Striking French rail workers voted on November 16 to extend the open-ended strike begun three days earlier, according to a Reuters report that day. This continues the campaign begun one month earlier, when strikes across France on October 18 paralysed the country’s rail, bus and subway systems for 24 hours in the first major confrontation between unions and President Nicolas Sarkozy.
This is an abridged version of a motion adopted by the national leadership of France’s Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).
The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as France’s president in April and the landslide to the conservatives in the first round of the parliamentary elections on June 10, described in France as the “blue wave”, were widely presented in the Australian capitalist media as a dramatic shift to the right in French political life. They are all too keen to wipe out last year’s images of French workers and students successfully resisting anti-worker laws, something they only grudgingly reported on in the first place.
The French presidential and parliamentary elections produced very contradictory results for the broadly defined radical left. Its collective vote of a little less than 9% in the presidential poll, while large compared to other industrialised countries, was down from 15% in 2002. However the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) bucked the trend and cemented its position as the most credible voice of the anti-capitalist left.
The first striking thing about the initial round of the French presidential election, held on April 22, was the extraordinarily high turnout — nearly 85%. You have to go back to the 1965 election to find a slightly higher figure. This was a sign of the increasing politicisation of French society in recent years, as was the fact that more than 3 million new electors registered to vote.


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