The way forward for French workers
Build rank-and-file committees to oppose Macron’s austerity measures!
25 May 2018
French National Railway (SNCF) workers have voted overwhelmingly in a company-wide ballot to reject President Emmanuel Macron’s planned privatization of the national rail system. Defying pressure from management not to vote and a press campaign backing Macron, 94.97 percent of SNCF staff voted against the measure, with 61.15 percent participation.
Far from retreating before Macron, workers and youth are increasingly combative. The vote came immediately after a one-day public sector strike against Macron and two weeks after striking Air France workers stunned management and the unions by rejecting a concessions contract. Students are protesting Macron’s adoption of selective university admissions procedures favoring students from wealthy families.
The critical question now is to draw together the ever broader sections of the working class entering into struggle against the Macron government, counter efforts to isolate and dissipate these struggles, and link them to the growing movement of the working class internationally.
In 1935, amid the radicalization of the working class before the eruption of the 1936 French general strike, Leon Trotsky, the founder of the Fourth International, called for the formation of Committees of Action. These rank-and-file bodies organized independently of the union bureaucracies were to be, Trotsky wrote, the “revolutionary representation of the struggling masses.”
Today, as masses of workers and youth seek a way to carry the fight forward on the 50th anniversary of the 1968 French general strike, it is critical to again advance the demand for the formation of rank-and-file committees of action.
A chasm separates the…