The Gilets Jaunes spirit penetrated the most conscious sectors of the French strikers1
15/12/2019 by socialistfight
From a certain number of places it can be seen that the spirit of organization proper to demonstrators and strikers passes over the unions and bureaucratized structures and resembles the spirit of Gilet Jaunes.
The emergency health workers’ strike has been organised and led by the workers themselves without consulting or accepting the ‘directives’ of the union bureaucracies.
The Paris Metro workers themselves organized an undeclared strike that mobilized 90% of the staff spontaneously without asking anyone if this is legitimate or legal.
The SNCF workers, the rail workers, have organized their strike against the union leaderships, which had made them lose the last strike of the railway workers.
The teachers organize themselves in general assemblies and decide for themselves what forms the struggle will take. In one of those assemblies, the union organizations are on an equal footing with any striker and even with other demonstrators and strikers from other sectors such as retired people, railway workers or Metro drivers.
In these assemblies the participation in the strike is given account of, groups are formed to discuss with those who still work, they organize themselves to go and distribute leaflets to popularize the movement among the population, new days of strike and demonstration are prepared.
It should be noted that, in the middle of the meeting, some Gilets Jaunes are physically present in their characteristic vests and the public, composed essentially of professors from all over the region, intones the cries and hymns sung by the Gilets Jaunes.
This GJs way of fighting has spread like wildfire and where general assemblies are fought and organized, the old forms with a table composed of ‘leaders’ who act as bosses or as if they address children, are no longer accepted and direct democracy, the right of expression of all is the rule.
This has been seen in most of the general assemblies, where the continuation of the strikes is decided, and even in the form that the demonstrations takes place in the streets.
This does not mean that the workers have become Gilets Jaunes but that many anti-bureaucratic forms that the workers resented and wanted to be able to eliminate without finding the means or the justification to do so, have found legitimacy both before their comrades and before the “leaders” in the example and incontestable respect that the Gilets Jaunes won with their long struggle.
In the aforementioned assembly, one could perceive the confusion and confusion that these clear manifestations of this influence of the GJs provoked in recognized party militants who watched the movement of the Gilets Jaunes with contempt. But they could not say it, such is the prestige and respect that the GJs have earned in the most combative sectors of the workers. Those who participated in it have contributed in creating a state of mind very different from the boring and demoralization that previously characterized the demonstrations in France.
This can be seen everywhere, and in that meeting, some professors reported resolutions in certain localities that made direct reference to the Gilets Jaunes and called on their colleagues to draw inspiration from that example.
Here some extracts from the press that show the spirit that develops in this strike that has been prolonged and where the union leaderships follow the movement somewhat less than they lead it. These press cuttings illustrate the atmosphere in which this strike develops in the most advanced sectors of the workers.
“Organize from “below”, designate strike committees”; “The General Assemblies (of the strikers), it is the key point of what will happen”; “There are some obstacles, we are going to solve them ourselves”; “I am the referent of the discussions of our committee where a Gilet Jaune also participates” (unbelievable affirmation that is supported by the prestige that grants … a gilet jaune!).
This influence seems to be better understood by the Prefects and others in charge of the repression, which has become the only response of power (their “arguments” have been so demolished that they have had to retreat and say that the counter-reforms would be for future generations … they may think that we will let our children and grandchildren be murdered instead of us?).
Thus, in the street demonstrations they have invented the tactic of trying to separate the Gilets Jaunes from the rest of the demonstrators. The GJs, although few, still parade to the head of the demo along with some hooded “black blocs” dresses which we do not know if they are brainless “black blocs” or provocateurs or both at the same time.
In this way they gas the head of the demo profusely using powerful gases, not hesitating to throw them in the middle of a compact mass where other demonstrators are also found, since the remaining GJs are not many, a few dozen, but clearly identifiable. These gases are so strong that they leave K.O. for a few minutes and can cause mass movements that can leave wounded or worse because they are so strong that are unbearable and unbreathable.
But the mass recedes and waits for the wind to carry away the gases and then continues without abandoning the Gilets Jaunes. The Prefecture looks to the effect of terrifying the mass that is little used to similar manifestations.
This tactic of the government may work for some time, but in the long run it will generate self-defense groups among the demonstrators where already the anger against the police has increased to a point already enough so that this need to defend itself appears clear, at least for the most conscious. One of the” most followed cries is “We all hate the police” or “Justice nowhere, the police everywhere!”
In this way, the traditional boring and predictable “union sweet walks” where the police did not even mobilize their troops, are today surrounded by “Martians” with helmets and boots, armed to the teeth, with water-throwing cars and throwing profusions of tear gas bombs and transforming the boring “demonstrations” of the union bureaucracy, in demonstrations “à la Gilets Jaunes” which learn masses between 35 000 and 20 000 workers, pensioners and youth (the figures of the last two demonstrations in Lyon of which can testified directly) the true character of the “democracy”, of the police, of the “justice” and of the government as agencies of the interests of the capitalists.
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