Again on the Gilets Jaunes13
29/01/2019 by Ian
From the beginning of the year onwards, the number of demonstrators rose and grew until the third week of January. This upturn was completely spontaneous and has as its origin the real needs of the worker’s in the movement, but it tends to stagnate due to a lack of organization and perspectives.
The left-wing parties either do not do consistent mass work, that is, they do not send their militants to the meetings or blocking points or they do not have the militant capacity to do so. The most present is France Insoumise but it only functions correctly in some regions and in others it only participates as one more actor.
This can be verified in the latest justifications or actions of the main organized groups that claim to be Marxists. The NPA has been attacked by fascist groups because they went to one of the last demonstrations with their distinctive signs in spite of the rejection that this provokes among the GJs. The extreme right-wing groups, present in some places, took advantage to mobilize the sentiment of the masses and attack them.
As for Lutte Ouvrière they, clearer in their demission, thus explain their policy one of their militants:
“LO with its few means does not seek to influence the movement itself, even at the microscopic level. Would she want it that in any case she wouldn’t succeed because of her limited strength (“I follow them, that’s why I’m their leader”, thanks artza), and LO doesn’t even try to do that.
– LO chooses to address those in the yellow vests that are part of the working class and thus try to influence them alone (make them aware of their own interests).
– It is not therefore natural to influence the movement, it is natural to develop the conscience of the workers (one or better if possible) who participate in this movement.
This does not exclude a discussion here and there with a small merchant or other, of course….
At the same time, LO takes the opportunity to address workers in large companies, where there is not much movement but where the movement of yellow vests is sometimes the subject of much discussion.
To move towards struggles that move in the direction of revolution and societal change, we need the engine; the engine is found among workers in large companies (those with the greatest impact) who can lead all others and other categories of the oppressed; as long as the engine is out of order and does not move, there is no way out; there, more peripheral elements of the working class fight and, in the absence of the engine, follow other social categories affected by the crisis of the system; if this situation persists, it can only lead to failure and the extreme right can benefit from it. It is urgent to restart the engine…. »
I have rarely heard such sophistries. When then they will come into the struggle? When the masses will call them? They can wait a century and it won’t happen, even less so when they fail at every rendez vous.
The main problem of the movement, which learns in the struggle and with great difficulty from the conjunction of obstacles (the strong repression, the anti politics and anti union sentiments of much of them, but especially the desertion of the whole left) is the lack of political perspective of the movement allied to low political conciousness of sectors of GJs that are still backward but that advance after all.
The advantage is the dynamic of the movement itself which, because of its needs, pushes it to the left and this is the principal tendency and what dives the movement against capitalists and the gouvernment.
Little by little General Assemblies are held in more and more cities, although these assemblies also learn as they commit primary errors but the movement of national organization continues its course and it is thus that it has been possible to gather more than 75 delegations of cities and places from all over France and to write a declaration that is the most advanced thing that exists and that must and can be used to structure and give content to the movement and to move it away from its pitfalls and from the ideas of the extreme right.
Here it is. It has a melenchonist social democratic content but it is a step forward in the present conditions of absolute lack of Marxist organization within the movement.
CALL OF THE FIRST “ASSEMBLY OF ASSEMBLIES” OF THE YELLOW VESTS
We, the Yellow Vests of the roundabouts, car parks, squares, assemblies and demonstrations, met on 26 and 27 January 2019 in the “Assembly of Assemblies”, bringing together around a hundred delegations, responding to the call of the Gilets Jaunes de Commercy.
Since November 17, from the smallest village, from the rural world to the largest city, we have risen up against this deeply violent, unjust and intolerable society. We won’t let it happen again! We revolt against the high cost of living, precariousness and poverty. We want to live in dignity for our loved ones, our families and our children.
26 billionaires own as much as half of humanity, which is unacceptable. Let’s share the wealth and not the misery! Let’s put an end to social inequalities! We demand an immediate increase in wages, social minima, allowances and pensions, the unconditional right to housing and health, education, free public services for all.
It is for all these rights that we occupy roundabouts on a daily basis, that we organise actions, demonstrations and debates everywhere. With our yellow vests, we speak again, we who never have it.
And what is the government’s response? Repression, contempt, denigration. Deaths and thousands of wounded, the massive use of weapons by tensed fire that mutilate, eviscerate, wound and traumatise.
More than 1,000 people have been arbitrarily convicted and imprisoned. And now the new so-called “anti-cracker” law is simply to prevent us from demonstrating. We condemn all violence against demonstrators, whether from the police or from small violent groups. None of this will stop us! Demonstration is a fundamental right. End impunity for law enforcement! Amnesty for all victims of repression!
And what a sham is this great national debate, which is in fact a communication campaign of the government, which instrumentalizes our will to debate and decide! True democracy is practised in our assemblies, on our roundabouts, it is neither on TV sets nor in the pseudo roundtables organised by Macron.
After insulting us and calling us less than nothing, he now presents us as a fascinating and xenophobic hate crowd. But we are the very opposite: neither racist, sexist nor homophobic, we are ﬁers to be together with our differences to build a society of solidarity.
We are proud of the diversity of our discussions, even as we speak, hundreds of assemblies are developing and proposing their own demands. They concern real democracy, social justice and taxes, working conditions, ecological and climate justice, and the end of all discriminations.
Among the most debated strategic demands and proposals are: the eradication of poverty in all its forms, the transformation of institutions (RIC, constitution, end of the privileges of elected representatives…), ecological transition (fuel, industrial pollution…), equality and consideration of all people regardless of their nationality (people with disabilities, gender equality, end of the abandonment of working class neighbourhoods, of the rural world and other over seas dominions…).
We, Yellow Vests, invite everyone with their own resources, to join us. We call for the continuation of acts (act 12 against police violence in front of police stations, acts 13, 14…), for the continuation of roundabout occupations and the blocking of the economy, for the construction of a massive and renewable strike from 5 February. We call for the formation of committees in workplaces, groups of studies and whatever else so that this strike can be built at the grassroots by the strikers themselves. Let’s take charge of our own business! Don’t be alone, join us!
Let us organize ourselves democratically, autonomously and independently! This assembly of assemblies is an important step that allows us to discuss our demands and our means of action. Let’s work together to transform society!
We propose to all Yellow Vests to circulate this call. If, as a yellow vest group, it suits you, send your signature to Commercy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to discuss and formulate proposals for the next “Assemblies of Assemblies”, which we are already preparing. ( We strongly advice british readers to send messages in english if French is not possible. My comment.)
Long live power to the people, for the people and by the people.
Call proposed by the Assembly of Commercy Assemblies.
It will then be proposed for adoption in each of the local assemblies.”
It remains that, despite some activities to denounce the repression (one of the figures of the movement comes from being wounded in the eyes by a grenade of repression police teams) the movement takes a long time to launch a campaign for the defense of public liberties, for the accusation of the Minister of Interior, for a petition for the release of all political prisoners, compensation of the wounded who are counted in hundreds and there are already 17 who have lost an eye, three a hand and 13 dead.
This campaign that can unite a significant number of people, far beyond the GJs and which may be a real problem for the government does not yet begin despite the work that a few individuals are doing in that sense, but that work is nevertheless producing results.
In addition, the CGT, it is not known whether to control the GJs movement or because the base claims it or it is a tactic to decree that the workers do not follow them, has decreed a day of strike, which has been joined by the Gilets Jaunes gathered in Commercy and elsewhere.
Work is already being done on that because it could be an important event for the continuation of a movement which, if it remains stagnant in around 100,000 demonstrators, could end up becoming a ritual demonstration every Saturday and thus perish slowly or quickly.
This is not fatal and could be just otherwise, that’s it, if worker’s comes and join the movement, it can be the other way round.
But, till today, against all the difficulties, traps, repression and treasons the movement oscillating around its main line, has found the way in a quite protracted pace but to this day it has made big advances and it continuous.
We, the few individuals who are in the movement try to “explain patiently” what we think it could be the right path. But who knows? It is not an easy matter.
Taking the whole we think that this movement has been a white hot test to the whole left (a tremendous failure) but also a confirmation of the enormous potential of fight laying in the working class and also a big step forward in the political consciousness of broader layers of the French working class.
I have written a lot about this question but the general public feeling is not my view, wich is much more to the left.
Today a mounting conciousness of the extend of the represion is present and some “thinkers” and “philosophers” coming from liberal and left social democratic sensibility are putting themselves forward.
Lordon is one of them and his point of view could be or should interest other public because things would happened in just the same way everywhere.
The bourgeois have no answer to the crise to the workers/people revolt but represion.
Here,Lordon gives the still ‘democratic’ expresion of many people. This appears often as coments against the main line on the press. It is such this that “comments” has been hidden in papers as “Le Monde”
Nothing pass, nor the repression nor the coup in Venezuela.
The frech word “L’éborgneur” I found no translation but is the title of the paper. It means “the one who takes the eyes out of someone” sort of duke of … taking the eyes off duke of … in “King Lear” Shakespeare’s play.
” Macron L’éborgneur
The video shot of a high-rise building plunges into a 19th arrondissement playground from which a loud scream rises: “Macron resign! Macron resigned! ». This power has become the object of the children’s lazzi. Normally, a regime that has reached this point only has one form or another of suspension.
We won’t speculate any more than that on the political meaning of the little ones. More on the degree to which the country is imbued with the monarch’s hatred so that the kids have captured something of it. In any case, the little playground sponges are not mistaken: he is hated. And for overwhelming, undeniable reasons, the seriousness of which is constantly increasing. In the graduated series of acts by which a sovereign loses his legitimacy, the maximum point is reached when he takes the decision to constitute his population as an enemy, and consequently to wage war against it. We are at this point, literally. Deploying tanks in the city, equipping the police forces with shotguns, and even assault rifles, inflicting wounds on demonstrators… of war, is a good thing to be at war. Moreover, if it is necessary to plan for the exfiltration of ministers and to pre-position a helicopter to evacuate the occupier of the Elysée, it is because this regime itself is not entirely deluded as to the reality of its relations with “its” population.
In truth, this power is symbolically on the ground. He crossed one by one all the thresholds of discredit, and then those of scandal. All he has left is the armed force to contain the protest. And, to hold the rest, that of the media coaches who will insist until the end that elected regularly, easily will add even the dumbest or most forgetful of the real conditions of his election, he is entirely “legitimate”. We therefore learn from their authorized mouths that a leader, provided he has satisfied a completely rigged electoral comedy, can perfectly mutilate his opponents, consider having them shot with an assault rifle – an image that, for all their recent goodwill, the media have not yet found the time to show -, engage in proto-totalitarian legal channels, without his “legitimacy” being called into question in the least.
In truth, this power is symbolically on the ground. He crossed one by one all the thresholds of discredit, and then those of scandal. All he has left is the armed force to contain the protest.
Unfortunately, these verdicts of legitimacy are no better than the legitimacy of these verifiers. However, on this side too, the situation is not very good. There is no end, for example, to the astonishing reversals that lead the edictocracy to find horrifying here what it found admirable there, and vice versa. “Get them out of here! “in Tunisia: magnificent; “Macron resigned! “Hate crowd. Tahrir Square: Arab spring; L’Etoile Square: hordes of breakers. Cremation of the statues of Chávez: people in struggle; guillotine parody for Macron: violent extremists. Putin police: dictatorship; Macron police: republican order.
On this subject, Bloomberg, an organ well known for its revolutionary sympathies, headlines this: “Macron’s response to the “yellow vests” makes Putin appear moderate in comparison (1)”. From here we see the painting jumping into the heads of Laurent Joffrin or Jérôme Fenoglio, the welds that break apart, the flow of brain matter through the ears: how can it be?
Putin, yet the proper name of tyranny? Macron worse? That’s impossible. Logically, not a single French media will talk about it. Usually very concerned about France’s international prestige, the regrettable damage that irresponsible strike movements of civil servants can cause it, not one has reported the amazement of the Anglo-Saxon press, which observes, amazed, the neo-fascist future of Macronism. Nor, symmetrically, the fact that the yellow vest has become a kind of international symbol, adopted by all those in struggle, where one could find something to be proud of – a matter of point of view, no doubt.
That is, in any case, where the sayers of legitimacy are still at. Stubbornly maintaining that a power at war with its people is nonetheless democratic. For this is the essence of the inconsistency of the media which, after having obscured police violence for two months, suddenly begins to talk about it, moreover more under the effect of mimetic excitement than any return of conscience, but to draw no substantial conclusions from it. Democracy” is waging war within, it is preparing, under the approval of the extreme right, to pass a law of muzzling any form of protest, but this does not pose the slightest problem of principle.
So much so that we can continue to call for the “Great Debate” in the name of “democracy” itself, as if it were right. While, Saturday after Saturday, the hospitals are filling up. And that the courts overflow.
The challenge now is to let this power know that it is too late, much too late. In fact, that it’s over. For this very simple reason, we should not talk to institutions which, after three decades of constant demonstration of their absolute deafness, have now in fact moved to the military stage (TNT grenades, armoured tanks, assault rifles: military stage). And of which we do not see by what sudden outburst of sincerity, they would have miraculously converted to “listening”.
We are thinking of the miserable government Macron Castaner , its already drawn lines (“Lowering the corporate tax rate to 25%”, “Making capital taxation comparable to that of other European countries to stimulate investment, including by abolishing the wealth tax”), its very particular way of asking questions (“Identify the type of public spending to be reduced”, “Should certain public services be eliminated? “), in short, to this perfect opening of the open debate (2). We also think of what Éric Vuillard wrote in his War of the Poor (this is the peasant revolt led by Thomas Müntzer in 16th century Germany): “It was then that Duke Albert of Mansfeld began negotiations. It had to drag on, in order to demoralize the opponent and buy time. Negotiation is a fighting technique (3)”. And we should go “dialogue” under these conditions?
For the editorial writer from Le Monde, the answer is clear. The “ultraviolence” of those who want to “attack the Republic (…), or even overthrow the government (…) is the negation of tolerance and debate (…),[the] enemy of democracy”. Here the detail review is complete: there is no missing recovery, no nominal scam, no false problem position – isn’t everything played when the text is entitled “Yellow vests: violence or debate”? It is true that it dates back a long time, to 7 January, to a time when Le Monde had not yet realised that there was police violence. Nor did they know how the “Great Debates” are organized. Moreover, now he knows it and, obviously, it doesn’t change much in his way of conceiving “tolerance and debate” – we will even soon have the opportunity to measure what degree of pantomime Le Monde is capable of endorsing to maintain the fiction of democracy (high, we suspect).
In any case, we know that, in a world editorialist’s head, politics knows only one possible state: “the debate”, apart of course from its evil opposite: “violence”. Whether we have to debate, either to settle third order differences in the middle of the questions written by the government, or at the meeting of the LBDs, it does not take anything away, in the eyes of the World, from its quality as a debate in the “debate”. Democracy” has the defenders that correspond exactly to it.
Apart from the editorialist philosophy and the presidential scenographies kindly relayed by the continuous news channels, this is not how the “yellow vests” understand it. Quite logically, the institutions present, and the one who embodies the flaws at the highest level, are now recovering the end of non-receipt called by their own non-receipt ends administered for thirty years. We can as much as we want to retaliate against the “democracy” of institutions on the pretext that they practice election, and from time to time talk about it, without this being enough to make them democratic institutions.
In fact, the institutions of organized deafness always end up with a riot, and that is the way it should be. A certain philosopher writes in one of his political treatises: “Sedition, war, contempt or violation of laws must be attributed, that is certain, not so much to the wickedness of the subjects as to the vicious regime of the State (4)”. And this is indeed, to the bone, the only valid conclusion to be drawn from current events: they are due to the fact that the state regime is vicious.
In fact, the institutions of organized deafness always end up with a riot, and that is the way it should be.
Sometimes, it is also in the most innocent form that the truth is discovered: a police trade unionist, invited to the Arrêt sur images programme (5), expresses with disarming candour his distress: “The demonstrators no longer play the game”. It is so complete, so deep, that it is dizzying. In a word, everything is revealed.
Democratic-social pantomime was a game. You pretend to ask, we pretend to listen – don’t forget to bring your merguez, and be home by 6pm. Incidentally, the police trade unionist tells us that in the list of potential deaths, we could well count, not only Macron, the institutions of the Fifth Republic, the press, but also the trade union confederations (in despair at their bases, often admirable): dead of uselessness, for having done too long only “play”. Because here’s the thing finally said: Bastille-Nation, it was a game.
It is no wonder that, since the nullity of mediators is visible to all, the game of “mediation” is no longer popular. Since 1995, no protest action in the regulated form of the demonstration has achieved anything – it is more likely that the “overflowing” part of the anti-CPE movement has led to its success. Mobilization after mobilization, we saw the power’s “listening threshold” rise: one million demonstrators, then one and a half, then two, below what: nothing (in fact, above what, nothing either). What can be called the “minimum trade union minimum” has never ceased to be raised. And the unions, who love the game so much that they are willing to play it under any condition, to row to put more and more people on the street for ever less result. A disappointed SNES trade unionist herself admits: “Since the pension reform in 2003, people have internalized the idea that strikes are useless to make their voices heard” (6). Indeed, in these institutions, there is no longer any use in making your voice heard. So let’s see: what is left to be heard when it is no longer possible to be heard? – except for the “yellow vests” route.
From there, the police officer was a little stunned, and his demonstrators who “no longer play the game”. That’s right: the “yellow vests” no longer want to play. They are no longer playing the game, simply because they have understood the tautological truth that in the world of institutionalized deafness, we never talk only to walls. This is exactly what “the state regime is vicious” means: deliberately closed to everything, it leaves no alternative but to suffer it as it stands or to overthrow it. Suffering: for thirty years, that’s enough. So to overthrow him.
At this stage, moreover, it is no longer only a question of the deafness of institutions, but also of the infamy of people, which makes reversal almost a health requirement. They say you know someone to those you care about. Castaner, Thrushes, Benalla. Benalla, we’re starting to get settled. Thrushes, we have also made good progress (7). No, this is Castaner making a breakthrough. “No police officer attacked “yellow vests”,” it was already a kind of achievement. Here we ask ourselves: what can happen in a head like Castaner’s to dare this when (normally) he must know that social networks are overwhelmed with evidence of his obscenity? But we know that someone has reached the last degree of ignominy when his efforts to try to get away with it sink even deeper into it: a few days later, on reflection, “there have been serious vision violations”. Even France Info, the shame of journalism, will not dare to use the minister’s language elements as they stand – we will have to talk about pierced eyes.
It should be noted that, like Thrushes, Castaner comes from the Socialist Party. And it is like a kind of historical destiny of social democracy, or a certain “republican left”, to roll in shame, from Thiers to Collomb, via Ebert. And now Castaner. “We’re talking about eye loss, I’d rather not use that term again. What is it possible, even when cold, to think of an individual like Castaner? Who can still give him the slightest respect, not only to him, but also to the one he serves, and to the institutions that maintain such characters?
Yaël Pivet-Braun, the LREM president of the Law Commission, declares on RFI that she “does not believe that there has been any abuse by the police (8)”. How can LREM deputies be surprised to find their residences walled up or their permanent offices painted? For example: you had two hands, one is ripped off by a grenade that is a weapon of war. On this point, you are told that there has been no abuse by the police, and even TF1, that there are no serious injuries. Then Macron lies outrageously. “You are the only country that uses grenades against its population”, students at the University of Leuven call out to him – “So you’re talking nonsense”. Who will deny that there is enough to crave cinder blocks and trowels? – even with one hand.
And if it was your eye that ended up in a hospital garbage can, Castaner prefers not to use that term. We think about it calmly, and we wonder: what can we do with these people? Is there anything else to do but chase them away? Perhaps we should even be advised to do so without delay, before they have completed closing off a fortress police state on us.
Elected with a real support of barely 10.5% of the electorate (9), bound, by the very conditions of the second round, to separate from part of his programme, trampling on this elementary moral duty, bringing both social violence and the scandal of the enrichment of the rich to an unprecedented level, receiving for these texts the most sinister approval from the extreme right to which he was supposed to block, and now at war rather than on the march, Macron has gone too far, much too far. It no longer has any title to claim for its legitimacy – apart from the obstinate proclamations of service editorialism.
The characteristic of major political events is that they are lessons of things – here, as a physics of legitimacy, and of its collapse. In this respect, Arendt, questioning the paradox that the word “revolution” comes from astronomy, where it refers not at all to change but to the circular return of the same, points out that Arendt also carries with it the idea of an irresistible necessity. It’s a revolt, no sire it’s a revolution tells Louis that this time it’s cooked: it comes to him with the strength of the inevitable, he won’t escape it. We probably have an intellectual duty to be wary of the resonance in history, but neither can we fail to be sensitive to its warnings, and sometimes to its charms.
At the time, Christophe Barbier did not see what could be opposed to the legitimacy of Louis XVI since he had been installed according to the regular procedures of the dynastic succession – perfectly legitimate, and, consequently, the product of their operation. What these people are obviously unable to see is that legitimacy is not a substantial quality. For a time, institutions were called legitimate. And then one day we look at them from another angle, and we think that in fact they are not. Then they fall, and always in the same way: under the weight of the scandal.
It follows, for the characters of the time, that they come to take a certain place in History – their place. Castaner and Macron’s are in the process of being developed. Macron will go down in history, it is now a given. Like Macron the One-Eye-Maker, or Macron the Grenade-Man. Maybe Macron the helicopter-man. This would be desirable. Because he has to leave now.
Of course it is a social democrat and of course the Gilet Jaunes should take this political question much more to the fore.
But this movement mainly because the lack of a proletarian party is… as it is and goes as far as it can.
Beware, you’ll have the same in perhaps not too long time. Things are becoming very much latin american nowadays.
All along this movement of Gilets Jaunes has been crossed by all sort of opportunists looking to make a career out of the popularity of the Gilets Jaunes. Jacquelime Moraud, Eric I forgot his name, a militant of “Débout la France” and others
At first, they were thrown out the movement with a kick in their ass and for a moment it seems they got the support of the press and even of the Prime Minister but very quicklyù they went into oblivion.
But now with europeen elections coming soon, some others are coming to the fore with “Gilets Jaunes electoral lists”
The most known, and much publicized by the press which is searching to state that Gilets Jaunes “are just as the others” in the list of Ingrid Levavaseur who has gathered 10 GJs for a list that need 89.
After the anouncement of the list there comes an uproar from the real GJs with insults, demands of retire the list and the like. It was so much that the one who has taken the job of “public relations and director of the ‘campaign'” was taken by “doubts” and demand ” a week to think it agaiin”… This one is a lyonnais Hayk Shahinyan and has been from the beginning trying to make himself the “speaker” of the Gilets Jaunes to no avail other than been insulted and damned by every Gilet Jaune who knows about.
There are other groups, more or less Gilets Jaunes or fabricated for this election. This because Macron and La République en Marche his “party” will take much advantage of the division of votes that could go or to France Insoumise or to Marine le Pen.
Why tale you these sordid affaires? Because in a movement of this nature this is one of the pitfalls to avoid. One of many…
Of course a more “traditional” movement will be better, but we, left communists, work with worker’s and other layers as they are, not as they should be, the dream of every leftist.
This is one of the so many oscillations of a movement of this nature, abandoned by the left and extreme-left parties, can have. The extraordinary thing is that, in these conditions, it evade with difficulties, in a protracted way, the pitfalls and finish by finding it’s line despite everything.
Today we were again, under a heavy rain, distributing leaflets calling, in the name of the Gilets Jaunes, leaflets calling for a General Strike and a demo for the 5th february.
Here is a translation of an article coming from “Révolution Permanente” a NPA little fraction that is related to the Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas of Argentina.
I should say that I do not share all what is said there, nor the election surveys numbers an percentages.
“With Ingrid Levavasseur’s “RIC” list launched last week, the “Les Émergents” party announced by Jacline Mouraud a few days ago and once again the departure on Tuesday of a second “Union Jaune” list carried by Patrick Cribouw from Nice, initiatives to give an institutional end from above to the yellow vest movement are flourishing.
Apart from Mouraud’s new party, which “will not propose a list to European women, but should be present during the 2020 municipal elections”, these “yellow vests” lists are multiplying under the benevolent eye of La République En Marche and Emmanuel Macron. What a godsend for the President of the Republic, who is playing a close match with Marine Le Pen: “The majority would lead the European elections with 23.5% of the votes if they were held next Sunday, closely followed by the National Rally” according to the Elabe poll for BFM TV published on Wednesday 23 January.
The arrival of this second “Yellow Union” list, which claims to want to highlight the themes of immigration and sovereignty and to play the national preference card, can only contribute to the electoral leakage of which the National Rally is a victim. The other lists, which are more open to reception, will nibble at the shares of France Insoumise. This could well make the Macronian “bourgeois bloc” survive, which has been crumbling steadily over the past few months.
But while each of these lists is generally “welcomed by the majority of political parties” and the media, they are under significant pressure from the yellow vest base, which is largely hostile to these electoral rallies. Few of them expect the European Parliament to improve their living conditions. Unlike Ingrid Levavasseur, who defends that the person responsible for the inequalities is to be found on the Strasbourg side, many yellow vests point to Macron and the big bosses. Especially since it was demonstrated that the balance of power was built on roundabouts and in the street.
The “yellow vest lists” are a winning prospect only for the government. Hayk Shahinyan, former campaign director of Levasseur’s list, expressed his doubts about taking this institutional path in the face of the “approach of the unlimited general strike whose appeal was launched” and which is likely to give the movement a new dimension. A mobilization through the strike that alone gives the Yellow Vests movement a chance to win by building a sufficient balance of power and not giving in to the sirens of elections whose rules are designed to benefit the political system in place.”
Surely the key intervention to the Yellow Vests movement is to explain that they are battling a WORLD capitalist slump (not just France’s Macron) that is heading for worse trade war and actual world war (WW3). It is vital to give a Marxist-Leninist perspective that the imperialist system’s global “over-production” crisis requires mass unemployment, ramped-up exploitation, harsher taxes, and ever deeper cuts to public spending – and even then total financial breakdown worse than 2008 still looms.
In other words, to loudly CONFIRM that the yellow vests are RIGHT to be in conflict with Macron, and should NOT believe a single promise of reform or respite made by the French government because the capitalist system’s civil war against them will be stepped up.
Literally, the only solution is socialist revolution and the instigation of a planned economy under a party-led workers state. Marxism-Leninism has to be in CONFLICT will all social-democratic reformist illusions.
There will be a lot of talk about “the need to fight for workers democracy” by fake “lefts” of all varieties – all of which will try to cover up the need for PROLETARIAN DICTATORSHIP and the building of a Bolshevik party, dedicated to revolution.
But it is crucial to make the Leninist explanation that ONLY this route will firmly establish an invincible WORKERS STATE in France or anywhere else; the only good thing about the turmoil in Venezuela is that it shows how precarious and unstable is any “third-way, democratic socialist” half-way-house “socialist state”.
Obviously, it will be great if the US imperialist coup attempt is DEFEATED in Venezuela, but it has to be said that, for all its achievements, the Bolivarian “revolution” has not fully expropriated the bourgeoisie and its media; has not fully armed the revolutionary workers; and has not broken with left-nationalist reformist ideology in favour of Marxism-Leninism. It is not like Cuba, which is a real socialist revolution and far more secure than Venezuela – which for years counted on its oil wealth, when it should have been preparing for total onslaught by imperialist reaction including sanctions and embargoes and the crippling of food and medicine supplies).
To repeat, Marxism-Leninism has to be in unity and conflict with the Yellow Vest movement, seeking to build up cadres who understand all key issues, and stoking up the GREAT PUBLIC DEBATE that must come over all the Cold War history, history of the socialist revolution, what went right and what went wrong with the Soviet Union, the true nature of the treacherous social-democratic parties and the need for Leninist science.
” There will be a lot of talk about “the need to fight for workers democracy” by fake “lefts” of all varieties – all of which will try to cover up the need for PROLETARIAN DICTATORSHIP and the building of a Bolshevik party, dedicated to revolution.”
Of course my friend but, as in the fable of La Fontaine “Who will be the one that put the bell in cat’s neck?”
All the left and the extreme-left and the Unions have in fact abandoned every real mass political work in the movement. It rest only individualities and some very little parties, most of them as “leftists” as they can be. Also a lot of semi-anar-ecologists refractaires to whatever discipline or léninist organisation, but mainly an overwhelming mass of Gilets Jaunes in the beginning of any political conciousness but learning and advancing quickly.
At this precise moment, when a full swing repression falls on Gilets Jaunes and much more is in the making, to fight for “public liberties” is a duty for everyone. Not even “workers democracy” yet.
Moreover if the mass conciousness of the ones who are fighting all what you said + public liberties, objectively if not totally conciously, are still not quite on this predictement but arriving to it, as has been the protracted way it happens with this movement.
In one of our General Meetings (every monday beginning this month) a “marxist-léninist” or “trtoskists” or both because there was also an “statement on …Rojava en the Kurds (this collaboration with US imperialism) as an exemple of ML, there was also as I tell you, a full statement going from the class fight to world revolution.
Both “statements” (of absurd leftisme) dont take at all in account the real state of conciousness of the public present, all Gilets Jaunes, and they were heard and forgotten on the spot.
After their statement that has givent them a very extreme pleasure because they have, at last!, said the full extent of their wisdom and, which is worst, of what they understand as “marxism” (a total mess) they could not adress a word to others GM because not only they have nothing else to say but from their intervention they were seen by the mass of Gilets Jaunes, the same that has been fighting for two months in incredible hard conditions, as fools or madmens totally out of the movement telling their own learned text, milles away from what the Gilets Jaunes want.
It was not Lenin’s tactic: to be with the masses a step forward; it was outright stupidity, or ‘leftism’ for the pleasure of the ones that do it and to demonstrate to other sects of the same nature.
It is not to know, not to have been in any real mass movement to proceed in that way.
Now we are defending public liberties and organising us. Tomorrow, if we can, we will join with workers (there is a call coming fron CGT Union, and joined by the Commercy Gilets Jaunes calling also for a General Strike the 5th february).
I could not assure that the strike will suceed but we are at this point coming from a movement first on “taxes” and with the presence of little bosses and Débout la France and the LR (right party). Now it is almost proletarian, still with some presence of extreme right little groups, but with a left social democrate program (La lettre de Commercy) and pushing the most to the left this movement and in the process trying to find people to begin the xontruction of a left communist party.
a mass movement in the state of lack of a proletarian party is a process, a very protracted process and the ones who do not know how to work in these conditions, simply they are not communists but as french’s say “des Jean Foutres”.
This is a short report.
There will be a longer Wednesday after the General Strike of Tuesday 5..
Tuesday there is a General Strike called by the CGT and many groups of different towns and cities coming from the Gilets Jaunes. We have been leafleting this week.
Today, as I have known, in Lyon there were almost the same numbers than last week. No incidents against the police but some against a group of “identitaires” (extreme right).
In Paris that demonstrate for the injured and against the represion, there were more than twice GJs than last week. A good demo.
In Marseille also a lot of people in two demos. One for better housing conditions (some buildings have fallen and had killed poor people), the other of the Gilets Jaunes. Both were popular and left demos. If together and we can suppose that they can be, the number of demonstrators was much higer than last week.
The Gilet Jaunes count has not yet given a total for the country.
We can say that the Gilet Jaunes movement keeps its pace, but stagnating not growing enough.
The demos were mainly pacifics, with less represion and some incidents in Paris and Lyon. Perhaps elsewhere, I have not all the information.
I appreciate your reports from France, Viriato – I really do. They are very useful. It is heartening to hear how just how much action and how many meetings and strikes are taking place in France. This is a great rebellion.
I’m sure it is certainly the case that many so-called “left-wing groups” are disgracing themselves with their ignorance or ineptitude.
But it remains the case that workers, brain-washed by the capitalist media from cradle to grave and kept away from revolutionary theory, can do many things but they cannot spontaneously generate Marxism-Leninism. As Marx and Lenin always insisted, bringing revolutionary understanding to the masses is the job of trained Marxist-Leninists (Bolsheviks – whether advanced workers or former members of the intelligentsia).
Perhaps Marxist-Leninist speeches will go down badly with Yellow Vests at this moment, and won’t get any applause. Perhaps Leninist leaflets will be thrown down on the floor in disgust. But it remains the case that all TRUE revolutionary understanding will eventually RESONATE with the masses because it will be proven to have been GOOD REVOLUTIONARY LEADERSHIP, that told the TRUTH.
See my comments above about capitalist slump, war, the rotten nature of reformism and the need for workers to break with reformism, revisionism and anti-Soviet anti-communism. The need for them to know that the ONLY SOLUTION is the socialist revolution; the need to build a revolutionary communist movement.
There is NO (GOOD) POINT to being “workerist” about these matters; there is no good point to bowing to spontaneity; there is no good point to tail-ending the movement; there is no good point to being anti-theory. Lenin says: “Without revolutionary theory, there will be no revolutionary practice”.
“Lefts” who turn up to Yellow Vest meetings and demos to tell people that they DON’T NEED revolutionary theory are surely doing the French state’s subversion work for it, si ou non?
Most fake “lefts” who turn up to Yellow Vest meetings and demos will be there to hoodwink workers into falling for bourgeois reformism, revisionism, parliamentary “democracy” and anti-communism. The anarchists with their bogus “anti-leadership” posturing will be particularly backward.
And surely, after decades of nonsense from all such “lefts” and with all the open right-wingers and even fascists swirling around, there is a real need for Marxist-Leninists to help workers to see the revolutionary proletarian class view and internationalist-world-socialist-revolutionary perspectives and split them from petty-bourgeois middle-class views?
This should be done to STRENGTHEN the working class forces and their revolutionary understanding and to weaken petty-bourgeois influences on the movement (which can also help to swing the petty-bourgeoisie to the side of the revolutionary working class).
Both Stalinist revisionism and Trotskyite politics have spent decades duping workers into “popular frontism” and support for “left” parliamentary politics. Spreading the Bolshevik message that the advanced workers have to build an independent communist revolutionary movement that needs to be in FULL CHARGE of the rebellion is crucial.
Hi comrade Chris,
Your comment needs a very long answer.
What is really good in a long movement, grass root, complex but against capitalism by its own nature, with no direction at all, nor organisation, is that you can see how it developpes and forced you to think, (no Central Comitee or theoretical paper gives you whtever answer) not about generalities, that, every ones more or less know, but on every aspects of the fight developping under your eyes, not under your control (far from it) and the lessons you are taking almost every day from the masses mainly.
Generalities remains, of course, but it is absolutely not enough and the ones who rest there are not only, no marxists at all, but helpers of the bourgeoisie.
Of course the line you propose (bring communism to the masses) is the only possible one. Of course, every rank and file in the left thinks it is the only way but, and this but is essential, they don’t want to say it because they are convinced will not be understood; because because of years on counter propaganda; they don’t feel saying it or are afraid of telling it; or are demoralised to the point thay doubt of what is for them, for someones for many years, a certitiude that every fact in life confirms.
For the rare ones that are actively and conciously convinced that these ideas must be blood and flesh of the working class, the question is: in which way can these ideas that are the unconcious class instinct of the working class plus whqt they have grasped from a century of, more or less, communist propaganda, will with succes progress?.
In one ouf our discussions on Gilets Jaunes (I mean some few comrades mostly ex-marxists-leninists in break with maoism but with a maoist education or influence. Some ones still defending Staline, some others defending Trotsky but not yet trotskists, others in the middle of the river all very old but activists from their youth) we all agreed that if this so elemental movement was to be “the beginnig of the beginning” it would be a succes.
You can tell us that we are not much ambitious and we will tell you that we were ambitious enough taking in account from where we start. Someone said, at this occasion that till we cannot organise us for a party of “left communists” minimal common denominator because there were hard discussions between us and, after searching all the long of France, no other people, even the old ones, that could possible be in. A lot of people are just so influenced from the many kinds of bourgeois ideology or opportunisme that it was helpless.
We were also quite mistrustfull about the whole extreme left (the left we have put it aside already) and we have even before the beginning full confirmation of our prognosis.
Were we “tailing the movement”? We have asked us this question many times. This is a practical question in a mass movement that adamantly (still now but changing in the good sens) were against, physically against “political parties of whatever tendancy” ?
Now, we were for bringing communist ideas in it but how? Jus throwing leaflets and waiting for some “profound psychological process” to start or came into reality in some future?
We think, because we have done this before to no use, that it was not the way to follow, but to engage ourselves in a protracted process, being inside the movement, side by side with the masses and advancing step by step watchwords somewhat more advanced that the ones that stay, are present in a no formulated way in the masses, not politically formulated.
The problem is that we are four persons, the younger in his 65 th… in a movement that counts 100 000 at least… This is the magnitude of the problem and also the magnitiude of the treason of the whole left.
Of course there are also some little organisations, of 5 activists? More?, less? Here in Lyon there are two “MLs orgas” with 3 militants each, a six or seven “estate capitalism trotskism” leftists as they can possible been, all the others are totally against leninisme, organisation, discipline (that they confounded with bureaucratic centralism) “communists” that spite on Lenine and don’t want to hear of Marx, left social democrats (France Insoumise) that are more in european elections than in the GJs mov ement with some remarquables exceptions as Mélenchon for instance that is more to the left than his own party but could not be trusted nor followed completely as, perhaps, Corbyn there.
Then, take this picture, confront it to a movement that in the beginning and with every posible reason they won’t hear of “political parties and Unions” that have betrayed them for forty years and you have an idea of the dificulties of a left comunists work with a profound, grass root movement mobilsing vast sectors of the poorest proletarian mixed, in the beginning, with some little bosses that came because of taxes ans desapeared as soon as wages demands were put forward by the combined efforts of every left rank and file was in the movement. But they are still few and the masses even if they progress they stick to the non political, non unions feeling because those ideas also “weld” the movement together. And Unity is a word that every fighting proletarian cherised.
We then, work against this erroneous ideas but not just leafleting our great wisdom but waiting for some real, practical ocasion to advance what it is. For instance, with the brutal wave of repression we put forward not only the need of defend ourselves and public (bourgeois) liberties but showing the real nature of the class state. This political work is done at least on two levels, in a broad general way by articles and coments in Internet and by direct talking with choosed Gilets Jaunes more advanced than the others and also advancing watchwords that answer correctly the actual problem the GJs met..
Of course, better will be to invest the whole movement with comrades working their full possible time in it, with a plan, organising the GJs, etc.and have a political comrade in a national level saying what should be said, perhaps not yet “proletarian dictatorship” but the need of a working class party, fighting with tact the illusions and errors of the movement and proposing good watchwords but these that should have been the work of medium size “trotskists” (that they are not) organisation just wasn’t done. They were “occupied” in their routine work “to the working class”, yes, that was the sophisterie they have advanced to justified themselves. Of course they are politically dead.
As I have written before, some “state capitalists” that call them “trotskists” which they certainly are not either, as I can understand the matter, have thrown a leaflet and make speaches in the sense you defend. I know them for years and they still are the same not progressing a step forward. they have not even been heard because, even the speach was done in an awful manner, their papers just put it away or thrown to the ground.
Some others have tryed with less leftism but they give way to far-rightists to attack them, as it happened with an NPA full banners deployed group. They have transit from a rightists “we must mistrust an interclasist movement that includes the far right” to coming to the demo with their slogans, leave it or take it leftists attitude, just not considering the feeling of the masses. They come one saturday as individuals, the other as described, yesterday they were not…
As I have also written, when I was young I was in the Revolutionary Comunist Party that propose and do (much better than the state capitalists because they make also some good Union work) exactly the same line you advocate. That’s it : Proclaim “real truth” generalities (real truths that became their contrary when out of context) and make some good Union work … to no avail at all. This doesn’t work, has never work, will never work. Forget it, is a waste of time, energie, that wears militants to the core to no use at all.
Of course, pass all our lives discussing historical or ideological topics is not good either. Please read the Comunist Manifesto where is said that communist are not a different part of the working class movement but it’s more concious part not the ones a mille forward, not out of the working class movement waiting for a pure form of what they will never see, but a part of it with a lamp in their hands to show the way to their brother and sisters out of the horrible hell of capitalism.
I you have some working movement of the sort in the UK, just take some time to see what is the attitude of the bourgeoisie with the movement. If they are against, be for, this is the most sure, primary way of course, to begin to understand. Then, go into the movement if you can, or your friends or comrades, then take a look to the class composition of the movement, then hear what the masses are saying and if there is an overwhelming demand that could be transformed in left political and union demands do not hesitate and begin a real political work inside, not a mille forward but resuming the latent, inconciously formulated demands in a watchword that takes in account what could be taken by the masses and with a pint forward and stick to it because convince the majority is always a long way and you should be patient and perseverant.
If you are in a party that has some size, push as much as you can to go there all together with a plan, with tactical discussion, to organise, to cinvince, win the proletarians that are there.
If it is not the case, do as you can, knowing that you are in the beginning of something, write your experience, make as much of a theoretical work you can for the education of the new generations.
I was considering to make a portrait of Generals Meetings in Lyon. There are plenty now since juanuary (that gives you an indication of the prgress but also of the times it takes in a movement that is beeing dialy attacked by all the presse, hourly in télévision) and of diferent quality. Even here in Lyon I know of two of them.
I have already written it but not yet published.
Here it is with some modifications because of the aeternal process of thinking it again and again with no landmark at all. Generalities could just give you a line but cannot analise for you the changing everyday reality.
The General Meetings of the Yellow Vests.
The purpose of this article is to give a vision of how things are progressing in a proletarian movement without political direction, crossed by multiple currents but which finds its way among the obstacles.
Since January, general meetings of the Yellow Vests have been held throughout France. There are places where this is not yet the case, but the trend is in this direction. This is an obvious progress from the initial form of “non-organization” that came from the deep mistrust of the masses towards politicians of all sides present on the national scene as well as from the political backwardness, a product of decades of influence of extreme right-wing ideas conveyed both by the extreme right itself and by all other parties except the extreme left (NPA, LO, POI, POID and similar small groups)
Sometimes there are several A.G.s in the same region. This is still a sign of mistrust of each other within the GJs themselves, but also of the creeping and increasingly obvious politicization, despite the primary denial of the whole movement. This can become a force as a real problem due to sectarianism, provocations and the lack of ability to work in a varied but proletarian environment, whose general tendency is still towards the left, even if today it is only social-democratic in the Melenchonian style.
In Lyon, the most important of the G.A. is the one that meets at the Labour House in a room facilitated by the CGT Local Union. A group of young GJs, formed as a group of GJs conducts the meeting. This is enough in the movement where everyone does as they wish without referring to anyone because there are no leaders. These were called during a demonstration for a meeting every Monday following the demonstration on Saturday.
To their surprise, there were 300 people, which was a lot thzt week. The organization was equal to the consciousness of these GJs that we felt of the left tendency, rather ecolo-semi-anarchist or France Insoumise students and worker’s.
Many of them had probably participated in “Nuits Débout”, a movement of reflection or talk, as you like, caracterized by a lot of talk , impulsed by the méddias as “direct democracy” during the fight against the reform of the Labour Code, of course, without any follow-up. But the method, that is, to make commissions with “direct democracy” (or what they mean by that) has been put in place and applied.
Activists more accustomed to the trade union and political struggle did not go thinking, quite rightly, that this would lead to nothing more than talking endlessly on every possible issue with no practical consequency.
So, at the first General Assembly the young organizers proposed to deal with 8 points in two and a half hours… Naturally they could only deal with two and as time went on and there were plenty of GJs who wanted to express themselves (some to support the Kurdish war and praise “Marxism-Leninism” and others who admitted 500 euros of income flowed to declare a ” consumer’s strike” not wanting to hear that Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron has been in charge for that “consommation strike”, remarquably well…) As “direct democracy” went by they could only give 2 minutes od microphone while taking them all the time they needed to explain …
Always ultra-democracy leads to the most total centralism.
This first GM only gave a few commissions (functioning according to their mandatory design) and nothing else. Yes, a certain enthusiasm and a primary form of organization that it’s better than nothing.
The next General Assembly saw more than 600 people who, unable to stand in the room, went out in the cold to do more commissions which they voted for what was not recorded. The ‘claims commission’ voted a program quite similar to the one that will come out after at Commercy (previous post) leaving the proposals that fit to the right side aside.
The discussion took the same form but some people were able to put forward some ideas, especially to demonstrate together (in the previous weeks there were up to four different places, which reduces the number of participants and by motivating the most angry, plays into Macron’s propaganda). The importance of being numerous was also stressed, as the press and the government base all their counter-propaganda on the increasing or decreasing number of demonstrators.
The next GM took place in the same form, after the launch of a “Debate” by Macron who immediately took water because Saturday’sGilets Jaunes demonstration had been much more numerous than the ones before.
So we proposed that we can not discuss anything until the prisoners leave, until the legal proceedings stop, until an amnesty law is passed and until the injured are compensated. This was received unanimously and even many said they did not want to discuss whatsoever with Macron: “There is nothing to discuss; all he has to do is to resign! »
But this resolution of our ‘Great Debate Commission’ (as this Macron’s initiative, more of an electoral campaign, was called by the government) remained unimplemented. And this is not only because people were starting to leave after hours of rounds where everyone says what’s in their heads even if they have nothing to say, and the most agitated, there are some, started talking about the problems they had in the demonstration with extreme right-wing groups.
It should be noted that the left-anarchist movement, which has been forming an “antifaf” (anti fascists) group for years, has been focusing on fascistic small identity groups (“identitaires” are about twenty individuals who “think” that Marine Le Pen is left-wing and socialist…) and who tend to punch the “antifafs”. This is a Lyon affaire where these groups are “strong”.
They are better organized, centralized, trained and armed than the antifafs who are always “resistant to Leninism” and therefore to organization and discipline, but their fights on the fringes of demonstrations or in a specific district of Lyon leave the mass of workers totally indifferent and most of them just do not know about this squirmiches.
As usual, the meeting ended in fatigue, lack of participants who were already leaving due to the cold but especially the lack of substance of the meeting.
But people learn by their own practice and the next time, before the organizers start dividing the still large mass into “commissions”, voices coming from the room demand for a debate on some issues, for instence, why there were in Lyon, three diferent point of meeting to demonstrate on saturday?. A question that has been put forwerd because there was a polemics between the ones who think that “actions for passing on the médias” are important and the others that say that “numbers” are important and “actions” are beeing used by the power to stop the movement.
They asked for meeting all together to also deal at least with the issue of a demonstration always at the same point and at the same time (it often happened that demonstrators left just in time (when it is 2 o’clock the demo starts not waiting for anyone…) and those who arrived a little late, or had to look for the demonstration by targeting the helicopter that always follows us, or the explosions of tear gas bombs or went home believing that there was no demonstration…
Once these point were resolved, we moved on to commissions, the ultimate in democracy as these young people understand it.
As it is understandable, it takes a lot of patience to explain patiently. I don’t have many and sometimes I send them to hell but I get it back and try again.
This time, at the end of the GM after having spoken mainly about what is not important, leaving aside the situation of prisoners and the wounded, the defence of civil liberties. they finally they made the mistake of voting on their proposal to go to “three places of action” again (“action” is the key word of all those who think that passing through the media is the key to the movement ) or on the proposition to demonstrate Place Bellecour as it has been the tradition for years. They got one vote and everyone else voted for Place Bellecour.
But these ultra-democrats will not be deterred for so little… we will see it later. They just “forgot” the agreement and propose the same via the Web…
The last GM last Monday, took place almost exclusively on the theme of the ultra-right despite the insistence of two GJs to give a perspective to a movement that lacks one. The “GM of the GMs” had just been held, the Commercy meeting which had issued a good declaration. In addition, repression is in full swing and it is urgent to gather beyond the GJs to accuse the sinister Castaner, interior minister, and his acolytes Griveaux and Nunez, to go further enlarging the movement to Unions, real democrats in the population, intellectuals, artists, politicians horrified with the extend and roughness of the repression.
But no, instead of dealing with that, we had to deal with the “fafs” that have absolutely no political importance and abandon the defence of political prisoners and the wounded. We tried to correct the aim but without any results.
The GM finally dealt with Commercy’s declaration, which was unanimously approved, and it also resolved, very correctly, wich shows that the general trend is good, to go to the CGT demonstration on February 5 and march together but in a by-procession marching together but the Yellow Vests with our own demands.
In the end, with the participation of the few militants and very small leftist groups that sometimes fall just and the old anchored memories of the ecolo-anars who from time to time put their feet on the ground, we still move forward.”
This was written “à chaud” after one pârticularly tiresome meeting where instead of treating a real political national thème, the rudeness of repression, we pass our time with something that could and should be resolved also politically or, if not, discretely if their were organisations capables of that.
Politics, even proletarian politics is a question of activists, if there are not the critical number needed, you just not prevail but with a very long work of persuation and it is not sure you can succeed and not some one else. I you leave the field to that kind of absurd semi anachists or to te extreme right as the whole left had done, the tasks become quite hard.
This question of number of activist was so acute that, in the beginning and still now I am talking to every possible “left” party to come and do the work in the GJs movement.
I have found answers as “we have no militants to send” and it si true, the PCF has no real activists to do the work they just mobilise for elections (PCF vénissieux); “Comrades are out of the way, they have made a mess out of it, it is a political bankruptsy” an LO sympathiser, “We are so little” a NPA comrade. “Mélenchon is right but we are working for the next europeens elections which are also importants and we are in the GJs movement at the dame moment” France Insoumise.
It is a waste land of communists activists and that is why there can be so much confusion, danger of failure of the movement lacking perspective, organisation, real leaders, or still in some places extreme right people.
What is extraordinary and confirms its profound and popular roots is that the movement get organised, it continues to demonstrate, it has found a left social democrat programm, is still a threat to the governement andcould go further because it si appearing now the conciousness of joinning the workersceven if this concciousness is stil a minority.
These week we have called for a “General Strike” (an error because we should as for a Strike “réconductible” (that could be continued) because it is probable that it won’t suceed a “General” on and is better not to be taken as fools by the masses. Leftists don’ bother of the opinion of the masses. They only think on what is on the books and what think their likes.
Communists think always in the public adressed, in the masses. Ten times before doing whatsoever.
Can all these problems, this protracted walk, be resolved with some leaflets calling for the “proletarian dictatorship”?
Perhaos the GJs movement won’t go further it is a possibility whan you think on obstacles and so few militants. But at any moment and even now, we must give a political answer to the whole question. That’s our main duty today till the movement has the slightest breath, we must be inside and make the more we can for it’s permanence trying every real possibility to broaden our politcal presence in it.
Please, tell me how do you do when adressing workers there.
Yesterday General Meeting was as confused and varegiated as all others but with less atendance and people declarying that they were “fed up” with the “delirious talk” of some ones that take the GM as a means of developping there own personnal (and not so clear nor useful ) ideas.
As an anecdote that could give you a picture, sometimes better than cold analises or reports, the last GM has taken the “resolution” not make the traditional demo “it was so boring and always the same” and to go to the “rue de la République” a commercial no car allowed street in center LYon just near place Bellecour. The aim? To be média visible, to bother a big company and to force the ones buying to take in account the Gilet Jaunes movement…
For me it was or the work of a provocateur or the childish ideas of a very confused GJ. But, when you have 2 minutes of time you just focus on the principal and ‘think’ that he could not get with his fantasies much further.
Saying this in a broad meeting it was sure that the information will reach police’s ears.
The “agree vote” was given as many of them, by some GJs, the others in this “no political” mood, just let things go.
Of course, rue cde la République was totally close by the ‘flics’ but he insisted adressing a mass of 2000 Gjs to take off their gilets to pass through the police barrier. He was followed by 10 to 15 GJs that finished … dancing in front of the commercial establishement but, as they told, very happy of their deed.
The mass, the other ones, just make what they have done for weeks, a demo against Macron.
But in yesterday’s meeting he insisted on the matter accussing in a veiled way of cowardise the ones who doesn’t follow its delirious or provocative (how to know?) ideas.
That makes that many begin to call him names, but he insisted for next saturday. But more rational people just pass to the order of the day.
This, of course, is time and energy consuming and it doesn’t facilitate a meeting nor give anyone the want to continue with such people, but you must, there is no other place where you have 300-600 workers and poor people gathered to pass some ideas.
At least we get an agreement to go to the CGT demo, this was the work of more GJs that I could imagine (four to five interventions, one of them quite clear and who developpe all the points which I can never be able to do limited by time and because I have been dubbed as “that old comunist coming from somewhere else” which doesn’t help.
People get out dead-tired not only because you have not said fully what it is necesary to say but because it is heard such a lot of non-sens and when people have some hot blood that from time to time doesn’t give the calm and ponderation that is need then tou yell at in the middle of someones speach when it goes so far that just it couldn’t be stand. Yes, it is a bad attitude but, two months and a half of activism to very little results is somewhat more than everyone can take.
There is another GM in another place in Lyon, more proletarian like because in a worker’s neighbourhood. Perhaps there…
Today there is a CGT-Gilets Jaunes demo.
Martinez, boss of the CGT has said “in the beginning we were against a movemnt strange to our scope (or ends) but now that movement has evolved” (this is true as much as I have reported); “we will march with them, not in every region, but there are some regions where will have a demo together”
If this works, the attitude an afluence of the GJs and of the rank and file of the CGT will be determinant, there could be two possible ways forward.
Or the whole movement follows the monthly demos of the CGT that will put an end at the whole thing.
Or the Gilets Jaunes will ‘contaminate’ the CGT rank and file (but Martinez will have an eye on it to put a stop if necesary).
Or there will be no issue and every one will go back to their owns affairs. This third, the most probable in my view should conduct to ‘conversationns’ between both movements.
Eric Drouet one of the national recognised figures of the GJs movement has called for pacific demos and also to a General Strike, and some parties are openly suporting the Gilets Jaunes movement, NPA, France Insoumise and other and it is posible that those parties will make of Eric Drouet a sort of “leader” (that could be recognised by a lot of GJs) and a figure, more traditional in the sens of a political figure of him.
In the actual conditions of the movement, it will be a step forward having a real leader that represents in same way the proletarian caracter of the movement and tend to “the lef” (whatever that means) and also a step backwards in the sense that will be against the “spirit” of the movement and almost surely a divisive factor and perhaps one that could put an end at the whole affair.
Wait, see and go to both demos, try to advance whatever marxists ideas you can. I do not see other possible way.
No comunist party, no real proletarian movement. But, with the parties that I have seen in “no action” these months, what can you do other than make some little propaganda and try to explain things to a few number of people that are quitting alltogether the movement because they think that it is already dead?
Tomorrow is today. The demonstration took place in Lyon. We were not far from 10,000 demonstrators with a large presence of Yellow Vests coming from the CGT ranks, someones who had endorsed their Yellow Vests and also Yellow Vests coming directly to participate.
As it was organized by the CGT, they were present all the political organizations of the left, anarcho-syndicalist, extreme left, even associations that were protesting against the coup d’état in Venezuela.
The route was fixed in advance, authorized by the Prefecture and supervised by few police officers because they know that a CGT parade always takes place in total calm.
In short, a bore of a parade like so many have been done and which produce no concrete results other than giving leaders sufficient support so that they can continue to live off it, betray us and find themselves as “valid interlocutors” and consensual of the government.
So we covered this short trip, xith the Yellow Jackets clearly visible by their Jackets well in the middle of the demo.
But once the CGT declared finished the march according to the authorized route and while we were undergoing the dull speeches of the CGT, the GJs organized themselves, put themselves in front of the procession and take the streets followed by some unionists from the base.
This “non autorised march” launched towards the city center, they invest it with their own slogans, singing the Partisans’ anthem (instead of La Marseillaise”…a second WW anthem of the resistants against nazism) and shouting “the street is ours! ” and the traditional “Macron resigned! “pointed by “Castaner in prison! ».
Behind, in the full sense of the word, remained both the leadership of the demonstration and the most organized parties. LO had come in force with slogans, newspaper salers, the presence of more than sixty grouped activists and others in the procession, the NPA with a big flag, the POI in the middle of the Regional Labour Force union which spread beyond the national slogan of FO. Needless to say, none of these “revolutionary” parties followed Yellow Vests that exceeded the limits of the authorization of the Prefecture.
I have no news from other cities, it is too early to have any, but Lyon is not characterized, has never been characterized for its revolutionary or combative spirit.
So if this was possible in Lyon, it may well happen again elsewhere. The Yellow Vests have become anti-trade unionists precisely because they are fed up with walks without a tomorrow and the fact that they have gone beyond the limits set by the CGT’s dirigents is not only a proof of their determination; it has not only taught honest union activists a lesson but also shows that the Yellow Vests movement is indeed the beginning of a new wave that points like a small distant clearing but a clearing anyway.
“A spark can set fire to the prairie” because of the dry straw there are tons accumulated and a lot of anger held back among the people.
I do not know if this will be the case, all I know is that without this movement of Yellow Vests, despite all its flaws and lacks, it has put in great difficulty the bourgeoisie and its servant of the moment, Macron, it has highlighted the true nature of the left, of the State, of the police, of the force of determinated people a movement that means hope for a lot of people disgusted by the politics of the left, that they can again have some hope before them.
There is now the need of real communists, of a party to help this awakening, which can certainly go through ups and downs, but which is on the horizon.
A letter from Marseille:
The Marseille demonstration was huge with many Cgt flags but also many yellow vests some at the beginning of the demonstration then scattered in the Cgt processions and then GJaunes alone. There was a large group of young combative dockworkers but with rather floral slogans like “Macron you know… the bosses told us…” slogans on reforms, on wages on bosses etc but rather economic slogans. The also of the groups of the CNT LO NPA Alternative libertarian France Insoumise, in fact a little as usual
The demo walk was different than that of the usual CGT processions, at the end of the route there was a meeting with a speech by signatories of the call the Cgt in the lead the departmental secretary is very combative ,who announced a regular participation of the CGT in the Saturday demonstrations and every Tuesday of the actions in or around the Works until the launch of the general strike.
It seems that regular meetings will be held between the union and representatives of the different trends of yellow vests. The person in charge of SUD Education gave an interesting speech on racism and the need to work with all yellow vests and all skin colours combined, the yellow vests returned to the old port as a starting point for a procession of all demonstrations alone because all the others left no flexibility in the actions.
This morning there was a blockade of the highway 200 demonstrators blockers and 200 cops gassing, fast dispersion. Last week, many cops and demonstrators were blocked at the La Mède refinery, but this time the cops called for reinforcements because they couldn’t get away with it!!
in fact, there are demonstrations and almost daily harassment adapted to the regions. Today’s radio traffic news reported many highway closures and blockages in the region. In addition, there was or is being prepared on the Aubagne side as far as Marseille for a demonstration of the handicapped in yellow and a human chain.
Here is for the information it is clear that the GJs have boosted the struggles in the Works and put the discord in the CGT until where, I can not yet say it but there are clearly anti-confederation positions that appear with a will that they become public wait and see…….. We are waiting for information from different regions!
On Sunday there was a concert in support of GJs who were arrested and sentenced in the Mac Do in struggle for several months in the northern districts of Marseille and there were people but the bulk of the inhabitants were not there.
Best regards to all”
Thanks for all the useful and wide-ranging reports and comments, Viriato.
I don’t think the key thing for real revolutionaries, at this moment, is to lead from the front in the actions and activities (although it is always possible at any given moment that a strong leader can urge n action by a crowd that wll be powerful, useful and decisive).
Instead, I will continue to argue that putting out leaflets and making speeches correctly describing the WORLD situation that explain the global crisis of capitalism, Trumpism and the miserable thrashing around of fascist US imperialism, the Brexit mess, US trade war with China, and looming financial meltdown are crucial, along with Lenin’s and powerful Leninist arguments explaining the lies told by bourgeois democracy about “violence”, “terrorism” and the “rule of law” and how the state will “listen and change” (ha ha ha!!).
It is very gripping, exciting even, that even such figures as the social-democrat Frederic Lordon are highlighting the totally vicious nature of the French state – so Lenin’s explanation of the nature of the state in State and Revolution should be highly useful to the Yellow Vests. In other words, starting there and saying that the capitalist state needs to be OVERTHROWN by socialist revolution, followed by the building of a workers state.
The Commercy letter talks about “power to the people”. Well, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the only way that the people can HOLD power against the forces of modern bourgeois democracy and the monopoly-capitalist highly-armed state – and defeat counter-revolution too.
Surely, today’s Venezuelan events, the Egyptian coup by Sisi, the Pinochet coup in Chile in 1973, Indonesia 1965 etc, etc show all that?
What other options are there? LIE to people an say that they just need movements like these total failures – because they are rotten social-democratic reformists who do NOT seriously set about ENDING CAPITALISM – failres like the 13-year-long government of Brazil by the Brazilian Workers Party (easily knocked by the right-wing, once the BWP had disgraced itself)
You are right to want to seek out the most progressive elements – but then all the greater DUTY on you to get your politics CORRECT.
The objective has to be to make socialist revolution if possible BETTER and STRONGER than the Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam, China, etc.
This means breaking down the sick old anti-communism that has dominated the “left-wing” movement.
Now that Macron is killing and blinding protesters will years of Cold War anti-communist brainwashing about the “horrors of communism” and the “delights of consumer capitalism” start to collapse?
How can anybody make a revolution if they hate the history of previous workers states?! It’s not possible!
And I hasten to add, dialectical understanding is vitally necessary. Support for all workers states, including China, Cuba and the USSR, WITHOUT going along with any rotten REVISIONISM (for example, it is necessary to scorn Stalin’s “permanent peaceful co-existence” and “popular frontist” politics and Cuba’s and China’s blanket “condemnation of terrorism” (which doesn’t see the “Islamic jihadist” revolt in the Third World against the US Empire in the correct light).
It is necessary to seek the DEFEAT of US imperialism over its coup attempt in Venezuela, WITHOUT naively supporting the non-Marxist left-nationalist regime of Maduro.