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 (email@example.com). 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.