Workers and retirees rally against French government’s austerity policies
10 October 2018
Yesterday was the first demonstration after the end of summer vacation called by French trade and student unions against austerity policies, three months after the end of the French rail strike. Workers, retirees and youth marched on the streets amid a deep crisis of President Emmanuel Macron’s government, as criticisms of Macron grow in the police force and ministers are resigning in droves from the cabinet.
At the same time, there is deep and growing distrust among broad sections of workers in the trade unions. Despite 95 percent opposition to the rail privatization among the rail workers, the unions organized only rolling strikes, while they continued to negotiate privatization with the Macron government and ultimately wound the strikes down during the summer. The unions’ inability to organize a victory despite the overwhelming support among the workers and the deep unpopularity of the government is unanswerable proof of their bankruptcy.
This experience is already having a powerful radicalizing influence in the working class. Growing numbers of workers distrust the unions and are expressing their interest in a general strike and the organization of revolutionary struggle against the Macron government.
In all, over 100 demonstrations took place across France, called by the Stalinist General Confederation of Labor (CGT), Workers Force (FO) and Solidarity unions, together with the Independent Democratic High School Students Federation, the National Union of High School Students, and the National Union of University Students. Not many more people attended than during the last national protest action, on June 28, as the…