Union-led protests across France show the country’s anti austerity movement is alive and kicking, despite the betrayals of the Socialist government and the rise of the Right, argues Jean Paul Piérot of L’Humanite newspaper.
In the aftermath of departmental elections, the people seemed depressed, cowed. The popular anti-austerity movement, which in recent months has made waves elsewhere in Europe – from Greece to Spain in particular – was here in France retreating, abashed, in a desperate state thanks to a government that is the exact opposite of what the people of the left elected in 2012, after five years of Sarkozysme.
No doubt the recent coup by PM Manuel Valls, garrotting parliamentary debate to bulldoze through his deregulatory Macron Law was a further blow to people’s confidence, contributing significantly to the impression of political stalemate and paralysis in society.
This week’s union mobilization against austerity, called by the CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires unions was a ray of sunshine, perhaps a promise. One that frees us from this suffocating atmosphere, indeed almost inconceivable, in which an extremist party that much of the media have promoted to the rank of “first party of France,” has constructed a shameful controversy over the crimes of Nazism and betrayal of Pétain, with the objective of making the FN more acceptable.
The 300,000 workers, employees, teachers who went on strike and walked side by side Thursday in the largest mass mobilisation in recent times have delivered a strong message to government: “Enough is enough.”
Enough of being ignore by a Prime Minister who, in the eve of the government’s election debacle, said that we should not change the course that is leading us straight into the wall. It was also a message also at the employers lobby MEDEF and it’s chief Pierre Gattaz, the man who whispers in the ear Government of its commitment to end decent permanent jobs.
As for workers, to be heard, they must shout louder. They have begun to do so.
Translation by Revolting Europe