Former communist minister Jack Ralite died at the age of 89, announced Sunday Meriem Derkaoui, mayor of the city of Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis) which he led from 1984 to 2003.

Born May 14, 1928 in Chalons-sur-Marne (Marne), Jack Ralite had joined the PCF in 1947. Journalist for the communist daily L'Humanité and then for L'Humanité-Dimanche, this self-taught culture enthusiast was elected for the first time on the municipal council of Aubervilliers in 1959. A communist deputy since 1973, Jack Ralite entered the government in June 1981. He became Minister of Health then Employment, in the 2nd and 3rd governments of Pierre Mauroy, from 1981 to 1984.

One of the four communist ministers of the Mauroy era

He was one of the four communist ministers of this period, along with Charles Fiterman, Anicet Le Pors and Marcel Rigout. All four resigned on July 17, 1984 on instructions from the Communist Party when Pierre Mauroy was replaced by Laurent Fabius. The Communist Party thus intended to protest against the austerity policy, but also to face the erosion of its electorate, reduced by half (to 11,28%) on the occasion of the European elections of June 17, 1984.

Elected mayor of Aubervilliers from 1984, he resigned in 2003. On this occasion, Liberation devotes a portrait to him. He was a senator from 1995 to 2011.

Passionate about culture, Ralite sits in parliament on the cultural affairs committee, is committed to cultural exception and against trade liberalization agreements, the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (AMI). Also presenter of the Estates General of Culture since 1987, he sits on the boards of directors of the Théâtre du Peuple since 1999, of the Festival Paris quartier d'été since 1996, of the Cité de la Musique between 1999 and 2006, of the National Theater of la Colline and the Ensemble intercontemporain since 2002 and the Center des Monuments Nationaux from 2004 to 2008. He was interviewed here in Liberation on the occasion of the Estates General of Culture in 2003.

Jack Ralite is the author of two Tribunes for Liberation: on vaccination strategy and removal of advertising on France Television.

For Pierre Laurent, "Jack was a smuggler of ideas, of words"

For Pierre Laurent, National Secretary of the Communist Party: “We are losing a communist and a major politician, one of the best defenders of culture […] Jack Ralite was one of the most respected communist leaders: of course in his Party , to which he remained faithful all his life, throughout the Left and among the ecologists but also on the Right […] Jack was a free man, a man without borders, who did not let anyone dictate his thoughts. Jack Ralite was considered the friend of people of culture and considered by them as one of their own.

“The inhabitants, he considered them as “daily experts”. Because they were experts, it was necessary to listen, to hear their distress, their suffering, but also their hopes,
their demands. He wore them with fidelity in every hemicycle, every tribune where he could make himself heard. His fight against injustice, against inequalities we make them ours.

“Jack was a smuggler, a smuggler of ideas, a smuggler of actions, a smuggler of words. We take with pride the passing of the baton that he passed on to us.