Credit: Permanent Revolution

This Thursday, April 13, the number of protesters once again remained at high levels, continuing with the massiveness of the movement that began almost three months ago. Although the numbers have dropped, the CGT announced a million protesters nationwide and in the main cities the reports of the unions speak of 400,000 in Paris, 130,000 in Marseille, 70,000 in Toulouse and 40,000 in Bordeaux, the breadth of the mobilization continues still impressive after more than 10 days of mobilizations.

Beyond the numbers, the determination remains strong in the marches and seems to reflect less an expectation in the next decision of the Constitutional Council (which this Friday, April 14, defines whether or not the reform of the pension system is legal), than a desire persistent to twist Macron’s arm. In Paris, this was expressed in particular in the large mobilization of young people called by the Interfaculties, who led the demonstration in front of a massive march of union leaders. Several hundred young people and students chanted “constitutional or not, we do not want this law”criticizing in passing the leadership of the CFDT (the main central that has been testing all possible ways to abandon the fight), which has already announced that it will recognize the decision of the Constitutional Council, which is very likely to validate the essentials of the reform.

“We demonstrate in front of the CFDT because we will go until the withdrawal” (from the pension reform. N de T.), said Ariane Anemoyannis, student and activist of “Poing Levé” in Paris 1, from the procession:

On the morning of this last Thursday, the Parisian waste collectors resumed their strike. These workers, together with their sympathizers, were present in the different waste treatment plants. For their part, the railwaymen and workers of the RATP (the public company that manages the Paris metro network) invaded the headquarters of Louis Vuitton, owned by billionaire Bernard Arnault. Signs of the environment inflamed by rage, which is also expressed in wage strikes, despite the fact that unemployment rates are declining on a national scale, not because of the lack of will to fight on the part of workers and workers (who these months have been showing their her), but rather because of the policy of the union leaderships that stopped at the call for isolated measures, without unifying or generalizing the struggle, expanding the demands for example.

Desperate government: represses and surrounds the Constitutional Council with the Police

One of the images from this Thursday was undoubtedly that of the hundreds of gendarmes stationed in front of the Constitutional Council during the passage of the Parisian demonstration. A scene that symbolized for many protesters the fragility of a regime forced to entrench its institutions.

A Police that went on the offensive against the protesters in many cities, taking out water cannons in Lille, Nantes and Rennes, gassing and beating the protesters. In Lyon, an journalist was violently beaten during a police charge, as were many protesters across the country.

In the same sense, the decision taken by Gérald Darmanin – the interior minister – to prohibit the mobilizations this Friday from passing near the Constitutional Council, shows the government’s fear that the mobilization will continue.

The inter-union continues without proposing any alternative for the continuation of the movement.
As was to be expected, throughout this Thursday, the question of the continuity of the movement was raised in a burning way in the mobilizations. The inter-union responds to this problem (which makes it possible for the struggle to have the prospect of victory), hoping for a deliberation by a Constitutional Council that will surely validate the essentials of the reform. There is no longer even a mobilization date for before May 1.

The top leader of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, has been hinting for several days that he would soon leave the movement, explaining that “It is not about challenging the legitimacy of the Constitutional Council” and? “The CFDT will not continue to mobilize for six months for this pension reform”. For her part, Sophie Binet, the new General Secretary of the CGT, stated at the Paris demonstration that this Friday’s event is not a “last Stand” (to reform N. de T.), but did not say anything about the continuity of the struggle. The CGT leader also supports – helplessly – the hope that censorship, even partial, will force Macron not to enact his bill.

Faced with this passivity that is actually preparing the end of the movement, this Friday, April 14, will be a crucial moment in the movement that began on January 19. Gatherings have already been called throughout France before the governorates and municipalities to once again reject Macron’s reform. In Paris, the youth and student movement calls for a demonstration, early in the afternoon, from the Saint-Lazare station.

These mobilizations, in which the inter-union movement has not directly participated, must be the occasion to continue the struggle. Not to feed the vain hope of a favorable decision from the Constitutional Council, but to raise the question of another strategy for the Government to back down and drop the pension reform. This can be achieved if the movement, through independent organization, can impose a general strike against the government on the trade unions.

Translation and adaptation of original article published in Révolution Permanente


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