Lacking a political exit to the collapse of its government, Emmanuel Macron plays an imitations game – he has enclose himself in silence, protected by his assault troops, in order to obtain a useless expectation for his announced pronouncement. A short stature De Gaulle. In the previous of the piece of nonsense that will come out of his mouth, last Saturday he filled France with anti-mutiny policemen, at the rate of one repressor for one demonstrator. If the official numbers keep any value, the 120 thousand policemen and gendarmes tied to the 150 thousand ‘yellow vests’ that came out to the street all along the territory of France. As the official characterization of the crisis is “that the institutions are at stake”, the president ordered to take them out to the streets in mass in order to defend them. First tear and pepper gas, tanks and rubber bullets –then the political tergiversations will come. The National Assembly had given agreement to the operation a day before: “the conjunct of deputies paid tribute to the order forces, applauding standing, with the exception of the LF Insubmissive” (Le Monde 12/7). The police employees union, meanwhile, launched an indefinite strike, and in several towns the policemen took their helmets off to embrace with the population. There’s the impression that macron faces obstacles to use these methods with the frequency that the situation imposes. De Gaulle, the tall one, was himself obliged to quit more than once, after his silences.
The parliamentary voting on ‘the forces of order’ matters an instructive political differentiation, because it puts the right (LR and National Front) against the ‘vests’. It translates as well a differentiation within the ‘vests’, where a fraction denominated “free” wants to negotiate with the government. The fascistic Marine Le Pen didn’t stop yelling against the ‘racaille’ (rabble) when she found out a disposition of quarters of the suburbs of Paris to participate in the demonstrations. During the week there was, significantly, fraternization between ‘vests’ and factories workers, immigrants or their descendants, and even a convergence with a march of defenders of the struggle against pollution –which Macron would supposedly be defending with the price rise of fuels. “The struggle in defense of the environment is also a struggle against social inequity”- they explained. The mobilization of preparatory students increased, with the consequence of an enormous number of detained ones; several public buildings were occupied – in several of them strikes were declared, and a truckers strike and an agricultural proprietors demonstration has been announced. The ‘vests’ occupied again the Elysian Fields, the zone banned by the state, which the union bureaucracies never get tired of respecting. The Arc of Triumph has stopped being the zone reserved for the tribute to French militarism.
Welcome to the rearguard
The unions’ bureaucracy has decided to lead the defense of the government. Seven unions’ centrals signed a statement to “call for calm” to the ‘vests’. Phillipe Martinez, the general secretary of the CGT was very clear: “we don’t call to march to the Elysian, nor to the demission of Emmanuel Macron, nor to the dissolution of the National Assembly; we are uneasy about the violence increase”. (id 12/8). Martinez plays the statist, as most of the left and the far left, which fear, behind the ‘vests’, an operation of the right. It shelters itself in the need of a salaries raise, i.e. in using that claim as an exchange currency of an agreement. Instead of working on the delimitation that is already developing in the ‘vests’ movement, it turns its back to it, delivering it effectively to the right, in the eventuality. It reduces the popular lack to a salaries negotiation, this with a regime that has imposed a liquidation of the labor law. Martinez, seeing the loss of union positions in the large companies, due to handing over their struggles, claims the bosses to open a space in them, in exchange of a contention of the present movement. In this line, the CGT has called for an “action day” for next Friday, clearly orientated to convert the bureaucracy into an interlocutor of a negotiation with the bosses and the State. It is, precisely, the call Macron is preparing, according to what has transcended. This pincers operation against the movement, in one hand by the left and the unions’ bureaucracy, and in the other the government, the bosses, the parties and National Assembly, has been historically what allowed the far right the capture of the middle classes thrown into despair by the bankrupted capitalism. The far left coincides in the opposition to the pose of questioning the continuity of the government and the Assembly and to channel the situation in a salary struggle (see e.g. Lutte Ouvriere, 12/7, or the NPA publications).
The central argument of this rearguard is that the working class is in reflux and with a limited disposition to struggle. This does not mean, though, it must bury it even more in this situation, by means of an agreement with the government and bosses (a Grenelle as it is known this kind of treason in France), ignoring the mass of workers that has lost their conditions of labor dependence as consequence of the liquidation of the labor law. The crisis has a whole social character, reason why it must go to the roots of the political regime that protects it by means of the state apparatus in all its manifestations. The really existing left presents the power pose as an ‘adventure’, where anyone could end up fishing. But that could only be produced by confusion, i.e. the denial that there’s a crisis in development. It is necessary to define the alternatives of the stage that opens and to pose the working class ones.
The power? No, thanks
To the question of why not ‘Macron out, dissolution of the National Assembly’, the far left responds: ‘the one that comes after may be worse’. To the lack of political alternative it doesn’t even pose to build one. It is deformed the so-called reflux by isolating the working class from the political crisis and the increasing social demonstrations. A few months ago there was a thorough railway strike, which was driven to a dead end by its leaders. After the French May came ‘something worse’, but the left was struggling for ending with the De Gaulle government and the V republic, and for a strike national committee, in order to impose another way out. The opposition bosses parties, including the FL Insubmissive, pose the dissolution of the National Assembly, with the expectation of disputing a parliamentary majority, but not ‘Macron out’, nor the republic’s presidential dissolution. A power slogan is not synonym of ultimatum –it designs a perspective and prepares an outcome. The call for a general strike with a definite program, as the minimum salary and pension equal to the cost of the family basket and the workers’ control of the production, would pose, objectively, a question of power. To impose the minimum program wouldn’t rescue the government; a victory would overthrow it. That is why the strike must be developed by means of factories committees and action committees. The unions’ bureaucracy and the left have long reached the conclusion that in a revolutionary situation in France is neither predictable nor desirable. That is why it doesn’t want the general strike; a general strike will develop all subjective premises for a struggle for the power.
The Izquierda a Diario ( Daily Left, Argentine PTS web paper) has developed a curious pose: To democratize France, dismantling the V Republic, by means of a single assembly, revocable, and obviously, with teacher’s salary. This means, though, first a Constituent Assembly, which doesn’t limit itself to a constitution discussion, as it emerges from the pose, but which exerts the political power. Secondly, the program of a Constituent cannot only claim the formal democracy but the whole claims of the exploited ones, i.e. an attack to the bourgeois domination. It is not about bringing down the presidential regime, it is about the realization of the masses’ social aspirations. The bosses’ parties defend the continuity of Macron and the ‘institutions’. Only if the working class takes that political claim of the Constituent, it may be turn into real, i.e. it will be convened by, definitely, a workers’ government.
The mobilization in course in France tends to splice itself with an European mobilization, firstly in Belgium and Spain, and along with an exceptional political crisis, along with France, Great Britain. We find ourselves in the first stages.