Macron’s party is opposing the RN, on the other hand, not on the basis of its fascistic attacks on Muslims and immigrants, or its vicious anti-working-class program, which the Macron government shares, but by denouncing Le Pen as an agent of “foreign powers.” Thus, it is managing to attack the neo-fascist Le Pen on a right-wing, nationalist basis.(ル・ペンをネオ・ファシストと決めつけるのは的外れ)

This mirrors the campaign by the Democratic Party against President Donald Trump in the US, centered on claims that he is an agent of Russia, in order to channel the working-class opposition to the Trump administration in a right-wing, nationalist direction, and articulate the demands of the US intelligence apparatus for more aggressive confrontation with Russia.

In an interview with Le Monde on May 16, Nathalie Loiseau, the lead candidate for the LREM-MoDem campaign in the European elections, declared, “Marine Le Pen and her friends will be the representatives of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in the European parliament.(RNをロシアノエージェントと決めつける)

Gilles Boyer, a LREM-MoDem candidate, told L’Opinion on May 14 that the National Rally was “in a certain sense, the party that plays the game of our adversaries, our economic adversaries. It is closer to Trump and Putin than the defense of French interests. In a certain sense, the foreign party in this election is the National Rally, which nonetheless calls itself nationalist.”

In France as internationally, the working class is entering into struggle and shifting to the left, not the right. The “yellow vest” protests of hundreds of thousands that have taken place every week for the past six months have been driven by opposition to rising social inequality and poverty and dominated by demands for an end to austerity and a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the working class.(黄色ジャケット運動は労働者の利益代表)

They are part of an international upsurge in working-class struggle against more than four decades of social attacks during which the class struggle has been suppressed by the pro-corporate unions.(御用組合)

The fact that Le Pen’s party is politically benefiting under these conditions is the outcome of parties, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Unsubmissive France and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA).

After initially denouncing the “yellow vest” protests as right wing, this milieu shifted to a strategy of smothering the movement. Explicitly opposing revolution, Mélenchon promoted the corporatized, anti-working-class trade union apparatuses, declaring on his blog in December that “we must find an institutional solution to events,” via empty motions of censure of the government in parliament. Despite having won 7 million votes in the 2017 presidential elections, Mélenchon called no mass protests against the vicious police repression Macron meted out to the “yellow vests.”

Mélenchon declared last month that he is ready to form a “popular federation” with the Socialist Party (PS), from which the Macron government emerged. Macron has merely intensified the anti-working-class policies of his PS predecessor François Hollande. The PS’s role over decades, in which Mélenchon personally participated as a Senator until 2008, has led to its collapse to just over 5 percent in the current European election polls.

Both the NPA and Mélenchon implicitly called for a vote for Macron in the 2017 elections on the fraudulent basis that the election of a right-wing bourgeois government could be used to oppose the growth of the far right. Their policy of promoting reflects the interests of the privileged middle class that is hostile to any movement of the working class.(メレンションは社会党と組無といって居る。社会党はネオ・リベラルに屈服して国民尾信頼を失った。

The rise in Le Pen’s vote demonstrates the bankruptcy of this perspective. It confirms the correctness of the perspective advanced by the Socialist Equality Party alone in the second round of the 2017 French presidential elections. The SEP called for an active boycott by the working class, insisting that the only way forward in the fight against the far right is the building of an independent revolutionary movement of the working class against the entire capitalist political establishment and the profit system they defend.

In every country, the promotion of far-right and fascist forces by the state is driven by the unending growth of social inequality and the ruling class’ drive to impose its policies of austerity and war through dictatorship. The critical task confronting the working class is the building of the Socialist Equality Party as a revolutionary leadership to arm the growing struggles of the working class with a socialist perspective

Nearly 90 percent of the French now disapprove of their president(2016-7-5)

Strike wave against labor law spreads in France(2016-6-2)



















Buy French"運動が起こりつつあるという記事を出している。国産品をフランス人がもっと買えば貿易赤字と失業も減るという、かつての米国における「バイ・アメリカン」運動と同じものが提唱されている。それほどフランスも切羽詰っているということである。同じユーロ圏でも他国の面倒を見るゆとりはフランスにはないということである。







「さあ喜劇は終わった。幕を閉じろ!(ラブレー、Tirez le rideau, la farce est jouee)」といったところである。いやもう一幕ぐらいはあるかもしれないが、エピローグは見えた。観客はゾロゾロ帰り始める。ユーロ圏が生き返る可能性は極めて低い。




それはフランスでは極右政党というレッテルを張られていたFH(国民戦線)のマリヌ・ルパン(Marine Le Pen)党首である。彼女は1968年生まれでFNの創設者であるジャン・マリエ・ルパンJean-Marie Le Pen)しの3女である。パリ第2大学で法律学修士を1991年に取得した弁護士である。2度結婚し2度とも離婚して3人の子供がいる。彼女のフランス人好みの知的風貌は個人的人気を高めている。現在の支持率は20%といわれている。











⑧WTO,IMF,WB(世銀)は不要である。特にIMFはNeo Liberalの牙城であり有害で極まりない。ヨーロッパも彼ら悪影響を受けている。




FNは実際のところ右翼というより左翼といったほうが適切である。これはアメリカの左翼系の雑誌「The Nation」も認めている。FNは反ユダヤでもないし、反イスラムでもない。あくまで不法移民の排除である。それからイスラムの女性がベールを株手町を歩いたり、学校に行ったりすることも禁止している。そういう意味では反多文化主義である。














ル・モンド紙の解説記事によればフランスは新たな不況局面に入っている。INSEE(L'Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques=国立統計経済研究所)が12月15日に公表したところによると「国債問題の悪影響が拡大しGDP(国内総生産)の実質成長率は2011年の4Qは-0.2%、2012年1Qは-0.1%とそれぞれマイナス成長になるという。






























Jean-Luc Mélenchon: the poetry-loving pitbull galvanising the French elections

Angelique Chrisafis joins charismatic hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the presidential campaign trail

Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Jean-Luc Mélenchon delivers a campaign speech in Grigny, near Paris. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

In packed agricultural hanger in a rural town in central France, an enraptured crowd raised their fists and chanted: "Resistance! Resistance!" On stage, arms flung wide, sweat pouring down his face, stood the charismatic, hard-left firebrand hailed as the best orator of the presidential campaign. "The French Revolution of 1789 hasn't breathed its last!" roared Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the poetry-loving pitbull of anti-capitalism. "If Europe is a volcano, France is the crater of all European revolutions!"

Mixing brute rage with killer, comic one-liners about the French political class, Mélenchon whipped up the crowd with promises of a civic insurrection to crush aristocracy and privilege. Hundreds who could not fit into the hall stood freezing in the car-park watching a live feed on a video screen, waving red banners and tricolour flags. "Welcome to Mélenchon-mania," beamed a student at her first ever rally.

Mélenchon, a former Socialist minister, has emerged as the tub-thumping philosopher-leader of the radical left. His sharp rise in the polls has seen him hailed as the "great revelation" of the French presidential campaign. He has leapfrogged the extreme right's Marine Le Pen to become the "third man" in the presidential race behind Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.

His ideas include a 100% fat-cat tax, where the state will confiscate any earnings over £300,000. He wants a return to full pensions for everyone from the age of 60, a 20% hike in the minimum wage, a cap on maximum salaries and the nationalisation of big energy companies. He says the US is the biggest international threat in the world.

His supporters say he is the great hope for a banker-bashing revolution that will transform the face of Europe and reinvent leftwing politics. His detractors say his promises would bankrupt France. Laurence Parisot, head of France's business-leaders's union, likened Mélenchon to the guillotine-happy revolutionaries of France's blood-soaked Reign of Terror.

Some say the Mélenchon frenzy is good for the left, boosting its overall score. Others who want the moderate Socialist Hollande to hang onto his lead over the rightwing Sarkozy warn that his firebrand promises risk splitting the leftwing vote in the crucial first round on 22 April.

Crisscrossing France from open-air rally to campaign meeting, while taking out a loan to pay for more video screens for the overspill at his packed gatherings, Mélenchon let the Guardian travel with him. "I'm dangerous!" he growled by way of an introduction. "Dangerous for financial interests, and dangerous for the oligarchy in France and Europe."

Crushing fat cat pay is pretty simple, he explained. "Anything above €360,000, we take it all. The tax bracket will be 100%. People say to me, that's ideological. I say too right it is. It's a vision of society. Just as we won't allow poverty in our society, we won't allow the hyper-accumulation of riches. Money should not be accumulated but circulated, invested, spent for the common good."

Will rich people flee France, as his critics warn? "If they do, no problem. Bye bye," he smiled.

He reasons that if the top tier of French bosses left, their deputies would take over. Not to mention another Mélenchon proposal - now also taken up by Sarkozy himself - that any tax exile would have to pay the difference back to the French state. "So there's no point leaving, because we'll catch you. If they don't pay, we'll seize what they own."

"Look, we have to smash this prejudice that the rich are useful just because they're rich," he said.

"Capitalist propaganda always managed to make people think the markets' interests were humanity's interests." For too long people have been made to feel that they were some kind of drain or problem for expecting free education, free healthcare or being able to stop working when they were old and spent, he added.

Mélenchon, 60, a one-time Trotskyist and former teacher, spent 30 years in the Socialist party, where he served as a minister and was once the youngest ever senator. He quit in 2008, arguing the party wasn't properly leftwing. He founded his own radical left Parti de Gauche and is now running for president for a leftist coalition, the Front de Gauche. His coalition includes the once powerful Communist party, which scored less than 2% in the last presidential vote, and who behind Mélenchon are now hoping for a renaissance.

Part of his campaign success - he recently brought the Place de la Bastille in Paris to a stand-still by drawing a crowd of tens of thousands - is rage at the financial crisis, but also his pantomine charm as a rabid attack dog against the French political elite, media and powers that be. In his trademark red tie, his explosive performances in TV debates and virulent jibes at his arch-nemisis Le Pen have become the stuff of campaign legend. Fighting Le Pen for the working class and protest vote, he has called her "a bat", "half-demented" and a "dark presence" likened to Dracula. Last autumn he also accused Hollande of being a "pedal boat captain", which has been the longest running gag of the presidential campaign so far. Sarkozy has used Mélenchon's charisma as a stick to beat what he calls a "bland" Hollande.

Mélenchon, the man who defends the proletariat, is sitting in a first-class train carriage, chewing strawberry sweets. He sees no contradiction in travelling in comfort, saying he earns a decent wage as an MEP, doesn't own a car, avoids flying. Even if he has got a Paris flat and a house in the country, he says he has simple tastes. "I don't have much imagination for spending money."

He says just because a politician earns a comfortable wage doesn't mean they should shut their eyes to the "ocean of misery in the world". "I don't pretend to be anything other than what I am - an intellectual with a good income. But I've chosen my camp."

He lampoons the Socialist party for not breaking with capitalism and instead falling for "the illusion that there could be a good capitalism". He says that just as state communism has collapsed, social democracy has collapsed — the death-knell was Greece's prime minister George Papandreou, head of the Socialist International "who was attacked by international finance and didn't last an hour".

Mélenchon says his Parti de Gauche has emerged "at a time of renaissance and reorganisation of the progressive camp on the ruins of social democracy and state communism."

He says he likes a good "fight". He was famously at the centre of the French left's bloodiest internal war, the 2005 referendum on the European constitution. From inside the Socialist party, Mélenchon championed the no vote, against Hollande and the party leadership. France voted no and Mélenchon regrets that the political class swept aside a result it didn't want to hear. "That's a scar that has never healed. In democracy it's very dangerous to take people for imbeciles. They aren't."

His detractors say he is France-centric and anti-European. As an MEP, he disagrees, saying he's pro-Europe and pro-euro - "we can't have a European minimum wage without it" - but against the domination of Europe by economic liberalism and the free market. He lampoons the EU's fiscal treaty on budget austerity, which he would scrap, and "which will end in economic disaster because the whole of Europe will go into recession, including Germany".

But the principle danger is the world today is the US. "The Americans don't have a good press in our country and I take it upon myself to lead the scepticism that their behaviour elicits." He says the US is in "a crisis of hegemony", and that "their currency is sick and they're trying to defend it by every means possible, keeping it as a world reserve currency that allows them to live off the rest of the world's credit".

He adds: "The US's only comparative advantage today is its military. It's dangerous because it's a wounded beast." He would take France out of Nato.

Mélenchon's critics have called him a "little Chávez a la française", saying he's a friend of Castro's Cuba or favours China over the Tibet struggle. He brushes this aside, saying Tibet "is used as a pretext to put permanent pressure on Beijing, which reacts like the authoritarian government that it is". Of the Dalai Lama, he says: "I'm hostile to theocracy. I don't agree with religion in politics." But he adds: "I've never been a partisan of violence against anyone."

Mélenchon's supporters are expected to transfer to Hollande en masse in the second round run-off vote, as the broad French left wants above all to eject Sarkozy. Mélenchon claims he is not seeking a seat in a leftwing government in exchange for negotiations over support. But Sarkozy likes to raise the spectre of the moderate Hollande "held hostage" to Mélenchon's hard-left ideas.

Meanwhile, Mélenchon has no intention to tone down his campaign or his anger. "You can't present a programme like mine with the face of a sweet little boy taking his first communion," he says. And then his train arrives at the next rally destination. "Onward, friends!" he cries to his team as they step onto the platform.








これは左翼候補としてオランド候補の票を奪いつつあるといわれるメレンション(Jean-Luc Mélenchon)候補よりも過激である。メレンションはマリヌと第3位争いをしているが、第2位には上がれず、結局彼の支持者(15%といわれる)は決選投票ではオランド支持に回るとみられている。マリヌの支持者も15%くらいはいるといわれ、これも基本的に反サルコジで決選投票ではメルケル路線と一線を画すオランド支持に回るとみられている。サルコジはいわば































French President Hollande tours Asia as divisions mount between US and Europe over China

By Alex Lantier and Kumaran Ira
4 November 2015

French President François Hollande wrapped up a two-day visit to China Thursday aimed at deepening financial and strategic ties with that country, and preparing this month’s Cop-21 climate summit in Paris. He is visiting South Korea today before returning to France.

Hollande’s was the latest in a series of high-level state visits highlighting Europe’s ever-closer relations with China. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Britain last month to develop London as Europe’s major offshore trading center for the renminbi, the Chinese currency, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled a series of major business deals only days ago, in her eighth trip to Beijing as chancellor.

Besides negotiating with Chinese officials on pollution targets to be adopted at the Cop-21 summit, Hollande and the accompanying French business delegation also signed multibillion-euro deals. They signed a €20 billion industrial agreement on nuclear waste recycling and pressed China to invest in French nuclear giant Areva, after it took large stakes in French utility Engie (formerly Gaz de France-Suez) and automaker PSA.

French officials also negotiated to increase Paris’s role as an offshore renminbi trading center. French yearly foreign direct investment (FDI) in China hit €17.9 billion and Chinese FDI in France hit €4.3 billion in 2013. The availability of tens of billions of renminbi in French banks will allow investors to bypass the US dollar as they carry out international investment transactions.

Compared to earlier negotiations between French and Chinese officials, the escalating divisions between European and US strategy towards China were far more difficult to hide.

In March, the major European powers including France defied Washington’s call not to join China’s $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB was part of a broader Chinese project announced late in 2013, known as the Silk Road Economic Belt or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative. This is an enormous plan for as much as $1.4 trillion of investment in rail and road infrastructure to create a rapid-transit overland route from China across Eurasia to European markets via Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

This week, Hollande was silent on the US “pivot to Asia” aimed at encircling China. He offered no public support to the United States, a NATO ally of France, in the current explosive standoff between the US Navy and Chinese forces in the South China Sea.

In its account of Hollande’s visit, however, China’s Global Times newspaper praised France’s support for OBOR: “The two countries have made an effort to join hands in exploring third-party markets under the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, capitalizing on their technological and financial strength in the global economy.”

This comes amid escalating European criticisms of US policy towards Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Hollande has repeatedly warned that NATO could provoke “total war” with Russia; last week, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Russia and publicly attacked financial sanctions that Europe adopted against Russia under US pressure. These sanctions cut across French interests, like the large-scale investments in Russia of French oil corporation Total.

Such criticisms align French policy more with that of that of China, however, which last year offered to extend a lifeline of credit to Russia to help it evade the sanctions.

It is ever clearer that US-Europe differences over China’s AIIB/OBOR projects reflected not only diverging financial policies, but also escalating strategic conflicts between US imperialism and its European rivals. The US “pivot to Asia” has led sections of the European ruling class to consider developing closer strategic ties with China at the expense of their relations with the United States.

China’s OBOR initiative towards Central Asia and Europe initially was a response to the “pivot to Asia” announced by the Obama administration in 2011. As China looked to the Pacific Ocean and its maritime trade routes via the Indian Ocean to its energy sources in the Middle East, it faced a coalition of hostile powers assembled by Washington including Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India. Vastly outclassed in terms of naval strength, the Chinese regime decided instead to develop overland trade routes in Eurasia.

By launching OBOR in 2013, Beijing was returning to a strategy it had considered ever since shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. In that decade, Beijing developed plans for Chinese land routes to the Middle East, such as the “Pan-Asian Global Energy Bridge” proposal. These plans were suddenly blocked, however, by the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the resulting exertion of US influence in Central Asia.

Amid the deepening crisis of global capitalism, after 14 years have gone by and Washington has largely withdrawn from Afghanistan, China’s OBOR plans take on far greater significance. While US imperialism’s relative economic position is vastly weaker since the 2008 crash, Chinese capitalism now also faces a weakening economy and is desperate to find economic outlets for its goods. At the same time, as Europe faces its own intractable economic crisis, European imperialism is increasingly dependent upon its lucrative ties with China, as illustrated by Hollande’s visit.

As a result, geostrategic tensions have surged. After US military standoffs with Russia over Syria in 2013 and Ukraine in 2014, and China over Korea in 2013—governments around the world have begun contemplating the danger of global war between nuclear-armed powers.

Now, sections of the Chinese ruling elite are starting to float proposals to develop alliances with European Union (EU) countries against the United States.

In an October 27 piece bluntly titled “Ties with EU can offset US-Japan alliance,” the Global Times wrote: “China now has the initiative in Sino-European relations. It is more than a coincidence that three major European heads of state have met with China’s top leader within a month. The US media never ceases wringing their hands or blaming Europe for giving up their ‘principles.’ The Americans’ wrath stems from their jealousy over Europe’s bigger determination to engage in an amicable relationship with China.”

Such remarks are a warning to the international working class of the bankruptcy of the existing social order. Contradictions of cataclysmic proportions, rooted in the contradiction between the development of the productive forces and the irrational character of the nation-state system, are emerging in the structure of world capitalism.

There are, of course, enormous obstacles to the rise of a hypothetical China-EU alliance: the NATO alliance between the United States and Europe, the instability of the regions China is trying to unite with OBOR, and the divisions inside Europe itself. The Global Times admitted, “China should note that US-Europe relations are far from as bad as we think, and the so-called rivalry among the UK, Germany, and France for China’s favor is not as reliable as we expect.”

The fact remains, however, that China and various European powers are for now collaborating against Washington’s wishes in planning the embryo of the transport and financial infrastructure necessary to unite the Eurasian landmass into an economic unit. Such an entity, were it to develop, would not only face the United States as its only significant geostrategic rival, but also decisively outclass the United States in population and industrial strength.

One of the central dangers emerging from the current US-EU divisions over China is the risk that these contradictions will explode into war—in particular, as US imperialism seeks to avoid being relegated to second-class status. Indeed, it has long been a central goal of US foreign policy to prevent at all costs the uniting of the Eurasian landmass.

The need to act aggressively to prevent such an outcome was one of the main themes of former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s widely read 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard.

He warned of the rise of economic power on both ends of the Eurasian continent: “the issue of how a globally engaged America copes with the complex Eurasian power relationships—and particularly whether it prevents the emergence of a dominant and antagonistic Eurasian power—remains central to America’s capacity to exercise global primacy… Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.”

In a 2005 article, the US geostrategic analysis firm Stratfor cited US fears of a Russian-dominated Eurasia as a reason for Washington to seek to dismember Russia. “The Soviet Union also came as close as any power ever has to uniting Eurasia into a single, integrated, continental power—the only external development that might be able to end the United States’ superpowership. These little factoids are items that policymakers neither forget nor take lightly... US policy towards Russia is as simple as it is final: dissolution,” it wrote.

Today, the danger is surging that the major powers will employ even more aggressive policies, as they face an escalating crisis for which they have no progressive solution.


Hollande urges other parties to block far-right in election


PARIS - French President Francois Hollande called Wednesday for the country's political parties to unite to block the far-right National Front (FN) in this weekend's regional elections.

French President Francois Hollande

With the anti-immigration party topping the poll in the first round of the vote Sunday, his spokesman Stephane Le Foll quoted the president as saying there "needed to be clarity in the behaviour and attitude of all political leaders to defend the values of the Republic


Defying police repression, protests continue against French labour law

By Stéphane Hugues
18 May 2016

Despite the imposition of the reactionary labour law by the Socialist Party (PS) government in the National Assembly last week, using emergency clause 49.3 of the French constitution, protests against the law are continuing this week across France.

During yesterday’s strikes and demonstrations, truck drivers blocked or slowed traffic to a crawl on motorways near big cities in most regions of France. Tomorrow, there will be a strike on French railways, while a new round of demonstrations and strikes against the labour law is planned for Thursday.

Protesters are defying brutal police repression of demonstrations against the labour law and the broader police state agenda of the PS. In a sinister development, trampling fundamental democratic principles including freedom of assembly and the presumption of innocence, the PS has been launching pre-emptive arrests of protesters to stop them from participating in protests. The PS used the current State of Emergency, voted in after the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, as a pretext for this blatant attack on democratic rights.

The PS’s claim was rejected yesterday by the administrative courts, which rule on state institutions, who heard appeals from activists who had been banned from the demonstrations. In nine out of ten cases, the bans were overturned. Nonetheless, the government’s invocation of such authoritarian powers is a serious warning to workers and youth: the PS and the entire ruling class have moved very far in the direction of police state rule, as it seeks to impose their agenda of social retrogression.

During yesterday’s demonstrations, police and demonstrators clashed again amid the growing anger of youth and workers with the PS. A total of 87 people were arrested nationwide. The demonstration in Paris, which was to have marched to Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s offices at Matignon Palace, was rerouted with the trade unions’ agreement in order to protect the government.

In Paris, 55,000 demonstrated according to the trade unions, while police claimed the demonstration was only 13,000 strong. Clashes between police and protesters erupted towards the end of the march, as in Marseille, where the youth marchers became separated from trade union protesters and were attacked by police. Students at the Marseille protest also charged that the Stalinist General Confederation of Labour (CGT) union had helped the police attack them at the last protest, firing tear gas at the youth protesters.

Other major cities reported sizeable demonstrations: in Marseille, 6,800 according to police or 80,000 according to the trade unions; Lyon, 1,700 (police) or 7,000 (unions); Toulouse, 2,300 or 8,000; Nantes, 3,500 or 10,000; Grenoble: 1,600 or 7,000; Rennes, 1,100 or 2,000 protesters.

In Rennes, a section of the demonstration tried to join truck drivers blocking the ring road around the town and were pursued by police. About 450 managed to join the truck drivers, shouting, “State of Emergency, Police State, no one will stop us joining the truck drivers.”

In Nantes, hundreds of youth took control of the front of the demonstration, clashing with police and throwing projectiles at the outside of the Prefecture. The banner at the head of the youth rally was “Resistances.” They chanted, “We aren’t violent, we are angry, young, precarious and revolutionary” and “What we want is to attack the state, we don’t want any more 49.3”. The police intervened twice with tear gas against the youth.

These protests reflect deeply rooted opposition to the PS’s assault on social gains won over decades of social struggle by the working class in the 20th century. Mass opposition to the labour law and growing anger among workers and youth are creating a crisis of rule for the PS government.

Since it came to power in 2012, President François Hollande’s PS has made so many attacks on the social and democratic rights of the population that Hollande is the most hated French president of the entire postwar period, with an approval rating of just 14 percent. The El Khomri law is opposed by 75 percent of the population. After the PS government rammed it through the parliament, 54 percent of the population still support continuing protests against it; 68 percent want the government to not implement the law in its current form.

There is every indication, both in France and in escalating struggles of the working class across Europe and internationally, that this escalating discontent is moving in the direction of a social explosion and a direct political confrontation between the working class and the bourgeois state. It is urgent under these conditions for definite political lessons to be drawn from the experience of the protests so far.

In the absence of a broad mobilisation of the working class in struggle against the PS government and the European Union, it is impossible to effectively oppose the austerity drive. As in other countries across Europe, the PS government in France and its trade union and political allies will seek to divide, defuse and demobilise popular opposition as much as possible, so that the ruling class can continue with the imposition of the law.

The struggle of the working class in France against the labour law, and more broadly against austerity across Europe, requires a political struggle against war and to defend democratic rights. Last year, it emerged that Hollande maintains a secret international kill list, discussed only with a handful of unanswerable high-ranking intelligence and military officials. Now, the outlines of a military-police dictatorship in France carrying out preventive arrests and other police provocations to illegalise protests are emerging into view.

The only way forward is to take the struggle out of the hands of the trade and student unions, and to carry out a ruthless political break with the PS, the trade unions, and their pseudo-left supporters, which have proven utterly bankrupt and hostile to the interests of the working class. Any movement left in their hands is condemned to stagnation, dismemberment and, ultimately, to defeat. Workers need organisations of struggle independent of the trade unions and existing parties, based on a perspective of a revolutionary struggle.


Strike wave against labor law spreads in France(2016-6-2)

By Kumaran Ira
2 June 2016

Strikes are spreading in France as transport, nuclear and civil aviation workers joined striking oil refinery workers against the Socialist Party's (PS) “El Khomri” labor reform law.

Workers at the French National Railway (SNCF) began an open-ended strike Tuesday evening, while Paris metro and commuter train workers are beginning indefinite strikes today. Air France pilot unions have called a strike next week, while civil aviation involving air traffic controllers voted a three-day strike beginning on Friday.

On Wednesday, the national and regional train services of the French national railways (SNCF) were hit by rolling strikes, halting around half of train services nationwide. It was the eighth day of industrial action at SNCF since early March, and the first time workers voted an open-ended strike. In addition to opposing the laborlaw, workers are also fighting changes to working times and conditions.

Industrial action halted around some 40 percent of high-speed TGV trains and up to two-thirds of services on other lines and disrupted Thalys services to Belgium and the Netherlands. In the Paris region, only 40 percent of train service operated, whereas 45 percent service was reported in other regions. The SNCF said that about 17 percent of its workforce joined the strike, compared to 10 percent who struck last week.

The three main SNCF unions, led by the Stalinist General Confederation of Labor (CGT), called an open-ended strike, while the PS-linked French Democratic Labor Confederation (CFDT) union withdrew its strike call after claiming that it succeeded in obtaining concessions from the PS.

“This week will be the strongest mobilization in three months now,” said CGT General Secretary Philippe Martinez.

Strike action is spreading to civil aviation industry representing air traffic controllers, and yesterday, the Union of Air France pilots (SPAF), representing about a quarter of Air France pilots, issued a two to four day strike notice for the end of next week. These strike calls come after pilots from the majority National Union of Airline Pilots (SNPL) overwhelmingly voted in favour of a six-day strike. Pilots are protesting against wage cuts.

The multiple strikes come as oil refinery workers continued strike action against the labor law that caused oil shortages across France last week. The government sent CRS riot police to violently break up workers’ blockades of oil depots.

Four of Total’s refineries remain halted. About 20 percent of gas stations were dry or faced shortages on Tuesday.

Yesterday, workers at the operator of Le Havre’s oil terminal, which handles 40 percent of French imports, voted to continue the strike until Monday. Nuclear sector workers also voted in favour of a strike.

The escalating industrial unrest points to deep opposition to the labor law, which allows companies more flexibility to fire workers, lengthen the work week and cut wages, in line with the PS' austerity agenda. The government rammed the bill through without a parliamentary vote in the face of overwhelming popular opposition.

The government has repeatedly vowed it would not back down on the overhaul. On Monday, President François Hollande told Sud Ouest, “The bill will not be withdrawn. The philosophy and principles of Article 2 [allowing trade unions to negotiate company-level contracts violating the Labor Code] will be maintained.”

As anger in the working class spreads, the unions are being compelled to call strike action to keep political control over the strikes and avoid being outflanked by militant sentiment in the working class. They feared that if they had not called strikes, wildcat strikes would have erupted against the law anyway.

After posing as an opponent of the law and briefly calling for its withdrawal, the CGT has begun toning down its verbal opposition to the law, which the CGT helped negotiate with the government from the outset. Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke over the phone with CGT head Philippe Martinez, who has refused to publicly comment on the content of the “secret” talks he had with Valls.

Yesterday, Le Monde asked itself: “Is the CGT changing its strategy in its frontal assault on the labor law?” It wrote, “The question is out in the open since the statements of its general secretary, Philippe Martinez, during a May 30 debate on RTL with CFDT leader Laurent Berger. Asked about whether the withdrawal of the law was still a 'precondition' for opening discussions with the government, Martinez replied, “There are no preconditions. We have been waiting three months to have a chance to have discussion. He added that 'an acceptable solution' is being sought.”

The paper reported that high-ranking CGT officials were looking for “an exit from the crisis.” A source close to the CGT leadership told the paper, “Philippe Martinez has understood that he cannot hold indefinitely on a line demanding the withdrawal of the law.”

These events fully confirm the WSWS's analysis of the treachery of the union bureaucracies and their supporters among the pseudo-left parties, such as the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), which are totally hostile to the working class and its struggles.

As broad layers of the working class enter into struggle, the fight against the PS' agenda of austerity and war must be organized independently of the unions and their political allies. As long as workers’ struggles remain under their control, they will seek to divide, sabotage and sell out the successive mobilizations of the working class as they erupt, while also allowing the repressive powers of the state to be mobilized against strikers, as the media and the ruling class are increasingly demanding.

As the unions are preparing to betray workers’ struggles, the media and the ruling class are denouncing striking workers as terrorists and threats to national security. Yesterday, Franz-Olivier Giesbert wrote an editorial in Le Point titled “Don't give in to the CGT, for God's sake!”

Giesbert provocatively compared the CGT with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While acknowledging that such a comparison “could appear scandalous,” he went on to denounce strikers, writing: “France today faces two threats that, while they may be different, both threaten its integrity: ISIS and the CGT.”

Nearly 90 percent of the French now disapprove of their president(2016-7-5)

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Rick Noack

July 5 at 6:13 AM

French President François Hollande was never expected to become the most popular head of state in the nation's recent history. But the extent to which his countrymen dislike him has surprised even his political opponents.

Nearly 90 percent of the French disapprove of their president, a poll has revealed. Only 12 percent of those surveyed by polling institute TNS Sofres said they thought Hollande was doing a good job. It is the worst score of any French president since such surveys were first conducted more than three decades ago.

It's somewhat familiar ground for Hollande. In 2013, Hollande was called the "most unpopular president in recent French history" for the first time, following approval ratings of 26 percent. His predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, had never fallen below the 30 percent benchmark.

Since then, however, Hollande has set new negative records. His popularity briefly rose above 30 percent following the Paris terror attacks in January 2015, which targeted the staff of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. Hollande was also praised by some for his reaction to the Paris attacks in November 2015. But it was a bump that quickly disappeared.

A continuously high unemployment rate and more terror attacks have rattled the country and its Socialist Party president. Those who are now most disappointed by Hollande's performance are middle-class employees older than 35 and younger than 49.

Hollande was criticized early in his presidency for appearing indecisive. But the president insisted that he was trying to make consensus-based decisions to unite a country that has faced a growing rift between the left and the right-wing supporter base of Marine Le Pen's National Front. France holds elections next April and May.

Measured by how other world leaders have performed in polls, Hollande is far behind. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is still supported by 54 percent of the public — despite allowing waves of refugees into the country in 2015 in a decision which provoked strong criticism from some of her conservative allies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might be the West's most popular leader at the moment, with an approval rating of 63 percent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have the support of 83 percent of his people. My colleague Michael Birnbaum observed earlier this year that Putin's approval ratings do not necessarily reflect agreement with his policies. Many people "drew a sharp line between their support for Putin and their feelings about Russia’s direction," he wrote.

Elsewhere, the popularity of leaders is more closely connected to their actual political performance. Brazilian interim President Michel Temer — who has been in power since May — fares worse than Hollande at the moment.

But why are the French so unhappy with their president?

His opponents would mostly point at Hollande's allegedly unsuccessful tenure: The country's economy has only gradually recovered from recession, but many of the nation's problems remain unresolved.

Interestingly, though, Hollande's popularity strongly recovered amid the darkest hours after attacks.

The same effect has been observed elsewhere, including in the United States, where George W. Bush's popularity rose rapidly after the 9/11 attacks. Bush's approval rating rose from 51 percent before the attacks to 86 percent only days after.

What might contribute to Hollande's low ratings is a general tendency among some French to lean toward pessimism. Claudia Senik, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, recently explained that a pessimistic outlook might be more inherent to France than to other countries where optimism is more highly valued -- leading to a "multi-dimensional dissatisfaction" among French.

In other words: Despite a common perception that François Hollande might not be the best president in France's history, he might have higher approval ratings if he were the leader of a different country.