At the Fête de l’Humanité, the Roussel style is not unanimous


Fabien Roussel, August 27, 2022, at the PCF University in Strasbourg.
PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP Fabien Roussel, August 27, 2022, at the PCF University in Strasbourg.

PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP

Fabien Roussel, August 27, 2022, at the PCF University in Strasbourg.

POLITICS – This year’s Festival of Humanity could have had a special flavor. It is held after an electoral marathon which saw the rebirth of a candidacy of the French Communist Party after fifteen years of absence, in the person of Fabien Roussel. Elected deputy for the North in 2017 and national secretary of the party the following year, he managed to exist where few people expected him. On the stand of the Indre-et-Loire Federation, this Friday, September 9, Françoise Langlade, involved in the PCF since she was sixteen, ensures that the presidential campaign of the candidate has « reboosted ». “It is exactly for this spirit that I joined the PCF” confides, enthusiastic, the one who then tried her luck in the legislative elections.

A “Roussel moment” which certainly existed, but did not materialize at the polls. The 2.3% remain a  » disappointment  » according to some executives who prefer to remain anonymous. In the legislative elections, the Communists retained 15 deputies. Although scores can be improved, « the contract is fulfilled »for Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris and spokesperson for Fabien Roussel. “Activists are happy with the presidential and legislative sequence”he wants to believe.

Some, yes. On the Loire-Atlantique stand where he has lunch with the press, Fabien Roussel, smiling and relaxed, must sometimes stop for photos and a few dedications. Seated with Françoise Langlade on the Indre-et-Loire stand, François, over sixty and a long-time member of the PCF, says he is satisfied. Fabien Roussel excited him, and anyway, he did not expect an extraordinary score in the presidential election. The agreement around the NUPES for the legislative elections? “Necessary, but everyone must keep their political identity”for Françoise Langlade. « It is the disagreement that makes the richness of the debate »abounds his table neighbor.

 » We’re a bit of a pain in the ass, but otherwise the left is dying “, Barbara Gomes, ex-spokesperson for Fabien Roussel.

That’s good, that’s exactly what Fabien Roussel does. When the disagreements of the parties of the NUPES are exposed in broad daylight – on nuclear power, hunting or police violence – the name of the communist deputy comes up (very) often. Too ? Barbara Gomes, one of his spokespersons during the campaign, assumes: “We are a bit of a pain in the ass, but otherwise the left is dying”she believes.

She pleads for the left to seize subjects generally left to the right. Like security. In 2021, Fabien Roussel took part in a demonstration in support of the police in front of the National Assembly. The event had divided the left, and some participants in the festival of humanity still do not digest the presence of Fabien Roussel: « He got lost »regrets Harold, 22, apprentice in breeding and cheese.

However, he says he has « joined » to the Happy Days formula, of the candidate during the presidential election. “Fabien Roussel brought certain subjects back to the fore, such as the pleasure of living. It’s important to talk about comfort, and for me that rhymes with paid holidays, eating well! All this is not luxury” he concedes. On the other hand, it is much more mixed on the Roussel line within the NUPES: « table tennis with Sandrine Rousseau on the barbecue, it does not raise the level »he tackles, in reference to the communist’s reply on « the sex of the cutlet ».

“He weakens the NUPES with his outings”, adds Elie, 22 and trade unionist at Tolbiac University. A technique that allows the communist deputy to continue to carry his themes engaged during the campaign. By often taking the opposite view of his colleagues on the left, he continues to exist, politically and in the media.

« Ping-pong with Sandrine Rousseau on the barbecue, it does not raise the level »

Enough to try the experience again in 2027? No, say most of those who answered our questions. “He tried, it didn’t work. He did not bring in a new electorate”, regret in unison Harold, and his friend Elijah. A little further on, on the Bagneux stand, Titouan, Laura, Théo and Mégane, in their twenties, are of the same opinion: “He could bring things but he is too radical”. On the Indre-et-Loire stand, we refuse for the moment to talk about a potential candidate. According to general opinion, the important thing is elsewhere: “It is the program that interests us. Not the candidate. »

The future presidential election is far away, and everything is possible: a single candidate on the left? Every man for himself? At the Fête de l’Humanité this weekend, all the political leaders of the NUPES will meet: Julien Bayou from EELV and Olivier Faure from the PS are expected on Saturday 10 September. Just like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Insoumis en chef, who is making a comeback after having shunned the party for six years. No family photo is planned but « Jean-Luc and Fabien will eventually meet, and Fabien will be delighted » one assures one in the entourage of the communist.

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