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(en) France, Ist Congress of the UCL - The fight against racism is a political and social struggle (Fougeres, 28-30 August 2021)(ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 17 Sep 2021 08:29:06 +0300

To roll back racism in society is first of all to roll back the discrimination and domination that make up a system. For what final goal, with what methods, what partners, what common demands ? The practice of long-term solidarity and action in this field requires a strategic aim. ---- Clarification: this text does not address the issues of colonialism and French imperialism, addressed elsewhere by the UCL, and focuses on the hexagonal situation. ---- In France, at the beginning of XXI th century, discrimination in hiring or housing on the basis of a face, a surname or home are always appreciated. Facies control is still part of everyday life, but also daily violence that can go as far as murder. Several recent surveys allow us to measure its extent.

The reality of racist discrimination in France
On the labor market: for the same job, a worker with a European profile is four times more likely to have access to a job interview than a worker with a non-European profile (Insee, 2014) ; 52.9% of non-white people feel discriminated against in the professional world ("Access to rights" survey vol. 3, Defender of Rights / ILO, 2017) ;
On the housing market: people with an Arabic or African-sounding name are respectively 27% and 31% less likely to get a first appointment with a private landlord (Téo 1, cited by the Defender of Rights) . Globally, non-white people are 5 times more likely to be victims of discrimination in housing (Access to rights survey vol. 5, Defender of rights, 2017) ;
In terms of social housing: in the same situation, in the social housing stock, applicants with a European profile have a nearly 50% chance of obtaining satisfaction after one year, compared to 15% for others (Insee, 2014 ) ;
Facies control does not weaken: people perceived as black or Arab undergo on average three times more police checks than white people. This is up to 20 times more for young men perceived as black or Arab. Controls are also more violent: 3 times more insults and violence reported by racialized men, compared to the average ("Access to rights" survey vol.1, Defender of Rights, 2017) ;
50% of immigrants and / or their children claim to be victims of discrimination against 10% of the rest of the population (Trajectoires et origines survey (Téo 1), Ined, 2016) ;
Not all minorities experience racism in the same way, although there is a common basis for exclusion from the national body.
Ordinary racism remains very present in France. It is practiced by members of the well-to-do classes as well as by members of the popular classes.
It is therefore clear that if ethnic statistics are prohibited by French law, there are already tools for measuring racist discrimination. However, a tool of this type is currently lacking to assess inequalities within companies (trades, salaries, career development), whereas it exists, for example, for inequalities between women and men. A reflection on the subject would be legitimate, provided that it avoids two pitfalls: providing employers with a pretext for registering employees ; assign employees to fixed categories.

In France, racism has two main sources, already identified in the UCL Manifesto:

the double legacy of slavery and colonialism, which not only still marks the imagination, but has consequences in terms of discrimination and inequalities today, whether for people from postcolonial immigration or in the territories still colonized by France (Antilles, Kanaky...) ;
the desire of the conservative and reactionary fractions of the ruling classes (whether political, economic, media, intellectual and religious) to make the white population and of Christian culture the only legitimate one to form the French "national body". Here again, this will result in inequalities and discrimination for people who do not meet these criteria.
The recurrence of crimes
Finally, the large number of racist attacks in recent years should alert: we can cite in France the anti-Semitic attacks of the Ozar Hatorah school (2012) and the Hyper Cacher (2015), but also in Brussels the attack of Jewish Museum of Belgium (2014), in Germany the Halle-sur-Saale attack (2019), or that of Pittsburgh in the United States (2018). But also the attacks on mosques which have multiplied in recent years, or the proven projects of far-right attacks which have been brought to light.

It is important to note that the racist attacks committed in other countries often bear the mark of French racist theories ( Renaud Camus' "great replacement" theory ...), as was the case during the Islamophobic attacks in Christchurch and of El Paso in 2019.

Objectives of the anti-racist fight
The system of racist domination is historically and socially constructed. It can therefore disappear.

The final aim of the libertarian communist struggle in this area is a society free from all processes of domination and racial hierarchy, whether they are explicit through colonization, racist laws or the myth of the national body, or more implicit through the processes of domination, exclusion and discrimination at all levels of social organization.

Against religious discrimination, the UCL claims a secularism that guarantees freedom of worship and freedom of conscience, and not the selective secularism of the extreme right, misguided to oppress the Muslim minority.

The action strategy
UCL's strategy consists in undermining the discriminating conception of the French "national body" by gradually detaching from it the majority population who can identify with it. It is a question of winning it to solidarity with minorities in the fight against discrimination, through collective struggles through the different components of the social movement.

There are three main areas of intervention for this:

In the trade union movement
It is the labor movement that, in numerical terms, organizes the most racialized workers.

It does so on a class basis, but often also by integrating themes specific to them: against the abusive withdrawal of their badge from Muslim employees of Paris Airports, support for the rights of Antillean, Guyanese and Reunionese personnel (AGR ) in public services, support for "chibanis" fighting for their pension rights at the SNCF, help with the regularization of undocumented migrants in all sectors, etc.

This articulation of general demands and specific demands corresponds to a de facto intersectional approach, even if it is not formulated in this way.

Fighting unionism is therefore an essential space for acting together, and we must push there to take more ownership of the issue of racist discrimination at work. The Anti-Racist Trade Union Forum in May 2019 was a positive moment in this direction.

For trade unionism to be more like the proletariat, it is also necessary, within it, to continue to promote racialized workers in the tasks of coordination and representation. It is also necessary to admit dedicated discussion spaces, in single sex, provided that the request comes from the interested parties.

By supporting anti-racist struggles and counter-powers
The anti-racist struggles are rich in political organizations or checks and balances, which range from collectives of undocumented migrants to Afro-feminist organizations, including truth and justice committees. In addition to carrying out real substantive and organizational work in the field, these organizations also have the merit of giving greater visibility to anti-racist issues, by forcing the whole of society to take a position. The UCL brings its solidarity and above all its support, human and material, to anti-racist struggles and to the construction of lasting anti-racist checks and balances. In particular, but in a non-exhaustive way:

the struggles against the systemic nature of police violence, which can go as far as murder, against racialized minorities, particularly black, Arab and Roma ;
the struggles of undocumented migrants, in particular for their regularization ;
the struggles against racist inequalities in institutions (eg medical, school, etc.).
The UCL will also be able to participate in questioning the cultural representations of minorities in society.

Within UCL
Within UCL, our objective must be to allow the inclusiveness of racialized people as much as possible and, conversely, to punish racist behavior in the organization.

In order to allow the inclusiveness of the organization to people of color (or perceived as such) we recall our absolute defense of single-sex tools and the possibility of setting up such tools if the people concerned express the need for them.

Surveys, analyzes and reflections must be carried out to question the sociology of the organization and in order to find avenues for improvement so that UCL is more accessible, inclusive and representative of people who are victims of racist oppression.

Networking, alliance, links in general with organizations and collectives made up of people living directly with racism and organizing themselves to emancipate themselves from it is also essential in order to participate in decompartmentalizing the sociology of the organization. and open it up to more diversity.

Materialist anti-racism
As its action strategy indicates, the Libertarian Communist Union does not practice moral or liberal anti-racism: being individually virtuous ("working on yourself", "deconstructing your gaze", etc.) is good ; acting collectively for real equality is better.

UCL's anti-racism is materialist anti-racism, which works on two legs. On the one hand, it recalls that racism is an instrument of division of the popular classes, to unite the "national body" around the State and the ruling class ; this is why the anti-racist struggle, vital for the cohesion of the proletariat, has a class dimension.

On the other hand, he points out that racism is a system which has its own autonomy ; it will not disappear "naturally" with capitalism and social classes ; its abolition therefore requires a specific and political fight.

UCL's public expression
Various, the proletariat undergoes offensives seeking to fracture it. What fuels racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic currents as well as religious fundamentalisms. They can count on an increasingly uninhibited state racism. And this is where the greatest danger of division lies.

Faced with this, a major ideological campaign has tried for several years to dismiss back to back the promoters of racial discrimination and anti-racist currents, with the obvious aim of disqualifying the latter. The UCL denounces and fights this amalgamation which puts on the same level those who fight for equality and those who reinforce domination.

The vocabulary of the anti-racist fight has certainly been turned upside down. New uses have appeared. For UCL, the main thing is to highlight and put forward the fight against really existing discrimination.

We must reaffirm that being "racialized" is not a given state once and for all: we would fall into essentialization. It is a discriminatory process linked to the construction of a "national body" around an identity defined as "white and Christian"" as our Manifesto says ;
If in its public expression the UCL uses the word "race", it is with quotation marks and specifying that it is about a social construction, because a good part of the population understands the word race in the first degree. (as actually existing, biologically or culturally) ;
Today the words "white privilege" are used in public debate: the motivations of those who use them may diverge from our conception of the fight against racism. But we can only rule out this expression that it is the material effects of racism that are targeted and whose specificity is too often denied.
We can only salute the mass mobilizations which denounce them. Because more than words, it is these facts that UCL considers it necessary to bring to the fore and fight, and this from the anchoring of class which is its own. And this is what we favor in our expression.

Alliance scope
To carry out this policy, UCL will act alongside associations that share the ambition of class and political anti-racism (collectives of undocumented migrants, FUIQP, ATMF, FTCR, ACTIT, Acort, Comité Adama, JJR), but also union, political and associative structures engaged in the fight against racism: CGT, Solidaires, CNT, CNT-SO, FSU... ; Fasti, Gisti, Resf, Mrap, LDH ...

Structuring demands
With its own expression, UCL endorses these demands of the anti-racist movement.


regularization of all undocumented migrants ("papers for all or no papers at all) ;
freedom of movement and installation (against the myth of invasion and great replacement).

right to vote for foreigners residing in France (giving priority to citizenship over nationality) ;
abolition of the double penalty (prison + expulsion from the territory) for convicted foreigners ;
abolition of administrative detention for foreigners, closure of CRAs
abolition of identity checks (and by then facies checks), disarmament of the police, abolition of the BAC
self-determination of the territories colonized by France
end of Françafrique ;

restitution to the countries of origin of the heritage stolen during the colonial period ;
insertion into the public space (street names, statuary, etc.) of revolutionary, anti-colonial and emancipatory figures, in place of reactionary, militarist and colonialist figures ;
recognition of forced labor in the French colonies as a crime against humanity and a right to reparations.

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