The withdrawal of the CPE is a humiliating defeat for Chirac and the de Villepin government. They came out of this ordeal completely discredited. After the struggle against pension reforms in 2003, against the referendum on the European Constitution, and the revolt of the estates in November last year, the massive mobilisation of youth and workers against the CPE constitutes new evidence that France has entered an era of great social and political instability.

Representatives of the Sindicato de Estudiantes (Students' Union) and the Marxist tendency El Militante, together with several trade unionists, gathered in front of the French embassy in Madrid last week to express their rejection of the serious attack of the Chirac-Villepin-Sarkozy government, which is attempting to impose the CPE on the French youth and workers. See also the Spanish version.

We publish this report on the week of anti-CPE activities in Toulouse. The report explains the methods of the students and workers in their struggle and highlights the need for decisive action on the part of the trade unions to guarantee victory.

The In Defence of Marxism website interviewed Stephen Bouquin, professor of sociology at Amiens university and member of the SNES-Sup union (Syndicat National des Enseignements de Second degré) about the recent events in France.

The movement in France has been building up momentum. There have now been five very successful days of action, each being bigger than the preceding one. The danger now is that the union leaders fall into the trap being prepared by the right-wing government, opening up pointless negotiations aimed at tiring out the workers and youth. There should be no dithering. Organise a 24-hour general strike now!

A massive demonstration marched through the streets of Paris today, April 4, on the national day of action against the hated First Employment Contract introduced by the right-wing government of de Villepin. According to the CGT, more than 700,000 people participated in the demonstration, making it bigger than the one on March 28.

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