We have tested for you: the Workers’ Struggle Festival

Ihe Workers’ Struggle Festival is a world apart. A perfectly binary world, where exploiters and exploited, bourgeois and proletarians, oppressors and oppressed are opposed. It takes a bit of goodwill – and patience – to give up nuance and moderation for a day, but you get used to this childishly simple scheme quite quickly.

Children, moreover, get used to it right away. “I killed Macron! trumpeted a six-year-old child, who prides himself on having knocked down a caricature of Emmanuel Macron with a catapult. A little girl, just before him, had “knocked out” Gérald Darmanin and Élisabeth Borne, under the tender gaze of her father, who confessed aloud to having “never been so proud” of her. His daughter, however, missed Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, Marine Le Pen and Bernard Arnault, “oppressor” in chief. She will try her luck again.

“Class Struggle and Democracy”

In the park of the imposing Bellevue castle, in Presles (Val-d’Oise), everyone begins to dream of the big night. It is the annual union of “proletarians” from all countries (Belgium, Spain, Germany, etc.). Finally, with one nuance: only “proletarians” who are able to pay the modest sum of 25 euros can join the festivities…

Since the first edition, in 1981, the Knowledge Carousel has been the main attraction of the festival. Several films are projected there on a chosen theme; this year, it was “Class Struggle and Democracy”. We learn, for example, that the Athenian democracy was not really a democracy and that democracy today is only a myth, a “screen behind which the exploiters hide”. You had to think about it. The Paris Commune and the October 1917 Revolution are, unsurprisingly, praised – these are, you understand, “true democracies”.

READ ALSOWhen the left defended work… Taking the air, after fifty long minutes, we attend the first conference of the day, entitled “Why China is not imperialist”. Faithful to the good guys/bad guys pattern, the speaker explains that there would be, on the one hand, China, benevolent and concerned about the prosperity of all the countries of the world and, on the other, the United States, imperialists, and the colonial West. There are also, she assures with confidence, “only small capitalists in China”.

The BATX (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent Xiomi), these Chinese Internet giants which represent the equivalent of Gafam, Huawei and BYD, the Chinese leader in electric cars, are undoubtedly, in his eyes, SMEs. And the “researcher”, whose name we tried in vain to find out, added, without laughing, that “Chinese companies are not motivated by the search for profit”. We pinch ourselves. No one in the audience seemed surprised by this nonsense. They must be used to it.

“Revolutionary Bourgeois”

After all, this same audience will undoubtedly attend another conference, scheduled for Sunday at 9 p.m.: “Ukraine: no to NATO in Ukraine, no to the withdrawal of Russian troops”. When asked about this subject, Pierre, a Trotskyist militant in Belgium, gives us the discourse of the Kremlin: the responsibilities would be shared and the West would have wanted it. We shorten the discussion.

One can’t help but imagine what Leon Trotsky, who inspired the creation of Lutte Ouvrière – LO, for the regulars – and whose memory is summoned to every aisle, would have thought of all this. Besides, does this celebration resemble the ideas that the thinker of “permanent revolution” defended before he was assassinated in Mexico City on August 21, 1940? It is permissible to doubt it.

READ ALSOMélenchon: the left, it’s him!

While strolling in the alleys of the park, it is striking to observe that one comes across more young “bourgeois” than historic Trotskyist militants. They correspond exactly to the profile of the “bourgeois mélenchonistes” so well described by Saïd Mahrane – those with whom we spoke actually vote more for Jean-Luc Mélenchon than for Nathalie Arthaud, the Lutte Ouvrière candidate in the last presidential election.

Right to “laziness”

They enjoy the advantages of hated capitalism and claim to break with “ultra-liberalism”, although they are its faithful promoters. They came by bus from Paris, consume a lot on the spot and take a “selfie” in front of the portrait of Karl Marx, with their state-of-the-art iPhone. Others, won over by the rural setting of Presles, buy a few flowerpots. One of them even wonders aloud: “They don’t have Uber Eats here? ! » « No, we are 30 kilometers from Paris, there is nothing here! » answers a « comrade ». It cannot be invented.

READ ALSO“I’m waiting for the left to come out of intellectual onanism” Another example is revealing. In the castle bookstore, one of the works of Paul Lafargue, journalist, essayist and son-in-law of Marx, sits enthroned on one of the stalls: The Right to Laziness. This is precisely what repels working-class workers, for whom “laziness” is not an option. Everything refers, in short, to this obvious contradiction between the cause – communism – and the social status of those who claim to defend it. But whatever.

This festival offers an annual shot of adrenaline to these “revolutionary bourgeois” who, in the evening, will return to the sore neighborhoods of the capital. All these beautiful people leave singing “The International” in the bus. When they get home, they’ll probably relieve their hunger by ordering something on Uber Eats. What would Trotsky say…

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