The national secretary of the PCF Pierre Laurent during a unitary trip (from the left) in support of the railway workers strikers in Woincourt (Somme) on April 5, 2018. – NICOLAS MESSYASZ / SIPA
PCF thunderclap: the national secretary
Pierre Laurent saw his proposal of "common base" beaten by an alternative text this Saturday during the vote of the members. A resounding and unprecedented snub, a few days before the extraordinary congress to be held from 23 to 25 November in Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne).
More than 30,000 communists choose common basis for discussion https://t.co/AvmhgAlQzX- PCF (@PCF) October 6, 2018
Usually, the text proposed by management achieves hegemonic scores, worthy of the party's consensus culture. But this time he only won 37.99% of the votes cast.
The nearly 31,000 members who voted from Thursday to Saturday chose to lead, with 42.15% of the votes cast, "the Manifesto for a PCF of the 21st century" supported by the boss of the Communist deputies André Chassaigne. Its text becomes the new "common base", which will be enriched before and during the congress
"I take note," reacted the leader of the Communist Party, which notes "shared results" and "no majority to move forward". "The coming weeks are calling everyone to work together. We have before us a huge debate (…), I will put all my energy, "he added.
1/2 The vote of the Communists did not put the common basic proposal of the National Council at the head. I take note of it and I respect the choices of the communists. I note that the results are very divided.- Pierre Laurent (@plaurent_pcf) October 6, 2018
André Chassaigne, for his part, welcomed a "strong signal" testifying to a "new ambition". According to the elected representative of Puy-de-Dôme, "on the evening of this vote, the PCF is in an unprecedented situation: for the first time in our history, the text presented by the national council is not retained".
Statement following the results of the vote of the communists for the choice of the common base of the 38th congress of the #PCF #CongressPCF @ PCF pic.twitter.com/QpxEzPVy5H- André Chassaigne (@AndreChassaigne) October 6, 2018
Convicted strategic choices
The strategic choices of the management in recent years are condemned, not only by some cadres, but by the majority of the party.
Indeed, the "Manifesto" vilifies the "delegation" by the PCF, from 2012 to 2017, of "taking popular initiatives to Jean-Luc Mélenchon", within the framework of the Left Front.
The text also regrets that the PCF did not present a candidate for the presidential election of 2017 and ended up supporting Mr. Mélenchon, without participating in his campaign – a period very badly experienced by the communist militants.
"We can not begin with the search for an agreement at the top" and "common campaigns", can we read in the "Manifesto". "This way of decreeing a unity from the top corsets the initiative and action initiative of the PCF. It lowers the level of requirements and the need for consistency to share the most widely to win. "
Will Pierre Laurent have to leave? "It gives him a great responsibility, to give the conditions for the communists to remain united after the congress," AFP Fabien Roussel, MP for the North and support for the "Manifesto" told AFP.
The vote denotes "a need for change and to have an orientation: to know where we are going. Our text gives meaning, "he said.
«Back to basics»
André Chassaigne had told AFP, during the Feast of Humanity, want above all that the communist identity is restored: "We must say loud and clear that we are communists, we must return to fundamentals. It is not a retreat on oneself, since on the contrary by nature communism is openness to others.
"Many Communists wanted to send the message of the requirement, the urgency of a reaffirmation of the party, which must be more influential and resettle in the political landscape," said Olivier Dartigolles, spokesman for the PCF Saturday. .
Noting an "unprecedented" situation, Pierre Laurent's support emphasizes however that "it is on the question of the gathering that things will be played" in the debate that opens. And "Pierre Laurent, by his experience, has strong things to say on the subject".
Thus, the relatively small gap between the two texts could leave the current management a large place in future discussions.