15/12/2019 by socialistfight
By Viriato Lusitania
The political attack prepared by the government to transfer the bulk of capital from pension funds to banks and financial institutions has met with active opposition from many sectors of workers, retirees and future workers such as students.
This project, which nothing justifies, the pension funds are in financial equilibrium, was worked out by a defector of the Socialist Party, Delevoye, an employee of the same financial institutions that salivate in front of this “gold mine” that represents the savings of the pension funds, on orders of Macron, president of France and also an ex-employee of the Rothschild’s bank.
The retreat by points, in fact capitalist funds of pensions are massively rejected by a large part of the French worker’s and society. This system, of sad memory for the Chileans who first knew the “virtues” of the AFPs (pension funds) which do not allow more than 66% of retirees to survive and the others to barely eat, is an unprecedented attack against the French workers.
The result of this project, which has already been modified to make it maliciously pass during the summer holidays in 2020, has triggered three major workers’ demonstrations in one week.
These demonstrations convened by the unions, themselves pushed by the grassroots. The rank and file workers had already given proof of initiative with the RATP strikes (carried out over the union organizations and followed by 90% of the whole staff) or in the SNCF where railway workers decided to take charge their strike themselves to avoid the “days of action” that have always resulted in defeats because pearled strikes, one a month, do not impress the authorities.
Thus, these demonstrations were prepared, in the most mobilized bastions of the workers by the workers themselves, as was the case among teachers in democratic general assemblies that themselves decide the organization of strikes, propaganda and agitation and demonstrations.
This social movement, which closely follows the Yellow Vests demonstrations, is part of a new mindset among a sector of French workers that should be welcomed. There is more combativeness, the need for democracy to organize the struggle is major.
We can see everywhere the influence of the struggle of the Yellow Vests, still present in demonstrations and general assemblies and always very well received by the mass of demonstrators. Their fighting spirit, their perseverance, their obstinacy even to “never give up” won them the sympathy of the masses and spread as a power kedge on fire as an example of struggle and fighting spirit.
Here are some extracts from the press that show the spirit that is developing in this new prolonged strike and where union leaders are following the movement a little less than they are leading it. These press clippings illustrate the atmosphere in which this strike is developing in the most advanced sectors of the workers.
“Organizing from “below” to designate strike committees”; “General assemblies are the key point of what will happen”; “There are obstacles, we will solve them ourselves”; “I am the referent of the discussions of our committee in which a Yellow Vest also participates” (incredible statement based on the prestige that gives… a yellow vest!); high school students write “They want to ban the A.G. (General Assemblies) because they are afraid of the youth who are entering the struggle.
This influence seems to be better understood by prefects and other repressive leaders, who have become the only response of the government (their “arguments” have been so demolished that they have had to withdraw and say that counter-reforms would be for future generations… they may think, perhaps that we will let our children and grandchildren be starved instead of us?)
Thus, in the street demonstrations, ‘authorities’ invented the tactic of trying to separate the Yellow Vests from the rest of the demonstrators who, although few in number, still march at the head with a few black blocks with hoods that we do not know if they are “black blocks” or idiots or provocateurs or both.
They gas the head of the procession profusely with powerful gases, not hesitating to throw them in the middle of a compact mass where there are also other demonstrators, since the remaining GJs are not numerous, a few dozen, but clearly identifiable. These gases are so strong that they put someone knock out for a few minutes and can cause mass movements that can leave people injured or worse because they are unbearable and unbreathable.
The mass moves back and waits for the wind to carry the gases away, then continues without abandoning the Yellow Vests. The prefecture is trying to terrify the masses who are not used to this kind of repression.
This government tactic may work for some time, but in the long term it will generate self-defence groups among demonstrators where anger against the police has already increased to such an extent that this need to defend oneself becomes clear. One of the “most followed screams is “Everyone hates the police” or “Justice nowhere, the police everywhere!
This last strike movement of the last few days as before the Yellow Vests struggle is part of an international movement of workers from all over the world, especially in France and Latin America but also in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere (not to be confused with the reactionary bands in Hong Kong pushed by US imperialism in its dispute with China).
Indeed, the economic crisis of capitalism, which is already going on for a decade, has finally awakened large sectors that are opposed to capitalism.
First, there were sectors that believed they could change capitalism back to the growth situation of the 1960s. These were movements composed rather by the middle classes such as Tsiriza, Podemos, Occupy Wall Street or Nuits Débout.
The very practice of these movements showed people, very attentive trying to finding a way out of the ravages of current capitalism, their inanity. Capitalism today is irreformable and we must find a way to get rid of it.
Thus, the second wave of anti-capitalism (a slogan that is often heard during demonstrations “anti-anti-anti-anti-capitalism”) took on a completely different character. It is the spontaneous revolts that appear against capitalism but also as anti-trade-unionists and against parties. In fact, practice has shown that it was only against the bad unions that had swapped the class struggle for “dialogue”, “consultation” and other betrayals and corruptions that put them in the service of the bourgeoisie.
Likewise, against the abandonment by workers’ parties of all their ideas, principles, only concentrated in the maintenance of eligible positions, with no prospects or desire at heart to fight capitalism. Adapting to its functioning and even by participating in the government’s “best” management.
These salutary GJs revolts, although ideologically misguided and poorly organized, have nevertheless brought a fresh air of struggle, combativeness and perseverance and have given an example of internal democracy and rebellion that has, as we see today, deeply inspired the most combative sectors of workers and trade unionists.
The authorities, seeing the danger, fought them by all means, essentially by merciless repression, both police and judicial, using all the media and “communication” means (we saw every possible kind of lies and deception) to liquidate them.
This form of struggle has internationalized quite rapidly and the new movements, especially the one taking place in Chile right now, have taken on many of the characteristics of the Yellow Vests with the notable exception of the institutionalized political opposition.
If here in France, Macron remained relatively isolated and no one gave him the slightest political support, in Chile, those parties and figures who governed with the Concertation have rushed to support Pinera’s crude plan of deception of his so-called “Constitution” and recently even the entire left and political center have just approved a liberticidal law against the right to demonstrate in Chile even with “abstention”, or disguised support, from seven of nine Communist Party MPs, completely disgracing themselves before the masses in revolt. Afterwards, some people wonder why the masses are suspicious of parties…
So, it can be said that these demonstrations constitute a second step in the global struggle of workers against the consequences of the capitalist crisis. And as they say in Chile, “There is no second (stage), without a third (stage)”.
This third stage, which the social movement must build, is the massive participation of workers in their workplaces, with their weapons of struggle, the strike, the occupation of workplaces and to agitate and drag the rest of the population, which alone can put an end to the capitalist system.
The experience gained from two previous stages shows us that within the system any reform to end with today’s capitalism, the predominance of finance and the permanent increase of exploitation accompanied by the reduction of social achievements, is impossible. The capitalist system is to be abolished, not reformed because its reform is impossible.
It also shows us that the greatest courage and determination do not replace a well-considered plan and a solid and disciplined organization to put it into practice by workers. A democratic but also centralized party which must prepare the stopping of the production and all necessary means to counter capitalist’s reaction.
The need to rebuild both party and mass organizations (unions, associations, etc.) of workers on democratic bases and to take into account the already long experience of the workers’ movement is the necessary and inevitable condition to give the final blow to the worm-eaten edifice of capitalism that is still holding, through the crisis of the revolutionary leadership of the workers.
Thus, the demonstrations that have followed one another over the past week are in a way another step forward because they combine the democratic and combative forms of the Yellow Vests with the massive demonstrations of the workers.
This is one of the constants of recent struggles, whether spontaneous or otherwise. They learn from each other, but all understand and call on workers to join them.
This happens sometimes, but never completely. There are still large sectors of workers who do not mobilize mainly because working conditions and the lack of democratic rights in the private sector, following legislative work that the bourgeoisie has undertaken for decades, prevent them from doing so. Within private factories and workplaces it is the realm of complete lack of rights, tyranny of bosses, abuse and permanent coercion.
Any attempt to enforce rights enshrined in bourgeois legislation is threatened with dismissal or bullying (no promotion, no wage increases, transfer to positions unrelated to the worker’s skills) to the point that there is, in practice, no defense for employees in small and medium-sized enterprises and even large ones.
Breaking this false belief, (when all workers mobilize they constitute such an important force that the bourgeoisie gives in on everything) is the necessary work, absolutely essential to put an end to the programmed decline of a capitalism that runs towards a new economic crisis and points towards military spending that threatens world peace.
Nevertheless, the three days of demonstrations and strikes not only mark an awakening of the conscience and struggle of important sectors of workers and youth, but also point the way forward.
It is not over and General Assemblies are being prepared everywhere for the continuation of the strike. Paris is at a standstill because not a single Metro line is fully operating and rail traffic is very disrupted, strikes remain, although for some people the loss of wages due to the rapid succession of strikes is a problem.
Tuesday the 18th will be another day of demonstrations and everywhere, in the spirit of the Yellow Vests strikers and demonstrators of “No one gives up! ” (On ne lâche rien!) declare their willingness not to return to work before winning this fight.