The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

The Revolt Continues in the Antilles

Feb 14, 2022

Translated from Combat Ouvrier (Workers’ Combat), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies.

In Martinique and Guadeloupe some workers and young poor people are not giving up. They keep striking and demonstrating—firstly, workers who were fired for not getting vaccinated or were threatened with being fired. Workers in a number of sectors are fighting.

In Martinique, the strike has become contagious at the University Hospital of Martinique (CHUM) teaching hospital where management made threats. On January 18 management issued a memo that unvaccinated workers would soon be fired. The laundry workers struck immediately. They were joined a few days later by workers in the transport and pharmacy departments.

A number of other caregivers joined the picket lines to show their support for these struggling hospital workers. Every week, several actions and mobilizations take place to denounce the government’s mandatory vaccination law, which uses the pretext of the health crisis to crack down on workers.

And in Guadeloupe the protests are not weakening. Meetings, rallies, and demonstrations happen one after another almost every day. In some neighborhoods, residents regularly set up roadblocks. The government says it will end these protests through repression: curfews, tear gas, arrests, imprisonments.... A systematic smear campaign also was started, equating protesters with bandits. But these maneuvers have failed to kill the mobilization.

A major one-day strike took place in Guadeloupe on January 20. This allowed many workers to mobilize, and not only to support the suspended caregivers but also to make their own demands. There were strikes in hotels like Club Med and Créole Beach and at the Casino du Gosier. Two major shopping centers had to close: Carrefour Milénis and Leclerc Bas-du-Fort. At Leclerc, the strike was renewed the next day. This forced the management (the Parfait company) to make improvements in working conditions right away. The same happened at two gas stations in Gourbeyre and Les Abymes. At one, workers got temporary positions made into permanent positions. Workers also struck in social security offices, at the unemployment office, and in schools.

On January 20, municipal workers resumed their strike movement which they had suspended last June in most towns. They denounced management for not honoring agreements signed by their elected officials. For now, a strike continues in Port-Louis and could spread to other towns.

A strike has continued for several weeks at post offices, especially in northern Grande-Terre. And steelworkers at ArcelorMittal have held out for months against their racist, contemptuous boss.

Working people and young poor people suffer from the rise of gig work, price increases, and all kinds of attacks by the big bosses and their government to make them pay for the economic crisis of the capitalist system. The workers and everyone who fights and resists these attacks are an example to follow. They could inspire other workers and young poor people and rally them in collective struggle not only to defend themselves, but even to go on the offensive!