This Years Fete Deemed A Success by Everyone
by Mike Tolochko
ONLY at the Fete' l'Humanite does an audience in its final day, tens of thousands of them of all ages and nationalities living within France, enjoy a full orchestra symphony, not highlights, but the full thing.
Daniele Gatti; Director of the National Orchestra of France received that kind of attention and applause at the end. His symphony was an original offering, presented for the first time earlier this week in Paris.
This gathering was the usual final main session with major presentations by the French Communist Party.
Upon the completion of the orchestral presentation, Marie-George Buffet the head of the FCP gave a stirring speech urging the largest possible manifestation, demonstration, on Saturday, September 27th. The purpose of the demonstration is obvious, to fight the cutbacks in public services by the Sarkozy government. She said that the FCP is turning a new page with its upcoming Congress in December, 2008. Mobilize, mobilize, mobilize!!!!
In between Gatti and Buffet were some presentations lead by a speaker for the newspaper l'Humanite. He introduced individual leaders of the CGT who are in the midst of major work actions. They came from the auto maker Renault, the public hospitals and especially the postal workers. They were all greeted with cheering solidarity.
The speaker then introduced the niece of one of the Cuban 5 to deliver a message on that important international struggle. Finally, 15 representatives from the Palestinian struggle were introduced and given a significant cheering.
This years Fete' had the good fortune to enjoy excellent weather. Hundreds of booths did a lot of business whether it as selling of food, magazines, presenting music that represented their part of France or just having discussions. Sometimes it was all four things happening at the same time.
The September 13th issue of the NY Times, while not mentioning the Fete' at all, gave considerable space to some competition of the FCP. Olivier Besancenot, a leader of the Communist Revolutionary League (CRL) , was interviewed and given a very friendly reception by the Times. Besancenot did receive just about 5 percent in the last national election; and according to recent French polls is second (49%) to the Socialist Party Mayor of Paris, Betrand Delanoe (54%) in a race against Sarkozy. He is reportedly a postal worker. The CRL had a booth at the Fete' and was treated with full respect by the FCP, l'Humanite' and everyone else.
In speaking with Gilles Garnier, the FCP Deputy Mayor from Noisy le Sec I found out that Besancenot is a university activist with intellectual credentials. He served as an aid in the European Parliament. Just recently he took a part time job as a postal worker.
Garneir did not denigrate Besancenot's achievements. He spoke mostly about the need for the FCP to put the poor showing in the year 2007 national elections; they received an embarassing less than 2% popular vote, behind them. This was the lowest vote for the FCP in memory.
Garnier said what we reported earlier about the village of Barjac and similar towns where FCP gained leadership positions or retained them. He said that the party must become more populist; to use an US term. We have to show that when we win positions we can deliver on our promises. For example, in the recent Noisy le Sec the Socialist Party narrowly beat our the FCP for Mayor. But, under the proportional representations system to finish second means your Party still gets important positions. "We have to build on those victories and be ready for Department and National elections."
The Fete did not conclude with the mass rally. Thousands continue to enjoy the great weather and headed off for more music, food and debates.
Meant to be positioned on the calender to get French people ready for the Fall actions, this Fete certainly did that job.