A call to deepen class struggle in France
March 18: Faced with President Emmanuel Macron’s new anti-democratic use of Article 49.3 of the French Constitution, the following is a joint declaration of the National Association of Communists (ANC), the Pole of Communist Revival in France (PRCF), the Communist Rally (RC) and the Youth for Communist Revival in France (JRCF).1
If Macron imagined that he would put an end to the popular mobilization by displaying his contempt for the opponents of his counterreform2, he has failed completely.
[Prime Minister] Élisabeth Borne’s casual use of Article 49.3 shows that this government no longer has a parliamentary majority, even with the supposedly “republican” leaders rallying to its program. The illegitimacy of the democratic basis of the Macron regime is now blatant, so much so that the current political crisis can lead to crisis of the regime, or even to a deeper crisis. Remember Lenin’s words: “A revolutionary crisis arises when those at the top can no longer govern as before and when those below are no longer willing to be led as before.”3
In mass demonstrations, slogans strikingly refer not only to December 1995 and to May 1968 — but also to 1789 and to the storming of the Bastille.4 Our country, which has known great revolts and moments of great social progress, such as 1945 when a great expansion of the social safety net was won, needs a new acceleration of history. Our epoch should put on the agenda an authentic popular and socialist revolution, finally putting “the world of work at the center of national life,” as the National Council of the Resistance has already expounded.5
Under these conditions, the ANC, the RC, the PRCF and the JRCF unite in a call to expand mobilizations in all their forms, especially by supporting in all possible ways the courageous strikes and blockades by electricity and gas workers, port workers, refinery workers, railroad workers, sanitation workers and all those who are strongly committed to fighting the regime’s rejection of democracy.
Yes, it is possible to win the current showdown by obtaining not only the withdrawal of Macron’s counterreform but also with a general counteroffensive of the workers, including precarious workers and youths, to fight for a retirement age of 60, as has been called for in many union marches. This includes a struggle for wages, guaranteed employment and the freezing and deconstruction of other Maastricht-inspired6 counterreforms in progress (SNCF [railroads], EDF [electricity]), the reconstruction of national education, the ban on offshoring of companies and the safeguarding of production “Made in France,” as well as more social housing, unemployment compensation, etc.
In this showdown, it is the responsibility of our communist organizations to accuse head-on, not only Macron and the MEDEF7, but also the European Union, which has been orchestrating the social break-up on a continental scale for decades, using the suffocating austerity device that is the euro. We must not forget NATO, which, in close alliance with the EU, and with Macron’s slavish support, is creating day after day the conditions of a potentially exterminating world conflagration with Russia, or further with the People’s Republic of China.
So, more than ever we are demanding:
“Money for wages, not for war!”
“Money for our pensions, not for the gun merchants!”
“They smash our social gains, let’s block their profits!”
More than ever, in the face of devastating capitalism and its increasingly reactionary and fascistic tendencies, the Pole for Communist Renaissance in France, Communist Rally, the National Association of Communists and the Youth for Communist Revival in France reaffirm together that the future belongs to revolutionaries and to a new generation socialism-communism.
- Organizations of left-wing communists, who are anti-NATO. In Parliament, the French Communist Party and the France Unbowed Party oppose Macron’s pension changes.
- Macron calls his cut to retirement benefits a “reform,” but it is an anti-worker takeaway of social benefits won since 1945.
- V.I. Lenin, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, wrote this in an article in 1913.
- 1968 and 1995 refer to massive worker struggles; 1789 to the French Revolution that overthrew the monarchy and feudalism.
- The National Council for Resistance coordinated the struggle against the occupation of France by Nazi Germany starting in 1943; some of its pro-worker programs were implemented following liberation, especially social security and the nationalization of some important industrial sectors.
- Maastricht, a city in the Netherlands where the treaty forming the European Union was signed in 1992, is used as shorthand to refer to the imperialist banking bureaucracy that imposed anti-worker restrictions on all countries that are E.U. members.
- The MEDEF is the organization of French owners of enterprises, that is, the big capitalists.
Translation and notes by John Catalinotto