France has made the headlines in the recent period thanks to a wave of strikes mainly aimed at stopping the government's attacks on pensions. The militancy of the French workers however was not matched by their own trade union leaders, who played a key role in fragmenting and confusing the movement. The workers will draw their own conclusions over the coming period.

More than half a million public and private sector workers demonstrated on February 5 against proposals to scrap the 35-hour week, while 100,000 school students came on the streets to protest against education reform on February 10. The class struggle in France has suddenly spluttered back into life after more than eighteen months of relative slumber.

The right-wing parties suffered an absolutely crushing defeat in the local elections in France. Never, in the entire history of the country, have the capitalist parties been so completely eradicated from elected institutions at any level. As we predicted the victory of the right two years ago was merely preparing an even bigger swing to the left at a later stage.
See the original in French: La déroute électorale plonge le gouvernement dans une crise majeure


The referendum in France on the European Constitution has resulted in a decisive defeat for the ruling class. In spite of a particularly intense campaign by the media, the UMP government and the right-wing of the Socialist Party, 55% of voters have rejected the treaty.

Pierre Broue is internationally renowned for his tireless work as a historian of the international revolutionary movement. His histories of the Bolshevik Party, the Communist International, the Spanish Revolution, and above all his recent Life of Trotsky have been widely admired. His latest book on the Left Opposition is yet another major contribution by this outstanding Trotskyist writer, who has dedicated his life to the fight for international socialism.

The results of the first round of the parliamentary elections held in France last Sunday show that the Left has virtually no chance of regaining power after the second round of voting on Sunday 16. The right-wing parties seem to be riding on the wave created by Chirac's presidential election victory a month ago and have come top of the poll. The UMP alliance (comprised of the Gaullist RPR and pro-Chirac elements of the centre-right party UDF [1] ) obtained 34.23% of the vote compared to 25.28% for the Socialist Party (PS) and left-radicals. By adding the votes of the other right-wing candidates, their score totals 43.66% of the vote compared to 37.47% for the mainstream Left (socialists, left-radicals, communists and greens). However, the most striking feature was the rate of abstention which stood at a record 35.62% (nearly 15 million voters) compared to 32.04% five years ago and 16.99% in 1978, just three years before socialist president Mitterrand took power.

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