[Marxism] a couple of items on the French movement

Jorge Martin jorge at marxist.com
Thu Apr 6 01:20:24 MDT 2006

France: after the success of the April 4th day of action, what next?

Wednesday, 05 April 2006

The day after the massive day of action against the CPE (contract of first
employment) all sections of French society have been taking stock of the
situation. The government and the right wing UMP majority in parliament do
not seem prepared to make any concessions beyond the two meaningless
modifications already announced on Friday by Chirac and already rejected by
the workers and students' movement. Prime Minister De Villepin has been
clearly weakened by the movement and Minister of the Interior Sarkozy has
been strengthened within the right wing camp. In an unprecedented move,
president Chirac has given full responsibility for the "law of equality of
opportunities" (which includes the hated CPE), to Sarkozy and the UMP
parliamentary group, taking it away from de Villepin, whose popularity has
slumped to only 28% of the population.

On their part the *intersyndicale* (the coordinating body of all trade union
and student organisations) met this morning at the headquarters of Force
Ouvrier. Their main conclusion was: "we are prepared to discuss with the UMP
parliamentary group, but not about modifications to the CPE, our aim remains
its full withdrawal". However the trade unions and student organisations
have accepted the proposal of the UMP group to meet them separately,
starting with the CFDT at 3pm this afternoon. This is an unjustified move
and should not have been accepted by the trade union leaders.

At the end of the meeting of the *intersyndicale,* the joint statement also
talked of giving the UMP a deadline to solve this question before
April 15thor else. Unfortunately, that "else" was not stated clearly.
Also April 15
th is the beginning of the two-week long Easter break in parliament. This
means that any new mobilisations would have to be delayed until May Day, and
in fact some of the trade union leaders were talking about organising
massive demonstrations on that day. The main problem the trade union leaders
are facing is that after 5 days of action (each at a higher level than the
previous one) and the massive successes of March 28th and April 4th, there
is not much else they can call for, short of a general strike, which is
precisely what they have been trying to avoid, for fear of this getting out
of control and becoming an all-out strike (or as it is called in France
these days a "renewable general strike").

The UMP majority would like to enmesh the trade union and student
organisations in lengthy negotiations and parliamentary technicalities in
order to wear out the movement. And there is a real danger of this
happening, particularly if we take into account that some universities have
been on strike for nearly 7 weeks.

full article here <

and for an eyewitness account of the truly amazing demo on Tuesday:

April 4: an even bigger mobilisation of French workers and



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