Police violence and confronting the cops… the bourgeoisie will use all the means at its disposal to undermine the struggle!

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Faced with the determination of the workers in France, the bourgeoisie is coming up with all kinds of tricks and traps: shameful provocations by the government, false hopes in an “institutional” way out or “social dialogue” … from left to right, the bourgeoisie does all it can to drive the struggle into a dead-end. In recent weeks, it’s been the overt violence of the police that has been put to maximum use and relayed across the world by the media.

Police violence and provocations are classical methods for maintaining order. After vainly counting on workers becoming exhausted by repeatedly losing a day’s pay, Macron and his government are now instrumentalising the blind and sterile violence of the black blocs. This allows them to deliberately orchestrate a whole enterprise of police provocation and repression against all the demonstrators and striking workers.

For example: at the demonstrations of 28 March, everything was done to make sure the marches turned into massive and violent confrontations with the forces of order. First of all there were the verbal provocations by Macron, which portrayed the demonstrators as a horde of thugs. Then, shocking videos and recordings inundated social media, showing cops assaulting, intimidating and humiliating demonstrators, especially the youngest ones. Finally, a number of these young people found themselves in a life-threatening situation at Saint-Soline, wounded by weapons of war, after which the emergency services were forbidden by the local authorities to step in and help. These provocations were intolerable and there was a huge risk that feelings towards the forces of order would not stop at slogans like “everyone hates the police!” but would turn into chaotic street battles and burning barricades.

However, on 28 March, the demonstrations remained calm: anger was growing from the beginning to the end of the marches but there were only a few skirmishes involving a small number of people. The same thing, but even more calm, on 6 April. The working class didn’t fall into the trap!

Because it is indeed a trap: the bourgeoisie has done all it can to exacerbate the anger of those taking part in the social movement, allowing its cops to act with impunity and to make it known that they can: there will be no sanctions against them, no suspensions, said a cynical and arrogant Minister of the Interior, whose haughtiness could only be rivalled at the Elysée! The message was clear: next time it will be worse. Next time it will be war and you have been warned!

The demonstrators could have been frightened by all this, parents might have kept their kids – students, school pupils – at home and the bourgeoisie could have bragged about a movement “on the decline”. Some of the demonstrators might have been dragged into direct clashes with the police and the bourgeoisie would have had a good opportunity to say that any social movement always ends up in destruction and chaos, and that only the state and its police can guarantee peace and safety.

The bourgeoisie is however not content to impose terror and push towards sterile confrontations. It has another very effective and dangerous weapon in its hands, thanks to its democratic ideology and its trade unions. The latter present themselves as the responsible ones, as guarantors of peaceful demonstrations and effective struggles. In reality, not only do they collaborate with the authorities and the cops in preparing the demonstrations, they themselves act as stewards, organising the demos in such a way that they are separated from each other, split up by sector, profession, category, each one behind its own banner, contained by the unions with their sound systems in order to prevent any real discussion or any initiatives not orchestrated by them. The other side of this coin is provided by the left parties and the bourgeois media who try to inject more ideological poison into the workers’ heads – aimed at making us think that the unions really do defend the workers, but also that there could exist a “police at the service of the people”, respectful of the rule of law, acting within the framework of "irreproachable ethics". These are lies. The unions, like the police, are state organs. They are fundamentally servants of this organ whose role is to be the spearhead of the defence of capitalist order and exploitation.

The class struggle has nothing to do with the blind, minority violence which has been expressed in some confrontations with the forces of repression, any more than it can maintain any illusions in a supposedly more humane and democratic capitalism.

The strength of the working class resides in its collective, massive struggle, the soil in which can grow the consciousness of being a revolutionary class, capable of imposing a real balance of force against the ruling class. It’s not about burning dustbins or chasing a pack of CRS down the street. The bourgeoisie is well aware of this and this is why it seeks by all available means to prevent workers from developing this understanding by provoking reactions of blind anger which serve to blow off steam and which it is perfectly capable of manipulating in its own interests.

Vincent, 10.4.23


Movement against pension reform in France