"It's communist pride": the communists gathered in congress in Marseille acclaim their leader Fabien Roussel for his "speak truth" and his pugnacity in the face of the "hegemonic wills" of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, without giving him carte blanche.
At the Palais du Pharo, the atmosphere is very different from the 2018 congress, when the party was divided, with the extremely rare overthrow of its outgoing national secretary Pierre Laurent by Fabien Roussel.
He brought the score of his orientation text to 82% in January, and therefore does not suffer from any challenge to keep the head of the party on Monday.
Sébastien Lannoy, 43, from Lens (Pas-de-Calais) re-entered the PCF during the presidential election after young militant years, galvanized by the candidacy of Fabien Roussel (2.3%) and still seduced by his positioning in the within the left-wing Nupes coalition.
"It brings hope and gives the collective desire to fight," he says. "He speaks truth, in words that everyone can understand".
At his side, Giselle Gori, 60, from Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), also praises the "clear and accessible speech, which does not fly in the high spheres".
But according to her, the Communists also appreciate that the deputy from the North defends them against "the hegemonic wills of La France insoumise": "Roussel is the bearer of the general opinion: we do not have to submit to any diktat".
The Communists had it big after a 2017 campaign where they paid lip service to Jean-Luc Mélenchon and felt humiliated.
"There are resentments that have not yet passed," also testifies Maxence Mendes da Silva, head of Young Communists in Indre-et-Loire.
Fabien Roussel, he savors: "The presidential campaign has done us a world of good, we raise our heads, we no longer look at our pumps!"
"It's communist pride," smiles Emmanuel Maurel, leader of the small GRS (Republican and Socialist Left) party, invited to the congress. "Roussel responds to something deep in the base, for example in Auvergne, in Marseille, in Nord-Pas-de-Calais: the synthesis between the class struggle and a social Republic", compatible with the center-left.
Deputy Stéphane Peu, signatory of the motion defeated in January, walks his spleen on the terrace of the Palais du Pharo, with the Old Port visible below. “I am silent and sad, I observe all this a little taken aback”.
He strives to be a good player but criticizes his form. Unlike the 2018 congress hall, where the stands of the 700 delegates framed the stage on all four sides, "we are not in a congress hall but in a performance hall, we are there to applaud and listen, there is no 'there are no tables' to work on.
"The risk is to transform the PCF into a fan club organized around one person and turned towards an election, the presidential one, while the PCF is historically opposed to the personalization of the Fifth Republic", worries the deputy of Seine- St Denis.
The closed session finally chosen for work on Sunday afternoon on the party's statutes, and in particular on the possible strengthening of sanctions against those who deviate from the official line, add to the fears of opponents.
But "the fascination is marginal", assures Maxence Mendes da Silva, for whom criticism is regularly leveled at Fabien Roussel, even from his supporters. He, for example, regrets that there is not "more coordination to avoid small polemical phrases", because "afterwards we have to explain to people what is behind certain remarks" of their leader.
The amendment work on the common base also shows that the party remains crossed by various sensitivities. Thus, a congressman denounced at the microphone one of the blind spots of Fabien Roussel's speech: "The mention of working-class neighborhoods only appears twice in the text, once about abstention, the other about drug trafficking".
08/04/2023 17:16:03 - Marseille (AFP) © 2023 AFP