France

The 5 December strike mobilised a number of demonstrators not seen in France since the struggles of autumn 2010 (against the Sarkozy government’s pension reform). While we do not know the exact number of striking workers, it is likely that no interprofessional strike has had such a big impact on France’s economy since December 1995.

Yesterday’s general strike against Macron’s pension reform saw a “convergence of struggles” from across French society. According to the CGT (the trade union federation at the head of the strike), 1.5 million people took part in the demonstrations, which would make this the biggest movement since the battle against Alain Juppé’s package of attacks in 1995. The spirit of the gilets jaunes can be felt on the streets, where (despite the limitations of their leadership) the workers are directing their fury, not just against the pension reform, but the government as a whole.

The latest editorial from Révolution (the French publication of the IMT) argues that Macron’s attempt to introduce a ‘universal pension scheme’ (in reality, a massive attack on pensions) must be resisted by organising a general strike. An upcoming, indefinite transport workers’ strike on 5 December presents a point of convergence for all the forces of the working class, which must be mobilised over the next two months to fight, not only to defeat this pension counter-reform, but for the end of Macron’s reactionary

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600 people occupied the Pantheon in Paris last Friday (12 July) in protest at the repression of undocumented migrants, who face racism, terrible living and working conditions; and the constant spectre of detention centres and deportation. These activists of the “gilets noirs” (black vests) were demanding (among other things) that Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe grant them documents to legally live and work in France.

On 28 May, dockers working the port at the Gulf of Fos in Marseille refused to load the Saudi cargo ship, Bahri Tabük, which was intended to carry French arms to Saudi Arabia, whose regime is waging a barbaric war in Yemen.

In France, only one-out-of-two voters went to the polls for the European elections. This is 8 percent more than in 2014 (42 percent), but it still marks a massive rejection of the EU and the political system in general.

President Emmanuel Macron made a televised address to the nation last week on 25 April, following a two-month-long nationwide “grand debate” at town-hall-style meetings all over France. Macron wants to “show he is listening” after 23 weeks of protest by the yellow vests against his government of the rich. But his speech was more of a slap in the face than an olive branch.

The fire that partly destroyed Notre Dame is a tragedy for anyone who cherishes the cultural, artistic and architectural achievements of humanity. Capitalism is undermining its own past achievements and those of previous societies, and this emerges very clearly when one takes a closer look at what happened in Paris on Monday 15 April.

The yellow vests movement strikes fear into its opponents, which incurs their aggression. In addition to violent repression (2,000 people have been wounded, 18 blinded and five have had their hands torn off), the government has responded with an unprecedented intensity of judicial repression.

The solidarity campaign for Rawal Asad (who has been held in custody since February on the scandalous charge of sedition after attending a peaceful protest in Multan, Pakistan) shows no sign of slowing down. On 4 March, comrades and supporters of the International Marxist Tendency coordinated a day of pressure against the Pakistani state by picketing, protesting and telephoning Pakistan's embassies all over the world, so the regime knows the world is watching, and we will not stop until our comrade is released. 

The power of the yellow vests movement never ceases to surprise – and intimidate – its adversaries. Of course, the bourgeois and their lackeys (in politics and the media) know that poverty exists. They hear about it, distantly, but they are totally disconnected from the real living conditions of the people, their suffering and their problems. Then, from their lofty position of privilege, with all their power and their fortune, they said to themselves: “a little more or a little less austerity, what difference will that make?” The answer hit them like a ton of bricks.

The movement of the yellow vests is a social earthquake of exceptional power. It represents a major turning point in the class struggle in France – and is a source of inspiration for workers around the world. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the political life of the country.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the magnificent gilets jaunes movement in France, which has exploded out of nowhere to land a blow against the ruling class. Ever since his election as president of France in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron has been held up as a poster boy for liberalism by the European establishment. But the massive and militant yellow vests movement has shattered this delusion, demonstrating that there is a profound anger amongst workers and youth towards the broken status quo of inequality and austerity that the 'Jupiterian' president and the gilded elite defend.

黄背心抗议民众于12月15日在法国的街道上发动了第五次周末示威行动,被称为运动的“第五幕”。这是继马克宏于12月10日公布“退让”之后所发动的示威。而过去一周我们也看到了多起学生动员,以及法国全国总工会(CGT,以下简称全总)所发动的“全国行动日”。爆发了五周之后,黄背心这个运动达到了什么阶段,它的前景是什么?

黃背心抗議民眾於12月15日在法國的街道上發動了第五次週末示威行動,被稱為運動的“第五幕”。這是繼馬克宏於12月10日公佈“退讓”之後所發動的示威。而過去一週我們也看到了多起學生動員,以及法國全國總工會(CGT,以下簡稱全總)所發動的“全國行動日”。爆發了五週之後,黃背心這個運動達到了什麼階段,它的前景是什麼?

For the fifth consecutive Saturday, the yellow vest protesters took to the streets of France on 15 December in what was dubbed ‘Act V’ of the movement. This was after Macron’s announcements of “concessions” on 10 December; and in a week that saw a mobilisation of students and a national day of action, called by the CGT trade union. After five weeks, what stage has the movement reached, and what are its perspectives?

On Monday evening, Macron gave a televised speech in an attempt to placate the yellow vest movement that now threatens his government. The following day, its contents were scrutinised and debated among all who have mobilised in recent weeks. The verdict: "smoke and mirrors". In particular, "the increase of the minimum wage by 100 euros" includes the automatic revaluation of the minimum wage scheduled for January 2019, in addition to an increase in the "activity premium" supplement, which will not cost employers one cent – and will not be taken into account when calculating pension entitlements.

上周末(12月8日),法国的黄背心运动以另一轮大规模抗议行动进入了第四幕。虽然官方报道参与抗议的人数为十三万左右,但实际人数可能达到五十万人。这一次,政府方面的反应却也更加的残暴,在法国各地动员了八万九千名员警来试图阻止黄背心参与者发起和平或其他性质的抗议,导致了两千馀人遭到逮捕。

上週末(12月8日),法國的黃背心運動以另一輪大規模抗議行動進入了第四幕。雖然官方報道參與抗議的人數為十三萬左右,但實際人數可能達到五十萬人。這一次,政府方面的反應卻也更加的殘暴,在法國各地動員了八萬九千名員警來試圖阻止黃背心參與者發起和平或其他性質的抗議,導致了兩千餘人遭到逮捕。

The yellow vest movement entered its “fourth act” this weekend, with another round of radical protests by well over the officially cited 130,000 people (possibly as many as 500,000). This time, the state response was even more brutal, with 89,000 gendarmes mobilised across France in an attempt to prevent the yellow vests from demonstrating – peacefully or otherwise – resulting in over 2,000 arrests.

Following the motion (submitted by our comrades) that passed with strong majorities at student assemblies at l'université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier and Toulouse, another extremely radical resolution has been adopted by the Paris Nanterre University. It declares the university on strike, lays out a series of demands against Macron's educational counter-reforms, states its solidarity with the yellow vests, condemns police repression, calls for Macron's resignation and puts the word out for a delegate conference of representatives from Paris universities to

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The social and political situation in France is moving at a breakneck speed. In less than a month, the ‘yellow vests’ movement has put the country on the threshold of a revolutionary crisis. In the coming days, this threshold could be crossed. What will be the decisive factor in pushing the movement forward?

The following motion has been passed by student members of Révolution (the IMT in France) at a general assembly at l'université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier. It has also be raised at a student assembly in Toulouse (to be voted on today), and will be raised in Nanterre and Lyon. It states support for the yellow vest movement, and calls for a campaign of strikes to overthrow the hated Macron government.

Ever since 1 December, the latest day of mass protest in France, the French media have relentlessly broadcast the scenes of conflict between “yellow vest” protesters and riot police that overtook Paris. Journalists and politicians alike are running a 24/7 relay-race to “condemn all violence” – with the notable exception of violence by the riot police, which has so far resulted in the death of at least one protester, and injured many peaceful demonstrators.

The Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement in France is at a turning point. In the face of building radicalism, which now threatens the very survival of his government, Macron has changed his defiant tone and promised to “suspend” the fuel tax hike that provoked the movement. This retreat came after street battles over the weekend between thousands of protesters and the police that have left over 200 injured in Paris alone and resulted in at least one fatality.

Just over 25 years after its foundation, the European Union looks like it could be falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Everywhere you look, the major parties are coming under increased pressure due to the heightening of the class struggle as a result of 10 years of crisis. This has meant that, in one country after another, the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way.

In France, hundreds of thousands of people have participated since mid-November in the yellow vests movement to protest against the rise in fuel taxes and, in general, against the ever-increasing cost of living. This movement is the inevitable result of a palpable economic crisis, and the brutal austerity imposed by the current government.

The mobilisation of the gilets jaunes (“yellow vests”) protest movement marks an important step in the development of the class struggle in France. With no party, no union, and no pre-existing organisation, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in this movement against a tax increase on diesel and petrol, sweeping aside the pseudo-concessions and threats of the government. They are supported by a large majority of the population.

On 17 October 1961, between 200 and 300 Algerians and French citizens of Algerian origin, demonstrating against a curfew imposed on them by Paris Prefect of Police, Maurice Papon, were killed and thrown into the Seine by the police. 40 years later, few people know of this pogrom, which was perpetrated in full view of Paris, with the authority of the prefect, who was himself abetted by the highest levels of the state.

Sud Poste 92

We received this appeal for solidarity from the French postal workers of Hauts-de-Seine (Paris) who are fighting against the victimisation of their shop steward.

The railway workers' strike has encouraged other sections of the working class (and also the students) to mobilise. Refuse collectors, Air France workers, civil servants, lawyers, postal workers, hospital workers and care workers assisting the elderly (among others) are gearing up for action, and every day new layers are joining the fight. The ‘convergence of struggles’ is no longer just a slogan; it has become a fact.

UPDATE: We have just been informed of the good news that the students have been released, but the fact they were arrested to begin with is still a scandal. Yesterday, 9 April, University of Nanterre management called two units of the CRS [Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité: general reserve of the French National Police] to violently expel 100 students gathered in a General Assembly. Seven students were arrested. Six were remanded in custody, including our comrades Andreas Coste and Victor Mendez. It is clear that the arrests targeted student activists at the university. 

The latest issue of Révolution (French organ of the IMT) will be published in the wake of a social movement that could mark a turning point in the correlation of forces between our camp (the youth and workers) and the bosses, of which Macron’s government is the executive body. A rail strike, starting from 3 April, will be the focal point of the struggle. But, both for us and for our enemies, the significance of this strike goes beyond the fate of the SNCF [Société nationale des chemins de fer français: France’s national state-owned railway company] and its employees.

Following amendments to the labour code (adopted in September 2017) that made it easier to fire workers, Macron’s government is now lashing out at the unemployed with a counter-reform to the unemployment insurance system. ‘Negotiations’ with the trade unions should conclude in mid-February. The law is scheduled to be adopted this summer.

Laurent Wauquiez was elected leader of The Republicans (Les Républicains,LR) on 10 December, by a wide margin (74.6 percent) in the first round of voting. The low voter turnout (42 percent of paying members) shows that the stakes were limited: the new shift to the right had already been acknowledged by the party’s rank and file.

On 23 September, Mélenchon’s France Insoumise (Rebellious France) organised a massive rally of over 100,000 in Paris against the austerity programme of the Emmanuel Macron government. Jérôme Métellus, editor of Révolution (the journal of the IMT in France), outlines what the Left and the Trade Unions in France should do next in the struggle to bring down Macron.

Since being elected Macron - the poster-boy of European liberalism and the self-described Jupiterian president - has seen his popularity steadily decline as his electoral facade crumbles away. A majority of French voters (57%) are now “dissatisfied” with the President's performance, making these approval ratings the lowest for any incoming president, after four months, since 1995.

57,4 % des inscrits ne se sont pas rendus aux urnes, hier, pour le deuxième tour des élections législatives (contre 51,3 % au premier tour). Ce n'est pas surprenant : dans bon nombre de circonscriptions, les électeurs n'avaient plus le choix qu'entre « bonnet blanc » et « blanc bonnet », sous diverses étiquettes (LREM, LR ou même PS).

Il primo turno delle elezioni legislative si è contraddistinto per un nuovo record d’astensionismo: 51,3 % dell’elettorato (nel 2012 arrivò al 42,8 %). L’ “ondata” della coalizione En Marche/Modem deve dunque essere considerata nella sua giusta dimensione, in quanto gli astenuti sono molto più numerosi degli elettori della “maggioranza presidenziale”.

Le premier tour des législatives a marqué un nouveau record d'abstention à cette élection : 51,3 % (contre 42,8 % en 2012). La « vague » de la coalition En Marche/Modem doit donc être ramenée à sa juste dimension : les abstentionnistes ont été beaucoup plus nombreux que les électeurs de la « majorité présidentielle ».

Yesterday’s first round of the French parliamentary elections marked a new record level of abstentions, 51.3% - compared to 42.8% in 2012. Therefore the so-called "surge" of the Marche/Modem coalition must be viewed for what it really is: those abstaining were far more numerous than those who actually voted for the "Presidential majority".

Na de meest chaotische presidentiële verkiezingen van de Vijfde Republiek, werd een nieuw staatshoofd verkozen. Na de eerste stemronde was de winnaar van de tweede ronde al bekend. Miljoenen linksgezinden hebben voor Macron gestemd enkel om de nederlaag van Le Pen te verzekeren. De fout ligt hier bij vele linkse- en vakbondsleiders die hen geen concreet alternatief boden. De meesten gingen zelfs zo ver dat ze opriepen om voor Macron te stemmen. Desondanks zijn de 20,7 miljoen stemmen voor Macron geen positief politiek signaal. Macron heeft in de tweede ronde veel stemmen gekregen van supporters van Fillon, Hamon en Mélenchon. Zijn steun bestaat uit een mengelmoes van linkse en rechtse

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Οι πιο χαώδεις προεδρικές εκλογές της Πέμπτης Δημοκρατίας οδήγησαν στην εκλογή ενός νέου αρχηγού κράτους. Με το τέλος του πρώτου γύρου των εκλογών, ο νικητής του δεύτερου ήταν ήδη γνωστός. Εκατομμύρια αριστεροί ψηφοφόροι ψήφισαν «με μισή καρδιά» Μακρόν, για να ηττηθεί η Μαρίν Λεπέν.