National executive committee – Declaration of 30 January 2017

Just 83 days from the first round of the presidential elections, the outcome is far from evident. A second round nightmare facing off François Fillon and Marine le Pen, which the media have been predicting for months, is no longer a foregone conclusion.

Another story remains to be written. The women and men of France have a voice in this matter, and they are speaking out, refusing to simply accept to the scenarios on offer, refusing to follow certain politicians down the blind alley of their policy proposals.

A few weeks ago, the “right and centre” primaries were given constant airtime, not as a platform for designating the candidate on the right, but as if the voters were choosing the next president of the French Republic. But today, François Fillon has been hit with a serious setback and his popularity ratings have plummeted: his ultra-reactionary programme of social regression has raised awareness and sparked reactions to his threatened attacks on the basic aspiration of the French people, in particular with regard to health care and access to other quality pubic services.

A deep and certainly lasting doubt has arisen concerning one of Mr. Fillon’s main campaign claims – that he is an honest man. The women and men of France are no longer willing to compromise on ethics in politics, with good reason.

The National Front seeks to take advantage of this situation by disguising its programme under a mask of social concern and projecting an image of integrity while their involvement in seams “affairs” regularly comes to light. This sham can be revealed for the fakery it is if the battle of ideas is fought in the weeks to come.

So the die is not cast, but neither is the contest won. We must work for a victory for policies from the left.

The people of the left refuse to be discouraged, and reject the continued pursuit of the disastrous policies of the current government, characterized by submission to the world of finance. Around the country, there have been numerous demonstrations against redundancy plans, and in support of pubic services. The people demand that their calls for action be followed up by policy changes, in particular against measures on the deprivation of nationality and the so-called El Khomri labour laws.

The people forced François Hollande to back down from seeking a second term, and then, in the Socialist primary, struck Manuel Valls from the list of presidential hopefuls. An unprecedented turn of events: neither the President of the Republic nor his Prime Minister, both of whom sought to anchor the Socialist Party firmly in the current of social-liberalism, will be candidates. The political project to durably marginalize any ambition for social transformation has been dealt a blow, leaving room for action from the left: the PCF, which has contributed to this movement, along with others, is quite pleased.

A new period of electoral campaigning for the presidency and the legislature is starting in a context of growing pressure from millions of voters who are looking to the left for hope.

Last Sunday,Benoît Hamon, designated as the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate, made an appeal to other forces to “work together to build a coherent, sustainable governmental majority for social, economic and democratic progress”.

The French Communist Party, engaged in the campaign for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, calls for expanded efforts to bring the political debate before the people, affirming the demand for change and new coalitions to bring this change about. As we have done over the past year, we will continue to support numerous initiatives to enable victory for the left – a left based on ideals of social and environmental progress – and the constitution of a political majority that will implement policies that are firmly progressive.

We call for an intensification of the campaign against the right and the far right, to stop them from reaching the second round of presidential elections, to block their projects for a servile Republic, divided, exasperated and iniquitous.

We call for an intensification of the campaign to unmask Macron, whose neo-liberal project finds broad support in the business and banking world.

We call for the intensification of the campaign for union that the Communist Party launched with its proposals for La France en commun (France in Common), for the presidential election and in all districts where legislatives seats are at stake.

Legislative elections are more than ever an essential phase for building a majority to vote on laws in the name of and the interests of the people! We need no MPs from Fillon’s party to sacrifice Social Security (national health care); no MPs from Macron’s party to pass laws that aim for the general “uberisation” of the labour market; no MPs from Le Pen’s National Front to trample the values of the Republic underfoot. We need MPs from the Communist-Left Front group, people of ethics, people from the left, determined to fight the powers of finance and draft laws that serve the pubic interest and human emancipation, promoting a genuine alternative for social progress.

We call on all of the forces of the left to open up to dialogue, to debate on projects and platforms, to work for the greatest convergence possible to create a pact for a majority.

The PCF declares that we are ready to participate in any useful meeting and contribute to the debate in which the left must engage, in particular with regard to our major issues and our proposals for policies that are truly on the left.

a) France needs to define an ambitious plan for social progress, the elimination of unemployment, poverty and uncertainty through job security and training programmes, salary increases, equal pay, the development of public health services and social protection; throughout France there should be equal access to all such public programmes and services.

b) France needs a call to arms to fight financial powers: targeting tax evasion; restructuring the banking sector to create a public banking and finance sector; nationalising BNP-Paribas and the Société Générale; redirecting credit, profits and corporate subsidies to serve job creation and human needs. The European Central Bank should be acting against speculation and tax evasion and in favour of employment and the public sector.

c) France needs to find a new way of production and development through the alliance of new industrialisation, the Social Economy of Solidarity, support for traditional agriculture, and a programme for an energy transition that will protect the environment and improve the air we all breathe!

d) France needs a VI Republic, more democratic, where the people have a greater voice; the Parliament should be elected on a proportional basis; the “presidential monarchy” dismantled; new powers should be given to the workers, as Pierre Laurent expressed in his speech on Saturday 28 January in Paris, at la Rotonde on Place Stalingrad.

e) France needs a proactive European policy, to use our influence to ally with progressive forces from other countries and bring an end to the politics of austerity; Europe must break free of the domination of finance, move towards sustainable development and solidarity. Regional union, built on the sovereign choices of people, can bring about a world of cooperation and peace at a time when the security of all is under a severe threat following the election of Donald Trump.

National initiatives sponsored by the PCF, such as the initiative on social progress in Port-de-Bouc on 7 February, as well as local initiatives, are opportunities for other forces, for individuals and groups to join with us in this common cause.

The Communist Party is ready to respond to invitations to participate in events that move us all forward, and will be present at the meeting called by the Appel des 100 (appeal by 100 signatories) on Friday 3 February.

We invite our activists, elected officials and legislative candidates to deploy the campaign in all districts, to build the broadest union through dialogue and action, so that next June’s Parliamentary session may open its doors to the people and its aspirations.

Paris, 30 January 2017.

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