France gilets jaunes' backed by mass strike action
Gilets jaunes flood the historic Champs-Élysées in Paris in scenes reminiscent of the May 1968 general strike, photo Kris Aus67/CC, photo Kris Aus67/CC (Click to enlarge)
The 'gilets jaunes' (yellow vests) movement in France is by no means over. Saturday 2 February saw 'Act 13' of the series of weekend demonstrations, swelled by anger at the blinding by rubber bullets of gilets jaunes protesters including a prominent member of the movement, Jerome Rodrigues.
The 'great debate' around France, launched by the hated President Macron, has been a damp squib especially as he himself ruled out discussion of reintroducing a wealth tax.
"At the beginning of this new year," writes Leila Massaoudi of Gauche Révolutionnaire, the Socialist Party's sister party in France, "movements have been launched on the same model as the 'yellow vests' on the internet or on the streets. Discontented lawyers, the 'red pens' movement in education and the 'pink vest' childminders."
There have been a number of initiatives. These include an "assembly of local assemblies" in Commercy, eastern France; the launching of two lists for the European elections; the idea of a national referendum; and talk of a gilets jaunes political party.
Tuesday 5 February was a major day of demonstrations and strikes in Paris and across France, called by the main trade unions, including the CGT federation, supporting the demands of the gilets jaunes. More details will follow in coming issues of the Socialist.
The gilets jaunes have enthusiastically greeted the entry into the fray of the organised working class.
Some of the smaller rank-and-file unions are in favour of continuing the strikes indefinitely. This is unlikely at this stage, but cannot be ruled out if the huge anger that exists in French society is not quelled. Gauche Révolutionnaire stresses the need to discuss widely - in the unions, in our social and political organisations, and in the left - the case for a determined struggle. For wage increases, the indexation of prices, and also nationalisation of major industries under the democratic control and management of workers and service users.
Donate to the Socialist Party
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 6 February 2019:
What we think
Corbyn must prepare for a general election: Remove the pro-capitalist saboteurs - fight for the socialist alternative
College lecturers strike for a pay rise
University and College Union elections
PCS: Campaign for Chris Baugh for AGS
Traffic wardens' strike is just the ticket
Unison: Democracy and the right to speak out are under threat
Historic strike of nurses in Ireland
Backing for the Birmingham homecarers
Tory Brexit farce, Corbyn and unions: Call mass action now
Cash-starved health service ripped off by big pharma - fund our NHS now!
Struggling unis account for bulk of unconditional offers - end education marketisation!
Billionaires avoid paying and even talking about tax! Take the wealth off the 1%
Them & Us
40 years since the Iranian revolution: Learning the lessons for today's new working-class struggles
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Haringey 'Corbyn council' must fight borough regeneration
Victory! Campaign reverses Wallasey fire cuts
Sheffield tree campaigners' legal win
Worcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts
'Stansted 15' deportation protesters could face jail
North West Socialist Party conference
International socialist news and analysis
United States: LA teachers' strike defeats privatisers
France gilets jaunes' backed by mass strike action
Sweden: dock strikes test new government
United States: strike ends federal shutdown
Film: Vice - Dick Cheney - a cold and calculating opportunist
Theatre: Ballad of Johnny Longstaff
The Socialist inbox
The Socialist 6 February 2019 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook