From self-organised French people in struggle

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.

Submitted by varlet on October 27, 2010

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.

We are being told to work for an extra two years. Exploitation always lasts for too long. The time we are robbed of never comes back.

The unions are trying to control the movement in order to pass as the sole reasonable partners for the the government to negotiate with. They hope to get a few crumbs out of the confrontation so as to keep up appearances. The unions negotiate the length of our chains ; we want to break them.

The TV, press and radio are all repeating the same discourse and showing the same images. By focusing on the refineries or the Marseille binmen, the media have chosen to conceal the variety of initiatives and tactics that have flourished since early September : snail operations by truck drivers, supermarkets blockaded by their employees, renewable strikes by teachers, railway workers, PSA car factory workers and the French National Radio staff, rotating strikes, trashing of the offices of the UMP [Sarkozy's party], MEDEF [union of the employers] and of council offices. We expect nothing from the media.

The powers-that-be are looking to divide and reign. The unions, political parties and bosses are putting us into categories. They oppose users to strikers, strikers to blockaders, workers to the unemployed, "breakers" [casseurs] to protesters. They resort to repression, searches and seizures to break solidarity. There's already been 2500 arrests in the last three weeks with up to 5 months prison sentences for the more determined.

We must refuse to play a part in the process that is trying to defeat us. We need to decide ourselves how we act and organise, independently from the powers-that-be. Thursday is another day of national protest. Let's use it to get together, organise and move beyond their instructions. Flying pickets, blockades, sabotage... Let us choose what seem the most efficient and fair tactics against the State and the Capital and take responsibility for them.

We owe them nothing. Between them and us, there is just a record to set straight.

Against exploitation, let's block the economy
Strikes, blockades, sabotage



13 years 8 months ago

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Submitted by Samotnaf on October 27, 2010

Excellent initiative - missed it. Is it on the internet?

Just one thing -

the media have chosen to conceal the variety of initiatives and tactics that have flourished since early September: snail operations by truck drivers... railway workers ...trashing of the offices of the ...MEDEF [union of the employers]....

- these 3 on the list were not concealed by the media, even if generally minimised. The trashing of the MEDEF was particularly exhilirating - they chucked almost everything - papers, computers, office furniture etc. - out the window. Mind you, about 5 years ago I remember some workers - faces unhidden in front of the cameras - going into a major MEDEF building trashing everything and then setting fire to a part of it - big fire too. The anger against these scum (the head of it is some ice-cold tight-lipped little Thatcher, model for heartless careerist feminism throughout the world) was so great that the CGT felt compelled to support them, at least verbally.


13 years 8 months ago

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Submitted by varlet on October 27, 2010

Yeah, here and there in French.

At least their view of the role of the unions is not apologetic like Mouvement Communiste's one is, which is still beyond me really...


13 years 8 months ago

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Submitted by varlet on October 28, 2010

MC wrote
On the unions
Contrary to what many leftists thought, unions were not opposed to the “movement” and not ready to “betray” it. Their “offer” was very broad. From the SUD completely unrealistically calling for a “General Strike”, to the CFDT being more “realistic” and waiting for a government response, through the CGT being more realistic according to the weak balance of power in the strikes, and divided by some extremist rank and file-ists, the usual limited scheme of “betrayal” does not apply up to now.

Id say that the unions have been pretty slow from the start to get something going, organising general strikes two weeks apart from each other (including one after the initial vote when they could have called for it before) when a lot of people wanted a sustained movement.

So yes the unions are not opposed to the movement, but there is a real movement only because things got out of the unions control, that students started pushing for more radical actions (blockades etc...), and that some workers started a more sustained movement (eg refineries workers).

I dont see how its useful to say SUD are unrealistic too, when a lot of people, not just revolutionaries, seem quite keen on the idea of a general strike. Fair enough to take into account the balance of power but you could also wait all your life until the right moment, until you get the balance of power in your favour. Scientific materialism has its limits, there should be room for spontaneous movements to rise up too. Even though they may not achieve total success they will be of benefit for the future as MC actually mentioned too.

As for the scheme of betrayal thing... The criticism of the unions that was there at the start hasnt really faded from what i can hear or read or see.
Also is it a question of when does the scheme start to apply? Should we only criticise the union bureaucracies when they start betraying the movement or warn from the start that its what unions do anyway because they only act from within the very system that such movements have the capacity to question.
I mean its what they do, its not really a question of when. They betray any movement that gets out of their control, that starts questioning the system they are a part of.

But maybe i misunderstood what MC meant?