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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #269 - Reformism: What is citizenism the name? (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 6 Mar 2017 11:27:06 +0200

Everywhere in Europe, new radical left-wing movements are developing: Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Jean-Luc Mélenchon's insubordinate France ... How are they new in relation to the "old" social democracy or the revolutionary currents? Their common point is to rely on "citizenship", a new fashionable ideology. Yet it is criticized and even problematic. A short tour ... ---- To understand the current political situation, it is necessary to make a detour by the financial crisis of 2008. The massive support to the banks creates a debt of the States which leads to deleterious policies of austerity: increase of unemployment, reduction of the wages, dismantling of the Social aids ... The economic crisis, linked to a weakening of the dynamics of capitalism, is sustainable.

In political terms, it causes the acceleration of the establishment of a technocratic-security management of the political: left social democratic and right conservative of government now resemble like two drops of water and their program is simple: to put in Place neoliberal measures and at the same time develop the security to muzzle and repress any potential dispute ...

This austerity treatment created an unprecedented legitimacy crisis for the social-liberal (PS, Labor, SPD, Democrat in the US ...) and Conservative (Republican, CDU / CSU, conservative , American Republicans). They are discredited by the anti-social policies they carry out while exposing their corruption.

For the moment, revolutionaries, if they exist (in France, Germany, Spain, Greece, etc.) struggle to make their voices heard to the general public. Only two types of protest responses can be heard in the debate.

The first is that of the extreme right: the National Front in France, AfD in Germany, Golden Dawn in Greece, UKIP in the United Kingdom and Trump in the United States ... This false dispute proposes nothing but national capitalism And to take immigrants as scapegoats by racist politicians. Unfortunately, this trend is too successful ...

The other great alternative, that of the "left" is the current called "citizen", which intends to recreate a new social democracy. In Greece and Spain, it is Syriza and Podemos. In France, it is a series of thinkers, such as Lordon or Friot, journalists like Ruffin, movements such as Nuit Standing and politicians such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who embody this trend.

No class anchoring

To begin with, it must be remembered that the workers' movement and a good part of the revolutionaries consider that the class of producers and producers, that is to say workers and workers, is the revolutionary subject. This is the case of Alternative libertarian. That is to say, it is on the basis of our concrete situations of exploitation that we mobilize. It is because we are exploited in practice that we act.

This is not the case with citizens. On the contrary, they rely on an abstract "citizen" who has no class anchor or identity as a man or woman, white or colored. Before being a worker, a man or a woman, a resident or a resident of the inner cities, the working-class neighborhoods or the countryside, in short, a concrete person, an individual is an abstract "citizen", a member of the people , Regardless of social status.

It is by relying on this individual that reforms, passing through the State and the Republic (whose constitution would be rewritten), could then be proposed ... Thus Podemos theorized the stoppage of the reference to the proletariat and To the working class. In ideological terms the most prominent thinkers of this current are Mouffe and Laclau who inspired the book Construire le peuple d'Erejon, one of the theorists of Podemos. Their bible is Hegemony and socialist strategy.

Popular within social movements

Their idea is to "radicalize democracy", in a refusal to say left or right. The reference system is the opposition between the people and the "caste" or the 99% against the 1%. The means of change is not so much the struggles and the social movements as the passage through the ballot boxes to build a regenerated and progressive nation, which some call the national-popular option.

The second common point of these thinkers is that they are very regularly put forward by people of very good faith within the social movements. Thus, during the struggle against the labor law, the Standing Nights were the place where the citizenists, who, at the call of Ruffin and Lordon, would have liked to launch a process of writing a "new constitution" For a "true democracy" or a "true Republic", or even a VI Republic for Mélenchon. Fortunately, the Standing Nights have not reduced to this kind of ranting and have also been a support for the struggle.

Why criticize citizenship? Jean-Luc Mélenchon makes great YouTube videos (he even talks about his love for quinoa) and Lordon talks about France Inter. Why do they fall on them, even if we do not agree?

It is because even if some citizens could be quite interesting, we still have fundamental disagreements: the "old" social democracy, even if it was not revolutionary, claimed the working class. As we have seen, this is no longer the case of citizenship: the reference is no longer the workers and the workers, but the people and the abstract citizen ...

From the "people" to the "nation", the pace is quickly crossed

One might think that it has few implications, but that is not the case. Relying on the exploited, allows the internationalism: the union of the exploited ones across the borders. On the contrary, to refer to the "citizen" ultimately allows only to rely on an interclassist "people", and above all brings us to the nation as an unsurpassable horizon ...

Thus, from the "people" to the "nation", the step is quickly crossed (read on the following pages). Lordon praises the nation in his book Imperium, while the Melenchonians love to sing La Marseillaise at each meeting ...

Of course it is a "left" nationalism that is put forward, but it remains problematic. As libertarians, we know that it is often the reference to the nation that brings out the worst horrors: security laws, migratory politics to gerber, far right fascisante, colonialism and wars. For us, the nation must be criticized and not put forward.

It is also the question of the class struggle which leads us to criticize citizenship. The most frequent citizen thinkers like Friot and Lordon or the journalist Ruffin recognize the existence of social classes, they are not totally inconsistent ... On the other hand they do not consider that it is as an exploit.es , Proletarians, precarious workers and workers that we must act. The classroom is not a political tool for them. To this they oppose the abstract "citizen" who as a member of the democratic community must act as a people, disconnected from social classes.

From the moment they arise in this context, and not from a concrete classical framework, it seems that the only perspective of political action is a neoreformism with a good complexion, which explains why Lordon, for example, despite an apparent radicalization, Proposes only to rewrite a constitution as the political outlet of the movement against the labor law.

Among the latest analyzes of Lordon, there are sometimes interesting things, close to the revolutionaries ... But for all that, the unimaginable horizon of these thinkers is to rewrite the constitution by a "constituent process". That is why, according to the good word of a comrade, "Frédéric Lordon, it is like the Parisian demonstrations, it leaves to Republic and ends up at Nation".

More generally, we criticize the current citizenship for the inability to break out of the formal republican framework: the reforms are part of the democracy and the action comes from "citizens".

But the question of the social transformation that arises. How to change society? Citizenship seems to reveal two ways, which for us are as many sidings. The first is simply the electoral option, borrowed from social democracy (which is not a compliment): to vote for a party or a charismatic citizen like Mélenchon would be enough to change society ... We do not share this Enthusiasm, we believe that economic and political power is on the side of the employers, which is the only one that the elected representatives represent, for it leaves them no choice, and that therefore the revolution of the ballot boxes is doomed to failure; The employers will not allow themselves to be made. The sad failure of Syriza in Greece against the European Union is a cruel reminder.

Agora citizen, friendly but ineffective

The second model would be essentially the establishment of a large citizen assembly that would be the source of institutional reform. It is somewhat the model of the Indignants, the Occupy, the 15-M Movement in Spain ("Indignados") or the "constituent process" ... If this idea with a multiplication of assemblies seems more sympathetic than the electoral way, It is none the less incomplete. Indeed, an assembly that politely occupies a place, but is not on strike, is not in struggle, does not block the economy, and flows, eventually does not go beyond the citizen agora stage, Formative, but little in a position to concretize his ideas.

On the contrary, we believe that it is the struggles, the struggles, those of the workers, the exploited, the precarious, that will be the source of our emancipation ... And this struggle will not be against a caste or the establishment , But indeed against the ruling class and its apparatus of domination (State, law enforcement, media ...). It may be less sexy than a podcast by Frédéric Lordon on France Culture, but it is nevertheless necessary ... To change the world, there is no other way but the struggle, the blockages, The strikes and the revolution!

Matt (AL Montpellier)

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