Mar 9, 2009
The workers of Guadeloupe have won the majority of the demands that they advanced at the beginning of their movement, notably the increase of 200 euros a month for low wages, as well as the determination of those in Martinique who are, for their part, in the course of making the bosses and government retreat.
The workers of Guadeloupe were successful because they had the courage to launch a general strike and the determination to lead it to the end.
The general strike unleashed on January 20 shook Guadeloupian society. The class offensive by wage workers immediately attracted thousands of poor people, the unemployed, welfare recipients, the disabled, housewives and retirees. It is an immense social movement that aroused the people of Guadeloupe to their very depths.
Faced with this popular tidal wave, the bosses, especially the big ones, have attempted all sorts of maneuvers. They dragged out the negotiations in order to encourage the deterioration of the strike. They took back what they said. They said they were victims, that they couldn’t pay the 200 euros! But the strike held firm, the popular movement stood fast!
Despite supply difficulties, problems of getting around, despite repression on the street barricades, despite three victims, thanks to the stubbornness of the bosses who made the strike harder, the great movement spurred on by the LKP (Collective Against Profiteering) has won.
The problems of lowering the price of necessities, the freezing of rent increases, the reimbursement of unwarranted sums received by SARA, Total oil company’s affiliate with a monopoly over gasoline, the naming of 19 teachers to vacant posts, lowering of the price of gasoline, etc. – these are yet to be resolved.
And there are other demands concerning truck owner-operators, farmers, fishermen, etc.
The fact that it required 44 days of general strike shows the arrogance of the bosses, in particular the biggest, represented by the bosses’ association MEDEF, and the support that it found from the local authorities and the national government. But it also shows that the unlimited general strike can make the wealthy and their political servants retreat.
When the general strike is suspended, a number of workers will remain mobilized to intervene if necessary to support the ongoing negotiations.
That also is the achievement of this movement. The workers showed that in the midst of the population there exists a great force that could weigh on the resolution of all social conflicts.
Today, every worker on the job can call on this mobilization, can appeal to the unions in the LKP to stop injustices, whether on the job or outside work (housing, electricity, water, etc.). The collective force expressed since the beginning of the strike can impose respect for workers’ interests and of their demands on the bosses.