Manifesto of the UCL

A Strategy Based on Social Struggles and Self-organization

Only direct struggles led from the base can impose actual social transformations against capitalists interests. We oppose a strategy of driving change through social struggles to the social-democratic strategy carried out through State institutions by political parties.

Assemblée générale à Jussieu pendant le mouvement contre le contrat première embauche (CPE), en 2006.
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The actors and decision-makers of these transformations are therefore not the political leaders or the militant minorities, but the workers, the students, the population, who are part of mass movements, without elitism.

The self-management of struggles, power given to general assemblies, their democratic coordination, these are the necessary conditions for everyone to take part in and fulfill this role of collective decision-making. Multiple experiences have proven the validity of direct democracy through self-management.

A self-managed animation of struggles

Activists can provide decisive help in initiating and leading mass struggles. We promote a self- managed conception of the role of facilitator of struggles. Often placed in an active situation — organizers, spokespersons, coordinators, mandatees — self-management intervention is necessarily contradictory since it, at the same time, tends to the self-direction of social movements by their actors, encourages all to speak out and express themselves, and implies collective responsibility. This living dialectic is crucial. It prevents us from falling into two pitfalls : excessive leadership on one side, spontaneism on the other.

Workers’ autonomy, and more broadly that of all social movements, is central : it appoints the social base as the subject who masters its own struggles. Autonomy from State institutions and employer powers. Autonomy from any form of external leadership. But also creative autonomy : in today’s struggles, we are preparing tomorrow’s society !

Social struggles are not limited to the struggles that workers lead in companies. Questioning the whole system in its globality also requires political investment in other self-managed mass mobilizations : those led in schools, colleges and universities, those of the unemployed and the precarious, those concerning housing or our living environment, the ecological struggle, women’s rights, struggles against racism…

Against all vanguardist temptations

In such a conception of social struggles, our priority is not ideological radicality, but to the possibility of mobilizing, to make act, to collectively debate on the important fringes of the dominated classes.

A self-managed revolution cannot be built without relying on a massive social willingness and social approval of the underlying social movements that will carry it. The impact of our struggles today on this collective consciousness will obviously depend on our capacity to develop self- management and alternative practices at a mass level.

In this perspective, we will fight all temptations of vanguard strategies, where minorities slowly claim to represent the base and eventually scorn or instrumentalize our collective frameworks. The first step is to build massive movements, while putting forward proposals aimed at overcoming their own limits (isolation, corporatism...) and supporting self-managed orientations.

This does not mean the condemnation of any initiative led by a minority, but it does mean that such actions must be driven in perspective of then being broadened at a mass level.

Awareness through experience

The capitalist system has an immense capacity to recover, and worse to question in its present all changes that past power balances have once succeeded on imposing upon it. In spite of this, we affirm that struggles for institutional social rights or other such claims — whose objectives are not, by definition, revolutionary — can yet lead to massive mobilizations of the exploited and encourage mass awareness raising through concrete experiencing of struggling and self-organizing, which will eventually lead to anti-capitalist ruptures.

In the same way, alternative practices, cooperatives and self-managed associative activities can bring about a global questioning of society, if they know how to stay in touch with the workers, the population, the class struggle.

Our strategy includes short and long term demands, our objective is to improve the material conditions of existence of all by aiming at the advent of libertarian communism.


Manifesto of the UCL
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