France

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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.