THE SECOND round of the French regional elections last Sunday confirmed that the French workers have had enough of the bourgeois, Bonapartist, fascist and reformist parties by staying at home en masse.
Over 34 million voters abstained, with the major losers being the would-be Bonaparte, President Macron, and his main rival Marine Le Pen and her fascist Rassemblement National Party.
Both the would-be Napoleon, Macron, and the fascist Le Pen were humbled, with workers demanding a big change for next April’s presidential election.
Macron, after his wipeout, remains a lame duck President with not even feet of clay, while Le Pen has lost her mass support base. Macron’s La République en Marche party got just seven per cent of the overall vote – barely 10 per cent in those regions where the ‘Marcheurs’ survived the first round.
This election was the last big electoral turn out before the Presidential election next April.
The political collapse of the bourgeois parties leaves the French trade unions with enormous power, and a huge opportunity – if they are prepared to use it – to change France and Europe forever.
The GGT union federation last week called for pay rises for all ‘second line’ workers. It stated that they are ‘exposed to Covid without being caregivers, and they continued to work during the first confinement. They are still waiting for the risks they have taken to be recognised by the government.
‘Farmers, market gardeners, home helpers, security or maintenance agents, construction workers, cashiers … in all, 17 families of “second line” trades were identified by a report commissioned by the government. This represents 4.7 million people.’
The CGT states: ‘Promises had been made to these employees in the spring of 2020, but have still not materialised. Their recognition must be in the form of permanent wage increases, not by granting them a bonus. Many are only paid the minimum wage. The state must therefore set an example by significantly increasing the amount of the minimum wage.’
The state however will not do so.
The CGT must get ready for general strike action to win the pay rises, and to battle for a French workers’ Socialist Republic. The Union Federation Force Ouvriere (FO) has also hit out at government plans for pension ‘reform’ and the intention to make savage cuts to workers’ pensions.
The FO insists the money is there. Its statement is headed: ‘Pensions: the deficit of the system will be absorbed naturally according to the report of the (pensions council) COR.’
The union predicts that millions of future retirees ‘will be penalised by rates contributions higher than currently and a lower average pension amount relative to average earned income. The pension gaps between men and women will also remain large.
‘The COR report confirms what FO has always put forward: the difficulties encountered in balancing pensions do not come from the current system but from income, which is penalised by the difficulties encountered in professional careers.’
FO warns against ‘any initiative to extend working life or reduce the amount of pensions, when the priority must be given to employment.’
In fact, FO insists that the government is embarking on a programme to slash the pensions of millions of workers. This is a government that has just got only seven per cent of the popular vote.
The French trade unions have the power and they must now use it while the bourgeois parties are in a desperate crisis. The unions must form councils of action to mobilise all workers, and call an indefinite general strike to bring down Macron and his government and bring in a French revolutionary government.
They must complete the job that began in May and June 1968 – this time concluding it with a workers’ government and a socialist planned economy.
They must take decisive action to nationalise the banks and the major industries and bring in socialism! This is the only way forward.
If the trade unions continue to fiddle while French capitalism burns, then the military will intervene to forestall an April Presidential election with a military coup.
Now is the time to build sections of the Fourth International in France and throughout Europe and to go forward to the French socialist revolution and a Socialist United States of Europe!