Revolution or War n°14

(Semestrial - February 2020)

PDF - 416.7 kb

HomeVersion imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

Quick Critical Comments on our December 8th Communique and the Class Demands and our Response

While we have received supportive comments and agreement with our orientations puts forwards, we have also received some criticism. They mainly concerned two points: our denunciation of the unions from the 18th and their participation, in fact, during the festive season, in the famous Christmas truce, that is to say, in the government’s policy of rotting in order to exhaust the sectors on strike. It was criticised, in particular by striking railway workers, for undermining the unity of the assemblies, even though ’despite everything, the unions were calling for 9 January’. Very quickly on this point: for us, the unity of the workers is not in the unity of the unions, but in the dynamics of the general assemblies to extend and unify the struggle, here the strike, a dynamic to which the unions, whether ’right’ (CFDT, UNSA) or ’left’ (CGT, FO...) are always opposed and seek to sabotage. The other criticism concerned the attention we paid to the demands in our december 8 communiqué. We publish below an exchange with a comrade.


It would be time to get in touch with Francis Cousin and the maximalist group ’Guerre De Classe’ in order to get out of your reformist ambitions. Retirement at 60 and wage increases are not revolutionary solutions, they are union demands that keep us locked in the capitalist straitjacket. Will retirement at 60 put an end to the exploitation of man by man? No, it will only slightly mitigate its effects. Wage increases to do what? To buy social peace and get the proletarians back to work without flinching? We don’t want to color our chains. To hell with your patches like Engels said!


Regards, ReC.

Our response :

Dear comrade,

We are sorry to answer you so quickly and summarily, as your criticism deserves a more thorough answer, even though this is a historical debate which, in our opinion, has already been settled in the past. You will forgive us for the quickness of this reply and its perhaps polemical tone.

The ’reformist’ isn’t necessarily who you think he is. It is rather the one who reduces or limits any demand to its economic dimension alone without understanding its dimension above all political in any class struggle of the proletariat. Whether he/she seizes it in order to make it the one and only goal, and thus divert the class struggle from its confrontation with the capitalist state, or whether he rejects it as an abstract and ’radical’ principle, even moral, because it could corrupt a pure and ideal struggle (which, in the end, leads just as much to ignoring and deviating from the political confrontation with the entire state apparatus), does not change the common approach of method - both ’erroneous’ - and of incomprehension of the very dynamics of proletarian struggle and class struggle. Economic and political dimensions intersect and are two moments of the process of class struggle .

For ’Marxists’, the struggle over the choice of demands - when it is raised, no absolute - aims at imposing demands in which the greatest number of proletarians, at a given time and place, can recognize themselves and engage in the collective struggle. Economic demands are not an end in themselves, but a moment and a means for the development and unification of the struggle. We accept the criticism of the proposals we are making today - the demands we put forward may not be those that correspond to the needs of the extension and generalization of the struggle. But we maintain that in general there is a struggle to be waged against the demands put forward by the unions and leftists today, this Monday and Tuesday, against the ’simple withdrawal’ of the project. In connection with the current general control of the bourgeoisie, with the unions in the lead, over the development of this struggle, this demand of the unions politically gives the government, the left parties and the unions the upper hand and imposes the bourgeois ground and it must be fought.

Why the discount? Our proposal is debatable and open to debate. The suppression of any discount on pensions, which affects everyone and in fact delays all retirements beyond the legal age (-5% per missing year), not only can gather a maximum of proletarians and help them to engage them in the struggle beyond the corporations and the different pension systems (on which the bourgeoisie wants to lock us to divide) but, moreover, it imposes on capital the ground and the logic of the proletariat which rejects any consideration of ’good management’ or any other economic argument... Now if comrades or workers advance the demand of 55 years for all, we have nothing against it if it becomes a real and concrete objective in which a maximum number of proletarians recognize themselves and take it up in the struggle. We do not have an absolute ’accounting’ on the demands but just a political appreciation according to the moments and places, according to the dynamics of the proletarian struggle. The same applies of course to wage demands even if any progress on this level is immediately questioned by capital. The class struggle for wages is also a moment of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat for... the abolition of the wage-labour. Marx explained it very well himself.

More deeply, we invite you to read (or reread) Mass Strike, Party and Trade-Union of Rosa Luxemburg (among others). And we remind you that February 1917 started with a demonstration of proletarian women for bread, an economic demand, and the insurrection of October 1917 took place, not in the name of such a radical idea as the Revolution, but for the stop of war and for peace - a demand with both political and economic character - that only the insurrection and the dictatorship of the proletariat could ensure.

So, beware of radical postures which, very often, are only the other side of what you call ’reformism’.

Communist Greetings, J. for the IGCL.