After being received by the Prime Minister in the morning, the leaders of the PCF broke new ground this Thursday with a press conference by videoconference: a first. The opportunity for the national secretary Fabien Roussel to present his party’s proposals in this period of crisis, divided into six chapters (available on pcf.fr) and shared with the whole of the forces of the trade unions, political groups and associations. “In the short and medium term, the MP for the Nord French department specified, the priority is to respond to the health emergency, in particular by mobilising our industrial sectors.” If need be by requisitioning, as other countries have done, or nationalisation. A general mobilization against the pandemic which must result, for the PCF, in massive recruitment of personnel in hospitals and Ehpad retirement homes, an increase in healthcare workers’ wages and systematic screening.
The communists also condemned the “terrible jungle of capitalism”, which leads countries to engage in fierce competition in order to obtain medical equipment. Other emergencies: protecting workers, by paying them 100% of the wage for short-time working combined with the immediate shutdown of non-essential businesses, and “equality for the confined”. Transport needs to be made free along with the freezing of gas, water and electricity prices, as well as rents and mortgage repayments for the most financially disadvantaged. Because “being confined is expensive!” said Fabien Roussel.
But for the PCF, it is necessary to prepare “the days after”, which is why the party draws upon a network of researchers, intellectuals and scientists to “bring out ideas, develop proposals”. Because, according to Fabien Roussel, “the government is already beginning to prepare minds for austerity, for difficult days, as in 2008. But this is not the same crisis!” With a central question, that of taxation, “and not the charity proposed by Mr Darmanin” [Gérald Darmanin, the Minister responsible for the French budget and public accounts]. All the more so as a recovery and investment plan will be necessary, warns the PCF, as well as massive resources for public services, starting with hospitals: “This is valid for France as well as for the European Union, which is totally lacking.” Regretting that the government has changed its discourse but “concrete actions are absent”, Fabien Roussel set out numerous proposals for democratic regeneration, with a national emergency committee, the freezing of dividends for major companies receiving public money and, above all, the challenging of tax gifts.