French Communist Party leads workers in march on Macron’s palace over retirement scheme
This image released by the PCF depicts National Secretary Fabien Roussel at Monday's march on Macron's palace, with Roussel's words: 'The time when the left adapts to capitalism is over!' | via PCF

PARIS—French Communist parliamentarians marched to the Élysée Palace, the residence of President Emmanuel Macron, Monday to hand in a letter demanding he drop his unpopular plan to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.

The proposal has sparked a wave of strikes and brought millions of people into the streets since it was made in January.

Protests have intensified in recent weeks after Macron’s government used special constitutional powers to force the legislation through the National Assembly without a vote.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne deployed a highly controversial clause in the French constitution to decree the change into law, a tactic she has turned to previously when Macron was unable to get parliamentary support for his plans.

Borne told French Communist Party (PCF) leader Fabien Roussel in a telephone call Sunday that she intended to press ahead with the changes, despite the demands of the people, trade unions, and left-wing MPs.

After that, Roussel refused to meet with her unless her boss backed down on his scheme. He then announced that the Communist bloc and its union allies would march on Macron’s palace.

Roussel, who hails from a Communist family, began his political activism with the Mouvement des jeunes communistes de France (Movement of Young Communists of France, MJCF) at the age of 16 as an anti-apartheid activist.

He has been a member of the National Assembly since 2017 and was elected PCF leader in 2018. Two years ago, he was the Communist nominee for president of France.

His party not only opposes Macron’s effort to raise the retirement age, it actually advocates going in the opposite direction, lowering it to 60.

Speaking from outside the Élysée Palace on Monday, Roussel said:

“We call on the president of the republic to take initiatives quickly to give the floor back to the people. Respect parliamentarians and the people who are widely opposed to reform. Remove the pension reforms so we can find a way to renew the dialogue.”

Being even more direct about the Communists’ intentions going forward, Roussel declared, “The time when the left adapts to capitalism is over.”

This article features material from Morning Star and other sources.

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