France: No manoeuvre will make us give up the anti-CPE struggle!
Against the "equal opportunities" law
In his brief statement made on Friday 31st March, Jacques Chirac provided conflicting information: he was signing the law on "equal opportunities" into effect but stated that it required immediate modification. This apparent contradiction hides a manoeuvre - to divide and de-mobilize the movement against the CPE...
Statement by French organization Alternative Libertaire
No manoeuvre will make us give up the anti-CPE struggle!
In his brief statement made on Friday 31st March, Jacques Chirac provided conflicting information: he was signing the law on "equal opportunities" into effect but stated that it required immediate modification. This apparent contradiction hides a manoeuvre - to divide and de-mobilize the movement against the CPE [First Employment Contract].
- The trial period reduced to one year changes little. Instead of risking being fired after 23 months and getting re-hired 3 months later, it will now be after 11. There is still no justification for a 12-month trial period.
- We have not been informed of how exactly we will be able to avail of the "right to know the reason for the dismissal". The bosses will in no way be obliged to justify dismissing someone. It will thus be impossible to appeal to an employment tribunal and one can be fired for simply "displeasing" one's boss.
Furthermore, the struggle against the CPE is only one element of the general struggle against precarity. The CNE [Contract of New Employment] has not been questioned, and neither have any of the other forms of precarity, either in the public sector or the private. Young people may manage to save themselves from the CPE, only to run into the CNE.
Local action days lead nowhere
Precarity is by no means a matter of destiny. It is a political choice which is essential in obtaining a workforce that is docile and unable to defend itself. At a time like this when there has never been so much wealth produced in France as there is now, we need to go back to the days of the First World War to find as much poverty as there is today. In the light of this, these local action days are not enough. Only by hitting the capitalists where it hurts (their wallets) and by blocking the economy can we push back the capitalists. In May-June 2003, as we alternated high moments with low moments we eventually lost the pensions battle.
Certainly, it is no use contenting ourselves with calls for a general strike of all sectors either. What we need to do is ensure that the strike can be built, without people getting demoralized if it doesn't come about quickly enough.
The General Strike cannot be decreed, it must be built
If we are to have local mobilizations, they must be used to build a larger movement. Because under no circumstances can the struggle be delegated!
- Everywhere, in our cities and in our neighbourhoods and workplaces, it is essential we try to organize General Assemblies which meet as regularly as possible, joining university and high-school students with workers in order to organize actions of information and mobilization, specifying the need to work towards an open-ended General Strike that must continue until we win.
- We are already in a position to multiply common actions of struggle everywhere with the university and high-school students. Disturbances, blockades, appeals and "dead city" days, in an attempt to create the maximum impact aimed at patiently building up our strength to a level with which we can succeed.
- And apart from the organization of the struggle, the General Assemblies can also deal with an equally fundamental debate. The struggle against precarity cannot be limited to protesting against the CPE. If they coordinate, the General Assemblies can really get to grips with the question and bring forth a platform of demands against precarity, which can give substance to a real alternative, in order to break with the logic of social regression which the capitalists and the governments at their service have been imposing on us for too long.
The regime is in crisis, we can expect nothing from the parties of the left
This regime known as democracy, which is intent on imposing on the entire population a law which has been rejected on a massive scale, is nearing its last breath. The clash between the ruling classes and the population on pensions, on the European Constitution or on the CPE amply demonstrates that this is a false democracy. Not only do they govern without the people, they consistently govern against the people! The capitalists are well-represented... the workers, not at all
. And if the Socialist Party and its satellites (the French Communist Party, the Greens, and so on) do return to power for the umpteenth time one day, nothing will change!
These institutions of the republic are today shaken by a crisis of legitimacy. It is absolutely pointless participating in them if we want to change society. On the contrary, it is essential that their function be radically questioned, that we question their falsely democratic nature.
At stake is the general incrimination of capitalism, the struggle for the re-distribution of wealth and of labour. It is the taking back of control over the means of production.
It is socialism and self-management.
3rd April 2006
Translation by FdCA-International relations