[Marxism] ZCommunications » French Labor’s Historical Defeat; U.S. Teachers’ Surprising Victories

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 6 06:14:59 MDT 2018

In France, resistance to the arrogant, deeply unpopular Macron started 
off with a bang in March with student strikes and big demonstrations on 
the 50th  anniversary of the 1968 student-worker rebellion, which, 
retrospectively, was seen positively here even in the mainstream media. 
Yet, unlike 1968 or even 2006, when spontaneous strikes and popular 
demonstrations forced the government to withdraw its program, the 
resistance, orchestrated by the unions, never got off the ground. Au 
contraire, the self-confident Macron, perceived as “the president of the 
rich,” continued fast-tracking a full menu of cuts in education, public 
services, retirement and worker benefits, all by executive decree (to be 
later rubber stamped by the legislature).

Yet despite their publicized calls for “convergence” between strike 
movements among railroad workers, students, hospital workers, and civil 
servants, the French union leaders in fact kept the strikes local, 
fragmented by sector, and limited – all the while carrying on 
semi-secret talks with government officials. Even when the government 
bared its teeth and turned its brutal riot police and even Army units 
against non-violent student occupiers and peaceful mass demonstrations, 
the union leaders failed to call for action in solidarity with the 
beaten and arrested members of the students union. Big contrast with 
1968, when police brutality against demonstrating students sparked the 
organization of a general strike of 10,000,000 workers, as TV 
documentaries regularly reminded us all during this luke-warm Spring 


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