Between Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the Communist Party, a long and tortuous relationship

10:00 pm, September 10, 2022

Here it is again. Six years after his last appearance, in 2016, Jean-Luc Mélenchon once again filled the expanses of the Fête de l’Humanité. He arrived with his fists raised, to the warm applause of a marquee full of young people who had come to hear him for an hour. It has to be believed that its sinusoidal presence and its long and tortuous relationship with the French Communist Party (PCF) did not destroy its capital. If he does not speak about this welcome “very moving”the third person in the presidential election barely mentions this reunion and deals, in the second following, with the problem of inflation and “Marxist Theory of Money”.

In short, Mélenchon was not there to evoke the past. He only once allowed himself an allusion to the division of 2022 and the candidacy of the communist Fabien Roussel: “We just lost access to the second round. We passed together. » To hear him return the tax on super-profits on the carpet and tell his audience about the march against the high cost of living, which he plans to organize in mid-October, the Communists, however, understand: must they composed with him for a long time.

If you think I’m arguing with someone, you’re wrong

A few moments after the end of his intervention, the microphones were cut. But Insoumis avoided questions about the PCF leader, who regretted the day before Mélenchon did. “lone rider” and do not argue with anyone. “If you think I am arguing with someone, you are wrong.he said in his new diplomat outfit. Because I’m good. I don’t like arguments. » The last presidential election, however, opened a gaping wound, difficult to close. After two presidential elections (2012 and 2017) in which Mélenchon played the role of the common candidate, the Communists decided, this time, to go it alone, spreading the disagreement with their partner yesterday.

The PCF is afraid of his hegemonic tendencies

Even before this traumatic episode, the relationship between Mélenchon and the PCF was not so simple. “Mountains of Russia”, summarized Insoumise MEP Manon Aubry. A communist leader looked back on these long years spent in repetition: “We have experienced everything: sunshine and rain, bloodshed and anger. Mélenchon is impulsive, belligerent and creative. He sees the PCF as a party that makes it possible to write important political and social pages, but also as a dead star that may hinder it. » Senator Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, who knows Mélenchon well, added: “He despised the apparatus, not the communist people. »

Let’s pass the meat through the tenderizer…

The story starts well. During the 2005 referendum on the European Constitution, we saw a Mélenchon, then a member of the PS, smiling in the stands next to the communist Marie-George Buffet and other supporters of no. “He was happy to campaign with them”, remembers a close friend of the time. The 2012 presidential election consecrated him as the common candidate of the Left Front. The buffet achieved a traumatic score of 1.93% in 2007; after five years he will reach an unexpected result of 11.10%. At the time, he was the undisputed leader of the one left. But the PCF fears its tendency towards hegemony. A few months after this good result, at the Fête de l’Huma, a communist leader warned: “Let’s pass the meat to the tenderizer…”

In François Hollande’s five-year term, relations deteriorated. The PCF sought to break out of this dangerous tete-a-tete and, during the intermediate elections, reached a PS that Mélenchon hated. “The PCF is not looking for how to create a revolution, but how to manage its legacy”slice Francis Parny, Nupes member of parliament and former communist leader.

Yesterday’s partners have become competitors

For the 2017 presidential election, the PCF leadership examined alternatives to Mélenchon… He was close to 20%, but did not attend the Fête de l’Huma that year. In the legislative elections that followed, disagreeing, yesterday’s partners became competitors. In La Courneuve, during a speech before the leaders of Insoumis, the national secretary of the PCF, Pierre Laurent, reprimanded “the sirens of clearance”, Mélenchon’s campaign theme. And points to the absence of the common candidate. “He’s not there, but the people are there”, he shouted. Mine decomposed, the mélenchonistes present responded on Twitter, thinking if faced with such an insult, it is not better to leave. Never, for 2022, did Roussel think of lining up behind Mélenchon. For a long time, the PCF felt mistreated, almost humiliated. “Mélenchon said that the PCF is death and futility, a close friend of Roussel recalled during the campaign. We are not easily carried away, but there are limits. » For Communists, it is time to exist, to express themselves.

With more than 89 representatives from the National Rally, for someone on the left to say that the results are generally positive, it is because he has a little shit in his eyes.

Now, with socialists and ecologists, communists and rebels remarried under the acronym of Nupes, the New Popular Ecological and Social Union, tied under the aegis of Mélenchon for the legislative elections. “Roussel didn’t really like Nupes, it’s an open secretrecalled the dissident Manon Aubry, one of the agreement’s negotiators. But I don’t think that is the opinion of all Communists. The need to have elected officials convinced him. » MP LFI Manuel Bompard insisted: “It should be natural for Communists to be privileged partners, but Fabien Roussel’s backward position will not facilitate this. »

While the main partners of Nupes show a desire to deepen their alliance, Roussel, he always plays his little music. “Nupes results are not usually positive, they are mixed, The national secretary of the PCF has been on strike since the Fête de l’Huma. With more than 89 representatives from the National Rally, for someone on the left to say that the results are generally positive, it is because he has a little shit in his eyes. » The deputy from the North does not hesitate to point out the topics that divide: nuclear power or the labor relationship – he said himself “for a job left, not benefits”. From a distance, on Saturday, Mélenchon seemed to warn him: “Of course it is difficult to maintain the union line. But who has an interest in breaking that? Capital, period. »

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