Friday, April 14, 2023

The Red Herald: Last week of mobilizations against the pension reform


On Friday 7th April we published our last report on the mobilizations in France against the pension reform. Since then, the struggle has continued, and in the last two days protesters have taken to the streets again, blocking roads and taking further action against buildings representing French capital and the French State. The Constitutional Council [Conseil Constitutionnel, the highest institution of justice of the French State] will decide on Friday 14th April if the pension reform proposed by President Emmanuel Macron is constitutional.

The unions continue to call for mobilisation while they await for the decisition of the Constitucional Council. This Thursday 13th there is a strike called in the transport, energy, education and rubbish collection sectors. The morning began with roadblocks on many locations, both in the city and in the countryside, where in many places farmers have joined in. The French working class continues to overwhelm the police forces, and to carry out militant actions of all kinds all over France. The police expect between 400,000 and 600,000 demonstrators nationwide. Cars have been seen burning in Rennes and Toulouse, rubbish has been thrown through the streets of Paris to set up blockades, and during the afternoon of Thursday 13, and railway unionists of the CGT, have entered the headquarters of Louis Vuitton as a sign of protest.

Image of a car on fire in Rennes, with a poster saying ”Gendarme go away”. Image credits Burnabynow website.
Image of railway unionists entering the Louis Vuitton headquarters in Paris. Image credits: Sky News website.

Multiple cases of disproportionate police response are being reported. Just this afternoon, the media website reported that one of its journalists in Lyon was severely beaten with a truncheon to the head in a police charge. We must also remember the very serious case of Serge, a young man who has been in a coma since 25 March after the police fired an explosive grenade at his head. Journalistic investigations also show that this was not the only illegal police action in these protests, there are more such as a direct and horizontal shot of the police against the demonstrators. Serge’s comrades in struggle have published a statement in the French newspaper Nouvelle Epoque, calling to continue the struggle, denouncing the repression of the state and capitalism against those who struggle.

The revolutionaries of the League of Revolutionary Youth [Ligue de la Jeunesse Révoutionnaire – LJR] have been present in many actions and demands during these days. On 10th April they published a reflexion on the ongoing struggle and the near future. They ended with the following statement:

‘’This movement, by its magnitude and its determination, is already a victory for our class. Whatever the decision of the Constitutional Council, we will continue to be on the barricades, in the factories, in the schools and in the neighbourhoods to mobilize and organize the proletariat of France to march on the path of the Socialist Revolution, the only one that will allow our emancipation by overthrowing the bourgeoisie and capitalism.

Let us trust in our class and let us redouble our efforts, because organized, we are bound to win.’’

We can see on their twitter where they have been present until this afternoon:

– Yesterday they posted graffiti in honour of comrade Serge:

Graffiti reading: “Long live comrade Serge, honour to all revolutionaries! Image credits to the LJR.

– This morning they were at the barricades at Feyzin’s refinery (Lyon).

– Besides this, the newspaper Nouvelle Epoque have been in a picket in Grenoble.

Around fifteen employees mobilized to protest against being sanctioned for attending protests against the pension reform. Image credits to Nouvelle Epoque.

They have also been at the barricades at the refinery in Feyzin, Lyon, where they report that the roads in and out have been blocked, and 100 activists have gathered.

The first photo shows a banner that reads: “Last call before the sanction”. In the second photo, pickets of activists are seen blocking the arrival of trucks at the refinery. Image credits to Nouvelle Epoque.