There is unrest in France, workers are fighting against the plans of the traitorous social democratic government to make it easier for capitalists to fire workers. Under pressure from the ruling class, the cowards of the pseudo-Socialist Party (social democrats) have capitulated and now desperately try to please the capitalists with politics that favor them. Workers in France are not stupid however. Although the social democrats betrayed them, many are willing to fight which means strikes. Revolutionary socialists fully support these brave workers who dare to stand up not only to their capitalist bosses, but also against the pseudo-Socialist Party and its president; François Hollande!
François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande is the president of the French Republic. Although a social democrat, he is not a leftist. Like his predecessors Hollande is a typical social democratic coward, who capitulated from the moment the ruling class rejected his (moderate) leftist agenda. This reminds us of Alexis Tsipras in Greece, who also abandoned his resistance to austerity and social cuts, after he was blackmailed by the European Union. Hollande agreed on reforming the labour market, making it easier for capitalist bosses to fire workers!
Although the capitalist media branded him a ”typical socialist” after Hollande tried to impose a wealth tax, he proofed to be unable to stand up against the negative reactions from the bourgeoisie. Soon the president abandoned his wealth tax plan and choose to attack the working class instead. Workers in France are known to fight for the social security, they build up. But the politicians from both the traditional right-wing and the pseudo-Socialist Party never paid much attention. For them, the market is God and competition is King. France must remain a competitive capitalist nation and workers have to accept, that market based reforms are ”necessary” to compete with slave-wage nations like India and China!
But France lacks a party for workers. The ideals of socialism are discredited by the pseudo-Socialist Party and the ideals of communism are discredited by the French Communist Party. Because both the socialist party and communist party are moderate political parties, not revolutionary at all. Worse, the French Communist Party is just a little more to the lefit of the pseudo-Socialist Party, making them a reformist socialist party. The official communists do not even speak about socialism or the need for a socialist republic. They support the leader of the Left Party and Left Front; Jean-Luc Melenchon, who lacks any program to brake with capitalism!
Because the French left offers no alternatives, many workers are deeply frustrated as they see their government working to destroy their social security and workers rights. Anger drives many to support the nationalists of the National Front. Led by Marine Le Pen, this far-right nationalist party fuels on workers anger towards the traditional political parties. Le Pen’s party is protectionist and claims to defend small business and workers. But this is a smoke screen as the party used to support austerity and neoliberalism in the 1980’s. Back then the National Front under Jean Marie Le Pen was also deeply antisemitic and racist. Marine Le Pen has tried to move the party away from her father’s ethnic nationalism, but she cannot hide that many inside her party are sympathetic to far-right ideas!
The Left Front is a coalition of leftist parties to the left of the pseudo-Socialist Party. Although some revolutionary leftists make up the coalition, the moderate ideals of the Left Party and the French Communist Party dominate. Their program can be called radical social democratic, but it offers no brake with capitalism. They talk about a new French Republic, but do not call it a socialist republic. In short, the ideals of the Left Front are very close to the original ideals of social democracy, before it abandoned leftism for neoliberalism in the 1980’s. The pseudo-Socialist Party is a perfect example of his turn to the right-wing under president François Mitterrand!
This president first carried out massive programs in order to limit the power of capitalism. But after two years and capitalist sabotage, he capitulated and reversed his programs. Under François Mitterrand, the first neoliberal ideals were implemented. He also attacked Greenpeace by sinking the Rainbow Warrior. President François Hollande share a lot with the pseudo-socialist president of the 1980’s and 1990’s. But unlike Mitterrand, Hollande never claimed that he would build socialism in 100 days. Beside the socialist party back then was still a workers party with many members willing to build socialism. But today’s socialist party is led by people who put the markets first!
Pilots of the airliner Air France-KLM are at the front of striking against the decisions made by the pseudo-Socialist Party, to give their capitalist masters more power. The Air France KLM group is made up of two airliners; Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airliners. While Dutch pilots and cabin crew agreed with cuts to their incomes, French pilots refused and went on strike. Dutch capitalist media outlets call it an ”outrage” and praise the ”brave” KLM pilots and crew who bowed to the demands of the airline management!
As many know, the airline market is highly competitive and major airliners are cutting wages to keep profits up. Management and directors are paid millions, while workers have to accept cuts and lower social security. It is therefore that Revolutionary Socialist Media fully supports the strikes of French workers, who should not pay for any economic crisis. Air France – KLM boss: Frédéric Gagey enjoys a royal salary of 600.000 euro’s a year with bonuses reaching up to 300.000 euros a year. In total, Mr. Gagey is paid almost 900.000 euros!
Since the rise of low cost carriers, Air France – KLM is fighting a battle against opponents who care little for workers rights. Carriers like Ryanair are forcing their pilots to pay for their own training programs. This results that young pilots end up in massive debt, which they cannot pay off, especially if low cost carriers demand they pay for future training courses. A pilot needs to train his/her skills in order to keep up to date, the costs of these training programs are not not cheap. Ryanair charges its pilots almost 30.000 euros for their annual flight training. It is not illegal for a capitalist company to demand that its workers pay for their own training courses and Ryanair likes to cut expensive at all corners!
A big problem in France are the positions of the trade unions. Those unions linked to the social democrats are supporting cuts and austerity in the name of ”keeping jobs”. These class traitors support austerity because they claim TINA (There Is No Alternative). Trade unions should fight for workers rights, not surrendering because a social democratic president is too afraid to challenge the might of French capitalism. Other unions who might reject austerity are still unwilling to fight a ”socialist” government. This is why most strikes are carried out by local workers, who sometimes even fight win-out trade union leadership!
The ”Revolutionary Left” organisation is trying to build a fighting force for socialism in France. Revolutionary Left is the French section of the Committee for a Workers International. It participated in the formation of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) in 2009, only to realize that this project was doomed to fail. The NPA was too much a debate club and not able to become a party for the working class on a socialist program. After three years of working inside the NPA, Revolutionary Left choose to leave this now marginal force in French politics. With the failure of the NPA to become a mass party and the Left Front unwilling to fight for a socialist society, it becomes painfully clear that France (like most European nations) lacks a force for genuine socialism!
What is needed is a party that dares to attack and destroy capitalism. A party that takes away the billions from the ruling class and uses them to end poverty. Because there is huge poverty among working class citizens, especially among immigrant workers from Algeria, Morocco and other African countries. In our time less then 60 people control more then 52% of all wealth on this planet. This is the direct result of the capitalist system and the unfair distribution of wealth. The political parties of the ruling class (including the social democrats and nationalists) support this inequality. We revolutionary socialists therefore support strikes by workers, but at the same time call for the formation of a mass party that can truly change society. The NPA and Left Front are not that mass party as they lack unity and the program to win the trust of the French proletariat!
Right-wing forces love the weakness of François Hollande. They cannot wait to defeat him and enforce even more brutal austerity. Conservative forces have always been able to use the unwillingness of the social democrats to change society, for their own means. Social democracy has lost elections, because it dared not to fight against the capitalist counter attacks. Right-wing forces then claimed that the left was unable to do good and won elections based on classic lies that ”socialism cannot work”. Because of the inability of the social democrats to build socialism, many workers started to believe the propaganda of the right-wing. Not only the socialist party is to blame for this, because the French Communist Party has abandoned the revolutionary road too. The former supporters of stalinism now embrace a concept what we could call bourgeois-leftism or classic social democracy!
French workers are angry and they good reasons to be. However as long as their is no party for the workers on a socialist program, the strikes and demonstrations will not bring results. The pseudo-Socialist Party and the conservative opposition want to make France ”competitive” at the expense of workers and poor. They claim TINA and say that it is ”necessary” to reform the labour market. We say no to their neoliberal logic and call for a socialist society based on democratic control. We call for nationalizations of all big enterprises and the full expropriation of the billionaires. France has over 39 billionaires with 10 of them owning more then 171 billion euros. This money should not belong to just ten people, but to French society!