International Gathering of Revolutionary Youth (Summer 2019)
Who Are We? — Brochure Published by Young Revolutionaries in France
We are the Trotskyists, the revolutionary militants who have inherited the struggle waged by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.
We have chosen three topics to present the positions of anti-capitalist revolutionaries such as ourselves: the defence of the environment, the fight against the oppression of women, and the fight against racism.
Revolutionaries Fighting to Defend the Environment
Today, in France and around the world, tens of thousands of young people are expressing their anxiety about their future and the future of their environment. They are right.
Every day, thousands of hectares of forests are destroyed, millions of tonnes of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, are released into the atmosphere by major industries.
The survival of humanity is inseparable from the survival of its environment. The destruction of the environment is the destruction of life. Wars, famines, epidemics, mass unemployment, the destruction of education, all the threats to the future of humanity and its environment, all the concerns they raise, such as global warming, have a common origin: a system of production based solely on the pursuit of profit and ready to shamelessly exploit all resources, whether from the land or from human labour.
It is capitalism, the economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, owned by a few, and on exploitation that exhausts us and exhausts the resources of our planet. Faced with this situation, what can we do?
The national education system, the governments and corporations, making use of “green-washing” to “green” their brand image through promotional PR campaigns, have an answer.
We should go about it individually, they tell us, turning off the lights when we go out, taking showers, stopping the use of soap, or only organic soap, eating less meat or riding a bike, and if we do that individually, presto! The planet will be saved!
But in reality, 100 corporations, mainly oil companies, are responsible for more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study by the NGO International Carbon Disclosure Project.
Placing responsibility for the destruction of the environment on individuals makes the environmental issue a moral one, that is, almost a subjective and secondary one, when in reality it is a crucial political issue.
We are in favour of people being civilised. But is the answer to this question to sort your garbage individually, or to stop eating meat individually? No. It is about how we, as a society, wish to produce: what we want to produce and how we want to produce it. We must no longer be governed by an anarchic profit system but by a system based on planning that is aimed at satisfying the needs of humanity and its environment.
For us revolutionary militants, the only solution is to put an end to this capitalist system, which profits from the exploitation of workers and the environment. It generates profits: direct profits, such as when the far-right Brazilian President Bolsonaro authorizes the deforestation of entire areas of the Amazonian forest to allow developers to build a highway, or indirect profits, when polluting companies simply continue to pollute so as not to call into question their profits.
All 197 governments that signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, known as COP21, claim to be aware of the climate challenge, and all, however, acknowledge the failure of the agreement: only 16 governments respect it.
Surprising? How could it be otherwise, when everyone believes that nothing can or should stand in the way of corporate profits?
The solution is not in summits among those in power, but in the democratic takeover of our production, in an egalitarian society where we control our production according to our needs. That is why we are fighting for the revolution and for the working class, the exploited class, together with the youth, to take control of society.
Revolutionaries Fighting to Eradicate the Oppression of Women
To be a working woman in the 21st century is to suffer a double burden: First, as a worker who has a part of the value produced by her work stolen from her, and second, as a woman who gets more of the value she produces stolen from her than from a man. Engels, Marx’s comrade in the struggle, said: “In the family, the man is the bourgeois; the woman plays the role of the proletariat”.
Today, women are subjected to double exploitation.
As revolutionaries, we fight for equality, legal equality, real equality. We fight for the respect of women’s specific rights: the right to abortion, contraception, access to a medical gynaecologist — just as we fight against harassment and all forms of oppression or discrimination.
Capitalist society is incapable of granting equality. On the contrary, this system aggravates this double oppression. A society where rape, sexist aggression and rude statements against women are widespread is not civilised.
Can we accept a society in which 400 women in France die each year under the blows of their companions? So, no, the fight against capitalist exploitation cannot proceed without the fight for women’s rights. All the more so in this period of division, when it is in the government’s best interest that the protests explode into separate or even opposing groups, it is essential to unite. Women and men workers have an equal interest in securing women’s rights.
When Macron and his government close maternity hospitals or ban three quarters of women from having access to a medical gynaecologist, they condemn them to the risk of female cancer and even death.
It is the task of all revolutionaries to put an end to the capitalist system of production, as it is their task to conquer women’s rights. For the emancipation of women, for the emancipation of workers, long live the fight for revolution.
Revolutionaries Fighting to Destroy Racism
Racism: We know the topic and hear about it all the time. Racism is an ideology based on the lie that some so-called “races” are superior to others. As a result, some people are discriminated against according to different criteria: their skin colour, their religion, their origin. … Let us be clear, for men and women, there is only one race: the human race. Therefore, any principle of superiority of one over the other has no basis. Unfortunately, however, racism is indeed present and continues to grow.
Political racism is organised by those who govern us, those who are in the service of the capitalist for-profit system, of the banks, of the shareholders. They use racism as an instrument to divide the workers, the youth and the peoples and to develop reactionary prejudices, including among the oppressed.
Racism is on the rise in France. There are racist crimes, racist demonstrations, racist statements, racist jokes, about Blacks, Arabs, Jews, Asians, Roma. … According to an annual report by the Human Rights Defender, a young Black or Maghrebian person is 20 times more likely to be stopped and asked for papers by the police than a young white person. And in the professional world, young Blacks and North Africans have three times more difficulty getting hired. It is a reality. Politicians use all these prejudices to divide us, to make us afraid of each other and to literally kill each other.
Racism must be fought because we are for the unity of workers and young people.
Yes, society is objectively divided into two social classes: the working class and the capitalist class. It is the exploitation by a minority of capitalists that divides society. But they have every interest in dividing the majority of the exploited. So they invent the concepts of “races”, “racialised”, “non-racialised”… to try to divide us, to make us accept their wars.
Every person who works is part of the working class, whether or not they are French, whether or not they have papers.
We are internationalists. We stand by our Algerian comrades, our Malian comrades, our Palestinian comrades, who are fighting for their right to self-determination. Young people and workers have no borders or homeland.
Racism must be eradicated and to do so, the problem must be tackled at its source: capitalism, its wars and its policies that organise division.
Has this brochure interested you? Are you in agreement? Do you want to discuss it?
We propose to organise discussion meetings everywhere on these and other topics so that we can understand and take action.
We are organising an International Gathering of Young Revolutionaries, which will take place this summer. Young people from Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, France, India, Morocco, Russia, and the United States have registered. Young people from Azania (South Africa), Mexico, Palestine, and Turkey are also expected. …
In the appeal we launched to invite youth to this meeting, at the initiative of the OCRFI (Organising Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International) activists, we stated: “All over the world, alongside workers, young people are seeking ways to defend themselves and organise themselves to fight back”. We want to bring together “all those who, like us, are revolted by imperialist barbarism, want to change the world, overthrow capitalism and fight for revolution”.
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Statement by G.C. from the United States: “Why I will be attending the FI Youth Camp”
Like all Americans raised in the 90’s, I was inculcated with the certainty that capitalism and liberal democracies were inevitable. Politics was no longer a contested space. The WTO protests in ‘99 were the first movement I recall external to the existing political system, but it was quickly destroyed. I was old enough to participate in the protests against the Iraq War, and they seemed like they would be pivotal. But post-invasion, the movement dwindled until it collapsed completely under Obama.
Occupy had promise, but it suffered from the same faults as the anti-war and anti-WTO protests. It was a movement centered around identifying a problem, but offering no answer, not even seeking a solution. It was as if they thought exposing corruption alone would force reforms to be implemented.
These movements weren’t only destroyed from external pressure, but through a lack of clarity and analysis. What we failed to understand was that we were working from within the very system we opposed. We were focused on issues without understanding their context. We didn’t protest imperialism, we protested “preemptive war.” We didn’t fight capitalism, we fought Wall Street corruption. We thought we were on the outside of the system, but were firmly in its fold.
Now, in the wake of the Sanders campaign, activists are seeking to reconstruct the New Deal. This fundamentally misunderstands the nature of our conflict. Those victories were simply an armistice in the fight against capitalism. The US must look not just to the past, but internationally for a path forward.
I don’t know the exact nature of our coming struggle, but I know that our actions must be class-based, with international solidarity, and rooted in systemic analysis. As capitalism struggles to contain its contradictions, as climate change goes unaddressed, we have no choice but to mobilize. I’m honored and eager to learn what I can, share what I know and do what we must.