Dear comrades, on behalf of our party, I thank your for your attending, this participation is extremely important and urgent in the context of the current situation in France. When we proposed to organize this meeting, it was to take up and relaunched this revolt 10 years later. At the same time, we thought that this revolt had a great international value, above all for all the Maoist comrades and organizations from the imperialist countries and also for all the parties and organizations from the countries oppressed by imperialism leading in people’s war, from India to Peru, from Philippines to Turkey.
First of all, it is to all parties and people’s masses that we have to dedicate this discussion.
The main contradiction in the world today moves in the oppressed countries, without this analysis we can not understand what is happening in our countries and the historical significance of that revolt. But, of course, the main support to the people’s wars in the world is to make revolution in our countries, in the belly of the imperialist oppressing beast. How can we Maoists disregard the important lessons coming from the revolts?
The revolt in the banlieues as well as those of the proletarian youth in the heart of other imperialist countries showed that in the imperialist countries exist revolutionary conditions and the task of Maoists is to give substance to these conditions with the proletarian revolution in the form of people’s war.
But now, this meeting has become something else too. After the events of November 13, the French bourgeoisie and the imperialist powers of the world have stepped up their war against the peoples oppressed by imperialism and intensified the imperialist aggression on the proletarians and peoples of the Middle East. Our meeting must express a clear and condemnation of that aggression.
At the same time, another issue must be cleared: as reaction to the external war of imperialism that “comes back home” in the forms that we see, the French imperialist bourgeoisie along with the imperialist bourgeoisie of the world unleash a war within an imperialist country. While we are gathered here a war is going on the proletariat and the masses in the banlieues. The French government that had declared the State of Emergency facing the revolt 10 years ago, has declared anew the State of Emergency, targeting the youth and proletarian masses in the banlieues. So our meeting must bring a strong support, our being on the side of the proletarian masses and proletarian youth in the banlieues.
This meeting is the first opportunity to bring strong and clear the voice of Maoists on this issue. And, at the same time, it is necessary to go back on what was the revolt of the banlieues has been to counter the State of Emergency in the banlieues and the internal war waged by the bourgeoisies in the imperialist countries.
First, the revolt shook the entire France: 8 suburbs in Paris and many other cities throughout France were shaken by a revolt which developed and generalized in as never before. In its development it found its forms of organization and resistance.
The proletarian youth, supported by many people who were not young, hit all what there was to hit in the banlieues and kept in check for days and days the State, that had deployed an army. Countless episodes of this revolt showed that the masses can respond the State violence. 5000 young people have taken to trial and convicted in the courts. This shows how wide was the numerical and mass dimensions of the revolt. From this we must start.
10 years later, we can say that the proletarian youth in the banlieues could develop the revolt but it was crushed by the state and did not find any support, no participation by those who called themselves communists, revolutionaries, Maoists in France. In our camp there were forces which counted the burned cars to say that they should not do so. In our camp there were forces who said that adults, workers, mothers, women did not agree with this revolt and this way they have amplified the contradictions within the people and made room for State intervention.
10 years later, there are still those who say the same things. Behind lip service in support of the reasons for the revolt, they still repeat the same points, they look at the weaknesses if the masses, they highlight this weakness and magnify the strength of the State. Even in our camp, the opportunists, fake communists, false Maoists have seen a ghost in the revolt, it is the same ghost that frightened the bourgeoisie and revealed the opportunism of the revolutionary forces, in France as elsewhere.
During the revolt our party sent two young people in the banlieues, because, as chairman Mao said: “Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment. … If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself…. If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience. (On Practice, July 1937). So, we could not speak about the revolt without being there.
We clearly told to our comrades, to all the Maoists, to all the revolutionaries who want to play a vanguard role in the revolution that we must support revolts not only with statements. We told that facing the riots, in the outbreaks of tension and exercise of force by the masses, the revolutionaries, the Maoists, first go there, and not only go there but participate, they make themselves known by the masses for their action before their words.
It is true that, in front of a spontaneous response of that width it was hard to do much for a small revolutionary organization. But, when the young comrades from Italy came here, they found comrades who did not even know where the revolt had taken place, areas and suburbs where they had never been. They found comrades who cultivated the prejudice that they could not go in such a situation, who claimed that even with this revolt they had to apply the traditional forms of agitation and propaganda. On this issue, there was not a real self-criticism, a true change supported by facts of struggle, actions.
It is quite clear that, if we do not undertake this road, we will speak again about the revolt in 10 years having not transformed our words into a step forward for the masses.
Today the situation is favourable, the state has unleashed the war in the banlieues. An army of policemen fired 5 thousand shots a pair of days ago in St Denis to front 3 people.
Our first problem as Maoists, as revolutionary forces, is not to have the same attitude that most of the revolutionaries and communists had during the revolt 10 years ago.
To just say “from the revolt of the banlieues to the proletarian revolution” is not enough, this is the international historical scenario in which we move, but the issue is how we move. For the Maoist the issue is what has to be done, the view they have of the people’s war in the imperialist countries. On this, we move in a difficult ground. But, thanks to the great experience of the people’s wars, from the ideological light represented by people’s war in Peru and the leadership of PCP, the chairman Gonzalo, to the current great epic of people’s war in India, which upsets and crosses one of the largest countries in the world, as well as other peoples wars that develop or are prepared in the countries oppressed by imperialism, we have a great heritage to draw on, that no one else has in the proletarian, revolutionary movement.
This great heritage can not be sterilized as just an utterance, it but must be applied to the concrete reality of an imperialist country. Are there the conditions for the encirclement of the centre from the periphery in the imperialist countries? Are there the conditions to transform the banlieues encircling the imperialist metropolises into the base area of people’s war in these countries? If we answer YES to these questions, then there are still many lessons to be learned from the revolt in the banlieues.
The people’s wars do not begin in the imperialist countries when the communists, armed of MLM reach the people. This is the key to lead them to victory, but it is not the beginning to wait for and prepare as the X hour. The point is to take up the line and the plane of people’s war, starting from the conditions that exist.
On this point our meeting has to express the firm intention to march to this direction. Revolutionary practice in an imperialist country has to come first. If we approach the issue of people’s war, the revolutionary practice is the key element. In this sense it is extremely important how we deal the current situation. The state of emergency triggered by the bourgeoisie compels the communist and revolutionary forces to reposition themselves in the context of the class struggle and we Maoists must be those who are able to fight starting from the ground where the clash of class is the main, to construct the MLM communist party, the mass organizations led by the MLM communist party, to build the necessary fighting units of the MLM communist party. These are the necessities in the context of the current situation.
The Maoist communists can not be just the “more correct” wing of the international communist movement as it is, the ones who in the current disputes in the extreme left movement are those who say more “correct” things. This is a secondary part of their work. The Maoists communists must be the initiators of a process of people’s war in the heart of the imperialist countries, they must be the internal war of people, that responds to the internal war of the imperialist states. Our meetings can not be only a debate of analysis of the revolt. We are called to a historic responsibility, here and now. And the fact of being able to do it from the heart of France in days like these is an honour and a commitment that falls on our shoulders and we must take up.
On the revolt we wrote a long text 10 years ago, that we bring to the comrades. We think that this writing is still a quite complete analysis of what had been on the field a few months after its epicentre. It is important to make this meeting, that occurs at a particularly key moment of the situation, an important stage of the transformation process of the Maoists and the revolutionary movement, to make the Maoists the command and the leadership of the revolutionary movement, starting from the places where there is its crucible now, the banlieues.
That is why we are here and we are happy to have this opportunity and to go ahead together. We think that this is the time of unity, but with a clear demarcation: the MLM, the path of the people’s war, the construction of a communist party able to do this work in the imperialist countries and to do this firmly united to the communists parties leading the people’s wars in the world and, from this trench, to be a reference point for all the poor masses in the world who are fighting imperialists and their assaults. These masses which can not be represented by Daesh. But we can not win these masses and lead them properly if we are not consequent Maoists and represent this type of consequent Maoists both the imperialist and oppressed countries.