Macron and his government have been forced to make concessions, even though they are limited, faced with the strong social protests that have taken place for weeks through the movement of the “yellow vests.”
The arrogant president, of the bosses and the rich, sent his minister to try to defuse the great social anger that is seen particularly in the neglected regions of the country. Since Tuesday, government taboos such as the ISF [Solidarity Tax on Wealth] issue, a symbol of politics for the rich, have been “put back on the table” by Macro’s spokespersons, provided they do not question the main neoliberal orientations that remain the course.
The distancing from the contemptuous management style of the president and his government and the incantatory calls for the involvement of the “intermediate bodies” are multiplying. This is a sign of the weakening of the government and its electoral base.
The movement of the “yellow vests” is part of a longer period of union mobilizations: those against the El Khomri law [a law making it easier for companies to lay off workers and take other anti-worker measures, named after the former minister of labor – translator’s note], against the “work” law, the abolition of the APL [housing aid], against the closure of hospitals, etc. then that of the railway workers. Today, the mobilizations and strikes in the companies are developing around an increase in wages, starting with the increase of SMIC [monthly minimum wage] to 1800 €.
The added consequences of the reform of the baccalaureate, the removal of posts in the high schools, of the path to higher education, the reform of the vocational high schools, which are being implemented, have led to the mobilization of hundreds of high schools. The answer is the baton, but in the current climate, the result can be more mobilizations, more support from other sectors in struggle.
The government has been weakened, a breach has opened.
The concessions are a six-month suspension of the measures that have lit the powder keg: the suspension of the fuel tax increases, the freezing of electricity rates until May 2019. This is too little and too late. Since the beginning of the movement of the yellow vests, the demands for social justice, for concrete measures to increase the low wages, the pensions, the allowances for the unemployed, etc,. the demands for more taxes on the big companies, for greater democracy, etc., have come together. To the list of demands of the yellow vests, there have been added those of the workers’ and trade union movement, the collectives for the defense of the interests of the popular strata (in social housing, education for the children and young people of the popular strata, in defense of hospitals and the system of health care that is accessible to all, etc.), of public services.
These different movements do not oppose but complement each other.
The government is proposing discussions to gain time and try to break out of its isolation. Do not give it a break!
The movement of the yellow vests calls for further mobilizations.
The trade union movement, at the call of the CGT in particular, has called for strikes and demonstrations on December 14.
The initiative is in the hands of the workers, the popular strata and their organizations of struggle.
The demands forging unity between the different movements are more than ever on the agenda:
– Increase of the SMIC to 1800 €, of the pensions and minimum income;
– Taking care of transportation by the employers (1);
– VAT [Value Added (sales) Tax] of 5.5% for basic necessities;
-Restoration of the tax on wealth.
Paris December 5, 2018
Communist Party of the Workers of France
(1) The chief boss made an important statement: “80% of our employees use their car to go to work, of whom 50% have no other choice and they drive an average of 44 km [about 28 miles].” The conclusion that he did not draw from this, but we do, is: taking care of transportation by the employers!