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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #303 - Municipal elections: Libertarian communists have a say (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 2 Apr 2020 09:02:54 +0300

The next municipal elections bring a lot of promises and negotiations from the various candidates with a view to being elected. Libertarian communists can take over public space to defend their anti-capitalist and self-managing ideas. Another management of the municipalities is possible, it will go through the struggle and the change of mentalities. ---- Municipal elections begin on March 15. As with all polls, abstention is generally massive (36.45% in the first round in 2014). And as always, election campaigns are an opportunity for candidates to multiply promises that they will quickly forget once elected. Why then should we be interested in it, as libertarian communists ?
On the one hand, it is nevertheless a photograph of the political power struggles of the period that we need to analyze. On the other hand, it is a period during which political discussions will be more frequent than others, and it is an opportunity to highlight our watchwords and analyzes.

In particular, the specificity of this election, in terms of scale and proximity of candidates (to very different degrees of course depending on the size of the municipalities) can allow us to initiate discussions on themes that are at the heart of our concerns: direct democracy, self-management, control of mandates.

The first salient aspect is already the slap that is about to receive the Macronie. Lyon is the only major city in which a LREM candidate is placed first in the polls, in the person of Gérard Collomb, credited with 23% of the vote. And again, this is more a phenomenon of local notability and anchoring than the sign of adherence to the government's political project. Almost everywhere else, LREM is either confined to supporting roles, or totally absent, its expected candidates withdrawing in favor of LR candidates.

Several conclusions can be drawn from this. On the one hand, government policy is overwhelmingly rejected, the LREM label locally appearing to repel. On the other hand, LREM, by its very form, is cut off from the country, and incapable of standing out from the crowd of candidates known to the inhabitants. Finally, the game of alliances reveals LREM for what it is: a political force anchored on the right.

A slap for LREM
The problem is that the political force in ambush, and which is doing well, is still the RN. Every election shows it to us: the neoliberal policies pursued for 40 years are pushing more and more voters into the arms of the fascists. Despite the catastrophic record of the " brown town halls ", the so-called electoral " glass ceiling " of the RN is, in many aspects, giving way. A recurring phenomenon is helping him there: calls from both sides for joint applications with LR.

At this stage, if LR still favors alliances with LREM, one can only note the multiplication of union lists between candidates RN and ex-LR, especially in medium-sized cities (Sète, Lunel, Arras...). Only positive sign: it would seem that, as for other parties, the RN label is difficult to wear for candidates, including in RN bastions, and that they prefer to do without it, for fear of reprisals....

A new progression for the fascists
On the LFI side, and after the European debacle (6% of the vote), it is modestly said that this is an " intermediate step " before the presidential election. The instruction is to merge into " citizen " lists , without putting forward the LFI label.

The PCF, despite the well-established tradition of " municipal communism ", continues to unravel, and is preparing to lose bastions again, like that of Ivry-sur-Seine. On the far left, the scores for LO, POID or NPA should be insignificant, with the exception of Philippe Poutou in Bordeaux, who is approaching 10% in the polls (with the support of LFI).

Finally, a dynamic continues, and must question our positioning as libertarian communists: that of the " participatory " lists which claim to be of " municipalism ".

First, it is a context of significant local politicization. Leaflets are distributed in mailboxes, in the markets, political discussions are taking place between neighbors. It is an opportunity for us to seize it, each political discussion being an opportunity to bring our interlocutors to critical positions with regard to the capitalist system. More precisely, the scale of the ballot and the concrete nature of the issues help to put forward our conception of power.

No, democracy is not, for us, to elect a person who will then be unsustainable for six years. No, democracy is not, for us, to circumscribe the debates on the urban environment, ecology, educational policy, road and waste management to the restricted circle of the municipal council, or worse delegate behind closed doors to the agglomeration community or communes.

Yes, democracy is, for us, the construction of checks and balances, the self-management of public services, the taking in hand of the ecological question by all and everyone, the revocability of elected officials.

" Municipalist " inclinations
Finally, these elections raise the broader question of the political project that can be carried out at the municipal level. We are referring here to a doctrine which is debated by libertarian activists and which irrigates in citizen circles, and in particular among the partisans and supporters of " participatory " lists mentioned above: " libertarian municipalism ", theorized in particular by Murray Bookchin.

If we have to sum up his ideas in a few words, here is the diagram: local struggles lead to electoral forces opposed to the capitalist system ; these forces operate on the principle of assembly ; once elected, they federate at the higher, regional, national or international level, with mandated and revocable delegates ; occupying positions of power, they come to necessarily confront the regulatory institutions of capitalism.

This strategy, which has only been implemented a little, should not make libertarian communists forget that the main terrain of the class struggle is the economic terrain and not institutions, even in the hands of citizens with the best of intentions. . Without any contempt for those who vote, let us remember that social conquests, and even revolutionary experiences, were obtained by collective struggles, and not by ballot boxes.

Jules (UCL Montreuil)

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