France - National Conference of the NPA

For a revolutionary policy, independent of reformism, that prioritises struggles

July 19, 2012

Platform E, put forward by comrades who voted for P4 or P2 in the last congress

Introduction

The National Conference should allow the NPA to begin emerging from its crisis. Let’s put an end to the laming compromises, the ambiguous formulas and the agreements at the top! Many comrades are appalled by these methods and by the lack of radicalism of the party. We want to unite all the comrades who want a revolutionary and democratic NPA. We put forward a platform with four points: full independence from the Front de Gauche (Left Front, FdG); the defence of a genuine transitional program with the perspective of our project of a socialist society; a turn towards an implantation in the workers’ movement and the prioritisation of struggles; and internationalism.

The capitalist crisis causes terrible austerity measures and massive layoffs

In Europe, the economy is stagnating: The only solution that would permit the capitalists to restart their accumulation of profits is to "purge" surplus capital through bankruptcies and gigantic layoffs. This has been avoided so far partly because of massive state intervention to save the capitalists by making the workers pay. The debt crisis prevents a restart of the economy by means of increasing government spending: Governments have no choice but to increase austerity to an unprecedented level. From this point of view, Greece is the future of Europe. With the "Troika" (IMF, EU, ECB), the European ruling classes, dominated by the German bourgeoisie, have imposed the destruction of the living standards of the Greek people in an attempt to avoid the default of the country of and its exit from the euro. But now, the spiral of the crisis and the new threats to the euro have extended to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland... However, at the same time, this has also provoked an unprecedented resistance. Since the start of the crisis, the class struggle has intensified worldwide (Guadalupe, the Arab countries, Europe, USA...). Although social resistance at this level is insufficient to stop the austerity plans, it has become an obstacle to its implementation. In Greece, it has caused a major political crisis; with the right-wing victory in the elections of June 17, the threat looms of a forced implementation of European policies and significant repression of the mobilisations.

The struggles are often led to defeat by the reformists and the trade union leaderships in the name of "social dialogue" – they are associated with the implementation of counter-reforms and restructuring plans. These defeats increase the demoralisation and confusion of the exploited classes, which permits a dangerous growth of the far right who blame immigrant workers for the crisis. Anger and fear are also channelled within the framework of institutions, particularly through elections, creating illusions on the "left".

In France, the workers, the youth and the people ‘from bellow’ have gotten rid of Sarkozy to put an end to his brutal and cynical policies. Although they do not believe that Hollande is going to “change their lives†, they think he will be the “lesser evil†. In reality, besides questions of “style†and some very limited measures to placate the people, the "normal President" is preparing a severe austerity plan, guaranteeing layoffs and carrying out a policy in the interests of the capitalists, using his majority in Parliament, involving the trade union leaderships and counting on the support of the Front de Gauche (FdG).

1) For a policy independent of the Front de Gauche

The indispensable reorientation means first and foremost the rejection of the dissolution of the NPA in the FdG, but also for the rejection of political subordination via a permanent front "of opposition." Indeed, FdG supports Hollande, we have insurmountable programmatic differences with with it (internationalism, nuclear energy...), and we defend two radically different projects of society: revolutionary socialism for us, "human†in the framework of capitalism for them! A durable "political bloc" with reformists has nothing to do with a united front - which means "strike together" but "march apart."

Similarly in Greece, far from supporting the anti-liberal and ultimately impotent program of Syriza, we stand with those who defend a revolutionary program and struggle for a workers’ government, based on a policy of a united front. The contradictions between the promises of Syriza and its refusal to break with the system show that there is no third way between austerity and revolution.

2) For a genuine transitional program towards a socialist society

In order to bring a credible revolutionary program, a real transitional program, to life, we need to tirelessly unite our demands (prohibition of layoffs, distribution of working hours, a wage increase of 300€, a minimum wage of 1700€ pegged price development, abandonment of nuclear energy, generalization of renewable energies, defense of women’s rights, equality among French and foreign workers etc.) to the goal of a workers’ government, i.e. of our own power. A government of the exploited and the oppressed which breaks with the capitalist institutions and is based on the generalized self-organization with mandated delegates who are revocable and elected for a limited duration. Only a government of this kind will be able to annul the debt, expropriate the banks and the big capitalist groups, break with the EU, collectively plan for the economy and thus open the way towards a truly socialist society based on real equality, permitting the development of all.

3) For an implantation in the workplaces and the prioritisation of struggles

To get out of the electoralist dead-end, we need to reorient the party towards the workplaces. Only the workers have the ability to hit the capitalists’ profits with the general strike and to blockade the country: To contribute politically to this perspective, we need to prioritize constructing the party in the strategic sectors of the proletariat, in the private as well as the public sector. During the struggle against the pensions’ reform, the NPA suffered because it was absent from the principal bastions of the strike (refineries, harbors, transport sector...). It is urgent to implant ourselves in the workplaces, publish bulletins to defend our ideas and create links with the workers. Today, the struggle against the tens of thousands of announced layoffs is a priority. We need to intervene in it in a voluntarist way, even from outside. We must call for all jobs to be maintained and attempt to convince the workers that the struggle for severance pay is not a solution since the laid off workers, in their majority, will not find new jobs and will fall into misery after having consumed their severance pay. We call for the following transitional demands: prohibition of layoffs, distribution of working hours without loss of pay, workers’ control of production and management, nationalization of the companies who threaten to close...

We intervene in struggles to assist their self-organization. For this, democratic general assemblies are necessary, integrating the workers in the trade unions with those who are not, and involving the organizations who support the struggle. As soon as a struggle develops, we fight for it to be supported broadly and for its extension to avoid its isolation, with the goal of the struggles converging.

To mobilize massively, we systematically propose a policy of a united front of the organizations on the basis of demands. This must not lead us refrain from fighting against the trade union bureaucracies who betray the struggles and collaborate with the bosses. One of the principal bets of Hollande is to work hand in hand with the trade unions in the name of “social dialog†. It is essential to intervene in the trade unions in a coordinated manner to reappropriate them and fight the bureaucracies which paralize them.

We also intervene in the youth, the feminist movement, the ecologist struggles and the poor neighborhoods, prioritizing the real mobilizations and defending our anticapitalist program and our project of society.

The NPA needs to be at the forefront of the political struggle against the government without waiting for the first austerity plan. It’s a two-pronged strategy: to break the illusions of those who voted for Hollande hoping to do away with Sarkozy’s policies, and to combat the doublespeak of the Front de Gauche about the government. In this sense, we call on the FdG, the trade unions and all organizations of the workers’ movement to start a united front for the immediate abolition of Sarkozy’s laws and the non-ratification of the European treaties (EFSF and ESM), but instead of demanding a referendum which would lead the struggle into a dead-end, we call for mobilizations.

4) For a thoroughly internationalist orientation and activities

We support the struggles of workers and youth against capitalist governments around the world, such as the struggles in Greece, the mobilizations in the French colonies, of the students in Quebec and in Chile, the workers’ strikes in China, the peoples uprisings against dictatorships like in Syria... With the crisis and the “Arab spring†, imperialist interventions in the name of the "democracy" are multiplying. In fact, the great powers seek to maintain their interests everywhere. Every imperialist victory is a defeat for all workers as it strengthens the most powerful bourgeoisies. Against national unity, against the machine guns of the capitalist press, we oppose imperialist interventions and we are for the defeat our own imperialism. We also fight against the opposition leaders who are seeking to keep the uprisings within the framework of the regime and against the local accomplices of the imperialists trying to channel the movements towards a recolonization of these countries.

Postscript after the National Political Council (CNP) of June 24

This text was originally a provisional proposal for a common platform for all comrades who want a revolutionary NPA. Unfortunately, the leaders of the P2 didn’t reply and they refused to even discuss the matter. Once again, they preferred to look for an agreement at the top with the leadership of the P1A, limiting themselves to proposing amendments to the document of the latter (Platform F). In this way, they again prevent the development of political discussions at the very moment that the right to speak is supposed to pass to the rank and file. In the end, the leadership of the P1A, attempting to promote unity around itself, has rejected certain proposals made by the P2, preferring to keep its ambiguity about the Front de Gauche and about the elections in order to obtain an agreement with the comrades of the Anti-Capitalist Left (Gauche Anticapitaliste, GA) who want to stay in the NPA. The comrades of the P2 have maintained only two amendments to the text of the P1A, and these two ammendments constitute their platform (platform I). This obviously is not enough to constitute an alternative in order to lead the NPA out of its crisis. On the other hand, the comrades of Fraction l’Étincelle, who were part of the P2 until now, did not accept our proposal for discussion about a common platform. We broadly what their platform (H) declares about the Front de Gauche and the need to implant ourselves in the working class, but this is also not enough to define the general orientation of the NPA for the coming period, as does not propose any perspective in terms of program, project of society and internationalism.

For this reason, we call on all comrades to vote for platform E, which was presented by comrades who voted for P4 or P2 at the last congress, for a global orientation that is a real alternative to the current leadership.