Strikes in France

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Strikes in France
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Hello comrades,

The strikes in France are evolving, according to a second leaflet that can be found in ICC’s french webpage, towards inter-generational solidarity, where workers are fighting not only for them but for future generations, and thus, overcoming the government’s attempt to divide it generationally. Strikes have extended to several sectors, and although the railworkers have an anti-unions experience, unions are performing a great display to control the movement. It seems, from what I read, that unions are trying to retain the air crew from plane transport and airports to join the pretending to be loyal to workers and threatening to join january! It is difficult to follow up the development of the movement from the information in the bourgeois media, and most of the videos on the internet are by these media and fixed on the union display, but something is clear, media (at least in English and Spanish) is insisting a lot in the chaotic side of the strike, in the difficulties for transport consumers, in insisting on the “hope for a holyday peace”. If you search on the web you find easily things like "why are the french always on strike?": "complications in transport"; "Christmas nightmare", etc.

Also, strikes are not identified with the yellow-vest movement but there are attempts to confuse it with it. 

If any comrade knows any online source where at least some genuine info can be seen, or any active working debate anywhere, it will be helpful. As I don’t speak French I have to translate and it is more difficult to find relevant things this way.



Additional thoughts

I will like to add something. I have found, for example, certain material whose spirit I am not able to know how generalized has become. In the 17 December, 6-hour-long video in youtube “Paris: la grève contre la réforme des retraites se poursuit”, from RT France (which belongs to the Russian State), in minute 2:20:00 aprox. we can hear singings of “A- anti- anticapitaliste”, and “solidarité”; and banners where it is written: “International Uprising”, “Piñera, macron, meme systeme de repression” “Le peuple veut la retraite du regime” (The people want the retirement of the regime). Thus, allusions to international solidarity, although with confusion about the nature of different movements, e.g., “Kurdish uprising”, or the development of "Chile uprising", etc.

These seem to be mostly young people, but also older elements who call to continue the strike during holydays.

One of the banners is titled #support international uprising, which seemingly belongs to a so-called “Internationalist Bloc”, which can be searched on social media: “Support International Urising-Paris”. We should be cautious with the meaning attributed to “Internationalism” here, because it represents a confused image of “all oppressed people”, where they include even Catalonia’s independence nationalist movement. However, it might be expression, although ambiguous, of a call for international worker solidarity. Discussion is needed, I think, about organizations absorbing the real workers’ struggle. For example, the organizations of Nuit Debout and its fictitious internationalism, which in reality was a division and demoralization in separate “convergent struggles” which didn’t question capitalism, and whose "assemblies" where ficticious, invented, and lacked real discussion. Thus, the premature artificial formation of "assemblies" controlled by the state might be a way to destroy the struggle. Or in 2011 Indignados movement, where the organism “Real Democracy Now” was structured to systematically absorb combative elements into a “call for democracy”. Thus, we should be careful.


The amount of pensions: this

The amount of pensions: this is something that the ICC does not talk about. That workers can retire with 3000 € pension, and others with 900 €, the ICC does not talk about it.

The ICC does not speak either of international differences, apparently believing that the French deserve larger pensions, because they are French (superior nation).

The ICC does not speak either of survivor's pensions, a system whereby a widow of a rich husband earns more money than a widow of a poor husband, which is never more than a form of legalized PROSTITUTION.

The ICC is only prostrating itself before the current system: the inequality of income by the system of the corporations and that of the nations, the official prostitution through the pensions of reversion, the ICC does not speak about it.

The ICC is conservative, the ICC is soft, the ICC shows corporatism and nationalism: no international perspective, no communist perspective, just the battle cry, with the unions: "leave things as they are!".

so Macron is closer to communism...

So, if I understand Tagore right, Macron and the French bourgeoisie are striking a blow for communism by trying to make sure everyone has the same shit level of pension cover?

What is the connection

What is the connection between these strikes and the Yellow Vests? Good working class strikers vs. Bad petty-bourgeois Yellow Vest protestors? Or are there continuities? Is this inter-generational solidarity a broader social phenomenon or limited to the railroad workers' protecting the privileges of their own young? In other words, does it break out of  the sectoral trap? How does this inter-generational solidarity relate to solidarity, or lack thereof, around immigration status that was so prominent in the Yellow Vests movement? In other words, does it show signs of a broader class solidarity or is it just another expression of the "social chauvinism" characteristic of the populist era so far?

On the class terrain

These strikes are, in our view, explicitly on a class terrain, both in terms of the mobilisation at the workplaces and as a response to a direct attack on working class living standards. There is no doubt of course that the unions and their rank and file appendages are trying to frame this response on a corporatist basis and both our leaflets clearly point out this danger, insisting that each sector on strike is part of the proletarian class as a whole and that it is in recognising this that the struggle can move forward. But there is a logical, though not mechanical, connection between sectors of the class in struggle and the recognition of a more general class identity and interest. Thus these strikes are important above all because they contain the potential for the recovery of class identity, so essential for the ultimate development of a revolutionary perspective. In contrast to this, the Yellow Vests from the start defined their reaction as citizens and within the framework of their forms of mobilisation and their demands there was no possibility of these protests transforming themselves into a class movement: on the contrary, the ideology of the citizen is a major obstacle to be overcome if such a movement is to emerge. Subjectively of course many of the participants in today’s strikes may see a continuity with the Yellow Vests, but it is up to revolutionaries to insist that this is not the case