Source: La Cause du Peuple #3 New Series, February 1969;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor.
Everyone feels that we are on the eve of even tougher confrontations with power. This is true: the workers’ struggle against the bosses’ dictatorship is more lively than ever. And in the background of each struggle there is an even stronger consciousness of the antagonism between the proletariat and capitalist authority. This is the most tangible result and conquest of May.
The monetary crisis of November powerfully contributed to revealing the weakness of the adversary. For years the bourgeoisie had succeeded in hiding this weakness by spreading the idea of the all-powerful nature of “economic laws” and “technical development”: this was called “progress.” As for the class collaborationist unions, they bowed before the “needs of technical progress,” renounced the real struggle against unemployment, and repressed all forms of proletarian resistance to the bosses’ dictatorship. But it is capitalism’s sickness that is weakening the belief in the enemy’s strength. It is even clearer that it is tied to the rediscovered strength of the working class. But this isn’t all: political action in the universities and the high schools, the refusal of young intellectuals to participate in power’s projects, all of this also reveals the crisis of the regime.
This crisis is visible at the level of power. We increasingly hear about the struggle over succession. Pompidou has returned to the scene, and others move about backstage. If for the Gaulliste camarilla it’s a problem of succession, for the capitalist class it’s the survival of its regime that’s in question. It must find a new formula in order to assure its power, weakened despite the apparent prestige of Gaullism.
All the bourgeois politicians are searching for the best possible combination for the perpetuation of the rule of bankers and industrialists. This is a propitious situation for the popular masses. In fact, if before May big capital could play the card of the bourgeois parties of the “left,” which assured it a certain equilibrium, since May the crisis of these bourgeois parties of the “left” is such that big capital must find another formula. What is advantageous for the popular masses is that in the current stage the enemy hasn’t found a solid rear.
But to profit from this situation a new and dynamic revolutionary organization is needed. It is not on the CGT, which is in the hands of the revisionists, that the workers can count. It is going through too difficult a situation to be able to exploit capital’s weaknesses: like master like valet. Just as the capitalists tend to camouflage their crisis by launching a campaign on the supposed drop in unemployment and the control of prices, the CGT masks its difficulties by publishing the percentage increases of its votes at factory elections (it has yet to give us the number of membership cards torn up since May). It was one of its federal secretaries who revealed the secret of its uncomfortable position:
“The partisans of all-or-nothing are, in reality, the partisans of nothing, especially when their revolutionary extremism expresses itself precisely in a situation when any false step is heavy with consequences, and when no real perspective for political change exists.”
The CGT, and with reason, sees no immediate political perspective for its combat, since the team of Mitterand and Co. is in a state of total decomposition. It knows full well that at the current time a class struggle of any scope would risk transforming itself into a violent political struggle against power. From which it draws he conclusion: the struggle must be avoided at any price.
Before May the class struggle was sold off. The workers were used as a means of exerting pressure for the left’s schemes. Today these schemes no longer work. And so the revisionists have decided that any class struggle would be, not only as was the case before May, an “adventure” but, since May, a “bloody adventure.” One can understand the fear of the apparatchiks on the eve of violent class conflicts, they who have everything to lose from a revolution: the workers’ money, their positions, their authority.
But just as in the time of Marx, the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. This is why they want the revolution. This revolution is an authentically popular revolution. The workers are not alone: the continuing actions of university and high school students is the living proof of this.
In order for the initiative of the popular masses to be translated into large- scale actions it is necessary that revolutionary students and workers progress in their mutual instruction, their political unity. The difficulties they are currently meeting are nothing like the difficulties of the reactionaries. In an analogous situation in China Comrade Mao Tse-tung wrote:
“The reactionary forces have their difficulties, and we have ours. But those of the reactionary forces are insurmountable because these forces are headed towards death without any possibility of a future. Ours can be overcome because we are young and rising forces with a shining future.”
The revolutionary masses need new forms of organization that correspond to their desire for struggle and to the possibilities of the situation. Responding to this need is what is decisive in advancing. Through today’s dispersed actions carried out by revolutionary workers, often assisted and supported by revolutionary students, the debate on the need for new forms of organization and revolutionary struggle must be taken to the masses. This will again give confidence to the mass of workers.
If this task is carried out to its term, without being a prophet one can imagine the streets, which are today controlled by the police state, returned to its natural owners: the popular masses.