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International Communist and Labor Press

A First Step has been made Towards an Extraordinary Congress!

Translated Thursday 19 July 2018, by Stephen Chalk

The text Pour un Manifeste du Parti communiste du 21ème siècle [“Towards a Manifesto of the Communist Party of the 21st Century”] has now been tabled, with the support of almost 1,300 signatures. It marks the completion of a first step towards an extraordinary Congress.

Beyond their different opinions, the initiators and supporters of this common base of discussion have been able to unite for an objective: to come out of the spiral of decline and eclipsing of the PCF. This requires a critical assessment of the last 20 years, a debate without taboo on the questions tormenting the communists. This work will lead to the questioning of the strategic choices followed for several years and, if the communists deem necessary, to deciding on a strategic reorientation. The Congress will probably not be able to resolve all of the questions, but it will in any case prepare and examine them and take urgent decisions with regard to the visibility of our national battle in struggles, ideas and elections, the life of the party and of its base organisations, and the construction of a new national executive.

The Manifesto is not a simple expression of a tendency of thought within the PCF. It is meant to be an alternative to the text produced by the national executive, which aims to avoid any calling into question of the strategy or of the executive, in order to be able to continue as before. Its initiators have, so to speak, taken on the work which the outgoing executive was incapable of undertaking, that of putting forward a text opening up the questions that concern the communists and seeking to build unity upon the highest possible denominator. The Manifesto is indeed therefore a common base for discussion in its own right.

Since the month of January, we have been reflecting about our attitude in this Congress. We could have written an alternative text defending our basic options in the present situation of the Congress, with the objective of influencing the debate with these ideas and thus impeding the liquidationist options represented by the text “Printemps du communisme” [“Communist Springtime”] and by the renunciation of the executive, both of which are in any case leading to the eclipsing of the PCF, or even its disappearance. This would have meant reproducing the situation of previous congresses which has not, until now, made it possible to halt the fatal weakening of the PCF, at the very time when both the political situation and the state of the party call for audacious initiatives.

The state of weakness of the Party and the weariness and anger of comrades have led us to give priority, before it is too late, to a renewed effort around an idea widely shared by the communists: the eclipsing and renouncement of the PCF must stop; and those who share this conviction must unite in order to make it live. For this reason, on 11 June we issued a call to write a common base for discussion together (http://lepcf.fr/La-base-commune-pour-un-congres-extraordinaire-reste-a-ecrire-Relevons-ensemble) which met up with others and very quickly a path has opened up, on which the footsteps of ever more numerous comrades resound every day. The scale of the movement has now passed beyond the strict setting of its initiators.

This dynamic of unity around the Manifesto which is gathering pace is a first encouragement. It is not coincidental. Its roots lie in the national conference of 2007 at which the communists decided to keep and continue with the name of the PCF against the opinion of the executive, led by Marie-Georges Buffet, and in the broad consensus in favour of the choice of a communist candidature in the elections of 2012 and 2017, against which the national secretary Pierre Laurent brought all of his weight to bear. And although we are well aware that the initiators and signatories have different points of view on a considerable number of questions, we also know that they are united on this essential point: there cannot be any revolutionary transformation of society unless the PCF lives and consolidates itself.

With the Manifesto, the communists have a tool to break the deadlock in a situation which has been blocked for several years. If they put it in first place in the vote of 4th, 5th and 6th October 2018, the Manifesto will become the common base of discussion for all of the communists. This would be an unprecedented event, the source of a new dynamic of discussion and political construction in the subsequent process of amendments. It would be the first occasion for a long time in which a Congressional text has raised the questions in such an open manner of the choices made since the Congress of Martigues [which marked the commencement of the reformist “mutation” of the PCF under Robert Hue]; the assessment of the gauche plurielle [the “Plural Left” alliance of parties, including the PCF, which governed France from 1997 to 2002]; the anti-Liberal collectives [which organised the successful campaign for a “no” vote in the French European Constitution referendum of 2005. After subsequent political division within these collectives, Marie-George Buffet received 1.93 % of the vote in the French presidential election of 2007, of the Front de gauche [the “Left Front” formed in 2008 and repudiated by Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the elections of 2017, despite the fact that his candidacy was supported by the PCF] and the decision not to present a Communist candidate in the presidential election in particular. Similarly, for the first time, our position with regard to the European Union will be brought into debate without any taboo, as well as the analysis of the international situation, and specific proposals making it possible to define the character of the revolutionary process that we want for our country.

With this common base of discussion “Towards a Manifesto of the Communist Party of the 21st Century”, the communists have the tools to create the conditions for a truly extraordinary Congress, a factor for strategic renewal, unity and renewed confidence. Don’t let this chance pass by!
Organise the debate in each section and each cell, making it possible to clarify the comrades’ choice.

Continue to sign and call for signatures of the text and to make it known.

Caroline Andréani (93), Paul Barbazange (34), Michèle Bardot (67), Luc Bazin (26), Danielle Bleitrach (13), Robert Brun (26), Floriane Benoît (38), Marie-Christine Burricand (69), Peggy Cantate Fuyet (92), Michel Dechamps (04), Rémy Ferront (73), Hervé Fuyet (92), Gilles Gourlot (75), Michaêle Lafontant (92), Amandine Lampin (31), Armand Lecoq (31), Anne Manauthon (06), Jean-Pierre Meyer (83), Pierre-Alain Millet (69), Leila Moussavan-Huppe (67), Willy Pepelnjak (38), Michèle Picard (Maire de Vénissieux, 69), Hervé Poly (62), Gilbert Remond (69), Laurent Santoire (93), Danielle Trannoy (33), Bernard Trannoy (33), Serge Truscello (69), Katy Turcan (83) etc.


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