For a French Workers’ Republic!



23-04-2023: Since January, brave and heroic French workers have repeatedly demonstrated in the streets against President Emmanuel Macron’s drive to raise the pension age to 64. Previous attacks on the pension system in 1995, 2003, 2010 and 2016 have led to mass upsurges. This time, reminiscent of May-June 1968, students have been heavily involved in the protests. Hundreds of schools and universities are blockaded in solidarity with the street marches. It is no exaggeration to say that millions have mobilised against the brutal class attack throughout January, February, March and April. France’s revolutionary history certainly drives the willingness of French workers to demonstrate until their just demands are met. Yet this time, it is not only Macron who is facing being ousted. The entire system of class rule in France and the European Union (EU) could be shaken.

Out with Macron!

This latest attack on aged pensions is not just because Macron is a Jupiterian banker-president, though he is certainly a part of the elite. This assault is taking place because capitalism requires it, as today it can only survive by launching direct attacks on the working class – their jobs, their standard of living and their retirement. Macron is only President today due to the fact that during the last election he was running against Marine Le Pen of National Rally, and the so-called left urged a vote for Macron rather than the “far-right” Le Pen. Yet, according to a poll, as many as 60% of French people think that Le Pen is “close to the preoccupations of ordinary people”. National Rally could potentially benefit from the unrest, but only if the false left drives people towards the reformist Melenchon and France Insoumise, or even Macron again. While National Rally is not the answer for working people, as long as it presents itself as more rational than the dubious left it will continue to gain support.

Macron using section 49.3 of the Constitution to bypass parliament signifies the potential end of bourgeois traditions. To ram the pension broadside through without even pretending that a vote in a compromised parliament is at all necessary shines a light on what the ruling elites really think of those over which they supposedly rule. In other Western countries, outright election fraud is now used to place preferred parties in power. Failing that, they pull a constitutional bureaucratic move like Macron’s to remove even the semblance of a very indirect “consent of the people”. Capitalist “democracy” – as distorted and deceitful as it always was – is gone forever, never to return. Hence, the pension cuts are as much a political attack on the working class as they are an economic one.

In one sense, the current protests are a revival of the Yellow Vest movement which almost removed Macron in 2018. They were temporarily interrupted by the fraudulent Covid “pandemic”, with its own forms of state repression. The Yellow Vest movement was a systemic challenge to corporate rule, but one which was outside the control of the official left and the Union officials. While not every demand that the Yellow Vest movement raised was progressive per se, the overwhelming majority of them directly challenged basic capitalist pillars. They demanded products be made to last 10 years, for a 40% increase in the pension and social welfare, and for housing for all homeless people. They demanded the effective withdrawal of France from Africa, the withdrawal of France from the EU, and an exit for France from NATO. This was effectively a call for the end of French colonialism, the break up of the EU, and the end of French participation in the endless imperialist wars of the West.

One War

During the three years of “Covid” almost all of the ostensible political left and Union officials capitulated heavily to the capitalist state, and collaborated directly with elite politicians in imposing lockdowns, facemasks and vaccine mandates on the working class. The scale of this betrayal has set back the very notion of political contest. However, if any country has the class struggle and revolutionary traditions needed to overcome this appalling apostasy it is surely France. Even though the lockdowns derailed the Yellow Vests and many other forms of protest, there may now be a realisation that the corporate billionaires and their agents will only change the format of their onslaught, not the onslaught itself. Granted, in the current protests some of the Union officials and left parties who blocked with the state in the name of “health” are now taking part as if they did nothing wrong from 2020 to 2022. Yet broad swathes of the working class can see the pattern of continuity over the past few decades.

NATO’s proxy war on Russia via Ukraine is another layer of problems foisted on working people, especially in Europe. Not only is the French government providing weapons for the Nazi infested Ukrainian forces, the threat of a nuclear war hangs over the head of all of Europe. The stark realisation that the West is arming and funding Nazis to fight on behalf of NATO against Russia is telling, even though France is not as reliant on Russia for energy as is Germany. What is more, the West is simultaneously provoking and needling the People’s Republic of China (PRC) towards a military confrontation, in another theatre which again opens the door to nuclear destruction. In fact, the relentless economic rise of the PRC’s largely nationalised and planned economy is perhaps the main reason for the pension assault in France. The Western capitalist economies are not able to compete against the PRC’s socialistic state-owned infrastructure which fuels its incessant rise.

Workers internationally are thus facing one war. The deliberate driving up of the cost of living, “Covid” repression and the threat of war against Russia and China are all derived from the same source and cannot be separated from each other. In France, workers can see that the Union officials are restraining actions to one day strikes, which can be tiring and stop well short of raising what must be raised – the question of power. There cannot be a “Sixth Republic” as demanded by Melenchon, but a workers’ government which begins the process of expropriating the major means of production. What is required is a workers’ party which fights for a workers’ republic. A genuine Marxist vanguard party must be formed, but one which is comprised of those who consistently defend the working class. What is needed now is an ongoing general strike, which will require organisation and coordination by strike committees, and will therefore pose the question of which class shall rule. Leninists have always insisted that democracy across different classes is impossible, which is why labour must triumph.

Full pensions from age 60!
For a six-hour work day!
Block weapons shipments to Ukraine!
No to US/EU/NATO wars on Russia and China!



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