The French Caribbean departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique & French Guyana officially, through the LKP ( a vast coordination of parties, unions, local community groups etc.), went on a one-day General Strike today, called as a warning of a more extensive one to start on 14th December in protest against the rising cost of petrol, electricity, food and water. There was a large demonstration in the capital Pointe-à-Pitre. These areas are part of French territory and are ruled by the French State, though with a tradition of struggle usually independent of the struggles of the mainland.
In January 2009 a massive strikewave lasting about 6 weeks (see: http://libcom.org/news/revolt-continues-french-caribbean-16022009 ) won extensive temporary gains, which have been increasingly rescinded by the bosses. It's partly for this reason that this current strike has been launched, though obviously the fact that the mainland has also had a strikewave is another factor. That this has been launched at the same time as the strikes (but not the more general movement) on mainland France are beginning to decline, but just before what the ruling spectacle hopes to be the final coup de grace of these strikes in the form of a possible, maybe even probable, damp squib of a one-day General Strike tomorrow, Thursday 28th October, is the reason for the almost total silence of the mainstream TV and radio media about this strike. At the same time, one has to ask oneself why the LKP are delaying the main struggle until mid-December, and why they've even delayed up till now, considering the social movement on the mainland.
Up to 30,000 (according to the LKP) demonstrators marched as part of the strike (6500 according to the obviously fixed cop figures). Obviously the LKP has an interest in exaggerating the figures – it boosts their image and they hope to boost the movement by pumping it up. Whilst such exaggeration, typical of almost all the reports (on what's been happening elswhere in France) independent of the mainstream bullshit, temporarily excites people and maybe even pushes them to participate, longer term it can only help to demoralise them since they feel manipulated as things turn out to be very different from how they've been portrayed.
Not much more to report on this situation in the Caribbean so far.
...the main national news today is clearly an ideological attack on the movement in mainland France. Presented as indisputable fact, it's about the scientifically proven dead cert, that in the year 2060 1 in 3 of the population will be over 60 and there'll be at least 200,000 people over 100 years old, of whom, on current trends, only 1 in 10 will be male, clearly a wonderful future chance for those current 50 year old heterosexual males who manage to survive. It'll almost certainly only be the rich ones, even if this Nosferatu-turned-scientific prediction turns out to have some validity. It not only assumes that health and safety conditions will continue to be scientifically improved along the same trajectory as the last 50 years, but also ignores the massive ecological collapse and possible war, not to mention the Character Armourgeddon of suicide capitalism if there's no revolutionary movement on a massive scale developing that will drive millions and millions to the only free choice the market increasingly offers: a living death or a death by their own hand. Of course, the real reason for the release of this scientific survey is not to prove the stupidity of science in abject submission to the demands of the market and the State, but to ideologically attack the ostensible pretext for the current social movement . Which is one reason why this pretext should be explicitly and very publicly superceded.
To be continued....