25,000 cops deployed in the suburbs on the night of Dec. 31, 2005 in defence of order and security against the possible resumption of the uprising, provided an eloquent image of what the uprising has been for France and for the imperialist countries in general. The ostentatious show of strength by the French State was paradoxically a blatant demonstration of weakness, the French bourgeoisie and its state were not able to ensure a more normal new year to 500 thousand thronging the Champ Elisees except at the cost of a level of militarization similar to a state of war. In all the imperialist countries, even those slightly touched by the French contagion – Belgium, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Spain, Greece, England, Switzerland, Sweden – the fear of the bourgeoisie was so great that governments took measures, in terms of deployment of forces, as if there had been actually an uprising.
Even the account of the burnt cars has seemed quite grotesque: first it has been said that they were the sign of mere vandalism and hooliganism by the ‘scum’ of the banlieues, with no political consciousness, no purpose and ultimately reasonless; but later the full force of the police is deployed and military and political effectiveness, the degree of tightness of the institutional political system has been assessed by counting the burnt cars. The comments of the day after New Year have in fact spoken of “narrow escape”, counting the relatively low number of burnt cars, even if they were 100 more than the previous New Year. Recalling Marx, it could be said that when every rustle and social ferment, every abnormal event, every single episode is perceived by the bourgeoisie as a danger, then indeed every single episode becomes a danger.
To the fear of the bourgeoisie corresponded the pride and strength of the rebel proletarian youth. Muhittin, the kid survived the tragic night of 27 October, when Bouna and Zyaed lost their lives, said: “Now my friends think I’m a hero, that I became a leader. But I’m just a boy” and, speaking about the New Year Eve, “Sure, I know people who get ready to stick it to the cops.” How can they think that 25 thousand cops can wipe out and smother all this hate? In the infamous courts of the bourgeoisie, particularly in Bobigny, have been tried and sentenced dozens of young people involved in the uprising. More than 5000 have been arrested and more than twice charged and prosecuted.
The logic of these courts has been that of a “court-martial” where they did not even looked for proven “evidences”, but hired the police reports as “evidence”. But even here, though the State tried to show a fierce face, they certainly found neither fear or repentance of young people. Those trials resembled to all trials against mass rebellions, impregnated with terror and revenge, with rituals that should go according to the the law, but that turn out to be a sort of “exorcism”. From the Commune of Paris to the France of today, these events always revive the historical memory: the bourgeoisie would like the “peace of the graveyard” to bury instances of rebellion and social transformation.
But Paris is not suited to this, even the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, with the tombs of many Communards, communists, fighters and partisans of the liberation, is the memory of the revolution that feeds the revolution. The truth is that in Paris and France a new spectrum appeared: the proletarian youth. It begins to haunt all major European cities and disturb the slumbers and safety of the bourgeois. The new proletarian youth, children of proletarians, from the proletarian suburbs, has rebelled. It is not the first time, the anger and hatred were and are permanent and latent, but this time they rebelled everywhere, in all the banlieues of Paris and the French cities where there are the same conditions, and where they did not rebel, they anyway recognized themselves in the revolt, and made the rebellion stronger and sharpened, laying bare before the eyes of all France and imperialist countries of Europe its class nature.
Every argument used by rulers, politicians, intellectuals to explain and sometimes justify the revolt revealed its global nature. Shocked journalists, sociologists from overwork, members of the “official left”, the more they climbed at straws to give the “real explanation”, even more each explanation ended to give a reason more to rebel and bring out more clearly than ever the general class character of the class society against which the uprising has developed, just what each “true explanation” tried to conceal. It is the revolt of the French proletarian youth, of the most precarious strata in the proletarian suburbs, having a proletarian tradition, where the factories in some cases are merged with the neighbourhood.
At Aulnay Sous-Bois, the heart of the uprising, there is the Citroen, with 7,000 workers. In short, thinking about this neighbourhood, it can be said that the problem of the bourgeoisie are not the burnt cars, but the workers who produce them, and their children. Correctly, it has been talked about children of the proletariat. Often wrongly, to stress that the adult proletariat would be contrary to the revolt, that it would be on the side of the system, integrated into it, but it was a forgery and deception. The young proletarians have expressed in a radical form the interest of their class and have rebelled against the passivity imposed by the the ruling class, in all its ramifications and allied – the labor aristocracy represented by political parties and trade unions, the wealthy petty bourgeoisie, intellectual or “shopkeeper” and owner.
They also tried to show the rebellion of the youth of the banlieues as a particular event, not linked to the more general process of entry of the new generation in the world political scene within the imperialist countries, as has been shown a few months after by the student movement against the CPE, and as had already shown by the movement against imperialist globalization, from Seattle to Genoa. It is just the nature of the clash with the police that explains and makes visible the same instances, made deeper and more radical by the class character of these youth. It is as if the murderer cops of the G8 2001 in Genoa were on active duty in the banlieues and here the proletarian youth gave them “tit for tat”, made their life difficult, gave stalemate, burnt their stations, sometimes a car or a school building, put them on the run, rejected a trend to a traditional clash in which they would be massacred.
The proletarian youth collected the anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist issues – here their “Algerian” origin had influence – which was already subject of contention in those suburbs. But, when those issues fly on the winged speeches of anti-globalization gurus, SOS Racisme, etc., are good, if they become violent confrontation in the ghettos of the imperialist metropolises, everyone hurries to mark them as unmotivated, unreasonable, unacceptable, and reformists of all kinds show to be nothing but a noble form of the vulgar expressions of Sarkozy. In the revolt, the youth of the banlieues put forward demands of freedom, transformation, sociability, re-appropriation, rejection of the ordinary way of living, dressing, thinking, which animate the youth in France as well as in other imperialist countries, whatever the colour of the skin and the country of origin.
The proletarian youth has put in radical forms, ultimate, even symbolically, the relevance of the scientific law that there is no construction without destruction. The proletarian rebellion scares even more the bourgeoisie when the youth take the place in the frontline, because it means that they do not face a flash in the pan but a potential new wave of revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Youth always anticipated the more general revolutionary movement of the proletariat and masses. The revolt of the proletarian youth in the banlieues showed how all aspects, all the ferments that drive the youth movement may turn against the State. The rap music, the organizations of football fans, social phenomena that usually emerge in ambiguous forms, between adaptation to the existing society and transgression, when they merge with the economic and social conditions, solve their ambiguity and the youth turn them against the capitalist system, its laws, its face concentrated in the police state, that tries to impose that system and its laws as untouchable.
The young proletarians protagonists of the revolt are certainly young immigrants and children of immigrants who live on their skin the double oppression of being at the same time proletarian and immigrant, and so suffering discrimination, of being considered second-class citizen, strangers in their own home, foreigners in the land where they were born, of “non-white race”, marginalized at any time of their existence. This is the result of the imperialist nature of the country in which they live, the fact of being born, living or have come in countries where the wealth is concentrated in the few based on robbery of the many. The laws of the imperialist system and the current division of the world produce huge fluxes of immigrants escaping from poverty, hunger, disease, war, etc., and make these immigrants and their children born in the imperialist countries the most exploited proletariat.
This affects the composition and the consciousness of the proletariat, that brings in its struggle the issues of transformation of the two sides of the planet of the current imperialist system: that of the country of origin oppressed by imperialism and that of the imperialist country. In the consciousness of this new proletariat feudal legacies of the oppressed countries and rejection of the decay of imperialist countries merge, as riches and limitations. This is a feature of modern diversity of the imperialist countries, and this diversity can and should be transformed into richness of the struggle because it concentrates in the struggle of the proletariat the aspirations to the transformation of the two sides of the planet. The young immigrant proletarian and sons of immigrants with their “exclusive” revolt give voice to the “excluded”, the exploited of the whole imperialist system.
The proletarian youth today is essentially composed of young unemployed, temporary workers, children of workers who have also become unemployed and precarious workers. So It is clear that often they do not have the same gathering places – the factory, the place of work – the same tools, unions and political organizations, by which the struggle and class consciousness of workers and proletarians grows. In France and many of the imperialist metropolises the proletarian youth is multinational, multiracial, filled as it is with young children of immigrants or immigrants, and it is concentrated in ghettos, expelled from the city center, from the wealthy neighbourhoods. The revolt has concentrated all these aspects and it is also a result of the concentration of all these aspects. Of course these aspects do not show up in the same way in all the imperialist countries – for instance in Italy the presence of immigrants in the neighbourhoods is still low, immigrants are mostly of first generation, the second generation exists only “patchily”.
Bourgeois and reformist analysts use these differences to isolate the revolt in France, exorcise the contagion and stress the differences instead of the common conditions, to consider the revolt a rare event, “French” , unrepeatable. Nevertheless, this kind of revolt did not occur only in France but also in other imperialist countries, from Los Angeles to Brixton, etc.. But even if it were true everything that is said, through the dialectical lenses of the class analysis, and not the mechanical, scholastic and metaphysical thinking of many so-called analysts and self-styled Marxists, we can see what is particular and what is general in the revolt of the French proletarian youth.
Is not proletarian youth in all the imperialist countries, whether or not concentrated in suburbs, in its vast majority, precarious, underpaid, voiceless, ghettoized? In Italy, are not most of the southern cities, large, small, medium, marked by a similar type of youth? And who said that the lack of concentration can not become an expansive factor in every area of the imperialist metropolises of the reasons and opportunities of rebellion for proletarian youth? Even if not on the base of skin color, origin and language, all forms of discrimination, marginalization are reproduced in shapes similar to those in the French banlieues, and are made more acute by the social contrast between the rich, at the centre of which are the bosses, who have their neighbourhoods, restaurants, circles, shops, their ways of life, and the universe of proletarian youth, huge masses of excluded. Towards this proletarian youth the forms of repression, control, persecution of the modern police states are being concentrating.
And in all forms of aggregation of these young people – the neighbourhoods, the spread factory of precarious work – a world apart develops, made of ties, communities, groups, gangs, where anger and rebellion grow, along with the boredom and exclusion. At the same time, what are and what are becoming the factories for the young workers? Of course they have a job, more money, and this influences their way of living and thinking out of the factory, but, inside the factory, are not they experiencing marginalization, exclusion, repression, control, exploitation, denial of life, a wage slavery, a flexibility, a precariousness that ripens in them the unacceptability of an eternal life as exploited?
Among the young workers there are the same feelings of revolt. At the factory, the face of the cop is that of the chief who asphyxiates, insults, threatens, controls, to force them to do anything for the profits. Reformists, opportunists and fake communists do not see the same fire under the ashes, because they are part of the system of the enemy oppressor and eat at his table, sometimes disguised as union activist or “leftist”. The petty bourgeoisie philistinism and the official “left” are against the rebellion of the proletarian youth and are inside the political system, culture, ideology that dominates the society. The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communists, the young people they organize are and should be conscious vanguard and active observers of this dark but true side of the class struggle in the imperialist metropolises. They should be nourished by the same hatred, become the front line and active organizers.
With the weapon of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and building the vanguard organization of proletariat, they learn the language of the rebel proletariat. They are, with the mind and the plan when they cannot with their rooting, inside the whole dynamic of the revolt, they analyse it as a class war, they look to the spontaneity as an embryo of consciousness. With the mass line – that is not and can not be to the development of a peaceful mass movement – they focus their work in transforming the demands of the masses from a confrontation with bourgeois power into a struggle for power, in the fire of class struggle. The Communists do not turn the riots in the banlieues into a myth, but they have clear that wherever proletarian youth, the proletariat lives and works there are today the conditions for the rebellion and to transform it proletarian revolution through a protracted revolutionary war.
For those who want to make revolution in the imperialist countries, for the Communists who should be the vanguard, the revolt is rich of lessons and they should start from this. Mao said: “Being attacked by the enemy is a good thing not a bad thing. We should support whatever the enemy fights and fight whatever the enemy supports”. So, it was a fundamental dividing line to be on the side of the revolt . The way in which the State and the system has fought it was more than enough to choose a side. But to choose a side was a necessary but not sufficient condition. Mao said: “Whoever is on the side of the revolutionary people not only with words but also with actions is a true revolutionary.”
Not everything in the revolt of the proletarian youth should be considered right and correct, not all the actions that realized in the clashes were the ones needed, but this has been taken as a pretext, not only by bourgeois and reformist, but also by groups of opportunists and false revolutionaries, to distance themselves from the revolt. Mao said: “The defects of the people should be criticized, but in doing so you have to be on the side of the people and our criticism must start from the burning desire to protect and educate.” Opportunists and false revolutionaries do not understand that through the experience the masses learn and are able to overcome mistakes and shortcomings and of their previous initiatives. But this can be done with the war, not instead of war. Mao said: “The revolutionary war is an antidote that not only eliminates the enemy’s poison but also frees us from all impurity.”
What the revolt has revived in the heart of the imperialist countries is precisely the need and relevance of revolutionary violence, the need and relevance of the revolutionary war. As Mao said: “The revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” Who has distanced itself from the revolt, through a thousand distinctions, opposes this truth that is proven and its real movement. The revolutionary war of the proletariat arises from the basic consideration, and the revolt made it very clear, that, as Mao said: “Their persecution against the revolutionary people can not but force to extend and intensify the revolutions.” The rebel youth have boldly brought on the field the Maoist slogans “it is right to rebel” and “Under no circumstance we must let the terrible look of reactionaries frighten us” . Nor the end of the revolt may be cause for pessimism. As Mao said: “All points of view that overestimate the strength of the enemy and underestimate the strength of the people are wrong.”
So, the revolt of the proletarian youth leaves better conditions for the construction of the party for the revolution. Indeed, the question of the party is key ring that our meeting points out saying “From the revolt in the banlieues to the proletarian revolution.” Mao said: “If you want to make revolution there must be a revolutionary party”. The revolt gives us the task, again as Mao said, to “give to this movement (revolutionary socialist) an active, enthusiastic and systematic guide.” The choice of building the party in function of the revolutionary war defines the task, but also the form of the party needed today in France and in the imperialist countries. The choice of being part of the uprising, of being linked to the proletarian youth who revolts, is based on the full understanding that “the revolutionary war is the war of the masses, it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them,” and that “a leadership team truly united and linked with the masses can only be formed gradually in the process of mass struggle and not separated from it.”
The Communists and the revolutionary forces in France, facing the uprising, proved to be manifestly inadequate. Even those who supported and endorsed it, acted as those who Mao described: “those who in a revolutionary period can only follow old habits. They are absolutely unable to see this enthusiasm (of the masses). They are blind, everything is black in front of them. Sometimes they confound the right with the wrong, the black with the white. Did not we see enough people of this kind? … As soon as something new appears they disapprove and rush to oppose it. Later they have to admit their defeat and do a small self-criticism. But later, when a new thing appears, retrace the entire process. This is their typical behavior toward anything new. Such people are always passive and never advance in the critical moment. They always need a violent thrust before moving one step.” The revolt of the proletarian youth calls the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Communists to a new beginning, applying the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the concrete reality, integrating with the proletarian masses, launching of the Revolutionary War. Mao teaches us: “Our main method is to learn how to make war making the war”, “a revolutionary war is an enterprise of masses.
Often it is not first to learn and then act, but, on the contrary, first act and then learn, because to act is to learn ” ” We must ban in our ranks every weak and sterile ideology.” The construction of the party and the transformation of the revolt in revolution requires the integration and a spirit of hard struggle in the ranks of the proletarian youth. We should help to correctly analyze the revolt, starting from the correct analysis of the nature of the enemy. Mao said: “Imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature, at the same time are real tigers and paper tigers. The real tigers devour men, devour them by the millions, tens of millions, but finally they turned into paper tigers. If we assess them in the essence with a forward-looking and strategic point of view, we must see them for what they are: paper tigers. On this is based our strategic thinking. On the other hand they are also living tigers, iron tigers, real tigers which can devour men. On this is based our tactical thinking “. ” We should despise our enemies from the strategic point of view, but from the tactical point of view we have to consider them seriously. ” The assessment of the proletarian revolt should tie dialectically two elements stressed by Mao: “To fight, to fail, to fight again, to fail again, to fight again … up to victory. This is the logic of the people … this is a Marxist law “,” every just revolutionary war has an enormous strengh, it can transform many things or pave the way for their transformation. ”
We need to be do together with the proletarian youth an assessment of revolt that takes into account this teaching of Mao: “in the ranks of the revolution it is necessary to make a clear distinction between right and wrong, between successes and shortcomings and also determine which of the two is in first place, which in the second. In examining the problems we must never forget to draw these two lines of demarcation, between revolution and counterrevolution, between successes and shortcomings. To do this work well well we need study and careful analysis. ” We are convinced that in France and the imperialist countries for us communists it is time, as Mao said to “face the world and defy the storm, the great world and the violent storm of mass struggle”