Sarkozy lost his glossy image some time ago. But now he is exposed in the eyes of all. After all his bragging about his own extravagant lifestyle, he is attacking the living standards of pensioners, workers, students and the unemployed. The mood in France is an angry one. If the leaders of the left and the trade unions were to mobilise the workers, this government could be brought down relatively easy.

Last week in France around two million workers came out onto the streets to express their anger at the latest government attacks on pensions. The union leaders hope to hold the movement at this level, i.e. of formal protest but no strike movement. But the workers are looking for more than this, as the growing discontent in the ranks of the labour movement clearly indicates.

On January 30th a successful meeting was held in Paris to launch a network of PCF members who want to struggle to bring back the ideas of Marxism into the French Communist Party. Lessons of the past were discussed and conclusions drawn on what are now the next steps that need taking. Speaking at the meeting was also Alan Woods, editor of Marxist.com and a comrade representing the Marxists in the Italian PRC.

Last week mass demonstrations involving more than 2.5 million people took place in France. In the face of constant attacks by Sarkozy on the working class the trade union leaders have attempted to hold the movement back, preferring a series of government “consultations”, but the pressure from below is becoming unstoppable. A new period of militant class struggle is opening up.

At the end of January French students were out of the classroom and back on the streets. On January 29, students and teaching staff joined in the national strike that had an estimated 2.5 million French workers marching in the major cities to prove to President Sarkozy that his provocative remark in the summer of 2007- ‘These days, when there’s a strike in France, nobody notices,’ was as wrong as it was rash. [This article was originally published on February 9.]

An examination of the results of the recent vote in the different federations of the French Communist Party indicates a sharp shift to the left in the thinking of the membership since the previous congress. And the vote for the Marxists confirms this process.

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