The following is a translation of an article that first appeared on the French-language radical website, Révolution Permanente on July 23rd, 2019. This website is an organ of a certain current within the French New Anticapitalist Party, and while this translation is not an endorsement of their party politics (or any party politics), we value this piece since we get to hear first hand from some of the Gilets Noirs (Black Vests, a nod to the recent Yellow Vests mov’t)1A direct action collective of undocumented immigrants in France, largely of African origin.
A blog post originally written Carbure & published on Médiapart on May 7th, 2019. We have translated other pieces by Carbure in the past and we share this translation since it echos sentiments we fell when it comes to our ideas, radical media & mass media.
Far-Left circles have recently been annoyed by criticisms of [Juan] Branco 1“Close adviser to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, he has worked for the Criminal Special Court of Central Africa and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.” (Source:Wikipedia), [Frédéric] Lordon 2“He is an influential figure in France’s Nuit debout movement.” (Source:Wikipedia), [François] Ruffin 3“He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the satirical quarterly Fakir; Ruffin is best-known for directing the film Merci patron! (2016), as well as for playing an instrumental role in the formation of the Nuit debout movement in France.” (Source:Wikipedia), and other media radicals, blaming those who critiqued them for a supposed elitism that is responsible for the fact that our ideas – mainly our communist and anarchist ideas – are not “present” throughout the population and are only discussed in restricted circles. But it must be clearly stated: if these people [Branco, Lordon, Ruffin, etc.] occupy the top billing on media posters it is precisely because they are not revolutionaries. Despite being not being very radical, they are also quite accessible and help “people” think, which should then help lead these “people” towards more radical ideas: though as soon as they are present the question of revolution is rejected from the get-go; being not-very-radical is the condition of access to public debate.
This text was originally published on Jan. 22nd 2019 on Carbure Blog, written by AC & LG in France. A translation was sent to us from Carel Wexler, we merely edited a few things. What follows is the translation.
This contribution can be read as a set of preliminary reflections, which we think are necessary to understand the movement in progress. In the heat of the moment, one cannot immediately settle the important questions that arise. However, to take the situation seriously, it seemed to us necessary to lay the groundwork by first qualifying these questions and the theoretical place in which they arise. This contribution will be followed by a second part, tackling certain limits of the theory of communization, which prevent us from dealing with this movement in its uniqueness and, more generally, which limit the understanding of the unfolding episode in which we find ourselves. It is therefore an introductory effort and we hope to be able to answer, as soon as possible, the questions we are trying to ask here.
Originally published in French on Paris-Luttes.info on Jan. 11th 2019. Translated by our collaborator in French, Otto Mattik and edited by us at Ediciones Inéditos. It is a glimpse at the looming capitalist crisis to come and how the writer in France figures the Yellow Vests movement within it and what antagonistic developments the movement can bring. What follows is the translation.
The Coming Crisis
According to communization theory, born in the 1970s, the worker’s movement first knew how to positively affirm itself, but then little by little began to decompose during the 1960s, and that this whole cycle of struggle was known as “programmatism.1A term used to describe when the broader Left put forth political programs as part of their strategy where a definitive pathway to socialism would be listed.”
Some exchanges published in the comment section of Des Nouvelles du Front, a French-language website which serves as a clearinghouse for texts of interest to the communization current. The comments are lifted from here. Translated by our collaborator in France, Otto Mattick; edited by us at Ediciones inéditos in Los Angeles, CA.
A short FB post from “Le blog de João” subtitled, “Reflections from an Afro-descendant on colonialism, gender, neo-liberalism and social movements. It is a response to the racist-nationalist dog whistles in Macron’s recent speech. Their website can be found here. This has been translated for us by our resolute collaborator, Otto Mattick (we just made the graphic & edited a bit really).
References to “secularism”, “national identity” or “immigration” by Macron are not a mere “diversion” to from the supposed “real problems” put on the table by the #giletsjaunes movement.
The following is our translation of an intriguing text by Samuel Hayat, a French political scientist, published on Dec. 5th 2018. It offers a thought-provoking analysis of the moral economy of the Yellow Vests movement which should also provoke conversations about other social/radical movements and their attachment to normative moral claims about the economy or the present world we are forced to live in.
It’s difficult not to be swept up by the movement in progress. The whole thing is disconcerting, including for those who make a profession of researching and teaching political science: its actors, its modes of action, its demands. Some of our best established beliefs have been called into question, notably those related to the conditions and bliss of social movements. Hence the necessity, or at the very least the desire, to put out it in the open some reflections stemming from the open comparison between what we see in this movement and the knowledge base relating to other subjects. Besides the research of the movement in progress, let us hope that the indirect light born of the comparison with other fields offers up something different on what has taken place.
What follows is a translation of a blog post by Carbure. It is a collaboration between ourselves & Otto Mattick. The original text was published on Dec. 3rd, 2018.
Saturday December 1st, the Gilets Jaunes movement had ceased to belong and be the movement of lower-class White France which it was at the beginning. Given the predictable refusal of the State to satisfy the smallest demand (as evidenced by the refusal or inability of the “spokepersons” of the movement to meet the Prime Minister), also given the derisory aspect which any demand takes on in light of our intolerable existence, and thanks to the convergence in an urban setting of ALL rage, the revolutionary content of the current period beings to appear under the crust of discourses and ideologies, and this content is disorder. The question is now where will what has started end or how far what has started here will be able to create disorder. Already those who made up the origin of the movement serve as a rear guard of what they have started, making appeals to reason and demanding a return to republican order within the pages of Le Journal du Dimanche. They were the incarnation of the start of the movement and their reluctance demonstrates enough what this movement is no longer. They would be satisfied with a moratorium on raising fuel prices, on raising the price on anything or organizing a referendum on the energy transition, right when an emerging movement wants to take whatever is in its path and can no longer crystallize itself around any discourse or demand; save for the repetition of “Resign Macron” as a sort of mantra calling on nothingness and the disappearance of all that this world represents. “Resign Macron” is at once the political limit of this movement and also a call for the end of all politics.