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Translated Wednesday 14 November 2018, by Hervé Fuyet

published in l’Humanité on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

After the vote that placed a text, alternative to the one proposed by the direction of the party, at the head of the vote, the Northern MP Fabien Roussel declared himself a candidate for the mandate of national secretary. He explains his choice and the project he wants to carry out.

L’Huma The PCF is in a unique situation, with two candidates for the mandate of National Secretary. Why did you submit your application?

Fabien Roussel In addition to an aspiration to change our orientations expressed by the vote on the manifesto, there is also a need for a change of direction, which must be in line with the orientations currently under discussion. So I suggested to Pierre Laurent that he meet me. We have seen each other and will continue to discuss. Because I want to get out of the confrontation. The objective must be to build a collegial leadership that responds to the need for change and unity expressed by the communists. I see no other scenario than a single list, which must embody this renewal, with a new national secretary. If it were otherwise, we would all lose.

L’Huma The manifesto denounces the erasure of the PCF. How do you recommend that this be addressed?

Fabien Roussel That’s a cry of anger. But how can this be translated into concrete terms? First with a party that is more active. Taking extraordinary, original and demonstrative actions on issues such as purchasing power, the cost of capital and tax evasion would make our party more visible. Secondly, we must create the conditions to be present at the elections. The communists speak out widely so that we can participate in national meetings. Our absence during the last two presidencies has put us in the background. And fear does not avoid danger. For local elections, it is necessary to take into account political contexts and power relations. What matters are the ideas we will defend. We can be on a list with others, not necessarily in the lead. But only if our ideas are present and our party respected.

L’Huma Faced with macronist offensives, the social and political response is struggling, for the time being, to achieve victories. What role should the PCF play in reversing the balance of power?

Fabien Roussel Today, anger prevails. If it is not nourished by hope, it can result in the worst. The Communist Party must be a force of proposal to show that Macron’s policy is not inevitable, that money exists and that there is an urgent need for a better distribution of wealth. Otherwise, I fear that fascism will still come closer to power. Our mission is to win back hearts and minds in the world of work and creation. Purchasing power, working conditions, dignified life, the right to happiness... These are all ideas that we must apply. The second challenge is climate change. A real revolution must be launched. It does not involve measures and even less punitive taxation. The final challenge is peace, which has never been so weakened. Let us no longer disperse, let us be on the offensive on these themes, in my opinion, which are structuring for today’s Communist Party.

L’Huma The debate also concerns, among all communists, the conception of the rally on the left. What is your vision of it?

Fabien Roussel On the left, political forces no longer believe in the left-right divide. I believe in it. Recently, the ruling left has been disappointing. But there are still men and women of the real left, sincere and authentic, who militate for social progress, for equality, for secularism, for the Republic. They certainly feel orphaned in the dominant political landscape. The Communist Party has a responsibility to address them.

L’Huma And for the European elections, is it necessary to assemble forces on the left, with other groups?

Fabien Roussel Our congress addresses this subject, and the choice of the communists must be respected. We must send as many Communist MEPs as possible to the European Parliament to reject, with others, the budget pact. Although adopted in 2013, it must now be translated into European law. It requires States to reduce their deficits by up to 0.5%. That’s the famous golden rule. It is in its name that savings are made in our hospitals, our public services, that a lot of effort is required of the French. We have an opportunity to reject it, to force heads of state to work on other treaties that meet human needs and ecological challenges. How do we do this? Ian Brossat is now in the campaign. We must continue to discuss with everyone to get the widest possible list. We must also be able to quickly confirm Ian Brossat to conduct this list.

L’Huma Faced with the political crisis, what responses should the PCF provide?

Fabien Roussel We have two opponents: finance, but also abstention and indifference. Many of those who turn away from politics are left-wing and have been disappointed. We must address them. Just like the millions of employees who cannot afford to live with dignity. Show that another life, another society, is possible. But it can’t be decided with a snap of the fingers, it has to be built. The Communist Party must still have its head in the stars, but its feet in the clay. To convince, we must touch people, talk about everyday life, about what we are experiencing ourselves. Put words and faces on it. Build in struggles and action. In short, to raise awareness.

Interview conducted by Julia Hamlaoui

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