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11th Congress of Alternative Libertaire: "The Pink City" goes red'n'black!

category france / belgium / luxemburg | anarchist movement | news report author Wednesday January 30, 2013 22:48author by Alternative Libertaire - AL Report this post to the editors

The 11th Congress of AL was held in Toulouse from 2-4 November 2012 with around 100 people attending. A quick look back on these three days sees a succession of plenary discussions, exchanges in workshops and committee meetings, but also parties and concerts. [Français]

11th Congress of Alternative Libertaire: "The Pink City" goes red'n'black!

The 11th Congress of AL was held in Toulouse from 2-4 November 2012 with around 100 people attending. A quick look back on these three days sees a succession of plenary discussions, exchanges in workshops and committee meetings, but also parties and concerts.

Congresses always starts the same way - with morning reunions and a jovial snack. Then we open the big folder containing all the texts and the debates will begin, following the agenda. But for now, we check that all the equipment is in place - microphones, photocopies, flags - and above all handshakes and hugs are distributed all around and we share a coffee while putting faces to names. Militants male and female have come from all over France, but also from Guyana, and a delegation from the Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (OSL), a Swiss member of the Anarkismo network. The Hangar, a beautiful auditorium adjoining the Imprimerie Coopérative 34, well known in the social movement in Toulouse, is a warm venue, something which is very important.

But already the comrade presiding over the sitting calls - not without some difficulty - for participants at the Congress to take their seats.

As in 2010, AL decided to limit texts in number and size, and as in 2010 this goal was not entirely reached. The very tight agenda was respected, but at the expense of time devoted to the small workshops - in ecology, feminism, the web - that were too short and suffered from the lack of side rooms. This aspect will be reconsidered in future.

General orientation

For the first time in AL, two general, competing orientation motions were presented. The first, which won the majority calls for a strategy on three levels: first, a front for federating social struggles - fighting unions, committees of the unemployed and precarious, housing committees, womens' associations, etc. - in order to give rise to real, popular counterpower, disconnected from the republican institutions. Second, for an anti-capitalist front that would bring together those organizations (AL, NPA, CGA, FA, Alternatifs, etc.) that cannot be satisfied with the anti-liberal reformism of the Left Front, and that could be heard more widely if they were to speak with a common voice whenever that is possible. Third, for the development of a new audience for AL outside the world of militants and the building of a libertarian communist current.

The second motion rejected the idea of an anti-capitalist front and introduced its own concept of a social front, but with nuances, in particular the abandonment of transitive demands (the right ofveto on layoffs, reduced working hours, etc..) and the development of social support (called "crisis activity") within the most precarious sectors of the proletariat.

This was undoubtedly the debate that dominated the congress. And while motion No. 1 was adopted, many participants felt that No. 2 contained ideas that should not be abandoned.

Productive autonomy

Reflecting protectionism and free trade, considered to be the "two sides of the same coin", the motion on the economy (whose publication is deferred to January, when it will be completed) denounces these two non-contradictory forms of capitalism that both generate war and misery, organize the competition between workers, are based on inter-classism and are backed by State apparatuses. In these times of social dumping, offshoring and export mono-industries, AL adapts the concept of "food sovereignty" as previously defined by the international peasants' movement, La Via Campesina, and supports the idea of "productive autonomy" for social, ecological and anti-imperialist reasons, each region producing what it needs.

Organizing the precarious

Among precarious workers, AL sees two broad categories: first, those who are integrated into a business, but on a precarious level and, secondly, those who drift from one boss to another, with periods of unemployment. While for the former, the union is undoubtedly the most effective framework with which to defend themselves, the latter tend to be grouped instead in territorial collectives. The challenge is to unite the different groups that exist today and move towards a national network that gives this category of the proletariat political visibility, while the historical structures (MNCP, AC!, APEIS, CGT-Chômeurs)(1) are struggling.

Housing: no to speculation!

Rent strikes and the requisitioning of empty homes: we must fight for this, but these measures can only be temporary. The housing crisis is a result of the market. The solution is socialization, and public housing allocation according to the needs of the inhabitants and residents. In order to carry on this struggle, we need fighting organizations of the homeless and badly housed, such as the DAL (2), but not only.

Ecology in our hearts

At its 2006 congress, AL stated that "given the ecological challenge, three revolutions are needed": a revolution in consumption patterns, in the modes of production and in trade. Only a break with capitalism can provide a solution to the productivist nightmare that humanity is facing. In order to strengthen and coordinate action on this front, a Secretariat for Ecological Intervention has been created in AL.

Delegations and messages

The public parts of the Congress were attended by comrades of the Fédération Anarchiste (FA), the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA), Les Alternatifs, the Comité Syndicaliste Révolutionnaire (CSR) and the Mouvement des Objecteurs de Croissance (MOC). The Coordination des Groupes Anarchistes (CGA), who were holding their own congress on the same dates, sent a message of greetings, as did several international organizations from the Anarkismo network, such as the Brazilian FARJ, the FdCA from Italy, the OSL and FAU from Uruguay, and the FCL from Chile. Two observers from the Swiss OSL were present. Finally, the Union Syndicale Solidaires sent a letter of greetings.

AL Congress Commission

Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office.

Translator's Notes:

1. MNCP - Mouvement National des Chômeurs et Précaires, or National Movement of Unemployed and Precarious Workers. AC! - Le réseau Agir contre le Chômage et la précarité, or Act against Unemployment and Precarity Network. APEIS - Association Pour l'Emploi, l'Information et la Solidarité des chômeurs et travailleurs précaires, or Association for Employment Information and Solidarity of the unemployed and precarious workers.

2. Fédération Droit au logement, or Right to Housing Federation.

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