Permanent Revolution What to do? Anasse Kazib and Laura Varlet: "Confronting and dispossessing the system"
Photo credits: Stéphane Burlot | Ballast
A few months ago, one of your statements disconcerted the anti-capitalist left, Anasse: while a number of activists fear a “pre-fascist” period, you seem to reject the idea of such a danger.
Anasse Kazib: We have to define what we mean by that. Yes, there is a rise of reactionary ideas in the media-political sphere and in part of the population: we agree! These discourses are taken up to the institutional left: Montebourg will dig into the dictionary of the far right on the subject of OQTFs and money transfers; Roussel advocates the return of illegal immigrants to their homes; Jadot thanks the intervention of RAID and GIGN in Guadeloupe. But if the political ideas of the left are in the minority in the public debate, they are very much alive in society, in the youth, in the social movement! The yellow vests movement in 2018 was a real popular uprising, the most subversive since 1968. The strike against the pension reform in 2019 put the organized working class back in the spotlight, with a new generation coming from the immigration (like the bus depot machinists at the RATP recruited after the 2005 revolts in the suburbs). Not to mention the Black Lives Matter movements, the Adama Committee, the We All demonstrations, the environmental movements...
It is also largely in reaction to these phenomena from below that part of the ruling class and the political debate are radicalized on the right. From this point of view, and without in any way denying the danger represented by the ideas conveyed by reactionary forces such as the RN or Zemmour, nor the fact that certain fascist small groups feel their wings growing and taking action - especially in cities like Lyon—to speak today of “pre-fascism” poses a problem for me. Because we risk letting people believe in a kind of inevitability of fascism, as the only horizon, when the situation is much more polarized and open. And that its evolution will fundamentally depend on the development of the class struggle.
Laura Varlet: I don't believe in a rightwardization of "society" as a whole: in the working classes and for the majority of the population, concerns remain social. But sectors of the ruling class are radicalizing their discourse and want to impose right-wing responses to the anger that exists below. Let's start with the pandemic. It has accelerated an underlying economic crisis: layoffs, deterioration of working conditions, pressure on wages... The question today is who will pay the costs of the crisis. However, the far right tries to make people believe that the condition for limiting the damage is to attack foreigners or Muslims.
Credits: Stéphane Burlot | Ballast
Anasse Kazib: There is an old Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, who said that within the framework of bourgeois democracy, the ruling class relies on the domestication and channeling of the popular classes through elections and through leadership of the labor movement. Conversely, fascism is the choice by the bourgeoisie of military confrontation against the organizations of the labor movement: the moment when the bourgeoisie considers that bourgeois democracy becomes insufficient to preserve its interests. Are we living this historic moment? Is there such political instability, such a pre-revolutionary situation that the bourgeoisie is tempted by fascism? Is there a force capable of crushing La France insoumise, the PC, the NPA, the CGT, Solidaires, Attac and the social movements? No. In any case not yet, and this is important because it gives us time to prepare. We are not saying that fascism is limited to the 1930s and that this political reality can no longer occur. But do not stop crying wolf, it is the assurance of being eaten when the time comes! Those who consider that “fascism is upon us”, what do they do to be consistent with this characterization? Should a guy like me live in hiding or go into exile to avoid prison or a bullet in the head of the fascists? Our generation – the 30-somethings – lived through a period of relatively settled confrontations: in the 1990s, the only cops in demonstrations made traffic! We have been experiencing an authoritarian turn since 2016 and the demonstrations against the Labor Law. But an authoritarian, repressive, reactionary situation is not equivalent to the existence of a fascist state that crushes the labor movement: October 17, 1961, or the ratonnades in the 1980s were not analyzed as fascist events, when the level of violence was much higher!
In 2018, Anasse, you told us that we would have to form a “workers’ party”. Three years later, we find you as a presidential candidate in the name of Permanent Revolution. What gives, this party?
Anasse Kazib: We don't define ourselves as a party yet. For the moment, we are talking about an organization or a political current of the far left made up of several hundred comrades. A party is capable of influencing an important segment of the masses: this is not our case. We fought against the explosion of the NPA with a political reading: we defended - with other tendencies - a line of intervention in the class struggle, whereas the old historical leadership - resulting from the LCR - carried, in last resort, a strategy of electoral alliance with the left. There was thus The Big Bang with Clémentine Autain, then the alliances with La France insoumise at the municipal and regional levels. As revolutionary communists, we deplored that the party defined itself only in the negative (anti-capitalist) and did not openly support the communist emancipatory project. My candidacy was proposed internally at a time when an important part of the organization's management, and Philippe Poutou himself, did not want an application: certain internal elaborations but also certain public declarations implied that he did not There would be no “testimony candidacy”, and we understood that the place was going to be left to Mélenchon or to a hypothetical recomposition of the anti-capitalist left with the institutional left. As a response to the proposal of my candidacy, we were pushed towards the exit by excluding us from meetings and general assemblies, denying all the principles of workers' democracy: tendencies debate and convince themselves of the strategy to adopt! Unfortunately, after more than a decade of NPA crisis and an immense militant haemorrhage (the NPA has gone from 9,000 members to just over 1,000 today), the democratic tradition of the former LCR has been much damaged. The current management considers that all means are good to keep control of the organization, even when they are in the minority at the base.
But Révolution Permanente is above all known as an online medium. There is no confusion, then?
Laura Varlet: Révolution Permanente is the journal of our organization. We wanted to innovate compared to the old black and white leaflet distributed at the factory gate – which we must continue to do! Our ideas are topical. We think about how to reach the great number by new tools: a Trotskyism 2.0! (laughs) Not only on the use of digital tools but on the language, the themes addressed, the visuals and the way of articulating the different fights. All this while keeping our strategic course, that is to say the fight to overthrow this system. We talk about struggles: some of the articles and content that circulate the most are those that denounce the employers' dictatorship inside the factories. So yes, the name of the newspaper is the name of the organization, but the question of the foundation of a new revolutionary organization of our class in France will quickly arise — after 2022. Without a great collective and militant project, we can fight, go on strike, revolt, make TV appearances, our adversaries will win again and again.
Credits: Stéphane Burlot | Ballast
"No, we are not applying for testimony", recently said one of your activists, Gaétan Gracia. However, you repeat it: you do not believe in the electoral way. So what is the strategic meaning of your participation?
Laura Varlet: We are not anti-electoral! We don't think that elections are "idiot traps" and we don't put Le Pen, Macron or Mélenchon in the same basket. Elections are an important moment of politicization for our class. On program issues, workers and youth — whether in universities, factories or neighborhoods — are more attentive to the various political proposals. We have just released the program of Anasse's candidacy and we see a greed for political proposals at election time.
Anasse Kazib: Of course, the presidential election is not a class struggle, but it allows for political experimentation. The other day, a comrade at work asks me if I have the 500 referrals; I give him concrete cases of mayors who fear losing subsidies. In a canton in Normandy, a mayor told me cash: "Here, everyone hates Macron but we all want to sponsor him because next door is Le Havre, and Édouard Philippe can give us extensions to finance projects. “You see Mélenchon struggling for sponsorships when they represent something politically and Hidalgo with 700 sponsorships, when she is rubbish. The basic guy, not politicized, he immediately understands that it's a system of shenanigans! And this comrade ends up saying to me: “I hope that you will have your 500 sponsorships otherwise I will not vote! 90% of the people we talk to are non-voters who only talk about politics. But they tell us about Zemmour, Le Pen, Macron and their rejection of everything they embody. When we talk about a “testimony” candidacy, we mainly mean that we are not there just to represent ourselves, but to carry our voices and bring together a vanguard that has fought intensely for five years. That's why it's essential to have people like Assa Traoré, Youcef Brakni, the strikers from Transdev or Sasha Yaropolskaya from XY Media, a transfeminist media, on the platform of our meetings.
Laura Varlet: For us, the challenge of this campaign is also to convince people of the need to organize politically, even beyond occasional and very valuable support for Anasse's candidacy. . In other words, we call on all those who believe that Anasse should be able to be on the starting line to give us strength, to support us financially — we don't have funding from Bolloré or Bernard Arnault! To help us to make the rounds to obtain the sponsorships, to come to the meetings, to put up posters, etc. But we would also like to convince them that it is necessary to go further, that the revolutionary political project and emancipation that we carry needs the political commitment of the greatest number. “A revolutionary candidacy of workers, young people and working-class neighborhoods” is the meaning we want to give to this candidacy. And that's also why it's not a testimonial application.
You are both trade unionists and you regularly criticize the trade union leaders. But how would these not reflect their bases?
Laura Varlet: First of all, there is a material problem: as permanent workers for decades, sometimes 100%, and benefiting from a salary far higher than that of the average worker, the big union leaders do not live not the same life as rank-and-file workers, and that matters. Then there is the issue of whether or not their policy reflects the will of the grassroots. They often say “There is no button to call the general strike” and, in a way, they are right! But the question must be posed differently: how do we allow the creativity of the masses to unfold most widely? When our class starts to move, when it raises its head, it throws all the plans of the capitalists into the air... But we see that the trade union and political reformist leaderships do not seek to organize the anger at the base, to find the ways of the generalization and extension of conflicts, to build offensive strategies in national mobilizations. In recent years, in 2010, in 2016, the strategies that have been put in place have been strategies of defeat, based on isolated days of action. In 2018, against the railway reform, it was the slow strike: two days of strike, three days of negotiation, two days of strike, three days of negotiation, etc. In short, you give the company the timetable for it to organize itself and break the strike! Conversely, when on December 5, 2019 we had the start of a renewable strike against the pension reform, it was imposed from below, under pressure from RATP agents. In this case, how can we not see that very little has been done on the side of the union leaderships to put all the strategic sectors in order of battle on their side?
Anasse Kazib: Look today: there are wage strikes: Leroy Merlin, Decathlon, Sephora, SNCF. The union leaders do not even show their heads! The role of a union is not to be the thermometer of social unrest! Workers can start the strike alone; the strike belongs to the strikers and the general assemblies must be sovereign. But as a union, you are supposed to support the mobilization, give it the means to win. Not observe what is happening and then ask to be the interlocutor of the bosses or the government to initiate negotiations, but to generalize the strike. We see to what extent it is the opposite that is done. The movement of the yellow vests was exemplary in this respect. The outburst of anger he represented showed the rage of part of our class, from precarious sectors, subcontractors, rural and rather abandoned by the trade union organizations. At the start of the movement, a lot of grassroots trade unionists were with the yellow vests and wanted to fight it out, but, during this time, not only did the union leaders not try to generalize the movement to the companies where they weigh, but they even co-signed a press release condemning the violence… of the demonstrators!
Laura Varlet: We are not anti-union. We militate in unions, we build them and we participate in fronts on mobilizations with precise slogans. But our political current carries the need to systematically fight and denounce the betrayals of union bureaucracies — while preparing for them, developing self-organization as much as possible. It's us who lose money by striking, who take risks, so it's up to us to decide when and how to strike, the strategy to win and the slogans we want to defend . This is the condition for each struggle of our class to allow the workers to really become aware of their strength and to learn to organize themselves against any “passivization”.
Anasse Kazib: An interesting experience is the RATP-SNCF coordination during the strike against the pension reform: believe it or not, it never existed! However, the CGT Cheminots must have the email of the CGT RATP! At the beginning of the movement, when we spoke of "union bureaucracy" and "strike fund", everyone looked at us like aliens. The comrades, especially the youngest who had no experience of other strikes, were convinced that it was over in a week: “How will the power resist a week without metro or RER! The strength of revolutionaries in the trade union movement lies in the experience of past struggles and in dialectical analysis. We are neither geniuses nor soothsayers: the political analysis of what macronism is leads us to the conclusion that it is the mother of reforms! When on December 17, after two weeks of renewable strikes, Philippe Martinez comes out on the steps of the Élysée and calls for a day of mobilization on January 9, don't worry that people connect with what they have been told about the betrayal of the union bureaucracy!
Credits: Stéphane Burlot | Ballast
Laura, you recently supported the Workers' Left Front (FIT-U) in Argentina. It is an alliance between four Trotskyist parties. Why is such a gathering impossible in France? Without even talking about LFI – whose “reformism” you reject – between the NPA, LO and you.
Laura Varlet: In Argentina, it was initially a defensive electoral front due to an increase in the threshold to access the general elections. But that does not detract from its relevance: it is a demonstration of what the far left should do in France. Everyone remains independent and we may have differences on political practices, and even on slogans during mobilizations, but we formulate common perspectives on the political scenario. With the comrades of Permanent Revolution, we are part of the same international organization as the Socialist Workers' Party of Argentina (the main component of FIT-U) and we believe that the far left in France should be inspired by this experience. politics — contrary to those who advocate as an example experiences such as Syriza in Greece, Podemos in the Spanish state or even, more recently, Boric in Chile (who, the same evening, after winning the elections, has already said that it was necessary to limit the aspirations of the masses, to respect the institutional framework and even refused to answer this elementary demand which is the release of all the political prisoners of the revolt of October).
In Argentina, this front is waging a battle against the neocolonial agreement with the IMF — backed by a so-called “leftist” government, in the Kirchnerist tradition — which impoverishes the workers. They succeeded in organizing a major street mobilization on December 11, 2021 to challenge government policy, in an unprecedented united front between dozens of trade union, political, associative and human rights organisations. During the election campaign, they also hammered home the need to reduce working hours without loss of pay, to show the irrationality of the capitalist system: it made it possible to address a whole sector of the working classes. It is the third national political force and they succeeded in having the first garbage collector elected, from the indigenous peoples, in one of the poorest provinces of the country! In France, we have always supported within the NPA the idea of an alliance with Lutte Ouvrière: consider a joint candidacy or even just debate it publicly!
Anasse Kazib: We need a debate from the far left on the political situation and the challenges facing revolutionaries today. We do not take stock of our failures: why during and after the yellow vests movement, did people not join our organizations? It's time to question the famous political strategy of the "broad party" on the left of the Socialist Party: when the NPA was founded in 2009, the Left Front had been emerging for a few months. So people have made their choice! At Révolution Permanente, we are convinced that it is necessary to build a revolutionary organization clearly delimited by reformist strategies, which believe that it would be possible to "change the system from within the institutions". This being said, that does not prevent us from also carrying out a united front policy in the mobilizations: we were at the initiative, with the Adama Committee, of a joint intervention in the movement of yellow vests; we find ourselves in certain fights with militants of La France Insoumise; we invite LFI deputy Éric Coquerel to support our strikes; we are participating in the demonstration against Islamophobia in 2019. It is a policy of alliances from below, within the framework of the struggles, which is essential against the camp opposite! Take the example of the strike at the Grandpuits refinery. How to deal politically with a giant like Total? With the comrades, we thought upstream of an alliance with the ecologists. By contacting Youth for Climate, Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, we made an alliance of petrochemical workers with environmental organizations against a social plan: “End of the world, end of the month, same fight”! As Adrien Cornet, CGT activist at Grandpuits and activist at Révolution Permanente, says, "it's up to the workers to make the ecological transition because it's us who live around the factories". We live next to the factory and we don't want it to explode at night like Lubrizol. We walk with our children and our families in the forests and near the rivers, we have no interest in polluting everything. We must arm ourselves as much as possible, not just say “Hands off our jobs, 700 families on the street”. You have to give yourself thickness and consistency, with the best of the ecological sector. Otherwise, you leave ecology to Jadot, its green capitalism applauded by the MEDEF and its cycle paths!
You openly claim Trotskyism. You even prefaced, Anasse, the reissue of Trotsky's Transition Program at Éditions communard e s. In what way is Trotskyism still, as you say, a “political compass” for the years to come?
Anasse Kazib: Trotskyism is for us the name of revolutionary Marxism after Stalinism. And he is more alive than ever. Because we are in a period of instability, of organic crisis of bipartisanship and social democracy. I often say it: I went from Scrooge Magazine to Marx and Trotsky. Basically, I was very unionist: the union, the strikes and the struggles are the alpha and the omega; politics is shit. When comrades spoke to me about Trotsky, I answered them: “Your Gulag stuff doesn’t interest me! Trotsky was a paragraph in a 3rd grade textbook. I am the living example of what Trotskyism can be today: the fusion between a unionized worker, from immigration and working-class neighborhoods, and revolutionary Marxism. What strikes me is the ability of Trotsky's analyzes to illuminate today's political processes. How are texts written in the 1920s and 30s able, with such precision, to explain to me what I have before my eyes in 2021? I read his texts on the strikes of 1936 for the first time at the time of the El Khomri law, in 2016. At the time, I told myself that the union leaderships in the past were serious, revolutionary. Trotsky said of February 1934: “The masses wanted to fight. […] But this limitation was not brought about by the masses: it was dictated from above. The only instrument used by the leading centers for preparation was the fire hose. The only watchword the masses heard was: Hush! Hush! […] The base wants to fight, the summits slow down. This is the main danger and it can lead to a real disaster. He put words to what I felt: “union bureaucracy”. I was one month away from a renewable strike at the SNCF and the union leaders offered us leapfrog days: Martinez at Nuit Debout pronounces the famous “I don’t have the button for the general strike”. I say to myself “It’s crazy, Trotsky had already understood everything, the management does not want us to win, they want their napkin ring at the Ministry. On December 6, 2018, as I was telling you about earlier, worker unions – except SUD-Solidaires, fortunately – published a letter denouncing the “violence”, including the acts of the yellow vests of December 1, asking to be the privileged interlocutors of the government! Trotsky again: in times of "war", that is to say in times of acute class struggle, the trade union bureaucracy plays a central role for the bourgeoisie because it is co-opted and finds its interest in maintaining the 'order.
Our class does not know Trotsky, nor even Marxism. But to do a lot of TV appearances, I assure you that the bourgeoisie, she knows. His gaze does not deceive. At Les Grandes Gueules, with two million listeners, talking about revolution and the prospect of workers' power is the worst thing for the bourgeoisie. I have never been so hated as when I spoke about Marxist politics - much more than during all the strike actions I have been able to do. Our words come back in the public debate, the new generation no longer takes you for a madman or a fanatic when you speak of "class struggle", "capitalism" or "bourgeoisie". We are the tur-fu! (laughs) Maybe it won't change anything in the short term. But if, in this presidential election, we manage to convince more and more people that there is a system against our interests, that we must confront it and dispossess it of what gives it its power and its wealth and that, for that, we have to organize ourselves politically, we will continue to move forward.
You mentioned “avant-garde”. However, this idea is widely criticized today.
Laura Varlet: The idea of an avant-garde, far from stereotypes, reflects the fact that the consciousness of the masses is not uniform, that there are always individuals who have accumulated more experience , knowledge of past battles. And it's valuable because it means you don't have to start from scratch every time. The vanguard, in this sense, and even more so the party, is the collective memory of our class: learning from the strikes, the defeats, the traps set for us, the betrayals, the repression of the state to formulate a winning strategy. For us, it's not "self-organization or party", it's party and self-organization. For example, in the strike of Onet cleaning workers in SNCF stations, there was so much creativity! No one “told” them how to picket every night. They and they saw that the management and the police came to break the strike at night. The workers are smart enough to find answers to the problems that arise! But we must avoid having to redo the experience from A to Z each time. When the repression fell on them, we had the experience of past struggles: you have to look outwards, to the population to obtain massive support, which they succeeded! We are not defending the idea of a vanguard in the sense of people smarter than the others who will determine and impose the strategy. But revolutionaries play a valuable role: to offer an orientation, lines of thought drawn from the defeats and victories of the past. Unfortunately, the capitalist system does not give the time and the means to each worker to learn from his own history before the great uprisings, and the great mass learns in the heat of the moment. The objective is a fusion between the experience of our class and the most subversive and combative elements in the struggles today, so as not to have to stop at partial conquests, including when we gain achievements, but to develop the mobilization to fight to change everything.
You say “our class”, “the workers”, “the workers”, “the proletarians” or “the toiling masses”. Two points: why is “the people” not your revolutionary subject and how do you deal with the loss of appeal of the workerist lexical field?
Anasse Kazib: If certain terms are no longer used, it is also a political will. The bourgeoisie does not only need our arms to exploit us, it also needs to dominate us in thought. As Marx said, the dominant thought is that of the dominant class. It is well known that many proletarians identify with the middle class and do not recognize themselves as part of a social class that is the working class. A comrade the other day said to me: “I am a petty bourgeois, I earn 1,200 euros a month. " So what ? Do we drop the fight and stop talking about the “working class”? This is the political work we did with the yellow vests. At the start, many told us “Here it is the people, the citizens, the French”, and then, by multiplying the questions (“Those who are not French cannot come? Macron is a citizen, right?”) , we came to the conclusion that they were talking about the exploited, the oppressed, a social category that saw class domination. Our greatest pride and victory in this movement is the song of the yellow vests, which we modestly sang for the first time on November 24 with a procession of railway workers, avenue des Champs-Élysées: "We are here for the honor of the workers and for a better world". In a movement that people accused of being "brown", small bosses, fachos!
Laura Varlet: This difficulty for our class to recognize itself as such is an ideological victory for neoliberalism in the 1980s and 90s: the working class no longer recognizes itself as a class. But I feel that this class identity has renewed strength today. With the pandemic, everyone could see it: the bosses were holed up in their second home and we were pulling trains, selling tickets, driving buses, running hospitals. We are not in a “workerist” logic, we are talking about the working class in all its diversity. Not just white people in overalls on the PSA assembly line. It is also the racialized and feminized working class, workers in supermarkets, logistics, cleaning women, bus drivers, etc. We also articulate LGBTQI+ issues: a spokesperson for our campaign is an immigrant transfeminist activist. It is by aggregating all the diversity of this very heterogeneous working class, but which has, if it is united as a class, an undeniable strike force against those who want to enslave us, that we will be able to achieve this.
There is a whole section of the workforce that is not reflected in these class references: these are the managers. They represent 20.4% of the active population – that is to say a little more than the workers. How to apprehend these employees who, if they are of course privileged, can also live under capitalist pressure? Are they lost to us or should we seek to rally them?
Laura Varlet: This is a complex question. The situations can be very different. For example, at the SNCF, some executives have become such by seniority and thanks to the recognition of their qualification. They continue to be under constant pressure from the hierarchy. Others are in the management team and, if they are formally employees, their position in the chain of command and their salary level allow them to accumulate capital. The CEO of SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, earns 450,000 euros a year: he applies all the reforms desired by the government and has nothing to do with the interests of railway workers or users of the public rail service. So we have nothing in common with him: on the contrary, everything sets us against each other. Anasse Kazib: And there are different relationships with the teams. A cadre can place his commitment at the service of the working class. In 2019, at the Technicentre in Landy, all the team leaders went on strike with the machinists to claim resources. It is something other than the executive who hopes to become the leader of the sector, who sanctions the strikers, demands dismissals, etc.
The police and military question was very present in the historical texts of the socialist and revolutionary movement. Today, almost no one thinks about that anymore. However, in France, there are more than 200,000 soldiers engaged in Defense and around 150,000 police officers. How do we concretely think about the seizure of state power in the face of this firepower – especially since we know that a good part of it is already sympathetic to the far right?
Anasse Kazib: Often, the question of military forces neglects the importance of the political question. The use of the military can always backfire on power, even in a professional police and military. Defections can exist in moments of revolutionary crisis. Many on the left share the analysis that opposite, we will have guys armed to the teeth, satellites, drones and that it will be over in two seconds. There's a whole crushing television imaginary that isn't trivial — think about artificial intelligence controlling everything. The objective is to dominate minds, to create a form of fatality. But let us not forget the primordial place of the working class in all the organs linked to armaments and intelligence. Unfortunately, we maintain the machine in armament manufacturing plants, in technical maintenance, in telecommunications files. Imagine a revolutionary process where engineers and workers from Orange, SFR and Bouygues go on strike by disabling all telecommunications infrastructure. In a revolutionary period where the petty bourgeoisie joins the proletariat, the military force of the adversary can collapse. It is not only a story of military confrontation but of political, ideological confrontations, of control of the means of production. In our strategy of the revolutionary general strike, the means of production are stopped: how do you put imaginary gasoline in your tanks, your armored vehicles, your water cannons?
You regularly denounce “the bourgeois state”. What is your horizon: replace it with a workers' state or abolish the state in favor of another form of collective coordination?
Laura Varlet: The first thing is that there will never be a chemically pure revolution. This is a discussion that we had raised at the time of the yellow vests, in debate with other currents that claim to be part of the revolution: if we have to wait for everything to happen as we would like, for all proletarians to become aware in order to revolution and overthrowing the state, that will never happen! The relevant question concerns our intervention: based on our reading and our revolutionary strategy. We saw insurrectionary scenes on the Champs-Élysées, yellow vests saying “We are going to enter the Élysée! but hadn't thought about what to do next. We Trotskyists often say that the general strike poses the question of power but does not resolve it: the general strike makes it possible to stop everything and to ask the question of who runs society, and who has power over the means of production. . Production is paralyzed and that shows that it is the workers who run society, but that does not in itself prefigure what must be built instead of the capitalist system of domination. For us, the general strike is an opportunity to say that it is up to the workers themselves to decide, to seize the means of production and to decide what to produce, how to produce, respecting the human being and the planet. The transitional state is somehow self-organization at the base with forms of coordination of all the exploited sectors of society: the Soviets in Russia, the industrial cordons in Chile, which were the embryos of this new form of state. None went all the way to the end of a new society freed from all forms of oppression and exploitation, but they all prefigured the form of workers' state that we defend. History teaches us that in the face of revolution, in the face of the popular classes who raise their heads and who are ready to do anything to defend their interests and a better world, the ruling class organizes and retaliates. Carlos Ghosn, Bolloré or Arnault will never admit defeat! In this situation, we cannot just decree the end of all forms of the state, as a tool for the domination of one class over another, as the anarchists propose. The transitional state responds to this situation of confrontation, to the need to organize resistance against the former exploiters who will not allow themselves to be taken so easily – even if, in the end, this transitional state is doomed to disappear.
Laura Varlet: When there are no more social classes at all.
Anasse Kazib: Many Yellow Vests have come to the conclusion that spontaneity and determination without organization is not enough. Trotsky said that the failure of the Spanish revolution in the 1930s was explained almost exclusively by the absence of a revolutionary party. In a revolutionary situation, the party plays the role of a general staff, an organ of political and strategic reflection. Opposite, the bourgeoisie is also divided, but when it is attacked, it responds en bloc: the police, employer, media and judicial repression has been perfectly coordinated. Luc Ferry is not crazy when he publicly calls for live ammunition to be fired at yellow vests: he is simply a bourgeois who is aware of what an insurrectionary situation is. Similarly, the number 2 of MEDEF, Thibault Langsade, wrote a letter to the bosses asking them to play the game and increase wages, because they risked losing much more than they could give today. today if the working class entered the scene with all its strike force. Until mid-December 2018, yellow vests occupied roundabouts, blocked industrial or commercial areas and gas pumps. It was not the chemically pure strike but there was this desire to attack production without any Marxist militant explaining to them! If tomorrow an XXL yellow vest movement is reborn, as we wish, all the best elements of the yellow vests will come with their experience, trying to influence, to set a course so as not to repeat the same mistakes. I love this quote from Rosa Luxemburg: “[T]he final victory can only be achieved by a series of defeats. […] The road to socialism — considering the revolutionary struggles — is paved with defeats. My candidacy today — and all the work we do with the militants of Permanent Revolution in the class struggle, even beyond the moment of the elections — modestly tries to lay the groundwork for building a militant and political force who is preparing for these decisive class clashes which will undoubtedly come. Sooner or later. And for that, we invite you to join us in this adventure!
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