On October 3, anything up to 100,000 workers demonstrated through the streets of Paris against the Raffarin government. The main focus of the demands put forward on the demonstration was opposition to the privatisation of EDF-GDF planned by the Raffarin government, the defence of the 35 hour week, defence of pensions, together with demands for higher wages and job security.

Tuesday November 26 saw the biggest mobilisation of workers since the victory of the right-wing in presidential and parliamentary elections six months ago. The main demonstration that took place in Paris saw 70-80,000 public sector workers on the streets following a call by the 3 main federations, CGT, CFDT and FO. This march took place in parallel to a number of similar strikes and rallies up and down the country. The movement was principally called in response to the government's plans to privatise and downsize large swathes of the public sector.

On Tuesday, May 13, two million workers in more than 120 different towns demonstrated against the right-wing government in France. The public sector workers were massively represented, but tens of thousands of private sector workers were also on the demonstrations. The demonstrations on May 13 were a magnificent show of the strength and determination of workers and youth throughout France.

On January 28 and 29 a memorial meeting was held at the Institute of Political Studies at Grenoble University to pay homage to the life and works of Pierre Broué, that outstanding Marxist historian and revolutionary. Among the speakers were Alan Woods, Celia Hart and Trotsky’s grandson, Esteban Volkov.

The revolt of the youth on the estates of cities right across France reflects a deep malaise within French society, especially among the most downtrodden layers. You cannot coop up unemployed immigrant youth in the dreary estates on the outskirts of France’s cities, leave them without hope, oppressed and discriminated against, and expect life to continue as normal. This eruption of violent protest is an indication of a wider movement that will affect every layer of French society in the coming period, particularly the working class and its organisations.

Over one million workers and youth participated in the mass demonstrations during the national day of action in France on October 4, in which some 100 000 marched in Paris. This new high point in the recent history of the workers’ movement is a further indication of the explosive social and political situation that exists in France. The day of action, which included public sector strikes, was supported by all the main trade union organisations.

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