A week after their return to Grenoble, the ecologists are looking for each other. And ask lots of questions. Their congress, scheduled for December, should be an opportunity to put everything on the table: the failure of the presidential election, their role in Nupes, the pre-eminence of ecology, the margin of progress in rural areas… As with every times, they have only one word in their mouths: refoundation. The deputy of Val-d’Oise Aurélien Taché shares the need to transform the party to make room for “training anchored in the territories” and more oriented towards the working classes.
While the French have witnessed, all summer, the multiplication of abnormal climatic phenomena, environmentalists are struggling to be heard. How can you be audible in the period?
We make proposals to the National Assembly. We did a number of them this summer, maybe we weren’t heard enough. When we propose to lower the price of train tickets or when we oppose the import of shale gas, it is very concrete. Above all, we need a political movement that is stronger and more rooted in society. Political ecology has shone in many elections, but there are still gaps. To caricature, our movement is too centered on bicycle sores in metropolitan areas. On the left, environmentalists have the most CSP+ electorate. This should question us.
What should be changed?
I plead for a popular ecology that is much more in tune with the inhabitants of rural areas and working-class neighborhoods. Today, they are absent from our movement. Some wonder if to be an ecologist, one should not pass a doctorate in environmental science. There is an elitist brake which is frightening. Let’s break it. Let’s explain to people who practice the circular economy, who pay attention to what they eat, recycle their waste that they are doing ecology. Ecology can unravel people’s lives very concretely. For those who struggle to take the RER in the morning, ecology will meet their needs. We know it’s good for the planet and for people. Ecologists have always been at the forefront of these fights. If I explain in my constituency that the train ticket will be reduced to 9 euros and that accommodation will be cheaper, I will be very well received.
Doesn’t a sentence like that of Sandrine Rousseau on the barbecue risk turning a certain number of French people upside down?
She was right to say that barbecue is an attribute of manhood. Since prehistoric times, it has been men who have made the fire. And I support her in the face of the wave of harassment she receives. But we must not forget that the barbecue is also synonymous with pleasure. I am annoyed to see people like Fabien Roussel exploiting our positions. He confuses popular and reactionary. He unfolds his reactive speech on the underpants and I don’t really know what. In order not to give him the perch and give the impression that he is the best defender of the working classes, we must be careful and remember that every summer, people who cannot go on vacation also have barbecues. We need to reconnect with conviviality. Political ecology will be the major narrative of our time. I’m convinced. We must talk again about the 4-day week, the basic income to draw the outlines of a better-living society.
It’s an old refrain. At each congress, ecologists speak of refoundation or transformation. Do you think that it is necessary to exceed the framework of EE-LV?
Yes, I am for the creation of a mass party of political ecology. To attract the popular classes, you have to convince them that you can really conquer power. EE-LV is the historical force, they are the ones who showed the way. They have the most executives and militants but it’s not enough, we saw it during the presidential campaign. We need training rooted in the territories with many more activists. EE-LV was a less powerful machine than the others. Let us offer the possibility to all political parties and to citizens who wish to participate in our congress scheduled for December. The worst would be to withdraw into ourselves.
What role do you intend to play with the small structure of the New Democrats that you chair?
I asked the management of EE-LV that the New Democrats be integrated into the party. With what this implies in terms of representation in the bodies and participation of our members in the congress. So far, the response has been mostly favourable.
So the New Democrats will no longer exist?
It’s the last step, after that it no longer exists. Call it merger or absorption. I go there frankly, I play the game. Ecology must start from the base, with elected officials, opinion leaders, associative figures that people know. That’s what’s missing. We can no longer stay on a small elitist formation with executives little involved in the life of their territory. Open the doors wide. The future of ecology should not be written by a few hundred people.
Should the EE-LV structure continue?
The party must evolve and form the basis of the future great environmentalist party. Let’s think about a new name, new rules, the possibility of joining much more easily… We must also have a simpler functioning, although internal democracy is the beauty of our political culture. People must not think that environmentalists are a small disconnected group that masters climate issues better than anyone and gives lessons to the whole Earth.
Should La Nupes take a new course?
Whoever would take the risk of closing the door of unity would be immediately thanked by the voters, and rightly so. We must tackle future deadlines together. For the European elections, I do not say no a priori. We ecologists make proposals on Europe. And if they are close enough to our friends at Nupes, let’s go together. Otherwise it does not matter. On the other hand, it is necessary to work as of now with the presidential election so that the left presents a single candidate. The French would not understand otherwise.