goals of Daesh and the Islamists, shared by all authoritarian regimes and theocracies. Our place is with the forces of emancipation.

To emerge from chaos, we must act on several fronts at once, but always stay focused on a single objective: peace must triumph over war.

It is possible to stop the war in Iraq and Syria

This means that France must draw from the lessons of the past and seriously reconsider its choices with regard to foreign policy in the Near and Middle East and Africa over the past decades. By choosing to re-integrate NATO, by giving priority to military operations and thus becoming a leading interventionist, by opting for the language of war to the detriment of political, diplomatic and cooperative actions in favour of peace and development in the region, France has contributed to the chaos that the people of the Near and Middle East suffer. Under pressure from world powers (the United States, Europe, Russia), they are given little to choose from besides dictatorial regimes or submission to violent forces and obscurantist brutes.

A completely new paradigm is needed, and new choices can be made as of today.

France must take initiatives to contribute to a multilateral and international effort to enable the people of the region to recover control of their resources and wealth, to rebuild their States on the basis of rule of law and democracy, and the respect of sovereignty. This is in the interests of all the peoples of the world.

The UN must be brought back to the centre of diplomatic and political initiatives. This is the case at present with the Vienna conference on the Syrian transition. France must be resolute in seeking political solutions that unite all the countries of the region around a single objective: it is necessary to work as of today to create the conditions for a regional framework for cooperation and security, aiming to establish peace through major development and infrastructure projects that will benefit the people and the countries of the region. France should contribute to this effort.

In the short term, cutting off the sources of violence throughout the region means ending the war in Syria and Iraq through a three-pronged approach: military, diplomatic and economic. No one approach will work without the other two.

  • Militarily, under the aegis of the UN, through a multilateral, international mobilisation supported by regional forces united to defeat Daesh by supporting democratic forces in Syria and Iraq, including the Syrian Kurds of the PYD, which is fighting Daesh and jihadist groups. We must dry up the oil resources and the customer network established by Daesh and jihadist groups, remove their financial, military and human resources as well.

  • Diplomatically, this means that today we must enable Syria and Iraq to prepare for the future, the reconstruction of their States and the cohesion of their societies and development. The success of the Vienna talks will be decisive and France must act with this objective in view.

  • Economically, this means we need to work right now to implement actions that will meet the huge social, human and economic needs of the peoples of the region. No perspectives can open in the region – or indeed anywhere in the world – if economic and trade relations are based on free-trade agreements that deprive the people of the benefits of their resources and shift profits to multinational and transnational corporations that promote the dominance of globalisation by financial capitalism.

Our country must take the lead in the movement for multilateral disarmament, must stop contributing to the arms trade, and, as with the Iranian nuclear agreement, must work for the complete eradication of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction.

France must return to independent foreign policy and national defence, in order to promote the culture of peace.

The French Communist Party, its elected representatives and activists are ready to bring this elemental struggle to life, to fight for liberty, equality, fraternity and peace; to defeat the forces of violence and hatred.