We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, June 13, 2016

Strong headwinds are making France a stormy sea

Click here to access article by Léon Crémieux from International Viewpoint.

This post is a bit dated about a fast moving anti-government resistance movement in France, but I think it sheds much light on what is happening there. The authors offers a left political perspective and analysis on the ongoing crisis precipitated by the introduction of a bill in the French parliament that would further take back workers' rights and benefits. The post was written by a Frenchman to people who are at least somewhat familiar with French politics and their government. So I will add a few explanatory notes to help especially American readers to better understand the nation-wide protests and strikes that are currently occurring all across France.

The opening paragraph refers to the French constitution which permits the passage of this bill without a vote:
“The 49-3 is a brutality. The 49-3 is a denial of democracy.” Despite François Hollande’s opinions on this article of the French constitution in 2006, his government under Manuel Valls (who had himself been among the MPs proposing it be suppressed in 2008) used it to force through the unpopular law proposed by Minister for Labour Myriam El Khomri on May 10. This provoked an immediate reaction from the coordinating committee of workers’ and students unions calling days of national mobilisation and strikes on May 12, May 17, May 19, to continue on May 26 and June 14.
The "PS" party refers to the Socialist Party. Notice once again how a party that is spearheading austerity and neoliberal programs uses the word "socialist" in their party's name. This is another illustration of how agents of capitalism use deception whenever it serves to secure their class rule.

The author describes the characteristics of the mostly young people who form the core of the resistance to government policies.
...whereas the old generations of activists, absorbed by institutional politics, have thrown away their revolutionary hopes, the new generations who do not have the same traditional baggage often have a strong awareness of the evils of capitalist barbarism and are always receptive to political arguments about the need for revolutionary transformation. This consciousness is often combined with a very strong demand for real democracy, and a rejection of delegation of decision-making – the heritage of the fiascos of Stalinism and of social democratic governments.
Crémieux sums up his analysis with this statement:
It clearly appears both that the political system is profoundly undemocratic and that real power lies obviously outside the elected assemblies. The banks and the multinationals, the centres of capitalist power, not only make laws but exonerate themselves from respecting them.

The rejection of the financial system, energy choices, border closures, policies of unemployment and precarious work are the ingredients that are producing a rejection of the political system, but also of the capitalist system itself. This is latent in society and it is patently obvious in places where people express themselves, such as Nuit Debout.

So this movement contains many strengths and weaknesses. The coming weeks will tell which will dominate.
Thus you can see why US corporate media has censored all coverage of this rebellion.