Happy New Year, readers! The most interesting new trend afoot in French politics for 2015 is the increasing prominence of the Association for a Constituent Assembly. Founded in 2004, this group’s impact is now being felt on policy debates across the Hexagon. The APUC proposes a peaceful, time-honored means to bring the government of the French Republic back in line with the its founding principles. Although APUC leaders include a former deputy of the National Assembly, writers for the high-profile Le Monde diplomatique, and academics employed by France’s elite universities, its members hail from all walks of life. Constitutional “circles” have formed in 19 French cities and their numbers are steadily growing. Will they succeed in creating enough momentum to prompt a national election? In order to help Anglophone readers understand the gravity of the French situation, and the relevance this group’s efforts to the inspiring principles of 1789, we’re posting below the English translation of the Association’s call to action. Click here for the French original, on the APUC website. This may be a rare chance for us to witness deliberative democracy in action!
Association for a New French Constituent Assembly
This is a call for a grassroots vote of no confidence in our governing institutions. This is a call for the creation of new Constituent Assembly (originally established 1789-1791, but also 1848, 1871-1875, 1945, and 1946).
Fellow citizens of France,
The time has come to make known to the professional politicians that they cannot legitimately represent the people’s interests anymore.
During the last few years, the leaders of France have adopted a technocratic mode of governing that has made matters less and less transparent to those who do not walk the halls of power. They have abandoned the country’s political and financial sovereignty, claiming that the welfare state cannot be sustained, given the need to compete in world markets. Instead of heeding the people’s legitimate demand for representation and justice, they have thrown their efforts behind an anti-democratic effort to build up Europe. The technocrats currently leading the “political class” are overlooking massive sectors of the population and dismissing calls for greater representation and democracy.
Furthermore, the executive branch has evolved into an autocracy led by a president whose decisions are dictated solely by his own views. Forgetting his campaign promises, the president has led with an antidemocratic, antisocial iron hand.
The government’s indifference to popular opinion has reached the breaking point. Who can forget the government’s reaction to the French vote of NO against the European Constitution in 2005? Despite a resounding majority of negative votes, the referendum’s result was ignored. Organizers of the vote willfully overlooked article 3 of the constitution, which stipulates that “national sovereignty belongs to the people.”
Over the last ten years, the founders of the Association for a New French Constituent Assembly (Association pour une Constituante) have striven to put policy decisions back in the hands of the electorate. Instead of waiting for the system to fix itself, or watching in vain for the lame-duck Parliament to regain its role in the balance of powers, we call for a grassroots movement to demand that the people’s voice be heard.
Our goal is the creation of a new Constituent Assembly: a corps of elected deputies entrusted with the creation of a new Constitution that would reform governmental institutions to serve the people of France. We encourage citizens across the country to create local groups of deliberative democracy, in the hopes of organizing a national vote on a new Constituent Assembly.
Citizens, pass along this call to action! Organize! To reform the current institutions and redefine the rules governing the political system, we must demand the election of a new Constituent Assembly!
Contact: The Association pour une Constituante: www.pouruneconstituante.fr
13 rue du Pré Saint Gervais, 75019 Paris