Three successive reports by Richard Greeman in late 2010 on the French anti-austerity movement, particularly the popular mobilisations against the Sarkozy government’s pension ‘reforms'.
France: Massive Demos and Strikes
People ask me what’s it like living in France during these massive one-day strikes and popular mobilizations against the conservative Sarkozy government’s pension ‘reforms.’ These cuts would push the minimum retirement age forward from age 60 to 62 and the minimum age for receiving full benefits from 65 to 67. For details:
Adam Ford discusses the recent elections in Europe.
The financial markets went into a petulant sulk today, in response to the election results in France – where incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated by his ‘centre-left’ challenger – and in Greece, where two thirds of the electorate voted for avowedly anti-austerity candidates.
Mouvement Communiste analyse the ultimately unsuccessful 2010 movement against pension reform in France.
We think this text is interesting, however the English is quite poor. We reproduce it anyway and would welcome any assistance in improving the quality of the translation. Please comment below or e-mail us if you would be able to help.
Henri Simon looks behind the pension reform demonstrations and sees discontent with politics and politicians, and with the capitalist system itself.
In France for more than fifty years, everyone, whether they worked or not, had the right up until now to a minimum old age benefit at 65 years old. This right, independent of income earned elsewhere, is matched with add-ons depending on health, number of children, etc.
Here is finally the very rough and draft translation of GCI-ICG's text about the recent class struggles in France, we published in French on November 15th. Improvements to this translation will come later and can be directly downloaded in PDF version while clicking on the title here below. Good reading... and waiting for your comments and criticism.
Though the international mainstream media presents France as having returned to peace and tranquility, with the oil depots, petrol stations, refineries and tankers all returning to normality, functioning according to the law of value, bourgeois reality is still being contested in different forms.
The following is just a very superficial outline of some recent events. It is impossibe to verify how much these events are being exaggerated or distorted through the rose-tinted glasses of various revolutionary ideologists, as the alternative media is often desperate to pump up the actions of a few people to make them out to be far bigger than they are, just as the mainstream minimises things.
Here are three documents we translated in English and that seem to us to be important. We would like to apologize for the mistakes in translations, which sometimes sound as “Frenglish”, but it’s the concern for internationalism that prevails.
The State and Bosses only understand one Language… (1)
Strike, Blockage, Sabotage
Today is the 5th 24-hour not-so General Strike in France since September 7th. The refineries have returned to work, often under the pressure of "Work or prison", a wonderful choice resignedly accepted by the unions and by the workers resigned to the union form. Likewise the oil depot bockades have been dismantled with the help of the forces of disorder.
It remains to be seen what happens in the often more interesting movements developing outside the world of wage slavery, a world that, for increasing numbers, is tending towards a slavery with decreasing wages. What follows is just a glimpse of some of what's been happening round the country.
Ales: Revolution roundabout.
This is the translation of a text that was partly read on the French National Radio today Wed 27 Oct 2010 by a few people who went on stage to interrupt a live show.
When a boss asks their staff to agree to redundancies and wage cuts to "save the company", he has already decided to close it down. When the right, the left and the media explain to us that we'll have to work longer to "save our pension system", they announce that its end has been planned.
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.