Lionel Jospin, freshly back from his holidays at the end ofAugust, made a glowingly optimistic speech about the French economy.Within a few days, France was plunged into chaos. All around thecountry, refineries were blockaded, as were fuel storage plants,airports, motorways, tunnels, bridges, and a number of railway lines.Within 48 hours, petrol stations were running out of fuel, and on thethird day, no petrol at all was available in a number of majorcities, and 8 stations out of every ten were out of stock.Although this particular protest action was not spearheaded byworkers, but by the bosses of the biggest road haulage companies andagricultural enterprises, it was nonetheless yet another symptom whatcan only be described as an extremely unstable social and politicalsituation in France.
At the present time, of all the European countries, it is in France that the class struggle has been unfolding on the highest level. Contrary to the claims of the capitalist media, there is nothing specifically "French" in this development, nor in its immediate causes. Throughout the whole of Europe, workers and the youth are faced with the same problems. Over the next period, the economic boom will pass away without having solved a single one of these problems. Indeed, in many respects, it will have served only to make matters worse. It can only be a matter of time before struggles break out on a similar scale in the rest of the continent. November 2000. From the French Marxist paper La Riposte
Over recent years, the French labour movement has been in the forefront of the struggle to defend public services, wages, working conditions and pensions. Since the public sector transport strike of 1995, millions of workers have been involved in some form or other of militant action. In the last few weeks, a series of huge strikes and demonstrations have once again shaken the bosses, the government and the state institutions. Greg Oxley from the French Marxist paper La Riposte reports
The results of the municipal elections in France, whilst marking a setback for the right-wing parties in Paris and Lyon, are nonetheless a very serious warning for socialist, communist and trade union activists. Greg Oxley, of the French Marxist paper La Riposte explains how the pro-capitalist policies of the Jospin government have failed to arouse any enthusiasm amongst the workers and youth.
On the evening of April 21, spontaneous demonstrations took place in almost all major towns and cities in France. For the first time since 1969, all the left candidates, including the socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, were eliminated in the first round, leaving Chirac and the extreme right-wing candidate Le Pen left in the race. This devastating defeat is the direct consequence of the policies carried out by Jospin, and also by the leadership of the Communist Party.