Class Struggle: New Strength of the Unions Against the Working Class

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Each passing day bears new witness to the capitalist world's plunge into unspeakable barbarity. "More than ever, the struggle of the proletariat represents the only hope for the future of human society. This struggle, which revived with great power at the end of the 60s, putting an end to the most terrible counter-revolution the working class has ever known, went into a major retreat with the collapse of the stalinist regimes, the ideological campaigns which accompanied them, and all the events which followed (Gulf war, war in Yugoslavia). The working class suffered this reflux in a massive way at the level both of its combativity and its consciousness, without this putting the historic course towards class confrontation into question, as the ICC affirmed already at the time. The struggles waged by the proletariat in recent years confirm this. Particularly since 1992 these struggles have been testimony to the proletariat's capacity to get back onto the path of struggle, thus confirming that the historic course has not been overturned. They are also testimony to the enormous difficulties which it is encountering on this path, owing to the breadth and depth of the reflux. The workers struggles are developing in a sinuous, jagged manner full of advances and retreats"1.

The workers' strikes and demonstrations that shook France at the end of autumn 1995 have illustrated both the proletariat's ability to return to the combat, but also the enormous difficulties that it encounters on the way. In the last issue of the International Review, we gave an immediate appreciation of these social movements' significance:

"In reality, the French proletariat is the target of a massive maneuver aimed at weakening its consciousness and combativity; a maneuver, moreover, which is also aimed at the working class in other countries, designed at making it draw the wrong lessons from the events in France (...)

... the workers cannot remain passive [in the face of the brutal attacks that a crisis-ridden capitalism is dealing out to them]. They have no way out, other than to defend themselves in struggle. But to prevent the working class from entering the combat with its own weapons, the bourgeoisie has taken the lead, and has pushed the workers into a premature struggle, completely under the control of the unions. It has not left the workers time to mobilize at their own rhythm and with their own methods (...)

Thus although the recent strike movement in France reveals a deep discontent within the working class, it is above all the result of a maneuver on a very large scale by the bourgeoisie, aimed at leading the workers into a massive defeat, and above all at creating a profound disorientation in their ranks"2.

The importance of the events in France at the end of 1995

The fact that social movements in France were fundamentally the result of a bourgeois maneuver in no way reduces their importance, nor does it mean that the working class is today nothing better than a flock of sheep at the mercy of the ruling class. In particular, these events are a stinging rebuttal of all the "theories" (given abundant publicity at the time of the Stalinist regimes' collapse) on the "disappearance" of the working class, and to the variations that spoke of the "end of working class struggle", or (the "left" variety) of the "recomposition" of the class, which has supposedly dealt a serious blow to the struggle3.

The very fact and extent of the strikes and demonstrations of November-December 1995 is testimony to the class' real potential today: hundreds of thousands of strikers, several million demonstrators. However, we cannot simply be satisfied with this observation: after all, during the 1930s, we saw huge movements like the strikes of May-June 1936 in France, or the workers' insurrection against the fascist coup in Spain, on 18th July of the same year. The fundamental difference between today's class movements and those of the 1930s, is that the latter were part of a long string of working class defeats following the revolutionary wave that began during World War I, defeats which plunged the working class into the deepest counter-revolution of its history. In this context of physical, and above all political defeat, expressions of working class combativity were easily derailed by the bourgeoisie onto the rotten terrain of anti-fascism, in other words the preparation for the second imperialist massacre. We will not return here to our analysis of the historic course4, but it is necessary to state clearly here that the situation today is not the same as in the 1930s. Today's mobilizations of the working class are in no way steps towards the preparation of imperialist war. Their significance lies in the perspective of decisive class confrontations, in a capitalism plunged into irreversible crisis.

This being said, the importance of the French social movements at the end of autumn 1995 lies not so much in the workers' strikes and demonstrations in themselves, as in the size of the bourgeois maneuver that provoked them.

We can often judge the real balance of class forces from the way that the bourgeoisie acts against the proletariat. The ruling class, after all, has many means of evaluating these forces: opinion polls, police reports (in France, for example, one of the jobs of the Renseignements Genereux, ie the political police, is to "feel the pulse" of potentially dangerous sectors of the population, and in particular the working class). But the most important of them is the union apparatus, which is much more effective than all the sociologists, opinion pollsters, or police functionaries. Since this apparatus is responsible above all for controlling the exploited, in the service of capitalist interests, and has 80 years of experience in the matter, it is especially sensitive to the workers' state of mind, their readiness and ability to engage in struggle against the bourgeoisie. It is the unions' job to keep the bourgeoisie's leaders constantly informed as to the extent of the danger represented by the class struggle. And this is the purpose of the periodic meetings between union leaders and the bosses, or the government: plan together the best and most effective strategy for the bourgeoisie's attacks on the working class. In the case of the movements in France at the end of 1995, the size and sophistication of the maneuver organized against the working class are enough in themselves to show how far the class struggle, and the perspective of massive workers' combats, are a central concern for the bourgeoisie.

Bourgeois maneuvers against the working class

The article in the previous issue of this Review described in detail the various aspects of the maneuver, and how all the sectors of the ruling class, from the right to the far left, collaborated in it. Here, we will simply recall the main elements:

- starting in the summer of 1995, an avalanche of attacks (from a brutal tax hike, to a threat to the pensions of state employees, via a wage freeze for the latter, and the whole topped off with a plan for Social Security reform, the "Juppe plan" designed to increase wage earners ' subscriptions, while reducing the reimbursement of medical expenses);

- a veritable provocation directed at the rail workers, in the form of a "contract plan" between the state and the SNCF (the nationalized rail company), imposing an extra 7 years work on drivers before reaching pension rights, and thousands of job cuts;

- use of the rail workers' immediate mobilization as an "example to follow" by the other workers of the state sector: contrary to their usual practice of confining the struggle, this time the unions became zealous propagandists for their extension and succeeded in drawing in many other workers, notably in city transport, the postal service, gas and electricity, and tax offices;

- massive media coverage of the strikes, presented in a highly favorable light on the TV, and even accompanied by intellectuals signing declarations for "an awakening of society", and against "monolithic thought";

- the leftists' contribution to the maneuver, giving their total approval to the unions, reproaching them solely with not having done the same thing earlier;

- an initially intransigent attitude from the government, disdainfully rejecting the unions' calls for negotiation: the arrogance of Prime Minister Juppe, an unpopular and unlikeable personality, providing an admirable foil to the unions' "combative" hardline talk;

- then, after three weeks of strikes, the government withdraws the "contract plan" on the railways, and the measures against state employees' pensions: the unions hail their victory and talk of a government "retreat"; despite the resistance of some of the "tough" railyards, the rail workers go back to work, giving the signal for the other sectors to end the strike.

Overall, the bourgeoisie won a victory by pushing through most of the measures which concern every sector of the working class, such as the increase in taxes and the reform of the Social Security, and even some of the measures aimed at specific sectors, such as the wage freeze for state employees. But the bourgeoisie's greatest victory was political: the workers who have just engaged in three weeks of strikes are not ready to launch a new movement when the next attacks fall. Moreover, and above all, these strikes and demonstrations have given the unions the opportunity to polish up their image considerably: whereas previously, the unions in France had the reputation of dispersing the struggle, of organizing worn-out and divisive days of action, now they appeared throughout the movement (especially the two most important of them: the Stalinist CGT and Force Ouvriere led by the Socialists) as indispensable to the movement's extension and unity, to the organization of massive demonstrations, and as responsible for the government's so-called "retreat". As we said in the article in our last Review:

"This renewed credibility of the unions was one of the bourgeoisie's fundamental objectives, a vital precondition for dealing blows still more brutal than today's. Only on this condition can it hope to sabotage the struggles which will certainly surge up against these new attacks".

In fact, the considerable importance that the bourgeoisie gave to renewing the unions' credibility was amply confirmed after the movement, especially in the press with numerous articles emphasizing the union "comeback". It is interesting to read, in one of the bourgeoisie's confidential newsheets, that it uses for talking unambiguously: "One of the clearest signs of this union recovery is the way the coordinations have volatilized. They has been seen as a testimony of the unions' inability to represent the workers. The fact that they did not appear this time shows that the unions' efforts to "stick to the terrain", and restore a "unionism close to the workers" have not been in vain"5. The same newsheet is happy to quote a declaration - presented as a "sigh of relief" - from a private sector boss: "At last we've got strong trade unions back again".

A lack of understanding in the revolutionary milieu

To say that the movements at the end of 1995 in France were above all the result of a very carefully planned maneuver, set up by all the sectors of the bourgeoisie, does not call into question the working class' ability to confront capital in large-scale struggle: quite the reverse. It is precisely the scale of the resources used by the ruling class to forestall the proletariat's future struggles, that reveals its degree of concern at this perspective. However, to see this you have to be able to detect the bourgeoisie's maneuver. Unfortunately, not only was this maneuver sophisticated enough not to be unmasked by the working masses, it has also deceived those, one of whose essential responsibilities it is to denounce the exploiters' hidden blows against the exploited: the communist organizations. Thus the comrades of Battaglia Comunista can write in the December 1995 issue of their paper (BC): "The unions were wrong-footed by the workers' determined reaction against the government's plans".

This is not a hasty judgment on BC's part, as a result of insufficient information, since in its January 1996 issue, BC returns to the same idea:

"The employees of the state sector mobilized spontaneously against the Juppe plan. And it is good to remember that the workers' first demonstrations took place on the terrain of the immediate defense of class interests, taking the union organizations themselves by surprise, and showing once again that when the proletariat moves to defend itself against the bourgeoisie's attacks, it almost always does so outside and against union directives. It was only in the second phase that the French unions, above all Force Ouvriere and the CGT, caught up with the movement and thus recovered their credibility in the workers' eyes. But the involvement, with such apparent radicalism, of Force Ouvriere and the other unions in fact hid the sordid interests of the union bureaucracy, which can only be understood if one knows the French system of social protection [where the unions, notably Force Ouvriere, manage me funds, which is precisely one of the things called into question by the Juppe plan].

We find a similar idea put forward by BC's sister organization within the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Parry (IBRP), the Communist Workers Organization (CWO). In no. 1, 3rd Series, of its review Revolutionary Perspectives, we read:

"The unions, particularly FO, the CGT and CFDT6, are resisting this change. It would be a major blow against the patronage of the union bosses. Nevertheless all of them, at some time or another before Juppe's announcement, had either welcomed dialogue with the government or had accepted the need for new taxes. It was only when the workers' anger at the final proposals was made clear that the unions began to feel threatened by more than the loss of control over major areas of finance" .

In the analysis of the two IBRP groups, there is much insistence on the fact the unions only sought to defend their own "sordid interests" when they called for mobilization against the Juppe plan on Social Security. Obviously, the union leaders are sensitive to their own petty interests, such an analysis of reality comes down to looking at reality through the wrong end of a telescope. It's like seeing the customary disputes between the different unions as nothing more than an expression of the competition that exists between them, without seeing the fundamental aspect: that this is an excellent way of dividing the working class. In reality, these "sordid interests" of the trades unions can only find expression within the framework of their role in capitalist society: that of the social firemen of the capitalist order; the bourgeois state's police within the workers' ranks. And if they should have to renounce their "sordid interests" in order to keep up this role, then they will do so without hesitation: their sense of responsibility in the defense of capitalist interests against the working class is impeccable. At the end of 1995, the union leaders knew perfectly well that letting Juppe put through the major part of his plan would deprive them of some of their financial prerogatives, but they kissed them in the higher capitalist interest. It is far better for the unions to be thought to be fighting their own corner (they can always take refuge behind the argument that their own strength contributes to that of the working class), than to be unmasked for what they really are: cogs in the machinery of the capitalist state.

In fact, while our comrades of the IBRP are perfectly clear on the trade unions' capitalist nature, they still express the idea, nuanced it is true7, that the unions were surprised, even outflanked, by the initiative of the working class. Nothing could be further from the truth. If there is one example during the last 10 years in France of the unions perfectly anticipating and controlling a social movement, then 1995 is it. This movement was not just controlled by the unions, they systematically provoked it, with the government's complicity, as we have seen above and analyzed at length in our previous article. And the best proof that the bourgeoisie and its union apparatus was neither "surprised" nor "outflanked", is the media coverage that the bourgeoisie in other countries immediately gave to the movement. Especially since the big strikes in Belgium 1983, which heralded the class' emergence from the demoralization and disorientation which accompanied the workers' 1981 defeat in Poland, the bourgeoisie has been careful to organize a complete international blackout around workers' struggles. Only when the struggle corresponds to a maneuver planned in advance by the ruling class, as was the case in Germany 1992, does the blackout give way to a plethora of information. In 1992, the strikes in the public sector, especially in public transport, already had the aim of "presenting the unions, which had systematically organized all the actions and kept the workers completely passive, as the real protagonists of the movement against the bosses"8. From this point of view, the movements in France at the end of 1995 were a "remake" of those stirred up by the bourgeoisie in Germany three and a half years earlier. The intense media bombardment that accompanied these movements (even in Japan, it was daily headline news on the TV) shows not only that they were planned and controlled from start to finish by the unions, but that the ruling class organized the maneuver on an international scale to strike a blow at working class consciousness in the advanced countries.

The best proof lies in the way that the Belgian bourgeoisie maneuvered in the wake of the social movements in France:

- while the media were speaking of a "new May 68" in France, at the end of November 1995, the unions launched movements exactly like those in France against the attacks on the state sector, especially against the reform of social security;

- the bourgeoisie then mounted a brutal provocation by announcing attacks of unprecedented violence against workers on the railways (SNCB) and in the national airline (Sabena); just as in France, the muons resolutely took the lead in mobilizing these two sectors, presented as the example to follow, while the rail workers were invited to follow the example of their French colleagues;

- the. bourgeoisie then pretended to retreat, which of course was presented as a great union victory, and guaranteed the success of a mass demonstration of the whole public sector, on 13th December, perfectly controlled by the unions, and including a delegation of French railworkers from the CGT; on 14th December the daily De Morgen headlined "Just like France. or almost";

- two days later, the government and the bosses organized a new provocation at the SNCB and Sabena, with the management announcing that its austerity measures were to be maintained: the unions renewed the "hardline" struggle (confrontations between police and strikers blockading Brussels airport), and tried to spread the movement to other branches of the state sector, as well as to the private sectors, with union delegations declaring "solidarity" with the Sabena workers, and declaring that "their struggle is a social laboratory for all the workers";

- finally, at the beginning of January, the bosses once again pretended to retreat, announcing that they would open a "social dialogue" at both the SNCB and Sabena "under the pressure of the movement"; as in France, the movement ended in victory and increased credibility for the unions.

Comrades of the IBRP, do you really believe that this remarkable resemblance between events in France and in Belgium was a mere accident, and that the bourgeoisie and the unions internationally had planned none of this?

In fact, the analysis put forward by BC and the CWO dramatically underestimates the capitalist enemy. The bourgeoisie knows that the increasingly brutal attacks that it will be forced to deal out to the working class must necessarily provoke a large-scale response from the latter, where the unions will be called on to preserve the bourgeois order, and it is quite capable of forestalling these confrontations. The positions of BC and the CWO, especially the former, give the impression of incredible naivety. Thus BC, during the collapse of the Eastern bloc, fell into the trap of the bourgeoisie's campaigns as to the supposedly rosy prospects that this opened up the world economy9. At the same time, BC was completely taken in by the so-called "insurrection" in Romania (in reality a coup d'etat which allowed old apparatchiks like Ion Illescu to replace the hated Ceaucescu), and did not hesitate to write that: "Romania is the first country in the world's industrialized regions where the economic crisis has given birth to a real and authentic popular insurrection, whose result has been the overthrow of the government (...) in Romania, all the objective conditions were present for the transformation of the insurrection into a real and authentic social revolution".

Comrades of Battaglia Comunista, when you end up writing such nonsense, then at the least you should try to draw the lessons afterwards. In particular, you should be a little more skeptical at what the bourgeoisie has to stay. If you let yourself be taken in by all the ruling class uses to try to fool the working masses, how can you claim to be the latter's vanguard?

The need for a historical analytical framework

In reality, BC's blunders (like those of the CWO calling the Polish workers to "Revolution Now!" in 1981) cannot be reduced to their militants' naivety or other psychological and intellectual characteristics. Both these organizations include experienced and intelligent comrades. The real reason for these organizations' repeated errors, is that they have systematically refused to take account of the only framework in which we can understand the evolution of the proletariat's class struggle: the historic course towards class confrontations, which overturned the counter-revolution in 1968. We have already highlighted this serious mistake on BC's part (in which they have been joined by the CWO) several times10. BC calls into question the very nature of a historic course: "When we talk about a "historic course", it is (...) to define a historic period, a global and dominant tendency which can only be called into question by major events (...) But for Battaglia (...) it is a question of a perspective that can shift in one direction or another at any moment, since "a revolutionary breakthrough" can't be ruled out, even during a course towards war (...) Battaglia's vision resembles a Spanish inn: in the notion of the historic course, everyone puts in what he wants. You can find the revolution in a course towards war, or a world war in a course towards class confrontations. So you can say whatever you want: in 1981, the CWO who share the same vision of the historic course as BC, called on the workers of Poland to make the revolution, whereas the world proletariat had supposedly not yet emerged from the counter-revolution. In the end, the notion of a course totally disappears. This is where BC ends up: eliminating any idea of a historical perspective. In fact, the vision of the PCInt (and of the IBRP) has a name: immediatism"11.

An immediatism which allows us to understand why the groups of the IBRP, for example in 1987-88, swing between complete skepticism and an equally complete enthusiasm at the workers' struggles. In 1987, BC began by putting the struggle in the Italian schools on the same level as that of the magistrates or airline pilots, only to transform it into "a new and interesting phase in the class struggle in Italy". The CWO oscillated in the same way over the strikes in Britain during the same period12.

In January 1996, it was the same immediatism that made BC write that "The strike of the French workers, whatever the opportunist (sic) attitude of the unions, is really an episode of extraordinary importance in the recovery of the class struggle". For BC, what was sadly lacking in this struggle, to avoid its defeat, was a proletarian party. If the party - which must indeed be built for the proletariat to carry out the communist revolution - were to be inspired by the same immediatist approach as BC, than we can only fear for the fate of the revolution.

Only by turning our backs firmly on immediatism, and placing the present moments of the class struggle in their historic context, can we understand them and truly play the part of vanguard of the working class.

Obviously, this framework is the course of history , and we won't go back over it. More precisely, the framework has been defined by the collapse of the Stalinist regimes at the end of the 1980s, which we recalled briefly at the beginning of this article. At the end of the summer of 1989, two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ICC set out the new analytical framework which would allow us to understand the evolution of the class struggle:

"We thus have to expect a momentary retreat in the consciousness of the proletariat (...) While the incessant and increasingly brutal attacks which capitalism can't help but mount on the proletariat will oblige the workers to enter the struggle, in an initial period this won't result in a greater capacity in the class to develop its consciousness. In particular, reformist ideology will weigh very heavily on the struggle in the period ahead, greatly facilitating the action of the unions.

Given the historic importance of the events that are determining it, the present retreat of the proletariat - although it doesn't call into question the historic course, the general perspective of class confrontations - is going to be much deeper than the one which accompanied the defeat of 1981 in Poland"13.

The ICC had to integrate further new and extremely important events into this framework:

"This campaign [on the "death of communism" and the "triumph" of capitalism] has had a real impact on the workers, affecting their combativity and above all their consciousness. Although this combativity began to pick up again in the spring of 1990, especially as a result of the attacks that went with the beginning of the open recession, it was again hit by the crisis and the war in the Gulf.

These tragic events certainly put paid to the lies about the "new world order" announced by the bourgeoisie at the time of the disappearance of the Eastern bloc, which was supposed to be the main source of military tensions in the world (...) But at the same time, the great majority of the working class in the advanced countries, following a new round of bourgeois propaganda campaigns, submitted to this war with a strong sense of powerlessness, which considerably weakened its struggles. The August 1991 putsch in the USSR and the new destabilization it provoked, as well as the civil war in Yugoslavia, contributed in their turn to reinforce this feeling of powerlessness. The breakup of the USSR and the barbaric war unfolding in Yugoslavia are expressions of the advanced decomposition of capitalist society today. But thanks to all the lies spread by the media, the bourgeoisie has managed to hide the real cause of these events and present them as a further manifestation of the "death of communism" or as a question of the "right of nations to self-determination", in the face of which workers have nothing to do but be passive spectators trusting to the wisdom of their governments"14.

The horror and duration of the war in Yugoslavia, unfolding right next to the great proletarian concentrations of Western Europe has been one of major elements that explain the extent of the proletariat's difficulties at the present time. The war combines (though to a lesser extent) the damage done by the collapse of the Eastern bloc - a deep disarray and illusions among the workers - and by the war in the Gulf - a profound feeling of impotence - without, unlike the latter, revealing the crimes and barbarity of great "democracies". The war provides a clear illustration of how capitalism's decomposition, of which it is one of today's most spectacular expressions, acts as a serious obstacle to the development of the workers' struggle and consciousness.

Another aspect which needs to be emphasized, in particular because it concerns the bourgeoisie's main weapon against the workers, the unions, is the fact that we pointed out in our Theses of September 1989: "reformist ideology will weigh very heavily on the struggle in the period ahead, greatly facilitating the action of the unions". This sprang from the fact not that the workers still had any illusions in the "socialist paradise", but that the existence of a supposedly "non-capitalist" society seemed to indicate the possibility of some society other than a capitalist one. The end of these regimes was presented as the "end of history" (a term used quite seriously by certain bourgeois "thinkers"). Inasmuch as trade unionism is supposed to act on the terrain of improving workers' living conditions within capitalism, the events of 1989, aggravated by all the blows suffered by the working class since then, could only strengthen the unions, as we have seen - and which the bourgeoisie has made the most of in the social movements at the end of 1989.

The unions' lost credibility could not be restored all at once. Throughout the 1980s, they had been so discredited by their repeated sabotage of the workers' struggles, that it was difficult for them to set themselves up immediately as the intransigent defenders of the working class. Their return to the limelight was thus conducted in several stages, where they were more and more strongly presented as the vital instrument of the workers' struggle. An example of this progressive return of the unions is given by the situation in Germany, where the grand maneuvers in the public sector during the spring of 1992 still left room for the spontaneous struggles, without union instructions, of autumn 1993 in the Ruhr. By contrast, in the engineering workers' strikes at the beginning of 1995, the unions were much more firmly in the saddle. But the most significant example comes from Italy. In the autumn of 1992, the unions became the target for the great outburst of workers' anger against the Amato plan. A year later, the "mobilization" of the working class and the massive demonstrations throughout the country were led by the "factory council coordinations", in other words by the structures of rank -and- file unionism. Finally, the monster demonstration of 1994 in Rome, the biggest since World War II, was a masterpiece of union control.

To understand this renewed vigor of the trade unions, it is important to emphasize that it has been made possible by the survival of the union ideology, whose ultimate defenders are the "rank-and-file" or "fighting" unionists. In Italy, for example, the latter led the contestation of the official unions (by bringing to demonstrations the ball-bearings and rotten tomatoes that were used against the union leaders), before opening the way to the union recovery of 1994 with their own "mobilizations" during 1993. In the combats to come, once the official unions have once again been discredited by their sabotage in the service of the ruling class, the workers will still have to attack the unionist ideology represented by the rank-and-file unionists.

This means that the working class still has a long and difficult path in front of it. But these difficulties must not be a factor of demoralization, especially for its most advanced elements. The bourgeoisie is perfectly aware of the proletariat's potential. This is why it organizes maneuvers like those of late 1995. This is why the Davos meeting this winter, which traditionally brings together 2,000 of the world's most important "decision-makers" in the economic and political domain (and which was attended this year by Blondel, the leader of the French union Force Ouvriere, witnessed anxiety at the evolution of the social situation. Speeches of this kind were common: "We must create confidence amongst wage earners, and organize cooperation among companies so that local colectivities, towns, and regions, benefit from internationalization. Otherwise, we will seen a resurgence of social movements unheard of since World War II"15.

The bourgeoisie thus confirms what revolutionaries have always said: the crisis is the workers' best ally. It will open their eyes to the dead-end of the world today, and give it the will to overthrow it, despite all the obstacles that the ruling class will not fail to sow in its path.

FM, 12/03/96

1 "Resolution on the International Situation", adopted by the 11th Congress of the ICC, in International Review no.82.

2 International Review no.84, "Struggle behind the unions leads to defeat".

3 See our article "The proletariat is still the revolutionary class" in International Review no. 74.

4 See our article "Report on the course of history" in International Review no.18.

5 Supplement to the bulletin Entreprise et Personnel, titled "The social conflict at the end of 1995 and its probable consequences".

6 This is a mistake. The CFDT - a social-democratic union with Christian origins - approved the Juppe plan for the Social Security.

7 The CWO's tone is a good deal less optimistic than BC's: "The bourgeoisie is so confident that it will control the workers, that the Paris Stock Exchange is rising". We should add that the Franc remained stable during the entire movement. Two proofs that the bourgeoisie welcomed the movement with satisfaction. And with good reason!

8 See International Review no. 70, "Faced with chaos and massacres, only the working class can provide an answer".

9 See our article "The Wind from the East and the Response of Revolutionaries" in International Review no. 61.

10 See in particular our articles "In response to Battaglia Comunista on the course of history" and nature of a historic course: "When we talk about a "historic course and "The confusion of communist groups on the present period: the under-estimation of the class struggle", in International Review nos. 50 and 54.

11 International Review no. 54.

12 On this subject, see our article "Decantation in the proletarian political milieu and the oscillations of the IBRP" in International Review no. 55.

13 "Theses on the economic and political crisis in the USSR and the Eastern bloc countries", International Review no. 60.

14 "Only the working class can take humanity out of this barbarism", International Review no. 68.

15 Rosabeth Moss Kanter, previously director of the Harvard Business Review, quoted by Le Monde Diplomatique of March 1996.

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