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Time to Surpass the "Yellow Vests" Moment (Nuevo Curso)

We publish the statement of Nuevo Curso (Spain) on the present state of the yellow vest struggle in France following the demonstration on Saturday 22 December. Even if we do not necessarily share all the formulations used by the comrades - a certain number would need clarification -, we agree both with the fundamental analysis of the movement itself, the limits of its original inter-classist character; and with its dynamics, which are now in decline after five weeks of mobilization. The fundamental factor explaining this decline is the absence of a relay taken over and ensured by the working class as such and the takeover by the French bourgeoisie and its State of a situation that had surprised it and escaped it at least until the eve of Saturday, December 8. This is the main lesson that the workers’ component of the yellow vests and the entire proletariat in France must learn from this unprecedented mobilization. The other lesson we must all learn, especially revolutionaries, is that the massive confrontations between the classes we have openly entered now will be extremely violent as a result of the massive and brutal repression used by the States, including in countries with a "democratic tradition".

Is it necessary to underline that these lessons are also addressed to the international proletariat; and this is very concretely due to the very echo and ’sympathy’ that the yellow vests have met at the international level? But there is another lesson with which Nuevo Curso concludes its text: the time and urgency are for regrouping, rallies and debates of political and theoretical clarification for revolutionary minorities and the fight for the international proletarian party of tomorrow. In this sense, the position taken by Nuevo Curso, none of whose participants are "French" or living in France, this ability to "interfere in the affairs of other countries", is a concrete manifestation of internationalism. Stating on a foreign, or distant, situation can be difficult because of the lack of concrete elements and the difficulty of grasping the exact dynamics of the daily course of events. But at the same time, it allows us to have a certain distance from the immediate situation and, thus, to have a more broad vision of the general dynamics. This is also how we fight for and prepare the international party of tomorrow.

The IGCL, December 24th 2018.

Time to Surpass the ’Yellow Vests’ Moment (Nuevo Curso)

Macron resignation! Macron resignation! Bourgeois tricolours flags, the Marseillaise and its bloody patriotism. The sixth Saturday of the "yellow vests" offered no solution to the confusion: thousands of yellow vests have demonstrated against the greatest police concentration for decades, without the participation of political groups, nor black blocs... Alone were the last yellow vests expressing and pretending to represent the 70% of the French population that identifies with the frustration that has been channelled by the movement without reaching to come to the promising assertion of universal necessities and that led the government to yield to the demonstrators for the first time in decades. The movement returns to its origins while the public debate focuses on the ground - very comfortable for the French ruling class - of the Référendum d’Initiative Populaire [Referendum of Popular Initiative]. What is the attitude to adopt now?

1. We must not forget that it was the emergence, in the background, of class demands that led the government to give in. Macron yielded to a tendency, not to a mass organization; to a potentiality in its very beginnings, not to the class in constitution yet; he was "defeated" by a ghost, not by a material reality. The aim of the French bourgeoisie was to stop a process in its tracks. The result has been that the movement has effectively lost pressure and massiveness. Though mistrust remains. Rightly. The bourgeoisie does not tell the truth even when it stops lying. And to begin with it is clear that the promise to raise the minimum wage by 100 euros in the minimum wage [SMIC] will not be be fulfilled, at least for a half of the ones who earn it. Distrust, rancour and rage on the basis of advances that we don’t know very well who has achieved. That is where we are now.

2. Having dismantled the class element, if there is no evolution, if there is no emergence of minorities that go further, any ferment for the future struggles... is a great triumph of Macron’s preventive concessions. They reduce the struggle to the familiar and bogged down battlefield of the state and the bourgeoisie with the petty bourgeoisie. Of course it is no bargain for the French bourgeoisie either. With the referendum of citizen initiative, the possible setting up of a "yellow vests" party, the constitutional changes, Macron has conjured up the danger for the bourgeoisie of the rise of a class component in the mobilization... But the result threatens to become a long phase of political stagnation and paralysis in the style of Germany and above all of Spain [1].

3. The danger from the point of view of the workers is to carry the dead fetus of a movement that did not come to be, to lock themselves again in the “citizenship” and under the popular and patriotic flags. This is the novelty in relation to the situation in Spain. The Catalan independent petty bourgeoisie did not succeed to attract the workers behind its flag. Nor did the revival of Spanish nationalism. Nevertheless, the ’yellow vests’ are another thing. For much proletarians, they seem ’ours’ and many who are disorientated associate the "revolution" with the "citizen" and the "people’s" flags, particularly in the places formerly under the stalinists’ control [2].

4. So, we now go from a promise of overcoming to being at the threshold of a new 1830 [3]. That is to say, just now do we see the scope of the defeat of the 1970s and 1980s. It is not in the demobilization and the passivity of twenty years that followed, nor even in the difficulties to find class responses during the ten years of the crisis that we are passing through... but in the weaknesses of the proletarians today, and probably in the future, faced with the highway towards nothing that the desperate petty bourgeoisie offers us generously.

What is to be done?

More than a generation has passed since these proletarian struggles and the result still threatens to stage a proletariat of another time when it was dragging itself behind the democratic petty bourgeoisie... While today, we are in a decrepit capitalism in which the petty bourgeois revolutionarism is the peak of the reactionary. Seventy years of Stalinism and twenty of campaigns on the ’death of the working class’ have distorted and destroyed the proletarian memory. But, unless we have an evolutionary and cumulative conception of the class consciousness, we should not be frightened either. The tasks ahead are many and permanently urgent, but they are not significantly new. And at the level we are now, they are not even too complicated. From France to Iran [4], we are in a moment of regrouping and organizing all those who have gone further to transform us together into a solvent of citizenship and useful ferment for organization into a class.

Were you looking for a purpose for 2019? It is time to overcome the ’yellow vests’ moment. Not everything that is shaken moves forward. It is time to meet new comrades, to discuss with them, to retrieve the basic tools and organize ourselves.

Nuevo Curso, December 23rd 2018



[1. There, the comrades of Nuevo Curso mention the fact that the political apparatus of the different capitalist nations seem to face, each one from national historical conditions and traditions, difficulties to make decisive choices faced with the stakes that they confront with the crisis of capital and its consequences of international, imperialist, economic and social orders. For instance, the end of Merkel’s reign that is lasting, expresses the difficulties and contradictions that the German ruling class suffers to make clear cut choices, in particular in regards to its role and fate at the international level, both European and global; that is as an imperialist power [note of the IGCL].

[2. Nuevo Curso refers here to its article: Even though, formally, the yellow vests don’t particularly come from cities held for decades by the former French Communist Party, it nevertheless remains that ’in Spain, in Portugal and partly in France, a new populist left is consolidating, in great part in the dis-industrialized zones of North-East France and in the Paris and Marseille suburbs, in neighbourhoods traditionally considered as ’subordinated’ to the French Communist Party and in which it is Le Pen who rules now’ (Nuevo Curso) [note of the IGCL].

[3. The comrades of Nuevo Curso refer here to the 1830 revolutionary days in France that saw the advent of the July Monarchy with the king Louis-Philippe, put forwards by mainly the financial bourgeoisie, against the dynasty of the Bourbons and the old aristocracy. The Parisian proletariat, spearhead of the revolution and who claimed the Republic, but submerged in the ’people’ and the petty-bourgeoisie, was used and manipulated to the benefit of the bourgeoisie... [note of the IGCL].

[4. A genuine mass strike took place lately in Iran against both misery and the war. Nuevo Curso and the Internationalist Communist Tendency reported on these struggles and on their political significance for the international proletariat. One can refer in particular to the following web pages: or still in English on the ICT website: [not of the IGCL].