France

A new cycle of the class struggle and the need for a revolutionary party

November 03, 2010

The current struggle of the French workers and youth represents an obvious leap compared to the previous cycle of the class struggle that began in 1995. It is announcing a higher level of class struggle, more open, more radicalized and more classical, that is, with greater centrality of the working class and with a protagonist role of students workers and in the factories. It is a new cycle of the class struggle in response to the world crisis underway with repercussions in France and internationally. The economic depression leaves the bourgeoisie with only one possible course of action: attacking the social conquests that still remain from the so-called welfare state and worsening the living conditions of the masses, including groups that in their time benefited from the crumbs of the neo-liberal offensive, such as some people from the middle class. Because of its context, it cannot be compared with the general strike by public sector workers in 1995, when the bourgeoisie was able to remove one aspect of the application of the neo-liberal plan, since at that time this system, a few years after the capitalist penetration of the former USSR, China and the rest of the countries of Eastern Europe, was still in an upswing. Nor is it comparable to May 1968, an ascent of the student movement that set off a political general strike by the masses lasting several days, a strike diverted by a wage concession and other conquests which were only possible because there was still something to "share" due to the postwar boom. Therefore, the current struggles will be more like the 1930’s, more explosive, with more fissures (both between the classes and within them), with more violence, with strong elements of social decomposition, because of the crisis and in the face of governments and regimes that will become ever harsher, ever more Bonapartist in form, in order to liquidate the workers’ actions. It is not surprising that the National Front (FN), which had raised its head in opposition to the regime of the Fifth Republic (implicated in the Bettencourt affair, a scandal that showed the jumbled ties between money and power, especially with Sarkozy’s UMP) but has been silent during all the days of struggle, has now recently reappeared when the trade unions want to abandon the struggle with empty hands, presenting itself as a demagogic alternative for those groups that could possibly be disappointed with these leaderships.

In this sense, and 180 degrees away from this variant, a hard left is needed, one that openly talks about how to defeat Sarkozy and the stockholders of the CAC 40 (a Paris stock market index) and the big families and fortunes that govern France. A real revolutionary party that will answer the inflexible dictatorship of capital with the self-organization of the exploited in organs of counter-power to topple the bourgeois state. The two central organizations of the extreme left in France, the NPA (New Anti-capitalist Party) and LO (Lutte Ouvrière), must stop playing hide-and-seek and call for the unity of all forces that consider themselves part of the extreme left to discuss a program and an intervention appropriate to the capitalist crisis and the first big struggles that our class is waging. As the Collective for a Revolutionary Tendency (CTR) in the NPA, we fight within the NPA so that the party will orient itself in this openly revolutionary sense, as shown by the actions, the program and the perspective we have been promoting in the current commotion France is experiencing.