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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Solidarity with the French working class!

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

As France is in open revolt against reactionary pension "reforms", expressions of solidarity from Communist parties in Greece, Venezuela and the Netherlands. Updated with a statement from the Communist Party of Ireland.

French workers march in Grenoble, March 23 -- image via the CGT on Twitter

French workers are now in open revolt since French president Emmanuel Macron's government decided to invoke an anti-democratic clause of the constitution to bypass parliament and impose his reactionary pension "reforms".

As we looked at already in French unions and Left vow to escalate resistance after Macron forces through pension "reforms", hundreds of thousands hit the streets on March 16 and have been continuing strikes and resistance ever since.

On March 23, according to the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), 3.5 million marched across the country, including 800,000 in Paris alone.

They are receiving firm expressions of solidarity from Communist and workers' parties around the world including from Communist parties in Venezuela, Greece and the Netherlands which we look at here.

The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) reiterates its firm support and solidarity with the massive protests and demonstrations of the workers in France, against the authoritarian decision of the capitalist government of Macron to impose by decree the anti-worker pension reform, which raises the retirement age of workers to 64 years.

Before the possibility of not having the necessary votes in parliament to approve its intended pension reform, the Macron government has decided to activate a constitutional mechanism that allows it to bypass parliamentary approval. The capitalist management in France, not only evades democratic mechanisms to impose its interests, it also ignores the gigantic workers' and popular rejection of the reform project, which has been expressed in the forceful and massive actions of strikes and workers' mobilizations throughout the country.

France is an example of how the dictatorship of the capitalists operates, and how the bourgeois management (social-democratic, progressive or extreme right), will always find ways to make the workers pay the bills for the capitalist crises and their wars.

In this sense, the PCV insists on the need to continue promoting solidarity with all the workers who fight for their rights against the anti-worker plans of the capitalist governments. It is a priority task of the Communist Parties and the Workers Movement in the current international context of crisis and capitalist war.

The PCV supports the legitimate struggles of the French workers and their trade union organizations, and expresses its energetic rejection of the policy of repression and anti-democratic restrictions on the exercise of protest, imposed by the Macron government.

The pension reform will not pass!

Caracas, March 23, 2023

D. Koutsoumbas attended the mass strike rally in Paris

Demonstrations in solidarity with French workers were held in Athens and other cities

On Thursday 23/3, the GS of the CC of the KKE, D. Koutsoumbas, was welcomed with enthusiasm at the mass strike rally of the French trade unions that took place in Bastille Square, Paris, where he conveyed the solidarity of the Greek communists and the Greek working class. Later, he also delivered a speech at a meeting of the Party Organization of France of the KKE with Greek emigrants, workers and students.

In the morning, Dimitris Koutsoumbas attended and saluted the strike meeting of railway workers at the Montparnasse station and afterwards he was greeted with applause at the CGT trade union rally in the crowded Bastille Square, where he made the following statement to the media: “It goes without saying that we stand in solidarity with the struggle of the French people. We are waging a joint struggle in Greece, in France, throughout Europe, against the anti-labour policies, against the anti-popular choices of the governments in Greece, in France, throughout the European Union, against the business groups, the monopolies, so that the working people can finally win and pave the way for their own interests and not for the interests and profits of the few. It is either their profits or our lives. This is the real dilemma in Greece, in France, all over the world.”

He then addressed the rally in French, conveying the solidarity of Greek communists and the working class of Greece with the struggle of the working class of France against the anti-labour pension reform of the Macron government. “Your struggle has already made history”, Dimitris Koutsoumbas stressed, wishing success to the struggles of the workers of France with the well known slogan “Venceremos!”.

As soon as Dimitris Koutsoumbas finished his speech, the French trade unionists offered him a scarf of the “Friends of the Paris Commune” as a souvenir. Greek emigrant strikers were also present, shouting the slogan “Worker, without you no cog can turn, you can do without the bosses”. At the same time, the loudspeakers of the rally started to play “The Internationale”, which was sung together by Greeks and French.

A delegation of the All Workers Militant Front (PAME) participated in the mass strike rally of the Marseille Labour Centre, where Yiannis Tasioulas, President of the Federation of Greek Builders and member of the PAME Secretariat, addressed a militant greeting, conveying the all-round solidarity of the working class of Greece.

Demonstrations in solidarity with the struggles of the working class of France were held by unions and mass organizations outside the French embassy in Athens and in other cities in Greece.

International Commission of the NCPN and CJB

The NCPN and CJB stand in solidarity with the French workers, the French youth and the French people in their struggle against the increase in the retirement age. The NCPN and CJB also condemn the violence and repression used by the French bourgeoisie to push through their anti-popular measures. We express our support for the communists in France who are on the front lines of the struggle against capitalism and for the militant trade union movement.

The French working class opposes the plans of the French bourgeoisie, under the political leadership of the banker Macron, to further restrict the rights of the French working class. The streets of Paris are filling up, and the international, so closely associated with the city, is echoing as a militant backlash against the onslaught of French capital.

Capitalism leads irrevocably to the destruction of the rights of working people. It is necessary to turn the struggle against the plans of capital into a struggle for another system, socialism-communism!

Updated with this statement from the Communist Party of Ireland:

25th March 2023

The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with the French working class and with all those involved in the mass struggles to defend their rights and social advances against the anti-worker decree of President Macron to raise the retirement age to 64 years.

Due to the strong and well organised resistance of the French working class, President Macron deliberately bypassed the National Assembly where he did not have the necessary votes to approve and secure his pension reform. The Macron government decided to activate a constitutional mechanism that allows it to bypass parliamentary approval.

This was a clear attempt to override all democratic mechanisms to impose the interests of the French ruling class. The French government and state is clearly ignoring the mass resistance of workers and the clear popular rejection of Macron’s reform strategy. This strategy, at its heart, is to break the French working class and to roll back social advances won through decades of struggle, in the interests of French capitalism, both large and small capitalists.

Not alone has the French President circumvented the National Assembly, but he has unleashed the full violence of the state apparatus to smash the French working class; however, to date, French workers continue to resist despite the mass repression.

The Communist Party of Ireland expresses our solidarity with all those trade unions who have mobilised to defend workers’ rights, in particular we express our profound solidarity with the CGT and all French communists in this epic struggle. No doubt, across the European Union, ruling class forces will be watching and preparing renewed attacks on workers’ rights. Therefore, it is incumbent on all workers and their trade unions to show solidarity with the French working class.

If the French state and its ruling class secure victory, this will only embolden the ruling classes across Europe to step up their attacks, including here in Ireland, on workers’ rights, terms and conditions.

We call upon Irish trade unions to rally in defence of the French working class. To send a message of solidarity, as well as material assistance, to those resisting the reform strategy of the Macron government.



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