Ruffin in 2017
|Member of the National Assembly|
for Somme's 1st constituency
21 June 2017
|Born||18 October 1975|
|Political party||Picardie Debout|
|Occupation||Journalist, film director|
François Ruffin (born 18 October 1975) is a French journalist, filmmaker, author and politician. The founder and editor-in-chief of the satirical quarterly Fakir, he is best-known for directing the film Merci patron! (2016) as well as for playing an instrumental role in the formation of the Nuit debout movement in France.
He has been a member of the National Assembly since 2017, representing Somme's first constituency. Ahead of the 2017 legislative election, Ruffin created the regional political party Picardie Debout ("Arise Picardy") and ran as its sole candidate, with the initial support of La France Insoumise, Europe Ecology - The Greens and the French Communist Party in the first round, and that of the Socialist Party's candidate in the second round. Once elected, he joined the parliamentary group of La France Insoumise, and is de facto associated with the political party.
Ruffin was born in Calais on 18 October 1975, and grew up in Amiens. His father worked for the French vegetable processing company Bonduelle and his mother was a housewife. In 1999 Ruffin founded the newspaper, Fakir, and the following year he entered journalism school at the Centre de formation des journalistes in Paris. In 2003 he published a book, Les Petits Soldats du journalisme, in which he drew on his experiences at journalism school. He was critical of the method by which journalists are trained, arguing that it leaves no room for political engagement or for critical opposition to capitalism.
Ruffin's investigative journalism work has focused on the behaviour of multinational companies. He has developed a technique for questioning the CEO's of these companies. He buys shares in the company and then attends the shareholders' annual general meeting, this being often the only way a journalist is able to make contact with the CEO. He has published his work in Le Monde diplomatique as well as in the pages of Fakir; he has also reported for the France Inter radio programme Là-bas si j'y suis.
The documentary film Merci patron!, released nationally in France in February 2016, which Ruffin directed, is a product of his earlier journalism work. In the film, Ruffin takes on the case of Jocelyn and Serge Klur, both textile workers who have been made redundant, the factory where they worked having been relocated to Poland. The factory had been run by a company owned by Bernard Arnault, France's richest man. The film follows Ruffin's efforts to force Arnault to pay back the Klurs for "ruining their lives". Before making the film, Ruffin had been investigating Arnault's business affairs for several years, and he met the Klurs in the course of his investigations. Economist Frédéric Lordon described Merci patron! as a direct action film. Ruffin has said he was inspired by the American filmmaker Michael Moore and subsequently nicknamed as such. The film received positive reviews in the French press and was a box office success, initially receiving attention almost entirely by word of mouth.
The Nuit debout movement arose as a result of events surrounding the film. In a piece written for Le Monde diplomatique, Frédéric Lordon described the film as a clarion call for a potential mass uprising. In response to this piece, and recognising the enthusiastic public response to advanced screenings of the film, Ruffin organised a meeting in Paris on 23 February 2016 to discuss future political actions. He has said that the aim of the meeting was to bring together a number of disparate protest groups, including people protesting against a proposed airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, factory workers protesting against the Goodyear tire company, and teachers protesting against education reforms. A retired delivery driver who attended the meeting was quoted as saying, "There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government?. We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn't go home." As a result of the meeting, an occupation was arranged for Paris's Place de la République, to take place on the evening of 31 March 2016, under the name Nuit debout, following scheduled street protests earlier in the day against the government's proposed labour reforms. In the days following this event, protests continued, spreading to other cities throughout France and into neighbouring countries in Europe.
|Founded||1 February 2017|
|Headquarters||195 rue Léon Dupontreué 80000 Amiens|
|Colours||Crimson red |
|Presidency of Regional Councils|
|Presidency of Departmental Councils|
In November 2016, Ruffin announced that he would run for the National Assembly in the departement of Somme's 1st constituency, an area where the far-right National Front had gained in traction and popularity. His political platform was one inspired by those of La France Insoumise, the French Communist Party, and Europe Ecology - The Greens. He pledges to adhere to the principles of a "revocable mandate" and to only keep a minimum wage of his salary. He officially launched his campaign on February 17, 2017, at Flixecourt, France. Employees of the Whirlpool plant in Amiens are present, to bring attention to the situation of their factory, whose management has announced the closure and relocation in Poland. His campaign slogan is "They have the money, we have the people" and he symbolizes his campaign the Lafleur puppet, ingrained in Picardy's culture, and names his micro-political party "Picardie Debout," which can be translated as "Arise Picardy". For the first electoral round, his campaign receives the support of La France Insoumise, the French Communist Party and Europe Ecology--The Greens. On June 11, he qualified for the second round of the legislative elections with 24.32% of the votes cast, coming second behind En Marche! candidate Nicolas Dumont, credited with 34.13% of the vote. In the second round, the incumbent and disqualified Socialist Party candidate Pascal Boistard also endorses Ruffin's candidacy. He received 55.97% of the votes cast in the runoff against Dumont and was elected.
François Ruffin supports the need for economic protectionism and details this point of view in his 2011 book, Their Big Scare: Diary of my Protectionist Impulses. He is in favor of the doctrine of degrowth, as opposed to productivism.
He regularly insists on the need to establish the junction between the two electorate hearts of the left, namely the working class, associated with the workers and the unions on one side, and the intellectuals and professionals of the education of the another, because according to him, only the "convergence of struggles" can lead to a social movement of sufficient magnitude to achieve change. To do this, he seeks in particular to fight against the class scorn he identifies against the lower classes.
He wants to politically join the "red" left of the social struggle and the "green" left of the environmentalists, a junction he qualifies as a "necessity". This junction is also associated in his thinking that the popular class ("more attached to the social question") and the petty bourgeoisie ("more attached to the ecological question") must be brought together.Maurice Kriegel-Valrimont is one of his political models. He defined himself as partial to the Left Front before "taking note of their suicide".
In June 2016, he participated in the launch of a campaign calling to no longer vote for the Socialist Party, including in the second round against the right or the far-right, and called for the emergence of a "populist movement of the left".
During the presidential election of 2017, he supports the candidacy of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, without however wishing to sign the charter of La France Insoumise, although he later joined their parliamentary group in the National Assembly. In May 2017, he published in Le Monde an open letter to Emmanuel Macron, whom he considers an "already hated future president". He votes for him in the second round of the presidential election, while indicating that he is "not proud" and promising to be a "firm opponent".