Archive for the ‘France’ Category

The Kanak flag

by Bernard Alleton

Within the next year the referendum on the self-determination of Kanaky / New Caledonia [1] must be held. This territory of the Pacific has been a French colony since 1853, and was re-registered in 1986 by the United Nations on the list of non-autonomous territories to be decolonized. The Kanaks have never accepted the spoliation of their lands and the denial of their culture.

May Day demonstration in Noumea, 2011

In 1988, the Matignon-Oudinot agreements put an end to a new revolt that had been crushed in the Ouvéa bloodbath, where 19 Kanaks were killed, some of them executed while they were prisoners. This agreement provided for a period of 10 years before the holding of a referendum on self-determination, but in 1998 the Nouméa agreement postponed the deadline until the end of 2018.

This agreement was signed by the (more…)

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Among other activities, the revolutionary working class organisation Lutte Ouvriere produces weekly bulletins in hundreds of workplaces across the country.  Tne bulletins relate to specific experiences and issues faced by the workers in these workplaces, but also contain an editorial on big political questions, national or international issues.  The editorial in the November 27 edition of these bulletins was on France and Africa.

Last week, during his visit to Africa, French President Macron cynically declared that France no longer had a specific “African policy”.

The truth is that, since 2014, thousands of French soldiers have been deployed in Mali where, under the pretext of combating terrorism, they wage a war which regularly kills civilians. The French army is present on a permanent basis in many African countries, including Burkina Faso where Macron made his declaration. France has always intervened in the country, supporting the authors of military coups and dictators aspiring to obediently defend the interests of French imperialists.

Macron also declared that he belonged to a generation who considers that “the crimes of European colonization are undeniable and are part of our history”. Macron is indeed too young to have known first-hand the “colonial times”. But he belongs to the long list of political leaders who helped the French bourgeoisie get rich thanks to its colonial empire.

Africa’s dire poverty and the miserable conditions of most Africans are neither natural nor inevitable. They are due to the century-old plundering of Africa by colonial powers, with France playing a leading role in the continent’s colonization.

Many French bourgeois families built their fortune on (more…)

On July 5, we ran an article on an important strike by banana workers on the island of Guadeloupe, one of France’s colonial possessions in the Caribbean Sea.  We can now report the banana workers have won!  Below is an article from the French revolutionary weekly Lutte Ouvriere (July 7) reporting on their victory.

After 42 days on strike, the banana workers of Guadeloupe have made the bosses give in. Wednesday, June 28, they agreed to pay the workers what they owed them for holiday pay, overtime, and other things.

The strike committee already made sure that a calculation was made for each worker for what was owed for the last three years. For some, this came to a few thousand euros. The bosses also agreed to pay for the days of strike and they made a first payment of 700 euros to the workers on Monday, July 3.

They also agreed on some first steps to improve the terrible (more…)

At the annual fête de Lutte Ouvriere

The French revolutionary current Lutte Ouvriere produces scores of weekly workplace bulletins.  The bulletins are about particular issues in the workplaces while also containing a national editorial.  Below is the editorial that appeared in the June 19 workplace bulletins:

Macron won a strong majority in the second round of the parliamentary election. He is now confident that he will have the indiscriminate support he needs to push through the measures announced in his program.

For over fifty years, what passed for democracy in France was a system in which “majority” parties alternated power under labels such as The Republicans (LR) or Socialist Party (PS). Macron’s “new” majority boasts of having eliminated the professional politicians of yesterday’s majority parties. But some of them have found a way to survive by swearing allegiance to Macron.

The Macronite leaders are also proud of having made room in Parliament for what they call MPs from “civilian society”. However, these MPs are entrepreneurs, start-up bosses, company CEOs, high-level managers, property owners. They belong to petty- or middle-bourgeois circles whose main focus is the well-being of big bourgeois capital owners.

The “working-class” electorate (manual workers, jobless workers, retired workers, etc.) stayed well away from the elections. Average abstention reached a record high at (more…)

The following article was translated by the US-based Spark group from a leaflet put out by Combat Ouvrier, a revolutionary workers group  active on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique which are still run by France.  The conditions of these workers are a reminder of the impact of imperialism and the division of the world between imperialist countries like New Zealand and the super-exploited masses of the Third World, like the Caribbean banana workers.

The Reasons for their Anger

The banana workers have been on strike in more than 17 plantations around the districts of Capesterre-Belle-Eau and Saint Claude on Guadeloupe. The strike began on May 18. A mobilization this big hasn’t been seen in more than 30 years. The victory of the strike at the plantation “Bois Debout” inspired the workers on the other plantations to strike as well. The workers at this plantation won between (more…)

by René Gimpel

And so it came to pass – the prodigal obtained his majority. Emmanuel Macron, youngest French president and elected to public office for the first time, last year conjured up ex nihilo a political party, La République en Marche (LRM) and has seen it obtain a solid majority in the general election. Half his new national assembly members had never been in politics before, half are women, all owe their appointment to Macron personally and all have signed a pledge to carry out the president’s programme, which Macron claims is synonymous with a ‘programme for France’. In the 17th century, the absolutist king, Louis XIV, proclaimed: “The state is myself” – something of this claim adheres to Emmanuel Macron.

LRM has 308 of the 577 seats and its close ally, Mouvement Démocrate, a further 42. The two parties are in lockstep. Meanwhile, the conservatives, Les Républicains, drop from 199 seats to 113 – they may split into pro- and anti-Macron factions, as the president tries to woo more to come into his big tent. Most dramatic of all, the Socialists, who held 284 seats, are reduced to a rump of (more…)