The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

State of Emergency:
Against Workers and Oppositionists

Dec 7, 2015

The following appeared in the December 5th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary group of that name active in France.

The French government established a State of Emergency after the terrorist attacks in Paris. This has been used to prevent the expression of opposition to the government’s policy. The secretary of the CGT (the major union federation), Martinez, is worried that it can represent “a danger for the social movement.”

On November 28th, Secretary of the Interior Cazeneuve boasted about some 2,000 searches carried out over two weeks. The media pointed out the brutality and unplanned way they occurred: smashing doors with battering rams, cutting open low ceilings, overturning furniture, and throwing people to the ground and handcuffing or wounding them. The police put 212 people in custody. According to the police themselves, the majority of those arrested have no connection to terrorist acts, but are involved in petty crime. Further, people on the streets found to have no legal papers were deported from the country.

The State of Emergency also authorized prohibiting demonstrations which in no way constitute a terrorist threat, like that of November 22nd in solidarity with the migrants. This is all the more shocking because many of the migrants have tried to reach Europe to flee the violent acts of the Islamic State in Syria.

Activists against the proposed global warming treaty were the next to be struck by the crackdown. In Dordogne, organic farmers had their homes searched for taking part in an action against the airport at Notre Dame des Landes ... three years ago. Even before the opening of the global warming summit, 80 people were subject to house arrest. And on Sunday the police attacked a peaceful demonstration to protect the environment, under the pretext that there was a small minority present who had smashed windows at previous demonstrations, out of some thousands of demonstrators. Out of 341 people called in, nine were held in custody until the next day, without anyone knowing what they were supposedly guilty of, much less any proof of the accusations.

Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Valls have already raised the possibility of extending the State of Emergency beyond three months, and some of the right wing politicians have demanded more – like Guaino, who asked for a year and a half. Recently, the bosses and the government treated the Air France workers, who protested layoffs, like hoodlums. With the State of Emergency, the government confirms and reinforces the means of repression against workers.