The Spark

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

Guadeloupe:
Toward a General Mobilization?

Jan 3, 2022

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

Thursday, December 23, the collective of organizations in struggle in Guadeloupe undertook a protest action that culminated with the 24-hour occupation of the regional council building.

This collective brings together all of the island’s unions, including the UGTG and the CGTG, as well as political organizations such as the LKP, Combat Ouvrier, and the “Nonm” group (or Workers and Peasants). They call for the lifting of sanctions against unvaccinated workers, who will be suspended and then dismissed after December 31. They have been asking for several weeks that the State negotiate with them, but the State refuses to do so.

Starting at 8 a.m., the demonstrators gathered on the picket line of the Basse-Terre hospital center. Then, they left in parade, with 400 people, toward the regional council. They first asked to be received, but found the door closed. It was then that a window was forced, and a glass door smashed, through which several hundred demonstrators entered the enclosure of the departmental executive.

The elected officials were in plenary session but, with the approach of the demonstration, the majority had already left the place, except two or three, including the president Ary Chalus. He received a delegation which asked him to intervene so that the State could participate in negotiations. Chalus then called the prefect, and refused any negotiation with the collective, who decided to occupy the premises, including spending the night there. A sort of popular assembly was then held, with debates and discussions.

The prefect proposed to Chalus to send the police forces. Chalus refused, and the next day, December 24, at the end of the morning, the collective decided to leave the place before calling for two meetings, Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29, in the cities of Pointe-à-Pitre and Basse-Terre. A new large-scale demonstration was to be organized on Thursday, December 30.

Faced with contempt from the State and the powerlessness of local elected officials, the collective intends to strengthen the mobilizations. It calls for developing the social revolt to an offensive that will force the state to withdraw workers’ suspensions and satisfy other demands.