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The Political Foundations for a New Revolutionary Organization in France

If the class struggle since 2016 has been intense, the Far Left is paradoxically weaker and more marginal than ever, posing the need for refounding the revolutionary Left and constructing a party capable of transforming revolts into revolution. We republish this text submitted to the founding congress of a new revolutionary organization in France held on December 16, 17, and 18, 2022.

Révolution Permanente

December 27, 2022
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On December 16, 17, and 18, the founding congress of a new revolutionary organization in France will be held, promoted by Révolution Permanente. Within this framework, several documents have been elaborated and submitted to the discussion in the preparatory assemblies which gathered nearly 400 people. They can be amended in the congress where they will be submitted to vote. This text constitutes the party document.

Growing geopolitical tensions, the return of wars between great powers, economic crisis, pandemics, destruction of the planet. In recent decades, the picture of the multiple crises that threaten humanity has rarely been so dark. This observation, shared more and more beyond Marxist circles, poses the urgent need for a revolution that will put an end to the rotting capitalist system.

However, if in the last few years popular uprisings have set several countries on fire on five continents, they have not called into question the foundations of capitalist exploitation. And for good reason: the transformation of revolts into revolutions is not a mechanical process, even less so as forty years of the neoliberal offensive and an absence of revolutions have greatly damaged our class consciousness.

Therein lies all the limits of the political frameworks based on what Daniel Bensaïd called “the social illusion,” namely the idea that social movements could, by themselves and without the intervention of a strategic operator, triumph over a powerful and highly organized system like capitalism. Linked to a legitimate rejection of a certain number of left organizations that had betrayed them, this type of spontaneist conception was very much in vogue in France at the very beginning of the wave of struggles that opened in 2016 and was then nourished by a reinforcement of the autonomist current, notably in the youth.

In a context of the decline of this current and the crisis and marginalization of the main organizations of the Far Left, it is decisive to pose the necessity of a refoundation of the revolutionary Left. This must both offer the new militant generations that are becoming politicized and radicalized a political and organizational framework and enable a substantial strengthening of revolutionaries and their capacity to influence future events.

Without such a recomposition, in France as in the rest of the world, there is a great risk that the economic and political crisis, and even the embryonic phenomena of political radicalization at work within the proletariat, will lead to the demoralization of our class and will be capitalized upon by reactionary variants of the Far Right. The new organization, which will be founded at the next congress, will have in this sense the objective of being a vector of this process of recomposition and of contributing to the construction of a revolutionary party of the workers capable of transforming revolts into revolution, thus opening the way to another future for the coming generations in place of capitalist barbarism, which threatens to destroy humanity and the planet.

From the Exclusion of the NPA to the Foundation of the New Organization

This urgency to refound a revolutionary Left that is equal to the challenges of the period has always been at the heart of the politics of the current that a number of us have been building for more than 12 years within the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA): the Revolutionary Communist Current (CCR). And it is because our project of refounding the NPA to make it a tool for the construction of a revolutionary party of the workers, with the class struggle as its center of gravity, was diametrically opposed to the perspective of recompositions with the neo-reformist, or even social-liberal, Left, that the historical leadership of the NPA decided to exclude us on the eve of the national conference to decide on the presidential candidate.

Having become the strongest opposition—with an online journal (Révolution Permanente) much more widely-read than the NPA’s website and figures from the class struggle like Anasse Kazib proposed as a pre-candidate at the national conference—it was necessary to kick us out at any cost. The subsequent evolution of the politics of the NPA and its complete adaptation to the NUPES coalition gave us reason to believe that a third Poutou candidacy would be made in the name of a project other than that of the NPA in its present form. With all its faults, the NPA at the time retained a certain political independence from the institutional Left. t is this that is being liquidated.

When we left the NPA in June 2021, we decided to maintain Anasse Kazib’s candidacy for the presidency and to try to obtain the 500 sponsorships of elected officials necessary. Beyond the predictable failure in obtaining the signatures, this campaign played a decisive role in the emergence of Révolution Permanente as a new force within the Far Left. It was also a vector towards political commitment, notably for a certain number of young people, many of whom are presently involved in the founding process of the new organization, which others follow with sympathy.

The congress that will take place in December represents the culmination of a process that—through the political struggle that we have waged within the NPA, the Anasse campaign, the national conference in June, the summer university and the creation of the committees of the new organization in the fall—has allowed for the fusion of former CCR activists, new militants, and organizers from other political traditions. At the same time, it represents a point of departure in the construction of a new revolutionary organization in France, whose main foundations are defined in this text.

To do this, we will start from the strategic lessons of the class struggle of the last few years, as well as from an assessment of the role played by the different components of the revolutionary movement.

A Long Process of Radicalization among Workers and Youth

Since 2016, a new cycle of class struggle has opened in France. This one has seen a succession of mobilizations of almost all sectors of workers, but in a dispersed and desynchronized way: the private sector and youth in 2016, the railway workers and the civil service in 2018, the impoverished sectors of peri-urban France with the yellow vests, the transport workers for pensions mainly in 2019, many workers at private companies struggling against layoffs and for wages from the end of the first confinement in 2020. Workers’ mobilizations to which we must add the dynamics of youth, high school and student, who mobilized in their places of study and in the streets for the climate, against gender-based violence, for LGBT rights, or against racism and police violence.

2016 marked a leap in the organic crisis in France, with the Hollande-Valls government stringing together an unprecedented liberticidal offensive in the wake of the 2015 attacks and a pro-employer reform of the labor code that led to a powerful interprofessional movement. This gave rise to a process of mass rupture with the Socialist Party, which had for decades constituted the “left pillar” of the regime, and, on the level of the vanguard, the expression of a certain anticapitalist consciousness, with an aspiration to forms of direct democracy and radicalism, notably around the phenomena of Nuit debout and through leading processions at marches. This also enabled a new generation of activists to experience the union bureaucracy as an obstacle to the spreading of the strike.

Meanwhile, in the political superstructure, the collapse of the Socialist Party (PS) (combined with the Fillon affair and the anti-Le Pen vote) allowed the election of Macron, supported by the bourgeois bloc. On the terrain of the class struggle, the crisis of political and trade union mediations combined with the offensive politics of the new government to open the way for forms of class struggle that were at once more explosive, uncontrolled, and confused; less “chemically pure.” The spontaneous movement of the yellow vests has constituted a kind of synthesis of the contradictions of the period, mixing social crisis, tendencies to radicalization, and weakening of the “intermediate bodies”. As Juan Chingo said in his book on the yellow vest movement, it has above all marked a kind of “return of the spectre of revolution.” The bourgeoisie was terrorized by the entry of a sector of the masses into the political arena, taking up a revolutionary imaginary.

If the movement was marked by a weak class consciousness and the absence of any questioning of the bosses, favored by the boycott of the union leaderships, this leap in the process of radicalization did not take long to impact the organized labor movement. First through a series of wildcat strikes in the most exploited sectors of the SNCF (French national railways), as in the case of the technicenters, and then at the RATP, whose workers, after ten years of social peace in the company, imposed on the union bureaucracies the call for an unlimited strike from December 5, 2019 and thus allowed the start of the powerful movement against the pension reform. In the context of the beginning of the pandemic, this ended up forcing the government to withdraw its project. While mobilizing strategic sectors of the proletariat, this movement had a non-corporatist discourse around the “struggle for future generations.” It forged links with other sectors such as teachers and cultural workers and sought, with some success, to go beyond the framework imposed by the union leaderships, especially when they tried to impose a truce for the Christmas vacations.

The sudden arrival of the pandemic had a contradictory role in this process. On the one hand, it marked a kind of halt, in a context where the material conditions for mobilization had become complex and where the fear of the virus, unemployment, and poverty was a blow to workers. But on the other hand, the pandemic exposed to the eyes of millions of workers the true face of the capitalist system and of class society, the central role of the working class, and posed in an embryonic way the question of workers’ control over production and the running of society. The withdrawal rights and production stoppages in many factories during the pandemic, and then the strikes of essential workers from the end of the first lockdown, testified to elements of subjective recomposition of large sectors of the class that had not necessarily taken part in strike movements until that moment.

The return to work that has just taken place with the strike in the refineries and its impact (see the document on the national situation), show that the wave initiated in 2016 has not been stopped by the pandemic. On the contrary, the pandemic constitutes the origin of the anger of refinery workers. Indeed, like many workers fighting for wages in recent months, they were among those essential workers who worked at the peak of the pandemic in fear of the virus, while their management was holed up in second homes and shareholders were raking in record profits. The pandemic has also put into perspective, through the debate on “the world after,” the functioning of capitalist society and its irrationality.

To all this we must add the profound phenomena in the youth. The scope of an anti-racist movement against police violence, independent of the state, in which the collectives of the families of the victims play a central role, has been a very important vector of politicization in working-class neighborhoods and among young people who have been called the “Adama generation.” The important rallies of June 2020 called by our comrades of the Adama Committee at the end of the first confinement were a demonstration of this phenomenon and worried the most reactionary sectors of the bourgeoisie. Similarly, the politicization of the feminist and LGBT terrain has been accompanied by the emergence of radical “anti-capitalist” wings, critical of programs centered on the interpellation of the state, which manage to mobilize thousands of people in demonstrations that pose a challenge to the most integrated directions of the institutional Left. Finally, on the terrain of the environmentalist movement, sectors of the youth mobilized since 2018 have experienced the impasse of institutional solutions and COPs, even if this has given rise to tendencies to radicalize modes of action whose content remains centered on calling for state solutions.

All of these elements open up certain conditions favorable to the action of revolutionaries. The recompositions allowed by the crisis of political and trade union mediation are not, however, unilateral, and the elements of “radicalization” mentioned above can benefit “new ways of thinking,” to use Gramscian terms, on the Left as well as on the Right. From this point of view, the ebb in terms of consciousness of large sectors that took part in the struggles of 2019–2020, affected by the grip of conspiracy and confusion at the time of the pandemic and then tempted by an “anti-Macron” vote for Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election, show the need to take the anger and radicality to a class and revolutionary terrain and to anchor it there. Faced with the impasse represented by neo-reformism, the organizations that claim to be revolutionary have an important role to play in this context. However, it must be noted that during the entire period opened in France since 201, it is unfortunately passivity and skepticism that have prevailed.

The Far Left, Nowhere in Sight

Drawing an assessment of the intervention of the Far Left on the last cycle of the class struggle is a necessity, not to distribute good and bad points, but because a revolutionary organization draws its legitimacy from the responses it brings to new and complex political situations and from the contributions it makes to the working class and its struggles. At a time when we are creating a new organization, it is essential to point out the limits of the Far Left that we want to try to overcome.

On this front, as Paul Morao points out in an article for RP Dimanche: “to return to the policies carried out by the two main organizations of the Far Left in France in the last episodes of the class struggle implies, paradoxically, a work largely ‘in hollow’ or ‘pointillist’” because it is “difficult to remember striking interventions and demonstrations, strikes led by these organizations, bold policies carried out in the movements since 2016.”

This observation “does not mean that these organizations have stopped intervening in the class struggle, but that they have largely abandoned some of the tasks that revolutionary organizations traditionally gave themselves in these struggles,” namely, 

the battle for self-organization first, to allow workers to take their movement into their own hands; the struggle for the enlargement of the movement and the unity of the working class, as well as the work of alliance with all the oppressed sectors; finally, the fact of relying on the experiences of the class struggle to make a bridge towards the necessity of the revolution, by convincing sectors of the vanguard to commit themselves, beyond a fight, in the construction of revolutionary organizations.

The abandonment of these specific tasks that are incumbent on revolutionaries explains the paradox that after almost seven years of intense class struggle and a process of radicalization of sectors of the working class, combined with a broad ideological process of anticapitalist bases in the youth, the extreme Left is weaker and more marginal than ever. This observation is not unrelated to the strategies of the two historical organizations of French Trotskyism, marked by passivity and defeatism regarding the specific role that revolutionaries must play in the class struggle.

From the Failure of the Founding Project to the Opportunist Debacle of the NPA Leadership

The crisis and the relative paralysis of the NPA are not a new fact. The expansive dynamics of their initial project, which dreamed of occupying the space to the left of the PS, thanks to the popularity of Besancenot and the crisis of the old apparatuses that had participated in the government of the plural Left, quickly came up against the recomposition of a reformist bloc around the Left Front constituted between Mélenchon, freshly out of the PS, and the French Communist Party (PCF). This reminder of reality very quickly led to a crisis that highlighted the ambiguities of the founding project of the NPA as a broad party.

This project was based on the idea that the border between reform and revolution had become more blurred, or even that it no longer had any reason to exist, and that it was necessary to make a clean sweep of the debates of the revolutionary movement of the twentieth century in order to invent a “new strategy.” But this was a clear failure. Rather than allowing us to gain political ground on the reformists, this strategic vagueness has produced a right wing of the NPA that seeks to liquidate the project of an independent revolutionary organization. As a result, many of the right wing ended up leaving the NPA with hundreds of militants to join Mélenchon.

The idea that, in order to expand, it was necessary to have an organization that was less militant and less attached to implantation and intervention in the class struggle has forged an organization whose practice is summarized, as one of its leaders confessed, in “the intervention of militants from the middle or upper strata of society, from the outside and as lecturers who do not practice the class struggle by themselves, whether in the companies or in the working class neighborhoods.” 1Antoine Larrache, “The advent of a new left”, L’Anticapitaliste, May 2022. Available online. A party where different, even contradictory, strategic projects coexist, kept artificially alive thanks to presidential campaigns and the popularity of its spokespersons, as well as to the fear on the part of oppositional currents of finding themselves isolated in the event of an explosion or split.

The crisis of the NPA seems to have arrived at a crossroads: the majority tendency of the NPA now considers, as indicated in its text for the party congress that will take place in December, that 

unlike the period of its foundation…this party will have to build itself not only within the framework of mass experiences in which clarifications will take place, but also in interaction/confrontation with the other currents of the Left. We currently want to represent the most combative and subversive wing within the framework of a unitý of the proletariat, and the party will be the fruit of settlements, of recompositions on the basis of the political problems that arise in action.

Behind the convoluted formulas about “the framework of a unity of the proletariat” is the idea that the NPA should represent “the most combative and subversive wing” of the NUPES. An idea on which the majority leadership of the NPA has publicly elaborated in recent months, theorizing that the NUPES vote “contributes to the reconstruction of class consciousness” 2Antoine Larrache, “Reinforcing the unitary dynamic, defending our orientations,” L’Anticapitaliste, June 2022. Available online. and seeing in the popularity of Philippe Poutou a sign of “the will on the part of the voters that the revolutionaries situate themselves within the unity.” From this she concludes that the future of the NPA will be played out in its ability to become part of an electoral and parliamentary front of class collaboration including bourgeois organizations like the PS.

The majority of the NPA’s leadership is thus explaining, despite other passages in the text designed to cover itself from criticism on the Left, that the political and organizational independence that the NPA acquired when it was founded in 2009 is no longer on the agenda. In this context, as we anticipated after our exclusion, the majority of this organization is giving the oppositional currents an ultimatum. Either they agree to renounce all fractional functioning and expression, or the congress will result in a “separation.” In both cases, it will most probably be the end of the NPA in its present configuration.

Before our exclusion, we systematically sought to form a front with the other currents on the left of the party (L’Étincelle, Anticapitalism and Revolution, and Revolutionary Democracy) against the liquidating orientation embodied by the majority of the “Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International.” In our discussions, we referred in particular to the experience of the FIT-U (Front of the Left and Workers – Unity), which for more than ten years in Argentina has brought together most of the Left that calls itself revolutionary in a common political and electoral front.

At the time, our proposals met with little response because some of these currents were still betting on forms of conciliation with the leadership, which unfortunately led them not to firmly oppose our exclusion. Depending on the outcome of the NPA congress and the conclusions they draw from it, this discussion could arise again with these comrades.

More generally, offering an organizational perspective to sincere revolutionary activists, whether they are party orphans or are still members of the NPA, is for us an additional reason for launching the new organization.

The Wait-and-see Attitude of LO Cannot Be the Only Alternative to the Far Left

In the very likely scenario of a political turn of the NPA, the extreme Left would henceforth be essentially embodied by Lutte Ouvrière (LO). However, despite its presence and certain organizational qualities, this organization unfortunately does not constitute an alternative to the opportunist drift of the NPA leadership.

Lutte Ouvrière is indeed deeply impregnated by skepticism and considers that, beyond the elements of conjunctural mobilizations, we will be in a period of regression for several decades. On this level, the assessment of the last five years made in the national document of its fifty-first congress  is clear: 

“The bourgeoisie has reason to be satisfied with Macron’s first term. With his parliamentary majority, he has carried out the policy he had promised and he has passed the trial of fire. The very popular mobilization of the yellow vests has not created a major political crisis and has not threatened the bourgeois order. Macron even used it to perfect the authoritarian arsenal of the state. He has also been able to manage the health crisis and the successive confinements without the big bourgeoisie paying the price.”

This statement greatly minimizes the elements of political crisis from above and social anger from below. From this point on, Lutte Ouvrière considers that the role of revolutionaries is limited to “trade-unionist” type tasks in the enterprises, to which is added a relatively abstract communist propaganda, aiming above all at preserving the flag until the wind changes. While Lutte Ouvrière has forces far superior to those of the NPA and an implantation in important strongholds of the workers’ movement, this logic leads its militants to refuse to carry out policies aimed at coordinating the vanguard sectors, at fighting the union bureaucracies, and at taking the offensive in order to influence the form and content of the movements in which the organization intervenes.

At the same time, this current considers that defending the centrality of the working class implies that all questions that do not directly concern capitalist exploitation are secondary, or even would or could become factors of distraction and division of the proletariat. A working class logic by which LO justifies not taking on feminist, LGBTI, environmentalist, or anti-racist questions, and not participating actively in the struggles of those who fight against these oppressions, including from their working class establishments.

Even more seriously, this current joins a certain secular tradition of the French Left which, under the pretext of fighting religious prejudice, ends up legitimizing mechanisms of stigmatization and discrimination of workers and young believers. This was clearly seen in the adoption of the law on the wearing of the veil in schools in 2004, supported by Lutte Ouvrière (and also by the Revolutionary Communist League, LCR), or more recently in their refusal to speak out clearly against the banning of the burkini or in support of the fight of the hijabeuses against the discrimination of young female soccer players wearing headscarves.

We are convinced that the young generations who are mobilizing in large part today around issues of oppression or the environmental crisis, as well as workers who want to fight against oppression, deserve an alternative. That of a political organization which, while being firmly revolutionary and committed to the conquest of positions in the workers’ movement, articulates the whole of these struggles which cross, among others, the working class itself in the service of the seizure of power and the destruction of capitalism.

A Revolutionary Alternative to Neo-reformism

The risk otherwise is that the impotence of the Far Left leaves the field free for the reconstruction of a neo-reformist mediation and the recycling of the old Left. This is why the task of building a revolutionary alternative to the NUPES has a strategic character today. Because this project aims mainly at reinforcing illusions in the possibility of a peaceful and republican way out of capitalist barbarism, shifting the center of gravity of the struggles towards parliament and preparing new failures and disillusions.

At a time when the perspectives of war, of a crisis that risks plunging millions of people into poverty or even famine, of the destruction of the planet, pose in an increasingly obvious way the revolutionary urgency, to be satisfied with asking for a little limit to the super-profits of the capitalists, by waving the hope of a distant electoral victory and a good left government, constitutes quite simply a dead end. After the resounding failures of Syriza and Podemos, we need only look at the current situation in Latin America, often claimed by the Melenchonists themselves as a “political laboratory.”

In Chile, the much-acclaimed election of Gabriel Boric by the French Left, far from being the founding act of a so-called citizens’ revolution, was rather an instrument of demobilization and institutional channeling of the revolt that had taken hold of the country in 2019. This operation was the reason for the defeat suffered by the new government in the constituent referendum last September. There are too many cases in recent history of popular uprisings that have been sidetracked by this type of operation for us to continue not to learn from them.

Not far away, in Brazil, the election of Lula, at the head of a coalition including members of the neoliberal Right like Geraldo Alckmin, has obviously not made the most radicalized wings of Bolsonarism disappear. On the contrary, the Bolsonarists launched roadblocks throughout the country, with the complicity of some of the police, to contest the result of the election and even to demand a military putsch. In this context, the PT’s conciliatory policy of “peace and love” disarms the Brazilian proletariat to confront the fascist tendencies inscribed in the Brazilian situation.

In such a context, it is not a consensual project with a Left that manages capitalism, nor a “gaseous” organization made to measure for electoral deadlines, but a revolutionary party of the workers, conscious of the irreconcilable character of capitalism to the interests of the working class, the youth, and the popular neighborhoods, and that prepares to intervene in convulsive events where, progressively, the perspectives of revolution and of a fascist counterrevolution will confront each other more and more. Our new organization will be placed at the service of the construction of such a party.

Which Organization for Which Strategy?

The trajectory of our political current shows, on a small scale, that it is possible, by means of a determined intervention and with clear strategic perspectives, to link up with movements, to make contributions to them and to merge in the fire of common experience with the most advanced elements of the new worker and militant generation that the current cycle of the class struggle has given birth to.

Let’s just recall several examples. The online newspaper RP became, in 2016, less than a year after its launch, one of the main media sources to obtain information on the movement against the Labour Law, becoming a real collective organizer and proposing analyses and orientations to hundreds of thousands of readers every month. With only two activists working at the SNCF (national railways), we were at the genesis of the inter-station meetings that brought together throughout the struggle against the rail pact hundreds of railway workers around an alternative line to that of the union bureaucracy in 2018. It was the collective emanating from these meetings that launched, with the Adama Committee, the Saint-Lazare pole to organize the support of labor, youth, and popular neighborhoods to the yellow vests movement.

In 2019, it was our comrades, notably Anasse Kazib, who were at the heart of the construction of the RATP-SNCF coordination that played a key role in the struggle against the pension reform, as an expression of the base and to thwart the attempt by the union bureaucracy to end the movement on the eve of the vacations. Finally, it is also largely thanks to our intervention that isolated and difficult conflicts such as the strikes at Onet, Total Grandpuits, or, to a lesser extent, various struggles in the aeronautics industry have gained a regional or even national echo and have become, in various ways, exemplary strikes.

In order to embody an alternative to the institutional project of the NUPES and to the passivity of the extreme Left, we think that the construction of a political organization that intervenes with this logic is decisive. An organization whose objective is not only to strengthen the struggles of our class, but also and above all to carry the strategic perspective of a social revolution that overthrows the bourgeois state, replaces it with a democratic power of the exploited majority through its organs of self-organization, and puts an end to private property over the means of production.

Thus, the new organization is in the revolutionary Marxist and Trotskyist tradition and fights for a society free of all forms of exploitation and oppression, without classes and without the state: communism. This strategy and objective has many implications for the politics and the type of organization to be built.

Workers’ and People’s Alliance, General Strike, and the Hegemonic Role of the Working Class

On a political level, any revolutionary strategy raises the problem of the subject of social transformation. In contrast to populist conceptions that dissolve the class of workers into “the people,” our new organization considers that the working class in the broad sense—that is, all those who are forced to sell their labor power in exchange for a salary and who are neither in the chains of command nor in the forces of repression— is, because of the central place it occupies in production, the only force capable of leading an authentically emancipatory, i.e., socialist, revolution.

However, far from any workerist conception, we are convinced that the transformation of the working class into a revolutionary subject passes precisely by the fact of not being preoccupied only with the economic questions concerning it, but on the contrary by taking charge of the whole of the problems of society, those of the impoverished middle classes, but also the fight against the totality of oppressions facing it, and in defense of the environment. This observation is the basis of the necessity of an alliance between the working class and all those sectors that have an interest in the destruction of capitalism.

Thus, it is through a workers’ and popular bloc, uniting all the exploited and oppressed, that it will be possible to defeat the bourgeoisie today gathered behind Macron, in no case through a “unity of the left.” It is by becoming a hegemonic subject that the working class can set in motion the transformation of a social movement into a political general strike, which paralyzes the march of the capitalist economy and poses the problem of who rules society. This implies an eruption of the masses as a whole on the political scene, even if the concentrated and strategic sectors of the proletariat obviously play a determining role.

It is in this sense that we take up the Leninist conception of the revolutionary militant as a “tribune of the people,” not content to be a good trade unionist or to intervene in their own sectors, but on the contrary

 knowing how to react against any manifestation of arbitrariness and oppression, wherever it occurs, whatever class or social stratum has to suffer from it, knowing how to generalize all these facts to compose a complete picture of the police violence and of the capitalist exploitation, knowing how to take advantage of the slightest occasion to expose before all its socialist convictions and its democratic demands, to explain to all and to each one the historical and world scope of the emancipating struggle of the proletariat.

Fight against the Bureaucracy; Self-organization; and the United Front

This conception implies a fight to the death against the political and trade union bureaucracies whose precise role is to maintain divisions between different sectors of the class in order to prevent partial struggles from converging and advancing towards a global political struggle against the capitalist system. From this point of view, as Trotsky explained, the bureaucracy constitutes an agent of the bosses inside the workers’ movement.

The struggle against the bureaucracy, to wrest control of the unions from it and to recover these organizations as a tool of a class struggle policy, is a duty for every revolutionary organization. Its weakness or absence constitutes one of the main limits of the current extreme Left.

But the trade union struggle is not enough. The trade unions, although they continue to play an important role in organizing sectors of the workers’ movement, only structure a tiny part of the workers’ class, often the least exploited and least precarious strata, because they have historically conquered a more important balance of power. This is why, if the new organization resolutely fights for the construction of class struggle and anti-bureaucratic fractions in the unions, it will have to push in each struggle, for the establishment of frameworks of self-organization and coordination, bringing together members of different unions but also non-union members, and ensuring that the actors at the base have the control of the movement, not the bureaucracy.

In the march towards the seizure of power, these frameworks of self-organization will progressively become a real tool of dual power, in the image of what the soviets or sometimes the factory committees have been in different revolutionary processes, to be transformed into organs of direct democracy and pillars of workers’ power.

The struggle against bureaucracy and for self-organization does not exclude the constitution of united front blocs around precise objectives. However, contrary to the conception of the majority leadership of the NPA, unity with the reformists must remain exclusively on the tactical terrain. The strategic objective sought is the reinforcement of the political influence of the revolutionaries on the basis of an experience of the masses with their leadership, which implies not mixing the revolutionary program with that of the reformists.

Internationalism and Anti-imperialism

Capitalism being itself a globalized system, a revolution, while starting on the national plane, develops on the international level and can only succeed on a global scale. Thus, internationalism, much more than a moral injunction, is a sine qua non condition for the revolution in a country, lest it be strangled by a union of the bourgeoisies of the region with the support of the great imperialist powers who always know how to work together to suppress a revolution.

This implies not only that we must not give in to any form of national sovereignty and to consider that our allies are the proletarians of all countries and never our own bourgeoisie, but also to always be on the side of the peoples oppressed by the imperialist powers, especially when it comes to French imperialism.

In the same way, the construction of a national revolutionary organization can in no way be seen as dissociated from the necessity of rebuilding a revolutionary International. For this reason, the new organization asks to join the Trotskyist Faction for the Fourth International (FT-QI), while reserving for its members, especially those coming from other political traditions, the right not to join.

A Militant and Democratic Organization

In order to be able to lead struggles and influence the course of events, an organization must have forces and positions from which to deploy its politics. This is why the new organization will make its establishment in the main strongholds of the workers’ movement a central task, continuing the efforts in this direction that have been made up to now by the militants of the ex-CCR.

At the same time, we are convinced that one of the main signs of the health of an organization that wants to be revolutionary is its capacity to dialogue with and attract the younger generations of revolutionary militants. This is why building Le Poing Levé (The Raised Fist) as a national student current in the colleges and high schools, Du Pain et des Roses (Bread and Roses) in the feminist movement, as well as working to better establish itself in sectors of working-class youth and neighborhoods, will also be an important challenge for the new organization.

The strategic objectives we have defined above also imply a certain type of political organization. It is obvious that an electoral and parliamentary machine cannot function on the same principles as an organization that aspires to play a determining role in a revolutionary process tomorrow. The new organization defines itself as a partisan combat organization, whose members are not passive adherents or commentators, but active militants with intervention in the class struggle as the center of gravity of their activity.

Combat nevertheless also means ideological combat, to counter the dominant ideas and to rehabilitate a living revolutionary Marxism that will be a real guide for the action of the revolutionary generations to come, and political combat to impose revolutionary ideas in the national debate, using for that purpose the elections, as we have tried to do in a very small measure through Anasse’s campaign in the presidential elections, as well as through the role of the online journal Permanent Revolution (which will be given a new look at the occasion of the launch of the new organization) as a media and collective organizer.

For all this, it is obvious that some form of centralization is essential. This is why the new organization will have a political leadership, elected by the congress according to the rules established in the statutory charter. This centralization is not, however, contradictory with the broadest internal democracy, with the possibility for each militant to contest the orientation proposed by the leadership and to try to convince the organization, provided, of course, that it does not hinder the implementation of the orientation once it has been adopted by a majority of militants.

The conditions for a good democratic functioning are the militant character of the organization (which implies the same rights and duties for all), but also the political education of its members, who must have all the tools to have a critical look at the politics of the organization. It is also to see the organization as a framework of revolutionary fraternity, of bonds of comradeship welded by fights led in common, which try as far as possible to prefigure human relationships freed from all the burden imposed by the capitalist ideology with its batch of individualism, of competitive and oppressive relations.

Originally published in French by the Révolution Permanente Editorial Board on December 3, 2022.

Translation: Antoine Ramboz

Notes

Notes
1 Antoine Larrache, “The advent of a new left”, L’Anticapitaliste, May 2022. Available online.
2 Antoine Larrache, “Reinforcing the unitary dynamic, defending our orientations,” L’Anticapitaliste, June 2022. Available online.
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