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 Movement Must Grow and Strengthen

Feb 20, 2023

This article is translated from the February 15 issue, #2846 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Many workers mobilized against the attack on pensions are wondering how to make the government back down.

The one-day strikes and demonstrations proposed by the trade union leaderships, those of January 19 and 31, those of February 7 as well as those of Saturday the 11th, have had the merit of making working people feel their strength and unity. Between the 19th and the 31st, the demonstrations and strikes strengthened. On February 11, the number of demonstrators was still very important, before the day of February 16.

In many small and medium-sized cities, the number of demonstrators was particularly high. For many workers, this was confirmation that they were all experiencing the same thing, that they felt the same anger. Supermarket cashiers, warehouse workers, car workers, nurses, bus drivers marched side by side. And this newfound awareness of forming a single camp and feeling strong was most important.

Is it enough to win? Many workers feel that a much more favorable relationship of forces is needed to win against the employers and the government. The days of action are a useful springboard for the working people to regain confidence. But many also feel that the issue of the movement is not limited to pensions.

This extension of working years is only one of the many attacks by the government and employers, who are reducing wages and crushing workers in every way possible in order to obtain even more profits. They are all the more violent and determined in their attacks because their economic system is bankrupt; the capitalists are more and more subject to the pressure of competition. To push them back, the workers will have to attack the nerve of the bosses, i.e., their profits, or at least make them fear for their profits. That is why it will take a massive and determined strike to force them to back down.

The trade union federations are announcing a “shutdown of the country” on March 7, and some are talking about a toughening up of the movement. Some unions are calling for an open-ended strike from that date. That is the direction that we must go in. But what could frighten the government and the employers is that these strikes are decided from below, that they spread like wildfire and that they go beyond the framework set by the union leaderships.

It is necessary that general assemblies, gathering as many workers as possible, discuss the continuation of the movement and whether to strike. They must discuss everything; the demands, of course, but also and above all the way to lead the movement.

To meet everywhere, to discuss the means to continue and extend the movement, this is how the working class can revive as a force that can become invincible.