France is in the
middle of its second youth revolt in the span of just a few months
time. Students and workers all across France are mobilising against
the proposed First Employment Contract. A national demonstration will
be held this weekend against the proposed legislation, and some 1 to
1.5 million people are expected to turn out. The stage is being set
for a decisive battle between the working class and the Villepin
A detailed analysis of the November/December 1995 General Strike in France. On those months millions of workers and youth took the streets of France in a movement which in certain aspects was even bigger than that of the May 1968. The effects of such a movement were felt all over Europe. In June 1996 workers in Germany carried banners saying: "We want to struggle in the French way".
The development of the ATTAC association in France, launched by le Monde Diplomatique, has attracted a lot of attention on the left. This article from the French Marxist magazine, La Riposte, analyses this phenomenon and outlines the limitations of its programme and its effectiveness in fighting world capitalism.
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