France: Our leaflet for October 28 - Paralyse the economy!

The French unions have called another day of action for October 28. Here we provide an English translation of the leaflet that will be given out on that day by the Marxists of La Riposte.

Faced with the determination of the workers, youth and trade union activists involved in the movement against the destruction of our pensions, the government responds with police repression and lies. The mainstream media, under the orders of the powers that be, play down the level of mobilisation. Under the pretext of attacking "thugs"   that are in any case infiltrated by agents provocateurs   the police attack peaceful demonstrations. As to the practice of "conscription"1, this is an unacceptable attack against the right to strike.

In doing this, the government has received invaluable support from the CFDT leader Francois Chereque, who has declared that he is in favour of resuming work in the refineries. On October 22, on France Inter, he even supported the removal by the police of the blockades of fuel depots. With "friends" like these, workers do not need enemies!

The only chance of winning this ongoing struggle is through the generalisation of indefinite strikes. In a recent statement, the executive of the National Federation of Chemical Industries of the CGT called for "broadening the base and scope of strikes to other workers, other economic sectors. It is by this means alone that we can, all together, stop the dismantling of our social security by the MEDEF2 and the government." This is absolutely correct. That is what the leadership of the CGT confederation should explain systematically, in clear terms, to all the workers of our country. The calling of new "days of action" is not enough. In the absence of a generalisation of indefinite strikes, such days of action will inevitably end up having smaller turn outs. Moreover, if they remain isolated, workers currently on strike will not be able to continue indefinitely.

In the universities, the students who are mobilised must turn towards the workers' organisations in struggle and work systematically towards the strengthening and extension of the strike.

Fight against capitalism!

Facing a major economic crisis and a record level of public debt (80% of GDP), the capitalist class has no choice but to attack all our social gains. Today it is pensions. Tomorrow it will be health insurance, national education, social housing, unemployment insurance - and again pensions, etc. After pouring billions of euros into the coffers of the banks and multinationals, the state wants to recover the money at the expense of the vast majority of the population. Capitalism has come to mean permanent social attacks.

There is an urgent need to arm the workers' movement with a programme which is up to the situation. For example, to end mass unemployment we must share out the work through a reduction in working hours without any loss of wages and with no increase in flexibility. Do we not need schools, hospitals and social housing? We need to take on huge numbers of workers to build them. But this presupposes attacking the principle of capitalist property. The large construction companies should be nationalised under the control of its workers and their unions. Similarly, the nationalisation of all private banks   which play a parasitical role   and their fusion into a single state-owned bank would guarantee the financing of ambitious social programmes.

We cannot stop all the social attacks so long as the bulk of the economy remains the property of a handful of capitalists. You cannot control what you do not own. The expropriation of the main levers of the economy, starting with the CAC 403 companies, would allow the use of the country's resources according to the needs of the many, and not the private profit of a few. This socialist agenda is the only serious alternative to capitalism in crisis. This is what the PCF should place at the heart of its policy and action.

1The government has used special “national emergency” legislation in order to “conscript” oil workers to run the refineries.

2National employers’ organisation

3Top 40 companies on the Paris Stock Exchange