Sunday, June 20, 2010

New PCF Head

The PCF has a new leader. Younger readers may wonder why I bother to mention this, but once upon a time, the Communists were a force to be reckoned with: "Between us [the Gaullists] and the Communists, there is nothing," said André Malraux. When I first started paying attention to French politics, back in the '60s, the party was still capable of drawing 16% of the vote, and alliance with the Communists was the stroke of tactical ingenuity that enabled Mitterrand to break the Gaullist lock on the Fifth Republic. So it's with some nostalgia that I report that the new PCF leader, Pierre Laurent, is an apparatchik whose roots can be traced to those halcyon days: his father was Paul Laurent, a collaborator of Georges Marchais's. Laurent has climbed the ranks of the organization, serving most recently as editor of L'Humanité. What does his elevation to the top job signify? Perhaps that the party apparatus remains as firmly in control of its dwindling rank-and-file as ever. Apparently young Laurent isn't too popular with the masses, who preferred someone else for the regionals until outgoing leader M.-G. Buffet put her foot down. Plus ça change ... Let's see how he fares with Mélenchon.


Justin said...

16%, ya kidding me? PCF got 22,5% in parliamentary elections in 1967, 20,1% in 1968, and 21,3% in the 1969 presidential. You anti-communist primaire!

Unknown said...

Yeah, thanks, I had a feeling I was understating the number, but I was too lazy to look it up.

Anonymous said...

I think they went up to over 40% after the war, when they were "le parti des fusillés" (essentially, the resisters' party who gave their blood for France). Apparently, true, too. Even if their organization supported one of the worst dictatorship, individual communists were courageous. Plus, since they'd been forced to be underground at the start of the war, due to the Stalin-Hitler pact, they knew a thing or two about hiding places, secret presses, etc.
Anyway, we're a long way off from 1946.
I still recall the communist leader being presented as a garden gnome in Le Guignols.

Today, North Korea got whupped 7-0 by Portugal. I actually met people who didn't know North Korea was a communist dictatorship, and one of the worst on the planet. I told them the North korean players would probably be shot upon landing, if they were lucky, or tortured first if they weren't. I still remember watching a documentary where it was explained that after a defeat in a World Cup, Saddam had put soccer players into a kind of coffin with nails, and shut to door so they bled to death. And North Korea's worse than Iraq.
What's the PCF's position about North Korea?