Left: why Laurent Berger says no to politics
Can you be the man of the moment, arouse hope, and choose to shy away…
Can you be the man of the moment, arouse hope, and choose to shy away from it? Because it is a funny adventure that Laurent Berger, the boss of the CFDT, is living. He who has always put a tight boundary between union fight and political fight finds himself, precisely when he leads the union battle of his life, to fill a political vacuum that he did not measure. Pure union figure transformed into a political figure.
“The reality is that he is in a situation,” notes Michel Sapin, François Hollande’s former Minister of Labor. “He is the leader, the one who says balanced and understandable things in an incomprehensible debate. For the orphan social democracy, he is the only one who represents it”. For the first time in a long time, voters on the left of government are waking up and starting to dream. And if it was him ?
But no, it won’t be him. Michel Sapin knows it. Laurent Berger has fixed his line for a long time and does not want to move from it. Enter politics, “Never”! To be a presidential candidate, “I am not crazy enough! “. Those who know him agree. “He’s a real trade unionist,” in the sense that that rules out a crossing of the Rubicon.
Meeting with Holland
“In the CFDT culture, politics is the absolute transgression. Nicole Notat and François Chérèque were courted many times, they never agreed to be ministers. It would have damaged their old house,” said a devotee. It is not for nothing that the rumor also thrives among certain macronists. Didn’t he get involved in societal struggles far removed from the sole defense of employees? Berger tempted by politics, they know it’s not a compliment.
How is it then that the union leader talks a lot these days to the leaders of this orphan left? He met François Hollande at length. “He goes around everyone,” observes the socialist Jean-Christophe Cambadélis. To evoke the fight against pension reform which he still deems winnable.
And because he too makes the same observation. The space for a “reasonable” left has widened: Emmanuel Macron has lost part of his with pension reform when La France insoumise was radicalized. But who to embody this space, Cazeneuve, Hollande, Delga, Cambadélis, Joffrin…? Everyone in his corner, that is to say nobody.
But what becomes of a reformist union like the CFDT, even reinforced by the street, if it has no political mirror to build dialogue and agreements? Nothing. This is the paradox of the Berger “moment”. He doesn’t want to be the left but needs one.