France: Refinery blockades are a double-edged sword

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
France: Refinery blockades are a double-edged sword
Printer-friendly version

The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: France: Refinery blockades are a double-edged sword. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Is the importance here that

Is the importance here that the workers are confronting the state directly?

Militancy vs Big Picture

It's hard to discount any sector of workers militancy, even when their tactics and actions are, in different ways, detrimental to the wider class struggle. I think a lot of the refinery (and transportation, etc) workers have the best intentions- they just don't understand the potential harm their strikes and blockades are doing to the greater struggle. As the article notes, union called strikes or occupations or pickets etc of certain industries are used to turn the tide against a greater struggle, or other groups of workers; and that the only groups who are harmed by such actions are other workers, the unemployed, etc.

Though in the case of the French pension fight, it seems like such a move by the union bosses to turn opinion against the struggle and the workers would have been far more successful at the beginning of the movement, before it spread and grew. You'd think they would've learned that lesson from the example of the Greek workers in transportation, public service, utilities, oil, etc (who were also given general public support).

Spiegel Online, Time Magazine

On a related note, here's the bourgeois press response to the French mass struggle:

"Yes, the French are protesting against a flawed, unfair and poorly executed pension reform... [But] France is currently witnessing a veritable popular uprising against a government which has been shaken by scandals and which is already over the hill... The real target of the protestors' anger is Noclas Sarkozy, the most unpopular French President of the last 30 years."

- Originally from Spiegel Online 10/26/2010, quoted in Time Magazine issue 11/08/2010.