La Gauche Prolétarienne 1969
Supplement to Cause du Peuple, no. 20;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor.
The central task and the supreme form of the revolution is the
conquest of power by armed struggle, is to resolve the problem by war.
We don’t hide the fact that we are resolutely opposed to unions.
Like the miners of Limbourg who sacked their union offices to the cry of “Unions are Bandits”; like the miners of Sweden and Denmark who rejected their so-called delegates; like the workers of FIAT imposing through struggle the slogan: “We are all delegates.”
And if, in this Europe of peace, of contracts, and of capitalist prosperity, workers begin to struggle without asking for union authorization it’s because in the decadent west an idea is spreading like thunder: Down with social peace! New forms of struggle are needed, and we must have done with the current practices of unions.
On one side are those who declare war on the bourgeois social order; on the other those who want to organize, at whatever cost, social peace.
The most lucid of those in government openly say that they want to encourage the union movement in order to have a “compensatory” power in the factories.
What does Chaban  say on TV?
“My wager is on the existence and development of unions sufficiently representative to be involved, and willing to do so contractually by dedicating themselves to the defense of professional interests.”
In large enterprises it is necessary for the capitalist to predict and prevent social movements. To arrive at this objective a sharing of power between the bosses and the unions is necessary; bosses and unions promise — thorough contracts like that at EDF, or agreements like at Berliet — to together respect certain limits.
When it’s possible, they cut back — without seeming to — the right to strike. This allows the directors of an enterprise to predict and calculate the price “of the class struggle.”
Things have reached such a point that in Germany, for example, the value of industrial shares go up when the enterprise in question has “strong unions.”
But social peace is a peace within slavery. It’s like receiving a slap and offering the other cheek.
To accept this peace is to submit to the bosses’ terrorism without reacting:
It’s to accept being lowered to the level of merchandise. We refuse. We will not offer the other cheek. We will make war, judiciously but until victory, up until the moment that we impose peace, the real one: peace with freedom.
Then the terrorists — those who kill workers and make martyrs of poor families — those at least who will have survived, will work on the assembly line. With time, productive labor will give them more just ideas.
When we are the victims of aggression we can either resist or abstain, while searching for some means of applying pressure to dissuade the aggressor.
But experience shows that the only effective dissuasive force is resistance.
When paces are increased in a workshop we can either sabotage them BY WORKING LESS — by reducing production — or exert pressure via a petition to the directors so that they will agree not to ask too much of us. But if they increased the pace it’s because they wanted to ask too much of us. So it’s not worthwhile to exert pressure: we must resist.
A bastard of a boss treats us like we’re nothing. Are we going to put pressure on his boss so that this stop? At best he’ll be transferred, and he’ll be a pain in the ass in another workshop.
No! As long as we haven’t properly smashed in his face he won’t change his ways. So instead of pressure, resistance!
A worker is murdered in a workshop or at the bottom of a mine. What do we do? Do we wait for the Minister of Industry to hold an inquest thanks to the pressure we put on him?
We see what the result was at the Feyzin refinery. It’s not those at top — who are really guilty — who will be put on trial.
Will the directors of the coal company end up in court?
Since we are realists, we know that the answer is no. So should we let things go on as they are?
No. We resist. We sabotage the tools at the workplace or, through stronger methods, we warn the directors that they’d better pay attention. Maybe they believed it was an act of fate when something bad happened, but not us.
In every aspect of the life of the exploited there are two ways: resistance or capitulation.
“Putting pressure” on them is a form of camouflaged capitulation. Under the Occupation Petain, too, put pressure on the German authorities.
This tendency goes way back. At the beginning of the century a union leader, Griffuelhes said: “The object of the union movement is to exert pressure.”
It is this syndicalist practice that we refuse. At more or less that same time, the most daring workers understood things differently.
When after a big strike of postal workers hundreds were laid off, revolutionary groups of partisans organized the sabotage of telegraphic wires on a large scale. Reprisals in the form of sabotage were carried out until those laid off were rehired.
Resistance, and not pressure!
Taken individually, every worker knows that there are two possible attitudes: revolt or acceptance.
But individually we can do nothing. The individual revolt and the personal hatred of one worker must be transformed into collective revolt, into class hatred.
Our point of view is that these ideas of revolt and resistance must be systematized, and not those of acceptance and servility.
A syndicalism that “exerts pressure” doesn’t systematize revolt, but systematizes servility.
Due to his situation as one of the exploited, the proletarian possesses the instinct for resistance. In his head many ideas form that will finish off everything that is unbearable.
He invents ruses of war; he thinks about punching the boss in the face; about locking up the boss; about sabotaging the organization of work by disorganizing the production wanted by the boss; of sabotaging his work tools in such a way as to hit the boss (in his wallet), and not the eventual consumer.
Our task is to support these ruses in order to make of the factory-prison a field full of ambushes for the boss.
Syndicalists say that they want to exert constant pressure on the directors; we, for our part, will harass them without interruption.
We will strike out at all aspects of exploitation and enslavement, so that the boss will either lose his money or his arrogance.
Groups built up according to this practice are resistance groups, not pressure groups. They impose their law on the oppressor; they don’t bow down before the boss’s law.
It isn’t legal to collectively punch in the bosses face, or to sabotage the pace of work.
So of necessity, resistance fighters put themselves outside the boss’s law. This is normal, since the law isn’t made for the poor, but for the bosses.
To resist is thus to do something illegal. In all times the oppressors have reversed the roles, calling resistance fighters terrorists, and profiteers and murderers are called respecters of the law.
Colonel Fabien,  hero of the Resistance, was a terrorist, and the SS Commander and the fascist member of the Milice acted under legal authority.
Who is the terrorist? He who murders the miner, or he who resists these murders and avenges them?
There are two moralities.
When Dassault kills it’s for aeronautical development and our foreign trade. When a worker resist he’s a hoodlum.
This is clear: we won’t allow ourselves to be tied down by this law.
As for syndicalists, they believe that it’s the height of progress when they’re legally recognized. But these means holding fast to the law; that nothing must be down that will put this legality in question. What does this lead to? To accepting the bosses’ law in RESPECTING THE LAW OF THE BOSS.
One becomes a good policeman. Syndicalism has come to mean union police.
There are often honest working class militants — and they are legion — who are delegates, with their legal mandate as delegates, and hours during which they can legally do their union work.
This seems to be a godsend, and everything should be done to receive this godsend: join the union, get elected delegate.
But the reality is completely different. Freedom granted by the boss is a freedom under surveillance. As soon we no longer do strictly union work, as soon as we no longer “legally exert pressure,” this freedom is taken away, as is the right to work. In short: the delegate who carries out a task that doesn’t respect the boss’s law, a delegate who organizes working class resistance, is fired.
The only results obtained by a good delegate will be to have spread the illusion among the masses of the legal possibilities of combat, of having reinforced the fear of the gendarme, of having put off the moment of organized resistance.
The quicker and more profoundly we remove this fear of the boss’s law, of the gendarme, the better it will be for organizing the victorious resistance to oppression.
We must understand this obvious statement: there is no legal protection for workers.
For the worker militants, the most conscious and the most resolute among the workers, this is even less the case. The only protection they have is that which is offered to them by the masses that support them.
The partisan who strikes out at the killer of miners knows that in the mines the mass of the workers will protect them.
We don’t become union members, nor do we seek union office because for us the task of the moment is to aid the masses in rejecting the boss’s law, is to oppose their collective will for resistance to the terrorism of the bosses.
In order for the resistance to be capable of defeating oppression unity is necessary.
All those who can be united must be united: the worker and the worker; the worker and his wife; the worker and his child; the worker and the student; the worker and the small peasant, the small merchant. Uniting the worker and the worker means the uniting of the worker of French origin and the immigrant worker.
What do the union people do? They divide the French worker and the immigrant worker. There aren’t many immigrant workers in the unions, they exist on the margins of the bosses’ law. The proof is that they participate in elections.
The syndicalists and their class brothers — the little lords of the suburbs — do what they did in Argenteuil, or Ivry or Aubervilliers. They make themselves the accomplices of the bosses and the government. They tear down the slums, but don’t find new housing for the inhabitants. Full time union workers are given priority in the housing projects.
Uniting the worker and the worker means the rejecting of the bosses’ hierarchy, different salaries and categories for the same work.
What do the union people do? They support this hierarchy (even if they try to nuance this). They divide.
They unite that which should be engaged in struggle: the worker and the engineer-cop; but they divide what should be united: the worker and the worker; the OS and the OS; the OS and the OP.
The engineer-cop, because he also receives a “salary,” is treated as if he were a worker, and is united with him. But two workers who do the same work (and a productive labor at that, not the work of a cop in the factory) shouldn’t have the same salary.
This logic of the bandit is the same logic as that of the bosses, the logic of “divide and conquer”; pretend to unite in order to enchain.
Unite the worker and his wife is, for example, to unite the factory struggle and the struggle against rents, against the high cost of living. What do the syndicalists do? They divide; the factory union exerts pressure on the factory, and the Union of French Women exerts pressure in the city.
Unite the worker and the student means destroying the walls of the universities so that, for example, the student and the worker can carry out a common combat against a despotic boss.
What do the syndicalists do?
They divide. The student should study and, in his union, exert pressure so he can study better; and the worker should work and, in his union, exert pressure so that he can work better.
It means accepting the division between those who drudge and those who “think”; it’s the logic of bandits, of bosses.
It’s obvious: syndicalism divides people, while resistance unites the people to defeat oppression, as we will see in the next article.
Why are we opposed to syndicalism?
Because it brings peace when it’s war that needs to needs be made.
Because it capitulates when resistance is needed. Because it exerts pressure when it should strike.
Because it accepts the law of the bosses when only the legality of the masses fighting for a just cause should be recognized: the cause of emancipation.
Because it divide when it should unite.
Syndicalism, in our era, accepts the division of labor imposed by the bosses. And within this framework it claims to defend the professional interests of the social layers divided by capitalism.
In place of the heroic syndicalists of the past, the proletarians of the CGTU — the first partisans of the struggle against the invader — today we find bourgeoisified bureaucrats.
Syndicalism today, means the tomorrows that will never sing.
As for the resistance, it takes as its motto: BLOW FOR BLOW! UNITED WE WILL WIN!
What we want in the first place is power. With power, we can do everything; without it we can do nothing.
In order to transform the world we must take power.
1906, 1920, 1936, 1947, 1968: each time the proletariat, in an explosion of anger and resentment, rose up and went on a general strike, but because it didn’t seize power, nothing really changed. Little by little the forces of repression got the upper hand.
We must begin again.
In the same way?
In doing so we’ll never reach our goal.
No, we don’t want to repeat May ‘68.
May ‘68 changed something in France. We no longer believe in peace between the exploited and the exploiters. This is the great conquest of May, the one which we are the most eager to consolidate.
But what we want is to continue May. May smashed the social peace. After May we must organize social war.
We must instil confidence in the people who desire this war of liberation.
For a long time capitalism has infected society. Repeated proletarian assaults have not managed to bring an end to its power.
All of this gives an impression of strength. The fall of capitalism has been so often predicted that no one believes in it any more. Some have even gotten used to it.
They end up believing that it’s not so bad after all. There’s bread for everyone (more or less), there’s TV, democracy...
The force of these lies, which also fool men of the people, must be liquidated. Our immediate objective is that the truth impose itself on minds, that it liberate spirits.
In the head of every exploited person there are two fundamental ideas: on the one hand the desire to fight, on the other the fear of the future.
Where does this fear come from? From the climate of fear maintained by the bourgeoisie. They occupy all positions in society and defend them at whatever cost.
They run schools and spread fear there: the fear of revolt, the fear of the boss, the fear of losing your job, the fear of the CRS, who can be called from one minute to another.
They run the schools and spread dread and submission.
The direct everything: the city, the factory, the school, the street.
They decide everything: our lives, our lifestyle, our deaths.
For they don’t hesitate to kill on the work-site, on the assembly line or down in the mines.
These monsters advance wearing masks. When they murder, it’s a work accident; when they starve, it’s the workings of economic laws; when they club and torture in their police stations, it’s we who are the hooligans.
Unmasking these monsters; fighting this handful of profiteers who spread terror; the sapping of their authority of their class: that’s the immediate objective.
Today this is the way to give the people confidence.
It is right to rebel against the terrorists in power; that is the truth that will triumph.
What is decisive in the struggle against these terrorists is to fight in the place where they have their power base: the factory.
How can we unmask these monsters in the factory? Is it enough to distribute a tract when a boss disguises the murder of a worker as a workplace accident?
No! We must violently respond to the murder. For example, as was done in Dunkirk, we should sabotage a crane in order to unmask capital.
In a small factory the workers painted a boss with mercurochrome and stuck a sign around his neck saying: “I pay my workers 600 francs.” This is the way to unmask those who starve their workers, and not by printing tracts on two sides of the page full of figures and percentages that go right over everyone’s head.
So it’s by striking the monster that things change. We learn to see clearly, we begin to gain confidence, we lift our heads.
What had to be done to arm the people against the terrorists when the Nazis and the collaborators ruled the roost in France? Like the first resistance fighters — the partisans — we must strike the Nazi officer.
That’s why we say: “If you don’t strike the boss, nothing will change.”
So to instil confidence in the masses, the enemy must be struck.
This is the principle that guides our factory work.
Striking the boss means crystallizing the workers’ revolt. It means relying on the instinctual resistance of the worker in order to go over to the offensive.
The target we aim at is that upon which is concentrated the hatred of the mass of the workers.
We don’t just strike anyone anywhere. The moment the collective revolt of workers in a factory becomes clear, we strike.
We strike at the spot that is the revolt’s target. This is what we call responding tit for tat for every act of extortion by the bosses.
Striking the boss-cop who is pain in his workers’ a... means transforming the revolt of each worker into collective revolt, into revolutionary practice.
Our practice isn’t to strike a blow now and then, whenever the opportunity presents itself, and to do nothing the rest of the time. Our practice is to render the individual revolt of each worker not only collective, but also continuous. It’s to permanently install war in the workshops.
Against the work speed-ups; against the system of remuneration (starvation wages, arbitrary differences in salary, anti-strike bonuses); against all the conditions that make of work a form of slavery; against accident-murders. Exploitation is continuous. Revolt is as well.
The bosses’ despotism must be sabotaged without pause. In every workplace blows must fly, agitation must be carried out, and an organized force of the working class be born.
Blow for blow: work speed-ups must be smashed, bosses must be subdued, and, if we’re talking about the boss, he should be sequestrated. We work too much for too little pay. We should work less until they pay us more. These are just some simple examples of the blows that can be delivered in response to the bosses’ skullduggery.
These examples are taken from life. La Cause du Peuple regularly exposes these events.
The principle is simple: as long as the factory doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the boss. We have the right to sabotage the boss’s work organization.
Agitation must be carried out.
Is this complicated?
No. It’s enough to print simple tracts that aim always at the right target, or small posters that can be stuck up anywhere. And to distribute the tracts or to stick up the posters you have to be tricky, but that’s good; it’s part of war. We demonstrate from one workshop to another or, as soon as the boss turns his back, we take advantage of it. And if he never turns his back then we have to back him against the wall so that he understands, and so we can distribute and paste things up.
It’s not complicated; we have to be daring and always connected to the guys around us.
At long last, an organized force must be born.
That, too, is not very complicated.
There are guys who are in agreement with the tracts and posters, who are ready to do the same thing. Let them do it!
When we have to hit the bosses hard by, for example, smearing the car of a disgusting boss, or smashing his face so that he understands things, or organizing a lower of production to slow down the pace of work...We talk and then we act together.
All occasions for discussion must be seized (during a strike, in the locker room, the bistro, in town).
Why do we discuss things? So we can understand each other concerning the objective of immediate action in the workshop, but also in the future. We discuss what to do starting from our base in other experiences of struggle. We unify on the road to bring down the bosses’ regime. This is the way we can begin to organize.
And it isn’t complicated.
Let’s sum things up: what should we do in the workplace? A kind of unceasing guerrilla war.
And through this guerrilla war we carry on our propaganda work.
And it’s only through this method that the largest part of the masses will learn to no longer respect the boss’s law.
In the beginning it is small groups of partisans who, relying on the masses, will strike. As the struggle continues, masses in greater numbers will join the war, from one workplace to another, against all aspects of the bosses’ terrorism.
The revolt doesn’t stop at the factory gates.
Mass transit that’s like cattle cars (and to make matters worse, it gets more and more expensive) disgusting housing, taxes; all of these concern both the workers and the partisans, just like the work pace in the factory.
Our resistance is a resistance to the entire organization of today’s society.
Relying on the masses in the factories, the worker partisans don’t hesitate to carry our campaigns outside the walls of the factory.
Take the example of Renault-Billancourt; the partisans in the workshops prepared people’s spirits to not tolerate a fare hike.
And afterwards, what do they do? File a petition, like the CGT?
To do this would be to fool the workers, to wipe out their resistance. They organize to force free entry to the metro. What is needed to obtain this objective? Daring, and being connected to the guys. In the first place, everyone is against these things. Second: everyone is warned that this hike won’t go through.
That’s how we connect ourselves to the guys to prepare an action. Then we demonstrate when we leave the factory, chanting things that reflect the workers’ aspirations: “Enough of a costly life, a slave’s life.”
And we enter the metro without paying, screaming proletarian chants to shake up the underground.
What can stop us? The mafia of the metro? Plain clothes cops? Cops in uniform? Workshops are full of things we could use that would kill their desire to do anything to us.
If they block our path, too bad for them.
And for the past month, more workers enter every day without paying.
At the same time a group of partisans swiped a stock of tickets at the Passy station and distributed them en masse, to the great joy of the workers.
This is how we resist the fare hike.
And all the workers understand the message. It means: we can resist, we can win.
And resistance is encouraged everywhere.
If the prices are raised at the canteen we’ll resist the new bourgeois of the Comité d’enterprise, just like we resisted the old bosses.
These campaigns against the transit system or taxes, carried out outside the factory walls, reinforce the Resistance and the groups of partisans within the factory. These campaigns are an integral part of our practice as partisans in the factories. What’s more, they allow us to smash the factory walls.
Transit and taxes don’t only concern the worker. They connect the worker to the little people.
And when we resist the rise in rents in certain neighborhoods (La Duchère in Lyons, for example), when we resist in the Renault housing projects, this unites the worker and his wife — and even his children.
If the factory partisans, like at Renault, aid the residents of the Renault housing project to resist; if in the course of their resistance the residents strike the same boss and, for example, demonstrate inside the factory against the boss, there won’t be on one side the worker and on the other the rest of the working population — on one side the factory and on the other the factory city.
The worker and the worker, the worker and his wife will be united in the Resistance.
When, on leaving the factory, the partisans strike at the criminal owners of the housing units where their foreign brothers rot, then the unity between the French worker and the immigrant worker is forged.
The small peasant who wants to live resists ruin and death.
What do we do?
Hold meetings with union pontiffs of different “professions?’
No, we do what was done in Nantes. The worker partisans — who regularly go to the farms to talk with the peasants — are with them when it’s time to sequestrate Guichard.
Today all layers of the people strike at the repressive monopolist order in dispersed order... It’s up to the worker partisans to take matters into their hands.
We do what is done in workshops. We go there; we talk things over; we participate in partisan actions by giving advice, because sometimes we can’t be in agreement with some forms of non-proletarian action on the part of a small merchant.
This is how fighters are forged, how the popular masses are forged.
This is how partisans put themselves at the service of the people.
When the partisans avenge a murdered worker they are preparing their dictatorship over the oppressors; when they distribute free tickets taken from the enemy they are preparing democracy; in a true popular democracy mass transit will be free.
The partisans open the road to freedom.
Our enemies within the people, the collaborators, have taken from the garbage pail a very old insult: we are fanatics of commando actions, and we don’t give a damn about mass action.
The collaborators haven’t invented anything; in any event they’re incapable of invention. They have the same ideas as their masters — the bosses — and today this is an impoverished school of thought.
Already in 1940-41 the liquidators within the French Communist Party attacked the first FTP with this argument: “We Communists — the cowards said — we are against individual action and for mass action.”
In fact, what they wanted to say was: “ We liquidators, we’re for capitulation and against resistance.”
If we had listened to the liquidators there never would have been the mass uprising against the occupier. Like yesterday, today we distance ourselves from traitors and liquidators.
All of our partisan actions have as their starting point the masses; all partisan actions aim at the mobilization of the masses.
When a group of partisans in a workshop sabotages the pace of work, in another workshop another group spontaneously rises up to sabotage. Is this not an action that mobilizes the masses?
When from day to day more and more workers get onto the metro without paying, isn’t this a mass mobilization?
When in the beginning it’s only a small group that sequestrates a boss for a quarter of an hour, and in the second phase it’s — like at Usinor — hundreds of workers from all the workshops who sequestrate the big bosses, isn’t that a mobilization of the masses?
Partisan actions have progressively taken on a more accentuated mass character. Ever since their first actions the partisans have started from the masses to little by little strike out as a measure of partisan mobilization.
And then one day, entire factories that have risen up will be protected by partisans against the army of the oppressors.
The capitulationist spirit is hidden behind the “argument’ of the liquidators. When they speak of mass action they are really speaking of the inaction of the unionized masses: empty work stoppages, bureaucratic occupations where the workers are sent home, dispersed, while a small group remains in the factory playing belote.
It’s true: we are against mass inaction and for partisan actions.
This is because partisan actions have as their starting point the proletarian instinct of resistance, and allow for the progressive mobilization of ever larger masses.
The terrorists must be unmasked in order to give the people confidence.
The monsters must be struck if they are to be unmasked.
In order to strike we must organize as partisans, and it’s necessary that the partisans unite the worker and the worker, the worker and the people.
In order to form a great popular power, to form an indestructible wall, it’s necessary that, through partisan combat, ever greater numbers of masses participate in the resistance.
Then the majority of the people will understand — through its own experience — that we must have done with this social order. That it’s possible — that all that’s needed — is that we oppose to the White Army of the terrorists — the army, the CRS and the torturers — the Red Army of the people.
Then and only then the truth according to which “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” will triumph.
Why are we opposed to syndicalism?
Because it makes peace when it should be making war.
Because it capitulates when it should resist; it exerts pressure when it should strike.
Because it accepts the law of the bosses when it should only recognize the legality of the masses fighting for a just cause; that of emancipation.
Because it divides when it should unite.
In our time, syndicalism accepts the division of labor imposed by the boss. And within this framework it claims to defend the professional interests of the social layers divided by capitalism.
syndicalism today means tomorrows that will never sing.
As for the resistance, it takes as its motto:
Power will be forced to consider as “outlaws” hundreds of thousands of workers, students farm workers and merchants.
Those who refuse the law of the bosses are increasingly numerous.
Wave after wave, different layers of society are rising up against the repressive monopolist state.
Students block the universities because they want a different future, one in which entirely new relationships will be constructed between work and culture, between workers and intellectuals.
Peasants and merchants block roads, the travel of high functionaries and ministers, the collecting of taxes, because they refuse to die for the benefit of a minority.
And on the front line, the workers block the organization of the bosses’ work and production. They don’t hesitate to block the bosses’ efforts to increase productivity by sabotaging the work pace, and by resisting the directors’ prison guards by paralyzing the repressive apparatus.
Why this daring? Because they deem it possible to liberate themselves; because they don’t consider the boss’s profit a right but rather a theft; and because they think the moment has come to fight so that the power to lead returns to the workers, and that exploitation and oppression cease.
This tendency of social development is clear and confirmed by the facts every day: in every faction of the people the most resolute elements, rejecting the law of oppression, enter into action and speak in the name of all.
During the last war those who resisted were at first a “minority, “ but they spoke in the name of everyone who refused capitulation; that is, the overwhelming majority.
You have to have the intelligence of a policeman to deny that the recent actions of small merchants reflect the aspiration of the masses, or to deny that the sequestrations of the bosses at Usinor and elsewhere are profoundly popular and approved by the real majority of workers.
And you have to have the same intelligence to not see in all these actions, dispersed among the people, their common trait: resistance to oppression.
The “New Resistance” started in May ‘68. It’s thus not a slogan that has fallen from the sky. It was born on earth, from within the masses.
And it’s true that this New Resistance re-connects with the armed popular resistance against the invaders and the collaborators from 1940 to 1945.
“There is a sound of boots in this country, and it’s unbearable.”
This was said at Nicoud’s trial, and it is just.
When bourgeois power is threatened it acts like an occupying power. In order for nothing to be left to mass initiative, everything must be occupied; this is the current logic of bourgeois power.
The desire to resist oppression, to resist this occupation of our lives, to unite the people in the Resistance, to arm the people for the resistance; the party’s fight for the building of armed resistance: these are the things that the two eras have fundamentally in common.
The concrete and correct objectives are a reliance on the experience of the FTP, and uniting the former proletarian resistance fighters with all the young people who come out of the new Resistance of May.
But there are imbeciles who try to make us say what we haven’t said. We don’t say that we want to repeat the old Resistance, simply because the situation isn’t the same, the social forces in place are different. Nor do we say that we rely without any reservations on what the resistance was from 40 -45: the capitulation of the leaders of the PCF before the Gaullists of London, the opportunism that led them to steal the people’s arms at the moment of the Liberation; all this tradition is like bad blood that we reject.
This tradition led to the alliance between the Gaullists and the revisionists that led us to Grenelle.
We are followers of the FTP who, while carrying out guerrilla warfare, did propaganda work among the masses.
We want to continue Colonel Fabien’s combat, not that of Maurice Thorez.
And we continue it under entirely new conditions.
The contestation of the social order is spreading throughout the world, and isn’t sparing the last hideout of the exploiters: the west.
Through revolt, a new school of thought is imposing itself against the old one, against the old myths, the old ideas: for example, in France, the old syndicalist ideas.
Making this thought systematic, unifying the revolt, organizing the resistance; this is what must be done. Building the party of the New Resistance: this is what must be done.
In order for the dispersion of blows delivered against the enemy to give place to concentrated ones, in order for unity to triumph over division, the New Resistance must be organized.
And in order to organize in a large way a solid nucleus is needed: a party.
Since May ‘68 there are people who go all over the place saying; nothing can be done without a party. The conclusions they draw from this are: let’s do nothing. Let’s build a party, and afterwards we’ll see what happens.
In June 1968 the revolutionary workers wanted to resist the Gaullist counter-offensive that was backed by the leadership of the PCF and the CGT. All of them, you will remember, were in agreement to smash the mass movement through Grenelle and elections.
Did we have to capitulate? Or should we have organized the resistance?
This was a fundamental question, one on which the future depended.
Some wanted to capitulate. They said: “We can’t do anything more now. If we continue to fight we’re going to be massacred. Let’s stop now and build a party. Once we’re organized we’ll pick up the struggle.”
If we had followed these people the students and workers would never have resisted the police together at Flins.
The proletarian resistance wouldn’t have been born.
And the future would have been compromised. For it was at Flins and at Sochaux that the future was prepared.
At Flins and Sochaux something new appeared: the independence of revolutionary workers, united with the students, unlike the unions, who made deals with the Gaullists.
If today we can build a new Party that organized popular resistance, it’s because there was a Flins and a Sochaux.
Those people who pushed for capitulation wanted to construct a party, but refused the struggle.
They don’t want to construct a party of class struggle, a party of resistance: they want a discussion and propaganda club.
These people are fleas. We still see them at the factory gates. They try to bring in their vices: empty discussion and propaganda cut off from life.
We don’t want these people or their party.
The party that we want is born of the class struggle, of the Resistance. Its building blocks are the most active elements of the mass resistance movement. An advanced element is one that is resolute, the most conscious of the class struggle. The party must be made up of such elements.
Let’s take an example: In a workshop there’s a worker who is particularly active in helping the guys around him slow down the work speed-up, in confronting the boss. The masses have confidence in him. He must raise his class- consciousness; in particular, he must see farther than his factory, he must understand the combat of the students, and he must help them fight, or go to the countryside to help the small farmers resist ruin. It’s necessary that from his experience in and outside the factory he have clear ideas about who are the friends and who are the enemies of the working class; about the tactics that must be adopted, the perspectives that should be given to the masses. Once this stage has been reached one can say that he is an advanced element of the proletariat. And it’s starting with these elements that we can build an authentic party.
The people we just spoke of gather together because they think they have advanced ideas (in their overwhelming majority they are bourgeois intellectuals) and say to the masses: “Follow us.”
On the contrary, we should go to the masses and say to them: “organize yourselves,” while aiding them to participate in the Resistance.
The foundation of a party can’t be decreed. It’s only at a specific moment in the struggle, in the resistance, that it becomes possible and necessary to found an authentic guiding nucleus of the people’s cause.
When must the proletarian party be built, a party of which the masses feel the need, ever since June ‘68, when they suffered — disarmed and disorganized — the repression of the Gaullists and the revisionists?
This is what must now be analyzed.
These new ideas were first taken up by the young, because the young are more rebellious towards conservative ideas. It was the youth movement — and particularly the students — who showed the way and took the first vanguard initiatives.
This is why the first groupings of advanced elements who wanted to make revolution and who rejected revisionism were essentially based among the students.
May ‘68 was the moment of truth for these groupings. Ever since may ‘68, the masses’ new practice, the aspirations of the working class as revealed in the movement which had as a starting point the student revolt, had to be systematized.
Beginning May 8 contestation became an idea among the popular masses, The resistance begun by Flins and Souchaux deepened and expanded.
Beginning in May ‘68 contestation became an idea of popular resistance. The initiatives of the vanguard, those who make history advance, came with increasing clarity from the proletariat in the factories. Beginning with September ‘69, this became perfectly clear: the student movement expects of the revolutionary proletariat the initiatives that will allow it to develop. It is no longer the revolutionary proletariat that awaits the initiatives of the student movement, as in May and just after may.
So since May a second stage in the construction of the party has opened.
Until May, there were many revolutionary workers who opposed the capitulationist orientation of the PCF/CGT leadership, but the most advanced mass movement was the youth movement, and the most advanced organization could be found in this movement.
Since May, the big question is the union of these elements with the advanced proletarians coming from the proletarian resistance.
The revolutionary workers and intellectuals have to be united. But that’s not all. The proletariat must take the leadership of this union.
The party of the New Resistance must rely upon the intelligence and the firmness of the vanguard workers. It cannot rely principally upon the intellectuals.
The latter are capable of daring, of clear-sightedness, as they showed in May, but they can’t follow-through, they don’t have the firmness of experience and the intelligence of the proletariat.
They, by their experience as producers, as exploited, and as fighter possess the truth of class struggle and resistance.
We must work on having the participation of intellectuals in the construction of the Party, but the working class — which is destined to exercise leadership in all things — must in the first place exercise direction of its Party.
So we don’t want a party where, in each base organization, there will be an intellectual paired up with a worker. The intellectual for the theory, the worker for the practice; the intellectual dominating the worker, the way a professor dominates his students.
There must be an infusion of new proletarian blood in the Proletarian Left, product of the union of college students, high school students, and workers, as was done during the proletarian resistance at Flins in ‘68.
When and how will this infusion take place, that will reverse the relationship of forces between the proletariat and intellectuals to the benefit of the proletariat? This will happen when in the principal regions-factories, those regions of France where all the working people suffer and struggle around the factory (the base of capitalist power) the revolutionary workers will, in the course of the violent struggle, carry off their first exemplary successes.
These successes will show the mass of workers that a new road has truly opened: that of the Resistance. And that it’s possible to leave the so-called proletarian organizations, which in reality do nothing but organize capitulation in the face of the bosses’ class.
When the worker partisans will have carried off these success inside the factory, and will have aided those around the factory to organize popular resistance against all aspects of oppression (in the slums, among the young, on the peasants’ slopes), then there will be an influx of new proletarian blood. For the mass of workers the New Resistance will have taken form. And en masse the advanced elements of proletarian combat will unite in the proletarian Party, which can then be built.
What we are now doing is precisely concentrating in these regions- factories, there where the popular combats have factories as a solid rear base.
This is where an authentic proletarian party will be born.
A party that will solidly unite the best among the new partisans. A party whose frame will be made up of the most consistent partisans, those who come from the factory, and who leave it to assist the people to unite in the Resistance.
It is this orientation which will allow us to build a party composed of vanguard proletarian elements; a party with a mass character, which we is needed to guide the people’s revolution.
For resistance, against capitulation, for union against division; for progress against reaction. In order to win, we must build this party.
We want to have done with squealers and gendarmes, with that underhanded terror that has settled in everywhere: in the factory, on the street, in our heads.
And why these finks? Why these terrorists who speak in the name of a silent and falsified majority? So that the forces of capital can survive their decadence, so that people like De Wendel, Bercot and Schneider can know a second Industrial Age? So that the big exploiting families can be stronger and tougher? So that a small number, relying on all of the existing means of domination can exploit the overwhelming majority?
We want to have done with the Gaullists.
To have done with everything that is behind them.
Since we want to have done with these new-style occupiers, we must have done with their collaborators.
What is it that allows the Gaullists and the vermin — bosses behind them to strut around, to limit as much as possible the movement of the masses, to impose their law of terror throughout the territory?
The union police.
Those who have the mask of the worker and the belly of the bourgeois; those who today, like at Dunkirk or Berliet, control the hiring process in order to avoid “the infiltration of revolutionary elements.” Those who call, like at Vallourec, for an end to the sequestration of those “employees’ who are the directors of factories.
The union police have fixed as their objective preventing Nanterre from becoming Billancourt, and Billancourt from becoming Nanterre.
We thus have to have done with the union police.
And it has begun.
In Dunkirk, in the naval yards, the new partisans have victoriously inflicted reprisals on the bosses responsible for the assassination of workers. The have pushed back all provocations, and brought the mass of workers into the resistance.
At Billancourt and Citroen, for several weeks thousands of workers imposed their law on the metro, resisting the fare hike.
In Aulnoye, workers locked in the directors, resisted the CRS, and there was a popular uprising throughout the city.
In the north, in the south and the center of France, we will see thousands of workers rise up, impetuous, invincible, like a hurricane, and no force can hold them back.
They will smash all their chains, and will spring onto the road of liberation.
Comrade, worker, you must fight in order to fee yourself; hope is struggle.
Not tomorrow, or later on: the struggle starts now.
In the workshop, in order to get out of you all he can and to break your will, the boss speeds up the work pace.
Every time you try, with your pals, to hit the boss, there will be a chief to stop you.
When you want a salary your family can live on, fight for this salary.
For an appropriate salary, even if it upsets the bosses predictions.
For an appropriate salary, and not for one where the highest paid earn ten times more than the lowest paid.
We will overthrow this wage scale.
Working class unity can’t be bought out for a few crumbs.
So don’t trust the complicated percentages on union tracts.
We must respond each time the boss — because he doesn’t give a damn about health, safety, or the workers’ lives — kills a comrade.
Because in order to obtain higher profits he sabotages your life, SABOTAGE PROFIT!
Capital tries to impose its law on every element of your working conditions.
To brutalize and humiliate you, and in order to save money, they develop the economy at your expense. They enrich themselves through your exploitation.
This can change. We can transform the atmosphere of slavery in the workplace. All that’s needed is to let nothing happen without revolting.
Oppose the law of revolt to the law of terror.
All of these objectives are perfectly realizable, and right away. You have only to unify with all the guys around you: French and immigrant are all from the same class. And exclude all those who have deserted that class: the union police.
You must have this in your head; nothing belongs to you, everything belongs to the exploiter.
So when you disorganize production or your tools get damaged, you have struck the boss in his wallet.
As long as the factory belongs to the boss, everything belongs to him, and production is his production.
Things will be different when we take over the factories.
You have to fight. For steak and for freedom outside the factory as well, because outside we are also robbed and crushed.
When the metro becomes too expensive, RESIST THE FARE HIKE.
At Billancourt and Citoren they did this: they got on en masse without paying.
And what’s good for the metro is also good for rent and for taxes.
Because they went up, the resistance too must rise up.
And when in the city the most oppressed of your comrades, the immigrant workers rise up against the leaders and the town halls that starve them and park them in shacks, DEFEND THEM TO THE VERY END
Fight racism and protect the unity of the workers as the thing that is most precious.
Support everything that fights the enemy; we must unify with all those who strike blows at the enemy.
Unite with the student who fights to get out of the university that reserves for him a future of manager — cop, and who leaves the university to fight at the side of the workers and the people.
Unite with the small farmer, merchant or artisan, who fights against the big landowners, against their ruin.
Today everyone fights.
Everyone fights in a certain way that is common to them all; they fight without holding sacred the boss’s legality; they sequestrate, they block, they sack enemy offices, they take goods from the enemy (for example, metro tickets).
These partisan methods are very expensive and hurt the bosses and their state.
So these latter arrest the resistance fighters. They forbid the distribution of the truth about these struggles. They regularly seize La Cause du Peuple.
Finally, they put in place terrorist laws in order to liquidate the popular resistance.
In order to realize these objectives — and it’s possible — you have to tirelessly and all places say to the people: Organize yourselves!.
If we want to realize these objectives, we have to live. Resist! Act in order to live. Feed yourself, house yourself.
But what we really want is everything.
Because in any event, this is not a life.
So we must have all power, in order to really assure ourselves of steak, and to effectively guarantee freedom.
We have to say at all demonstrations inside and outside the factory: ALL POWER TO THE WORKERS!
When we will have taken power and destroyed the scum: CRS, CDR, all the armed bandits who are the bodyguards of the bosses, all will change.
In the factory: there will no longer be bosses, there will no longer be the hierarchy of despots and parasites.
The workers, technicians and political cadres designated by the masses will cooperate in directing production and management.
They will no longer have profit as an objective.
They will produce for the people; they will respect the general lines of development fixed by popular power.
If the people need more clothing and fewer cars, we’ll produce more clothing and fewer cars.
The ideas and the creations of workers will serve as a basis for technical progress and innovation.
The workers in all fields will be masters in the factories. The current university will be totally destroyed; currently there are those who think and those who drudge, and the university serves to reinforce that division.
Popular power, relying on the workers and the mass of revolutionary students and teachers, will define a new system of education, one that combines manual and intellectual labor; that massively permits workers to participate, and that responds to the needs of popular production and culture.
Everything will not happen overnight. What we want at the end of our combats is that there no longer be on one side “workers,” and on the other “intellectuals,” but that there only be cultivated workers. In agriculture and commerce: the fat, the monopolists, the capitalists of the land, the bosses of hypermarchés and others will be overthrown and — relying on the workers — cooperation shall be the rule.
Today cooperation means the formation of a privileged layer. What comes of it is the existence of the fat, the fat banks, and subordination to capitalist industrialists. All of this means that the current formulas of cooperation are a mirage for the majority, and a blessing for a minority.
Under the direction of popular power and the workers in agriculture and commerce, this will radically change.
With popular power we will completely change every day life, even traffic in the cities and the cities themselves. The city will become closer to the country.
The workers must decide the fate of the routes and of the trees. They must decide everything, since with power they can make decisions concerning their lives.
Without power we have nothing. With power we have everything.
Because we want everything, bread and roses, since we must win and live, our slogan today is:
1. President of the National Assembly in 1968, and later Premier under Pompidou.
2. Carried out the first armed Resistance action in Paris on August 21, 1941, killing a German naval officer in the Barbès metro station.
3. The university at Nanterre was the site that launched the events of May-June 1968; Billancourt the site of a large and militant Renault factory in the Paris suburbs.