Saturday, June 17, 2017

Record abstention in French elections as Macron secures majority

Lisbeth Latham

  The first round France’s National Assembly elections have been marked by record abstention of 51.29% of the electorate.

The abstentionism primarily impacted on the far-right and left parties. Meanwhile, recently elected President Emmanuel Macron’s The Republic on the March (LREM) and its allies look to secure a strong parliamentary majority in the second round of elections on June 18.

This would strengthen LREM and allies capacity to carry out Macron’s agenda of regressive assaults on students, workers, the unemployed and retirees. LREM’s victory in the first round creates a significant challenge for the French left to build resistance to Macron.

LREM’s allies include the centrist Democratic Movement (MoDem), along with dissident members of the right-wing The Republicans (LR) and the Socialist Party (PS). Combined, these forces received 32.32% of the vote. They are expected to ultimately win between 390-440 out of the 577 seats in the National Assembly.
The second highest result was achieved by the LR and allied right-wing parties, which received 21.57% of the vote. These traditional right-wing parties are expected to win between 70 and 90 seats in the second round.
The far-right Front National placed third with 13.20%, with the FN are expected to increase the number of seats it holds beyond its current two. There is an outside chance it could win enough seats to form a formal parliamentary group (15 seats).
Left results
On the left, Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Unbowed (FI) received 11.02% of the vote, and 65 of its candidates have qualified for the second round.
The vote for the traditional social democratic party, the PS, and its allies fell dramatically from 2012, although it was up from its record low in the presidential elections. They won 9.51% of the vote and are expected to win 20-30 seats. This is down dramatically from the 331 seats they hold in the outgoing parliament, with a large number of former government ministers already eliminated in the second round.
The French Communist Party (PCF), for its part, had been heavily dependent on the Left Front electoral alliance with Melenchon’s Left Party to win its seven seats in 2012. With no alliance between the PCF and FI, it suffered a sharp decline in its electoral fortunes — receiving just 2.72% of the vote. Just 12 PCF candidates qualified for the second round.
LREM’s likely strong majority, along with Macron’s victory in the presidential election, is being presented as a rejection as the mainstream parties of the centre-left and the right, as well as an endorsement of Macron’s “modernising” agenda.
Macron is already flagging a new round of attacks on workers and their unions. These include expanding the areas that a company level agreement can undercut a sectoral agreement — along with his campaign pledge to cut France’s public sector by 140,000 jobs.
No mandate
However, while appearing a strong result, the reality is LREM domination of the vote is primarily a consequence of the decline in the mobilisation of voters of the left and far right.
Candidates backed by Macron received 1.3 million fewer votes than Macron did in the first round of the presidential election. Moreover, LREM vote constitutes a small section of the French electorate.
The New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) pointed out in a statement: “With over 51% abstention, the results of the first round of parliamentary election is that of a sick and increasingly undemocratic Republic. 
“That the Republic on the March should have an absolute majority in the Assembly with the support of 16% of registered voters ... this result shows that this government has no legitimacy to rule by decree, much less to destroy our social gains, the Labour Code, or social Security”.
It is unclear what drove the sharp decline electoral support for the FI and the PCF from the first round of the presidential election. Some of the decline potentially reflects a letdown from Macron’s victory, along with difficulty in transforming Melenchon’s individual electoral appeal to the FI.
Another factor may well have been the failure of the FI and PCF to build a united left electoral campaign for the legislative elections. This division was a consequence of long running tensions between Melenchon and the Left Party on the one hand and the PCF on the other.
These tensions led the majority the PCF’s national conference in November to reject a proposal that the PCF support Melenchon’s presidential campaign. The PCF subsequently endorsed Melenchon only after a narrow membership vote in favour.
Struggle for united left 
There was widespread support for a united legislative campaign, but there was no agreement over the basis for such an alliance.
The PCF sought an alliance based on non-aggression and the ability the parties to present their own programs under their own banner. The FI, on the other hand, made the basis of unity having all candidates accepting its program, under its banner and with all public funding based on votes going to the FI.
The impact of this division was felt in a range of ways. It led to a number of the PCF candidates standing solely as FI candidates. It also led to a level of alienation of the bases of the different groups over the blame game for divisions.
The only PCF candidates who did not compete against an FI candidate in their constituency were those PCF members of parliament who endorsed Melenchon’s campaign. These were among some of the better performing PCF candidates (some receiving more than 30% of the vote in their constituencies).
However, this may also have been a consequence of them standing in seats where the PCF has continued to maintain strong links with the working class.
It is unclear exactly how much of an impact the standing of multiple left candidates in individual constituencies had on the left vote. But it is clear that the divided situation resulted in less left candidates qualifying for the second round of the elections. This weakens the ability of the left to blunt the size of the LREM’s parliamentary majority.
The FI and PCF leaderships have both made clear the pressing need for the left to unite to support the remaining left candidates. There are 80 left candidates who made it through to the second round (including PS candidates who have consistently opposed anti-worker changes to the Labour Code). There are 42 seen as being in a strong position to win a seat.
However, this number could rise if the left is able to mobilise a greater section of its base in the second round. PCF national secretary Pierre Laurent was reported in l'Humanite on June 13 as saying: “The mobilisation of leftist voters is necessary because it is thanks to the huge abstention that the Republic on the Move could get an absolute majority.”
The street
As important as the June 18 second round vote will be in establishing a parliamentary opposition to Macron, the reality will be that the main struggle against attacks on social gains in France will occur in the street.
The Front Social, established in April and including more than 100 unions and other activist groups, has called national mobilisations against Macron for June 19. Unions in Paris have also called protests for June 27, the day that newly elected MPs will take their seats, as part of their campaign against the attacks on France’s labour laws.
These mobilisations will be important steps in the building of a movement against Macron.
[This article originally appeared in Green Left Weekly #1141]


Sunday, June 11, 2017

France: France Insoumise, the PCF and the challenge of building a left fight-back against Macron

Lisbeth Latham
The strong performance of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of the French presidential election (19.58%), the highest vote by candidate to the left of social democracy since 1969, gave rise to hope for the potential for the French left to rebuild its presence in the French parliament and establish itself as a barrier to Macron establishing a parliamentary majority. A factor that could contribute to fully realising this opportunity would be the extent to which a united-left electoral campaign could be built– particularly between the parties which made up the Front de Gauche (Left Front - FG).

Jean-Luc Mélenchon addresses a France Insoumise rally
However, rather than unity the dynamics of division that have been in play for more than two years have largely deepened and could potentially result in the left returning fewer members to parliament than in 2012.

Mélenchon’s presidential campaign was primarily driven by France Insoumise (Indomitable France – FI), the mass organisation which Mélenchon launched on February 10, 2016 with the support of Parti de Gauche (Left Party – PG), the party he launched following his resignation from the PS in 2009. When FI was launched, Mélenchon also announced the dissolution of the Front de Gauche – the electoral front which had been launched between the PG, the Parti Communiste Français (French Communist Party – PCF) and a number of smaller left parties. FI has primarily organised via the web, with supporters being organised into committees of between 5-12 people, By May 1, FI had more than 450, 000 supporters, in March, when the organisation had over 260, 000 supporters, there were 2, 800 committees across.

Pierre Laurent
In addition to the support from FI, Mélenchon’s presidential campaign was supported by the PCF and Ensemble (a regroupment of smaller left groups within the FG). However, while the launch of FI and Mélenchon’s presidential campaign was supported by some of PCF’s leadership, particularly Pierre Laurent, PCF National Secretary, and Marie-George Buffet, current MP and former PCF National Secretary, many PCF members were hostile to both the creation of FI and to Melenchon’s presidential campaign. Fifty-five percent of the PCF’s National Conference on November 5, rejected a proposal to support Melenchon’s presidential bid. Three weeks later, 54% of the party’s 50, 000 paid membership voted to support Mélenchon’s candidacy. This support was vital, as in order to be formally nominated for president, he required the endorsement from 500 elected officials – which the PCF’s formal support gave him. There was also significant resistance within Ensemble where 30% of members voting against supporting Mélenchon’s candidature.

Mélenchon’s success in the presidential elections while being a culmination of a growth of in hope around his campaign – also raised the hope that if the vote could be translated through to the legislative elections there would be a possibility that the left of the PS could not only significantly boost its presence in parliament, but have a big enough contingent to be able to block Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche! (the Republic on the Move – LREM) holding a majority in the parliament. This need was reinforced after Macron announced his government with former right-wing Les Repulicains MP Édouard Philippe as his prime minister. Macron announced plans for a new round of attacks on workers to follow on from last year’s El Khomri labour laws which significantly undermined worker and union rights.

Despite this hope and need for a united left electoral response, it has not materialised. While in the wake of the Macron’s victory in the second round both the PCF and Ensemble! issued statements calling for a united left electoral ticket. FI insisted the basis for unity was for candidates run under FI’s banner, be based on acceptance of FI’s program, and that all public funding generated based on votes for FI candidates would go to FI. Positions which the PCF was unwilling to accept, based on their desire run under a common banner but also allow individual parties to be profiled and the PCF’s unwillingness to campaign for the withdrawal from nuclear power generation. On May 9, Manuel Bompard an FI spokesperson announced that negotiations had broken down, he blamed the PCF’s Laurent for this. As a consequence, the FI would be running its own candidates in every constituency including constituencies where the PCF, Ensemble!, or Europe Ecology les Vertes (Europe Ecology - The Greens) have sitting MPs (unless the sitting MP had endorsed Mélenchon’s presidential campaign).

The failure to form a united ticket reflects long-running tensions within the FG which culminated in the 2015 regional elections where the FG was heavily divided and received tiny votes. From the outset there were tensions within the Front about both the character of the front, was it an alliance between organisations or should individual activists be able to join and have a say, and around democracy, with the PCF, particularly in areas where it was the largest organisation, imposing its candidates, there had also been tensions as to who could say they were front candidate – which was a problem in municipal and regional elections where tickets are run and at times member organisations were represented on different tickets – with the sharpest question being could a ticket involving official PS candidates be labelled a FG ticket? With the PCF (which was more likely to be in such an alliance pushing for the ability for it to wave the FG flag in these circumstances).

These tensions culminated in a meeting of the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (EUG/NGL) in 2014 where PG sort to block Pierre Laurent’s election to the presidency of the EUL/NGL over the question of the PCF’s running joint tickets with the PS, although Laurent was subsequently elected. In the 2015 regional elections (which were marked by a sharp increase in support for the Front National) the FG ran only a seven of tickets involving all of the FG– with the rest being a variety of separate tickets with the PCF and thePG running on different tickets. The joint tickets performed badly, with the only ticket in Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées receiving sufficient votes to contest the second round – all the remaining tickets averaging 2.49%. In the wake of this failure, the Front essentially stopped operating as a joint organisation and Mélenchon announcing the PG would be leaving the Front.

The rupture between the PCF and FI has created considerable concern that it will dramatically undermine the ability to of the left to maximise its parliamentary representation and build an effective block to work with social movements to oppose Macron’s regressive agenda for France. On May 10, Ensemble! issued a statement saying that it was not the time to settle scores or for mutual accusations, but instead to build a framework for bringing together the forces which had supported Mélenchon’s candidacy, based on a proposal of a common charter for candidates for the legislative elections that Ensemble! had made to the PCF and FI – Ensemble! had also called for regional and departmental meetings of the organisations to try and overcome the “national bottleneck”. While these proposals if adopted might create clarity for the basis of joint candidates, it doesn’t overcome the sticking point of who would be the candidate in each constituency – particularly when the PCF is faced with a fight for its electoral survival, and there is a view that Mélenchon’s approach to the PCF is partly motivated by desire to further marginalise the PCF.

It is unclear what the impact of the electoral division will have on the elections. The shared polling for the FI/PCF has been in decline since early May from a high of 18% to a low of 14.5% with projected returned candidates down from a projected high of 25-30 to a low of 12-22 (the FG components currently hold 10 seats). The splitting of the vote is likely to result in less candidates making it through to the second round (unlike the presidential elections where only the top two candidates go through to the second round, in the legislative elections if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote then all candidates receiving more than 12% of the vote qualify for the second round) other than lowering confidence of the left electorate, having two or more left candidates (both the Nouveau Parti Anticapitlisate and Lutte Ouvrier will also be standing candidates) in a constituency may not undermine the capacity for the left to win seats. The bigger threats are the potential rebound in the PS vote from the historic low of 6.38% which Hamon received in April – while the left division could contribute to this – the PS performs is likely to be better at the local level particularly from the PS’s left who opposed the regressive record of the Hollande and the governments of Aryault and Valls. An additional factor is that Hamon’s vote also collapsed as Mélenchon’s campaign built momentum and it looked more likely he could overtake Francois Fillon and possibly Le Pen – this dynamic is much less likely to occur in the legislative elections, at least at the national level. By far the biggest threat to the return of left candidates, however, will be the threat of abstentionism as people see a victory for Macron’s LREM and the forces to its right as inevitable.

The reality is that no matter the result for the parties of the left – they will not be able to block Macron’s agenda by their actions in parliament alone – even if LREM does not achieve an electoral majority outright, it will be in a position to try and stick together sufficient support from the PS and Les Repulicains to pass legislation. The only force which will be able to stop that process will be the resistance in the streets. To this end, there has been a positive boost to the resistance with the formation of the Social Front. Initiated by union activists who had been involved in the campaign against the El Khomri laws and who had been frustrated by the decision by union leaderships to end mobilisations against those laws on September 15, 2016. The FS called for mobilisations against both Le Pen and Macron on April 22, May 1, and May 8 – it has now expanded its support to from 70 militant organisations. The FS has also called for a national meeting on June 10, along with local organising meetings after that date, and a mass mobilisation for June 19. The significance of the emergence of the FS is that in the last decade resistance to government attacks, particularly on workers, has primarily occurred via the intersydicale which brings together the leaderships of France’s union confederations – however if some of these confederations refuse to participate such as the Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail (French Democratic Confederation of Labour) and the Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens (French Confederation of Christian Workers) in the campaign against the El Khomri laws in 2016, then there is a very limited framework for engaging rank-and-file members of these confederations who want to fight government attacks. The formation of the FS may provide a framework to reach out to broader layers of workers and build resistance despite the direction of the more conservative confederation leaderships.

While there are serious challenges for progressive forces in France – made more difficult by the organisational divisions within the left, both the legislative elections and the formation of the FS pose a positive opportunity to build resistance to the attacks which Macron is preparing on French society. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 


Friday, May 12, 2017

France: Le Pen loses, but struggle against Macron brings new challenges

Lisbeth Latham

Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the French presidential elections on May 7, receiving 58.21% of the vote compared to the 30.01% share for far-right National Front (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen.

Despite the apparently decisive victory, the vote signals continued political uncertainty in France fuelled by widespread disillusionment with France’s democracy. It raises questions as to whether Macron’s supporters, organised in a new centrist movement called En Marche!, will be able to form a working government out of legislative elections scheduled for mid-June.
Despite Macron winning the first round, there were doubts over whether sufficient numbers of voters who had supported other candidates would shift their vote to Macron in the second round. The desire to deal the FN a defeat was strong, but many were put off by the hard neoliberal platform of Macron, the personification of an establishment technocrat.
AbstentionMacron’s total vote ultimately more than doubled his first round vote, but in the context of the lowest turnout in a presidential vote since the 1969 presidential elections, which occurred in the aftermath of repression of the mass mobilisations of May-June 1968.
More than 25% of voters abstained from the contest between the far-right and centrist candidate. There were also 11.47% blank ballots cast.
The abstention and blank ballots reflect the extent to which voters were alienated not just from the racist pro-capitalist politics of Le Pen, but also Macron’s promise to continue and deepen the neoliberal attacks on French society carried out by successive governments.
Some of Macron’s policies include budget cuts totalling €60 billion; lowering corporate tax from 33.3% to 25%; creating a 5000-strong EU border force; adding 10,000 extra police; and expanding jails to house a further 15,000 prisoners.
National FrontLe Pen was always seen as unlikely to win the second round — the only real chance for her to win was huge abstentionism. Her objective in the second round was always to further build the position of the FN for the legislative elections as well as the 2022 presidential elections.
Le Pen’s final vote of 10.5 million (a 38.62% increase over the first round) was significant. But it was widely greeted with relief that the vote was not as high as some feared, with polls up until May 3 suggesting that the FN vote could be more than 41%.
Le Pen's weaker performance was partly a consequence of the release of further allegations from the European parliament in which she is implicated in a fake jobs scandal. Le Pen’s performance in the second round debate was also widely panned.
The rise of the FN and Le Pen poses a serious threat, but their forward march is not inevitable. They face significant challenges.
One of these is that, despite Le Pen’s efforts to detoxify the FN’s image, its overt racism continues to alienate significant sections of the French working class — particularly Muslim and migrant communities. This reality was reflected in Le Pen’s cynical move immediately after the first round on April 23 to stand down as FN president so she could be “the candidate for all of France”.
However, her efforts were undermined by her replacement Jean-Francois Jalkh, a long-term party member who had joined as a 17-year-old in 1974. He had to resign just days later for previous statements minimising the Holocaust.
The FN also faces significant internal division over the way forward. Le Pen wants to continue moving the party into the mainstream of French right-wing politics and challenge the centre-right Republicans as the main party of the right.
The most unreconstructed reactionary wing of the party continues to resist this push. It is seeking to use Le Pen’s poorer than expected showing to attack this project.
Marine's father and party founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who Marine had expelled from the party in 2015, publicly attacked his daughter on the eve of the second round. He said she was unfit to be president.
Left debatesHow to respond to such a second-round contest was a source of debate within the French left. A particular focus was the extent to which the danger posed by Le Pen made it incumbent on the left to support Macron’s candidacy.
Of particular interest in this regard was the stance taken by Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Insoumise (France Unbowed, FI). Melenchon’s campaign posed a radical, left-wing pole in the first round of campaigning, mobilising tens of thousands and securing just under 20% of the vote.
The FI called for not one single vote for Le Pen. However, it put the other options to a membership vote: calling for a vote for Macron; abstaining or casting a blank ballot. More than 36% of FI members backed the organisation calling for blank ballots to be cast.
The French Communist Party (PCF), which campaigned for Melenchon in the first round, called for a vote for Macron, as did and the French Confederation of Democratic Workers (CFDT), France's second-largest union confederation.
PCF national secretary Pierre Laurent called for “beating Marine Le Pen on May 8 and to build legislative victories to defeat both Emmanuel Macron and the extreme right”.
The General Confederation of Labour (CGT), France’s largest union confederation, called for a “vote to block the extreme right”, but refused to publicly call for a vote for Macron.
The CGT said Le Pen posed “a danger to democracy, social cohesion and the world of work”, but that “the governments, which since 2002 have followed one another without ever meeting the legitimate aspirations for greater social justice, failing to create opportunities for a better future, bear a heavy responsibility [for the growth of the FN].”
The New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) went further, arguing against a call for a vote for Macron. It said: “Macron is not a bulwark against the FN; to impose a lasting retreat [on the FN] there is no alternative but to take the streets against the far right and against all those who, like Macron, impose or try to impose anti-social measures.”
New challengesWith Macron’s victory, the focus for the left will shift to a struggle on the streets against Macron’s looming assault and on efforts to build a legislative opposition. The CGT called for mobilisations against Macron for May 8, which drew thousands of protestors.
In its call for mobilisations, the CGT said the FN vote was too high and “reflected the level of social despair unleashed by liberal policies a consequence of the refusal of successive governments to fight for social justice.
“Fighting the FN requires a break with liberal policies. It is the perspective of the CGT to work, through social mobilisations, to impose alternative choices, act for social justice and win a world of peace.”
The legislative elections could pose an opportunity for those to the left of the now severely weakened Socialist Party (PS) to achieve a greater parliamentary voice than the 10 MPs that the Left Front (an alliance including the PCF and Melenchon’s Left Party) achieved in the 2012 elections.
The traditional party of French social democracy, the PS candidate won just over 6% in the first round of the presidential elections, leaving a large space on the left.
The position of the left heading to the poll is relatively weak - the combined vote for the left in the presidential elections, including the PS, was just under 10 million. However, parties to the left of the PS won about 7.7 million.
If this was maintained in the legislative elections, it would likely result in a significant expansion in the number of seats won.
However, the bulk of Melenchon’s increased vote in the presidential contest came from PS voters shifting to Melenchon as support for the PS’s Benoit Hamon collapsed. This is unlikely to be replicated.
An added complication is that, at present, there is no agreement between the parties that supported Melenchon’s presidential candidacy on a united campaign in the legislative elections. There is a chance that the FI and the PCF will run candidates against each other, including in constituencies currently held by the PCF.
If this occurred, it could risk a reduction in the number of seats held by the left. In the face of this danger, Ensemble (a far-left regroupment within the Left Front) has called for building a united force of the “defiant left” that breaks with neoliberalism to contest the legislative elections.
“The next legislative elections will be decisive in mobilising the hope raised by Jean-Luc Melenchon’s success in the first round of the French Presidential election,” it said in a statement.
“We need to elect genuine left representatives who will fight Macron’s policies and build an alternative. We have everything to play for.
“Macron must be prevented from obtaining a majority of deputies, drawn from the traditional parties of the right and the French Socialist Party, which will continue and worsen the policies of Francois Hollande’s last five years in power.
“For this reason, it is essential that the progressive forces who supported Jean-Luc Melenchon’s candidacy stand in constituencies across the country and build on the success of the first round. It is necessary to unite left and environmental activists in choosing candidates and break from the social liberals.
“This will give sufficient force to opposing the policies of Macron and challenge both the extreme right and other conservative forces.”
[This article originally appeared in Green Left Weekly #1137You can read a series of translated statements from the French left on the presidential elections at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal ] 


Friday, May 5, 2017

Neoliberalism and the struggle for social solidarity

Lisbeth Latham Today’s crisis of the established political parties and the rise of far-right political projects are linked to the long-running capitalist crisis in which neoliberalism is immiserating the working class and small producers.

Neoliberalism has become dominant, not just within the centre-right but also the former parties of social democracy. This dominance, and the desire to break out of it, has led some to argue that the populist right-wing represent a break from neoliberal doctrine. This is far from the truth.

US President Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage represent an effort by capital to shift popular anger at the impact of neoliberalism on to the most marginalised sections of the community, in particular migrants and refugees. In the colonial settler states, this anger is also directed at indigenous people.
These right-wing populist forces generally support neoliberal policies because they support capital at the expense of the already marginalised and oppressed.

The problem

The problem of neoliberalism has recently become a talking point after ACTU secretary Sally McManus said at theNational Press Club on March 29 that “neoliberalism had run its course”.
This was followed by former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating who said he had supported neoliberalism because it had delivered wages growth, but that it had now “reached a dead end”.
Guardian Australia columnist Van Badham suggested that Labor, having previously helped promote neoliberalism, could now play a progressive role in leading the centre-left away from it.
While McManus’s comments are welcome, her criticisms of neoliberalism were primarily focused on the negative impact of privatisation. Although privatisation is a damaging component of neoliberal policy, it is only a part of it.
Keating’s support for neoliberalism exaggerated the supposed wage gains for workers in Australia and ignored its impact across the world, particularly in countries such as Indonesia and Chile. There, its application involved the murder of tens of thousands of people and, in the case of Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of people.
In Australia, neoliberalism has delivered casualisation and underemployment. The average earnings for all employees rose just 2.4% in real terms during the life of the Hawke-Keating governments.
It is important to understand what neoliberalism is because simply labelling things we don not like about capitalist society as “neoliberal” reinforces some of the mechanisms that neoliberal ideologues use to strengthen the domination of their ideas.

What is neoliberalism?

Defining neoliberalism in terms of a single aspect, such as “austerity” is inaccurate. Neoliberal advocates have no problem with government spending if it helps sustain capitalist profits or class power: indeed neoliberalism has been described, to borrow from Charles Abrams, “socialism for the rich and austerity for the poor”.
Marxist geographer David Harvey argues that neoliberalism is a political project aimed at the restoration of capitalist class power.
There are many examples of how neoliberalism does this. It reduces barriers to capital investment by making and removing barriers to capital investment and shattering trade barriers. It increases barriers to the free movement of people, specifically workers and marginalised, which results in fewer rights for migrant workers.
It pries open more aspects of social life for capital investment via formal or informal privatisation (such as public/private partnerships). It opens up government services to capitalist competition, often supplemented through voucher systems which enables the state to provide subsidies to capital but which also lays the ground for the total deregulation of these services.
It allows the commodification of a wider range of things (or services); a good example of this is the so-called “sharing economy”.
Weakening the strength and power of organised labour — through the deregulation of the labour market — is central to the neoliberal project. Also essential is the outsourcing of public services to private companies, opening the outsourced service to profit making and undermining collective bargaining.
Shifting the cost of the reproduction of labour further onto the working class, including through increasing taxes on workers and cuts to taxes on capital is also critical.
An example of this is superannuation, which was originally funded via smaller wage increases during the Bob Hawke Labor government in the 1980s, and has allowed for the age pension to be narrowed. It has led to Australia having one of the highest rates of poverty among retirees in the OECD.
Reducing spending on social services, either by total elimination of services or means testing services, is another key aspect of the neoliberalism.

Why did neoliberalism become so dominant?

Neoliberalism emerged as a current in the late 1930s, in response to the growth of social democratic and communist parties and to capitalist governments’ increasing acceptance of Keynsian economic policies.
In 1947, a small group of right-wing intellectuals formed the Mont Pelerin Society. This group began establishing similar think tanks at a domestic level to build what Philip Mirowski has described as a neoliberal thought collective, seeking to build networks of intellectuals, politicians and capitalists who promoted neoliberal doctrine and sought to undermine alternative approaches.
This network was able to take advantage of the social, economic and political crises that emerged. Indonesian and Chilean economists, trained in the University of Chicago’s School of Economics, were able to position themselves in Suharto’s New Order Regime and the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship to drive the neoliberal policy experiments in both countries.
These experiments were described as “economic miracles” internationally — miracles that ignored the repression deployed to implement the policies and also the problems caused by neoliberalism.
The economic crisis that swept the advanced capitalist countries in the 1970s allowed these conservative theorists to push neoliberal doctrines as the only solution to the problems facing advanced capitalist economies. Importantly, and this reflects the power of neoliberalism, there has been considerable success in transforming neoliberal assertions into common sense truths.
Examples of this include the notion that privately-run companies are more efficient and effective in providing services.
This defies not only our actual experience of privatised public services costing more but also basic logic. How can a for-profit company provide a service cheaper than a public service which does not have to make a profit, unless the quality of the service drops and workers are paid less?
Another major ruse is that “the market” is more efficient and should not be interfered with. This ignores the reality that neoliberals regularly promote interference in the market, such as interfering in the ability of workers to organise and the gagging of scientists from using their research to promote policies that run counter to the neoliberal agenda.
Part of this success comes from framing neoliberal policies as the only option. As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, there is no alternative. It is done by creating national and international laws that enable governments and companies to deflect public opposition to their agenda by threatening legal action as in many multilateral and bilateral trade deals.
Neoliberal ideologues are adept at undermining social and political movements opposing neoliberalism. It is not unusual to see articles that, on the one hand, deny the impact of racism or sexism and then accuse communities of colour of racism and women of sexism. This is not simply a misunderstanding of the movement: it is a deliberate strategy of division and destabilisation.
Neoliberal ideologues also do their best to destroy social solidarity: they reject the notion that people have common interests and should stand together. Thatcher’s infamous remark — “There is no such thing as society” — helped justify enormous cuts to social services.
The real threat in this idea, however, is not that the conservatives are inhumane and indifferent to the murderous impact of their policies, but that the working class begins to believe that social solidarity is a thing of the past. We see this with the way means testing for social services undermines support for those services among those who are excluded from those services.
This assault on our ability to unite in struggle for our collective interests is the most devastating and despicable aspect of neoliberalism.
It is essential therefore to support those organising against every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects. Only by adopting this approach can we begin to counter the assault on social solidarity, which has the most devastating impact on our class.

[This article was originally published in Green Left Weekly #1136]


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

France: The Force of People - The Program of Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Below is a translation of the Jean-Luc Mélenchon's election program for 2017 French presidential here).
elections (the original in French is available

Our collective intelligence can overcome all difficulties if we all put ourselves in the service of the common good.

The motto of our Republic, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity "sets a course for us.

We must assume our responsibilities not only for ourselves but also for universal humanity.

I am prepared for it. You are ready, I know.


The presidential monarchy is out of breath. It must be abolished. We want to put an end to the 5th Republic. The oligarchy and the caste in power do not represent the people.

For this, we propose to the French to write a new Constitution, that of the 6th Republic.

The sovereign people must redefine our democratic rules and define new social, ecological and emancipatory rights.


  • Convocation of a Constituent Assembly by referendum (Article 11 of the current Constitution)
  • Transparency throughout the writing of the new Constitution
  • Final referendum for approval by the French people

  • Allow all citizens to participate (paid professional leave during construction)
  • No parliamentary member of the 5th republic
  • Equal numbers of women and men
  • Proportional participation nationally, with participants drawn by lot
This will open a new era: the president-elect, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, will resign to allow the new rules of life to take effect, the newly acquired rights apply immediately.


Reviving the economy will not be enough to create jobs, we must break the financial dominion and limit the power of shareholders. The contract of employment alone does not guarantee the rights of workers and employees, it is the Law that protects. It is time to bring citizenship back into the business.


  • End Stock market dismissals
  • Prohibiting the payment of dividends to companies that dismiss in case of economic difficulties
  • Granting works councils a suspensive right of veto on redundancy plans
  • A right of first refusal to employees to form a cooperative in case of closure or sale of their company
  • Establish the ability of employees to take a vote of no confidence against company directors or projects with an obligation on a company to examine the counter-proposals submitted by the trade unions
  • Ensure the continuity of personal rights outside the employment contract (right to training, seniority, etc.)
  • Guaranteeing income in the event of loss of employment or withdrawal of activity, within the framework of occupational social security
An economic policy that creates jobs, useful ecologically and socially, new rights for employees and their representatives in companies.


The public justice system can no longer properly carry out its mission. The courts are wasting away, human and financial resources are lacking, litigants and legal professionals are entitled to demand an unprecedented effort.

  • Recruitment of staff to relieve congestion in courts and shorten deadlines
  • Renovation of prison premises and construction of courts
  • Increase in the number of prison officers to ensure dignity in prison
  • Putting to an end the reliance on prison sentences with alternative penalties
  • Guaranteeing the judicial protection of young people by giving priority to prevention and by using educational sanctions
  • Disestablish the Court of Justice to enable ministers to face ordinary justice
  • Guarantee judicial independence
  • Disencumbering police action by legalising cannabis and controlling the production and sale by the state
  • Repeal ineffective security laws and strengthen prevention policies
  • A judicial policy equal to the ambitions of equality of all before the law and which rejects the "double standards"

We need a police force of the Republic guaranteeing internal security and safety. Human and financial means must be provided to protect individual and collective freedoms. Prevention, deterrence, sanction: the fight for security will not be effective without resting on these three requirements.

  • An end to the aberrant policy of setting arrest numbers
  • Rehabilitate the local police by reorganising the municipal police forces and dismantling the Brigade anti-criminalité[1]
  • Give priority to the dismantling of trafficking (drugs, arms, human beings, corruption, terrorism)
  • Plan for the recruitment of gendarmes, police officers (2007 numbers), administrative, technical and scientific staff
  • Renovating police stations and improving public relations
  • End the state of emergency: exceptional powers do not protect better than the rule of law
  • Strengthen territorial intelligence by developing human resources
  • Fight the communitarian logic that seeks to divide us. Fighting against recruitment in prison
A justice policy commensurate with the ambitions of equality of all before the law and which rejects the "double standards"


Instead of fighting finance, Hollande and Valls helped it pillage the real economy. Revenue from shares in France is the highest in Europe. Financial bubbles threaten our jobs. We must protect the real economy from finance!

  • Separation of speculating merchant banks and retail banks that help investors in the real economy
  • Control capital movements to defeat tax evasion and avoidance and prevent attacks by speculators

  • An effective tax on financial transactions
  • Maximum wage ratio between the top and bottom earners within a single company 1 to 20
  • Supervision of the exorbitant revenues of the largest shareholders
  • Right of pre-emption for employees in the event of sale of their business
  • Reduction in bank charges
  • Compel Société Générale to repay 2.2 billion euros to the State following the recognition of its responsibility in the case known as Jérôme Kerviel[2]
  • Pursuing financial criminals
A policy of "definancialisation" of the real economy and fight against stock market speculation.


10% unemployment! 6 million unemployed workers. The fear of unemployment is an effective muzzle to prevent workers from claiming their rights and wage increases. It is not the "war to the unemployed" that must be carried out, it is to revive the activity and create jobs. Solidarity protectionism is at the service of the general interest against multinationals and financial globalisation. The great movements of the world must stop!

  • Creating 3.5 million jobs through reduced working time, energy transition, peasant agriculture, marine economy, civil service and youth contracts
  • Invest 100 billion euros to boost activity in major projects of national interest
  • Increase the net monthly wage to €1,326 and upgrade the frozen salaries of officials
  • Rejection of the international free trade agreements: TAFTA with the United States, CETA with Canada and TISA’s liberalisation of services
  • Mileage and Carbon Tax on Imports
  • Emergency protectionist measures to save strategic industries (steel, photovoltaic, ...)
  • Prohibition of child labour and trade retaliation against tax havens
  • Prohibition of stock market dismissals and the payment of dividends in enterprises using economic redundancies
A policy of creating new jobs, which protects workers by promoting production in France.


With the governments of Fillon/Sarkozy and Hollande/Valls, the retirement age has risen to 66 years with 43 years of contributions for a full pension! After years of work, "seniors" find themselves unemployed while waiting for a discounted and minimal pension. It's insane!

  • 60-year full-rate retirement with a contribution period for a full retirement following of 40 years.
  • Retirement pensions at the level of the average wage level for a full career and the minimum old age at 1000 € (200 € more)
  • To make the solidarity regime between generations sustainable by rejecting European policies in favour of funding retirement
  • Establish a solidarity tax on the financial revenues of enterprises
  • Expand the basis for contributions to the pension scheme by allowing self-employed persons, craftsmen, traders, small and medium-sized businesses to contribute to the general scheme
A retirement policy that guarantees the right to retire at age 60 and the augmentation of small pensions.


Equality between women and men is an important social issue! Even today, with equivalent positions and qualifications, women are paid less than men. The part-time constraints affect 80% of women. Maternity remains a "risk" for many women's careers. Consequence: many women in precarious situations, even poverty, and families in distress.

  • Generalisation of enterprise agreements against wage and career inequalities between women and men
  • Financial and criminal penalties against companies that do not respect this equality (including up to a ban on access to public contracts)
  • Parity between women and men in representative institutions (political, Administrative, etc.)
  • Parental leave of equal duration for parents
  • Strengthen family planning in its mission of training and education, for contraception and a right to abortion
  • Limiting the use of staggered shift schedules
  • Fighting Violence Against Women
A policy of equality between women and men and emancipation through the protection of the human rights of women.


30,000 children are homeless in our country. Nearly one million people are without personal housing, 4 million are badly housed, 12 million have rental problems or live in dirty or unhealthy housing. All have a right to a dignified life.

  • Prohibition of evictions without a relocation solution
  • Target of Zero Homeless: Everyone must be offered accommodation or emergency housing
  • Construction of one million public housing units to ecological standards
  • Ecological renovation plan to isolate 3.5 million dwellings and eradicate unhealthy homes
  • Establishment of a one-stop shop for the ecological renovation of the home of individual owners
  • Universal guarantee of rents to promote access to housing for all
  • Assist participatory and cooperative habitat initiatives (projects between several tenants and owners)
  • Progressive tax on transactions in excess of €1 million for private dwellings
A housing policy that guarantees a roof to the most vulnerable and gives new rights to tenants and owners.


Sharing of wealth is also achieved through taxation. Our country is rich. But the money is taken by some, instead of being made available through taxation to be put in the service of the general interest. It must be re-founded on a clear and redistributive basis. Everyone already pays unjust taxes like the value-added tax (VAT) or the contribution sociale généralisée (CSG)[3]. With the tax revolution, everyone will contribute according to their real means.

  • Make income tax more progressive with a 14-slice scale instead of 5 today
  • Impose on income from capital as well as labour through a broad and unified tax base
  • Remove tax niches considered unfair, socially inefficient or environmentally harmful
  • Surcharge on income above € 400,000 per year (€ 33,000 per month)
  • Reducing VAT on basic necessities, cancelling recent increases and reinstating a "luxury VAT" to finance these decreases
  • Reinforcing the solidarity tax on wealth for assets over one million euros
  • Increase inheritance rights on large estates (no tax on inheritances of below 130 000 euros per child)
  • Create a maximum inheritance for fortunes above 30 million euros (the richest 0.01%)
This tax policy will lower taxes for people who earn less than 4000 euros per month and will reduce inequalities by redistributing wealth.


Climate change requires the emission of greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power is not a solution for the future and an accident will have disastrous consequences with no going back. We have to get out of it. It is a significant technical and human challenge. Scientific studies show that this is possible by 2050. Only political will is lacking. We have it!

  • Stop subsidies for fossil fuels and any prospecting of shale and coal gas, and oil
  • Ending reliance on nuclear power by starting with the immediate closure of the Fessenheim plant by guaranteeing the employment of employees and their training
  • Abandonment of Nuclear Reactor Projects and Nuclear Dump Policy near the village Bure in the east of France
  • Energy transition plan to renewable energies based on sobriety and efficiency: 100% renewable target by 2050
  • Public Centre of Energy to lead a coherent national policy, renationalizing EDF[4] and Engie[5]
  • Development and investment in the search for alternative, non-polluting energies, particularly renewable marine energies
An energy policy that respects the ecosystem, serves the general human interest and guarantees the viability of the planet.


We will ensure a decent life for all, by ensuring access to drinking water and energy. According to the UN, the world will face a global shortage of water by 2030. Water is a common good that cannot be monopoliSed by private interests.

  • Establish free access to the necessary quantities of water for a dignified life
  • Prohibit water cut-offs and flow reductions at home
  • PenaliSe the misuse and waste by introducing progressive pricing
  • International support for global access to water and sanitation
  • Prohibiting the discharge of polluted water into rivers and the sea without prior treatment
  • Ensuring public ownership of sanitation
  • Return to a public water authority by not renewing the management contracts of private companies
  • Involving users, elected representatives and professionals in public bodies
A policy of free access to the first 1000 litres of water and public management of its access.


Agriculture provides most of our food. Yet the current agricultural model destroys everything: the ecosystem, the health of consumers and that of the peasants. We can do things differently: producing food differently for better nourishment.

  • Ban GMOs, and banish harmful pesticides (glyphosate, neonicotinoids, etc.)
  • Moving towards a 100% organic local food in collective catering
  • Reducing the proportion of meat proteins in the diet to the benefit of vegetable proteins
  • Facilitating the installation of young farmers to create 300,000 agricultural jobs and a renegotiation of the Common Agricultural Policy[6]
  • Stop projects from factory farms where animals are abused
  • Focus on local distribution networks, and limit the margins of large-scale distribution to guarantee remunerative prices for producers
An organic agricultural policy ensuring prices accessible to consumers and remunerative for farmers.


The European Union is on the verge of dislocation. It did not want to listen to the refusals of the peoples since the French referendum of 2005. The European Commission, made up of bureaucrats and dominated by Germany, wants to oblige the countries to repay debts the majority of which are bank debts!

  • Stop liberalisation and privatisation of public services requested by Brussels
  • Amend the Statutes of the European Central Bank so that it can lend directly to states
  • Disobedience to the absurd rule governing state deficits at 3% (stability pact)
  • End of the directive on the posting of workers in France: the social contributions must be the same for all
  • Negotiating a democratic, social and ecological restructuring of the European Union
  • Submit the result of the negotiations to the sovereign French people to decide the participation or the exit of the European Union
Plan B
  • Suspension of France's contribution to the budget of the European Union (€ 22 billion per year of which € 7 billion of "net" contribution)
  • Transformation of the euro into a common currency which is no longer singular
  • Control of capital and goods at national borders
A policy to exit the European treaties which impose budgetary austerity, free-trade and destruction of public services.


France is a universalist nation. The quinquenniums Sarkozy and Holland locked France in NATO and in the wake of the United States' military follies. To promote peace and cooperation, regaining independence is an absolute necessity!

  • Refuse any military intervention without a United Nations mandate, the only legitimate body guaranteeing collective security
  • Leaving NATO and refusing any permanent military alliance
  • Stop the Europe of the Defence, which prepares the war under the command of the United States
  • Building peace in Syria and Iraq through the establishment of a universal coalition under the aegis of the UN
  • Revise hypocritical alliances with the Gulf's petro-monarchies (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, ...)
  • Recognise the Palestinian state and support the two-state solution peacefully coexisting
  • To end Francafrica by respecting the sovereignty of the African States and that of the peoples
  • Join the BRICS Development Bank (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and build a new Anti-Globalist alliance
A sovereign and anti-globalization policy that ensures the return of the strength to the UN to face imbalances and threats to stability and peace.


Migration is too serious a subject to reduce it to opportunistic outbidding and uncontrolled drives. The first task is to allow everyone to live at home because emigrating is always a suffering for the one who leaves.

  • Apply active and independent diplomacy to the cause of peace to stop migrants needing to flee from their country by stopping wars and ending unequal trade agreements that destroy local economies
  • Rethinking the European policy of control of external borders by refusing the militarization of migration control
  • Working towards the creation of a United Nations-linked World Organisation of Migration
  • To reaffirm the right of asylum by welcoming refugees who come under it through an administration adapted to this mission
  • Respect the human dignity of migrants, particularly in host camps
  • Ensure the fundamental right to family life by stopping the placement of children in detention centres and assisting unaccompanied minors
A policy that respects migrants and seeks to address wars, global warming and free trade the which cause migration.


The French health system has long been the best in the world. But today, austerity and commodification have abused it. Health must become a right again for all!

  • National plan for the prevention of diseases related to pollution, pesticides, food, drug and alcohol use, suffering at work and stress
  • Department of general practitioners, State officials, who will work in rural and regional areas
  • 100% reimbursement of prescribed care: free dental, optical and hearing care and equipment, lower glasses price
  • Public centre of medicine to lower prices and protect medical research from financial speculation of pharmaceutical laboratories
  • Increased capacity in hospitals and recruitment of doctors, nurses and assistants to make the public hospital a service of high medical and human quality
A public and preventive health policy tailored to the needs of all people, regardless of where they live and whatever their income.


Education is not a commodity. It is the basis on which we build our person. It is time to repair the damage by educating better and more.

  • Compulsory education from 3 to 18 years, adapting the pedagogies and the school trajectories.
  • The materials and associated activities free of charge: canteen, transport, extracurricular activities, textbooks, supplies
  • Reduce the number of pupils per class in primary and nursery schools and support networks for the students in difficulty
  • Revision of the school map to ensure social mix
  • Valorisation of the profession of teacher through their remuneration, their mission and the means of exercise
  • Recruitment of 60,000 additional teachers in 5 years
  • Repeal of the Carle law which obliges municipalities to finance private education
  • Restore the duration of the professional baccalaureate to 4 years[7]
  • Organise a complete territorial network by increasing the number of vocational schools
A policy of education that gives meaning to the mission of instruction. Everyone has the right to be educated and qualified.


Culture is the basis of individual and collective emancipation. Today it is the victim of decades of destructive liberalism. Creation and artistic practices in all their forms deserve to be encouraged. Our cultural policy aims to develop art, creation and knowledge, to guarantee a stable and lasting status for artists and cultural actors.

  • 1% of GDP for art, culture and creation
  • Defence of international exception and diversity cultural
  • Develop cultural awareness through training in culture from all levels of education
  • Creation of a public online media library, with a legal offer platform for music, films and cultural content
  • Removal of the ineffective Hadopi law [8] and introduction of a universal subscription on internet subscriptions to finance non-commercial downloading
  • To perpetuate the regime of intermittent performers on the basis of the agreement of 28 April 2016 and extend it to precarious artistic professions
A popular and ambitious cultural policy. Let us not reserve culture to a privileged minority.


With 11 million km2, France has the second largest maritime territory in the world. It is a space to explore activity for the ecological recovery. Energy, food, medicine, transport, so many resources are within our reach if we know how to use them with intelligence and awareness of the ecological issue.

  • Create 300,000 jobs focused on the marine economy
  • Open a public maritime vocational high school in each coastal and overseas department
  • Develop "blue classes" so that each child can see the sea
  • Renewable marine energy (EMRs) to at least 13 GW by 2030 and 30 GW by 2050
  • Nationalisation of the Alstom Marine Energy division sold to General Electric
  • Implementing a plan for overseas energy self-sufficiency
  • Establish a plan for the renewal of the fishing fleet under ecological conditions, beginning with the 1,700 vessels over 35 years old
  • Developing offshore aquaculture around off-shore wind farms
A policy that engages France in an ecological "Sea Plan" by creating 300,000 jobs.


Space is a formidable challenge for humanity. Our nation, focused on space, can spearhead the research and development of related technologies. It is the object of commercial lusts. It is, in the same way as air or water, a common good, which must be protected from the rapacity of the financial oligarchy.

  • Continue scientific discovery of the universe via terrestrial and space observatories
  • Following up on the Rosetta mission, which, together with the Philae probe, enabled us to improve our knowledge of the origin of living organisms
  • Developing Interplanetary Missions (Mars)
  • Launch a land-based orbit clean-up program
  • Launch a light pollution control program that deprives part of the population of the sight of the stars and harms the observations
  • Ensure a permanent human presence in space
  • Launch the renewal of the International Space Station
  • Propose the creation of a permanent base on the Moon
An ambitious space research policy in the service of knowledge and international cooperation to enable more nations to have access to space.


The digital world is a new frontier of humanity. The activities related to the virtual, the Internet and the robotics are an opportunity for France! Private interests seek to profit from it. If this field is left to the multinationals, they will make it a space of submission to the financial logics and restriction of freedoms. We must affirm the general character of the digital revolution.

  • Remove Hadopi law, an ineffective and costly law against piracy
  • Ensuring broadband Internet coverage across the country
  • Prohibit generalised filing and delete the "honest people" file (TES file)
  • Protecting personal data, including those hosted abroad, and fighting against their mercantile use
  • Reclaiming public control over digital and telecommunications technologies (submarine cables, satellite launches)
  • Guaranteeing net neutrality to ensure unrestricted and unrestricted access
  • Encourage the creation of collective places for the creation of digital tools (Fablabs)
  • Fostering French creations in the field of video games
A policy that puts the digital revolution and technology at the service of human progress.

1 An arm of the French National Police which specialises in interventions into public housing estates.
2 Jérôme Kerviel - a French trader who was convicted in the 2008 Société Générale trading loss for breach of trust, forgery and unauthorised use of the bank's computers, resulting in losses valued at €4.9 billion. Société Générale characterised Kerviel as a rogue trader and claimed Kerviel worked these trades alone and without its authorization – claim which is widely viewed with scepticism.
3 CSG is compulsory flat levy which funds French social security system
4 EDF is France’s largest power company formed in 1946, it the French government partially privatised it in 2005, floating 15% of the company on the stock exchange.
5 ENGIE is France’s second largest power company and one of the world’s oldest multinational corporations, the French government holds a 33% stake in ENGIE.
6 The Common Agricultural Policy is the agricultural policy of the EU. It includes the administration of subsidies.
7 Vocational degree, which is currently earned after two or three years depending on the type of secondary education.
8 law dealing with copyright, which allowed individuals who had been found to have violated copyright laws to have their internet access suspended (this aspect of the law was suspended as it was deemed disproportionate) and for fines to be issued.


Friday, February 24, 2017

France: Indefence of the NPA's struggle against Islamophobia

The fight against Islamophobia: When Lutte Ouvrière Reverses the Hierarchy of Standards
by Julien Salingue, Christine Poupin, Ugo Palheta, Selma Oumari
Originally published February 2 on

On January 15, Lutte Ouvrière (LO) posted on its website[1] an (unsigned) article "The trap of the “fight against Islamophobia”", drawn from the most recent issue of their monthly magazine Lutte de Classe. Anyone who has followed the positions and analyses of LO concerning the "debates on Islam", which have regularly shaken up the French political field for the last fifteen years, would not have been surprised at the substance of the "Argument”. But LO's arguments and reasoning, not to mention its attacks on individuals and organisations, merit attention ... and deserve a response.

Fight against the fight against Islamophobia
We know LO's precision and rigor, and cannot fail to notice that the use of quotation marks in the title of the article is not trivial: "The trap of the "fight against Islamophobia ". The problem is not, therefore, the term "Islamophobia", the relevance of which LO has regularly challenged, but the "fight against Islamophobia" itself. This is confirmed by the content of the article, whose target is not those who defend the use of the term "Islamophobia" but those who intend to combat Islamophobic violence and discrimination.

It is indeed a novelty: even if LO continues to call the term "Islamophobia" "ambiguous", we are no longer in the phrasing of 2010[2], when we read that " Islamophobia often implies a rejection of all those who share the Muslim faith, which is a nonsense, not only when it refers to the attitude of the revolutionary communists, but even as regards the attitude of French imperialism and those who serve it at the highest level ". Indeed, LO recognizes the existence of discrimination against Muslims, and even adopts the formula "specific oppression": "A part of the French political class currently rejects and discriminates Muslims, at least the poor, those of cities and factories, for it certainly does not reject the billionaires of the Gulf theocracies. And it is understandable that many young people feel they are victims of a specific oppression, which does exist."

It will be noted here that some formulations remain "ambiguous", but even if LO does not recognize or explain this evolution, it is clear that from "the nonsense" to "specific oppression", the path has been traveled In recent years, probably because of the increasingly visible rise of Islamophobia, gained strength after the attacks of 2015-2016. But it is not the least of the paradoxes that we can not find in the rest of the text any analysis of the development of this oppression that constitutes Islamophobia, nor any concrete proposals to combat stigmatization, discrimination and violence targeting Specifically Muslims (or presumed as such). Instead, LO engages in a widely ignorant diatribe of debates and work on the issue [3], thus aiming to legitimize in advance those who are fighting these fights, and to propose as their only perspective the fight against religion in general, and Islamic fundamentalism in particular.

This was accompanied by recurring attacks against the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party - NPA), which was accused of "demonstrating a good deal of demagogy towards Islam " and implicitly abandoning any framework of Marxist analysis.

Statements of intent and ill-adjusted attacks
In a first step, the article of LO undertakes to list various initiatives organized by the "anti-Islamophobia galaxy" (gatherings, meetings, conferences, etc.) and to demonstrate, by "presenting" that these initiatives were "forums for Islamist and communalist organizations", with the support of a part of the extreme left. LO specifies its objective: "These different initiatives do not necessarily lend themselves to criticism. The question is who organizes these initiatives, what ideas they express, and what activists who call themselves extreme left do and say at them. A mere declaration of intent, for even by reading the article carefully, one will never know "what ideas have been expressed" in these initiatives, nor what the militants of the extreme left "did or said".

Instead, a series of attacks on some of the organizations and individuals associated with these gatherings or rallies will be necessary, which, if they contain some of the criticisms we can share, testify above all to the profound ignorance regarding these organizations, or even a propensity for selectivity that borders on bad faith. Thus we learn that the 
Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France (Collective against Islamophobia in France - CCIF) could be summarized by the fact that one of its spokesmen, Marwan Muhammad, is a "former stock trader" who once held a common platform with a fundamentalist imam, signed texts with a leader of a conservative association and "[he] affirmed that polygamy did not concern him". That's all? That's all.

We will not know "what ideas" the CCIF defends in the initiatives complained about (against Islamophobia or the state of emergency), and one will not know either, which is not surprising coming from LO , Which is not in the habit of forgetting to propose class analyses, that this "communalist organisation" pronounced, last spring, against the Labor Law, and called for mobilisations against it . No mention was also made of the statement signed in April 2016[4] by the then CCIF spokesman Yasser Louati, who criticized Valls' anti-social policy and accused him of trying to "mask his budget" by a Speech stigmatizing Muslims. Finally, there is no mention of the article published on the CCIF website last November, whose explicit title should not have escaped LO: "Burkini fiasco: A distraction from the attack of El Khomri’s Work Law on workers.
A few lines are also devoted to the Union des organisations islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France - UOIF), present during one of the incriminated initiatives: the meeting of 6 March 2015 "against Islamophobia and the climate of war security", during which, Let us specify it since LO forgets to do so, the UOIF did not take the floor. But LO does not need to talk about the slogans of the meeting, nor about the content of the speeches: only the presence among the signatories of the UOIF is sufficient. Again, the demonstration is a little short. Or it will be necessary for LO to explain why, in October 2004, one could find on its site an invitation to join a demonstration "against anti-Semitism, racism and all discrimination" whose appeal had been signed by many organizations, among others LO and ... the UOIF. Was it because LO felt that the issue was important and the slogans relevant? Probably. Does this mean that for LO the fight against discrimination against Muslims and against the "climate of war security" would be a lesser challenge? It would seem that the answer is yes.

False arguments, real pretexts
The "arguments" of Lutte Ouvrière are in fact very weak, and more resemble pretexts to justify non-involvement in the struggle against Islamophobia. The article is in fact incapable of reporting a single pronounced sentence or a single idea defended during these various initiatives, which would make it possible to qualify the latter as "communalist" or "Islamist" rallies. Obviously, it is not a question of adopting an acritic position in relation to the positions defended by these or other initiatives, but in this case LO ignores these positions - to take an interest in the "ideas which express themselves there". What were these ideas? A critique of the government's discriminatory, authoritarian and war policies, a denunciation of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, solidarity with oppressed peoples, etc. One reality, everyone will admit, poorly adjusted to the political and theoretical framework of LO. Unless it is the other way round?

We will spare ourselves here, even if we are tempted to do too much about the three lines devoted to the gathering organized on January 18 in Paris against Islamophobia:
"At the rally of January 18, 2015, young people waving flags Algerian, Turkish, Moroccan, panels bearing suras of the Qur’an, and a large banner: "Touch not my prophet". Commentaries worthy of an article by L'Express or the pitiful attempts to delegitimise, on the part of the Zionist mouth pieces, demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people. In this respect, one can not fail to notice that the method of trying to detect at any price the traces of "Islamic fundamentalism" within the fronts of the struggle against Islamophobia is, to be mistaken, similar to the methods of those who try to detect at any price traces of anti-Semitism within the fronts of fighting the policy of the State of Israel. "The current campaign should not make the revolutionaries lose any compass," LO told us at the beginning of his article. We can here only return the compliment to him.

Behind these pretexts, it is difficult not to perceive the total lack of will on the part of LO to mobilize concretely against Islamophobia and to participate in fronts alongside organizations whose anti-capitalists and revolutionaries can also be very distant. A policy which LO is able to carry out when the "cause" seems to him to be just, without requiring certificates of good conduct from all the components of the front, even if he sometimes renounces certain principles that seem suddenly intangible when he " Is working with Muslim organizations.

It will be remembered that on March 6, 2004, LO had the choice to parade, during the annual mobilization for the International Day for the rights of women, in the procession organized by the association Ni putes ni soumises (Neither whores nor subjects - NPNS), which had refused to sign the appeal of the Collectif national pour les droits des femmes (National Collective for Women's Rights - CNDF). Fadela Amara then explained: "Today, the priority is to defend the values of the secular Republic, not to stand against the government[5]. LO, who felt that the urgency of the day, in the midst of a "veil debate", was to express solidarity with women denouncing Islamic fundamentalism, decided to march with the "defenders of the Values of the secular Republic ", and Arlette Laguiller thus found herself, in the lead contingent, alongside, among others, Nicole Guedj, then Minister of the Chirac-Raffarin-Sarkozy government, known to stand on every occasion on the side of the exploited and the oppressed. Strange compass, that of LO ...

The "race" and "white feminism": theoretical confusion ... voluntary?
The "targeted attacks" of LO are, as we have seen, are very awkward and unconvincing, in particular in that they reveal indignations - and principles - of variable geometry, and ignorance of the actors and actions of the "galaxy of anti-Islamophobia ". It is probably to mask these paradoxes and ignorance that the article develops, in a second step, an argument that is more "theoretical", especially regarding the concepts of "race" and "white feminism", but also of the Marxist analysis of religious phenomenon.

Concerning race, LO pretends to believe that to speak of "racialised" implies to affirm the existence of the races in the biological sense, and thus to align themselves with the extreme right (although the extreme right has now swapped its biological racism for a cultural racism much more accepted in the political field). The social implications - both material and ideological - of racism, which are manifested in a systematic inequality of treatment between whites and non-whites, in other words the social construction of white domination and a division which tends to become structural within the proletariat, between those who suffer racist discrimination and those who, on the contrary, are not the object of it.

To deny these social implications is to deny racism and to refuse to see that, according to whether one appears white or not (and one knows how the fact of being identified as Muslim-Sarkozy had spoken of the " Muslim appearance"- can immediately shift to being non-white, access to a job (and especially to a properly paid, stable job, etc.), or housing, will be very uneven. They will not receive equal treatment from institutions (particularly by the police), suffering regular harassment, even humiliation, and so on. The non-existence of biological races in no way implies the absence of oppression and social divisions on the basis of skin color or religion.

Speaking of "racialised" or "social races", political anti-racist activists (but also many human and social scientists) say nothing other than the persistence of racism and material divisions which it creates, consolidates and reproduces within the very bosom of the popular classes. This is not a purely theoretical debate, because a practical consequence immediately follows from this: to put an end to these divisions, it is not enough simply to remove the word "race" with a stroke of the pen, or to banish it from its vocabulary "(as the LO article says); strange way, for so-called materialists, to believe in the power of words (or their absence). In order to put an end to "races" (in the social sense), that is to say, with racial divisions and discrimination, we must end racism as an institutionalized system!

If LO is incapable of admitting the persistence of racial groups (which are the products of racism), but also of structural inequalities of gender, linked to sexuality or disadvantage, it is probably that this simple fact denies the idea of a homogeneous working class that a party could embody through mobilization in the workplace alone. Far from concealing this domination under the carpet of workers' unity, denying or minimizing the implications of this oppression, anti-capitalists and revolutionaries must put them at the heart of their action in order to achieve class unity on the basis of an equality between its various components. This requires active support in the self-organization of the oppressed, as well as the defense of the democratic demands that emerge. Whether it is for women, people who are victims of homophobia, people with disabilities, transphobia, etc., our principle is the right to organise, and if they wish autonomously. The emancipation of the oppressed will be the work of the oppressed themselves!

This constant attention to oppression - in all its forms and in all strata of society, as Lenin argued[6] - is a strategic necessity for addressing the most oppressed but also often the most combative elements of the proletariat. In this sense, the existence and development of women-led feminist organisations, as well as other self-organisation, and therefore potentially autonomous, initiatives such as the decolonial camp, are encouraging signs for the movement that we want to build and for class unity. For this is never given; it is the product of a constant struggle against everything that, in a concrete capitalist society, works daily to divide those who should be united – workers - and to unite those who should be divided - capitalists and workers.

Any movement against oppression, even if its leaders do not pretend to pursue this objective, favors a higher level of unity of the exploited class, even when it appears at first to divide it . For it is by taking account of real divisions and by favoring the self-organization of the oppressed struggling to break down such divisions that concrete work is being done to create class unity and not by appealing for abstract unity around claims which, although they must obviously be defended and popularized, do not magically remove the inequalities and divisions within the class.

"Communism and religion"?
The developments relating to the Marxist analysis of the religious phenomenon are less surprising and original in that they echo much of the debates that we have already had, in almost identical terms, over the last fifteen years. It is essentially a divergence as to the practical consequences to be drawn from the contradictory nature of the religious phenomenon, as summarized in Marx's famous formula: " Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" [7]

A contradiction which Lutte Ouvrière proposes to solve as follows: "Marx knew that religious prejudices were the consequences of oppression, and that they would not disappear before a profound transformation of society [...]. For all that, Marxists have always considered anti-religious propaganda indispensable. To be a communist is to be a materialist, and to be a materialist is to be an atheist. One can be an atheist and fight, in a strike, alongside a believing worker. But this does not mean that it is the duty of any communist revolutionary to not try to snatch the militants he wants to win over his cause, but even his comrades of work and struggle from the influence of religion. A proposition which is in reality only a negation of the contradictory character of the religious phenomenon.

For the whole problem is that "to be materialistic" is also to have a materialistic approach to the religious phenomenon. A materialistic approach which LO renounces, considering "religion" in an essentialist way, as a reactionary force everywhere and always, that it would be a question of fighting at all times and in all places by the dissemination of "anti-religious propaganda Independently of the political, economic, social and ideological forces. A materialistic approach summarised by Lenin in a 1909 article[8], in which he explains in particular that "the atheistic propaganda of social-democracy [= revolutionaries] must be subordinated to its fundamental task, namely: Class struggle of the exploited masses against the exploiters. Four years earlier [9], Lenin was already warning: "In no case should we be misled into the idealistic abstractions of those who pose the religious problem in terms of "pure reason", apart from the class struggle, as often radical democrats from the bourgeoisie".

To think of the religious phenomenon is to think of the material reality in which it is inscribed: Marx and the Marxists have repeatedly explained this by stressing that ideas, including religious ones, do not exist independently of the social forces that take it. "Religion can thus express different and even contradictory social and political dynamics: would it come to anyone's mind to pretend that" the "Catholic religion had the same meaning and the same significance, during the years 1960-1970, for the workers of Northern Ireland and for the dignitaries of the Franco regime? Obviously, no. Leon Trotsky[10] said nothing else in 1933 about the United States: "The baptism of a Black man is something totally different from the Baptism of a Rockfeller. They are two different religions. "

The same goes for Islam today: Islam practiced, even claimed, by certain categories of the population residing in France, cannot be considered on the same level as the Islam of the Saudi regime or the Iranian regime, even if, in the last resort, it were the same "religious dogma". In one case, Islam is a religion oppressed by the state; In the other, it is a tool of oppression of the state: this should not leave indifferent militants fixing for task the overthrow of capitalism and its institutions.
Let us go farther: in many cases - as analyzed in particular by F. Engels, R. Luxemburg or A. Gramsci [11] - religion has been the source of popular revolts, the language in which the will of the oppressed was expressed To overthrow the world, and thus the vehicle of their progressive and even revolutionary aspirations. From primitive Christians to liberation theology in Latin America, to the fringes of Christian youth in France in the 1960s and 1970s, the "dogma" could be interpreted in an egalitarian and militant sense, inclining to an action Aimed at bringing a world free from exploitation and oppression to life here without expecting any salvation in the hereafter.

When LO defends the reversal of the hierarchy of norms
Do not the Marxists have to give up fighting in France the influence of the currents of fundamentalist Islam? Obviously, no! But this struggle must be part of the existing relations of forces, and in the specific configuration of the class struggle in France: to paraphrase Lenin, this struggle is subordinated to the development of concrete mobilizations against the bourgeoisie and its capitalist state. The question thus arises: in France in 2017, the development of groups fighting against the authoritarian and warlike forward flight of the state and against discrimination that not only decimates the existence of millions of people but which, moreover, weaken the whole of our social camp, is it a positive or negative element on the scale of the global power relations between the classes? The answer is, from our point of view, in the question-LO's anti-religious obsession led the organization to refuse to participate in fronts that are nevertheless so many corners buried in the "historic block" that the French bourgeoisie is trying to consolidate by rallying to its cause entire fractions of the wage worker in the name of the "fight against terrorism". In this field, LO actually practices a reversal of the hierarchy of norms, subordinating the development of the class struggle to anti-religious propaganda and the struggle against fundamentalism. To reject a priori any specific alliance around a question - racism, here in the form of Islamophobia - which profoundly structures capitalist societies, and this in the name of so-called "materialistic principles", is to refrain to act in concrete terms in the relations of political and social forces.

Forgetting, in passing, one of the fundamental achievements of Trotsky, of which LO loves to claim, which explained in 1928, about the hypothetical alliances with the Chinese Kuomintang: "For a long time it has been said that agreements that are not binding on us in any way and create no political obligation, may, if it is advantageous at the moment, be concluded with the devil himself. But it would be absurd to demand at the same time that on this occasion the devil should convert completely to Christianity ... "[12]. Let us not be mistaken here on the reference to this metaphor of Trotsky: we do not wish to convert anyone to Christianity! But it must be emphasized that in other contexts, Marxists had the opportunity, when they felt that the situation required it, to come to terms with various currents, even very distant, without this signifying That they renounced their independence.

The fronts in which the NPA is participating are not in any way the frameworks in which we clasp our hands, nor the systems of alliance that would oblige us to abandon our criticism of religious fundamentalism, whatever it may be. Contrary to what LO suggests, an initiative involving an individual or a current claiming to be Islam is not mechanically a proselytizing initiative (such as the authors of the law of 15 March 2004, who claim absurd that the mere wearing of a religious sign is in itself an act of proselytism). Unless we consider that the Muslims would be, independently of the positions they defend and of what they say - since, let us recall, LO does not say a word about the content of the initiatives criticized in the article, by their nature proselytes.

Muslims, therefore fundamentalists according to LO?
It seems that according to LO, an alliance between Muslims and Marxists necessarily means that they [Marxists] are "making concessions", never questioning whether the Muslims do not also strongly admonished for having accepted to join initiatives where there are also atheists, even communists. This is the case, however, with fundamentalist currents which subordinate all activity to "Islamisation" and bluntly criticize those Muslims who are accused of compromise: a striking symmetry with the LO's invective towards a part of the far left.

And it is a rather striking element that this essentialisation of Muslim anti-racist militants as necessarily non-Marxists or necessarily from backgrounds resistant to the political culture of the radical left. Where LO only sees in Bibimoune Nargesse as a veiled woman (and according to LO as a "voluntary slave"), we also know from her that she is part of a generation of radically anti-capitalist militants whose Theoretical references are Frantz Fanon and Angela Davis. As she recalls in her book Confidences à mon veile[13]: "Tell them it is not you who pay us twenty-five percent less than men, tell them you are not responsible for the fact that one puts on eighty percent of domestic work, tell them that the polemic against you is again to question the appearance of women without ever focusing on their reflection ".

LO criticizes the NPA for putting forward community issues. But is it not to introduce the identity theme - and contribute to Islamophobia - to assimilate an anti-racist militant to Islamic fundamentalism on the pretext that she wears a headscarf? These remarks have nothing to envy to those held by so many ideologists - from Fourest to Valls, through Finkielkraut, Zemmour and Badinter - who have been working since the mid-1990s to transform secularism and / or feminism into instruments of stigmatization and exclusion of Muslims, and particularly Muslim women.

A large part of the Left and the Far Left - including LO - has been involved in promoting identity themes and in the development of Islamophobia over the last 15 years, Exclusion and disregarding for the words of the people concerned (in particular place Muslim women). We inherit this situation, and the weakness of our social camp, as well as the rise of reactionary and extreme right-wing forces of all kinds, is also an effect of our inability to struggle against the offensive Islamophobia that has been raging for so many years.

To conclude this reply, it should be noted that LO's article received the enthusiastic welcome of Fourest and Clavreul - supporters of Manuel Valls and defenders of a fundamentalist vision of secularism, clearly turned against Muslims - but also of Natacha Polony, a figure of neo-conservative thought. Obviously, we have the friends and the enemies that we deserve. But the essential is not there: it is in (at least) three important divergences between our two organizations.

  1. The first divergence concerns Islamophobia itself. Contrary to what LO wrote at the beginning of its article, Islamophobia goes far beyond a simple "illusion", "diversion" or "smoke screen". Moreover, as Pierre Tevanian reminds us, "for all those who are not smoking, who do not take this smoke in their mouth, it has the only effect of preventing them from seeing a part of reality. But for those who take this smoke in the face, it is dangerous, it is toxic, for veiled girls, for their families, for Muslims in general. This law not only reduces their field of vision, but reduces their field of life, turning them from school, dropping out of school, desocialising them, humiliating them, brutalizing them at an age where one is fragile. [...] If there is a smoke screen, let us not also forget that it smothers, it poisons a part of the population " [13].

    Islamophobia, then, is an oppression and, first of all, as an oppression, it must be combated because it has immediate consequences - material, ideological and psychological - for the lives of millions of people (in France and elsewhere), the vast majority of whom belong to the working classes. Indeed, it is not simply a "smokescreen", but an oppression that arouses and reproduces real divisions among the working classes, that it can play so central a role in the strategies of the French ruling class. For the last fifteen years, it has been on Muslim (but also immigrant), and therefore on the identity and racist grounds, that successive governments have sought the consent of one party to the less workers to the capitalist order - where, on the social ground, workers remain massively opposed to the neo-liberal purge and austerity policies.[14]
  2. A second divergence concerns the relationship to the first ones concerned by this oppression. The offensive of last summer around the "burkini" was a lesson of things from this point of view: it is always women who impose clothing injunctions, one way or another. But these injunctions are part of the oppression of women, of the control that some try to assume over their bodies. That is why last August, by protesting at the Port-Leucate beach against the municipal decision to prohibit the port of the burkini on the beaches (a decision which was rejected by the Council of State) We sang "too much covered or not enough, it's up to the women to decide". To put it another way, like almost all the feminist movements in the predominantly Muslim countries, sometimes mass movements that LO chooses to superbly ignore, we are equally opposed to those who want to impose on a woman to wear such or such a garment as to those who wish to force her to remove it.

    More broadly, we consider that self-organization is not a slogan for feast days: anti-capitalist and revolutionary militants do not have to patronize the oppressed on the best way to lead their struggles. The latter did not wait for LO to defend their interests, and they could have waited a long time, - as we have seen – as LO is more anxious to denounce the fight against Islamophobia than to contribute to it . What can we, as activists and as an organization, do is to make the best allies of the struggles of the oppressed, by popularizing their slogans, demands and proposals when they appear to us to go in the direction of a policy of emancipation and the fundamental interests of our social camp.

    It is only by participating in common organisations and common battles that we can convince ourselves that in order to really put an end to oppression we must build class unity and break down capitalist power by revolutionary means. In this struggle for the emancipation of humanity, what counts is not the opinion of the exploited and oppressed on God, salvation, or the origin of the world. As Lenin asserted, "the unity of this truly revolutionary struggle of the oppressed class fighting to create a paradise on earth is more important to us than the unity of opinion of the proletarians over the paradise of heaven." [15]
  3. A third divergence is, finally, in the conception of politics for a revolutionary organization. As illustrated by its presidential campaign, LO is characterized more than ever by a very narrow vision of the political struggle, largely reduced to conflicts in the workplace, to the defense of an emergency program composed of essential demands, but strictly economic (wage increases, prohibitions of dismissals, etc.) and an abstract propaganda for "communism" (of which LO does not say much if one pays attention to it). As we have said above, this economic reductionism is a thousand leagues away from the political practice of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky or Luxemburg. If a revolutionary organization revels in a position of guardian of the dogma and in a routine essentially destined to self-replicate, showing henceforth incapable of contributing actively to the political battles currently being waged against Islamophobia, Urgency or imperialist wars, what could be its usefulness to really change the balance of power in favor of the exploited and the oppressed?
1 Lutte Ouvrière, ‘Le piège de la "lutte contre l’islamophobie"’, Lutte de classe n ° 181, February 2017,
2 Lutte Ouvrière, ‘Communisme, religions et intégrismes’, Lutte de classe No. 126, March 2010,
3 These include Abdellali Hajjat and Marwan Mohammed, Islamophobia . Comment les élites françaises fabriquent le "problème musulman", 2013.
4 Yasser Louati, “Vous revoilà encore, Manuel Valls, avec vos obsessions sur l’islam…”, Libération, 14 avril 2016.
5 Charlotte Rotman et Blandine Grosjean, « Un voile sur les combats féministes », Libération, 6 mars 2004,
6 LO is far removed from the political tradition in which it claims to be registered. In What was to be done? Lenin opposed the revolutionary Social-Democrat (the word used in Russia at the time) to the trade union secretary (in other words, the trade unionist): "The secretary of a English trade unions, for example, constantly helps the workers to carry out the economic struggle, organizes revelations about the life of the factory, explains the injustice of laws and provisions hindering freedom of strike, freedom of picketing (to publicise the existence of strike in a given factory); It shows the bias of the arbitrator who belongs to the bourgeois classes, etc. etc.  and in a nutshell, every trade union secretary leads and helps to lead the '' economic struggle against the bosses and the government ''. [...] The Social-Democrat must not have as his ideal the secretary of trade union, but the popular tribune who is able to react against any manifestation of arbitrariness and oppression, wherever it occurs, whatever the class or the social stratum is experiencing it, knowing to generalize all these facts to compose a full picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation, knowing to take advantage of the slightest opportunity to expose before all its socialist convictions and claims To explain to everyone the historical significance of the emancipatory struggle of the proletariat ".
7 Karl Marx, Contribution to a critique of Hegel’s philosophy of the right, 1843,
8 Lenin, The attitude of the workers party to religion, 1909,
9 Lenin, Socialism and religion, 1905, 
10 Leon Trotsky, The Negro question in the United States, 1933,
11 Michael Löwy, “Opium du peuple ? Marxisme critique et religion”,, 7 février 2010,, 7 February 2010,
12 Leon Trotsky, The Third International after Lenin, 1928,
13 Nargesse Bibimoune, Confidences à mon veile, 2016.:
14 “À propos de Dévoilements : du Hijab à la Burqa. Entretien avec Pierre Tévanian”,, 24
15 Lenin, Socialism and religion, op. Cit.


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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