the french rebellion told in first person
Clement Allochonit’s a young railway worker in the workshops of Châtillon in Francelocal delegate and his section of the Sud Rail union, and protagonist of the ongoing rebellion in that country against Macron’s pension reform. He has just arrived in Argentina to share his experience and exchange with workers and youth of our country. Clement is part of Permanent Revolutionan organization that is part of the International Network La Izquierda Diario and the Trotskyist Fraction, of which the PTS of Argentina is also a member.
In our country will participate on May 1 in the International Workers’ Day event organized by the Left Front in Plaza de Mayo and will carry out various activities and talks in different cities of the country. He Saturday 29 will be in Rosariohe Friday the 5th in La Paltahe Saturday 6 in the west zone of Greater Buenos Aires, the Sunday 7 in the south zonehe Monday 8 in the north zonehe Tuesday 9 at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the UBA. He will also make trips and visits to different provinces in the following days.
The Left Daily He interviewed him to learn a little more about his experience as part of the process of struggle that is still going on in France and that will have a new massive mobilization this May 1st to confront Macron and his reform.
How has the strike developed in the Chatillon workshops where you work, west of Paris, since the announcement of the pension reform in January? How did the workers react after the Government’s announcement to pass the reform by decree through the article known as 49.3?
From the Chatillon workshop where he works, we join all the days of strikes and demonstrations called by the inter-union [compuesta por los principales sindicatos] since January 19 with a very good turnout. But then when we started a renewable strike [por tiempo indeterminado] As of March 7, we realized that this was the way to win, on the condition that the strike be generalized to all workplaces. What happened is that we realized that the strategy of isolated actions and one-day strikes called by the Intersindical was not going to make Macron give up.
Before the Macron government declared that it would pass the reform [por decreto] through article 49.3 our picket was weakening and we were repressed by the police. But when the announcement to pass the pension reform by decree became a reality, we began to feel very strong anger in our workshop, and when the government finally used 49.3, a fracture was created throughout the country. The change in situation was immediate for us, the strike became a wildcat strike. What does this mean? Workers are supposed to declare that we are going to strike 48 hours in advance and in this case we decided to ignore this announcement so our strike became “wild” and it is the way we found to respond to the contempt of the government. Thus, our motto in Châtillon was “Our 49.3 is the wildcat strike.” But it was not only in our workshop, throughout the country we could see wild actions and demonstrations multiply, a radicalism, a spontaneity and methods that remind us of the Yellow Vests movement.
What role did the network play in the general strike? And the solidarity of young people?
The Network for the General Strike was one of our main tools, we got to know many other sectors thanks to the network, but we also had a vision of the strike in other strategic sectors, we were able to give strength to each picket every time a sector needed it. For example, we helped refiners in Normandy resume their picket when threatened with requisition [normativa que puede usar el gobierno para obligar a los trabajadores a retornar a sus puestos y abandonar la huelga bajo amenaza de carcel o multas elevadas]while the union leaders went to negotiate with the Government.
The Network also came to support us several times in our pickets at the Chatillon workshops, showing great solidarity each time.
We also established links with the University of Fine Arts, they decorated our vests, our strike fund boxes and made us a banner that we are proud to display every time we go to a demonstration. We have also established links with film students, they have organized screenings and discussions with us, and the proceeds have been donated to our strike fund.
What is the current situation and how is the movement following months of strikes and mobilizations?
Currently there is a situation of reflux in the number of strikes, many sectors have returned to work after more than a month of strike, however discontent remains, and some sectors begin to take stock of the struggle, especially from the treacherous and defeatist strategy of the union leaders, and their refusal to call a general strike. One of the interesting things is that today there is not only talk of the withdrawal of the reform, it goes deeper, there is talk of retirement at 60 years of age, of the salary increase in the face of inflation, but there is also a growing rejection of the system.
After the promulgation of the reform, Macron gave a speech where he said he wanted “One Hundred Days of Calm”, however since then he has been facing a call for “One Hundred Days of Anger”, there is no place for Macron or anyone to go. member of the Government without being booed, insulted or there is a rally against them. There are also caseroleadas organized everywhere, I think in Argentina they call them caseroleadas.
What would you say to the Argentine workers and youth about the crisis that our country is experiencing?
There is only one path, you have to organize and fight, it is the only path, I have the impression that some things are very similar to France. Either we let the governments and the bosses attack us permanently, be it in retirements, inflation, job insecurity, or we fight until the end with all our might and we also confront the union leaderships that do not listen to the workers, that They have not hesitated to make us lose conquests for years. We have to fight with our own organizations to build alternatives to this. It is important to understand that our working class has no borders and is exploited all over the world, that is why our struggle is international, that is why I will be in Buenos Aires on May 1, Rosario on April 29, and the following days in other cities from the country.