French Railworkers on Strike

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1601 ... May 7, 2018
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French Railworkers on Strike

Étienne Balibar

The philosopher Étienne Balibar is one of the figures behind the solidarity fund in support of striking railworkers in France -- a fund that now stands close to €1-million. Responding to questions from workers who are taking part in the rolling strike action, Balibar emphasized the need for what he calls "collective resistance against social regression."

Anasse, a pointsman at Le Bourget: How can an intellectual today show solidarity with workers’ strike action?

There are (at least) two reasons for them to do so, and indeed these reasons overlap. The first reason is that the railworkers who are today defending fundamental social rights are also fighting to stop the rail service itself being dismantled. This is not... just any company. It is an essential public service, and now we see various attempts to privatize it (opening it up to competition and aligning its rules of functioning with the managerial norms of private businesses). This is part of a general offensive, which we might call a "neoliberal" offensive. After the attacks on the post office and telecommunications, they are trying to get rid of an essential public service. And other important sectors are also in the firing line.

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