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Edito de L'Etincelle en anglais

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Message  alexi Jeu 29 Mar - 20:32

March 25th, 2012

Philippe Poutou, candidate of the working class

Philippe Poutou, the New Anticapitalist Party’s candidate for president, is running to say that workers shouldn’t pay for the crisis of capitalism. He’s running to say that stopping layoffs, increasing all wages by at least 300 euros, having full pension benefits at 60 and decent housing for everyone, well, yes we can!

We won’t achieve all this with a well-behaved “citizen’s rebellion”, like Jean-Luc Melanchon (candidate of the Left Front) is proposing, only relying on the elections and the making of a new republic that would just continue the old system. Instead, we need to bring together all our fights into a powerful strike back from the bottom of society.

Low wages, layoffs and plant closures all trigger outbursts of anger and fights. This happened at Petroplus, Lejaby, Arkema, Citroen’s Aulnay factory, Arcelor’s Florange plant and many others. These fights publicized by media coverage forced all the candidates who defend capitalistic exploitation (from Sarkozy to Francois Bayrou, Francois Holland and Marine le Pen) to show themselves at factory gates and even propose a few economic gimmicks that didn’t fool the workers.

Only the far left defends a political program for the working class. This includes our candidate, Philippe Poutou (New Anticapitalist Party), an autoworker, and Lutte Ouvriere’s candidate, Nathalie Arthaud, who teaches in poor neighborhoods. Two spokespersons for one far left. But what’s important is that they both defend the interests of the workers, while the other politicians fight for seats in the next government that will defend the interests of the bourgeoisie.

It is critical to prepare for the next step, to prepare to fight back against the attacks on workers that are only going to intensify, no matter who gets elected. It’s critical to understand that we will need to fight, ALL TOGETHER. We need a general onslaught of the working class, without which the bourgeoisie will never back off.

Thursday April 12th at 8pm : National Meeting with Philippe Poutou in Halle Carpentier, Paris.

Toulouse and Montauban : a killer formed in the image of this barbarian world

It didn’t take long for Sarkozy to use the Toulouse drama and make a speech emphasizing insecurity and immigrants, at his last campaign meeting in Rueil-Malmaison, with the disgusting hope of gaining a few votes. Just like Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate.

We can only be shocked and horrified by the Montauban and Toulouse killings. The murderer could well be a psychopath, just like the American Sergeant who slaughtered 17 civilians (including many children) in Afghanistan two weeks ago, or the Oslo killer who shot 77 kids dead and was declared “mad” by the Norwegian justice.

But these mentally ill people, regardless of their nationality or religion, start killing within the background of all the bloody wars waged by the Western powers (including France) in Afghanistan, Lybia, Africa and of a never-ending conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The racist, nationalistic propaganda put forth during these wars and the finger pointing at minorities can badly inspire deranged minds. The insane motivations that pushed these people to commit such barbarian acts are only the byproducts of the barbarian state of affairs brought about by imperialism in so many places on earth. So no escalation in security measures will ever be able to prevent religious or right wing fanatics to go on a killing spree.

As for the xenophobic demagogy used by some politicians, it can only amplify hate feelings and encourage new murderous passion.


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Message  alexi Dim 8 Avr - 11:05

April 2nd

No pies in the sky

The general strike that took place last Thursday in Spain had a large turnout. This time, the young “indignant ones” protested alongside mobilized workers.

This was the first strike back against a bill of law introduced by the government to facilitate layoffs, cut down unemployment benefits, allow more variable work hours and reduce wages. In addition to budget reductions for health, education, lodging and help to the disabled. On top of that, prices are on the increase like everywhere. The politicians use “economic difficulties” to justify these cuts, but not everyone faces economic difficulties. Spain, too, has stinking rich bosses.

We should not forget that the first austerity measures were implemented under the socialist Zapatero government! Just like the first radical austerity plans in Greece were initiated under Papandreou, another socialist! People hated their policies so much that these two politicians soon had to go out of office. The succeeding right wing or left-right unity governments that followed have extended the same anti-workers measures.

This should give us pause about the perspective for real change put forward by the supporters of Francois Hollande, if Hollande replaces Sarkozy. A lousy change at the top, whereby the head changes but the anti-workers policies remain.

Of course, many people would like to see Sarkozy “kicked out”. And we will not cry if he goes. But it is his policies that we must kick out, the policies of the bosses and the bankers, of all the big shareholders and millionaires. Especially now that they are trying to squeeze us harder. Will Hollande do anything more than just a token attack on the rich? During this electoral campaign, Hollande and Sarkozy have been exchanging nasty arguments, with Hollande accusing the president of being amnesic and Sarkozy critiquing his opponent for being incompetent. But on the important problems concerning layoffs, unemployment, wages, they both propose the same band aids. And let’s not even mention Marine Le Pen, who takes advantage of popular discontent to promote her xenophobic ideas and divide the workers.

But what about Melanchon (the Left Front candidate), doesn’t he have a stronger agenda against the rich? Doesn’t he claim to be a revolutionary? Doesn’t he call, as written on his campaign posters, for the people to “take the power”? Yes, but only by voting for the right person on April 22nd, and after that only he will do what needs to be done. His emphasis to qualify the proposed revolution as “civic”, or a “citizens’ rebellion”, that is, a well behaved revolt, respectful of the capitalist order, really shows what his political program is.

It is not ours.

We think workers have general and urgent interests to defend:

- No way we’ll pay for their debt. Get the money from the banks coffers that are full of money they took from us.

- Control the companies accounting. Companies lay us off or freeze our wages alleging “economic difficulties”. But at the same time they pay big dividends to their shareholders and big fat bonuses to their executives. We need to control where the money produced by our hard labor is going.

- Ban layoffs. To enforce this, we need to bring our fights together: Arcelor, Citroen, Petroplus...

- Create hundreds of thousands jobs in education, hospitals, transportation. This is of concern for the whole population, touched by the rundown of public services.

- Global increase of wages, pensions and unemployment benefits by at least 300 euros; no income below 1700 euros (per month).

- Regularization of all undocumented workers.

To impose these essential measures, regardless of who gets elected president, we will need to engage in massive struggles, bring our fights together on a national level, and by so doing reverse the balance of power to our advantage.

During the electoral campaign the candidates who defend these ideas are Nathalie Arthaud (Lutte Ouvriere) and Philippe Poutou (New Anticapitalist Party).

To show you agreement with these ideas and to prepare for the third round*, the social fight round, which is the one that really matters, vote on April 22nd for Philippe Poutou.

*The French election is a two-round, also called runoff voting, system.


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Message  alexi Sam 14 Avr - 19:24

April 9th

Stop the layoffs? Yes we can!

The bosses aren’t suspending their attacks during election season. All kinds of redundancy plans are announced in all kinds of companies. There is an explosion of “conventional” contract terminations as they are hypocritically called. This happens when companies are sold for a nominal fee to schemers known to liquidate these companies after a few years. This is happening now with the chemistry group Arkema about to sell its vinyl business for one euro to the vulture capitalist Gary Klesch. These “conventional” terminations also happen through mass layoff announcements, as is the case at Air France and for which detailed information will be revealed after the elections. They happen through plant closures, through production stoppages, as in the steel company ArcelorMittal’s plant in Florange, where the blast furnace has shut down indefinitely. And so on.

The politicians justify all these layoffs, which hurt working class families and devastate some areas, by the need for French industry to be more competitive in the middle of the economic crisis. However, a columnist for “les Echos” (the French equivalent to the business newspapers Financial Times and Wall Street Journal) noted that “it is becoming apparent that while most of the country is in pain, the elite doesn’t feel the crisis”. Translation, when the working class hurts, the bourgeoisie is enjoying itself. The companies on the stock market have paid 35.8 billion euros to their shareholders in 2011, showing that the ratio of profits to wages is ever increasing.

Stopping the long string of layoffs by outlawing them is a vital need for all the workers. It does not depend on the election results.

Banning layoffs requires a fight of the whole working class. We need one global struggle to coordinate the many existing local fights that are already taking place in the steel industry, chemistry, textiles, retail, transportation, the post office, hospitals... Local fights, one company at a time, can sometime gain small concessions from the bosses, but all those local fights must be brought together to fight the bosses with all the might of the whole working class. Such mass mobilization would allow wage earners, who are present at all levels of the economy, to control the accounts of the major companies. Those major companies upon which hundreds small companies and whole areas may depend.

Workers would then be in a position to impose their will: to take on profits, past or present, in order to share the work between all instead of overexploitation for some and unemployment for others; to enforce wage increases of at least 300 euros after tax (per month) to catch up with inflation. And many, many demands.

This view is supported by Philippe Poutou, an autoworker who participates to the presidential election as the New Anticapitalist Party candidate.

This fighting agenda is more realistic than hoping that a ballot in the box or the ultimate savior will force the Peugeot (automobile), Bouygues (construction, communications) or Mittal (steel) families to stop their attacks. They will only give in when they are afraid to lose everything. When we become their worst nightmare.

At a time when austerity plans are sweeping across Europe, the political color of the national governments matters very little. Strikes, including a one-day general strike, have all swept across Europe, from Greece to Spain, Italy to Portugal and even Germany. The time will come when all these consecutive bursts of anger will turn into a real social explosion. Workers will then be able to make the government and the bosses yield urgently to the vital measures that they today consider “impossible”.

On April 22nd vote to fight, vote Philippe Poutou !


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Message  alexi Lun 23 Avr - 20:07

April 16th

Let’s get ready for the dirty future they plan for us
Vote to fight, vote Philippe Poutou

The proud valet of the rich, Sarkozy, proposes a new start to continue more of the same. According to the General Accounting Office, companies have saved 172 billion euros in 2010 thanks to tax shelters and tax breaks. The debt they are responsible for amounts to 1600 billion euros, which is only 10 times what the bosses steal – legally—from the state each year. One and a half million jobs have been lost since 2008: layoffs allow an escalation in exploitation. They represent the most devastating symptom of the ruthless class struggle waged upon us by the capitalists. Our community chests (retirement, health and unemployment benefits) have been plundered. Massive job cuts in public services ravage education, hospitals, postal services, the railway system, telecommunications, utilities, Air France...

The governmental left only deserves the people’s suspicion.
Because the policies that Hollande (the Socialist Party candidate) will pursue are similar to the ones lead by Sarkozy’s team, just like the left is doing in Spain, Greece or Portugal.

Both the left and the right insist that “we must repay the debt”. But why should the workers pay for the gambling debts owed by the banks and stock market barons? Not everyone is paying for the crisis. The State is spending crazy amounts to “support” the bosses and stockholders and this money is not used to modernize, invest or hire, but to speculate and accumulate outrageous private fortunes. Capitalism and the capitalists’ self-interests cost society dearly! But when it starts governing, the Socialist Party will keep supporting the rich by taking from the poor. Hollande admitted so when he told speculators of London’s City that the bosses and the investors have nothing to fear from him.

Now Jean-Luc Melanchon (the Left Front candidate), a former socialist minister, has a firmer position toward capitalists. But he is not the first politician to use a radical tone to win the people’s approval. While the coalition with the Communist Party gives him the support of workers who are active and influential in their milieu, this new Left Front will only follow the anti-worker governmental policies of the SP, just like the CP did, first with George Marchais, then with Marie-George Buffet.

The only insurance that the workers self-interests will be protected lies in our capacity to reverse the balance of power. We are still waiting for the strike back, a large-scale struggle that we will need to prepare for, all together. But we can at least express the need for such a struggle during these elections.

Philippe Poutou, the New Anticapitalist Party candidate, defends such a fighting political program to impose vital measures for workers:

- Ban layoffs, which is a basic and urgent measure against the economic crisis, and force the bosses to convert insecure jobs into full time positions.

- Massive hiring in the public sector and confirmation of all the precarious workers in their post. To meet the neglected needs and rights of the people, such as healthcare for instance.

- Wage increase by 300 euros per month, pre-tax, for everyone, which would only catch up with inflation for the last few years.

The new government that will result from the elections, left or right, will not give in to our demands unless they feel threatened by millions of angry and organized workers.

So next Sunday, to give them a warning and demonstrate the working class fighting spirit, vote for the far left, vote for Philippe Poutou.


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Message  alexi Dim 29 Avr - 22:58

April 23rd, 2012

With our fights we can impose what the elections won’t bring

As expected, Sarkozy and Hollande are headed for a runoff... What’s at stake, really, is who will be the next resident in the Elysee Palace. Otherwise, concerning the important political questions, the two candidates are pretty much equivalent.

They both agree that the debt caused by the economic crisis will have to be paid, and they intend to bring the bill to us.

Sarkozy has stopped trying to make us believe he’s on our side and is only seeking to grab a few far right votes by encouraging anti-immigrant chauvinism. While Francois Hollande is just counting on Sarkozy’s unpopularity to get elected. When asked about increasing minimum wage, he just promised to “gather the social partners” to talk about it; he did not promise to increase it. What about reinstating full retirement benefits at 60, after working 37.5 years? No way. He talked about creating 60,000 jobs in education (which would not fully compensate for all the jobs cut in the last 10 years), but only by moving public service workers from other areas, so there will be no job creation. Hollande won’t even eliminate doctors’ charges exceeding statutory fees, which are an impediment to healthcare for many. He only proposes to supervise them.

Neither Hollande nor Sarkozy will ever take on the bourgeoisie’s profits. Hollande even made the effort to reassure the financial markets. But there is little chance that big stockholders will see him as someone who wants to share the wealth. In fact, according to an article from “Capital” (a financial magazine), one third of the bosses of the companies on the Paris stock market are approving of Hollande.

Unfortunately it is the far right, with Marine Le Pen, that gathered most protest votes during the first round of the election. Certainly some workers gave her their votes to show their hostility to Sarkozy, not necessarily because of anti-immigrant chauvinism. But if someday Le Pen got elected, they will see that her policies are really aimed against the whole working class, not just the immigrants. With this anti-immigrant propaganda, Le Pen is only trying to set one part of the workers against another, to the great benefit of the bosses. Indeed, the National Front has never supported our fights for jobs, retirement benefits and wages.

On May 6th, during the runoff, there is no “useful vote” possible, even though most workers want to get rid of Sarkozy. We share this desire. No one will regret his arrogance toward the poor and the large gifts to the rich. So yes, he can “beat it!” But the most important would be for his policies to “beat it” too... which is not likely to happen if Hollande replaces him.

We can only rely on our fights.

If Hollande becomes president, will the situation get better for us? Can things get better when he does not intend to reverse the most unpopular measures taken by the right?

Whoever is president, austerity policies will go on unless we stop them. Whether Hollande or Sarkozy wins on May 6th, the workers will gain a victory only by mounting a global fight to push through their most urgent demands:

- Ban the layoffs, and share the work among all with no wage loss;

- Global increase of wages, retirement and unemployment benefits by 300 euros monthly with automatic cost of living adjustments;

- No income below 1,700 euros monthly after tax.

The votes gained by the far left candidates, Philippe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud, and some of the votes obtained by Jean-Luc Melanchon (Left Front), show that there is a political trend that radically opposes Sarkozy and does not trust the governmental left.

This trend might represent a minority in terms of ballots, but could prove decisive for militant mobilizations. This trend will be important in the near future to prepare the counter attack of the working class.

Because the workers power lays in their collective fights, not in ballot boxes.


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Message  alexi Lun 7 Mai - 23:26

May 1st 2012

Hurray for the workers, hurray for the red flags

Hollande vs Sarkozy: without surprise, these two candidates will face each other in the second round of the presidential election on Sunday.

Sarkozy, the so-called “candidate for the standard of living” and supporter of “the France that rises early” didn’t just have a big celebration following the 2007 election with his friends from Fouquet’s – one of those classy parisian restaurants that heavily profits from the “real labor” (NDT: a reference to Sarkozy’s call for a gathering of “real labor” on May 1st – labor day) of overexploited undocumented workers. After becoming president he methodically proceeded to demolish public services, put a burden on the State’s finances by giving tax breaks to the bosses, damage the retirement system and so on. Then, he came up with the “social VAT” to make workers pay for the bosses’ tax breaks and the “agreements competitiveness-jobs” to force unions to agree on wage cuts.

With such a resume, it is a bit tough to fool the workers into voting for him this time. So for this May 1st, Sarkozy instead tried to gain some popularity by demonstrating his class arrogance in front of supporters at the Trocadero Esplanade in Front of the Eiffel tower. The richest district of Paris, what a good choice to gloat that he speaks “in front of an ocean of blue-white-red flags” but does not march “behind red flags” (implying Hollande did)! The speaker before Sarkozy explained that there are two types of people. On one side there are the public servants who are “privileged and protected” and on the other there is “one France, that works without demanding anything” and that “we wish to honor.”

This is indeed Sarkozy’s vision: workers that are submissive and resigned, who accept everything and demand nothing. Workers who never protest against a system that throws some of them into unemployment while the others have to work overtime. A system that pushes back retirement age and gives young people part time jobs, unpaid internships or nothing at all. A system where the rich are assisted while the poor receive moral lessons. Given all this contempt for the working class, there are many reasons to want to kick Sarkozy out. And we feel solidarity with all those who will want to do that on Sunday by voting Hollande, or who would like to but are not allowed to vote.

But what really matters would be to kick out the policies that Sarkozy pushes in favor of those who make the working class pay for the economic crisis, in France just like in the rest of Europe, regardless of the political current of the government. For this, there will be no useful vote on May 6th.

Because Hollande is only counting on Sarkozy’s unpopularity to get elected. Regarding important matters for the working class, Hollande has made no promises whatsoever, not even about reversing the most unpopular measures taken by the right.

He only announced to the union confederations the “organization of a great social conference” to meet the “great challenge of growth and production” in partnership with the bosses. What audacity! Wall Street must be shaking.

After May 6th, it is already clear that real labor, the workers who do not resign but express their anger loudly, will be able to count only on their fights to stop cost cutting measures. These workers were present in the May Day marches, behind the red flags, in higher numbers than the previous years.

This perspective was expressed by the first round votes for the far left candidates, Philippe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud, as well as a fraction of the votes for the Left Front candidate Jean-Luc Melanchon. This political trend, radically opposed to Sarkozy and suspicious of the governmental left, is a minority as far as votes are concerned. But in neighborhoods, factories and in the street, this current will be essential to prepare the counter-offensive of the working class.


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Message  alexi Mar 15 Mai - 19:44

May 8th, 2012
Now it’s our move

That’s it, game over for Sarkozy. No regrets ! So Hollande is elected, but he’s no saviour sent from on high to help us, the workers, and he didn’t even play this role during the electoral campaign. Not one moment he put himself on the side of labor. He didn’t promise to overturn Sarkozy’s reforms, not even on retirement benefits. When he stated he was the only “unifying” candidate, he meant to show no one should be scared of him, especially not the bosses and financiers.

A president unifying who? The bosses and the workers they lay off ?

After the election, Hollande said he was “the president of everyone” because “there is only one France.” But how can one be the president of the terminators and the terminated, of the bosses and of the exploited, of the rich and of those who can’t manage to make ends meet? Only by denying that there is a class war, by being reasonable according to the capitalist point of view, by reducing State spending while preserving the profits of the big companies and banks. This is the same kind of logic that the Spanish and Greek people have already endured, including unbearable austerity measures... from the left.

To keep our jobs, we have nothing to hope for from the new president, but everything to hope for from solidarity and association between workers:

Given what we can expect in the near future, like in Greece and Spain, we have to get ready... to fight! Mass layoffs and plant closures have been announced before the election, like for Air France, but we can anticipate more of this now that the elections are over.

The PSA (Peugeot-Citroen auto company) unions and, more recently, the Carrefour (giant supermarket chain) unions have embarrassed bosses and politicians when they revealed that massive layoffs were being planned in each company. 3000 to 4000 layoffs have secretly been planned for weeks at Carrefour. This was revealed only thanks to a few unionized managers. We can bet that the PSA and Carrefour bosses aren’t the only ones to come up with such schemes.

Let’s not fool ourselves and wait for Hollande to bang his fist on the table and forbid the bosses to make redundancy plans. Instead, a coordination of the workers from all the companies where layoffs are threatening would be more realistic. That way, we could finally impose a ban on layoffs, a most necessary measure for the working class.

Same corporate thugs, same fight !

All of us, skilled or unskilled workers, office employees, from all economic sectors, will face the same problems, the same fears about our future. It is most important that we do not stay isolated but instead use every chance that we have to try and establish contact with other workers. This type of action, like the one organized recently by the Goodyear unions in Amiens, can be used as milestones on our way to prepare an “all together” movement. Last Friday they invited groups of workers from PSA Aulnay, Les 3 Suisses (a mail order company) and Faurecia (an auto parts manufacturer) for a rally to support a few hundred Goodyear workers in front of their factory in Amiens. They have been fighting to prevent this factory’s closure for four years. The message they heard at this rally concerns all of us: All the workers threatened by layoffs and plant closures must get together. Same corporate thugs, same fight!

This is about a social third round (after the two rounds of election), independent of the coming general election, but which will be a key round.

The social atmosphere can, and must change. We don’t have to pay for their crisis. Capitalists keep complaining about the “cost of labor,” but our labor creates their profits. This is why only our outbursts will stop their attacks.


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Message  alexi Mer 30 Mai - 22:37

May 21st

What do they mean by “growth”?

Francois Hollande announced from the US that he and his new friend Obama made an agreement to stimulate “growth”. This was the big topic at the G8 meeting where the head of states of the richest countries were meeting.

But, this growth would go together with fiscal discipline and deficit reduction. In other words, “change” is not really for now. The debt still needs to be paid, meaning reimburse the banks (who already got bailed out). To do this, public spending will have to be reduced, meaning less money for healthcare and retirement benefits, more job cuts, and classroom and hospital closings... In short, the same people still have to pay.

Not a word on the growth of jobs and wages!

So how will presidents and ministers stimulate what they call growth? Will they create tens of thousands of jobs in hospitals? Education (Hollande did promise a paltry 60,000 positions in education, but they will be taken away from other public services)? Public transportation? Postal services (where 50,000 positions are being cut between 2010 and 2015)? Or even social services? Of course not. Francois Hollande is not interested in such growth. His prime minister just created a “state department for productive recovery”, that’s quite a mouthful, headed by Arnaud Montebourg. But like always, this recovery will be done using “incentives” to the companies.

Incentives or... handouts? That’s easy to mix up, so let’s explain. “Incentives” include the billions given to banks, bosses and arms dealers. “Handouts” comprise welfare and social benefits for the poor, that are constantly decreased for fear of... deficit growing.

This “industrial recovery”, as Montebourg likes to call it, is always used as a pretext to give more freedom to the bosses against employees. The Italian government just passed a measure, in the name of growth, that facilitates layoffs by eliminating rules from employment law that investors found “too restrictive.”

The growth of social inequalities

And even if the economy starts growing again, what would happen? We just have to look at the “model” that is Germany, which has experienced growth and austerity. The effect was an enormous growth in... social inequalities, job insecurity, poverty, Saturday jobs paid one euro per hour.

The crisis does not touch everyone. Everywhere, it leads to a major amplification of social inequalities. This happens in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland... but not only in these countries. In the United States, 25 million jobs have been cut, wages and retirement benefits have shrunk and the workers who still have a job are getting more and more exploited. Also in Canada, where Quebecois students have been protesting for weeks against tuition increases. Also in England where poverty is more and more noticeable.

Here in France, new waves of plant closings and layoffs have been announced. Reorganizations are taking place in the public sector and in the end will lead to massive job cuts. The official government photograph taken in front of the presidential palace might have changed, but Hollande is planning to keep implementing the same policies.

In many countries we have seen bursts of anger in response to government actions. The bosses and their politicians, left or right, fear only one thing: that this anger becomes a truly general explosion, spreading from country to country. Let’s show them they are right to be scared! Because growth, as seen by the working class, has nothing to do with growth as seen by the capitalists.


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Message  alexi Mar 5 Juin - 22:57

May 28th, 2012

After being Sarkozyfs worst nightmare, we wonft be put to sleep by Hollandefs lullaby !

“We said we would become Sarkozy’s worst nightmare. Let’s hope we won’t have to be Hollande’s too,” said a union rep from the Arcelor Mittal plant in Florange. He had reasons to be worried, since it seems clear that a series of mass layoffs will take place after the general elections. Layoffs had been mostly frozen during the period leading to the president election. But they are now pouring down from all sectors of the economy. The newspaper Le Parisien published a list of these sectors: banks, automobile (closings of the PSA Aulnay and Rennes plants), telecommunications (SFR), retail chains (Auchan, Carrefour, Conforama), transportation (Air France, SNCM), services (Nouvelles Frontieres, Hersant Media), chemistry (Petroplus), not to mention the postal service and many smaller companies, either independent ones or subcontracting for bigger companies.

To straighten up production... or straighten out the bosses behavior ?

First act of the new government: creation of a so-called Department of “Production Recovery.” A great find for the head of this fancy sounding new Department, Arnaud Montebourg, who explains: “This is a Department for the general mobilization of French people for the rebirth of industry.” He added “we may experience some failures (...) but we will experience them with the employees and the regions.” For now, Montebourg distinguishes himself by promising the Fralib workers, who have been fighting the closing of their factory for 600 days... a meeting with the Unilever trust (that owns the Fralib plant in Marseille). And he announced smashingly that “Unilever (would have) to make some compromises.” What is that supposed to mean, that workers will also have to compromise?

Round-table conference at the top, with the unions ?

The second act will be a “large conference on the economy and society” to take place at the end of June, with the participation of union leaders, who are more interested in this big, pompous show than in preparing the workers to fight back. The head of one union (CFDT, close to the SP), Francois Chereque, even started to say that “a minimum wage at 1,700 euros monthly is impossible”! Unfortunately he isn’t the only union boss who couldn’t care less about workers’ anger and demands.

What we need is to get ready to fight

With or without the unions’ blessings, we will have to fight back, because the bill to be presented to us once the election has passed is rather steep, including tens of thousands of additional job cuts. That’s the same bill the bosses and bankers, with the help of the governments, are presenting to the workers, to the people everywhere in Europe (Greece, Spain) and in the world. To resist and take on the offensive, workers and young people can only count on their own power, which can be great if they start to use it and stop being isolated. What will tip the balance will be the coming together of the workers in all sectors of industry who will certainly fight in the coming months.

Here in France the general election is coming up. The left would like us to believe that it’s very important President Hollande gets a majority in the house of representatives. So they’ll be able to immediately increase wages, with a minimum of 1,700 euros? Or will they just keep taking us for a ride, making us believe that our future depends on some sort of “growth”, which at best will be a growth of company profits.

We have nothing to expect from these elections. We can only demonstrate our anger and our wariness of the government by voting for the far left candidates wherever they run under Philippe Poutou’s NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) or Nathalie Arthaud’s Lutte Ouvriere. And by voting for a program to defend the workers interests, which we can only impose together through our fights.


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Message  alexi Jeu 7 Juin - 19:21

June 4th, 2012

Strengthen the party that will organize our fights !

The Arcelor Mittal workers in Florange just heard that their plant will remain closed for six more months. Six more months of unemployment, meaning a reduced pay, and at the end they still don’t know if the blast furnaces will be restarted and whether they will keep their jobs. Last Friday, tens of workers gathered in front of the company headquarters in Saint-Denis. This Monday they meet with Hollande and the head of the new Department of “Production Recovery.” The workers rely on their determination to make sure Hollande does not forget his electoral promise.

It’s our move

Now that the presidential election has passed, layoffs and plant closures are pouring down from all sectors of the economy. In the auto industry (closings of the PSA Aulnay and Rennes plants), telecommunications (SFR), retail chains (Auchan, Carrefour, Conforama), transportation (Air France, SNCM), services (Nouvelles Frontieres, Hersant Media), chemistry (Petroplus), not to mention the postal service and many smaller companies.

And now also in the food industry, with Doux, the wholesale poultry dealer. In addition to its workers threatened by layoffs, the peasants in Brittany who raise the poultry have not been paid for weeks. While ministers and other high-ranking officials quickly came to help the company CEO, Mr Doux, this one went behind their backs and filed for bankruptcy. This shows how little power the government has against these corporate thugs, and more importantly, shows that the government has no intention to lean on the workers’ strength to hold the bosses back.

The head of the smokescreen Department of “Recovery”, Montebourg, has never proposed one single practical or radical measure to stop the layoffs. No ban on layoffs! No retaliatory measures against companies that cut jobs! On the contrary, Montebourg stated that regarding job protection we must expect “some failures”! Sure, that’s what happens when all you do is promise new subsidies to the bosses without requiring them to do anything in exchange.

“Round tables” to put us to sleep

Montebourg promises some round-table conferences bringing government, unions and bosses together to negociate. To the Fralib workers, he said that “Unilever (would have) to make some compromises”. That’s one way to tell the workers that they, too, will have to give up some demands.

The government will organize a “large conference on the economy and society” before July 14th, to sweep the problem under the rug with the help of the unions. Some union leaders are already volunteering, starting with Francois Chereque who, in the name of CFDT, stated that “the minimum wage at 1,700 euros monthly is impossible”! Top union leaders are much more interested in this big, pompous show than in preparing the workers to fight back.

Yet, because of the economic crisis caused by the bosses and banker’s thirst for profits, some workers are starting to fight. In Greece, like in Spain where miners were on strike last week, like everywhere else. And like in Quebec where the students started to fight against raises in tuition fees and their parents and grandparents ended up joining them. Everywhere there is anger directed against the austerity measures that hit the workers and the poor.

We will have the majority... in the streets !

Here in France the general election is coming up. The left would like us to believe that it’s very important President Hollande gets a majority in the House of Representatives. So they’ll be able to immediately increase wages, with a minimum of 1,700 euros? Or will they just keep taking us for a ride, making us believe that our future depends on some sort of “growth”, which at best will be a growth of company profits.

We have nothing to expect from these elections. We can only demonstrate our anger and our wariness of the government by voting for the far left candidates wherever they run under Philippe Poutou’s NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) or Nathalie Arthaud’s Lutte Ouvriere. And by voting for a program to defend the workers interests, which we can only impose together through our fights.


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Message  alexi Lun 18 Juin - 20:59

June 11, 2012

Who will get free hands?

No surprise after the first round of the general elections that saw a record number of people who abstained. François Hollande and his SP government hope to obtain the majority in the house and therefore have “free hands”. But free hands to run what policies? The least we can say is that the working class shouldn’t get their hopes up.

For now, it seems that the socialist government is giving free hands to the bosses, who lost no time to prepare redundancy plans: in the auto industry (closings PSA plants and subcontractors), telecommunications (SFR), retail chains (Auchan, Carrefour, Conforama), transportation (Air France, SNCM), chemistry (Petroplus), not to mention many smaller companies and massive job cuts in the postal service, hospitals, public and social services.

This prompted Hollande to create the Department for “Productive Recovery” headed by the lawyer Arnaud Montebourg, who keeps making grandiose statements about saving jobs. But who is he really defending? He declares himself “close to entrepreneurs”, who he meets discretely at night, and at the same time tells the workers that they “should expect some disappointments”. These little snippets say a lot about his real role. Not so much about using the current workers’ struggles to gain an edge against the bosses, but rather to call on the workers to be “responsible”. That is, to ask workers to accept the terms of the bosses who cut jobs.

A government responsible... toward the bourgeoisie’s self-interests

The government will absolutely not reverse Sarkozy’s reforms. For instance the pension reform: those of us who started working early will now be able to retire at 60, but only those who contributed 41.5 years. It turns out that this symbolic measure will cost even less than expected. But the government will not extend the rule to allow more workers to retire at 60. As Marisol Touraine, the minister for social affairs, explains, “justice means that not every one is treated the same way”. So clearly the new government will not do more than a token measure that helps very few people.

The government is again proving it is “responsible” when increasing minimum wage, at homeopathic level. “This boost should recover the missed raises from the previous years, but we will have to make sure that this does not weaken businesses”, said Hollande, who’d rather weaken people on minimum wage and other wage earners. He did not say a word about the wage freeze that we all (public and private sectors) had to put up with, while we all need a net raise of 300 euros.

As to the famous “generation contracts”

Obviously, we have nothing to expect from this government, regardless of the extent of the majority it will get on Sunday.

We will have to rely primarily on ourselves. On our mobilization. Because only the strengthening of all the social movements (not the electoral results!), as seen in Greece, Spain or Quebec, will start to scare the bosses.


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Message  alexi Mar 3 Juil - 19:19

June 25th, 2012

Make the profiteers pay back !

Since the elections are over, there has been a wave of plant closures, redundancy plans and workforce reductions, not to mention hundreds of thousands of layoffs disguised as “voluntary redundancy” – another legal weapon used by the bosses to layoff workers.

Despite the lies from PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) headquarters, it is no mystery that the auto plant in Aulnay-sous-Bois, which employs 3,000 workers (and indirectly sustains 10,000 jobs in the area), is scheduled to be closed. Meanwhile, Air France announced 5,000 job cuts, that’s over 10% of its workforce. Air France directors claims it can find several thousands employees ready to leave voluntarily, without redeployment offers and for ridiculously small severance pay. We can guess how the bosses will be able to find volunteers: using heavy pressure, hellish working environment and scare tactics.

Against this, the minister of “production recovery”, Arnaud Montebourg, uses the same tricks as his predecessors. Each time a plant closure is announced, he appeases the workers by finding an investor to take over the company. Only after the takeover, the investor then proceeds to cut wages, cut jobs and in the end closes the plant. So the “production recovery” in no way forces the bosses to stop laying off. On the contrary, it mostly means to help them cutting jobs with minimal costs by subcontracting the layoffs to corporate thugs. And so they keep on making tons of money as usual.

We want what’s due to us, not charity

On the question of pay, just like on layoffs, the government hasn’t chosen the side of the workers. Quite the contrary. The “boost” to minimum wage will be announced on Tuesday (the 26th). According to newspapers, it will be about 22 euros monthly. Not enough to get half a tank of gas! It’s time to remind the government that workers are not asking for small handouts. We all need an increase of at least 300 euros, to catch up with the cost of living, and the minimum wage should be at 1,700 euros (after tax), now.

The classic excuse: helping small businesses

According to the government, it was necessary to keep the boost to a small amount to make sure small businesses, remain “competitive”. Many of them are supposedly not healthy enough to withstand large pay increases.

But in that case, why doesn’t the government force the banks – to which it lent billions of dollars at ridiculously low rates – to lend cheap money to small businesses? Why should it be the employees on minimum wage, the single moms with a part time job, the saleswomen at Camaieu or H&M, the cashiers at Carrefour... to finance the “real economy”, as Montebourg says? Why should the public bank that he intends to create for this not be financed by private banks but from public money and taxpayers savings?

But while the government is happy to help businesses, big or small, it is already gathering, today, to “straighten up” the state budget, that is, to reduce it. The government announced that it could get the 7-10 billions needed before the end of 2012 by (slightly) increasing the wealth tax or the death tax. But for 2013, the government intends to save a lot on public services: there are already talks about only replacing one out of three retiring public servants. Even worse than the workforce reductions proposed by Sarkozy (to replace only one out of two public servants).

Against the bosses who lay off tens of thousands, and the bosses government announcing a “left wing” austerity, we have all the reasons to be angry. Some struggles start here and there. But while our anger starts to be expressed, it remains isolated, too spread out. It will have to be expressed through a global fight to stop layoffs, share the work between all and get decent wages.


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Message  alexi Mer 11 Juil - 22:32

July 2nd, 2012

“Social dialogue”: a hoax

Arnaud Montebourg is declaring war to Philippe Varin, the CEO of PSA (the Peugeot-Citroen automobile company), with... a nice letter. And what a letter! The Minister of Production Recovery asks Varin, timidly, “to make his intentions known as soon as possible” (regarding the future of the factory in Aulnay)! Is Montebourg the only one who hasn’t understood that PSA wants to close the Aulnay plant? Then, he respectfully advises the CEO about “social dialogue” and its use as a “collective weapon”. To be used by who? He ends the letter promising “a course of action to support the French auto industry.” Translation: to support the stockholders, not the workers! We already know about these “course of actions”: as with the previous government, they mean giving companies taxpayers’ money, while they cut thousands of jobs.

Thus social dialogue, according to Montebourg, means to rely on what the bosses “intend” to do, that is, what the bosses decide to do. The government’s role is to smooth the rough edges and to try and contain the anger of the workers whose jobs are threatened. It does so by holding a series of negotiations, like the upcoming “social conference”, the results of which will always be favorable to the bosses. At the same time “left wing” austerity is on the agenda, and it is not softer on the working class than right wing austerity.

Same as Air France, General Motors and elsewhere...

The social plan recently announced by Air France is the perfect example of what is meant by “social dialogue.” Air France management plans 5,122 job cuts and intends to win back 10 to 12 workdays per employee, freeze wages, hires and promotions, increase work hours flexibility and impose longer days... all this without any promises to avoid layoffs.

Blackmailing of jobs is becoming a trend with the bosses: more and more promise they won’t close a plant only if the workers agree to make sacrifices. The promises are soon enough revealed to be lies. For example General Motors, which had forced a wage freeze and eliminated compensatory leave in exchange for keeping the Strasbourg plant open, just announced it will close the plant anyway.

The workers have to hold their foot down

Fortunately, PSA workers didn’t wait for Montebourg’s advice to take matters into their own hands. Last Thursday, more than a thousand gathered in front of the PSA headquarters in Paris to express their anger and their denunciation of any plant closure. Several hundreds of them came from Aulnay, they were the most numerous but there were also representatives from all the PSA plants, as well as workers from Renault, Air France, and even Opel Bochum from Germany and PSA Madrid from Spain who are also threatened by plant closure. To come together, make contact with all those other workers, from all industries, who are also threatened by layoffs, that’s what we need to do in the coming time. This is the only way, this is our collective weapon.

Jobs are cut in many ways. One way is through the so-called “agreed terminations”, about 15,000 to 20,000 per month, that is, about 200,000 per year. That’s a huge, invisible redundancy plan. Similarly, so-called “voluntary leaves” plans allow companies to layoff massively without having to go through all the legal process of a redundancy plan (and without the workers being able to bring the cases to court). And, in the public services, two out of three employees retiring might not be replaced.

Whichever way jobs are cut, the problem is the same for all of us. We must not be forced to react separately, our backs against the wall. Instead, we need to bring together our fights to be stronger against the bosses and the government that is always ready to help with the dirty jobs.


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Message  alexi Sam 21 Juil - 18:50

Si la pièce jointe contient des images, elles ne s'afficheront pas. Télécharger la pièce jointe d'origine
Editorial CR 82, June 22nd 2012

The government left and the bosses attack the workers.

Since the end of the presidential election, new redundancy plans are piling up and old ones reappear. According to the investment monitor Trendeo, "the number of job cuts in industry is nearing its 2009 peak" [1].

A "socialist" minister: what for?

For the new left wing government, there is nothing to worry about. The government even has a minister to take care of "productive recovery", Arnaud Montebourg. In an interview for the magazine L'Usine Nouvelle, Montebourg said that we just need to "sort between those that cannot be saved (...) and the companies that can make a fresh start after some restructuring."

Watch it if you fall on the wrong side, like PSA. This frame of mind was already set on June 18th at the ministry, during the three-way meeting (PSA directors, government, unions), promised by Hollande to the PSA workers during the elections. The only question Montebourg asked the PSA spokesperson, regarding the possible closure of the Aulnay plant, was "will an announcement be made in July or September?" And the socialist representative in congress from Aulnay to add that the announcement needed to occur "right away", because workers are fed up with "worrying about the future". So the announcement could be made in July (it was actually made on July 12). Thank you so much, Minister!

The Aulnay workers are not asking when the plant will close. On the contrary, they ask for the plant to remain open and jobs to be protected. And they won't wait until then to state this loudly. They are organizing a meeting on June 28, in front of the PSA headquarters, together with workers invited from other PSA plants and the GM plant in Strasbourg, threatened by closure once again.

Phony "solutions", French style

On the side of the companies that can be "saved", the situation is not much brighter. After asking the workers to wait for takeovers that never come, the newest trend is to ask the workers to save themselves, with the Scop (Cooperative and Participative Company)!

The example of SeaFrance is particularly telling. The bankruptcy court decided that EuroTunnel would take over the three ships owned by SeaFrance and that a Cooperative and Participative Company would operate the ships. It's off to a bad start since only 500 sailors and employees out of 1010 (880 based in France, 130 in England) will be re-hired. This ruling may have relieved a number of employees who hope to keep their jobs. But the company that will own the ships has put forward some conditions: the Scop, if it is created, will have to be ran like any other company to ensure "productivity levels equivalent to its competition," as the CEO of EuroTunnel puts it. And the director of the Scop, Jean-Michel Guiguet, is no better. This "great professional of the transportation industry," as the heads of the SeaFrance CFDT union call him, was recently chief operating officer of Brittany Ferries. This company just announced a plan to decrease the number of channel crossings and decrease labor costs. The financial setup of the Scop calls for all the employees who want to be re-hired to "invest" 5,000 euros from their severance check! Then, the Scop will rent the boats from EuroTunnels, according to conditions fixed by the latter. This way, if the Scop sinks, the employees will loose their severance pay, but the EuroTunnel stockholders can keep the ships, i.e. the capital.

Finally, to ensure that the Scop makes profits, jobs will be cut and employees will work more... with no guarantee that these "saved" jobs will be maintained in the future. The workers, now labeled "stockholders," will only be able to blame themselves if the Scop collapses. "What is interesting is that employees, sailors, have decided to organize the continuation of their professional activities" cheerfully said Montebourg. He emphasized the "human" aspect and "non-outsourceability" of that company. Socialism, French style!

Attending every need of the bosses

On the other hand, the bosses' complaints are taken very seriously. Through the voice of Renault's number two Carlos Tavares, they were quick to ask the government to make the whole population pay for their losses : "My wish would be that the French and European markets be supported." Attending their every need, the minister of recovery (him again) promised to study "a plan to launch a new wave of public aid for the auto industry." Moscovici, the minister of economy, even imagines some kind of protectionism measure, disguised as ecological, whereby French cars would be supported

against big German cars (which supposedly pollute more) [2]. There are already some talks about a new cash-for-scrap scheme, like the one Sarkozy implemented, which cost the taxpayers 1 billion euros in two years... in addition to the 7 billions loaned to PSA and Renault.

Behind the auto bosses, all the employers ask for a reduction in "labor costs" to create a "competitiveness shock" [3]. The main job-cutting bosses, starting with the PSA CEO Philippe Varin, argue in favor of a reform of the job market and a decrease of their social contributions, superior work flexibility through "performance agreements" and professional education that fits the needs of the companies. The executive in charge of economic studies for the Natixis bank, Patrick Artus, who is also on the board of Total, has already come up with some plans: to reduce labor costs, reduce the social contributions paid by bosses through an increase to the CSG social welfare charge (which is a tax on all forms of income, including unemployment and retirement benefits) of a few tens of billions of euros [4]. In the meantime, all those bosses are crying about the tiny increase in social contributions that will finance the retirement benefits at 60 for a ridiculous fraction of wage earners.

We have to pay?

What about the mobilization for industry and the pact for growth promised by Hollande? It's nothing but national unity to restore profits.

Certainly, Montebourg appeared annoyed with the bankers: "What have they done with the 1000 billion euros the European Central Bank loaned them so they would finance the economy?" "This amounts to a subsidy of 3,000 euros per year per euro zone inhabitant." You don't say! But, since the banks won't spend the money to finance "the real economy" (companies), he proposes that the State does it. He is thinking about setting up a public investment bank whose role would be to finance companies that the banks do not want to bid in. This would be "the driving force for production recovery," attending "closely to the needs of the French companies." Paid for by the taxpayers or by taking on

people's savings, since everyone can "understand that by accepting a lower yield on their savings, they can support a bit more investments within the country. We call on economic civic spirit!"

The government to be helped by... the unions

For this kind of civic mobilization, the government wants to rely on the union leaders' understanding. That's why the "great social meeting" is organized on July 8-9. Needless to say, union leaders are pleased to be invited and will dash for it. In a special four-page CGT pamphlet, Bernard Thibault gives a tutorial: "The social meeting must bring new measures that can boost our economy. (...) Social democracy needs means, acknowledgements, that is the condition for a quality social dialogue, useful for the workers, the companies, the country." We can understand why Montebourg concluded that "the CGT and the Medef (the bosses union) agree on one point: the desire to restore our industry." The head of CFDT (the union close to the SP), Chereque, even enlisted for the bosses ahead of time. Back on May 23, he explained that too much increase to the minimum wage would be bad for jobs and that on the contrary we need to "help the companies" which would then allow "some compensations on career development." And against layoffs, he recommends aids to short-time working "to protect jobs in threatened companies."

But if workers start to express their anger, they could ruin all this nice little game.

[1] Le Monde, 20 juin 2012.

[2] La Tribune, 19 juin 2012.

[3] Les Échos, 19 juin 2002.

[4] Le Monde, 20 juin 2012.


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Message  alexi Mar 2 Oct - 21:42

September 24, 2012

In the next few weeks,
Let's take to the streets to stop the layoffs

Last Thursday, Francois Hollande met with the unions representing the PSA workers of the Aulnay plant. Once again, he refused to take action to prevent the closure of the Aulnay plant and the layoff of the 8,000 workers. Of course, the PSA workers had not much to expect from this meeting. The preceding week a so-called analyst justified the layoffs and that was enough for Hollande to change his view of the layoffs from "unacceptable" to "normal".
The "socialist" president promised three-way negotiations with the unions, PSA directors and the government. But there are only two "ways": those who accept the layoffs and those who fight them. The government made clear it was not siding with those who fight.

The bosses' blackmail
Beyond PSA, all workers are threatened. Layoffs and plant closures at PSA, Fralib, Air France, Sanofi, Doux and all others are just the beginning of a general attack against workers. An attack that the government hopes to "negotiate" with the infamous "jobs - competitiveness agreements". In other words: flexibility, lower wages, job insecurity for workers, and new subsidies and protections for the bosses, who want a bigger piece of the cake in international trade.

The examples of Sevelnord and Brittany Ferries
The model for these agreements was signed last July at the PSA Sevelnord plant by all the unions except the CGT. On the agenda: wage freeze for at least two years, loss of four days of compensatory time, mandatory catch-up time "if daily production numbers are not met", internal mobility at management's discretion (with the option to move to a lower skill position), external mobility within the PSA company or in other companies, etc.
At Brittany Ferries, a company that runs sea shuttles between Brittany and England, Ireland and Spain, the "plan to regain competitiveness" imposes a 30% wage reduction. The employees started a strike to try and keep a few bonuses and limit "wage contributions" to a definite time period. Management decided to lock them out before starting to "negotiate".

No to austerity measures, with or without the treaty

Against austerity, the Left Front (including Mélanchon and the communist party) proposes to protest and fight against the new European treaty, the TSCG. But even if the treaty is rejected, what will that change? Every government, whether conservative or liberal, has led austerity policies without waiting for the treaty. Just like the bosses haven't needed any treaty to layoff, close factories and cut jobs.
So to oppose the TSCG does not necessarily mean to oppose austerity. For proof: Europe Ecologie has decided to vote "no" to the TSCG but... "yes" to the austerity budget that will be introduced next week, and will keep its ministers in the government as the budget is implemented. As for the Left Front, this party still refuses to acknowledge it is an opposition party. So on Sunday its leaders protest the government's policies... and during the week they swear allegiance to the government. A funny way to fight against austerity.

A general response against any form of austerity

Workers must refuse any form of austerity, starting by fighting against job cuts. Auto workers and workers of all the private and public sectors will be able to prepare for this fight during the following events:
• a rally organized by the PSA workers in Aulnay-sous-Bois on September 29,
• the same day, Ford Blanquefort workers will gather in Paris,
• a rally at the Paris Auto Show on October 9,
• and several national protests against austerity and layoffs, also on October 9.


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Message  alexi Lun 8 Oct - 18:57

October 1st, 2012

On October 9, let's rally against austerity and layoffs

Saturday night, we saw on TV the Ford Blanquefort workers (who came from Bordeaux) and the PSA Aulnay workers creating mayhem at the Paris Auto Show. The news on the France 3 channel also showed employees from companies in the northern suburbs of Paris (a working class area that includes Aulnay) at an afternoon gathering with the Ford and Aulnay workers in the popular housing estate “Cité des 3000” of Aulnay. Interestingly, the workers who demonstrated at the auto show received an enthusiastic welcome from the audience. After all, many of the people who come to admire the engineering marvels (but cannot afford to buy them) are workers who are also concerned about their jobs. It's a good thing that the workers who fight for their jobs are able to catch the attention of those who are not fighting... yet!

The bosses' blackmail
Because at the same time, the bosses are more than ever determined to carry on their attack against the workers. This was illustrated by recent statements on "competitiveness" made by Philippe Varin and Carlos Ghosn, CEOs of PSA and Renault. Despite the huge profits made by their companies (588 million euros for PSA, 1.2 billion for Renault in 2011), they call on the government for more "flexibility" and a decrease in "labor costs". All this to grab a larger share of the world market, working together to attack the workers. Thus all the bosses, in unison, are asking for the right to fire workers as they please and overwork the ones that remain, while freezing their wages, so they can make even more profits. On these points, no more competition: Varin, Ghosn and all the others forget their little quarrels when they set out to squeeze every bit of profit out of workers. Their strategy starts with the (in)famous "flexibility" and "competitiveness" agreements, that both the bosses and the government are trying to shove down the workers throats. Job cuts, forced internal mobility, cuts in compensatory time... in exchange for phony statements about saving jobs. This is done with the help of the socialist government leaders who call these agreements "win-win". A very active help, since Hollande just revealed his austerity plan: tax increases, even for low income families; big cuts in public services such as health and culture. In short, low blow after low blow, and the desire again to make workers pay for the economic crisis.

Say no to austerity !
Against these attacks, workers must find their own strategy. A good start would be to coordinate the current fights. After the protest at the Paris Auto Show, about fifty Ford workers joined the gathering in Aulnay, responding to an invitation by the PSA CGT. There, the Ford workers met with their PSA comrades, but also with workers from Sanofi, Air France, Prestalis, Magneto (a PSA subcontractor) and other smaller companies. Such gatherings are great opportunities to start coordinating fights. The workers who are already fighting must unite and seek to speak to the other workers, in both public and private sectors, because we all face the same problems.
Let's say no to austerity and the rotten agreements devised by the bosses and the government. Let's impose necessary measures for workers, such as a ban on layoffs and the sharing of work between all without loss of pay.
On October 9, the day of protests against austerity can, and must, be an opportunity for workers to act all together in strikes and in demonstrations. And an opportunity to prepare for the coming battles.


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Message  alexi Lun 15 Oct - 23:30

October 9, 2012

Flowers for corporate thugs, but riot police and teargas for workers

Hollande has thus openly choose his camp. For workers of Arcelor, Sanofi, Goodyear and PSA who came at the Paris Auto Show to protest against redundancies, he sent the riot police armed with helmets and teargas. But for corporate thugs disguised as suckers: bows, remorse and giveaways.
So, last week, a gang of masked suckers attacked over the internet. Instant panic within the government. Everyone ducks! The adjunct minister for Budget, shaking, opens the register and gives the money. Just with one web petition, a few millionaire bosses owning very healthy startups, pretending to be ripped off by the increase of the tax on profits made on speculative resale of companies, were able to make the government back down.
Who are these unfortunate "suckers"? Among them, Xavier Niel, founder of Free, 8th richest man in France. One among other suckers with big pocketbooks, who also threaten to move to Switzerland or Belgium to pay less taxes.

Pity for corporate thugs, but "war budget" against the people

Of course, Laurence Parisot, president of MEDEF (the main bosses' union), was satisfied that the government gave up so easily. She can be satisfied, since all the bosses' wishes have been granted. That same week, the Hollande government led the assault against the workers: he wants to "decrease labor costs" (a standard bosses demand) by decreasing employers contributions by 40 billion euros. To compensate he would increase the CSG (generalized social contribution, withdrawn from any type of income, including pension and unemployment benefits).
While the bosses get generous gifts, taxes will be increasing, not just for the highest incomes as they want us to believe: simply by keeping the tax schedule frozen (so inflation is not taken into account) about 10 million households will pay higher income tax next year.
Moreover, fiscal restraint and savings on public services and social security benefits are still on. This is what Hollande called a "war budget", and the attacks are directed against workers.
Just a bit of noise on the web was enough to make the government concede to the bosses. But workers from Sanofi, Arcelor, Doux, PSA and all the others have to make do with lip service… and teargas. Montebourg's saber-rattling against the closure of the Aulnay plant are over. According to the newspaper Le Parisien, Montebourg said that the closure of PSA's Aulnay plant was "a necessary evil to allow the company to get back on track". A "necessary evil" for the good of the Peugeot family!
At the same time, government and bosses have started talks with the unions to make them swallow the so-called "competitiveness-jobs agreements", according to which employees would accept wage freezes, less holidays and more flexible work schedules. Such an agreement was signed recently in the PSA Sevelnord plant. In the last few years workers have regretted signing such agreements, before starting to revolt against them.

Against the alliance between bosses and government, workers must coordinate

Every day we hear about some company about to layoff or close. Jobs are also cut in the public sector. The fights against the job cuts must not remain isolated, with workers fighting their own battles within their companies with their back against the wall.
Against the alliance between bosses and government, it is time to coordinate the fights. Because this is what the bosses and the government really fear: that the local fights stop being isolated and transform into a global counter attack.
This is why the October 9 rallies must not be limited to a simple protest against austerity and layoffs, but must be a step toward going into a real battle all together.


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Message  alexi Dim 11 Nov - 21:09

October 29th 2012

Pigeons? No, vultures !

After the episode of the pigeons (suckers) who bit the government, here comes big boss Louis Gallois, ex-chairman of SNCF (French Railroads) then CEO of EADS and Airbus, letting the government know what his desires are. His report on “competitiveness”, addressed to Francois Hollande, advises for a “competitiveness shock” according to the newspapers. In other words, huge gifts to the bosses. A “shock”? The government prefers the term “competitiveness agreement”, not in order to propose other measures, just to spread them over time. Some kind of prolonged... shock!

Other malicious birds are also calling for some “agreements”. The bosses lobby AFEP (French Association of Private Enterprises), which comprises all the bosses on the Paris stock exchange, proposes an “agreement for growth and job recovery”. So AFEP member Sanofi, a company that is cutting 1,700 jobs right now, is giving advice on how to boost jobs. No kidding!

According to the bosses, this job recovery necessitates 30 billion euros to lift their social contributions as well as measures to “allow companies to adapt to market demands”, in other words to be able to fire workers or impose furloughs more easily. Nice logic: boosting jobs thanks to... layoffs and unemployment! These CEOs and other beneficiaries of large state subsidies also ask for a 60 billion cut in public spending and an increase in sales taxes. In short, they want billions in subsidies for themselves and austerity for the population.

Simply put, the bosses always want more. To get it, they are declaring social warfare, with the government’s help, just like everywhere else in Europe.

Austerity without borders

But these attacks by the capitalists are provoking some reactions across Europe. On October 18th, there was a general strike in Greece against cuts in wages and pensions. Then on October 20th British workers demonstrated against cuts in social spending. Last Saturday, thousands of people demonstrated in Rome against austerity measures.

In every European country, From Spain to Ireland, from Greece to England, just like in France, the governments – left or right wing – are making the people pay for the economic crisis. The same attacks everywhere, that’s enough cause for all of us to protest together against austerity policies, like on November 14th, as Spanish and Portuguese unions are calling for a general strike on that day.

Bosses on the offense

PSA, Sanofi, Air France, Electrolux, Coca Cola, Alcatel... layoffs and job cuts are countless. The bosses are attacking without waiting for their shock lobbying to be effective. They have already declared social warfare, they are just asking the government to strengthen their hand.

Against these attacks, the working class must react with a global counter-attack to impose its necessary needs: stop the layoffs, share the work between all, increase wages and benefits by at least 300 euros.

Let’s get ready to shock them back !

In any case, there are not enough days in the calendar to protest separately! Last Thursday, PSA workers were demonstrating in Paris while Sanofi workers were demonstrating in Lyon against layoffs. The same day there was a strike at SNCF and the following day the strike was at Air France. All these actions are occurring practically at the same time, it is now a matter of actually bringing them together so we will be able to make those arrogant bosses back off.

For the bosses it will be a shock, but they deserve it.


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Message  alexi Jeu 15 Nov - 22:14

November 5th, 2012

Sarkozy’s cop dreamed it, Hollande’s cop did it !

Manuel Valls (the Interior Minister) is even worse than Claude Gueant (the former Interior Minister): this is evident after the French police arrested Aurore Martin, a militant of the Basque independence movement, on November 1st.

In June 2011, the police had attempted to arrest Aurore Martin in downtown Bayonne, but had to abort after tens of alerted people reacted. After this failed attempt Sarkozy and his Minister Gueant had not dared try again.

But Hollande and Valls did it! After being arrested during a “random” vehicle check, she was delivered to Spanish police the very same evening. This outrageous arrest roused strong emotions in the Basque country. The humanist touch promised by Hollande is long forgotten!

Valls likes to show his muscle. He calls this “firmness”, but it does not apply to all.

The government does not threaten the bosses who fire workers, nor the rich who avoid paying taxes

The thousands of bosses who break the law every day know very well they have nothing to fear from the government of Francois Hollande and his Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The new government has quickly set the tone. First, with the many police operations to close down gipsy settlements and kick them out. In the summer, two thousand people were vigorously taken from their settlements by the police in the early morning. And it’s not over. In just a few weeks, “socialist” Valls has equaled right wing Gueant with anti-immigrant demagogy targeting the poorest.

Then, 1,200 military police were sent to remove people protesting the construction of an airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (a high visibility project in Jean-Marc Ayrault’s constituency). A large scale, violent operation that has been going on for more than two weeks... All this is first and foremost in the interest of Vinci, the company that got the contract to build the airport, for several hundred million euros.

Gallois’ “trust shock”: subsidies for the bosses who cut jobs, tear gas for workers.

And now, Louis Gallois, ex boss of SNCF and EADS, gives his report on the “competitiveness shock”, renamed “trust shock” at the last minute. The “shock” would be to gift 30 billion euros to the bosses by cutting down their social contributions and making the population pay instead, through increases in sales tax and the general social contribution (a tax on all income, including unemployment and retirement benefits) and through cuts in public and social services. This respected gentleman is trying to make the union swallow all this, in the name of “social contract” and “national solidarity”! A solidarity that only goes one way, meaning the government attends to all the needs of the bosses and is vicious against the poor.

They try to make us feel guilty and convince us that the workers themselves, not the bosses who lay us off, are responsible for unemployment! Thus, the socialist government that serves Peugeot, Ghosn and their friends on the Paris stock exchange, has already attacked workers fighting for their jobs. As on October 9th at the Paris Auto Show, when they sent swat teams armed with tear gas, against workers, especially PSA workers who came to protest the layoffs planned by PSA.

This left wing government isn’t even trying to distinguish itself from the previous right wing government anymore, they are pushing the same policies, using the same repressive methods. The mask is off, the left clearly works for the status quo, that is, for the bourgeoisie. It is on us, workers, to gather our forces and properly strike back.


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Message  alexi Mar 20 Nov - 9:53

November 12, 2012

A left wing government working for the bosses

At last! The government just found out the reason for unemployment, plant closures and job cuts. Who is responsible? Not the job-cutting bosses. It’s our wages that are “too high”, our working hours that are “too short” and our social benefits that is “too good”. In short, we are not “competitive” enough in their international race for profits.

A gift with no thanks !

The MEDEF (bosses’ union) and its director, Laurence Parisot, warmly applauded the socialist plan. The government chose Louis Gallois – ex-CEO of SNCF and EADS – to write a report that stresses the need for a “competitiveness shock treatment”. Then the wording switched from “shock” to “contract” between government and bosses. And the report became an austerity plan. On the agenda: social contributions paid by companies on wages that are between 1 and 2.5 times minimum wage will be abolished or reduced. The State will loose 20 billion euros and will compensate by taking more money from the people.

This will be on top of the tax cuts previously passed under the conservative Fillon government. At the time, the Socialist Party (then in the opposition) criticized this cut, noting it would cost 20 billion euros per year. Today, the Socialist Party doubles the amount of this blank check to the bosses.

This “contract” between Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government and the bosses comes with nothing in return such as job creations or wage increases. The bosses’ unions had warned that asking for such things in return for the tax cuts would be crossing the line. “So be it,” said the government.

Stockholders satisfied...

This yet-another-tax-cut-for-the-bosses will inflate a bit more the wealth of big stockholders. 39 billion euros have been distributed to the stockholders in the Paris exchange in 2011. These last few years, about one tenth of all the value produced by employees at non-financial companies landed in the pocket of these parasites. But of course, Gallois’ report and all other government “contracts” never mention the “cost” of the annuity distributed to the big stockholders. If they are obsessed by “labor costs”, that is the amount of our direct and indirect wages, it is because the less they pay us, the more they put in their coffins. This is called exploitation.

...wage earners robbed

Half of the 20 billion euros given to the bosses will be compensated by deep cuts in public services. Seven billions will be paid by an increase in the sales tax. Hollande had repealed Sarkozy’s “social” sales tax after pointing out it was socially unfair during his campaign; here it comes again. The sales tax is indeed the most unfair tax because it hits more those who spend their whole wages, that is, the lower classes. Left wing austerity has the same bad taste as right wing austerity.

From the “competitiveness shock” to the “shock” of the fights

Austerity plans are pouring all over Europe in the name of the so-called competitiveness of each country’s companies. While the capitalists do compete with each other, they team up against the workers of all countries. But now the common anger of the lower classes can be heard all over Europe, as during the mass demonstrations that took place in London, Madrid, Athens, Rome or Lisbon.

Several unions are calling for a pan-European demonstration on November 14th. We must grab this opportunity – and all the following ones – to gather our forces and organize the working class counter-attack. By bringing our fights together, within each country and across the borders, we will be able to force the most needed measures down the throat of the exploiters: ban the layoffs, share the work between all, increase wages and benefits by 300 euros monthly.


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Message  alexi Jeu 29 Nov - 19:53

November 19th, 2012

Gaza’s bombs and their targets

After months of propaganda and threats against Iran, Netanyahou’s Israeli government finally fell back on a more accessible target: the unarmed Palestinian population in the Gaza strip. That’s 1.6 million people locked up for decades within a territory three times as large as Paris. An open air prison regularly devastated by Israel’s army.

In July of 2006, Israeli troops had invaded Gaza, killing 200 and injuring 800, and destroyed all infrastructures necessary for daily life. Then at the end of 2008, coming elections had pushed the government into starting another military operations that resulted in 1,700 deaths. Today, after a few days of bombings, with the electoral campaign in the background, there are dozens of Palestinian victims. And Israel is ready to go to war.

The hypocrisy and cynicism of the great powers

Israelis attacks have been going on throughout October without a single western power objecting. The assassination of the military leader of Hamas by the Israeli army triggered the Palestinian rockets, which the Israeli state used as a pretext to step into the breach it had created.

Netanyahou, the Israeli Prime Minister, thinks he has a free hand to campaign on the back of the Palestinians. Obama gave him carte blanche right away, hypocritically declaring that the conflict was triggered by Hamas’ rockets (note, Hamas was originally supported by Israel to weaken Arafat’s PLO). It doesn’t matter that Netanyahou was against Obama’s reelection: the Israeli State remains the military beachhead of the western powers in a Middle-East swept by Arab revolutions. Hollande followed his American master. He recently hosted Netanyahou without giving any criticism, and his Foreign Minister, Fabius, was in Israel declaiming nice speeches about peace, as bombs were killing Palestinians.

All the peoples need to ally against their oppressors

The social situation is also an important factor. Tel-Aviv displays Beverly Hills style neighborhoods. But the majority in Israel lives in poverty, among the Arab Israelis but also among all the others with low wages and insecure jobs. Israel spends 6.5 % of its GDP in weapons, one of the highest percentages on the planet. Also, these days Israel, like all other states, steadily privatizes and makes labor more insecure – in the interest of the bosses. Austerity does have a Hebrew translation. Netanyahou is presently pushing a new austerity program that is meeting some resistance from the lower classes, including many workers, unionists, teachers who demonstrated in the street last spring, like their Egyptian neighbours.

Letting the bombs speak, saber-rattling, raising the flag in the name of “National Unity” to divert the lower classes from their common interests, that’s a standard strategy used by all the bourgeoisies in the world. Even Hamas leaders, in Gaza, are using it in the same way.

On November 14th, the D-day for renewed bombings on Gaza, workers were mobilizing across Europe. They were especially numerous and determined in Spain and Portugal. They often expressed the conviction that they belonged to a single group of people with the same interests. Proletarians in Israel, Gaza or Egypt have, like us, common interests they must put forward in this time of economic crisis. With his bombs, Netanyahou is also trying to prevent the anger created by the economic problems from spreading to Israel. In a way, these bombs are also aimed at us.


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Message  alexi Lun 3 Déc - 20:12

November 26th, 2012

The blackmailers

An old, heavily used tune: “competitiveness,” “labor costs,” “international competition.” With the economic crisis, it’s been repeated over and over again by governments and bosses, so much that it’s become an anthem. An international anthem (even though they add “made in France” in this country), all across Europe and even further they serve us the same speech: “tighten your belt and roll up your sleeves.”

Bosses on the offensive

In France, negotiations between government, bosses and unions have started. The official objective is to “secure jobs” but that’s obviously a lie. Do they really want to prevent layoffs? No, their real goal is to make it easier to cut jobs and to furlough. In short, jobs are no more “secured” than they are “preserved” by the so-called job preservation plans, which ironically mean layoff plans. In addition, the Medef (the bosses union) added the following to their list of measures:
- Generalize insecure job contracts (temps and single project contracts).
- For the unemployed, progressively decrease benefits and make them accept crappy jobs.
- Sign agreements to “retain jobs;” another lie to gain a legal framework so they can blackmail workers into making sacrifices to keep their jobs.

The government bends over backward to satisfy the bosses, trying to get the unions to accept precariousness, wages cuts, and overexploitation. All this after having already picked the workers pockets, particularly with the rise in sales tax, to fund the 20 billion tax cuts to the bosses.

“An offer we cannot refuse,” really ?

The bosses are ready to go to war, the government acts as their zealous aide-de-camp, and the union leaderships fall down to accepting to negotiate on the bosses’ grounds.

While the negotiations aim to give a legal framework to the coming attacks, the blackmail on jobs is nothing new.

There are precedents, like Continental in Clairoix and Bosch in Venissieux where concessions on wages, paid vacations and working hours supposedly made sure no jobs would be lost. This did not prevent Bosch to cut 400 jobs within five years or Continental to close down the plant. Workers have no reason to trust the bosses.

Workers on strike at Arkema (chemical industry) in Pierre-Benite recently refused to give in to the blackmail. Sacrifices, no way! Now company executives are threatening to pull out promised investments into that plant, which would have brought a lot of money to the stockholders, but it’s not the first time they are using this threat. And the docile media repeats the company’s lies... The workers are right not to believe their bosses and they deserved to get these attacks withdrawn.

We also have a Spanish model

Renault, using the new agreements it got in Spain that will cut wages and increase work hours, is now trying to intensify the competition between workers to get the same concessions in France.

In Spain, the austerity plans and the capitalists’ greed have already driven one quarter of all working people and more than half of young adults into unemployment. That’s what the bosses call a model of competitiveness!

But our Spanish model is the mass mobilization of the Spanish people. Why let the bosses do as they please? In Spain, thousands of people demonstrate against austerity almost daily, and two general strikes have been huge successes.

In Spain as in France, the bosses with the help of the government use the workers fear of losing their jobs to exploit them even more. We have to raise our heads ... so that fear changes side.


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Message  alexi Ven 14 Déc - 20:28

December 3rd, 2012


“The government has been lying to us all along”... “Traitors”... “We are disgusted. Montebourg must go, he dropped his pants!”... “We can become the nightmare of this government, just like we were Sarkozy’s”... “The fight will get more and more intense. If we have to kick some ass to save the blast furnaces, we will”...

This is how Florange workers expressed their anger and disgust, after the Prime Minister’s statement that broke Arnaud Montebourg’s promises. No nationalization, even temporary, and no buyer could be found for a takeover.

Instead, the government accepts all of Mittal’s conditions and just adds some sugar coating: “redeployment” for 630 employees, but there is still a job reduction plan with “voluntary redundancy”, this new legal trick to hide layoffs; nothing for temps and workers at subcontractors; no replacement for workers who retire. To add insult to injury, last Sunday there was a leak from the company’s management announcing the planned closure of the blast furnaces. This further angered Edouard Martin, the CFDT union rep in Florange, who accused the government of “high treason”.

Under Hollande, like under Sarkozy

In 2008, Sarkozy had promised: “With or without Mittal, the State will invest in Gandrange”. One year later, Arcelor’s Gandrange plant was closed, leaving 600 workers out of a job. Today the government takes on a double role: the smooth talker Montebourg brings croissants to the workers camping in front of the Treasury Department, while Ayrault makes an agreement with Mittal, who is very happy with the deal! They used the same old method to deceive the workers: come up with a decoy, like “nationalization” (a temporary one!), in fact a partial acquisition by the State for a very high price with no promise to preserve jobs. But against a corporate thug whose personal wealth is worth 16 billion dollars and who gave himself 2.3 billions in dividends last year, the only effective move would simply be to confiscate the company, without compensation, and put it under the workers’ control.

Liars... and blackmailers

Everywhere, corporate thugs are closing down plants or announcing layoffs. Like at PSA with the Peugeot family.

At the same time, they are blackmailing us with “competitiveness agreements” to “save jobs”, like at Renault, or by threatening to cancel investments, like at Arkema. All this to make jobs more insecure and hours more flexible, to decrease wages, increase workload or impose furloughs, while at the same time making it easier to layoff by reforming Labor Law. The government is trying to push all these concessions down the throat of the union confederations, who play the rigged game called “social dialog”.

Florange, PSA, SFR, Sanofi, Arkema... and all the others in public and private sectors, we fight the same fight !

The Florange steelworkers are bitter, they feel betrayed. Their reaction shows the same anger expressed by all the other workers who have to face the same lies, the same blackmails, the same redundancy plans, in both private and public sectors. Everywhere in France, some workers are fighting for their wages or against job cuts; others fight with their back against the wall to prevent the closure of their company. Only when we join all our fights into a powerful movement on a scale beyond each individual fights will we be able to impose our demands. Then someone can bring croissants to the bosses who have to meet urgently with their ministerial servants, forced to give up part of their billions in dividends... this time for the workers.


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Message  alexi Dim 20 Jan - 23:20

January 7th, 2013

From Russia with love

Gerard Depardieu didn’t play his best role embracing Vladimir Poutin when he was given his Russian passport. But for a 13% tax rate, guaranteed by Prime Minister Medvedev himself, he can certainly call the Russian state a “great democracy”. Besides, this was not his first despicable act. Last year in Tchetchenia, our pseudo-Raspoutine clamored “glory be to Kadyrov”, the local dictator who serves Moscow.

Regarding taxes, the Constitutional Council is more perverse than Depardieu. The Council found a technical issue to invalidate the tentative bill to impose a 75% tax rate on incomes above 1 million euros: the formula would have “breached the principle of equality of public burdens”! In their private circles, the ultra-rich targeted by this symbolic measure are no doubt still laughing...

The government is already conceding. After he first spoke of “adjusting” the measure by extending it until 2017 (instead of two years as initially planned), Moscovici, the Minister of Economy, then scaled back his initial claims, assuring that the tax (whichever it becomes) will only be temporary. The government takes its hat off to the rich and the bosses.

Give back every blow

For proof, during his New Year address Hollande was pleased with the 20 billion tax break given to companies in the name of the “competitiveness agreement”. According to him, this should create jobs. But if the billions in subsidies and tax breaks given to the bosses had ever helped decrease unemployment, we would know it! The Medef (bosses’ union) was pleased with this new bonanza, but insisted that parliament should not vote any compensating measure. This demand was heard by the government, which opposed any amendment in that regard.

When Hollande announces that he wants to decrease unemployment “at all cost”, we should be suspicious... and get ready to strike back at any “cost” they try to impose on us!

And the cost could be very high for us if the bosses could pass all the measures they are negotiating with the unions: not just to make layoffs even easier than they are, but also, among other things, to fix a ceiling to the severance pay for unjustly laid off employees – all but an insurance for corporate thugs!

In order to be perfectly clear, Hollande went back to the Petroplus refinery near Rouen, whose liquidation threatens 470 jobs. Last year, he was calling on the State to guarantee jobs; last week he explained that nothing should be expected of the State in that matter, especially not a nationalization, as Montebourg had suggested for the steel mills in Florange. Montebourg, who was there, didn’t say a word.

С Новым годом !

So will this be a bad year? Not necessarily. We cannot expect anything more from this left wing government than from the preceding rightist government, but this is not a surprise. Instead, against the intensifying attacks, against the redundancy plans taking place in large and small companies, if workers start fighting together again, we can have great hopes.

So С Новым годом ! (in Russian: happy new year!), not to Depardieu and all the oligarchs here and there, but happy new year to all people who are challenging all kinds of powers and arbitrariness.

We wish a good fighting year to all working people, laid off employees, opponents to the Notre Dame des Landes Ayraultport..., to all the people facing deadly austerity plans, to Indian women, to striking Chinese workers, to all our brothers and sisters in the world who are in a fight... Let’s not forget to wish С Новым годом ! to Pussy Riot and all of Poutin’s opponents. Our poor Depardieu, who once played Danton instead of Raspoutine, would have been better off getting inspiration from them!


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Message  alexi Dim 20 Jan - 23:22

January 14, 2013

Hollande goes to war: not to defend the people of Mali, but to protect the French corporations

They use every possible lie to justify the war Hollande just started in Mali.

This operation has been prepared for months, by sending military officers since August and bringing equipment and planes to French military bases in neighboring countries.

Certainly, the islamic armed gangs that took control of North Mali are pillaging and imposing a brutal dictatorship on the people. But were they really just about to conquer Bamako? At the same time as this operation, the French army launched a raid in Somalia to free a French secret agent kept hostage for three years. This shows that the timing of the operation in Mali was set up in advance. Hollande knew that his offensive in North Mali endangered the lives of French hostages in that area. He would have like the glory of having liberated hostages, at least the one in Somalia. No such luck: the hostage is dead.

The biggest lie is pretending the goal of the military intervention was to save the Malian people

France gets involved in Mali to safeguard its hold on the country and its dominant position in Western and Central Africa: for cotton, gold, wood and... uranium, mined by Areva in neighboring Niger and mined by another French company in Mali.

This war, which immediately took its toll on the population, could be long and could bring the country into an even worse shape than it already is. Compare with Lybia: a country falling apart, divided, ruled by rival armed gangs, dominated in large part by religious extremists similar to the ones we are supposed to be fighting in Mali right now.

The TV showed us people demonstrating their happiness in Bamako, hoping to see an end to the failing economy, shortages, rampant inflation and population exodus. We can understand their hopes, or should we say their illusions. But the TV didn’t show the other demonstration in Bamako, last Friday (the first day of the war), of war opponents. They were less numerous, but more wary.

The French government does not spearhead this war in the interest of the Malian people. The tragic situation in Mali is due primarily to the actions of France that has plundered the resources of this country for so long. While at the same time employing Malian immigrant workers at the hardest jobs, without legal papers, without any rights.

Say no to the French military intervention in Mali.

The bosses get their New Year gifts, without the workers’ agreement !

As waves of layoffs follow one another, bosses congratulate themselves after signing an agreement that is supposed to minimize their “fear to hire”... What Hollande describes as a “success of the social dialog” is an actual weapon against workers.

This agreement will generalize all types of employment blackmail already tested in many companies. Using economic difficulties as justification, bosses will be able to impose wage cuts, changes in work hours and arbitrary transfers. This is rip-off made legal, allowing them to decrease the workforce without even having to submit to the limited judicial and financial provisions of a job protection plan.

The servility of the unions that signed the agreement is pathetic and disgusting. The CGT and FO refused to sign it. Good, that was the least they could do. But true refusal can only come from all workers fighting back together.


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