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Since January, millions of people across France have mobilized against an unpopular pension reform to raise the retirement age. President Emmanuel Macron, facing staunch opposition, undemocratically forced through the measure, and has responded to the mobilizations with brutal police repression. In scenes reminiscent of the huge mobilizations that paralyzed France in May of 1968, workers and students have been taking to the streets. There have been strikes across many sectors, like among refinery and transportation workers. Students have also played a leading role, holding assemblies, organizing blockades, occupying university buildings, and joining workers on the picket line in a show of solidarity.
While France is a hotbed of class struggle in Europe, it’s not alone. The UK, Germany, Greece, the Spanish State, Portugal, and other countries in Europe have also seen intense mobilizations and strikes in response to austerity, inflation, the cost of living, and the fact that the working class is forced to pay the price for the crises caused by capitalism and by a neoliberalism in decay. This class struggle is happening in the context of the War in Ukraine and growing global instability.
In this episode, Sam is joined by Ines Rossi, a member of the French socialist organization and publication Revolution Permanente, to discuss the massive mobilizations that have rocked France. They discuss how France got to this point — how the movement against the pension reform has developed and how it’s opened a crisis for the Macron regime. Ines also explains the leadership and strategy that RP has been putting forward, and contrasts this strategy with the conciliatory approach of the labor bureaucracy and the reformist left in France. The movement in France and the working class can win this fight and inspire struggles elsewhere, but it needs a strong leadership.
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