Thursday, March 23, 2006

left-libertarian solidarity with French workers

Young French workers are outraged over the recent new French law titled Contrat première embauche (CPE). The CPE allows French employers the right to fire workers under the age of 26 without any justification during the first two years of their employment. Despite it being technically an example of market liberalization on the surface, it represents an example of the type of market reform that benefits the political class at the expense of workers while preserving the overall corporate statist framework.

Here's what Brad Spangler had to say about the CPE:
On the face of it, that initially might not sound so unreasonable to us as Americans and market-oriented libertarians. The French are fighting mad about it, though, and with good reason. The overall economic environment in France is so thoroughly statist that they quite reasonably expect no tangible benefit from this one small so-called market reform — and quite probably a fair amount of pain.

Young people in France currently often have to live at home for several *years* while job hunting. The consolation that sustains them is that once they’re in, at least they have job security. We ought to be able to express sympathy for their plight and point towards a better way — a revolutionary way.

The CPE is technically market liberalization — but representative of perhaps the worst possible choice of priorities, I would counter. Such is the nature of political reformism — to subvert the market toward the interests of the political class and bring it into unjustified disrepute. It’s up to agorists to put forward the alternative — counter-economic revolution. (emphasis mine)

As a representative of the Movement of the Libertarian Left, Brad has taken it upon himself to write a letter of solidarity to the French workers, explaining the reasons for solidarity along with an invitation to explore the agorist alternative to statist reformism. I have already signed the letter myself, and I ask any of my readers to do as well if they support the messages contained within the letter. To do so, simply visit Brad's post on the subject and leave a comment expressing your interest to be included as a signatory to the letter.

Here is the letter:
Students and Workers of France,

Professor Roderick Long once wrote:

“When Marx called the French government ‘a joint-stock company for the exploitation of France’s national wealth’ on behalf of the bourgeois elite and at the expense of production and commerce (’Class Struggles in France’), he was only echoing what libertarians had been saying for decades.”

France and all other nation-states remain so today. You and we live in a world where freedom and economic
opportunity exist only at the sufferance of a political class that allows us only some small amount of them for sake of their own convenience and take the rest from us by force and coercion for sake of their own parasitism.

Under such circumstances, state-sponsored market liberalization is a cruel joke. The legislation you protest and rebel against seeks only to increase the latitude given your overseers, while maintaining the overall restrictions on your own liberty that, if abolished, would empower you to seek your own prosperity. We believe you and we would be very good at that, mixing both cooperation and peaceful competition, if we were not slaves.

For those reasons, the signers of this letter offer their solidarity to you and present themselves as a sample of a small tendency known as the Movement of the Libertarian Left (MLL), advocates of revolutionary market anarchism or “agorism”.

It is not the place of others to tell you how to wage your own revolution against tyranny. We have some suggestions, though — a version of dual power strategy called “counter-economics”. We humbly recommend MLL founder Samuel Edward Konkin III’s small book on agorism, counter-economics, and revolution “The New Libertarian Manifesto” in hopes you may find it useful or inspirational. It is available free online at:

The Movement of the Libertarian Left
Agora! Anarchy! Action!

UPDATE: The MLL letter has been published by Next Left Notes, the unofficial publication of the new SDS. Click here to view it along with the SDS letter. (the latter letter is also translated in French and German)


Blogger Jeremy said...

Well said! BTW, here's the correct link to that t-shirt I made:

2:16 PM  
Blogger freeman said...

Thanks for the updated link! I may buy one of those bad boys next month when I have more cash flow.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

The shirt will start some conversations I hope. I'm still honing my left libertarian rhetoric chops, so I'm counting on the practice. "Mainstream libertarianism" is so simplistic but it was easy to state... leftism is a bit more nuanced, and a lot of my blogging is me wrestling with the ideas to find those "Harry Browne"-style sound bites. :-)

BTW, just wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying stalking you on! My id is jeremy6d if you're interested, although I really use the "toread" tag WAY too much :-)

10:45 AM  

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