Yellow Vests and Red Unions Strike Together

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(((( T h e B u l l e t ))))~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1767 ... February 19, 2019
__________________________________________________________

Yellow Vests and Red Unions Strike Together

Richard Greeman

On Tuesday, February 5, as the government of Emmanuel Macron pushed harsh repressive laws against demonstrators through the National Assembly, the Yellow Vests joined with France’s unions for the first time in a day-long, nation-wide "General Strike."

At the very moment when in Paris the lower house was voting to implement Macron’s proposed laws designed to suppress public demonstrations (a legal right protected in both the French Constitution and the UN Human Rights Declaration), tens of thousands of their constituents were out in the streets all over the country demonstrating and striking against Macron’s authoritarian, neoliberal government. The demonstrators’ demands ranged from better salaries and retirement benefits, restoration of public services, equitable tax codes, an... end to police brutality, and banning the use of "flash-balls" on demonstrators, to Macron’s resignation and the instauration of participatory democracy.

Deaf to the angry people’s legitimate grievances, unwilling to deal with them, Macron has given himself no other choice than to legislate new repressive legal restrictions to suppress their continued free expression. This resort to open repression can only serve to discredit the government’s handling of a crisis largely of his own making, treating a spontaneous social movement among the 99% as if it were a terrorist or fascist conspiracy. The unpopular President’s repressive tactics will inevitably backfire on him. The French are extremely protective of their liberties, and Macron’s monarchical arrogance can only remind them of how their ancestors dealt with Louis XVI.

Moreover, the Yellow Vests, who have been a painful thorn in Macron’s side since last November, were now demonstrating together with the French labour unions, whom he thought he had tamed last Spring. This convergence came in response to a call for a one-day "General Strike" issued by the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) and Solidaires, who for the first time invited "any Yellow Vests who felt like it" to join. In the event, quite a few did feel like it, despite the CGT’s previous hostility to the Yellow Vests and despite their own fundamental suspicion of all "representative" structures, like established parties and unions (whom the Yellow Vests justifiably fear would attempt to co-opt them, speak in their name, and sell them out).

Continue reading

Share on Facebook

Follow us onr0

Forward to a friend: this link

r39
powered by phpList

Login Form