Dec 7, 2015
The following appeared in the November 27th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary group of that name active in France.
The State of Emergency extended by French President Hollande, with the almost universal agreement of the members of Parliament, was supposed to aid the police working in hunting down terrorists and preventing new terrorist attacks. It gave the prefects (appointed officials in each department) the possibility to prevent any demonstrations they wanted, with a penalty of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $8,000 for violators. Several demonstrations were prohibited, like that calling for migrants to be allowed to travel freely to France, called in Paris for November 22nd. Others were delayed or transformed into rallies without marches, like that called for retirees throughout France on November 24th.
The CGT union is still calling for demonstrations on December 2nd in support of the threatened Air France workers, and it calls on workers to mobilize on that day throughout France. The federation correctly emphasizes “since there is no truce in the attacks against the working class, there won’t be a truce in the union struggle.”
And, in fact, the demands for national unity and the State of Emergency don’t postpone any layoff, prevent any hard blow by the bosses, put off any legal conviction against workers facing repression. On November 16th, right after the emotion raised by the terrorist attacks, the CGT union of EDF (French Electricity Company), was condemned by a judge, which obviously wasn’t called for by the anti-terrorist struggle. On the contrary, the State of Emergency gives additional powers to the judges, police and prefects to raise new obstacles to workers’ struggles. It also makes it easy for the bosses to multiply the humiliations, searches and attempts at intimidation of workers who bother them. It also gives them pretexts to fire workers with the most far-fetched arguments. But far-fetched or not, a firing is a firing.
This is why, far from letting themselves be impressed by appeals to national unity, the workers must emphasize their demands, respond to the attacks, defend their class interests and their perspectives. The day of action on December 2nd will be the occasion for it.