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Declaration by Pierre Laurent, National Secretary of the French Communist Party

The first voting returns for the regional elections available at this time confirm that France is facing a serious social and democratic emergency. In our country, where millions and millions suffer intensely from unemployment, unstable living conditions, and the manipulation of our lives and work by financial powers, apprehension in regard to the future wears away at the spirit of many citizens; the attacks of November 13 have added fear to the ambient social insecurity. Next Sunday’s elections present a very real threat that most, or even all of the 13 new regions of France will be led the far right. This would be a catastrophe that the great majority of our people would pay for dearly.

It is an extremely dangerous situation for our country because, following the European elections, the National Front has reinforced its position as the leading political party. The unconcealed racism of it neoliberal-populist programme is an explicit challenge to the values of our Republic: liberty, fraternity, equality. In this context, more that 50% of voters chose to abstain, showing their massive distrust – now structural – of the increasing failure of our democracy to serve the people. Anger continues to build  against broken promises, commitments made and ignored.

The results obviously bear the mark of the exceptional environment in which the elections took place. The real issues involved in these elections were deliberately minimised. Since the November 13 attacks, the fears that they roused and the worry stimulated by the state of emergency have been widely manipulated and complicated the voting process. How did we reach this point? For years the financial powers have been attacking workers, capitalist globalisation has forced deregulation upon us, fiercely neoliberal European policies have broken down solidarity. The dominant worldview has beaten back all attempts to open new paths to social transformation.

The responsibility of successive governments is immense: for ten years, against the will of the majority of people, they have implemented ever more brutal austerity measures with ever more authoritarian methods. The political, economic and social deadlock they devised has entrenched the people in rejection of politics with no hope for change.

The rise of the National Front has been supported by this rejection as the right-wing Républicains and the UDI as well as the leaders of the Socialist Party have done their best to shore up the National Front, to establish it as their main “competition”, using it as a foil to preserve their own hegemony. They have trivialised National Front ideas, with an aim to snuffing out all hope of social transformation and promoting their own projects of political recomposition. The result is the political disaster that we see today. Communists will never be resigned. Neither shall the many democrats and voters from all parties on the left who cannot accept this deadly scenario. We must unite in action now more than ever.

In elections where Communists were engaged with the Left Front (Front de gauche) and citizen and environmental groups, we worked together to open a new path forward, against austerity, for solidarity and shared human progress. Tonight, the votes won by these lists provide a base for the battles to come and to defeat the right and the National Front in the second round of elections. The number of votes is clearly insufficient. Our aspirations for the future remain. Tonight, these voters deserve respect: nothing will be possible for the left without them.

Tonight, one thing is certain. The great challenge of the new political period that begins now will be to build a new project on the left, grounded in solidarity and fraternity for our country and our Republic. This project will be one of solidarity, shared prosperity and peace; it will not be a project for war, competition and self-interest. In the weeks and months to come, the Communists will turn to all available citizen, social and political forces to start the necessary initiatives for the political construction of this new pact for the future of France, which the current leaders of our country have been absolutely incapable of doing.

For the second round, the French Communist Party wants to respect the will of the voters who placed their confidence in the citizen and Front de gauche lists in the first round. These voters deserve to be represented by elected officials they trust; they deserve regional governments, with their expanded powers that strongly impact daily life, which include representative of the left who are determined to pursue the fight against austerity through the advancement of public policies of solidarity. To defeat the right and push back the extreme danger of the National Front, the French Communist Party calls for second round lists that unite the different left lists of the first round.

These lists are not to be seen as a given party rallying to another; only by adding our forces together will we be able to prevent the total victory of the right and the far right. In regional assemblies, Communist members will be free to proceed on the basis of their commitments made to first-round

voters, with the objective of advancing all courses of action that will help our people to live better lives.

France cannot remain at a standstill… Our people demand change, unity and meaning to escape from the current impasse. It is urgent that we place the needs of human beings, not the word of finance, at the heart of all social issues.

Sunday, 6 December

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