France

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 The long years of the post war economic upswing had led many to declare that class struggle was obsolete, revolution outdated, the working class bourgeoisified, capitalism invincible.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.

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.

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 French Marxist paper

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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...

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.

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.