The New Strike Wave

— Sophie Beroud and Patrick Silverstein

WHILE THE WAR was devastating Iraq, the French government -- pushed aside and reduced to pursuing its domestic agenda -- continued its assaults on working people's gains, particularly welfare and pensions. The population, however, resisted.

Hundreds of thousands of marchers and strikers, notably public workers and teachers, took to the streets as a “creeping general strike” of sorts spread through France.

This first round of the fight will be a “no victory, no defeat” stage. The government's “reform” will be passed in Parliament, but the labor movement has recovered strength and confidence for the big battle to come on social security.

Chirac's new popular legitimacy from his antiwar stand didn't help him to push through these attacks. The fact is that Chirac is now the main crook in France living in the golden frame of old-time gaullism.

ATC 105, July-August 2003