Manifesto of the UCL

To free the Society from the State

We reject the myth of the republican, neutral, democratic state, overlooking particular interests. The State, on the contrary, is the organization of the political violence of the ruling classes which imposes itself on the basis of society.

L’Etat est une arme entre les mains des classes dirigeantes.
cc Marie-Au Palacio/UCL Grand-Paris sud

We refuse the myth of the neutral, democratic, republican State superior to individual interests. On the contrary the State is the instigator of the political violence imposed by the ruling classes on the grass-roots components of society.

Even though the principle of State emerged several thousand years ago, the modern State is a recent institution which concentrates in its hands the military, the police and the judicial forces as well as fiscal resources. Relying on the myth of national unity overriding social classes, the State is an essential tool for the control of populations and for cultural standardization. It is the main weapon which the ruling classes use to establish their power, be it forcibly or through their ideology. It is the essential instrument of modern colonialism and imperialism.

The mutation of the modern State

Under the capitalist system of production, the government, to a large extent, serves the interests of the capital. It takes part in the constitution and the defence of the large private and public monopolies. The neoliberal wave of privatizations and of openings to free-trade competition is perpetuating the growing hybridization of high-ranking officials and the capitalist class whose members, all along their careers, move between finance, industry and administration, thereby weaving closer and closer links between the state sphere and the trade sphere.

Although the neoliberal State claims to have reduced its direct interference with the economy, it continues to subsidize the private sector, in particular the strategic sectors (arms, energy, transportation, etc.).

The decentralization of state power initiated in France in the 1980s did not encourage popular power ; it simply redistributed the prerogatives of the central State to local fractions of the political elite.

The neoliberal globalization did not question the legitimacy of the principle of State, either ; it merely transformed its methods of action. The construction of the European Union favoured an evolution of the rights granted to the State by aggravating democratic dispossession and by speeding up the destruction of public services.

Neither supranationalism nor regionalism are means to escape from the oppression of the State.

At a time when neoliberal capitalism has gone through successive crises since the 1980s, the State all the more appears as the last stronghold to serve the bourgeoisie in order to impose its reforms, to repress social protest and to defend the inequitable social order. An increasingly important portion of the bourgeoisie is longing for the authoritative, racist and sexist reinforcement of the State – as shown by the rise of conservative and far right political forces which find more and more supporters within the ruling classes. Our generation is falling into a new era with a right-wing orientation ; more than ever, we must build counter-powers that mark our estrangement from the State.

The meaning of our anti-statist stance

Libertarian anti-statism is radically different from liberal anti-statism. The former wants to emancipate the society from the State and from capitalism ; it defends the collective managing of public goods and services. The latter wants at the same time « less state interventionism » so as to free the markets, and « more state interventionism » with police and military support so as to control the population and defend capitalist interests abroad.

Libertarian anti-statism also differs distinctly from the theoretical anti-statism of Marxism- Leninism. Contrary to Marxist-Leninist claims, the State is not just a « product of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms » bound to die out of its own accord with the disappearance of the capitalist class. The Soviet experience has demonstrated that the State is an apparatus of domination in itself, whose internal logic is to breed by spawning a technocracy that will become the new exploiting class.

We also fight against the repressive law-enforcement institutions used by the State in order to maintain social order : police, justice, jails, file-keeping of personal information, administrative control...

The illusion of change through the ballot box

There can be no real democracy within the frame of capitalism. That is why, while not making an inviolable dogma out of abstentionism, we do boycott State institutions and representative elections.

For the social and revolutionary movement, participation in representative elections is a dead end which can only spawn division, compromising, renunciation, institutionalization and instrumentalization, luring the exploited away from direct action. Indeed, social conquests were not obtained thanks to ballot boxes, electoral alliances or allegiance, but by collective struggles.

Far from implying any contempt for the people who do vote, the anti-electoral stance that we sustain is political and not confined to the electoral calendar : it recaptures the spirit of the First International which stated that « the emancipation of workers must be achieved by the workers themselves ».

We are labouring to preserve the unity of the social movement in front of the divisions which can appear at the time of elections.

However, we do not reject indiscriminately systems with elected representatives and authoritarian or dictatorial regimes. The formers do not lead to the same degree of oppression on populations as the latters. Public liberties – freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of public demonstration – like public services, are conquests of the labour movement ; they were granted by the State only to preserve social order. Faced with the increasing recourse to police methods which aims at tightening the grip of social control over the population, we must defend fiercely, and extend every right conquered by struggles. Whatever the political regime, our objective remains the same : the emancipation of all men and women, and social justice.

A federalist alternative

Our political project proposes to substitute self-managed federalism for statist and capitalist organization. In such a society, the population will itself set the major economic and political

It will be up to the revolution, such as we conceive it, to replace indirect democracy with a direct democracy. A wide federal decentralization will have to ensure that the people are not dispossessed of their power by a new State power, centralized and cut off from society.

A genuine, truly emancipating democracy will arise only outside of the capitalist and state shackles, within a classless society.


Manifesto of the UCL
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