France: an enthusiastic and determined congress of Révolution

Around 100 members of Révolution, the French section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), gathered in Paris on 16 and 17 June, for our 2023 National Congress. Attendees came from Paris, Toulouse, Marseilles, Lyon, Montpellier, Grenoble, Brest, Morlaix, Lille and Rambouillet. We also welcomed comrades from the IMT’s sections in Switzerland and Belgium, and were joined by Fred Weston from the International Secretariat of the IMT.

A world in crisis

Fred introduced the first session, which dealt with the main economic, political and social developments taking place around the world. He particularly outlined the different stages of the organic crisis of capitalism since the world recession of 2008, stressing the deep impact of this crisis on the consciousness of the masses in every country.

A growing layer of workers and youth are starting to draw revolutionary conclusions. This is the objective basis for the incredible progress of the IMT over the past few years. It will also be the basis for coming successes, provided we seize every opportunity as they arise. Fred mentioned the example of the “Are you a communist? Then get organised!” campaign, being run by the IMT in Britain. The country has been flooded with stickers and posters, on the back of which, hundreds of young people have got in touch.

French capitalism in turmoil

The second session, on Saturday afternoon, was dedicated to the central document of the congress: French Perspectives 2023. Jérôme Métellus, editor in chief of Révolution, introduced the discussion and dealt with many topics, including the decline of French imperialism, the crisis of the regime, the fight against pension reform, the development of a left wing within the CGT – the main trade union confederation in France – and the internal contradictions of the NUPES – an alliance of left-wing parties for the recent parliamentary elections.

The dynamics of French capitalism are pushing the country into a period of intense class struggle. For Révolution, the central task is to build a revolutionary organisation, that will be strong enough to allow our class to seize power, expropriate the French bourgeoisie and begin the socialist transformation of society. But in France, as everywhere else, the future cadres of this revolutionary party are to be found among the young workers and students.

After discussing and voting on several amendments, the document was approved by the delegates. It will soon be published and sold as a pamphlet.

Esteban Volkov

At the very beginning of the congress, we were told of the passing of Esteban Volkov, the grandson of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Esteban was living with Trotsky in Mexico when the latter was murdered by an agent of Stalin in August 1940. Just 14 years old at the time, Esteban was deeply impacted by this tragic event. His whole life, he defended the memory and the political legacy of his grandfather. For many years, he collaborated closely with the IMT. Paying tribute to our friend and comrade, the congress observed a minute’s silence.

Build the IMT!

On Sunday, we dealt with the practical work of our organisation, as well as its finances, its internal bodies and the election of its leadership.

Our organisation carries out systematic work on several university campuses. This includes selling our newspaper, books and pamphlets, but we also organise ‘Marxist Circles’, involving a dozen public meetings every year, on every campus where we are active. Next year, we will organise such meetings – mostly dealing with theoretical or historical themes – in about ten different universities across the country. The congress discussed ways of improving the various aspects of this work, which is the backbone of our activity.

Our systematic work in universities and our commitment to Marxist theory are often mocked by some on the left. They accuse us of neglecting the real struggles of the workers. Ultimately, though, this criticism reveals their lack of understanding of the crucial part played by theory in the building of a revolutionary party. They neglect this fact, despite Lenin – among others – insisting on precisely this point, as is well known. But what is known is not always understood!

Our monthly newspaper is not only sold on campuses, but on demonstrations and, more broadly, within the workers’ movement. We are not building a ‘student’ organisation. We are building a proletarian organisation. We closely follow every development of the class struggle, and intervene within it as much as we can.

The enthusiasm and determination of this congress was shown in many ways, particularly during the financial collection, which brought in nearly €34,000. This money will be shared between the IMT and the French section, and the collection will continue until the World Congress of the IMT in August. To support us, make a donation!

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