L'Etincelle conference report: learning from French Trotskyists

Submitted by Gemma_S on 1 February, 2017 - 1:14 Author: Zac

On 19-20 November two Workers' Liberty activists attended the annual congress of the small French Trotskyist group L’Etincelle.

L’Etincelle originated in the ‘90s as a faction of ‘Lutte Ouvriere’, a larger Trotskyist organisation that expelled them in 2008. Shortly after it joined the newly founded ‘New Anti-Capitalist Party’. They have a strong work-place orientation. They discussed their own activities and the wider situation, heard international reports, and held elections.

The detail discussion of L’Etincelle’s activity covered: Organisational Statistics, Finance, the magazine, bulletins and editorials, youth (+students).

In discussing the wider situation they particularly focussed on the movement against the labour law; and the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste (NPA), particularly in the context of the upcoming presidential elections. There were no motions or amendments on anything, rather topics were opened with speeches and sometimes papers and then there was discussion, with a lot of contribution from the floor.

There were reports from groups close to l’Etincelle in other countries: ‘Speak Out Now’ from the USA; from the Iranian Revolutionary Marxist Tendancy; from the AWL, UK; from l’Etincelle’s section in German; and from Revolutionary Socialist Organisation (RSO)’s section from Vienna.

The elections to their equivalent of a central committee and executive committee were quick, as these committees are of no fixed size, did not change significantly, were uncontested and voted on as a block.

There are many things to be learned from their way of organising. Their emphasis on bulletins is inspiring and a notable difference from us, although they do not produce a whole weekly newspaper. L’Etincelle and ‘Speak Out Now’, both gave a lot of data about many aspects of their organisations and their work, which is good for giving everyone an overview, good for democracy and for accountability.