Clémentine Autain: “Social democracy has failed. We need to invent something new.”

Clémentine Autain was the guest in the seventh edition of transform! europe’s webinar series “Meeting the Left”.

Click here to watch the full interview.

In 2017, she has been elected as a Member of the National Assembly for La France Insoumise (LFI). Autin is also a member of Ensemble, a political organisation founded in 2013, a former part of Front de Gauche, and she is publishing director of the magazine

In 2019, Autain and Elsa Faucillon (French Communist Party, PCF) launched the initiative “Pour un Big Bang de la gauche” gathering members of LFI, PCF, Génération.s and the Greens (Europe Écologie – Les Verts, EELV). Autain explained:

"The Big Bang initiative was launched very soon after the European elections. It was a call for action because the results of the elections were very bad and the left in particular presented itself as a very fragmented force. We wanted something unprecedented. Hence, we think that this project has to combine both, a strong social component as well as a strong green component. Social democracy has failed. We need to invent something new.

With regard to the possible unity between the left and the Greens, Autain said:

It’s hard to predict. We can see that there are different temptations throughout the Socialist Party and the Greens. But they have a different history, on the one hand the Socialist Party which has ruled for a long time, and on the other hand the EELV, which is a rather young political party and has a very positive image. What is clear is that within both parties there is political dispute between those who believe in reinventing the Socialist Party without, in fact, refounding it, and others who think that they should turn a new page and draw the lessons from the past.

Referring to the public call “Au coeur de la crise, construisons l’avenir” (In the heart of the crisis, let’s build the future) signed by personalities from the Socialist Party, EELV and PCF, Autain affirmed that she did not sign because the text was not fully compatible with what she was advocating, even if there were a number of proposals that should not be neglected.

Autain strongly criticized the measures promoted by the French government: “Macron said ‘nothing will be as before’. This is a joke. A few days after the budget bill was passed, it was exactly the same as before. They gave 20 billion euros to big corporations for nothing in return.”

In conclusion, Autain talked about the European Union. She affirmed that the EU did not work during the crisis and she launched the idea of “sub-groups within the European Union that might work better if there was a power struggle on some issues”, quoting the cooperation between France, Italy and Spain during the crisis. She also called for a cooperation at the international level to face Covid-19 and the ecological crisis.