France


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The movement in France has been building up momentum. There have now been five very successful days of action, each being bigger than the preceding one. The danger now is that the union leaders fall into the trap being prepared by the right-wing government, opening up pointless negotiations aimed at tiring out the workers and youth. There should be no dithering. Organise a 24-hour general strike now!

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A massive demonstration marched through the streets of Paris today, April 4, on the national day of action against the hated First Employment Contract introduced by the right-wing government of de Villepin. According to the CGT, more than 700,000 people participated in the demonstration, making it bigger than the one on March 28.

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We publish this statement by La Riposte on the latest developments in France. The intervention of President Chirac had the opposite effect of what was intended. The mobilisation of students is reaching historic levels. Now is the time for a massive mobilisation of the working class in a 24-hour general strike. Also available in French.

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After President Chirac’s intervention and the refusal of the government to back down, the only way to defeat the CPE is for an all out mobilisation of the working class for a 24-hour general strike to bring down the government.

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As we reported,French workers and students took to the streets on Tuesday, March 28, in a massive way. The only way the workers and youth can move forward to victory and avoid falling into tiredness and disappointment, is by declaring a proper and effective general strike aimed not only at the withdrawal of the Contrat Première Embauche but also at the unseating of the current government, which has by far overrun its mandate.

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Today’s strikes and demonstrations brought over three million workers onto the streets of France, with 700,000 marchers in Paris and 250,000 in Marseille. In the last 60 years, this movement has only been equalled by those of the revolutionary events of May and June 1968. It is provoking serious divisions right at the top of the ruling class, a clear symptom of revolutionary developments.

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Today millions of French workers and youth demonstrated against the hated CPE. Here we are publishing the text of a leaflet produced for the occasion by the French Marxists of La Riposte.

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A new and particularly vicious attack on the basic rights of young workers has led to a spectacular upsurge of protest and struggle in France. Once again, millions of students and workers have taken to the streets to defend their interests against the most reactionary government ever seen in France since the Vichy regime at the time of the Second World War.

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The situation in France highlights all the contradictions of European capitalism and clearly indicates where the rest of Europe is going. Here Greg Oxley comments on the situation. Listen to the interview here (mp3 file).

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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 government.

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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.

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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.

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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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As we announced a few weeks ago, on July 25, Pierre Broué passed away. We have published several articles remembering the role this remarkable man played in the development of the ideas of Marxism. Here we publish a piece by two Italian Marxists that gives an interesting insight into the life of Pierre Broué, based on several long conversations with him in the final years of his life, and on a thorough reading of his works.

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English translation of Pierre.

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Greg Oxley of the French Marxist journal, La Riposte, pays tribute to the outstanding revolutionary, Pierre Broué.


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Pierre Broué, French historian, Trotskyist militant, and editor of the Cahiers Leon Trotsky, passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning. His loss will be mourned by working class militants and revolutionaries everywhere.

In Spanish: En memoria de Pierre Broué (1926-2005)


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J'ai connu Pierre il y aura 4O ans dans quelques semaines. J'arrivais à Sciences Politiques Grenoble. Déjà étudiant en économie, venant ici pour tenter de comprendre ma propre histoire, ce professeur m'offrait, de mon point de vue, la meilleure introduction à ce que je venais chercher. Un professeur étonnant. Il n'arrivait pas pour nous lire ce qu'il avait écrit auparavant. Il prenait place devant nous pour un moment de création imtellectuelle. Pour moi, les cours de Broué c'était la pensée vivante en action.


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With profound sadness we learned of the death of comrade Pierre Broué, the outstanding Trotskyist historian and veteran revolutionary militant. After a long and painful battle against cancer, Pierre passed away at 03h04 on Wednesday July 27, at the age of 79.

In Spanish: La muerte de Pierre Broué - Una perdida irreparable para el marxismo
In
German: Der Tod von Pierre Broué, ein unwiederbringlicher Verlust für den Marxismus


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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

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.


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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.

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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.

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

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After the elections last week in the Netherlands, the attention of the world's media concentrated on the spectacular advance of the so-called Fortuyn's List - the ad hoc right-wing, anti-immigrant formation formed around the recently assassinated Pim Fortuyn. Coming hard on the heels of the electoral advance of Le Pen in France, many people are asking whether politics in Europe is headed for the right, and whether there is the threat of fascism once again in Europe.


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Chirac has won the French presidential elections by 82.2% to Le Pen's 17.8%. This is more or less what the opinion polls were predicting. There was never any doubt that Chirac would win. As we said, many workers would vote for Chirac reluctantly. But the victory of Chirac has solved absolutely nothing. The task in the coming period is to defeat the right wing as a whole - Chirac and Le Pen. This can only done by mobilising all the forces of the labour movement around genuine socialist policies.

On Wednesday May 1, France witnessed some of the biggest demonstrations since the revolutionary movement of 1968 and the liberation from Nazi occupation in 1944. This year's traditional May Day parades organised by the workers' unions could not have come at a more tense political moment. The racist National Front party (FN) candidate Le Pen won almost 17% of the vote in the first round of the presidential elections on April 21 and will face the outgoing president Chirac in the run-off on Sunday May 5. Due to the overwhelming desire of workers' to form a united front against the FN, the trade union leaders of the biggest three federations, CGT (Communist), CFDT (Socialist) and the

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This is an eyewitness report of the May Day demonstrations in Paris, which witnessed some of the biggest demonstrations since the revolutionary movement of 1968 and the liberation from Nazi occupation in 1944.

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The result of the first round of the French presidential elections was a political earthquake, which has shaken the country to its foundations. Within hours, in the best tradition of the French movement, there was a spontaneous explosion of popular protest. Anti-Le Pen demonstrators immediately poured onto the streets of Paris and other cities. The growth of votes for the radical right and left is more than a protest, it is a reflection of a growing polarisation between the classes. If the right wins in France because of the failure of reformism, a new and stormy chapter will open up in the the revolutionary process taking place all over Europe.

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This is a short eye-witness report of the spontaneous demonstration that took place in Paris on Sunday night.

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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.

In 1968 the world turned upside down. The long years of the post war economic upswing had led many to declare that class struggle was obsolete, revolution outdated, the working class bourgeoisified, capitalism invincible. Within a few short months, though, they were all proved wrong.


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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.

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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

1. 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. The recent general strike in Greece is a

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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...

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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...

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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.

This article by Alan Woods was originally written in 1989 to commemorate 200 years of the Great French Revolution, with a new introduction by the author. Alan Woods explains the internal dynamics of the revolution and above all the role played by the masses.


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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".

Supporters of the Marxist Tendency, then gathered around the Militant journal in Britain, intervened in the French events of May 1968. Here we provide the text of a leaflet that was distributed to the British workers and youth. In it they warned that with the way the French CP and trade union leaders were behaving the French bourgeois could regain control of the situation.

In this important pamphlet of May 1958, Ted Grant analysed the Bonapartist character of De Gaulle's regime in the light of previous historical events. De Gaulle's bid for power was successful not because of his strength, but because of the treacherous policies of the Communist and Socialist Party leaders. De Gaulle's victory was an expression of the crisis of French capitalism and would inevitably open up revolutionary events and an explosion of the class struggle. While most of the Stalinist, reformist and sectarian left had written off the French workers as a revolutionary class before May 1968, Ted Grant's prediction confirmed the correctness of Marxist analysis.

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