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Alain Krivine

‘When Fascism Raises Its Head ...’

Press Interview

(25 June 1973)

From Intercontinental Press, Vol. 11 No. 36, 9 July 1973, pp. 829–831.
Also published in The Militant, Vol. 37 No. 27, 13 July 1973, p. 6, under the title Krivine explains position of the Ligue.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following is a resume of the statements made by Alain Krivine, general secretary of the Ligue Communiste (Communist League, French section of the Fourth International) at a press conference June 25 (before the banning of the Ligue) in the sacked offices of his organization. Although all the Paris papers were represented, only drastically abridged versions of Krivine’s remarks were published. The police raid on the Ligue headquarters followed a demonstration June 21 against a rally held by the fascist organization Ordre Nouveau (New Order).

* * *

1. To begin with, let me make one thing clear: We are not for “urban guerrilla warfare” or rural guerrilla warfare, or anything of the sort. We do not think we can take power by hitting the police one by one with molotov cocktails. The revolution will not be made by 3,000; 5,000; or 10,000; or even 100,000 demonstrators.

We resort to violence on a minority basis when we are forced to and when it can be understood by the masses. We are not putschists. Only mass action can put an end to the fascist gangs. Likewise, only the mass mobi lization of the workers can successfully repel the attacks on strike pickets by the CRS [Compagnies Republicaines de Sécurité – Republican Security Companies, the special riot police], the SAC [Service d’Action Civique – Civic Action Service], the CDR [Comité de Defense de la République – Committees to Defend the Republic, Gaullist goon squads], and the CFT [Confederation Française des Travailleurs – French Confederation of Workers, an association of company unions that has become a professional strike-breaking outfit].

2. But you cannot avoid your responsibilities. As long as it is not too late, fascism can be crushed in the egg. We are young but we have better memories than the older people. We do not want to see a recurrence of what happened a few decades ago. When fascism raises its head, there is always the same reaction: “They are no threat, there will always be time to act, etc.” And then one fine day it is too late.

No freedom of speech for racists and anti-Semites! And since all the traditional workers and democratic organizations have failed to assume their responsibilities, the revolutionists have had to do it. We carried out the June 21 action as a test, a warning to the nation. We have shown the way.

3. What happened was the fault of the government. It was the government that authorized and protected the Nazi rally. It deliberately stationed its police [between the demonstrators and the Ordre Nouveau (ON) meeting], making them at once targets and protectors of the Nazis.

[Interior Minister] Marcellin’s statements in Vannes before the rally revealed the trap he wanted to lay, with the police as bait. All the press has highlighted the complicity of the police with the ON monitors both before and after the rally.

4. ON is a little Nazi grouplet, but it is drawing strength from the development of fascist tendencies, among other places in the state apparatus and the police. Capital has both its legal armed gangs (the police and the army) and its illegal ones (which it turns to when the former are not enough). The SAC, CDR, CFT, and ON have the job of attacking and weakening the workers and revolutionary organizations.

In the face of armed attacks, there is no effective “democratic” answer; you have to organize for self-defense, even if you can’t win without the participation of the mobilized masses.

5. Racist and anti-Semitic campaigns are developing on a large scale and in a hysterical atmosphere. One ex ample is Grasse, where there was a full-fledged pogrom against the immigrant workers.

There is the example of Nice, where the ON wanted to prevent any expansion of the revolutionary groups. In the suburbs of Paris, Arab cafes have been attacked in recent days.

Communist party headquarters have been attacked. Anti-Semitic articles have appeared in Minute or other far-right publications such as Ordre Nouveau. All this demands a firm response today.

6. The struggle must be broadened. We are not carrying on a private feud with ON, neither in Marseilles nor in St. Etienne. We have set an example. It is the duty of the workers organizations to continue the counter attack by organizing united action on a non-exclusionist basis of all anti-fascists. To this end, we make a solemn appeal to all the worker and democratic organizations.

7. Finally, we direct ourselves to Gerard Monatte, the leader of the police union. The responsibility of the government in the June 21 events must be clearly brought out. As for the policemen injured in the police medical cars (in the Place de la Bastille and the Boulevard de l’Hopital), the picture in Liberation showing our comrades going to the aid of the policeman and the injured person disproves the claim in France Soir that they were in a sadistic fury.

8. As regards the sacking of our headquarters, four questions:

But they broke everything and even trampled on the books. It was like something out of Fahrenheit 451 [a film that describes a police state where all books are burned].

9. And what about the weapons? It is not our policy to stock them. The idea of guerrilla warfare today is absurd. But there was a reason – a simple one. These weapons were brought to us ten days ago by an unknown person. Provocation or irresponsibility? The persons who took these weapons were afraid they might fall victim to provocation if they tried to get rid of them immediately. They could have been seized at the door of the headquarters. They decided to wait to remove them.

It was irresponsible that this was never done. But the two rifles (one dating back to the first world war!) were not hidden. Far from it; they were in an accessible wall cupboard. We treated this problem as a minor one.

At some time or another all organizations (the SP, the CP, or us) are confronted with such situations. Virtually no one on the Political Bureau knew anything about it. The first to be surprised must have been Pierre Rousset. We call for an arms expert to examine these weapons (the rifles may not even work or the grenade that was brought in with them, about which we know nothing).

As for molotov cocktails, it is true the we had a few. They were to defend the headquarters, which was attacked only a month ago by Ordre Nouveau with molotov cocktails. The rest of the defensive material was nothing but water bottles and steel bars. Every organization has this sort of thing around its headquarters.

10. Pierre Rousset has not participated in any demonstration (not even in selling Rouge, which can also get you arrested) since he got his eight-month suspended sentence. This is why he stayed at the headquarters that evening. His arrest looks like taking a hostage. We demand his immediate release. We will wage a major campaign to win it.

The twenty comrades arrested by the police and the fourteen detained have been the object of numerous racist, anti-Semitic, and fascist insults from the police.

We are beginning a big campaign for pledges to pay for the damage to our headquarters and to continue the anti-fascist campaign.

We appeal to the working press to help counteract the campaign against the Ligue Communiste and the Union des Antifascistes [Antifascist Union] in the papers and on radio and television.

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Last updated: 16 March 2022