C: The Gates Are Shut By The CGT

The Gates Are Shut By The CGT

On May 21, the second day of the occupation, the action committee militants found all the gates of the factory closed, and union delegates defended the entrances against "provocateurs." Thus the young militants were cut off from the contacts they had had before the occupation. Young workers inside the factory protested vigorously against the threats which were hurled at the "elements external to the factory." The CGT had become the new Boss. The union did all it could to prevent workers from becoming aware of the fact that the occupation of the factory was a first step toward the expropriation of the owners. To struggle against this unexpected new force, the action committee addressed itself to the workers in a new leaflet :

Workers :

You have occupied your factories. You are no longer controlled by the State or by the ex-owners.

Do not allow new masters to control you.

All of you and each of you has the right to speak.

DON'T LET THE LOUDSPEAKERS SPEAK FOR YOU.

If those behind the loudspeakers propose a motion, all other workers, French and foreign, must have the same right to propose other motions.

You, THE WORKERS, have the power. You have the power to decide what to produce, how much end for whom.

You, THE WORKERS, control your factories. Don't let anyone take the control away from you.

If some people limit your contacts with the outside, if some people do not allow you to learn about the profound democratization taking place in France, then these people are not trying to represent you, but to control you.

The occupied factories have to be opened up to all comrades, workers as well as students, in order to enable them to make decisions together.

Workers and students have the same objectives. Despite the government, the universities are already open to all.

If the loudspeakers decide instead of you, if the loudspeakers broadcast the decisions 'we' have made, then the men behind the loudspeakers are not working with you; they're manipulating you.

A second leaflet, prepared by several action committees, was also distributed. This leaflet called for the formation of general assemblies of all the workers which would bypass the union and prevent any small group from speaking in the name of the workers and from negotiating in the name of the working class :

. . . The political and union officials were not the originators of the strike. The decisions were made, and must continue to be made, by the strikers themselves, whether they are unionized or not . . . .

In order to circumvent the CGT and to continue its work of liaison and information, the Citroën committee launched three new projects : actions with foreign workers in the slums and the dormitories; contacts with strikers at the entrances of the factories; liaison between the politicized workers at the different Citroën factories.