Clémentine Autain

Clémentine Autain
Born May 26, 1973 (1973-05-26) (age 43)
Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Nationality French France
Occupation Politician, cohost of a television show on politics
Known for Political organizer, feminist
Parent(s) Dominique Laffin, Yvan Dautin

Clémentine Autain is a French politician and a feminist, born on May 26, 1973 in Saint-Cloud. She is also co-editor of the monthly publication Regards with Roger Martelli and is co-secretary of the Fondation Copernic.

She was elected to the municipal council of Paris as a member of the French Communist Party (PCF). At the Paris City Hall she is responsible for the youth portfolio. From 2001 to 2008 she was a member of the executive council of Organisme d'habitations à loyer modéré and Offices publics d'aménagement et de construction (OPAC), an office responsible for the management of low-cost housing in Paris.

Civil state

Clémentine Autain is the daughter of actress Dominique Laffin and singer Yvan Dautin.

Her paternal uncle, François Autain, is a French Senator and member of Parti de gauche (Left Party) for Loire-Atlantique, as well as former Deputy Mayor of Bougue and former Secretary of State for Immigration, then for the Ministry of Defense during the presidency of François Mitterrand. Her grandfather, André Laffin, a veteran of the War in Indochina, was briefly elected as a right-wing candidate as a member of (UNR) in the department of Yonne.

Childhood and youth

At the age of ten, Clémentine Autain wanted to become a singer like her father, Yvan Dautin. She enjoyed the musical comedy Abbacadabra, and she picked up the songs of the pop group Abba by watching television. She collected albums, attended concerts and enjoyed television series. At the same time, she was immersed in politics due to her parents' links to Jack Ralite and Alain Krivine. Her father was a militant anarchist, associated with the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR).

In 1985, when she was not yet twelve years old, her mother, Dominique Laffin, died by suicide.[1]

At the age of seventeen, she moved out of the family home and, with her baccalauréat diploma in hand, she then pursued university studies in History. Clémentine Autain earned a Master's Degree in History, with a specialization in colonial Algeria and with a DEA titled "Mouvement social, féminisme et législation à travers l'exemple du corps des femmes (1967-1982)" (in English: "Social Movements, Feminism and Legislation through the Example of Women's Bodies (1967-1982)") on the Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF).


In a biography, she reveals that she was raped at age 23 while being threatened with a knife near the Université de Paris VIII.[2] She revealed the tragedy in the middle of the presidential campaign as

a way to bring the issue of violence in the debate

. About this book, she declared:

I do not deliver private confidences about what I felt, I do not have a desire to comment on the consequences of the rape in my private life. [...] This part of the experience belongs to me, it will remain to me. [...] But to talk is to be faithful to my commitment. Because silence is playing into the hands of the rapists. [...] My example shows how rape is a taboo subject. My rapist was a repeat offender, he confessed to raping between twenty and thirty women, but only three complaints were filed. Rape is a phenomenon of a considerable magnitude and severity, largely left in silence.

This rape marked, for her, the start of her engagement in feminism. She was active in the Union des étudiants communistes. She supported the Collectif contre le viol and contributed her feminist perspective. She made the Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF) the thesis topic for her DEA in History. In 1997, she decided to create a new feminist organization, Mix-Cité, for which she was co-president. The organization is well-known in France for its protests against the use of live models in the display windows of the shopping centre Galeries Lafayette.

She next worked as a parliamentary assistant to Georges Mazars,[3] the Senator for the department of Tarn. She worked with Cécile Silhouette, a Paris councillor, who was elected as a representative of Ensemble pour une gauche alternative et écologiste. According to Le Monde, she would also have been close to the Gauche socialiste associated Jean-Luc Mélenchon.[1]

Political career

In 2001, the Parti communiste français asked her to run at the top of the ballot in 17th arrondissement of Paris against Françoise de Panafieu, which she describes as a "big bourgeois woman" with "appalling class contempt".[1] Winning with 35% of the vote, the new Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, named her assistant in charge of youth.

As a representative of Paris city hall, in 2001 she attended the Universités d’été euroméditerranéennes des homosexualités, where she worried about possible discrimination towards militant bisexuals in the associations within the homosexual world, a "biphobia".[4]

In 2003, she defended lesbians against the "phallocratic" tendencies of some members of gay associations. She denounced the threat that the Centre d'archives gay-lesbiennes de la mairie de Paris could neglect the "lesbian identity".[5]

In 2005, she signed the Appel des indigènes de la République, before ultimately withdrawing her signature when Tariq Ramadan added his own.[6] During this period, she participated in activities organized by the Conseil représentatif des associations noires de France (CRAN).

In the Group of May 29, she campaigned against the 2004 Treaty of Rome, the European Constitutional Treaty, during the French referendum on the treaty.

A frequent presence on television screens, in 2006 Clémentine Autain became a possible candidate for Gauche antilibérale.[7] She was declared ready to be a candidate in the 2007 French presidential election on September 10, 2006, at the meeting of the Collectif national d’initiative pour un rassemblement antilibéral de gauche et des candidatures communes where a number of local groups were in attendance, believing that she answered the needs of some militants for a candidate who did not represent any party, which gave her an advantage over Marie-George Buffet, Olivier Besancenot, Patrick Braouezec, Yves Salesse or José Bové "to synthesize."

She participates in the Fondation Copernic, a club for discussions relating to the radical left and to leftist ideas: the RAP with Jacques Kergoat, SELS (Sensibilité écologiste libertaire et radicalement sociale-démocrate) or "Ramulaud" (a movement to develop an alternative to the left, named after a restaurant where it was launched). She has also contributed written pieces to L'Humanité. At the end of 2008 – beginning of 2009, she contributed to the creation of the Fédération pour une alternative sociale et écologique (FASE), a political movement whose objective is to "unite all the forces of transformation and transcendence of capitalism" and of which she is the spokesperson.[8]

Reporting to Paris City Hall

As Deputy Youth Mayor of Paris from 2001 to 2007, Clémentine Autain developed the Conseils de la jeunesse de Paris (Youth Councils of Paris), operations charged with providing youth with opportunities for dialogue with elected officials, to contribute their perspectives on important initiatives driving the city (transportation, environment, housing, etc.) and to open projects up to the average Parisian. These operations distribute a budget of approximately 200,000 euros to the councils of the city's arrondissements and another 80,000 euros to the Conseils de la jeunesse de Paris.

Thanks to a 50% increase in the budget directed at youth, Clementine Autain put in place different initiatives: Paris Jeunes Talents, Paris Jeunes Vacances, Paris Jeunes Aventures, Paris Jeunes Solidarité, which provide youth with activities such as job training, professional experience, and educational travel.[9]


After the setback of a planned unitarian antiliberal candidacy, Clémentine Autain decided not to engage in a disunited campaign that was establishing itself:

I made the fight for our coming together the touchstone of my commitment, the key to my identification. It was to make this possible that I was declared a candidate in September. Getting involved in supporting those who will make one segment, necessary but a segment just the same, of anti-liberalism does not conform to what I actually did, said and with what I want to be [...]. It is not easy, when militancy is in the gut, to sit on a shelf instead of being part of a campaign. It's not exciting and you do not do it as friends ... but, in politics, nothing is more important than consistency, over the long haul. I also prefer not to pretend and stay in synch with my deep conviction. I respect the choices of everyone. Mine is to stay true to what I have said and done to date: the convergence of the broader progressive left is my only compass. It does not guide us today, to the presidency. We are going tomorrow.[10]

Controversy in Montreuil

In May 2007, Clémentine Autain left the 17th arrondissement in Paris for a new home in Montreuil in Seine-Saint-Denis, and sold her former apartment, which she had bought some years previously.[11] Several months later, Clémentine Autain confirmed her intention to not run as a candidate in the 2008 Paris municipal elections.[12] She expressed concerns about a possible alliance of Bertrand Delanoë with MoDem in Paris in the second round of municipal voting.

She stated that she moved to Montreuil to "learn about the suburb".[13] Before Clémentine Autain had even moved, there were rumours that she could reinforce the list headed by the outgoing Mayor, Jean-Pierre Brard,[14] who like Autain, was linked with the communists. In reality there was no substance to the rumours, the move to Montreuil corresponded above all with her personal choice and economic reasons. On her blog, Clémentine Autain confirms "she had asked nothing of the sort and nothing had been promised".[15] Brard, who was ultimately defeated by Dominique Voynet, reaffirmed his opposition in principle.

In part motivated by a desire to fight the "gentrification" of Montreuil,[15] Clémentine Autain's arrival paradoxically comes in a context of strong social change[16] in the previously more working class community.[17]

Living in Montreuil since early 2008,[18] she cohosts a program focusing on political discussion, Paroles de gauche (Words from the Left) and supported the militants without papers during their strike.

The Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste

During 2008, Autain became involved with the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA) (New Anticapitalist Party) under development, launched by the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire.[19]

Autain attended the national conference of l’Appel de Politis, a movement to create an alternative to the left.[20] She called for "an acting out", making reference to the necessary creation of a new political force. However, this unity did not materialize. Clémentine Autain expressed regret that Olivier Besancenot and the NPA did not seek to build political majorities nor to work and create alliances with others, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon.[21]

Today Autain is active with Fédération pour une alternative sociale et écologique (FASE), for which she is spokesperson. In particular, she has represented FASE at the congress of the Parti de Gauche de Jean-Luc Mélenchon, indicating a desire to work with him despite differences on issues such as secularism, the Republic, the forms of political organization or the concept of "revolution through the ballot box", to which she prefers that of "democratic revolution".[22][23]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 « Clémentine Autain : une certaine idée de soi », Le Monde, 5 ; Clémentine Autain reacted to this profile on her blog : « Je vous réponds (2) ».
  2. Anne Delabre, Clémentine Autain. Portrait, biography (Danger public, November 2006). ISBN 2-35123-118-X
  3. Anne Delabre, Clémentine Autain. Portrait, biography, Danger public, novembre 2006, p.64
  4. Clémentine Autain, « La chronique de Clémentine Autain. Sous le soleil », L'Humanité, 30 août 2006.
  5. Archives lesbiennes sur
  6. « Les Indigènes s’invitent dans le débat », L'Humanité, March 21, 2005.
  7. « Le ralliement d’Arnaud Montebourg à Ségolène Royal relance le désir d’une candidature de Clémentine Autain pour incarner la gauche anti-libérale » sur Page 2007.
  8. Clémentine Autain, Patrick Braouezec et Leila Chaibi, « Comment donner corps à la transformation sociale et écologique ? Pour un front postcapitaliste qui fasse cause commune dès 2012 », L'Humanité, 15 novembre 2010.
  9. « Nous voulons aider les jeunes à accéder à l'autonomie », Interview sur, 21 juin 2006.
  10. « La cohérence, sur la durée », Clémentine Autain's blog.
  11. Je vous réponds !, Clémentine Autain's blog, May 18, 2007.
  12. Sylvia Zappi, « Municipales : Clémentine Autain quitte Paris pour Montreuil », Le Monde, 21 octobre 2007.
  13. « Pour en finir avec la polémique montreuilloise… », Clémentine Autain's blog, October 23, 2007.
  14. « Municipales à Montreuil : Brard renvoie Clémentine Autain dans les cordes », AFP, 22 octobre 2007.
  15. 1 2 « Je m'engage à Montreuil ! », Clémentine Autain's blog, October 21, 2007.
  16. « En banlieue, le PS se prépare à larguer le PC », Marianne2, 29 octobre 2007.
  17. « L'Adieu à Paris de Clémentine », Le Nouvel Observateur, 25 octobre 2007.
  18. « Autain : “Brard m'a dézinguée” », Le Journal du dimanche, 26 janvier 2008.
  19. « Michel Onfray, Boltansky (sic), Clémentine Autain, etc. interpellent positivement le NPA », 30 mai 2008.
  20. Appel de Politis
  21. « Interview de Clémentine Autain », Libération, 10 décembre 2008.
  22. Autain, Clementine. "Speech transcript". Communistes unitaires. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  23. Clémentine Autain au Congrès du Parti de Gauche


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Clémentine Autain.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/12/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.