Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/572/7085

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 March 2009

France: Three million take to the streets in national strike

THURSDAY 19 March saw three million workers and young people take to the streets of over 200 French cities.

Danny Byrne, Committee for a Workers' International (CWI)

This massive response to the call for a national strike and demonstrations against growing attacks on jobs, public services and living standards by French bosses and the Sarkozy government, reflects the prevailing mood of anger among French workers and youth.

An opinion poll on 17 March showed 78% support nationally for the strike and recent political polls have shown a complete collapse in the support for the French president.

As unemployment mounts, with mass lay-offs and the slashing of hours in both the public and private sectors, the response of the government to the world capitalist crisis - cash injections and bailouts for bosses and bankers, in tandem with an assault on public services, including healthcare - has been met with outrage.

Thursday's demonstrations were bigger and angrier than those on 29 January (which saw over two million mobilised nationally), but both reflected the growing consensus in French society that a fightback is necessary to defend jobs and living standards in the face of the crisis.

Also, significantly, these demonstrations saw a higher turnout of private sector workers who have been most heavily affected by the jobs massacre, particularly in the car industry. The Paris demonstration - 350,000 strong - included large, lively contingents of car and other metalworkers and even McDonald's workers!

In response to the strike, the French prime minister, Francois Fillon, merely restated the government's intention to continue on its present course and implement its anti-social 'reforms', despite mass opposition.

However, Fillon and Sarkozy's government recognises that the French working class, with its fighting traditions, will not be so easily ignored. Nicolas Sarkozy's recent observation that "social issues often heat up in May", (in reference to the legacy of the French revolutionary general strike of 1968) reflects French capitalism's fear of the working class mounting a sustained, effective movement which could force the hand of the bosses and Sarkozy.

Trade union leaders

The actions of the trade union leadership, however, have so far had the effect of holding back the development of such a movement. Their announcement on Friday that the next day of action would be on 1 May signals no change in their approach.

Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France), aided by Belgian CWI activists, intervened in demonstrations in Paris, Rouen and elsewhere, arguing against the strategy of token mobilisations, called once every two months. They instead counterpoised a programme of militant action, in the form of a united general strike to defend jobs and public services.

The shining example of the workers of Guadeloupe and Martinique, in the 'French Caribbean', whose general strike led to a historic victory (including the provision of an extra €200 a month for the lowest paid), will serve as a thorn in the side of the trade union leadership as the movement develops. One banner in Paris read "€200 more here too!"

Gauche Revolutionnaire is an active current within the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) led by Olivier Besancenot, whose public approval ratings have surpassed those of all other party leaders in recent weeks.

Many workers have responded enthusiastically to the launch of the NPA in February and the party was well received on Thursday's demonstrations. However, if it is to win the support of the mass of workers and youth, it must be built as a mass party, which can give the struggles of workers and young people a political expression.

Gauche Revolutionnaire fights for the NPA to put forward a socialist programme, based on the power of the working class to organise and change society. Such a party could make the case for an end to the crisis-ridden capitalist system and its attacks on living standards, through the socialist transformation of society.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 March 2009:

Capitalist crisis: Make the bosses pay!

March for jobs!

Map of Youth March for Jobs route


Socialist Party editorial

Tide of job losses must be fought


Socialist Party election campaign

Rail union launches euro election challenge

An appeal from Bob Crow

No2EU Financial Appeal pdf

NO2EU Supporter appeal pdf


Socialist Party campaigns

Students need a mass fighting organisation

Credit crunch hits home

Campaign for a new workers' party

MPs - an honourable profession!

Fast News


Socialist Party feature

The uncaring care sector

Pay for your own vetting


Socialist Party marxist analysis

State repression in Britain

Keeping (illegal) tabs on us


International socialist news and analysis

France: Three million take to the streets in national strike

Canada: "Fighting back makes a difference"

Mass demo in New York against budget cuts

Scotland: International Socialists conference a big step forward

Dundee Prisme occupation: Workers remain defiant

Stop the slaughter of Tamils: London campaign meeting


Socialist Party workplace news

Nom-dom jobs slasher

New allegations hit Unison's right wing

Unison Four to face further hearings

Wales: United battle needed to stop college cuts

Fighting for justice for cleaners!

PCS Land Registry jobs and pay campaign

Workplace news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 March 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

France:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Lessons of France '68 for the climate strikes today

triangleFrance Telecom: Privatisation in the dock

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Gilets Jaunes movement in France

triangleTV: Les Misérables - Hugo's novel and this adaptation both offer a message of hope

triangleFrance: striking workers confront Macron

Strike:

trianglePCS members at BEIS maintain just fightback

triangleNottingham College UCU - more strike action planned

triangleDVSA strike - employer asks for talks

International

International

18/9/19

South Africa

Violence against women in South Africa: how should organised workers respond?

11/9/19

London

West Papuans demand self-determination in London

11/9/19

South Africa

South Africa: Xenophobic violence - a product of failed capitalist policies

11/9/19

Far right

Far right makes gains in Germany

4/9/19

Hong Kong

Hong Kong protests: No let-up in trial of strength

28/8/19

Italy

Italy: Governing coalition fractures as Salvini looks to capitalise on crisis

14/8/19

Hong Kong

Pro-democracy protests continue to rage

14/8/19

Kashmir

Kashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

31/7/19

Puerto Rico

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

31/7/19

Hong Kong

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates

17/7/19

Greece

Greece elections: Syriza ousted amid voter disillusionment

17/7/19

Israel

Interview: protests over killing in Israel

17/7/19

Sudan

Sudan masses mobilise against state repression

3/7/19

Ireland

Irish health workers' anger boils over into strike action

3/7/19

Turkey

New opportunity to build working-class fightback after voters punish Erdogan

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999