Translator’s Note: This statement references several organizations. The LCR (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, or Revolutionary Communist League), was the French section of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International until it abolished itself in February 2009 to form the NPA. La France Insoumise (Unbowed France or Unsubmissive France) is a social-democratic populist party founded in 2016 by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle) is a French Trotskyist party that traces its origins back to 1939.
A few days before the national conference that is supposed to spell out the orientation of the New Anticapitalist Party and nominate a candidate for the next presidential election, we are forced to take note of our de facto expulsion from this organization — one that some of us have helped to build for more than 12 years. As is often the case in the history of political expulsions, those who implement them often fail to call them what they are, using formulations such as “separation” (rather than expulsion) or claiming those expelled “have put themselves outside the party.” Nevertheless, the reality remains: this has been a long process of expulsion orchestrated for more than a year, from start to finish, by the central core of the leadership majority. There are mounds of written evidence — motions of exclusion, internal declarations signed by members of this leadership, decisions by the mediation commission that they flouted, and so on — that we will gladly provide upon request.
Beyond the fantasized tale and the slanders of the NPA leadership majority, our expulsion responds to two very concrete political problems. The first is that the historical leadership of the NPA, heir to what remained of the leadership of the former LCR, has become more and more of a minority within the organization and was in danger of losing total control at the next party congress. The second is that this same leadership has committed itself to a turn to the right, toward a policy of compromise with the institutional Left, of which the lists for the regional elections in New Aquitaine and Occitania are a preview; the existence of a strong left wing that opposes the NPA becoming a sort of branch of La France Insoumise constitutes an obstacle. These two factors led the leadership first to postpone the congress indefinitely and then to make the national conference on the presidential elections an instrument of the scission by suppressing the rights of about 25 percent of the party’s militants.
Just as it is ridiculous to pretend that we were not members of the NPA when we had representation on all the national leadership bodies and intervened in the name of the NPA in meetings and even in the traditional NPA-Lutte Ouvrière debate during the last Fête de Lutte ouvrière, it is certainly the case that we had important disagreements both on the balance sheet of the initial NPA project as well as on how to overcome the crisis in which the organization has been immersed for a decade. However, it was not inevitable that the NPA would shrink — little by little with each congress — to the point today where it has barely 10 percent of the number of members at the party’s founding, and three times fewer than the number of members of the LCR at the time of its dissolution. It is also a fact that the party, socio-economically, organizes many more teachers and civil servants than workers and other people from working-class neighborhoods, including immigrants.
Since 2016 — and this context is important — we have witnessed an important wave of class struggle and the emergence of a new militant generation, overflowing with radicalism and searching for a political alternative to represent those radical politics. The Yellow Vests movement and its revolutionary chants, and the strike against the pension reform in the winter of 2019–2020, are illustrations. Throughout these years in the NPA, we have defended and tried at our scale to demonstrate the idea that asserting a revolutionary profile and making bold interventions into the main phenomena of the class struggle would make it possible to attract to the far left some portion of these new militants. around an asserted revolutionary profile and a bold intervention in the main phenomena of the class struggle, it was possible to attract to the far left a part of these new militants. That, we said, was the path out of the party’s crisis—not the so-called unitary policies aimed at a so-called “Left of the Left” that was increasingly out of touch with the interests of the workers and the poor.
Through these activities, many of us were won to revolutionary ideas by the comrades of Révolution Permanente. But once we joined the NPA, we were not welcomed as we had expected; instead, they tried to keep us from voting for the congress, and then for the national conference, claiming that we were not real NPA militants. Internally, they denigrated the RATP–SNCF coordinating committee and then the strike at Grandpuits. Then they launched the campaign against the proposal for the presidential candidacy of a worker comrade, from an immigrant background, recognized for his role in the class struggle, calling the candidacy of Anasse “an attack against the NPA.”
Having reached this point, we no longer see any possibility that the NPA can reconstitute itself as an effective tool that serves the interests of our class. We tried until the end to transform the party in order to arrive at some form of revolutionary refoundation, something that can be done only on the basis of a serious assessment of the failure of the initial project and of the immense difficulty this organization has had being anything other than a commentator about the great processes of the class struggle that have unfolded. Despite that this possibility has been taken away from us today by our expulsion, we in no way renounce the objective of rebuilding a revolutionary Left that is equal to the experiences of the class struggle of the last few years — and above all, that is up to the challenges that are before us in this new phase of international capitalist crisis.
We call on all comrades who share this assessment to join us in the battle that is just beginning.
First published in French on June 10 in Révolution Permanente, where a full list of the signers can be found.
Translation by Scott Cooper