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(en) France, Ist Congress of the UCL - The fight against racism is a political and social struggle (Fougeres, 28-30 August 2021)(ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 08:29:06 +0300
To roll back racism in society is first of all to roll back the discrimination
and domination that make up a system. For what final goal, with what methods,
what partners, what common demands ? The practice of long-term solidarity and
action in this field requires a strategic aim. ---- Clarification: this text does
not address the issues of colonialism and French imperialism, addressed elsewhere
by the UCL, and focuses on the hexagonal situation. ---- In France, at the
beginning of XXI th century, discrimination in hiring or housing on the basis of
a face, a surname or home are always appreciated. Facies control is still part of
everyday life, but also daily violence that can go as far as murder. Several
recent surveys allow us to measure its extent.
The reality of racist discrimination in France
On the labor market: for the same job, a worker with a European profile is four
times more likely to have access to a job interview than a worker with a
non-European profile (Insee, 2014) ; 52.9% of non-white people feel discriminated
against in the professional world ("Access to rights" survey vol. 3, Defender of
Rights / ILO, 2017) ;
On the housing market: people with an Arabic or African-sounding name are
respectively 27% and 31% less likely to get a first appointment with a private
landlord (Téo 1, cited by the Defender of Rights) . Globally, non-white people
are 5 times more likely to be victims of discrimination in housing (Access to
rights survey vol. 5, Defender of rights, 2017) ;
In terms of social housing: in the same situation, in the social housing stock,
applicants with a European profile have a nearly 50% chance of obtaining
satisfaction after one year, compared to 15% for others (Insee, 2014 ) ;
Facies control does not weaken: people perceived as black or Arab undergo on
average three times more police checks than white people. This is up to 20 times
more for young men perceived as black or Arab. Controls are also more violent: 3
times more insults and violence reported by racialized men, compared to the
average ("Access to rights" survey vol.1, Defender of Rights, 2017) ;
50% of immigrants and / or their children claim to be victims of discrimination
against 10% of the rest of the population (Trajectoires et origines survey (Téo
1), Ined, 2016) ;
Not all minorities experience racism in the same way, although there is a common
basis for exclusion from the national body.
Ordinary racism remains very present in France. It is practiced by members of the
well-to-do classes as well as by members of the popular classes.
It is therefore clear that if ethnic statistics are prohibited by French law,
there are already tools for measuring racist discrimination. However, a tool of
this type is currently lacking to assess inequalities within companies (trades,
salaries, career development), whereas it exists, for example, for inequalities
between women and men. A reflection on the subject would be legitimate, provided
that it avoids two pitfalls: providing employers with a pretext for registering
employees ; assign employees to fixed categories.
In France, racism has two main sources, already identified in the UCL Manifesto:
the double legacy of slavery and colonialism, which not only still marks the
imagination, but has consequences in terms of discrimination and inequalities
today, whether for people from postcolonial immigration or in the territories
still colonized by France (Antilles, Kanaky...) ;
the desire of the conservative and reactionary fractions of the ruling classes
(whether political, economic, media, intellectual and religious) to make the
white population and of Christian culture the only legitimate one to form the
French "national body". Here again, this will result in inequalities and
discrimination for people who do not meet these criteria.
The recurrence of crimes
Finally, the large number of racist attacks in recent years should alert: we can
cite in France the anti-Semitic attacks of the Ozar Hatorah school (2012) and the
Hyper Cacher (2015), but also in Brussels the attack of Jewish Museum of Belgium
(2014), in Germany the Halle-sur-Saale attack (2019), or that of Pittsburgh in
the United States (2018). But also the attacks on mosques which have multiplied
in recent years, or the proven projects of far-right attacks which have been
brought to light.
It is important to note that the racist attacks committed in other countries
often bear the mark of French racist theories ( Renaud Camus' "great replacement"
theory ...), as was the case during the Islamophobic attacks in Christchurch and
of El Paso in 2019.
Objectives of the anti-racist fight
The system of racist domination is historically and socially constructed. It can
The final aim of the libertarian communist struggle in this area is a society
free from all processes of domination and racial hierarchy, whether they are
explicit through colonization, racist laws or the myth of the national body, or
more implicit through the processes of domination, exclusion and discrimination
at all levels of social organization.
Against religious discrimination, the UCL claims a secularism that guarantees
freedom of worship and freedom of conscience, and not the selective secularism of
the extreme right, misguided to oppress the Muslim minority.
The action strategy
UCL's strategy consists in undermining the discriminating conception of the
French "national body" by gradually detaching from it the majority population who
can identify with it. It is a question of winning it to solidarity with
minorities in the fight against discrimination, through collective struggles
through the different components of the social movement.
There are three main areas of intervention for this:
In the trade union movement
It is the labor movement that, in numerical terms, organizes the most racialized
It does so on a class basis, but often also by integrating themes specific to
them: against the abusive withdrawal of their badge from Muslim employees of
Paris Airports, support for the rights of Antillean, Guyanese and Reunionese
personnel (AGR ) in public services, support for "chibanis" fighting for their
pension rights at the SNCF, help with the regularization of undocumented migrants
in all sectors, etc.
This articulation of general demands and specific demands corresponds to a de
facto intersectional approach, even if it is not formulated in this way.
Fighting unionism is therefore an essential space for acting together, and we
must push there to take more ownership of the issue of racist discrimination at
work. The Anti-Racist Trade Union Forum in May 2019 was a positive moment in this
For trade unionism to be more like the proletariat, it is also necessary, within
it, to continue to promote racialized workers in the tasks of coordination and
representation. It is also necessary to admit dedicated discussion spaces, in
single sex, provided that the request comes from the interested parties.
By supporting anti-racist struggles and counter-powers
The anti-racist struggles are rich in political organizations or checks and
balances, which range from collectives of undocumented migrants to Afro-feminist
organizations, including truth and justice committees. In addition to carrying
out real substantive and organizational work in the field, these organizations
also have the merit of giving greater visibility to anti-racist issues, by
forcing the whole of society to take a position. The UCL brings its solidarity
and above all its support, human and material, to anti-racist struggles and to
the construction of lasting anti-racist checks and balances. In particular, but
in a non-exhaustive way:
the struggles against the systemic nature of police violence, which can go as far
as murder, against racialized minorities, particularly black, Arab and Roma ;
the struggles of undocumented migrants, in particular for their regularization ;
the struggles against racist inequalities in institutions (eg medical, school, etc.).
The UCL will also be able to participate in questioning the cultural
representations of minorities in society.
Within UCL, our objective must be to allow the inclusiveness of racialized people
as much as possible and, conversely, to punish racist behavior in the organization.
In order to allow the inclusiveness of the organization to people of color (or
perceived as such) we recall our absolute defense of single-sex tools and the
possibility of setting up such tools if the people concerned express the need for
Surveys, analyzes and reflections must be carried out to question the sociology
of the organization and in order to find avenues for improvement so that UCL is
more accessible, inclusive and representative of people who are victims of racist
Networking, alliance, links in general with organizations and collectives made up
of people living directly with racism and organizing themselves to emancipate
themselves from it is also essential in order to participate in
decompartmentalizing the sociology of the organization. and open it up to more
As its action strategy indicates, the Libertarian Communist Union does not
practice moral or liberal anti-racism: being individually virtuous ("working on
yourself", "deconstructing your gaze", etc.) is good ; acting collectively for
real equality is better.
UCL's anti-racism is materialist anti-racism, which works on two legs. On the one
hand, it recalls that racism is an instrument of division of the popular classes,
to unite the "national body" around the State and the ruling class ; this is why
the anti-racist struggle, vital for the cohesion of the proletariat, has a class
On the other hand, he points out that racism is a system which has its own
autonomy ; it will not disappear "naturally" with capitalism and social classes ;
its abolition therefore requires a specific and political fight.
UCL's public expression
Various, the proletariat undergoes offensives seeking to fracture it. What fuels
racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic currents as well as religious
fundamentalisms. They can count on an increasingly uninhibited state racism. And
this is where the greatest danger of division lies.
Faced with this, a major ideological campaign has tried for several years to
dismiss back to back the promoters of racial discrimination and anti-racist
currents, with the obvious aim of disqualifying the latter. The UCL denounces and
fights this amalgamation which puts on the same level those who fight for
equality and those who reinforce domination.
The vocabulary of the anti-racist fight has certainly been turned upside down.
New uses have appeared. For UCL, the main thing is to highlight and put forward
the fight against really existing discrimination.
We must reaffirm that being "racialized" is not a given state once and for all:
we would fall into essentialization. It is a discriminatory process linked to the
construction of a "national body" around an identity defined as "white and
Christian"" as our Manifesto says ;
If in its public expression the UCL uses the word "race", it is with quotation
marks and specifying that it is about a social construction, because a good part
of the population understands the word race in the first degree. (as actually
existing, biologically or culturally) ;
Today the words "white privilege" are used in public debate: the motivations of
those who use them may diverge from our conception of the fight against racism.
But we can only rule out this expression that it is the material effects of
racism that are targeted and whose specificity is too often denied.
We can only salute the mass mobilizations which denounce them. Because more than
words, it is these facts that UCL considers it necessary to bring to the fore and
fight, and this from the anchoring of class which is its own. And this is what we
favor in our expression.
To carry out this policy, UCL will act alongside associations that share the
ambition of class and political anti-racism (collectives of undocumented
migrants, FUIQP, ATMF, FTCR, ACTIT, Acort, Comité Adama, JJR), but also union,
political and associative structures engaged in the fight against racism: CGT,
Solidaires, CNT, CNT-SO, FSU... ; Fasti, Gisti, Resf, Mrap, LDH ...
With its own expression, UCL endorses these demands of the anti-racist movement.
regularization of all undocumented migrants ("papers for all or no papers at all) ;
freedom of movement and installation (against the myth of invasion and great
right to vote for foreigners residing in France (giving priority to citizenship
over nationality) ;
abolition of the double penalty (prison + expulsion from the territory) for
convicted foreigners ;
abolition of administrative detention for foreigners, closure of CRAs
abolition of identity checks (and by then facies checks), disarmament of the
police, abolition of the BAC
self-determination of the territories colonized by France
end of Françafrique ;
restitution to the countries of origin of the heritage stolen during the colonial
insertion into the public space (street names, statuary, etc.) of revolutionary,
anti-colonial and emancipatory figures, in place of reactionary, militarist and
colonialist figures ;
recognition of forced labor in the French colonies as a crime against humanity
and a right to reparations.
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