More than 100,000 supporters gathered on one of Marseille's beaches on Saturday to hear Front de gauche presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose progress has been the surprise of the campaign. -- Below is a translation of everything he said. ...
JEAN-LUC MÉLENCHON RALLY IN MARSEILLE!
LCP [La Chaîne Parlementaire]
April 14, 2012
All of you -- women, men -- who gathered in response to our call, and make up this huge march that is filling this entire beach, the neighboring streets and boulevards -- how moving you are. How great you are. How beautiful you are. Like all of you, and there are so many of you here, and especially those who have come from the sea, I have come, like you, to receive on this beach from its cool lips the kiss of the Mediterranean Sea, which is the good mother of us all, the mother of our world [sea (mer) and mother (mère) have the same pronunciation in French]. Listen! Listen to the murmur of the distant past, which is at work in us. To all, it says why Marseille is the most French of the cities of our Republic.
Wherever you are at this time, whether here, or in front of your television sets, or in front of your computers, following what we say, listen to Marseille, which is speaking to you and is teaching you its lesson. Here, two thousand six hundred years ago, a woman chose to take as her husband an immigrant who got off a boat -- he was a Greek -- and from that couple Marseille was born.
Marseille tells you that the mixture of races is our good fortune, and for 2,600 years we have been the party of those who say that they are glad they mixed and mingled, proud to be the people with the greatest number of mixed marriages in all of Europe. From the Greeks, the Gauls who were there learned an alphabet, as a result of which the first inhabitants learned from the most recently arrived how to write their history. Here was born the first republic that ever existed on this soil, and in Istres, its neighbor, it became a democracy, and that is why, ever since, we have never stopped being the party of those who say that the greater number is more intelligent, when it reflects together, than the self-satisfied person who thinks that all by himself he knows what is best for everyone.
From the Romans, we received the written law, which is to say, law itself, which is better than all customs, arrangements, and contracts that aim at substituting the arbitrariness of petty combinations for the collective will. And that's why, Mme Parisot [leader of MEDEF, the French employers' union], ever since then, we have believed more in law than in contracts where you are always more powerful, because in business, if there's no union, we can't defend ourselves when we're alone up against the boss.
From the Arabs and the Berbers, while from this shore crusading and massacring parties set out, came to us, from the Arabs and the Berbers, science, mathematics, medicine, and the knowledge that had been protected by them, during all the time that obscurantism cast down the human mind. And that is why at this time we continue to refuse absolutely the morbid and paranoid idea of the clash of civilizations.
That is why, thinking at those 50% of Arab, Berber, and European North Africans who disembarked to liberate the soil of the fatherland from the Nazis, all of these lessons and these memories having been drawn, we recall that if the people of Marseille gave to France, because they sang it, the song of the Army of the Rhine, which has since become our national anthem, while, at the present time, we must fully learn its lesson. No! France is not a Western nation committed to following in the train of the United States of America wherever it goes in the world. In the end, France can only be the republic, and the nation that she is, provided that she be a universalist nation, who says that she gives to each of her children what it believes to be good for the entire world.
So it is time to remember. When the European Union can sometimes turn our view toward distant horizons that are to the east of our continent, and if we're delighted by that, we must never forget that the foundation of the republican identity of the fatherland is in the Mediterranean, and that therefore the peoples who live on its shores, without exception, but beginning with those with whom we are united by ties of blood, and with whom we make up a single family, not only because we have children and grandchildren in common, but because it is true, for many of them, that we have in common a language that we all share. We must remember that the people of North Africa are our brothers and our sisters! We have to repeat that there is no future for France without the Arabs and the Berbers of North Africa!
We, therefore, are making this bet on the future, and this promise to those who are listening to us at this time from the other side of the Mediterranean, you have here that fraternal, mixed, composite French people who opens its arms to you and says to you: the war is over! We're in the same family now!
And when we see the revolutions that have begun, while some, frozen with fear, only want to see danger in them, as if revolutions were, so to speak, official dinners where distinguished people meet, we see above all opportunities that the movement of the people brings when it takes hold of its destiny, and we say that we should play our part in making things easier for those peoples, and I am thinking in particular of our brothers and sisters in Tunisia, for a moratorium on their debt is the most urgent and concrete and direct help that we can give to their fight at this time. And I make this promise before you at this time. We must think of relieving from this odious debt those who it now crushes.
Of the Mediterranean, we want to make a zone of peace. And I ask: what are forty warships of the United States of America and their 21,000 troops are doing here? What common border does that country have with us that necessitates the deployment of such an armada? The Mediterranean must be made a zone of common human progress. And for that, what must stop immediately is the absurd policy of the European Union, which, requires all its neighboring partners to take down their borders, their customs barriers, and their protections, so as to organize places of production where workers are overexploited, impoverishing their countries, destroying their agricultural food production, asphyxiating economies in their early stages, to such an extent that they throw into immigration, or into the sea, to be more exact, human masses who are only asking for one thing, to live and work in a country worthy of their work and their labor, contrary to what some people think -- that in the villages people sit around comparing social rights in different countries to decide where they're going to immigrate, as if it weren't a source of suffering and pain to leave behind one's friends and family, the land and smells one is familiar with, to travel so far to a place where one is so badly received!
We, human beings, must be responsible for humanity's common good. Let us not allow the purple sea, as Homer said, become the cesspool what those who never think of the future are planning to make of it, and even as they compose fine sentences about it and take steps to disorganize everywhere the right to work, show that they are incapable of imagining common rights for all the countries bordering the Mediterranean, which would harmonize the laws and protection of the sea from the forms of pollution that are dumped into it, that would put an end to the absurd behavior of the European Union that forbids traditional fishermen from working here and there, supposedly to protect the fauna and flora, but at the same time delivers authorizations for I don't know what dangerous drilling for hydrocarbons that we don't want! We say that we're for forbidding these drilling projects and for the common protection of the sea.
And since it's the sea, how is it that have they been stupid enough not to imagine what immediately comes to mind as soon as you think about it for even a minute? We are next to the biggest, the freeist, the most generous of resources, that of the mechanical movements of the sea, and consequently, we can once again, along with all the other countries on its shores who sometimes find themselves so cruelly lacking in access to energy, organize the rational exploitation of these movements, and therefore, in order to succeed in doing so, put into common the means of production, the machines to permit harvesting this energy, train young women and young men who will be the engineers and the technicians and the workers capable of getting for us this new resource, thanks to their intelligence, their culture, their level of qualifications, which they could acquire in common universities that we would organize for all levels of qualification. Then you'll see, there will be such a need for work that there won't be enough of you as it is, and then you'll have to stop at once the war the waging of which they encourage among those who are poor. Because there will be so much to do that everyone will be welcome to undertake their part in the task.
How can one not understand that one's responsibility with regard to this ecosystem is involved, when we allow ships beyond counting to pass along our coasts, into the ocean, to go around our country to go make deliveries in northern Europe which are later transported by truck to the south [of France]? And all to avoid, it seems, the organized working class on which depends the future of our ports, whatever the jobs that are done there. That's why, knowing this, we make this proposal in the common interest, that from now on, for every vessel, if it intends to bring merchandise into France, then it should necessarily and obligatorily, unload that merchandise in French ports in order to avoid this absurd going around which is dangerous for everybody on the Mediterranean and all long the Atlantic coast, where poor port management has produced a situation in which there will soon be no place to repair ships when they're damaged.
Think about it. There is no French policy, no European policy that's any good, in whatever domain, ecological, social, humane, based on the idea that from the Mediterranean we can find the inspirations and the means to respond to the challenges that face us. And what would a French president be worth who couldn't understand that, and who would come to Marseille exclusively to speak of security, which he is not capable of ensuring, or who would come as the little extremist parties of hate do, uniquely to point out this one or that one in the name of their religion? Lay off [Foutez-nous la paix]! That's what people say! We respect the law in the way we live, and no one has as much interest as we do in religion not getting mixed up in politics -- all religions, and not just one.
Here, then, we have this third march for the Sixth Republic. You've seen how we organized -- no tracks, no setbacks ['pas vu, pas pris'] -- our dress rehearsals for this civic revolution that we are preparing out in the open, and whose chief advantage is that our adversaries understand nothing about it, and think that you you're only infatuated with a good speaker who is bringing you together. He speaks well, it's true. But so do you! In any case, we have created a sufficiently powerful fashion that in imitation they've all decided to come outside from the rooms where they were gathering before in order to try to do as well as us! Well, we're glad to see them getting some fresh air. At least they'll have some redness in common, but for them, it's on their cheeks!
Despite all the sabotage, all the difficulties they put in our way, endless papers that they asked us to sign, dipping the pen in the ink of our blood, that we promise not to do this, do that, to cross when the light is red and only when it's red, whereas they [Sarkozy supporters] set up in the Place de la Concorde without asking anyone's permission, in the place where Capet passed [on Jan. 21, 1793, Louis XVI was guillotined in what is now the Place de la Concorde], and the other one in the woods [Hollande supporters in the Bois de Vincennes].
My friends, my dear fellow citizens, you know it -- everybody feels it, everybody knows it, everybody can see it -- we are writing a page in the history of the left. We are the renaissance of the left that makes no compromises and that sets its dreams high enough for something of them to last after the enemy comes back, tirelessly, to take back what was conquered, so often in an epic struggle at the price of so much suffering. But these are not empty dreams, and that's why, all of a sudden, here they are, after having scorned us, misunderstood us, insulted us so much, in every possible way, and they've have rounded up some of their hired scribblers to insult me in column after column, thinking that this opprobrium would be enough to turn me away from my task, unless it be enough to turn you aside from what we are doing together. [Crowd chants: "Resistance! Resistance!"]
Taking up the same old caricature of the extreme right, which already presented the great Jaurès [Jean Jaurès, 1859-1914, socialist leader] with an enormous beard, the CGT union leader with his bottle in his pocket, staggering at the bar, activist women, who often and for such a long time were in the lead with their banners, as deluded nitwits -- they're back! The same as they've always been, scorning us and using the same old caricatures. I'm supposed to be solely reducible to my anger, but my anger has a name, and it lasts for 85 pages -- it's first of all the Human Program, and since they see that you're here, no matter what they say to you, no matter what insult they dump on us, no matter what old nostalgia of old warmed-over hatred that they prefer to reasoning, because for a year now they've been abusing me with the memory of the Soviet Union, with the present state of Cuba, and with who knows what, in order not to talk about the permanent hold-up that the powerful represent in this society!
Yes, it has been a great difficulty throughout this campaign, that it has been possible to get none of the themes that we wanted to discuss into the debate except via the methods we have used. Getting to the table almost through the emergency exit, but when those who have neglected our texts went shopping in our program, then it became an interesting subject! To tax the rich, to collect what one owes to the country no matter where in the world one lives! But for the rest, the same hypocrites who go from one editorial to another complaining that this campaign is not discussing this subject or that subject -- ecology, which we've been talking about all the time, defense, which has never interested them -- now these hypocrites come and push with their usual anti-politics, which is also traditional for the extreme right, just as the weeklies do -- and, to take an example, the most extremist of them all, *L'Express*, which wondered how to get rid of Mélenchon once and for all. Well, it's not possible. Because you can't get rid of all these people, ladies and gentlemen. And now, caricature, this moment, whose form we did not choose, which is that of a presidential election, this caricature, which personalizes everything, to the point of driving crazy those who are candidates, well, we're participating in it with the dignity of adult, conscious citizens, who reflect on what is good for all, and make the effort when they are called to come together from everywhere as you are doing today in order to demonstrate by their personal presence no matter the discomfort in the place we are, and show that they participate fully in this thinking, in this election, they make of it a caricature as you see in this weekly, making a sort of pugilistic bout, which amounts to saying that politics is dirty, don't get involved with it, go and have your nightmares at home, there's no way out -- yes there is a way out, it's us! Here is the country! The people! Who have come to settle scores!
They are the ones who stunted the debate! We're not the ones who asked to debate about school cafeterias and their soggy French fries, or about halal meat! We've talked about transforming the political regime and moving to the Sixth Republic, we've talked about ecological planning, we've talked about sharing wealth, we've talked about leaving the Treaty of Lisbon, we've talked about reorganizing France as a universalist nation, breaking with NATO -- these have been our campaign themes. We're not a sum of confused anger, and you're right to be afraid, because we know exactly where we're going, we know how to set about it, and we're in the process of demonstrating that right in front of you, of what we are capable of assembling as a power that tomorrow is going to take this country in hand, not from above, by I don't know what tribune, by I don't know what Caesar, by I don't know what president who is king of everything, but by the people themselves!
I have been happy to note in a poll -- you see that I'm capable of speaking of polls! -- that I was, with my Front de gauche candidacy, that is, as you know, with seven parties, many of them on the left, including me, well, that we were in second place among journalists' favorite candidates! What does that teach us? That when you address the mind, the conscience, when you speak in a way that addresses the common good as we conceive it, then every conscience hears it, and those who work in the media, like us, like you, are workers who are overexploited, scattered in the constraints of insecurity, living in fear of what is to come, and in little courts where games of promotion are played, where it's not talent or merit or devotion to work that always makes the difference, but rather your acquaintances, the respects you show yourself capable of paying. The civic revolution that will take place in the country, we call for it with everything we've got, in the media, in trusting to the workers that are there. We have to liberate these media, we need them as individuals and as citizens to know and understand the world in which we live, so that we can then make good decisions for all. The Republic has two pillars: school, which, by expanding knowledge, makes us free, and pushes back the boundaries of ignorance and obscurantism, and second, the media, which throughout our lives, as we come and go and attend to the affairs that make us useful to each other, allow us to know, to understand. And so it's with justification that in this election we call attention not to those who say what their opinions are, but those who say they don't have any, and lie and betray every day the intelligence of those to whom they speak.
At bottom, it's labor that we have to liberate, because labor and enterprise, which is the human collective of labor before being the cash-making machine, as they say, because work is strangled by the chains of finance. It's finance that, by presenting requirements that cannot be attained without breaking the women and the men who are held to rates of profit that have never been seen before in the economy -- this brutality, which is accompanied, for companies that are targeted by the rapaciousness of hedge funds, with a short-term management -- one month or three months -- which makes impossible any vision of the future, any investment in this or that machine facilitating the making of this or that product more ecologically responsible. Work is thus deformed, disfigured by the hand of money. Its creativity is turned away from its object. And that is why, when we make it raise the head of all those it has forced to walk in a different manner, when we gave voice to the working class of wage earners and salaried employees, what we were saying was understood by every social category -- engineers, highly qualified workers, and all those who felt themselves capable of bringing innovation and the intelligence expected of them to their work -- human responsibility, the finest product of work well done. What we said was understood everywhere, and it's sometimes with surprise that our adversaries and our competitors see the middle and upper-middle classes come toward us, first of all because their children get there first, knowing that the illusion that took in their parents, which was to believe that by giving oneself 100% to work, by bringing one's computer home to continue to work in the evening, by massacring weekends, they were going to show what a fine life they were going to give to their family. All that was a hollow dream. Now it takes more than eleven years when you're young to find a permanent job. Now at forty it's suspicous that you're still there, at fifty you're just about good enough to be thrown to the dogs, and at 60, as the IMF says, aging starts to be a problem for social funds. That's the world they've created. That's the world about which so many of them know nothing. And suddenly one morning they discover in the bedroom of their young daughter or their young son the red flag. And their parents were not all Communists, you know. [Crowd: "All together! All together!"] Yes, all together. What I'm talking about here is life and the private feeling that each of us has in his or her heart, even if he or she once believed that it all could work. Like me, you know now that it's not true, that it's an impasse into which we rushed humanly, socially, and from the point of view of our responsibility before universal humanity at the ecological level.
So, yes, it's at our rallies that we've heard it said for the first time that if there's a fear in this country, it's the fear that starts at work. Fear of tomorrow because your job's not secure. Fear for your family because you don't have regular hours, and you leave putting the little one in the hands of an older child, and sometimes when you get home dinner's already over. Suffering at work. Death at work -- 564 deaths a year that they never talk about, 43,000 work accidents that cause total disability -- those are the words they never talk about, the deaths they never talk about, the wounded they never talk about, while they try to excite, frighten, at the drop of a hat, with everything and anything. When will they do misery's accounts to justify their policies? Those who say that we're not realistic -- are their accounts realistic? If they had to subtract from their benefits that they speak of, the 13,900,000,000 that work accidents costs every year to Social Security. The daily violence of work. The powerful, who don't talk about it, to talk to say nothing, because that's everyday life. And work -- we don't need to take lessons. We've had with hearing it said that those who benefit from soldarity are "on welfare" [des assistés]. In this country the only ones on welfare are the rich, and no other class. We've had it with being reproached. Social minimums are below the poverty level, with which people are obliged to have as their aim in life exclusively to survive. Work -- work -- give us work, because we love work, we love being useful. We're not these do-nothings you describe and curse half-heartedly with all the scorn that we've always seen you bear toward us with the passing years. Work! The Front de gauche has already demonstrated how much there is available if you speak of human needs, if you speak of the necessity for the modification of the apparatus of production and exchange in the country to move toward the Green Rule and pay the ecological debt and organize ecological planning. It's by the million that needed jobs would be counted to realize this great turning. And we will lead it, because one day or another -- I don't know exactly when -- I hope it comes as soon as possible -- for example, next week! But inevitably our time will come and the government of the Front de gauche will come!
So, if such is the condition of labor, isn't it just to say, as I do, and you do, that in the Republic one cannot do anything good if, in modifying it as we propose to do -- that is, in convoking a constituent assembly to move to the Sixth Republic -- we don't decide at the same time that beyond the fundamental rights that I have already evoked at the Bastille [in Paris], of course with the full and entire sovereignty of the people as I described it at the Place du Capitole [in Toulouse], there is not to be realized at the same time, as I want to do here, the foundations of that very Sixth Republic to be the Social Republic. Which is to say to establish in companies the citizenship of workers, where they are, today, scarcely present, totally subordinated, and who, if they didn't have their union, couldn't even open their mouths! We must, on the occasion of this Sixth Republic put an end to the Old Regime of the absolute monarchy of the bosses inside the business. The workers' collective that the women and men in the company represent is the first and the greatest leading resource of utility, quality, and ecological responsibility, gut also of responsibility before the entire country. Let's remember, after all, since he has just left us, that it was the préfet Aubrac who in requisitioning the essential businesses that the collaboration with the enemy had led to abandon by the boss, the préfet Aubrac by requisitioning these businesses made it possible for Marseille during the Liberation give back to the entire country the ports and the port installations it needed to move ahead with the war against the Nazis and reestablish the freedom of the French. Aubrac, here are all those present so many years later who express their gratitude and who announce that they have learned all the lessons you taught France and the people of Marseille then. It is the working class that is the class of general interest in this country and it was the patriotic class.
So, to this class, we must give, inside businesses, at every level of the hierarchy and especially in the organization of work, from the most qualified to the one who has the fewest qualifications, new collective rights without which there's no point in waging the fight we're waging for life to change. There's no point in electing a government of the left if it's not to do that, for you see, I'd like to remind you that all our social achievements, and particularly the one that gave a voice to the workers inside businesses, came from struggle and from the law. They were never granted or given as the result of any tenderness of the heart. We had to fight for them tooth and nail. But on every occasion, at every victory, the left, when it's the left that we are, makes citizenship in business advance. In 1936 we obtained the generalization of delegation of elected personnel; in 1945, at the Liberation, we had guns, and that encouraged thinking -- we obtained works councils; in 1968, the working class obtained not only a 31% raise in the minimum wage in a single night through the beneficent work of Sainte Scared Shitless [Sainte Petoche], but also obtained what did not exist before -- and I ask the younger generation to whom we tell our memories to remember this -- before 1968 and the general strike there was no recognition of the right to organize unions in the workplace, and the women and men who built the unions, which were the last line of resistance we had in recent years to the social achievements, led their entire professional lives at the risk because of they were union organizers. Never forget that! And after 1981 it was the Comités d'hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail that were the great advance allowing workers finally to express themselves on subjects that until then were left to the discretion of the powerful -- and we know better than others their irresponsibility when it comes to exposing the health of workers to professional risk and the diseases the result from the use of ecologically dangerous materials such as asbestos.
So when they ask me why I dared to say that in addition to being a class of general interest the working class is the leading ecological class of the country, I don't think only of the fact that in all of the business today that are involved in struggles there exists as alternative projects to those of capital, advanced by the workers themselves, where these be in the form of workers' cooperatives or not, but alternative projects that have this in common: they're all ecological projects. Why I say that salaried employees are the leading ecological class in the country, because the salaried employees are the first to pay the price of scorning ecological constraints. The workers are the first to know where the danger is, not only for themselvs but for others. That's why the Comités d'hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail see themselves endowed with a new right for the good of the entire society, which is a right and a duty of ecological alert, because it is they, the workers, the salaried workers, who are on the front line to know those that are a problem for all. With you, I make a bet that it is in this way that we will begin the great recovery of ecological responsibility that will permit us to know where the investments, the reorganizations of work should be made, where research and the application of intelligence should go to find solutions to the technical problems raised by the substitution of one work process for another. So, yes, the work thus made responsible for itself as well as to others once again becomes, not a burden, but an oeuvre... an oeuvre!
The Front de gauche -- go ahead and say it and repeat it everywhere you go in the workplace -- the Front de gauche is the only program in this presidential election -- I repeat, the only one! -- to propose a new extension of workers' rights. None other proposes any -- not one! Three rights at least should this time mark, like others in the past, the fact that we can win.
First of all, the right to veto workers' representatives on collective firing, on the siting of company headquarters, to avoid the rip-offs you know all about. But also on restructurings when the destruction of production sites come into play, when it is well known and observable in financial accounts that these productions are not obsolete but, on the contrary, profitable, as is the case today, I'm thinking particularly of what is happening in steelmaking, where businesses that were sold for one euro should be requisitioned by the collectivity rather than abandoned.
The second right would be a right of workers' preemption, which would allow, in the event of a change of ownership or of liquidaiton of the business, to preempt the property of the business itself in favor of a workers' cooperative, should they decide to form one.
Finally, a right of continuity which would permit a status of permanance be recognized for salaried employees, as it were a denominational social security to guarantee the continuity of rights when one changes employers or when one is laid off. For one's seniority, for the continuity of one's social protections, and for a permanent right to training.
This is why the Sixth Republic should be the social republic, or else it isn't really a republic. I ask you all to think about it and to be spokespersons for it.
In the next few days will begin once again the little plots intended to make us once again, they think, invisible. Not only will I be, once again, as usual, heaped with public condemnations, not only will you be denied, since tomorrow, there will only be talk about the gathering at la Concorde and the rally in the woods. But you -- but you -- you know who you are and who you have been. This moment is written on your hearts. Savor -- savor it. They are sometimes so rare in the life of an activist, of a committed woman or man. Savor the splendid hour of our renaissance, of our return, to the point that they are so preoccupied with what could happen, with the anxiety of finding me where they didn't expect me to be, they're starting to leap over the first round of the presidential election by wondering in what legislative district I'll be a candidate, which is a way of saying that I will not have already been elected to something else. That's not going to work. I saw the trick!
We are here in this moment -- [crowd interrupts, chanting "Mélenchon!"] -- don't worry, I'll know what to do.
This force, my friends, we have to conceive of it and take it upon ourselves as the force that we put at the disposition of this great return of ours. We're not here alone for our parties, which we love, for the red flag that we love, but to be the red of the flag of the entire country. My friends, we on the left are for the France -- its recourse. For here is finance, having found a weak point in Greece, after George Papandreou, prime minister and president of the Socialist International, capitulated without conditions as soon as finance's war was unleashed. The breach was widened, and they went toward Spain, Italy, and they're prowling around France. Next Monday, a new financial instrument will be put in place by the Deutsche Bundesbank. For them, it's a way to speculate on France's sovereign debt, thereby increasing the pressure. I went with my comrades before the headquarters of the financial agency to say: we got it. I was the first to express myself in the name of the Front de gauche to say there was a danger. I note with satisfaction that since then others have woken up, which proves that it's better to trust in a good sentinel than in others. And in this battle, I know that whoever is elected on May 6, on May 7 finance will attack France. And that's why the great force that we constitute -- conscience, and becaues it is conscious, cultivated, knowing -- will be a disciplined force in the struggle. Because if I have, because of your vote, the responsibility, in whatever form that may take, I shall organize with my comrades in the Front de gauche the implacable struggle to fight back. Because France, and I say it for those who hear us, will not give in! [Applause.] We are not sheep! We won't be shorn! We'll fight back! I know, I know the addresses of the bankers, of the financiers, so I hope that the message will be heard well. So, obviously, if you think we should give ourselves up to the sweet cajolings of the enemy, if you believe that "you are not dangerous" [in English], this isn't the place to come. But if you feel "very dangerous" [in English], welcome to the club! [Crowd chants: "Resistance! Resistance!"]
The French civic revolution has begun. It's calling for a meeting at the ballot box -- it's first step where it is going to express itself in a manner that will be visible. And that's how the cycle will begin of the sixth revolution that our country will have known. Initiating the march toward the Sixth Republic -- a happy coincidence. With our ballots, we are going to open the breach for all Europe. And after us, in May, it will be the Greeks who have the possibility, with their votes, with the support of what the French will have succeeded in doing, of extending the great reversal that we have in view for all of Europe. In October of the following year the Germans will vote -- our comrades, 20% of the working class reduced to living below the poverty line. That's the miracle they they propose to work here. That's why our road map is extraordinarily simple. We have two tasks to accomplish first in order to begin the third. And to accomplish these two tasks, we're not asking for anyone's authorization. We're not bargaining anything. We're not negotiating anything.
Here are the two tasks. First, invert the cycle that has been seen in rest of Europe up to now. That is to say, the popular anger which has turned against the big parties,which are used to co-manage, now one, now the other, one with a stick, the other with bandages, the same system, this anger crystallized in parties that claim that the problem isn't the banker, but rather the immigrant. That's what we're going to overturn. Our first task is to be more ardently, more consciously, more methodically organized and disciplined to go vote so that we have the honor to be the first in Europe to put the red in the flag far ahead of the white. We need this defeat of the far right to strengthen the union of our people. We need their defeat so that from now on everyone will see in their neighbor not a potential enemy, but the natural ally in the fight against finance and banks. So, how deplorable it is, how miserable it is, at the time when we are gathering our force to reach that objective, when we are working with such energy, for them to come and shoot us in the back, as the new insulter is doing, that mediocre weekly of reaction, all pomaded and perfumed. How mediocre and vile to insult the Communists, who are marching at the head of the struggle against extremists of the right. I am proud to be their candidate! How miserable it is to abuse us when we, the reds, have fully taken up again the tricolor banner of the country that was abandoned for a moment in its hands, which are unworthy of it. We are the ones who sing, at the same time, since the words were written the one for the other, the Internationale and the Marseillaise at the same time!
The second task we have to accomplish without asking anyone for any permission whatsoever, and I say that solemnly, without swallowing either less or more of any spoonful of a soup that we have not prepared ourselves. Without any authorization of any kind to accomplish the following task of the civic revolution there is a preliminary condition. We should dispatch to the ground the power of the right and of its representative who is there, and who five years ago inflicted on us so cruel, caustic, and costly a defeat. We should beat him! Whatever happens we should beat him! Because otherwise nothing is possible! Not a single little calculation has the slightest meaning if you don't begin by opening the breach.
So, since you know how to look a bit beyond the present horizon, I take the occasion to say that if they call on us to gather all together, the unions should know that all those whom the Front de gauche influences are available to be behind them in a May 1 stupendous in its unity and its power. If they give us the word, we will make it a point of honor to be the first to follow the unions' banners.
To all, I give a last rendez-vous before the first round. Next April 19, we shall be at the Parc des Expositions in Paris, and the capital will see once again of what we are capable. I know that of course we have already done a lot, here at this time. But the struggle is the struggle, and I ask you to remember that with the Front de gauche you have not only a label, you have not only a ballot, but a team of women and men who are organizing a long-term fight that will end at none of the dates when others may think it will end. For then everything will be beginning.
So I have to say my last words -- for today! I was thinking -- I don't know how this memory came to me -- not only of this sea, that I crossed, like others, when I found you all, and my beautiful country that I did not know, I thought of all those who were tossed about during all those centuries from one coast to the other. We are the same people all around, sometimes Spanish, sometimes Arab, sometimes Berber, sometimes Italian, sometimes Greek, sometimes French, and so on. Human beings on the shores of the fertile sea. I thought that my people, before me, too, dying of poverty, took the stuff they had to take a risk on the other side of the sea. And since they came from Spain -- Italy, too -- but these ones, from Spain -- I suddenly remembered that today is the anniversary day of the Spanish Republic. Let's draw a lesson from it! So we, like you, have hearts and minds full of history. You know everything! You know whose children we are! What a line we are extending! Scorn those who scorn us. Never lower your eyes again! Remember that our fights are always first of all a poem that we are writing together -- the poem of humanity, which dreams of love and distant horizons, where one can always begin again everything that seemed lost forever. To finish: "In the spring what were you dreaming about?" asks Jean Ferrat. "Old world closed like an orange,/Make something change./And we met strangers/Laughing at angels, in the springtime what were you dreaming about?/Fist lifted of old battles/And who knows for what sowing/When the strike marrying the street/Beats against the wall/In the springtime what were you dreaming about?/Of another end to the romance/Of the end of the swaying time/A song hardly interrupted/Others rush forward/In the springtime what are you dreaming about?/Of an uninterrupted springtime." Long live France! Long live the Social Republic!
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Web page: http://www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/