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Platform 5 : For self-managed communism !
We cannot take widespread poverty anymore in this insanely rich world! We cannot bear to see people slaughtered by imperialist bombs in the name of “Freedom” and “Democracy”! We're tired of mass unemployment which deprives millions of having a job when others are waisting their lives trying to earn it, tired of job insecurity, insane work shifts and constant stress, tired of bosses binging on money and lecturing us! We are outraged by the destruction of environment in the name of profit, the double workday imposed on women and violence they experience, the oppression of LGBT people, racism and bigotry, the police which kills and mutilate, the infestation of advertising, consumerist madness and the frustration it creates...
These refusal, these fights, are ours! A new generation of activist workers, unemployed and oppressed people often drives them. That is why our party, which wants to be the party of the exploited and the oppressed, must seek the unification of these revolts in a struggle against capitalist society. We must speak loud and clear for our project of a classless society without a state, war and oppression, a society which would put an end to environmental suicide. It isn't “human nature” that prevents this, only capitalists and politicians defending their system. So let us publicly defend a self-managed communist project! Far from giving up the daily fights on the side of the exploited and oppressed, presenting a clear social project and strategy can encourage their struggles to lead us to the society we all want!
1) Without a revolutionary project, there can be no revolutionary party
A) French capitalism and its main political forces are in a deadlock
As last congress has stated, the crisis we face is not the consequence of austerity policies but of the fall of profit rate. For capitalism, the solution lies in attacking workers rights, cutting wages and laying off. It is the duty of our party to explain that the sole alternative is to break with capitalism. There is no third way, no progressive magical potion. The 1981 Keynesian boost failed miserably and the turn to austerity was inevitable since the PS-PC government refused to break with capitalism.
Faced with the crisis, capitalists aggravate their conservative policies to maintain their profits by charging people, destroying social gains, attacking public services, limiting democratic freedoms. In France, the lasting duration of the crisis and two and a half years of Hollande have shattered the last hopes that some still placed in the PS. The political crisis can become explosive.
The main trade unions and the forces of the Left Front, despite the postures some may take, refuse to fight the government. Union leaders continue to rely on the so-called "social dialogue" instead of driving and organizing struggles. The PC [Communist Party] refuses to break with the PS [Socialist Party] and allied with it in most cases during the last mayoral elections to keep its elected officials and apparatus. Mélenchon has long been dependent on the PC and lacks credibility and strength to successfully present himself as a national “savior”, mimicking Latin-American reformists.
All agree on a program supporting capitalism, the European Union and the bourgeois State (including its bloody flag, its police and army). Their program is not credible because it is based on illusions: they promise to end the crisis by a boost in public spending and consumption, without tackling private property! As if bosses and shareholders will accept a decline in their profits!
It is therefore not surprising that the majority of the exploited and oppressed feel that they are in a deadlock. Many fall into despair and a growing part imagine the solution would be to break with the left/right political system which has lead a permanent social war for the past 30 years. Only the FN [National Front] takes advantage of the crisis, advocating a national-capitalist, racist and reactionary program. Its “anti-system” and anti-UE stance give him a strong political identity and makes its appealing to a part of our class. Both Hollande and Sarkozy give in its “de-demonization” strategy, placing it as the front runner of the far right. This permits small violent groups to demonstrate, attack feminist, anti-fascist activists, LGBT people and immigrants. Contrary to this trend, far left forces lack of a strong political identity, a sharp anti-system speech, and a project that gives hope. They are fossilized in decades-old thinking and functioning patterns which have sickened so many comrades. Without a radical change in direction and methods, our party will continue to sink in an irreversible crisis. In order to be revived, it has to be rebuilt.
B) Rebuilding the NPA as a revolutionary party, not as a "super-union"
The labor movement was born as the junction of real struggles, large and small, and new hotly debated ideas. In the 19th and 20th century, the socialist and communist projects could have seem "unrealistic" given the fact that most of the workers were peasants, illiterate and under the supervision of the Church... Yet they fueled economic, political and ideological struggles, greatly contributing to social and democratic rights for our class. Similarly, the rebirth of the labor movement in the 21th century can only be achieved through new class struggles fueled by new debates. After the horrors of Stalinism and at the time of the complete integration of social-democracy to capitalism it is crucial to revive the revolutionary goal. This project can only integrate the experience of recent anti-imperialist, anti-racist, feminist and environmentalist fights.
For some comrades, the solution would be just to give priority to the struggles and to stop copycatting the Left Front. This is indeed a prerequisite course and we defend any step forward this direction. But it is absolutely not enough: we want to build a real revolutionary party and not a radical union. We must defend our revolutionary project precisely because it will not spontaneously arise from struggles. In fact, the calls for "another wealth distribution" and "emergency measures", supposedly more "understandable" and "reasonable", appear to employees, and rightly so, as only incantatory. We must stop to skirt the key issue: revolution and the seizure of power by the proletariat, the exploited, the oppressed. Far from being unrealistic, the defense of our revolutionary project (in our interventions, struggles, public meetings, our press, our media appearances...) would be a great encouragement to struggles, a key vehicle to rebuild class consciousness and make our party appealing.
2) A strategy for struggling and taking power
What makes communism more than an utopia is class struggle. Capitalism stirs it itself, and when the consciousness of having common interests meet strength in numbers, it can progress very quickly. Worker make the system run: they can also overturn it.
The break goes through the self-organization of the exploited class in general assemblies, factory and district councils, forming its own power. A more direct power, exercised from the bottom up, with dismissible elected delegates and no possibility to hold multiple positions. Such is “real democracy”. Workers power is the condition to overthrow both the capitalists (bosses, shareholders and others parasites) and the capitalist state (politicians, police, army, class justice...). It is the condition to collectivize and transform the means of production and regain control of our lives.
Today, this power worker seems distant or impossible, but it is largely because it is not known outside of the far left! We must dare to defend it against the reformist illusions. This is not at all inconsistent with the defense of immediate demands of the exploited and oppressed. We have to show the simplest possible link between these claims and revolution. This is also not inconsistent with the search for unity of action. Only massive struggles can allow employees to gain confidence in their strength, to achieve success and grow their own organization.
A) our interventions
Note: We do not discuss in this platform the specific question of intervention and construction in youth, which falls under the autonomous youth sector. But we want the party to make it a priority.
We are in the front line to mobilize against any attack. We are alongside those who say no, with the worker of Brittany in the fall of 2013, the occasional and precarious workers, the railroad workers in spring 2014, with the employees fighting for their jobs, in the struggles against employer repression...
The power of employers to hire and fire is a daily scandal! To strike back in dismissing companies, we need to be massively united. We also highlight the prohibition of dismissals, not in spreading parliamentary illusions but linking it to the goal of workers power. In the same way, we defend expropriation without compensation nor reparation. But mere nationalizations, even if they would be huge victories, are not our horizon. We must defend worker control, against bosses and high senior officials.
In the public sector, we must fight job cuts, defend the civil servant status and the granting of tenure of all precarious workers without preconditions. We use this example to defend the right to a job and a wage guaranteed for all. We denounce inequalities and the hypocrisy of the “meritocratic” discourse. 300 euros increase of all wages, pensions and allowances! No wage gap exceeding 1 to 4! Defense of the social wage (social security, unemployment benefits, pensions...) managed by workers! For a real right to training decided by the employees, as opposed to the pressure to adapt to the needs of capital! The government serves the bosses with tax breaks for corporations and the so-called “national inter-professional agreement” and “responsibility pact”. We try to organize unitarian response to these attacks. But we also explain that capitalists will always have the last word so long as they have the power. Workers power is the only way to end economic insecurity and unemployment, to massively reduce working hours, cancel the debt and finance real social needs.
Only through its own struggles can the proletariat drive small farmers and independent workers in the revolutionary fight against capitalism.
We struggle with all the oppressed, our class must not be divided by reactionary forces pointing the finger at scapegoats and protecting capitalism. These battle are fought not just within corporations but in society as a whole. While defending the alliance with the worker's movement and the necessity of the revolution, we rely on the self-organization of those who are fighting for their emancipation. We pay close attention to people undergoing cross oppressions, multiplying the effects of domination... and making their potential revolt particularly explosive.
We fight against oppression not only in general, but also within the labor movement, unions, various struggle organizations and including our own party. It is a matter of principle and a condition to go towards a true convergence of all struggles and an upheaval of all social relations.
We link concrete demands to the goal of true equality and equal rights for all: Foreign and French, women and men, LGBTI and heterosexuals.
We link concrete demands to the goal of equal rights for all: Foreign and French, women and men, LGBTI and straight. Amnesty for all undocumented workers, suffrage for all foreigners, repeal of all anti-immigrant laws; Against the stigmatization of Muslim and Romani people; For real gender equality: development of collective structures (restaurant, kindergartens...) to end the double workday women endure; Prohibition ow night work (except for some services such as medical emergencies); defense of abortion centers, right to ART for all couples; Civil status change on demand for trans-gender people and complete reimbursement of transition medical expenses; Fight against prejudice at school…
Internationalism and anti-imperialism
We must build the mobilizations in solidarity with the Palestinians against the State of Israel, with the Kurds against Daesh with the popular uprisings in the Arab countries, the anti-austerity movements in Europe, the struggles in Latin America... We condemn the new transatlantic treaty and all trade agreements serving the most powerful capitalists, NATO, the UN and its endorsement of imperialist interventions, starting with those of the French State (Mali, Central African Republic). They are made under humanitarian pretexts, but always hide capitalist interests. We denounce the double standards of the imperialists: they ally themselves with the most reactionary forces if they are docile and only turn against them if they disobey. Imperialism has never brought freedom, peace or women's right anywhere. It is through struggle, and in many cases through anti-imperialist struggles, that progresses are made.
Internationally, we seek to establish and develop fraternal relations with all organizations that fight for radical anti-capitalist objectives in order to move towards a common program and a coordinated political activity. Our goal is to open substantive discussions that will lay the foundations for a genuine revolutionary and self-managing communist International. This construction can be only gradual, collective and non-sectarian, integrating the results of current organizations, particularly those which align themselves with the Fourth International and its heritage.
The contempt capitalists have for the future of the planet shocks and causes local and national resistances (against the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport, the Sivens dam...). The environmental crisis (global warming, deforestation...) brings many people into politics. These questions bear a revolutionary potential: the end of productivism and waste through the reorganization of the economy under worker control (conversion of polluting industries, reduction of unnecessary transport through relocation, free public transport...), the end of advertising and consumerist alienation, nuclear exit, decreasing of the consumption of energy and natural resources, development of renewable energy, generalization organic farming...
We fight the increasing restriction of democratic freedoms in the name of countering terrorism, which in reality is for submitting the exploited and oppressed. We denounce bans on demonstrations, racial profiling and police brutality which are mainly affect the disadvantaged youth and militants. For the withdrawal of all liberty-killing laws, for police disarmament (including rubber bullets, tasers, offensive grenades...), in preparation of the outright dissolution of all repressive forces.
The worker have a growing anger against the EU. It is important to clarify our relationship with the EU at a time when the FN presents itself as its only opponent. We must defend the goal of breaking with the EU, of course in internationalist communist perspective and not in a national-capitalist one that would provide no solution to the suffering of employees. Workers power will immediately break with the EU and its currency. It is not just about repealing the current treaties, it is about workers States having no common institutions with bourgeois Sates. A workers State has to work towards the extension of the revolution and build new relationships among people, by a cooperative and internationalist policy.
Culture is too often produced by workers suffering from job insecurity, for an elite which is the only one able to have access to it. We want the logic of profit taken out of Culture, so that creation can be truly free and take part in emancipation. We must hence ensure stable status to the people who give life to culture and refuse the commodification imposed by the big communication and distribution companies. Art must be made available to all through public school. Similarly, our class suffers from the permanent plugging for the rich, without the means to speak back! Again, we need to link the denunciation of bourgeois media to the expropriation of capitalist groups and workers and users control on the industry.
B) Clarifying our modes of action
Struggling is the main way to develop class consciousness and the acquisition of activist experience. The NPA battles for self-organization at all levels and for the control of the movement by workers themselves. We do not oppose unions but are not afraid to break with their conservative leadership if such is the way to develop the fight.
Convergence of struggles and the goal of general strike
There are fights every day, but most are isolated and defeated. It is essential to help them converge to win, by taking initiatives, even partial (questioning union leadership, organizing coordination meetings, concrete proposition to union teams and far left organizations...). Striking is particularly strategic to make capitalists give in. We defend the idea that only a large unitarian movement can stop and defeat our enemies, through general strike. We also denounce the obstacles to such a movement, explaining the role of union bureaucracies.
Unity of action
Consolidating the strengths of our class is a strategic objective. But that does not mean to saying amen reformist organizations, which often are obstacles. It is about developing struggles and organizing workers. Unity of action is not a programmatic front: we do not sign common texts when they include positions contrary to ours. The unit is made on points of agreement, leaving the rest aside. Unity of action is not a permanent front with reformists: if specific agreements are possible, a permanent front would blur our fundamental political positions. Nor is it a pacified front: we do not refrain from criticizing our partners and do not hesitate to point their failures, ambiguities or betrayals.
Against the far right
Unity of action is a major challenge concerning the immediate protection of militant, women, LGBTI, people stigmatized for their origins... The far right feeds the crisis and the influence its reactionary ideas increases. To counter it, we must dismantle its false "anti-system" stance and promote internationalist class struggle against UMP [Union for a Popular Movement] and PS, to break with the UE and the bourgeois State. We fight for the unity of all the labor movement against the far right and participate in anti-fascist unitarian collectives (if they are not hollow shells). We seek to link them with the radicalized youth. We must not, in any case, appear as supporters of the PS and we refuse any type of “Republican front”.
Participating in elections is not a matter of principle for us. It is a way to spread our ideas widely, while pointing out that this Republic is a pseudo-democracy. The Left Front is not on this position and is not anticapitalist, thus no electoral alliance is possible with it (except where its local members are breaking with the national line)
The massive abstention of workers expresses their rejection and their disgust of institutional parties. If we are convinced that the electoral process is a dead end, it is useless to try to dilute our ideas and suppress the revolutionary voice of the debate. Instead, let us try to unite our forces with anticapitalist organizations such as LO [Workers Struggle] and stop putting them on the same level as the Left Front.
3) An activist organization of all the exploited and the oppressed
A) Build among the worker
The NPA should be a tool promoting the immediate struggles of workers and strengthening class consciousness. It must take roots in workplaces, either by an internal activity or by an external intervention on large concentrations of employees. We seek to develop company or sector/industry committees as much as possible because they are generally much more appropriate for this. On the other hand, we must help all committees to do regular work on at least one workplace.
Faced with unemployment and job insecurity which lead to desperation, our party has to take interest in the employment status of comrades. It is of course up to each comrade to decide where to work according to his/her qualifications, opportunities and preferences. But committees and commissions have to help them as much as possible to find work and strengthen our presence in areas where we already have militants, including key economic sectors (transport, energy, communications, large companies in the industry and services, etc).
Our activity within unions is a political activity in its own right. Our party must discuss it collectively to achieve a common orientation that allows militant to carry weight in unions. We promote breaking the so-called "social dialogue", supporting the claims of employees, democracy and the control of representatives, self-organization in the union and on the workplace. We want to bring together class-struggle unionists into a cross-union current which could organize a national conference of militant unionism. It would be a decisive step to overcome the sabotage organized by union leaderships. The conditions to launch such a process are particularly favorable with the maturation in and around union structures. The NPA influences enough unionist to launch such a current.
B) Linking specific struggles to anticapitalism
If the workplace is a strategic and priority place for party-building, it is not the only one. Capitalism impacts our environment, our social relations. The NPA must therefore play a role in organizing the oppressed in different areas.
Concerning environmental, feminist, LGBT or anti-fascists struggles or the defense of the concrete needs of the population (maintaining a post office, a train station, etc.), we support the creation of collectives (with individuals, associations, unions and other political forces) that combine different types of activism. For example, we help to bring together radical environmentalists and militant workers to highlight the common interests of those fighting against the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport, the Sivens dam, the nuclear waste burying site in the Meuse, etc. Similarly, we operate in feminist collectives and campaign to create some in companies, universities and highscools to develop feminist consciousness and autonomous struggles of women, if possible on class bases. We also defend and promote single-sex reunions to allow oppressed people to meet, to speak, discuss, develop and act together.
4) A party for emancipation
Two years after the last Congress, dysfunctions are still present, and relations between militants are increasingly tense. The way the party works continues to be an obstacle to its strengthening.
Militant practices consistent with our project
Without claiming that our party could be a counter-society, it should be a place of empowerment, vigilant against the reproduction of oppressions, where new militants can take their place.
This implies reunions adapted to workers' lives by their timetables and duration as in their content that articulates theoretical analysis and practical tasks. This also implies limiting the division between intellectual tasks (training, writing etc.) and manual ones (leaflet distribution, poster campaign, etc.).
To ensure equal access to all debates, training in Marxist theory, history of the labor movement and recent struggles (feminism, environmentalism) is necessary. The party must also generalize the organization of childcare during reunions (as it has been the case for the last two years concerning the National Political Council) so that this task does not only fall to women. This responsibility must be taken collectively.
Reaffirm internal democracy and fellowship
Fraternal debates must take place. One cannot start a sentence with "comrades" and then throw scorn and contempt on one's opponents. We must learn to debate without degenerating into family drama at every moment. Given the violence of today's society, it is not simple, but it's part of the training to be transmitted in a party for emancipation.
Give their place to committees
Committees are the party's basic structures. They offer comrades a place to discuss political issues and define their priorities. Groupings of committees facilitate coordination and the expansion of debates. It is important to organize local congresses that elect secretariats in charge of momentum and coordination. Local general assemblies should be re-instituted wherever possible to prepare and explain each CPN [National Political Council]. Reports and assessments of grassroots activities should be regularly collected and disseminated in a permanent internal bulletin.
Included in our statutes by the previous Congress, the RNC (National Meetings of committees) has to be the occasion to exchange local experiences and calmly conduct substantive discussions that go beyond the immediate focus, integrating new comrades in party debates.
A CPN for political discussion
CPN members are accountable for their mandate and regularly report on their activity. They must also continue to have a local activity without which no connection would exist with the rank and files of the party. The election of substitute members, present in the statutes, must now be generalized.
A preparatory internal bulletin must always be released long enough ahead to be discussed before the CPN. It is up to tendencies to express their own positions and proposals in it.
The collective elaboration of the CPN must strengthen and lead, whenever possible, to cross majorities escaping sectarian reflexes (and not, as has been done so far, to a direction imposing its line).
The agenda of national congresses should be drawn up by the base, that is to say the committees, and coordinated by the CPN.
A CE for execution
Decisions, and sometimes significant ones, are individually taken by some comrades outside the party bodies, as comrade Philippe has denounced when he resigned from the CE [Executive Committee]. This must stop. Spokespersons have a political mandate and must rely on collective elaboration. They also have to report to the party.
The EC should be subject to greater control of the CPN, the statutory party leadership. All of its meetings should open on a report presentation of the CE's activity since the last session: what has been done, if it was in accordance with the decisions taken and why. The closing votes of the CPN also have to give the CE the clearest possible mandate.
The CE being the leadership of the party, it is a basic question of democracy that it remains composed by proportional platform votes.
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