The demonstrations in France and the global class struggle


The demonstrations in France and the global class struggle

7 December 2018

The French government of banker-turned-President Emmanuel Macron is preparing for a major confrontation with “yellow vest” demonstrations and other protests this weekend, as the political crisis gripping the French state intensifies.

The interior ministry is planning to deploy 89,000 riot and military police throughout the country on Saturday, including 8,000 in Paris, backed by armored cars in the streets of the capital for the first time since 2005. This follows the positioning of snipers on Paris rooftops during last Saturday’s protest. Police are trying to intimidate protesters with threats that they expect fatalities and more arrests than at all the previous protests combined.

In a desperate attempt to play for time, the Macron government postponed and then announced the cancellation of the fuel tax that provoked the initial protests. However, anger continues to grow, bringing in broader sections of the population motivated by a diverse set of class issues. Demands for wage and pension increases, taxing the rich, and for a redistribution of wealth are spreading.

On Thursday, thousands of high school and university students participated in protests against education reforms and tuition increases. Police responded with repression and over 700 arrests. One video broadly shared online showed police rounding up students, whom they forced to kneel, some against a wall, in rows of dozens. This is just a preview of the state crackdown that will be meted out this weekend.

As the French government prepares a massive police-state crackdown, it is absurdly denouncing protesters as a danger to democracy. The Élysée presidential palace yesterday called on “political parties and trade unions, the…

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