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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: https://www.humanite.fr/un-moral-da...

FABIEN ROUSSEL . A MORALE OF STEEL FORGED IN THE MINING BASIN

Translated Thursday 29 November 2018

Translated Wednesday 28 November 2018

FABIEN ROUSSEL . A MORALE OF STEEL FORGED IN THE MINING BASIN
Monday, November 26, 2018
Aurélien Soucheyre

At 49 years of age, former journalist Fabien Roussel has become the eleventh “number one” in the history of the French Communist Party. We look back at his career.

Where was Fabien Roussel before he became National Secretary of the PCF? For his birth, look in the direction of Béthune, in Pas-de-Calais, in 1969. "I grew up there, from the bike to the Moped. In the midst of activists. My parents and all the tatas and tontons were involved," he says. Mom was a bank employee. Dad was elected to a local seat with the PCF, and was then correspondent in Vietnam for l’Humanité. "I followed him there for two years when I was 14 and 15. A magnificent, dignified, fraternal country, without hatred against the French, despite colonization. Living abroad allows you to discover other cultures, but also to discover your own country by reflection. »

Fabien joined his mother in Champigny (Val-de-Marne) to finish high school. "I involved myself in the fight against apartheid and for the liberation of Mandela, who was not yet the icon everyone loved. The Communists occupied by far the first positions in this fight. That’s what got me into the YCL. "Along with others, he demanded a boycott of the South African regime. "We invaded the embassy in Paris and the Quai d’Orsay. We were arrested a couple of times. The mayor of Champigny, Jean-Louis Bargero, came to pick us up at the police station! “. At the same time, he actively demonstrated against the Monory and Devaquet laws. "And we won! »

In Parliament, Roussel struggled against the scourge of tax evasion

What happened next? He was now a journalist, and was often abroad. "Then I had twins. So we had to stay home. I landed at France 3 Nancy. "In 1997, patatras! Jacques Chirac decided to "dissolve the National Assembly". The plural left won and Senator PCF Michelle Demessine became Secretary of State for Tourism. Fabien joined her staff. "He counted for a lot. He was a very politically mature fellow,” she recalls. His aim was to show how much a communist minister can contribute, whatever the portfolio. "Fabien competed in innovation. He was always positive, in audacity and openness. He knows how to coach people. Our balance sheet is still shining," she says. Among the conquests? The creation of the Tourism and Disability label, the extension of holiday vouchers to SMEs. "During the 1998 World Cup, with the boom in prices, we convinced the hoteliers not to raise the prices so that it would remain a popular event. In the end, the department was respected and its budget doubled. »

In 2001, she became a Senator from the North again. Fabien decided to follow her to her native region. Secretary of the PCF section in Lille, he adopted, with Charb’s agreement, the drawing "Je vote communiste et je t’emmerde" on the 2004 cantonal poster. A slogan was launched to "make people react and wake up" against plant closures and thousands of layoffs, he explained. He was spotted by Alain Bocquet, then mayor of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, who offered him the opportunity to join him in his region. At the head of the PCF du Nord federation in 2010, he was a candidate for the 2015 regional elections in the Hauts-de-France region, before being elected as a deputy in 2017. "Two extraordinary campaigns, which forged me. In the legislative elections, everything was done to ensure that we lose: a dissident ex-PCF is running, an insubordinate too, and the FN has made 55% in the presidential election, and Alain Bocquet was no longer a candidate. It was a close call," says Fabien.

How? "He’s an energetic, brave guy. He is among people like a fish in water. A goldfish, of course," says Alain Bocquet with satisfaction. In the constituency, his successor was mobilizing for employment. "He was instrumental in getting meetings in Bercy with Bruno Le Maire. He is our spokesman," says Nacim Bardi of CGT Ascoval. "He arrives, himself, with the news before he is even called. He pushes the issues," points out Vincent Jozwiak, Alstom FO delegate.

In Parliament, Roussel struggled against the scourge of tax evasion. At the end of 2017, he told the Chamber that he had set up an offshore company in "two minutes and with a few clicks", in the name of the Minister of Public Accounts, Gérald Darmanin, to denounce the government’s passivity. "We lose 100 billion euros a year like that. This is what destroys our social model and our public services," the elected representative said indignantly.

“A sparkling being, who has a sense of formulation, and he has several assets in the face of the enormous challenge that awaits him" 

"There’s always some basis for any intervention he makes. He is very warm, funny and relevant. He’s a smart guy! "notes PS Group President Valérie Rabault. "I remember our oath from the Lamartine room to break Bercy’s lock by remaining united beyond political colours," adds centrist Charles de Courson, also a member of the Finance Committee. Just like the rebellious Eric Coquerel: "I imagined him cold and closed, I discovered someone warm and open. "Sitting beside him in the Assembly, PCF MP Stéphane Peu greeted "a sparkling being, who has a sense of the formula, and several assets in the face of the enormous challenge ahead: bringing the communists together and giving them back their strength". "It was not at all my plan to become a national secretary. As I was being solicited in the context of the national conference, I thought to myself that I couldn’t say no. This party has enormous, incredible potential, which we underestimate. It has a major role to play on the left and in France. If it sets foot in the clay again, reconnects with people everywhere, starting from their problems and presenting its proposals, it can convince and relaunch itself," says, today, the new PCF “number one”.

Aurélien Soucheyre


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