French people

500 people take part in a Trotskyist summer camp in France

With Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, in the background, nearly 500 people gathered in the foothills of the French Alps for the Summer University of Permanent Revolution. The sister site of left voice in France is building a new revolutionary organization in France. This event was an opportunity to discuss the tasks of revolutionaries in a new period of crises, wars and revolutions.

From August 24 to 29, discussions and debates took place from morning to evening under a big tent. Workers from some of the most important struggles of recent years in France – including the aerospace industry, public transport, hospitals, cleaning services and oil refineries – were at the camp to discuss their experiences. The Summer University opened with a round table on the new generation of workers facing the neoliberal attacks of French President Emmanuel Macron. Workshops served to connect these struggles with anti-racist or LGTQI+ movements.

Delegations from Germany, Italy, the Spanish State, Switzerland, Argentina and Korea joined the event. There were even more people on the waiting list, but with a lingering drought in France, the small mountain town couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted to participate.

Just over a year ago, supporters of Permanent Revolution were expelled from the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), of which they had been members for more than a decade. But far from being demoralized, they declare their intention to found a new revolutionary organization. As part of this process, they presented the Trotskyist railway worker Anasse Kazib to the presidency. While Kazib was ultimately barred from the ballot via undemocratic rules, the campaign helped give voice to new generations of workers and activists, and thus laid the groundwork for a revival of the far left. As Kazib said in camp: “It’s about hope. With the presidential campaign, we have shown that it is possible to organize collectively and achieve a world without exploitation or oppression, a world worth fighting for.

Much of the once powerful French far left has aligned itself with the social-chauvinist politician Jean-Luc Melénchon, whose aim is to reform the French imperialist state. But the Permanent Revolution summer camp has shown that there is an alternative to reformism: millions of workers and young people in France are looking for an alternative to the rotten Fifth Republic. This event was a small step in the process of gathering forces for a revolutionary new organization, an organization that can combine the energies of new generations of workers with those of immigrants and queer people fighting against oppression.

This was not the only summer camp organized by the European groups that make up the Trotskyist Fraction this summer. At the beginning of August, 120 people took part in the summer camp of Gegen Class Class, our partner site in Germany (see this report in German). In July, in the Spanish State organized two summer schools: one in Madrid with 80 people (report in Spanish) and another in Barcelona with 60 people (report in Catalan).