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(en) France, Manifesto for a anarco-communist alternative - by Laurent Scapin - Alternative libertaire - I. (1/2)

Date Mon, 31 Oct 2005 19:24:41 +0200

This is the English translation of "Manifeste pour une Alternative
libertaire". The main policy statement of Alternative libertaire.
How to fight against capitalism today? How to conceive a new plan,
at odds with authoritarian socialisms, as well as with centralizing,
jacobine or socialism of state control, which led the labour and social
movements into a dead end, be it leninism, stalinism or
social-democracy ? How can this fight we call libertarian socialism
or communism and whose prospect is a revolutionary rupture, the building
of a communist society, in an authentic and auto-gestionary sense, how
can it take a way adapted to new and complex data of nowadays society ?

This document expresses the main orientations, the general
propositions of a militant trend looking for answers to these
questions. It does not pretend to bring achieved and already made
answers : it is not a sectarian and fixed doctrine. It only forms a
theoric and practical start, it expresses convergences and
agreements, it raises questions which remain largely open. It is a
simple tool to think and act, that we shall develop without fail.

This text is made to enter in the constitution of a new international
and revolutionary trend. We are trying to synthetise it upon
libertarian basis from diverse contributions, struggles, historical
experiences of numerous revolutionary, auto-gestionary, ecologist,
feminist and syndicalist trends. Thus we belong to a wide and
diverse filiation whose roots, from the beginning of the labour
movement, are into anti-authoritarian, revolutionary syndicalist,
libertarian, anarchist trends as well as in workers' Councils; it
nonetheless tries to enlarge its references much farther. We refuse
any dogmatic infeudation to any doctrine, be it passed or present.

We want to find a modern definition of class and proletariat stuggles,
which should take our times profound changings into account,
however without reducing the most exploited's revolts and fights.
We assert that capitalism is not human history last stage, ultimate or
impassable. A new revolutionary project is necessary; not the one of
a small group, but on the contrary one backed up with workers'
fights, with youth's fights , with the grass roots of society, with their
auto-organization and their capacity to impose counter-powers.

We try then to develop a political, social and cultural orientation,
which should link together massive fights : union, associative and
protest ones, with radical, alternative and revolutionary expressions.
An orientation which refuses to get lost into institutional mazes, into
gestionary politics and this in favouring social fights and in-the-field

Of couse, we want to organize ourselves to be efficient; but we
refuse the Party form, content and fonction.

Finally, because we do not pretend to detain the truth and because
forces unity is necessary to have a social weight, we are searching
convergences into political action and debate with all the
anti-capitalist and auto-gestionary forces : a pluralist and wide force
of which our trend would be one component.

Such convictions which found the identity of our fights , this
document contributes to clarify.


We are firmly anti-capitalist. We not only oppose the abuses of the
system which now dominates the whole world, but we also radically
oppose its foundations : human work exploitation for the benefit of
the privildeged and the ruling minorities; progressive destruction of
natural resources; inequal world development and imperialism; the
individual's alienation, and the State control upon society.

As anti-capitalists, we refuse the pursuit of profit, the competition
logic, the productivist development model, hierarchy and social
inequalities, which are the credos of a society totally kept down by
the capitalist classes and means of production.

We are anti-capitalists for social reasons, through our engagement
into the exploited class struggle. We are so for ethic reasons,
through our attachment to equalitarian and libertarian values, to
values of social justice and respect of everyone's specificity. We are
so also for vital reasons, since capitalism is based on an always more
extensive over-exploitation of nature, which, in the end, threatens
humanity survival.

We oppose capitalism whatever historical form it takes : a liberal
capitalism, or a State capitalism.

We oppose liberal capitalism, founded upon an autonomous market
regulation and which pretend to be "democratic", whereas it is based
upon in essence anti-democratic ways of production and that it is
wholly turned towards the realization of ruling classes profits. We
oppose State capitalism, even when it pretends to be "socialist" or
"communist", whereas it is based upon a tyrannical exploitation of
workers, a dominating way, and upon the authoritarian market
determination, for the benefit of the powerful and priviledged class:
State technocracy and bureaucracy. Therefore, we uphold neither a
partial or a total State control of liberal capitalism, nor a partial or a
total State capitalism privatization. Our anticapitalism already comes
within dayly fights; first, into the imposed limits of the ruling classes,
and this to give a support to a large class struggle and a revolutionary
subvertion movement, through a radical criticism and a project of
society alternative to capitalism, a project of a libertarian and
autogestionary socialism.


We assert that the division of society into antagonistic social-classes
remains the main fact of modern capitalism. Capitalism knew deep
mutations; it did not and will not stop changing, through an
expansion and crisis cycle. But it nonetheless lies first and still upon
domination intercourses, the rulers / ruled ones, with their corollary
exploitation by the ruling classes of the manual and intellectual
workers. Social classes are defined by their situation into power
intercourses in production -be it material goods, commodities,
equipment or service industries productions- be it private or public
production. But by social classes we also mean the whole of those
who, in the population, are linked to these production-constituted
categories such as family, youth, non-working people, retired
persons, unemloyed...By class-struggle we mean therefore fights led
into firms or concerning labour, unemployment, precariousness, as
well as fights led in the whole society, as long as they concern class

Social classes into contemporary capitalism saw their frames deeply
changed, and we cannot content with last-century images. By
capitalist class we mean all categories of people who are ruling the
production and society and who decide the sharing out of the
plus-value. To the classic bourgeoisie characterized by private
property are joined stratums that accompanied big groups and State
development: bureaucracy and technocracy. Modern proletariat does
not limit to industrial workers, even if they still are a major part of
society. By proletariat we mean the whole of social groups without
real decision power upon production, and who are constrained to sell
their force of work under the wage earning form. It is basely made of
manual workers and executives. And with them, intellectual workers
exploited and dominated as well: technicians, teachers...

A considerable part of modern proletariat is struck by unemployment
and precariousness, which became structural and massive data in
contemporary social intercourses. Between the capitalist class and
the proletariat, new wage-earning middle classes have developed
(technicians, executives...) who are dealing with gestion and
supervision. These classes have a more and more important politic
and cultural weight. The conducting of the class-struggle implies
that a distinction should be set-up between those whose command is
only technical and professional, and those who are implied into the
setting of production ends. Diversified in the extreme, new
middle-classes tend, for the most well-off among them, to merge
with the capitalist classes from which they only differ by a more
important remoteness from the decision centers, when the basis of
these classes is inextricably mixed with the proletariat.

From the development of the service industry, from the increase of
the technicians number and the decrease of industrial workers in
rich countries, from the parcelling of statutes, from precariousness
and unemployment results the erasing of a central social figure
formerly represented by industrial workers only. Class-struggle have
appeared under new forms. The vision of a class only made of
industrial wokers, a minority, a sociologic avant-garde and only
driving force is an anachronism that is to be replaced with the new
unity project, much wider, federating, witout denying specificities,
all the elements of a modern proletariat: intellectual and manual,
wage-earning and precarious, industrial and service specificities.

This new proletariat, which is multiform but can be made united on
the basis of a shared situation (domined and exploited) has to look
for anti-capitalist and claiming convergences with wide parts of
middle wage-earning classes and with other social categories
dominated by capitalism. These convergences shall be built through
social fights, through collective awareness, through the emergence
of new social changing projects. Without being invested with any
"messianism", but because of its place into production and
domination intercourse, proletariat bears a permanent class-struggle,
sometimes latent, sometimes explosive.

This class-struggle imposes on ruling classes permanent
compromises and changes, which are determined by power struggle
in labour, in the sharing of riches, in the law and institutions. But it
also bears a global questioning of capitalism that expressed all along
history. Therefore class-struggle is at the same time bearing partial
changes, opposed to capitalist interest and logic, and bearing a
revolutionary rupture leaning foundations for a new society
emancipating the whole humanity.

Our participation into proletariat fights does not blind us about the
society diversification and complexity, which shows a heterogeneous
social formation, domined by capitalism and its rules -in particular
the market one-, but into which other production forms coexist
-even other workers exploitation forms-: cooperative, associative,
pre-capitalist (farmers, craft industry) or individual forms. Different
social groups come into the class-struggle field: farmers, traditional
middle-class, and the new wage-earning middle-class for example;
this poses many practical and theoetic problems which cannot be
eluded during the alternative to capitalism process. Farm workers in
particular -the greatest number of whom undergo the ruling system
exploitation- still are an important category because of the aim of
their work as well as their place into natural environment.


The rise of capitalism during the 19th and 20th centuries could not
have been realized without the systematic pillaging of the South
resources. To the proletariat exploitation corresponds the Asian, the
African and the American peoples one. Capitalism lies upon the
world-wide inequal development, upon an imperialist world order
into which metropolis impose themselves: either in a direct colonial
form (through corrupt regimes) or by the debt and self-interested
help weapons. Human consequences are desastrous: the destruction
of natural balances, of food-producing cultures, of local productions
for the benefit of sectors of riches exportation to metropolis.
Economies are incomplete, dependant, unable to meet with
populations' needs. A corollary: inequality, poverty and hunger arise;
also the progressive domination with the western way of life and
culture which smashes to bits each people's own values. As for
France, we advocate the decolonization of overseas territories and
departments. As resolute enemies of "our" imperialism, we can only
back, in the most clear way, the fights of people who are victims of
it, and more particularly those that peoples of French overseas
territories lead and will lead. We also oppose military interventions
and imperialist wars perpetrated by "our" State. We back all fights of
peoples against imperialism and for their independence. This
backing of principle is at the same time lucid and critical. The
historical experience showed that independence fights, always
legitimate in their refusal of domination -and for this reason, always
to be backed- often brought forth bureaucratic regimes, militarized
or involved into diverse forms of neo-colonialism. All the fights do
not lie upon the same social components, and our backing goes first
of all to poor farmers and to proletariats. All the liberation
movements do not have the same prospects, with the same weapons
and forces. In priority, we back the most democratic forces, the most
representative and the most likely to question capitalism and

In front of oppression, against nationalist and identitary aspirations,
we give our backing; but a critical backing, in particular towards
conceptions aiming to oppose peoples or to rub class realities, such
as the "Nation/ State/ Patry" trilogy. Against these conceptions
bearing new dominations, we much set the right for each people to
live in their "homes" -in a historical and a cultural sense- without
forbidding other peoples and other cultures the right to co-exist, the
right to mix. It is a matter of contributing in the creation of a new
citizenship transcendating ethnic, cultural, national or religious

Into European countries, under different forms, a similar inequal
development and centralization process exists, a process of cultures
and peoples oppression, which generated nationalist claims and in
certain cases fights for independence or autonomy -just as in
Ireland, in the Basque country, in Corsica...-. These are legitimate
fights as well, and demand a participation or a critical backing, when
these struggles are led by significative parts of the concerned
populations, and when they can open anti-capitalist and
emancipating prospects.


The ecologist fight historically belongs to the libertarian fight
identity, and it constitutes for us a major front for the revolutionary
fight. The pollution level, as well as the environment destruction and
the planet ecosystem destabilization one, give today to the ecologist
fignt an essential importance.

Capitalism led to a rupture into the human and the nature
intercourses. Its dynamics lies upon the necessity of the continuous
rise of production, and this is made by a permanent savage cut into
natural resources. The productivist logic caused massive
destructions, the general degradation of life environment, and an
important ecologic imbalance.

The ozone stratum destruction, the atmosphere thermic imbalances
("hot-house" effect), the forests witherings in the North hemisphere
("acid rains"), the fresh waters pollution by industrial and
agricultural wastes, the industrial disasters multiplying (chemical
and nuclear), the equatorial forests destruction, the deserts
spreading... The productivist civilization prepares for us a black

Governments, parties in power, international organisms multiply
declarations, decide of semi-measures which preserve the polluting
multinational firms essential interests, but are largely inefficient to
fight against the destructions of nature.

In front of ecologist problems, plannings of capitalism or of
bureaucratic societies prove to be inapplicable, these economic
systems being so much built around a productivist logic. This logic
destroyed the production "natural" target: the satisfaction of the
producers' needs. This logic led humanity into a dead-end.

Human activity is approaching the ecosystem bearable limits. Very
heavy menaces weight upon the planet. There is a contradiction
between the capitalist economy maintainance and the human
survival. Thus the ecologist struggle cannot only come within the
fights, necessary of course, against the most evident pollutions and
degradations. A consistent ecologism can only radically be
anti-capitalist? It has to attack the system nature and logics, and
propose against it another development model, another conception
of technologies and labour, another consumption form, of course,
another intercouse between society and nature. The ecologist fight
can inspire a society project globally alternative to capitalism, and a
life project founded upon a deep link, found again and renewed
between humans and nature. We have to be clear; it is not a question
of falling into the myth of a "pure" nature destroyed by humans.
Humans, their creative and productive activities belong to nature.
The Earth, its flora and fauna never constituted a fixed system, but
on the contrary were the place of a constant evolution, of a dynamic
balance of its components.

But the 20th century techologic evolution has created a new
situation. Humans are now able, if they do not master their
development, to create a rupture, a tough imbalance of the planet.
The 20th century saw the "acceptable" pollution -ie bearable by
environment- produced by human activity, change into a
desequillibrium jeopardizing the future of humanity. Sectorial
measures can nothing against the general rise of imbalances. It is the
causes of ills we have to go against.

Now, this is not the prioritary action into politician institutions, nor
the only specialists' interventions which will be able to resolve the
urgent problems revealed by ecology. Massive mobilizations are
necessary. The themes of ecology have to be taken into account by
the labour movement. And this more over because workers are the
first people struck by the ecologic disasters, into production and into
their dayly life.

Humanity must master its demographic rise, control its industrial
production, its energy consumption, to re-invent an agriculture
which do not use up waters resourses and soils. Productivism is
basically incompatible with such an evolution. On the one hand,
because it needs an explosive rise of production, of consumption and
of population. On the other hand, because it lies upon deeply
unequal societies, unable to administer collectively a harmonious
sharing-out of available riches.

An ecologist fight, because it has no sense without the affirmation of
the necessity of another development type, is inseparable from the
fight for a direct democracy and for an economic equality.

Ecologic mobilizations are to have important developments. Partial
victories they can obtain are important, but they will have a full
meaning only if they can weaken the productivism idological hold
upon populations, only if they go together with the development of
democracy and solidarity at the basis of society... only if they are a
step in the direction of another development model.

The ecologist fight, coming from a different point of view can and
has to be linked to class-struggles, into a global protest against


Our fight is not only turned against a certain material production
form and its domination upon labour, society, the world, or nature.
We bear libertarian aspirations which go farther than class-struggle
only. Every individual's emancipation is not a secondary prospect for
us, but the social fight major target. Far from opposing it, we assert
that the fight for liberation, for individual's freedom, cannot go
farther without collective fights.

For thousands of years, oppressions and alienations have stifled
every individual's and several social groups' bloomings: racism,
xenophobia, oppression of women, moral order exerting against
homosexuality, cultural conformisms...

Capitalism did not generate these alienations, but they serve it as
other ways to cement its domination, in oppressing everyone's vital
and creative faculties, and in propagating hates and divisions into the

Religions belong to these principal alienation vectors: with the world
vision they propose, with the hierarchised forms they established for
themselves, with their pretentions to tight everyone's life into a web
of imposed dogmas, taboos and rules. Of course we are for freedom
of worship, we respect each one's choices and we denounce
forbiddings and persecutions. But we refuse any religeous hold upon
society and we want to make them go through a radical criticism.

Therefore we are partisans for a global fight which should see all the
forms of alienation and of oppression as its own fight, and which
considers as its end the absolute respect of everyone's identity, that
everyone should live, love, work, create, express freely, without any
barrier of race, sex, nationality, age or way of life, that everyone
should find a place into the human society, bloom into it, and benefit
from satisfactory ways of existence. Capitalism has backed
thousands-of-years-old alienation and oppression, not without
renewing them; but it also bears in itself specific alienations: in
labour, where the individual is put into fragments, dominated and
reduced to a merchandise statute; in the man to nature intercourse;
in dayly life, where the consumption models determinated by the
profit logic.

Therefore, we are in favor of a solidarity between class- struggles
and the diverse fights against alienations, without reducing them to
the conditions of the formers. The destruction of the capitalist order,
the building of new equalitarian and libertarian social intercourses,
will bring the necessary basis for an emancipation era (even if they
are not enough in themselves).


The oppression of women finds a decisive backing into capitalism,
which imposes into firms inequality between men and women, and,
in many cases, vexations and sexual exploitation.

The fight for women's emancipation and equality is one of the
libertarian fight essential theme, and it is indissociable for us from
anti-capitalism and anti State-control.

This fight already imposed real changings into consciences and into
life, thanks to massive mobilizations of women in the 70's and the
80's. Today, these established rights are more or less questioned, in
particular pressions against the abortion right. We have to defend
these rights, into and out of the firms, and we still have to enlarge

Everywhere where ground was won, the contrary pression exerts
itself, aims at dispossessing women of their life mastering, of their
body and their sexuality, and looks for relegating them to a
subsidiary place, conforming to the traditional image of women.

This is a pression which finds into established systems, in particular
in the churches of diverse denominations, active backings.

Thus, the fights against the oppression of women is one of our major
fights, into and out of firms, linked with class-struggle.

For this reason, we reject the revolutionary and worker militant's
traditional conception whose freedom for the Cause is founded on
the domestic confining of one of the couple members. An alternative
and new militantism form is to be found and experienced by men
and women, which do not repeat into the emancipation movement
the domestic alienations and patriarchal intercourses.


We refuse the myth of the republican State, neutral, democratic, and
beyond particular interests. State is on the contrary the organization
of the ruling classes political violence which imposes at the basis of
society. The republican State, as any State, is a pyramidal and
centralizing structure where power is led up to down. By nature State
is centralizing, oppressive and standardizing. As a weapon for the
ruling classes, it supervises, forms, controls, corrects and represses
the population.

The modern State is a capitalist State. It is even the central body of
capitalism, conceived to administer its major mechanisms, linking
inextricably with private capitalism, and being itself a capitalist firm
among the most powerful, generating a techno-bureaucratic class.

The French State lies upon the equation: "Nation-Patry-State" built
on the crushing of cultural, regional, and local specificities,for the
benefit of a central, dominant and impoverished culture.

Into the European integration frame, this process is partly
questioned: deconcentration and decentralization transfers some
powers to regional and departmental notables. But this do not modify
our analysis. The Europe which is being built reduces (and will
reduce more and more) the particularisms. It centralizes (and will
centralize more and more) the essential powers for the system
durability. The State geographic levels are changing to be more fitted
to the internationalization of capitalism.

We assert that capitalism and democracy are antinomic, that
democracy cannot be built as a political system upon the basis of a
by essence inequal production. The modern capitalist society is
characterized by the contradiction between its pretention to be
responsible in front of the collective interests of all the population,
and its real end, at the priviledged people's service. The fight for an
authentic democracy is one of the class-stuggle major stakes, on the
basis of the nowadays production mode changing.

Thus we criticize the illusory and delusive character of
"parlementary democracy" which hides the capitalist way of
production power upon society. The possibility to choose State rulers
and lawmakers cannot be dissociated from the State that is organized
into a hierarchy, nor from its function of capitalism management.
The parlementary system turns the citizen into a passive elector,
who delegates his or her power to rulers who cannot act against the
essential interests of capitalist classes.

But we do not put dictatorships and parliamentary democracies on
an equal level. The last are the productions of a compromise -which
is advantageous for the system and built by it- between democratic
fights and aspirations borne by the population and the proletariat,
and the ruling classes interests, which need a minimal political
consensus. The parliamentary modern State therefore bears
important contradictions. Fights have been led for two centuries that
imposed on it freedom of expression and of organization, universal
franchise and women franchise. These fights also imposed on it that
it should take a responsibility of solidarity and of social dimensions,
and should take on an equalitarian conception fo public services.In
the modern State, the contradictory classes fights and tensions are at
stake; the ones aiming at these rights spreading, the others, at their
challenging. For this reason, we oppose the public services
privatization which challenges the social utility logics.

Thus we are not abstentionists on the principle. As well as we affirm
that no radical changing of benefit for the proletatiat can be
deliberately brought by elected members, we do not rule out the
possibility to vote or to call to vote, in certain conditions for
such-and-such candidate, not without repeating our radical criticism
of electoralism and our absolute priority into social fights.

We have an anti State-control fight. In front of capitalist an
parliamentary State it, opposes an alternative project, for an
autogestionary and federalist democracy lying upon the
collectivisation of the big means of production.

This anti State-control fight expresses into revolts and struggles
against the army and the society militarization, against police order,
against injustice, against the prison regime and against the present
educative system.

It participates into fights against all dictatorships, and into fights for
the spreading ofdemocratic freedoms into parliamentary systems, in
affirming that the democratic demand is a rupture from the State
machinery and from the social system it defends.


Only direct fights led at the basis can impose real changings on the
capitalists' interests. To the social-democratic strategy of
transformations coming from political parties through State
institutions, we oppose a social-fights strategy which is a power unit
in chanchings.

Therefore the actors and the decision-makers of these
transformations are not the political rulers or the militant minorities,
but the workers, the youth, the population in keeping with mass
movements, which associate, without ilitism, the biggest number of
concerned people.

Fights autogestion, power to general Assemblies, their democratic
coordinations, are the necessary forms and conditions for the basis
to bear this role of collective decision-maker. Several experiences
showed the validity of direct democracy.

Militants can give a decisive help to the starting and the leading of
mass fihgts. Far from negating their importance and the necessity of
their actions, we propose to active and conscient minorities an
autogestionary conception of the fights animators' role. Often put
into an active situation, as organizers, spokespersons, coordinators,
delegated persons, the autogestionary militants' interventions are
necessarily contradictory, since it tends, in the same time, to the
auto-direction of movements by the basis, to speech allowed for
every one, since it calls for conscience taking and to collective
responsibilization. This living dialectic is necessary. It can enable
people to avoid two pitfalls: dirigism and a spontaneism where
minorities would refuse to assume their responsibilities.

Labour autonomy, and more widely the one of every social
movement, is necessary for this assertion of social basis as a subject
mastering its fights. An autonomy from State-control institutions
and from employers' powers; an autonomy from any form of extern

Social fights do not limit to those led by workers into firms. The
global questioning of the system also passes by other mass
mobilizations in autogestion: the youth ones, the unemployed and
precariously employed people ones, the fights on housing, on living
environment, ecosystem, women's rights, against racism...

In such a conception of social fights, we give a priority, not to
ideological radicalism, but to the possibility to mobilize people, to act
and discuss collectively with important numbers of workers, of the

An autogestionary revolution cannot be built without the assertion of
a massive will of society. The impact of our present fihgts upon the
collective conscience will of course depend of our capacity to develop
autogestionary and alternative practices at a mass level.

From this vision, we will fight against avant-garde temptations,
against minorities proclaiming themselves the representants of the
basis. It is, in a first time, a question of building really representative
movements, not without giving positions aiming at going further
their own limits (isolation, corporatism...) and baking autogestionary

This does not mean a condemnation of every minoritary action; it
means that every minoritary action has to be inscribed into an
enlarging pespective at a mass level.

We assert that claiming fights -whose prospects are not
revolutionary by definition- can lead to a massive mobilization of the
exploited and allow conscience taking and concrete auto-gestion
experiments bearing anti-capitalist ruptures.

Large change prospects, alternative projects, borne by mass
movements, can lead to the aspiration for a global social change.

The same for alternative realizations, cooperatives and associative
activities in autogestion, which can lead to a global questioning of
society, if they remain linked with workers, population and

We do not oppose claimings nor reforms in themselves. The
partition between "reformist" and "class-struggle" is for us placed
between reforms won by autonomous fights, and reforms
deliberately given by powers or coldly negociated.

However we have to denounce the takeover capacity of the capitalist
system, and its capacity to challenge later anything that balance of
powers can impose on it.

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