Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Force ouvrière union federation faces crisis as new Protests are launched in France against Macron’s ‘reforms’.

with 7 comments


A Paris, mardi.

France 24 reports,

Around 160,000 people joined demonstrations across France on Tuesday, the interior ministry said, heeding union calls for President Emmanuel Macron to “maintain the social model”, which has come under threat from his ambitious reforms.


Around 20,000 people turned out in Paris, the largest of some 100 rallies across the country.

The head of the hard-left Confederation of Labour (CGT) union Philippe Martinez estimated turnout higher at 300,000 nationwide. The CGT said about 50,000 people marched in Paris at the urging of six of the country’s labour unions.

“We’re not complaining, we’re revolting!” the students, workers and retirees chanted as they marched in the first demonstration since the end of the summer holiday, referring to President Macron’s recent suggestion that the French complain too much.

Libération covers the 50, 000 strong Paris march organised notably by the union federations FO (which has undergone a ‘left’ turn this year) and the traditional left CGT.

A Paris, le défilé organisé notamment par FO et la CGT a réuni 50 000 personnes selon les syndicats. Une mobilisation en ordre dispersée, sans la CFDT, qui a tout de même plus rassemblé qu’au printemps.

The presence of Force ouvrière (FO) in these and other protests, traditionally a cautious union, based on a complex series of alliances between right-wingers, anti-Communists, and the ‘Lambertist’ trotskyist current, has not gone unnoticed.

Last week Le Monde published this article.

FO se métamorphose en « CGT bis »

Michel Noblecourt observes that under the new leadership of  Pascal Pavageau the FO has undergone a “une rupture radicale avec le passé “.

The federation is now dominated by supporters of Pavagau in alliance with a variety of leftists (including for example, Marc Hébert an ‘anarchist’), but above all the sovereigntist ‘Trotskyists’ of the  Parti ouvrier indépendant (POI).

Interestingly Noblecourt also mentions that said POI is now active in the CGT (once closely led by the French Communist Party, the Parti Communiste français, PCF).

That would perhaps explain why a somebody ‘representing’ the ‘CGT’ was present at a sovereigntist Camden rally for ‘left-wing’ Brexit before the UK referendum.

POI are not to be confused with their arch rivals, the Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique (POID – how we chuckled at the ‘weighty’ name).

The two split, very acrimoniously, a couple of years ago.

POID ran their own  pro-Brexit beano in Paris around the same time, attended by anti-internationalist forces from British unions, including the Aaron Banks backed Trade Unionists Against the EU, and which received fraternal greetings from the Morning Star.

The two are united in opposing internationalism in general and the European Union in particular.

Both groupuscules, though small in number – not that small, POID have a few councilors, like Christel Keiser, (Seine-Saint-Denis) – live, like the Socialist Party in the UK, from their hold on paid union positions.

Who says Lambertist says the dirty deeds needed to keep these places.

Whether they are linked to this skulduggery or not we do not, as yet, know.

This is the news today about FO, Pavageu’s mates apparently spent their time not just plotting against his predecessor, but building up large files of information against him and his supporters:

Des cadres de Force ouvrière fichés par des proches du secrétaire général, Pascal Pavageau

Written by Andrew Coates

October 10, 2018 at 4:09 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Andrew, perhaps you should explain to your readers that Force Ouvriere owes its origins to a CIA manufactured split, became the main centre for class collaboration with the employers and welcomed Trotskyites of various persuasions into its ranks, the better to strengthen its anti-communist, Cold war credentials

    Nick Wright

    October 10, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    • I could indeed, and I even know the name of the CIA ‘operative’ Irving Brown and his “Free Trade Union Committee”, not to mention the story of Lambert and his faction.

      Odd then that you lot backed the ‘international’ beano organised in favour of Brexit in Paris in 2016 by one of the wings of Lambertism.

      Such as, Alex Gordon, Former President of the RMT, on behalf of the Lexit Campaign, Morning Star Editor Ben Chacko, Ronnie Draper General Secretary BFAWU, TUAEU, Trade Unionists Against the European Union. (at the time promoted by the Socialist Party).

      The ‘rally’ was set up bu Daniel Gluckstein National Secretary of the Trotskyist (Lambertist) and the POID (Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique (POID).

      Andrew Coates

      October 11, 2018 at 11:26 am

  2. It’s all a conspiracy!

    Dave Roberts

    October 11, 2018 at 1:27 am

  3. Touché!

    Jim Denham

    October 11, 2018 at 12:10 pm

  4. Andrew, do you think it illegitimate to appear on the same platforms with trotskyists even if you agree with them on this or that issue?

    Nick Wright

    October 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    • Do you know the history of Lambertism?

      One day I shall write it out, from their actions against the student left in 1968 to today…

      Andrew Coates

      October 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm

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