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Social storm advisory: what is to be done ?

Message  alexi le Mer 4 Déc - 22:18

November 25, 2013

Social storm advisory: what is to be done ?

From laid off workers to truckers, midwives, and horse-riding center employees, everybody is angry. With or without a red hat!
Reasons to be in a fighting mood are certainly not lacking. First, wage earners are hit with more and more layoffs. This includes the recent announcement, on November 22nd, that the Mory Ducros transport company was going bankrupt, threatening two to three thousand jobs. This is the biggest bankruptcy in the last twelve years, but just a drop in the sea of layoffs. 736 layoff plans have been announced this year between January and September. Plant closures are devastating, not just for the laid off workers. In Brittany, entire cities depend on agri-food businesses; so on top of plant closures, small businesses such as those ran by small farmers, fishermen, restaurant owners and so on risk having to close down too.
As to the overhaul of the fiscal laws promised by Prime Minister Ayrault, this will barely touch the big stockholders. On the other hand, the 800,000 low-income households who had to pay taxes for the first time this year, and all those who will be hit hard by the sales tax increase on January 1st, are absolutely right to protest against these unfair taxes.

Workers must lead the protests
In this situation, agri-food capitalists and other bosses, as well as their political friends on the right or the far right, are trying to use this anger in their benefit. So the working class has to lead the demonstrations, otherwise others will. The working class needs to bring together all the angry cries in a single voice, to silence the rich who cry with their mouths full. If horse-riding centers can organize a national demonstration and bring riders and ponies to Paris, why couldn’t the workers do the same, given that a lot more of them are hit by the economic crisis and austerity measures?
It is obvious that we must unify all the fights into a global fight, to start a counter-attack. But the leaders of all the unions are doing just the opposite! On Saturday November 23rd, in the name of “unity”, CFDT, CGT, Solidaires, CFTC, Unsa, CFE-CGC and FSU (only FO refused to participate) organized their own demonstration in Brittany. Unfortunately, the main reason was to be separate from the “red hats” and the Breton workers who had expressed their anger toward the layoffs and the ecotax earlier in the month. Even worse, while this could have been an opportunity to continue mobilizing together, they spread the demonstrations into four regional departments, adding further division to the demonstrations. All this to demand that a “social component” be added to Ayrault’s so-called “agreements for the future of Brittany”.
So the unions’ position is to ask for a bit of social measures to a government that has a clearly anti-workers policy! With the municipal elections coming up, Mélenchon (the leader of the Front de Gauche, “radical” left wing party) isn’t doing much better, calling for a demonstration on December 1st to demand a “fiscal revolution”.

We can only count on ourselves
Last weekend with the unions, on November 30 with the “red hats” or on December 1st with Mélenchon, we have plenty of opportunity to show our anger… in our own way. Workers who are fighting for their jobs can use these events to express their demands, to speak to each other and coordinate their fights – from Mory Ducros to Fagor-Brandt, La Redoute, Goodyear, Gad, Doux, Tilly-Sabco, Marine Harvest, Kem One, TNT Express, PSA, EADS, Michelin…
And since the politicians supposedly on the left of the Socialist Party and the union confederations are not federating the fights… well, workers will have to do it themselves!
They can do it by showing solidarity with all the toiling and poor layers of the population; by coordinating their fights, by making their demands heard: Ban the layoffs!  Share the work among all!  Increase wages now !

alexi

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Re: Edito de L'Etincelle en anglais

Message  sylvestre le Jeu 5 Déc - 16:44

alexi a écrit:November 25, 2013

Social storm advisory
Euh, je crois que vous devriez vous méfier des traducteurs automatiques (ou pas très expérimentés).
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sylvestre

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Date d'inscription : 22/06/2010

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Our new year wishes to the two French Presidents

Message  alexi le Mar 14 Jan - 19:57

January 6, 2014
Our new year wishes to the two French Presidents

Our presidents, Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic, and Pierre Gattaz, President of the Medef (the bosses’ union), made their new year wishes to each other publicly. Hollande, who called himself the “President of businesses” last September, is in favor of the “confidence pact” of Gattaz, the boss of the bosses. He proposes a “responsibility pact” to Gattaz, in order to win the “battle for jobs.” “I am happy” answered Gattaz to Le Monde newspaper, “I would agree to climb Mount Everest with him.” How touching.
Santa Claus takes from the poor to give to the rich
What their wishes mean, in short: 90 % of the French people will get poorer! Take the tax credit for jobs and competitiveness, a gift to businesses (costing 10 billion euros in 2014, 20 billion in 2015, and how much after that?): we have been paying for it since Jan 1st thanks to the increase in sales tax, which hits the poor hardest. And Holland is still cynic enough to complain about the so-called “excess and abuse” regarding social welfare (even though we know that more than half of welfare beneficiaries do not get what they are owed!): “I actually applauded this; well done…” Gattaz confided.
And the planned increase in minimum wage ? “Nah!” said Ayrault, the Prime Minister. The three million workers on minimum wage will have to make do with the default 15 euros increase (monthly, before tax).
The “responsibility pact” mentioned by Hollande really represents the “competitiveness agreements” that are already hitting workers badly. It allows the bosses to impose flexible work hours, lower wages, force transfers between factories, while pocketing billions and having no obligation to create jobs or even to stop cutting jobs. The “pact” is supposed to create jobs, with the help of… the ones who destroy jobs.
They promised millions of jobs: what a joke !
Like in Germany or in Spain, the jobs to be created (assuming there are some) will be mostly flimsy or insecure, just like the “youth contracts” and “contracts for the future”: the bosses will get two employees for the price of one, the difference to be paid by the taxpayer. For sure, workers will need two or three of those jobs in order to make a decent living.
Our wishes for the new year
One priority: let’s fight back! If we do not want to pay for another 100 billions in tax cuts for the bosses, we will have to take back everything they steal from us by fighting for wage increases and against layoffs. We must fight in the workplace to stop the “competitiveness” procedures. Hollande and Gattaz are confident and even arrogant because the union confederations are willing to play the game of “social parternship” and negotiate what is unacceptable for us. The union strategy is for each group of workers to make its own demand, separately… the best recipe for loosing.
On the contrary, we ust prepare to fight all together. If that means stockholders don’t get any dividends, fine. Society could only be better off. It is well known that civilization only makes progresses through revolutions…

alexi

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Our New Year resolution for 2014: let’s be (really

Message  alexi le Mer 22 Jan - 0:22

January 13, 2014

Our New Year resolution for 2014: let’s be (really) subversive !


To distract us from the unemployment numbers and the anti-worker attacks, the government produced the “Dieudonné” soap opera, which ended with the Council of State prohibiting the comedian’s one man show. (Dieudonné is a French comedian who has made a number of anti-Semitic remarks and popularized the “quenelle”, which is a kind of salute inspired by the nazi salute). This is “a political victory”, “a defeat for anti-Semitism”, according to the Interior Minister, Manuel Valls. This looks to us more like a publicity stunt for the comedian and a fresh new look for Valls before the coming elections.
Valls, not convincing as anti-racist
When he was the mayor of Evry, Manuel Valls did not shy from saying that, to his taste, there were too many black people in his city, and that he wished there were more “blancs, white, blancos”. As Interior Minister, he is proud of his record of deporting undocumented migrants and pretends, like any other racist, that the “lifestyle of the Rom people clashes” with ours. Only the lifestyle of the bosses and big stockholders seems to be in harmony with his lifestyle!
He fully deserved the anger of the high school kids who took to the streets two months ago in Paris and other big cities, to fight his policy of deporting undocumented students.
Dieudonné, anti-Semitic but not anti-system
At the same time, Dieudonné keeps making anti-Semitic comments and foul jokes. Craftily, he presents himself as “anti-system”, while in fact he is a shrewd businessman, making a fortune selling mugs, mousepads, umbrellas, pens, ashtrays and other items displaying his picture… And now, the anti-immigrant Interior Minister is giving him free advertisement!
To show that he is “anti-system”, Dieudonné does not hesitate to show himself with the worst of the far-right personalities: Jean-Marie Le Pen, Alain Soral, Serge Ayoub (the head of a small nazi group whose members assassinated the young antifascist militant Clement Meric) or even Robert Faurisson, infamous for having denied the existence of the gas chambers during world war 2.
The comedian is happy that his “quenelle” is used by young people fooled to believe it is a gesture of revolt. But what pleases him most are cops and soldiers posing with their arms stretched in a “quenelle”, displaying their anti-Semitism with this disguised nazi salute. Racist soldiers, nostalgic of colonization, together with Dieudonné! How can you be less subversive!
Hollande: a “pact to assist” the bosses
Don’t let them divide us. Racist and anti-Semitic demagogy has always been a weapon against the exploited during economic crisis. Its goal is to make us fight each other and to hide those who are responsible for unemployment and poverty. But it isn’t so hard to find who is responsible: with his “responsibility pact”, Hollande offers a big amount of money to the bosses and big stockholders. And they will certainly make us pay for it, by raising the sales tax and cutting public and social services. The Medef president, Pierre Gattaz, applauded Hollande and wants more of it.
In 2014: we need to be together against the establishment !
To reverse the establishment, let’s just follow in the footsteps of the ones who fight corporate thugs and the government that protects them.
Today, Goodyear workers in Amiens, La Redoute workers in the North, after agri-food workers in Brittany and many other, are mobilizing against layoffs conducted by the super rich who close down factories.
Let’s use these first fights of the year as a springboard to make 2014 a year of global fight, really against the system !

alexi

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The President’s affair… with the bosses !

Message  alexi le Mar 28 Jan - 23:31

January 20, 2014

The President’s affair… with the bosses !

It had been going on for 18 months… but the media acted like they hadn’t heard about it. But now Hollande has admitted his involvement with the big bosses. He wanted to make an official announcement during the January 14 press conference, so he gave all the details about the “responsibility pact”, that is, the fabulous partnership contract he plans to finalize with his loved ones.

A 15 billion euros dowry
The government never stops cuddling with the bosses, singing their favorite tunes: decreased social contributions, competitiveness, etc. Hollande just announced the end of family dues in 2017. That’s a gift of 35 billion euros to the bosses… This measure is supposed to be replacing the job-competitiveness tax cuts, which would have cost 20 billion, so the bosses get an extra 15 billion. Hollande swears he won’t touch the family benefits to pay for the bosses’ gift: but some day, as happened with unemployment and retirement benefits, they’ll tell us that there isn’t enough money in the fund so benefits must be reduced.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hollande also promised to “modernize” the corporation tax code, to “facilitate” their decision-making, and other expensive gifts. So much so that Pierre Gattaz, the bosses’ boss, has applauded, and the conservative UMP party is at a loss since the Socialist Party is being more pro-business than it is!

The people can pay for the sumptuous gifts

How will the government pay for the corporate tax cuts? By cutting public services! Hollande announced plans to save 50 billion by 2017. This will further dismantle public services, cut down on social expenditures, smother non-profit organizations in need of funds, those very organizations that provide much needed services, etc. This will make most people poorer than they already are.
Hollande even repeats the same demagogic lies as Sarkozy, complaining about “abuses” within the social protection system. He conveniently forgets that half of the unemployed gets no unemployment benefits and that a large fraction of the poorest does not get benefits they are owed because the procedures to assert their rights are so complex. Because of course, the “simplification shock” that Hollande is boasting about is for the bosses, not for the exploited and unemployed. Big time welfare, simple procedures to get it, that’s for the big stockholders.

A prenuptial agreement that goes one way

The beauty about the President’s love story is that the bosses are not promising anything back. Gattaz clearly refuses that “the pact turns into constraint”. The bosses’ boss explains that he’s ok with a “goal” of creating one million jobs by 2020 (in exchange of 100 billion in tax cuts!). But he “promises nothing”.
The government gives, the bosses want more… And this has been going on for thirty years. The successive governments – left or right – keep giving to the bosses, while unemployment rises, now at 5.5 million people! In the first 18 months of Hollande’s presidency, large corporations, like PSA or Sanofi, have gotten big tax cuts. This did not stop them from cutting jobs and creating 500,000 more unemployed workers.
There was a time when revolutions happened against the privileged that starved the people. Hollande and Gattaz might have forgotten it – let’s remind them before we starve.

alexi

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Hollande and Gattaz, together for ever

Message  alexi le Jeu 6 Fév - 16:51

January 27, 2014

Hollande and Gattaz, together for ever

With the “responsibility pact”, Hollande shows commitment to his relationship with the bosses. The bosses had already gotten a nice engagement gift: 20 billion euros in “competitiveness-jobs tax cuts”. Now, to consummate the union, the French President will replace these tax cuts by ending corporate-funded family benefits by 2017, a 35 billion gift. That’s an extra 15 billion in the bosses’ pockets.
Right now, Hollande says that the State will fund family benefits. But once corporations stop paying family dues, what will stop Hollande from saying – as for unemployment and retirement benefits – that the funds are running low and then decrease family benefits ?


The people can pay for the sumptuous gifts
How will the government pay for the corporate tax cuts? By cutting public services! Hollande announced plans to save 50 billion by 2017. The first targets are public hospitals, social security and regional agencies.
Healthcare: cost cutting possibilities include discontinuing reimbursement for new drugs, increasing the number of outpatient surgical procedures and cutting jobs.
Regional and local budgets: non-profit organizations that provide social services and cultural activities may be bled to death by cutting their funds. Anything that these organizations won’t be able to provide anymore, workers will have to pay through private companies or insurance. That is, the poorest will become even poorer.
Hollande even repeats the same demagogic lies as Sarkozy, complaining about “abuses” within the social protection system. He conveniently forgets that half of the unemployed gets no unemployment benefits and that a large fraction of the poorest does not get benefits they are owed because the procedures to assert their rights are so complex. Because of course, the “simplification shock” that Hollande is boasting about is for the bosses, not for the exploited and unemployed. Big time welfare, simple procedures to get it, that’s for the big stockholders.

The bosses couldn’t be happier

The bosses cannot stop praising the responsibility pact. Holland would like for the bosses to commit to create one million jobs, in exchange for the 35 billions. But the president of the Medef (the bosses’ union), Pierre Gattaz, says that he promises nothing, fearing that “the pact turns into constraint”. Bosses should get help from the State and be allowed to cut jobs as they please. Workers should get the constraints, in addition to low wages and unemployment. “Don’t repeat it, but Hollande is sold to the Medef”, said one of the heads of Medef, who added: it “is much easier to pass good reforms with a left wing government than with a right wing government, there is less friction.”
Point taken. All the more true when the heads of labor unions prefer to spend useless time in “social dialog” rather than organize a real workers mobilization.

When do we fight back ?

Anyway, while Hollande’s wishes for the new year pleased the bosses, they only disgusted the working class. Now workers have to act. Hollande and Gattaz are punching at us. Let’s show them how bad it feels when we punch back.

alexi

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Sport is not the issue

Message  alexi le Mar 18 Fév - 19:33

February 10, 2014

Sport is not the issue

One can appreciate sports and admire the athletes’ skills without being fooled by the Olympic theatrical production, in Sochi or elsewhere. Putin did not skimp on resources to make these Games a “mirror of the new Russia”. Indeed, they reflect an image corresponding well to his regime’s policies.
37 billion Euros were wasted to build the “Potemkin village” as Russian dissidents call it, from the name of the minister who used a Trompe l’Oeil trickery in villages of Crimea during a visit by the Empress Catherine II in 1787. The 2014 village has the size of a French regional department, and its construction cost makes these Games the most expensive ever. No doubt that Putin will make the Russian people pay the bill.
There is more behind the scene. Over 70,000 workers, including many undocumented immigrants, worked in slavery-like conditions to build facilities that will most certainly be abandoned after the Games. As for the people who had to be expelled by force to make place for hotels, highways, retail shops, they have nothing left.

Behind all the Olympic Games

All this is nothing new, it happened before during the organization of the Games in Beijing and is happening for the planning of the soccer world cup in Qatar. Huge amounts of money are involved, on the scale of each of these countries. Before Sochi, the Games have been a drain on the finances of all the organizing cities. This happened for Beijing in 2008 (from which many people had also been expelled) and in London in 2012. The British Minister for the Games stated after the fact that with hindsight, the city would never have been a candidate for organizing the Games. This happened in Athens in 2004, where the unused facilities are quickly resembling the ancient ruins, and yet again in Barcelona, in 1992, for which the billions invested only recently were written off. And many others…

A well-oiled money machine…

The president of the Olympic International Committee, Thomas Bach, never stopped praising Putin and kept silent and complicit about the ecological disaster and the labor conditions on the site.
Certainly, regarding corruption, the Russian officials have found high-level players in the OIC and among western businessmen. All the nice talk about Olympic values weighs little compared to the billions of Euros pocketed by big construction companies (this time they were mostly Austrian), well-positioned officials and all kinds of profiteers.
Behind the athletes sweating to get medals, many are getting ready to increase their revenue, as during all high profile sports events. McDonald’s, which built its first restaurant in Sochi, Coca-Cola, General Electric and Samsung were not going to miss an opportunity to serve us all the platitudes about pushing oneself, making sacrifices to win, and always pushing the limits.

…that sometimes runs rough

Brazilian people, who positively love soccer, have nevertheless ended in the street to protest against the billions spent to build impressive stadium and against the corruption attached to an event such as the world cup, when at the same time, some services like public transportation are falling into decay.
This is a reminder that sometimes the circus games cannot appease angry people.

alexi

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Hollande, Gattaz, Obama: Best Friends Forever

Message  alexi le Mar 25 Fév - 19:42

February 17, 2014

Hollande, Gattaz, Obama: Best Friends Forever


“You can applaud him!” said Hollande in front of 3,000 US businessmen. He was talking about Pierre Gattaz, president of Medef, the French bosses’ union. Hollande brought Gattaz with him to meet Obama and a group of American and French businessmen from the US. In fact, while capitalists can certainly applaud Gattaz, one of their own, they can definitely applaud Hollande, who was elected with many working class votes in the hope that his policies would be “less worse” than Sarkozy’s. At the same event Hollande embraced Carlos Diaz, the leader of the “pigeons” movement, the startup owners who obtained a total exemption of the capital gains tax on resale by simply circulating a petition on the Internet. Diaz later stated he loved Hollande’s speech. Understandably.

Imperialist looters work hand in hand

At the same time Obama declared he was very happy about Hollande’s military operations. The French army is taking on a police job in Africa, while the US army is redeploying toward Asia. While they all try and defend their own interests, imperialists powers know how to work together to rule over the people of the poor countries.

New gifts for the bosses

All these people are hugging and congratulating each other, as they all agree on one fundamental point: make the workers pay for the crisis. They will do so by decreasing the “burdens on companies”, that is, by decreasing our deferred wages, including all the dues that finance family benefits, social security, unemployment benefits, etc. The government has promised Gattaz it will end family dues paid by companies, by 2017. This is an old corporate demand; by submitting to it the government will gift another 35 billion euros to the bosses. This comes on top of the job-competitiveness tax cuts estimated at 13 billion for 2013 and 20 billion for 2014. To pay for this the government announced it will have to save 50 billions. A leak (intentional?), revealed that the money could be taken from public servants’ pockets, by ending automatic salary increments, and from unemployed workers’ pockets by decreasing their benefits. This was denied, but clearly that plan is still part of the government’s goals…
With the government being so generous, Gattaz didn’t just applaud: he asked for more. As soon as he stepped out of the plane, he arrogantly declared that he would not stand any constraints on the bosses in exchange for the “responsibility pact”, that is, the bosses have no intention to hire despite all the gifts they have received. That was a bit much. While it’s clear that the goal of one million new jobs is a joke, Hollande did not need his partner to say it out loud. So Gattaz had to make another statement to go back on his declarations, but no one is fooled: bosses will pocket the gifts but creating job is not on their agenda.

Make them swallow their arrogance !


It would be hard to show more disregard for the workers, the unemployed, all those who have troubles making ends meet and wonder how they will survive retirement. The wealthy and the politicians who kiss up to them can display such arrogance because the workers have only reacted on a case by case basis, without real organization. But if we find the way to get together, act together, join our fights, organize and strike back at the national level, they will not only change their tone of voice and start respecting us, but they will also give in to our demands.

alexi

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Ukraine: Social Anger Under the Surface in Maidan?

Message  alexi le Lun 10 Mar - 20:20


February 24th, 2014

Ukraine: Social Anger Under the Surface in Maidan ?

The people who have been mobilized for more than three months on the barricades of Kiev are celebrating victory. They hunted the sinister Yanukovych, representative of this line of new rich born from a cross between ex-bureaucrats from the East and capitalists from the West. Since Ukraine's independence, big fortunes like his and his son's have been built on dirty tricks, but above all on the exploitation of workers. When the people of Maidan organized a visit to his sumptuous palace last weekend around Kiev, families came with their kids and, even though they knew, they could not believe their eyes.

100 deaths just for a return to square one ?

Let's just say that victory has a bitter taste, as those who have been put in power now are just kings replacing the King. There is a great distrust of these new leaders as they have shown great enthusiasm about the protesters returning home quickly. They are pushing for this because of Western powers and the Russian regime, who fear the streets, saying that they want to preserve the unity and integrity of Ukraine, but wanting above all to preserve the world order necessary for business to run smoothly. Because Obama and the European Union on the one hand, and Putin on the other, if they feebly unified against the mobilization in Ukraine, that game is now over. The Ukrainian opposition, a coalition of political opponents who range from centrists to the extreme right, is now charged with assuring the return to calm and jobs. As the new majority in Parliament, they announced presidential and legislative elections for next May. They freed Yulia Tymoshenko, businesswoman and ex-minister thrown in prison by Yanukovych because she rivaled Yanukovych's corruption. The same opposition has decided to back the return of the 2004 Constitution, introduced by the so-called Orange Revolution, supposedly a democratic one, that led to.... the current situation.

Not surprisingly, the people of Maidan don't have great confidence in Klitschko, Yastenouk (friend of Tymoshenko) or the extreme-right bullies who don't have anything to offer them.

The Maidan revolt sparked other hopes. The working class of Ukraine, who didn't have a good life under the USSR, have had their lives still shaken by the installation of capitalism. Today 30% of the population lives in a miserable situation, with millions of workers who have been laid off and are threatened by new measures of austerity – precisely those that the EU and the IMF require to unlock their aid. To the point that today the unconditional gifts of Putin seem much more attractive! And yes, the nationalists, including the extreme-right party Svoboda, lied like pigs in letting people believe that the “West” would be less rapacious than the “Russian ogre.”

…Or for a European future of workers in struggle ?


There were podiums and stands in Maidan for those who held the upper hand. But under the surface there was a social anger similar to Breton red caps or striking workers from Bosnia. Ukrainian political opponents have tried to leave unnoticed, hidden behind the national anthem and the prayers, and left behind their retirement claims and salaries as well as encouragements for popular control over property captured by oligarchs. Starting with these members of the extreme right who want property but who also and above all search for their place in government.


But the standoff isn't over. The mobilization that toppled a tyrant can do even more. And why not, in the short term, turn it into a massive popular movement, not just for the Europe of Merkel or Hollande, but towards millions of workers in France, Italy, and Greece, living under the same dictates of the capitalist oligarchy.

alexi

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The Ukrainian people are held hostage by Putin and

Message  alexi le Mar 11 Mar - 20:43

March 3, 2014

The Ukrainian people are held hostage by Putin and the Western powers

After three months of protests, the Ukrainian president, Ianoukovitch, had to resign and escape to Russia. The demonstrators of Maidan square and beyond celebrated the fall of a corrupted government that only served the oligarchs who got rich by pillaging the country’s economy since Ukraine’s independence. This does not mean that the Maidan people fully trust the new politicians who took office, also corrupted and ready to make the population swallow austerity measures demanded by the European Union and the IMF.
But the celebrations following Ianoukovitch escape were short lived. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, pretending to protect the Russian speaking people of eastern Ukraine, put his Crimean troops in a state of alert and had a vote authorize armed intervention.
On the other hand, the new government in Kiev, a mix of far right politicians and oligarchs as corrupted as Ianoukovitch, made several nationalist, anti-Russia statements. It countered Putin’s move by putting the Ukrainian army on alert.
It’s too early to know how far the military escalation will go, but one thing is certain: the saber rattling with Russia is overshadowing any discussion of social form following Ianoukovitch’s overthrow.
After Putin’s servants, the servants of the Western powers want to suppress the people’s revolt against the pain of the economic crisis provoked by the oligarchs and profiteers who built a totally corrupt system. If they are successful, the competition between the Russian and Western powers to control this strategic area will lead to an escalation of nationalism and warmongering.

A fraction of the population managed to overthrow Ianoukovitch. If all workers, from the East or the West of Ukraine, got together, they will be able to kick out their exploiters and oppressors, whatever side (Russia or EU) they defend.
Only the working class can intervene to stop the military escalation, enforce respect for the rights of the people and the workers, end the privatizations that ruin the Ukrainian economy, and open a path toward a European Union based on solidarity and cooperation instead of competition between people.

Hollande’s pact with the bosses

The government keeps singing the praise of the “responsibility pact” with corporations. This pact means the bosses will save 30 billions on social contributions while rejecting any “responsibilities”: no promises whatsoever regarding job creations in exchange for the savings, explained Gattaz, the head of Medef (the bosses’ union). On the contrary, he tells the government not to “stress” the poor entrepreneurs!
Despite these displays of arrogance by the bosses, the government managed to get the union confederations to sit down and pretend to negotiate this one-way pact. “Negotiations” have started last Friday.
Some unions, starting with the CFDT (close to the Socialist Party) happily sat down and even had a positive impression after the first day, calling it “a good start”. The CGT and FO went but at the same time called the negotiations a “fool’s bargain”. OK, but what kind of fight are they preparing for the workers to counter the pact?
What’s coming on the horizon is just new sacrifices for workers and more layoffs. Unless we give ourselves the means to be as tough in defending workers’ self interests as the bosses are to defend theirs. This won’t happen at a negotiation table…

alexi

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The real punishment for the Hollande-Medef

Message  alexi le Mer 2 Avr - 22:44

March 24, 2014

The real punishment for the Hollande-Medef government will come from our fights, in the street and in the factories

It is not surprising that the Hollande government took a hit during the first round of the municipal elections. The participation rate reached a record low (61.5%), showing that people are sickened by the so-called left-wing politicians who lead the policy of the bosses.
This may have helped the Front National (far right) to get ahead in a handful of cities, as this party claims it represents people who reject the current system. That is a big fat lie. The Front National is working to become an established part of the system. And its agenda about security, racism, anti-immigrant policy and chauvinistic nationalism aims primarily at dividing the working class.

Job insecurity fast becoming widespread

While the news media focus on the elections, the attacks against workers keep coming at a high pace. While the official unemployment rate is just shy of 11% and the number of workers in precarious employment skyrockets, the bosses and the government have decided to attack the most vulnerable workers, with the backing of some union confederations.
That is basically what the latest agreement on unemployment insurance, signed by the bosses and a few unions (CFDT, FO, CFTC), represents.
The minister of labor hails the “reloadable benefits” implemented in the new agreement. This would allow workers to reset their benefits each time they find new employment, while in the current agreement the benefits keep decreasing. This minor bonus, which is supposed to help workers who keep getting temporary jobs and fixed-term contracts interspersed by periods of unemployment, is only a fix to an unjust system. But it is also an admission that job insecurity is becoming widespread.
The worst part of this agreement is that the bosses will be able to hire unemployed workers for periods of a week or two, or even two or three days. In short, the national unemployment agency becomes a temp agency, free for the bosses.
Finally, to pay for the new “benefits”, the government will take from workers’ wages and from the benefits of the retired and the unemployed.

The older workers will pay

The agreement will make workers over 65 – who until now were exempt from paying unemployment contributions – contribute to the unemployment funds. As to laid off workers who got severance pay, they will have to wait 180 days (six months!) instead of 75 days before receiving unemployment benefits.

The fight of the casual entertainment workers

During the negotiations about the new agreement on unemployment insurance, the bosses wanted to eliminate the rules that govern unemployment benefits specific to contract entertainment workers, whose jobs are almost always casual. The bosses had to back up because the entertainment workers fought for their benefits. However, the agreement will increase their unemployment contributions, thanks to the unions who signed the agreement. This step back from the bosses, due to the fight of the casual entertainment workers, is an example that should inspire all of us, since sooner or later we will become “casual” too.
On top of all the preceding anti-workers measures, this new agreement should make us angrier. This anger will have to be expressed, but this time not with pieces of paper in the ballot box. It won’t be abstention that politicians will fear, but mass participation! And it won’t be just the fear of losing their municipal fiefdoms.

alexi

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“A fighting government…” against workers

Message  alexi le Mer 16 Avr - 22:27

April 7, 2014

“A fighting government…” against workers

How did Hollande react after the left took a blow in the municipal elections? By naming a new Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, who until then had been the head of police!
After all the noise about the National Front’s (FN, the far-right party) results and the city halls lost to the right, they promote the Interior Minister who is proud to have evicted more undocumented immigrants than Sarkozy! Valls sent his police against the Roma and encouraged racism against these poor people. He kept on evicting young foreign high school students, even though protests from their high school friends repeatedly forced him to back up. And he didn’t think twice about sending cops against fighting workers.

The big electoral loss for the left is due, primarily, to record abstention, especially in working class neighborhoods. This demonstrates how workers are disgusted by the leftist politicians who make pro-bosses policy. The right only mobilized its core constituency of anti-worker voters. Conservative politicians were elected by the abstention of those who refused to vote… for them. And the people who sought to express their rejection of the system by voting for the far right National Front (FN) made a big mistake. On the FN agenda: lower taxes for the richest, give subsidies to the bosses and cut public services. Nothing that the left and the right are not already doing.

Hollande said the Valls government will stay on the tracks of the responsibility pact:
that is, take from the poor to give to the rich. They gave 35 billion euros to the bosses. They will cut 50 billions from social benefits, public services and local communities. The possibility of a cut in national education hiring has even been mentioned!
The total amount of State subsidies to corporations for this year is 200 billion euros. At the same time Hollande only promises crumbs to the workers: a so-called “solidarity pact” that aims to decrease the amount of social contributions paid by employees, which fund unemployment benefits, family allowance and social security. But who would believe that a few extra euros on their paycheck will compensate for two years of attacks on wages?
The Greens, Jean-Luc Melanchon of the Left Party and Pierre Laurent of the Communist Party, each in their own way, have asked Hollande to “change direction”. Might as well ask a bull to produce milk. These left wing politicians know it well, they only distance themselves from the sinking Socialist Party because of the coming elections.
Union confederations refuse to organize the workers’ response

Union leaders are very nice to the government.
Following the CFDT leader, the CGT leader, Thierry Lepaon, declared that he would wait for the “new” government to carry out its policies before choosing whether to oppose it or not. As if Valls was going to pause before attacking workers!
Recall that the competitiveness agreements and the responsibility pact were never really opposed by the unions. The CGT leaders refused to sign these agreements, unlike the CFDT and others, but they still play a fool’s game by agreeing to participate to “social dialogue” and they abstain from mobilizing workers, essentially refusing to organize a fight back.

A real opposition to this pro-boss government can only come from the workers and the unemployed

So let’s not wait for orders from the union heads. We must organize, all together, in the street and in the factories, a response to stop the attacks like the responsibility pact, and impose the measures that would protect workers from the crisis: stop layoffs and job cuts, share the work between all without pay cuts, increase minimum wages and social benefits.


alexi

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Let the government and the big stockholders take a

Message  alexi le Mer 7 Mai - 21:55

April 14, 2014

Let the government and the big stockholders take a hike !

Manuel Valls, the new foreman of Hollande’s “fighting government” made it clear: the big stockholders will get everything they want, wage earners will get peanuts, while public health, social budgets and housing assistance will be put on a strict diet, among other things. What Hollande heard is definitely not the anger of the people who abstained from voting.

Always more billions for the bosses


As announced by Valls, the “responsibility pact” promises 10 billions to the bosses on top of the 20 billions from the “competitiveness pact” already set up. But still nothing in exchange, no promises of job creations.
Half of these billions will be given by simply eliminating employers’ contributions (to healthcare, retirement and unemployment benefits…) on all wages between minimum and 1.6 times minimum wage. Too bad if this encourages the bosses to pull wages down!
The remaining billions will come from a cut in the bosses’ contributions to family benefits (the amount goes down with increasing wages, but up to 3.5 times minimum wage, so it will apply to most wages) and a cut in corporate income tax.

Peanuts for the workers
On the other side of the “responsibility pact”, Valls announced a measure to help low-income workers. What is it exactly? Not an increase in wages, not even in the minimum wage: this would cost money to the bosses! But the contributions of minimum wage earners, and up to 1.3 times minimum wage (in a tapering way) would be decreased. This means a 40-euro handout after tax for minimum wage earners, and nothing for workers earning 1.3 times minimum wage. And the money will also come from social budgets, so taking from social security and unemployment and pension funds. And these funds run out of money, they may simply tell us they have to cut down on healthcare, unemployment or retirement benefits.

Public services slashed
Since the bosses’ gifts will cost a lot of money, Valls plans to cut 50 billion from social budgets in the next three years. He’s aiming at the budgets for local authorities and healthcare. And too bad for schools, hospitals, public transportation, which are already in bad shape. There will be less reimbursements of medical expense, less scholarships for students, less help for the poorest.
The same anti-worker policy is led all over Europe by left and right wing governments. These attacks are not unanswered, as shown by the general strike of April 9th in Greece, or the demonstrations in Portugal, and in Italy on April 12th.
In France, the march against austerity of April 12th gathered 25,000 people in Paris. The Left Party and the Communist Party, with an eye on the coming elections, were among the main organizers of the march. They call for unity at the ballot box, but not so much for unity in struggle and in the streets. But many employees, disappointed by the lack of fight back planned by the unions, took the opportunity to show they reject this government.

A real opposition to this pro-boss government can only come from the workers and the unemployed
We must not wait for orders from the union heads. We must organize, all together, in the street and in the factories, a response to stop the attacks like the responsibility pact, and impose the measures that would protect workers from the crisis: stop layoffs and job cuts, share the work between all without pay cuts, increase minimum wages and social benefits.

alexi

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Let the government and the big stockholders take a

Message  alexi le Mer 7 Mai - 21:58

April 21, 2014

Let the government and the big stockholders take a hike !

Manuel Valls announced his cost-reduction plan. There are no surprises: to give 50 billion euros to the bosses by 2017 (mostly by eliminating employers’ contributions), the government plans to get the money away from public budgets.

Taking from public servants’ wages.
The index point used to calculate the salaries of public servant has been fixed since 2010 and will remain so until 2017. This is a wage freeze for millions of public employees. Not to mention that this will encourage bosses to freeze wages in the private sector, too.
Taking from social benefits (including lodging help). These will be frozen until 2015, except for minimum welfare support.
Taking from pensions too. There will be no adjustment in retirement benefits in 2014. The only ones not to be affected by the freeze are those getting the minimum old-age pension.
Also, let’s not forget the cost cutting planned for health insurance, local authorities, pension funds and public services.

It’s clear Valls’ “fighting government” is determined to lead an all-out attack against the people, like we saw in other European countries these last few years. Government (and pharmaceutical corporations) experts collect luxury shoes and big stockholders collect tons of money. But workers only get sweat and tears, so French corporations can take on the global market, not create jobs as they are pretending.
And Hollande knows this very well. That’s why he said he would not run again in 2017 if unemployment numbers keep rising, to the Michelin Clermont-Ferrand workers who shout at him about his pro-capitalist policy. That’s his way of not promising anything anymore.

But they fear us…
With a government that does so much for the bosses, it is not surprising that the head of Medef (the bosses’ union), Pierre Gattaz, brought up the old idea of a “youth minimum wage”, a long-time demand of the bosses.
In other words, this is the elimination of the minimum wage. Funny as it might seem, Laurence Parisot, the former head of Medef, had officially rejected such idea, describing it as “slavery”.
That’s because the “youth minimum wage” can bring up bad memories for many politicians and bosses. In 1994, Prime Minister Balladur had wanted to implement such a measure (called workforce entry contract). This triggered a massive mobilization of high school and university students, forcing Balladur to withdraw the project. Then, in 2006, another mobilization of working class youth forced President Chirac to abandon a similar law (called first job contract). So this has been a dangerous kind of attack for the governments !
While this government is just as pro-boss as the preceding ones, they have many reasons to be prudent. This kind of attack weapon can too easily backfire.

Workers can and must fight back, by pushing for their demands: stop layoffs and job cuts, share the work between all without pay cuts, increase minimum wages and social benefits.
Let’s join all our fights together, without waiting for union leaders to do so, as they much prefer playing the fool’s game of “social dialogue”. Let’s coordinate our fights, since we know how our exploiters and their government fear our large-scale mobilizations.

alexi

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They produce nothing, they cost us a lot…

Message  alexi le Sam 17 Mai - 17:49

April 28, 2014

They produce nothing, they cost us a lot… let’s show the stockholders the door !


We are all receiving our tax forms in the mail. At this time it is useful to remember that – unlike what many believe – foreign people also pay taxes.
In 2009, the 5.3 million foreigners living in France paid 3.4 billion euros in income tax.
And immigrants contribute even more to social security. Summing over healthcare, retirement and unemployment benefits, foreigners contributed 32.6 billion euros, in 2009. That year, foreigners contributed to social spending 12.4 billion euros more than they received in benefits and education.
French or immigrant workers, we create wealth side by side, we all contribute through our taxes, we must have the same rights and there must be solidarity between us, against our common exploiters.

Bosses, not immigrants, are pulling down our wages
What our government is doing, just like the right has done before, and just like the far right would do if it were elected, is to force us into solidarity… with the rich! Sarkozy eliminated the wealth tax, but that was not enough. Hollande abandoned his electoral promise to make the rich pay – a little – but that was not enough. The bourgeoisie wants fresh cash. Although it is already heavily subsidized by the State on the tune of about 10 billions per year, the responsibility pact will gift the bourgeoisie an extra 50 billions. This amount would be enough to create one million jobs paid €2,000 monthly, bosses contributions included. There would be no more social security debt. Instead, the big stockholders will get an extra 50 billion to speculate in Wall Street’s casino.

Immigrant workers have the same enemies as we do
The rich bourgeois Marine le Pen (head of the far right National Front) had the nerve to say during a TV show that immigrants “weigh down” on wages of French workers. That’s a lie.
In reality, when the State makes it harder for immigrants to work in France, immigrant workers become even more powerless in front of the bosses and the mafias. So the State makes them accept more work for lower wages, with more risks for their health. In the end, the pressure affects all of us.
By leading strikes to force the regularization of their status, immigrant workers have demonstrated they can be valuable comrades in our fights, if we choose to fight together. Let’s not focus on the wrong target. The real parasites we need to get rid of are the capitalists.

At least €500 raise and a job for everyone without pay cuts
Valls announced a costs-reduction plan to save 10 billion euros on health insurance, unemployment insurance and supplemental pensions. Also, social benefits (pensions, family allowance and lodging help) will be frozen. But that’s not all. The index point used to calculate the salaries for five millions of public servants has been fixed until 2017. This will actually clamp the wages of all workers, from both public and private sectors. When they freeze some wages, they aim at all wages. Public servants’ salaries have been frozen since 2010, and their purchasing power has decreased by 15% in ten years.
All the frozen or decreased wages imposed to public and private sector workers through the competitiveness agreements will go directly into the bosses’ pockets as dividends paid to stockholders. To get more cash, they are not afraid to blame the poor for being poor, condemn the job security of public servants, accuse immigrant workers of causing what they have been forced to accept.

alexi

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Long live the worker’s European union

Message  alexi le Sam 17 Mai - 17:51

May 5 2014

Long live the worker’s European union

Are we dreaming? The Socialist Party started its European election campaign by speaking out against austerity… in Europe. But in France, Valls’ government, after Ayrault’s, has engaged in an all out attack against the working class. With the “responsibility pact” 50 billion will be taken from the workers and put into the already full pockets of the bosses.
The deceptive tune of patriotism
In fact, the idea used by the Socialist Party to campaign is nothing new. All politicians of the right, far right and even the left, from Montebourg to the National Front, are using the same idea in their campaign.
According to them, the European Union is responsible for the government’s attacks against the workers! That’s what Marine le Pen said with her “No to Brussels, yes to France”. Even Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Front uses nationalism when he emphasizes the need for “national sovereignty”. As if it wasn’t our national Sarkozy and Hollande who imposed austerity on us.
So what is the European Union? A cosmopolitan devil threatening the national sovereignty angel? The European Union is nothing more and nothing less than their capitalist Europe, built by the most powerful “sovereign” capitalist countries. Let’s not forget that the French and German governments have been the pillars of European Union construction, that they made the rules, so that the Union favors their ruling classes. The European Union gives French and German bosses an advantage against less powerful bosses in other countries.
It’s the French government that imposed to “Brussels” the common agricultural policy, for the benefit of its cereal corporations, controlled by truly French agri-business capitalists. The French and German governments allowed their big banks (such as BNP and Société Générale in France) to make huge profits by lending money to Greece, Spain, Italy at exorbitant interest rates, paid dearly by the people in these countries. Through the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, they have imposed murderous austerity plans to the people of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and in many Central European countries.

Don’t pick the wrong enemy !
Retrenchment within our national borders would not help us against these vultures. There is no help to expect from what they call “national sovereignty”.
So let’s not pick the wrong enemy. Being isolated from workers in other countries that are less paid and overexploited would be a big loss for us. These workers, who often work for the same corporations as us, can become our allies in future fights.
The posturing of Montebourg on “economic patriotism”, that is, solidarity between bosses and employees from the same country, should not fool us. In fact, during the May 1st demonstrations some people were protesting against the government and its responsibility pact that serves the French bosses. Hopefully this feeling will lead to a real response…
During the European elections campaign, only the revolutionary far left organizations, NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) and Lutte Ouvrière, defend the interests of the workers. They state that across the boundaries there is only one class that is being exploited, and to stop the exploitation workers from all across Europe will have to unite.

Vote for the lists of the NPA called “For a Europe of the workers and the people, let’s kick out austerity and the government”.

alexi

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Their Europe… and ours

Message  alexi le Mer 21 Mai - 20:44

May 12 2014

Their Europe… and ours

According to news coming from most of 28 countries in the European Union, the “winners” of the European elections will be… the abstainers. What abstention means is disgust or indifference toward all the political parties, right and (so-called) left wing that are governing, as well as toward the European institutions led by these parties!
In France, the right aims at over-65 seniors, supposedly faithful at the ballot box, hoping to save face better than the Socialist Party. Soon, the heads of the conservative party will enroll directly from retirement homes, promising everyone over 65 a free trip on the high-speed train!
Clearly, the coming election will not generate much enthusiasm. Why would politicians hold their promises at the European parliament more than they do at the national parliaments?

The deceptive tune of patriotism
In addition, left and right wing governments try to convince us that the attacks on pensions, the privatization of public services and all the anti-worker attacks are imposed by… Europe. In short, it is “Brussels’ responsibility”.
In fact this idea, used extensively by the Socialist Party, is nothing new. All politicians of the right, far right and even the left, from Montebourg to the National Front, are using the same idea in their campaign.
Brussel’s responsibility? Except that the members of European Commission are named by the political leaders of each member country, and that the Commission’s rulings can be vetoed by all countries, especially the most powerful of the Union, i.e. France and Germany.

Long live the workers’ European union
Retrenchment within our national borders would not help us against this homemade class of vultures. There is nothing about what they call “national sovereignty” that will improve our situation.
So let’s not pick the wrong enemy. Being isolated from workers in other countries that are less paid and overexploited would be a big loss for us. These workers, who often work for the same corporations as us, can become our allies in future fights.
During the European elections campaign, only the revolutionary far left organizations, NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) and LO (Workers Fight), defend the interests of the workers. They state that across the boundaries there is only one class that is being exploited, and to stop the exploitation workers from all across Europe will have to unite.
Only voting for the lists presented by NPA and LO will state that workers refuse austerity, regardless of its political flavor; that the rich must pay, especially the speculators and stockholders who benefited from the crisis; that this will happen only after large social fights that push demands such as a ban on layoffs and a general increase in wages and pensions.
So, on May 25, vote for the lists of the NPA:
“For a Europe of the workers and the people,
let’s kick out austerity and the government”



alexi

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On May 25th, vote for a workers’ European union !

Message  alexi le Mar 27 Mai - 18:59

May 19, 2014

On May 25th, vote for a workers’ European union !

The European election campaign is looking more and more like a contest about who appears to be the most “patriotic”. Marine Le Pen’s National Front of course has a leading position – nationalism is their main focus. But others are catching up. And the socialist government is one of them.

“Economic patriotism”: a deceiving concept
Arnaud Montebourg issued a decree that is supposed to prevent foreign capitals from taking control of companies belonging to “strategic” sectors of industry. This political posturing during the electoral campaign should not fool us. Such regulations are common in most countries and they never scared multinational corporations. Among the first to react to the decree, General Electric bosses stated that this did not change their plan to buy Alstom.
And even if the decree makes a real difference, how does that benefit workers? Having French bosses is no protection against layoffs, attacks on wages or working conditions. Alstom cut thousands of jobs in the last few years, one of many French companies to do so. French corporations have exactly the same goal as American corporations: make as much profit as possible, which implies engaging in class warfare against their workers in all the countries where they operate.
For workers, in France and in other countries, the real question is how to fight back against the bosses’ policy supported by the governments. We have to prepare for this fight, whether we work for a French, American, or Chinese company !

The “transatlantic treaty”, another decoy…

It seems like the Left Front and the Greens are competing with the National Front to show the most criticism against the free trade agreement being discussed by the United States and the European Union. We can only be wary of these secret negotiations. But pointing fingers at this possible future treaty is a way to distract people from the current and very real issues. This can only benefit those who lead anti-worker policies.
Every politician who speaks in favor of bringing back protectionist policies is a demagogue surfing the wave of anti-American and anti-German feelings. Capitalism is based on the exploitation of workers across the whole planet. A state takes protectionist measures to secure the profits of its bourgeoisie, not to defend the interests of its working class. Enlisting workers in protectionist projects, in the name of a common national interest, has led to catastrophes like world war and racism, especially during an economic crisis.

The working class is an international class
In the coming elections, only the revolutionary far left organizations, NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) and LO (Workers Fight), defend the interests of the working class. They state that we can only stop the attacks from the bosses and the governments by fighting back. These internationalist organizations also state that workers should not show solidarity with the bourgeoisie in their country, but instead would greatly benefit by showing solidarity to their brothers in other countries, in Europe and other continents. The future is not to retreat into national self-interest, which would be a dangerous dead end. Instead, the future will come from the peoples and the workers challenging capitalism.

So, on May 25, vote for the lists of the NPA:
“For a Europe of the workers and the people,
let’s kick out austerity and the government”



alexi

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Don’t laugh, don’t cry: fight back !

Message  alexi le Mer 4 Juin - 14:37

May 26, 2014

Don’t laugh, don’t cry: fight back !

So the National Front (FN, the far right party) won the European elections, with 25% of the votes (barely 43% of the voters participated). Prime Minister Valls said the results were “shocking, devastating”. But he is responsible for promoting far right ideas, with his patriotic demagogy, his focus on safety and his anti-Roma policy. In this area Marine le Pen won and now she can claim that with the FN “the French people will be the first to be helped”.
But which French people will be first to be helped? The French bosses, who, in the name of “economic patriotism” – we’ve heard that slogan for weeks – should make more profits than other bosses, by exploiting even more their employees, French or not, in France or abroad !

The government left is responsible for the FN’s success
And Valls continues to follow the same line: he now wants to “strengthen French companies’ competitiveness” so “they can hire”. That means a few more billions to corporation, which will actually cut more jobs.
Valls boasts that he exempted three million people from tax income: not really, he just reversed one of the measures passed under Hollande’s previous government. He also boasts that he’s fighting tax fraud, as he got 800 million euros back from tax evaders. But that’s peanuts, as tax evasion in France is estimated at 800 billions yearly.
During the week preceding the election the government kept targeting the poor. There was another campaign against “social fraud”, allegedly fraud on welfare and family allowances. In fact this was about “overpayments”, such as payments made to single mothers that the administration then checked to see if they had been living with a partner…
But they forgot to say that more than half of the people with poor living conditions who should get welfare actually do not, because of the complexity of administrative formalities. This way the State has saved 5.3 billions euros on the back of the poor last year.

Marine le Pen’s only ambition: to reach the top
On Sunday night after the election, we saw the leaders of all parties on TV, crying about their own future. They said nothing about their anti-worker policies, past or present, which are the actual reasons they lost so badly.
What about Marine le Pen? Nothing either. Not one word about working class problems. She just asserted that the FN was “the first party in France” and demanded the dissolution of the national assembly, which would bring legislative elections. She clearly is aiming at the next presidential election. It’s all about her and her party, nothing for those who gave her their votes. Not even a hint of a program against the “parasites” and those who get “continual assistance”, that is, the French bosses who get billions from the State and keep cutting jobs. Marine le Pen never points her finger at them. But obviously, the people who got fooled by “national preference” and voted for the FN in fact voted for the French bosses and therefore against their own self-interests.

Only one brotherhood: mankind
The large number of people who abstained from voting clearly did not want to choose between the left, the right and the far right, all being anti-working class.
But this is not the time to give up. Workers have other weapons than the elections. We, workers, have to show that the power of the bosses, for whom Marine le Pen is currently at the forefront, does not have to be overwhelming. We have to find and give the desire to start fighting again, alongside our comrades all across Europe. Whether the fights start in Greece, Spain, Italy… or here, whether they start in one factory or another, by joining together these fights we will bring a stop to layoffs and low wages in Europe and in France. And if we have to dispose of capitalism in order to gain decent living and working conditions, that’s fine too!

alexi

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Hollande stays on the same track

Message  alexi le Sam 14 Juin - 11:20

June 2, 2014

Hollande stays on the same track

On the day after the elections, Hollande announced remorsefully that "his policy must stay on track". His party lost big time because of his pro-bosses policy, but he will change nothing. As a good little soldier of the capitalists, he is ready to sacrifice his career taking orders from the Medef (the bosses' union). No one will cry for him.

A government that takes orders from the Medef

Case in point: just two days later, the Labor minister, Francois Rebsamen, proposed to suspend for three years the rule according to which companies that have more than 11 employees must organize the election of personnel representatives, and companies with more than 50 employees must setup a workers committee and a committee on hygiene, safety and working conditions. This is supposed to help small and medium-sized businesses. But this rules does not cost much to the bosses and over half the companies do not follow it anyway.
By giving in to this old anti-union demand, the government shows once more that it anticipates the desires of the Medef. Indeed, Patrick Devedjian, a leader of the conservative party UMP, congratulated the Labor minister for doing “what the right never dared to do”. The leaders of Sarkozy’s party have nothing else to say, since the socialist party (PS) is applying their own policies. That’s a tough situation for UMP, much worse than their settling of accounts with the Bygmalion scandal, a small 10 million euros affair.

The National Front (FN) is well positioned to get top seats
The electoral “game changer” of May 25th will have no consequence on the policies that are pursued. Only the political arena has been turned upside down. Politicians have one thing in mind: the 2017 presidential elections. Will Hollande run again? Will Sarkozy come back? Within the PS, a few representatives are timidly criticizing the government. But they are not trying to encourage mobilization against the anti-worker policies, which they have supported, simply trying to improve their chances for the next legislative elections.
Marine le Pen, the winner of these elections, is no different. She did not say a word about working class problems, even though she claims to get workers’ votes. She just asserted that the FN was “the first party in France” and demanded the dissolution of the national assembly, which would bring legislative elections. She clearly is aiming at the next presidential election. It’s all about her and her party, nothing for those who gave her their votes. Not even a hint of a program against the “parasites” and those who get “continual assistance”, that is, the French bosses who get billions from the State and keep cutting jobs. Marine le Pen never points her finger at them. But obviously, the people who got fooled by “national preference” and voted for the FN in fact voted for the French bosses and therefore against their own self-interests.

Don’t laugh, don’t cry: fight back
Behind this political arena, the real social drama is happening with layoffs in the private sector and job cuts in the public sector. The bosses can be arrogant, with the socialist serving them loyally and, if the socialists lose the next elections, UMP and FN ready to serve as well. For example, the bosses of Seita had the nerves to ask for a 50% increase in productivity in the Carquefou factory even though they just announced that factory was going to be closed down!
But these continual attacks provoke anger reactions, and these are not hopeless electoral protests. The Seita workers held five top managers for 24 hours. Some postmen in a Paris suburb have been on strike against job cuts for four months. In food services, Buffalo Grill employees are fighting against worsening working conditions. Even manicure employees are fighting, with undocumented employees demanding that their situation be regularized.
This is not the time to give up. We, workers, have to show that the power of the bosses, for whom Marine le Pen is currently at the forefront, does not have to be overwhelming. We have to find the desire to start fighting again. By joining together our fights we will bring a stop to layoffs and low wages. That's the only way to avoid imminent disaster.

alexi

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