Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘France

Between 18,000 and 30, 000 marchers in Paris for ‘Day of Action’ called by Union Federation CGT, and some of the Gilets Jaunes.

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Radical Left Says: neither Macron nor (Gilet Jaune Leader) Drouet.

Today,  following the appeal, principally by the left-wing trade union federation, the CGT (Confédération générale du travail), a Day of Action was held in France.

A response the “pseudo” national debate launched by President Macron work stoppages and marches have been held demanding (for the CGT),

  •  an increase in the minimum wage, the Smic of 20% (1800 euros gross),  and all wages and pensions as well as social minima (that is social security payments).
  •  equal pay for women and men.
  • a tax reform with a more progressive income tax and reduced VAT on basic necessities, the restoration of wealth tax and greater taxation of higher incomes and capital ownership.
  • control and conditions of public aid to large companies.
  •  the development of public services.
  •  respect for public freedoms, such as the right to protest challenged by the government.
  •  strengthening collective rights and guarantees, unemployment rights, social security, including retirement.
  • fair and supportive plans for ‘ecological transition’ (measures to make reduce carbon emissions and other green policies).

Entre 18 000 et 30 000 manifestants à Paris.

Le Monde reports:

For the “mardi de l’urgence sociale” called by la Confédération générale du travail (CGT), Solidaires, Force ouvrière (FO) and some representatives of the Gilets Jaunes there were 160 marches across France. There were a few work stoppages (a small number of railway services were affected, 5% of teachers went on strike), some Radio France programmes were disrupted and two to three hundred drivers of VTS (a category of taxis, véhicules de tourisme avec chauffeur) joined the day of action. Groups of students and lycéens also responded. Despite a call for airport workers to follow the movement the Aéroports de Paris maintained aeroplane flights.

Gilets jaunes, étudiants, retraités... Plusieurs milliers de manifestants ont défilé ce mardi à Paris à l'appel de la CGT. / © Alain Jocard / AFP

France Info. 

Across the county a number of roundabouts and roads were blocked by Gilets Jaunes and trade union activists.

A number of tens, though minor, confrontations with the police took place across France.

More details of the effects here: Les autres secteurs touchés

Left parties and groups joined the appeal for the protest, Attac, the fondation Copernic, the banlieue collective La Vérité pour Adama, former Socialist Party Presidential candidate, Benoït Hamon’s Génération·s, Jean Luc Mélenchon’s  La France insoumise,  the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste )NPA_ and….. Mélenchon’s  personal faction, the Parti de gauche.

Libération states that Philippe Martinez, the secretary general of the left CGT union federation, emphasised the convergences at work between the unions and the Gilets Jaunes, at least in in certain areas. He remains nevertheless very cautious when it comes to engaging the CGT in a rapprochement on a national scale, pointing in particular to the presence of the extreme right in the demonstrations. “This movement has allowed us to build collective action, and has moved in the right direction” he has recently declared ( Gilets jaunes, gauche et syndicats : «On a intérêt que ça prenne» )

 

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‘Gilets Jaunes’ List to Stand in France for European Elections.

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Gilets Jaunes List for European Elections.

Européennes : des « gilets jaunes » annoncent leur intention de présenter une liste

le Monde.

Ce projet devrait être déposé d’ici à la « mi-février » en vue du scrutin du 26 mai, a précisé l’un des responsables du « Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne ».

This project should  be (formally) registered by the middle of February, for the 26th of May election, added an official of the Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne  .

Le “Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” : quand les “gilets jaunes” se lancent dans les élections européennes

France Inter.

A List of Gilets Jaunes is to stand in France for this year’s European Elections (26th of May).

Called “ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” (Rally for Citizens’ Initiatives), its name evokes the Gilets Jaunes’ demand for citizens’ referendums, (Référendum d’initiative citoyenne).

The head of the list is Ingrid Levasseur  employed by BFMTV.

At present they are calling for more candidates.

According to reports this list is “close” to Bernard Tapie, at present the owner of the daily,  La Provence.

For reasons to be wary of Tapie – very lengthy reasons – see his Wikipedia entry (in English).

About the only good thing I can say about him is that he is not actually far-right.

Et si les gilets jaunes bousculaient la partie? 

Yesterday an opinion poll published by BFMTV suggested that in the event of a Gilets Jaunes list standing in the European elections this year they would arrive in 3rd place. with 13%. The principal losers in this scenario would be the far-right, Rassemblement national, who would lose points, remaining in second place with a reduction to 17,5% La France insoumise would drop a point and a half, and go down to 8,0% beaten into fifth place by the Greens Europe Ecologie-Les Verts who would get 8,5%

It will be interesting to see how  leftist  admirers of the Gilets Jaunes react to this news.

But a note of caution, the name is not a trademark, so let’s have none of that stuff about ‘real’ and ‘fake’ gilets jaunes.

Meanwhile Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Olivier Besancenot (Nouveau parti anticapitaliste) and  Eric Drouet (one of the best known leading figures of the Gilets Jaunes) have backed an appeal for a general trike, from the 5th of February onwards. (Mélenchon et Besancenot soutiennent l’appel à la grève générale de gilets jaunes).

 

La France insoumise in crisis as leading figures denounce “autocratic” Mélenchon.

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Crisis over Nationalism and Autocratic Leadership in La France insoumise.

Des cadres de La France insoumise dénoncent les dérives autocratiques de Mélenchon

Nouvel Obs.

A wave of protest has been stirring in La France insoumise (LFI). According to Le Monde  several leaders of the movement, including  candidates for European elections, and Charlotte Girard, co-responsible for LFI’s  programme – have denounced the autocratic excesses of the leader of LFI. These criticisms were published in an internal letter of January 9 came after ” banishment” of François Cocq, January 5, by this tweet from Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

CNews claims that a Spokesperson for LFI is nationalist François Cocq who has been banished from the movement.

Le Nouvel Obs continues,  that there are “serious complaints about the internal organisation of LFI.”

Le Monde has the original story.

Dans une lettre que « Le Monde » s’est procurée, des « insoumis » s’émeuvent du « bannissement » de François Cocq.

Europe I continued,

Les cadres de La France insoumise dénoncent la “brutalité” du “bannissement” de l’un des leurs par Mélenchon

Now it is clear that this Blog has little, indeed, no sympathy with the politics of Cocq, who represents the worst sovereigntist tendency in La France insoumise.

This is, for example, what he has said in his defence (Novel Obs)

ll emploie le mot nationaliste comme une injure. Je n’ai pas de problème à parler de la nation. Pour moi, c’est le corps politique constitué, ce qui définit le corps républicain. C‘est notre histoire, la grande histoire révolutionnaire. Mélenchon parle lui plutôt de patrie républicaine mais je sais qu’on met la même chose sous ces deux termes.

(Mélenchon) used the word nationalist an insult. I have no problem speaking of the Nation. For me, it is the political body which makes up the flesh and bones of the republic. It’s our history, our glorious revolutionary history. Mélenchon prefers to speak of a Republican fatherland, but I know that the two terms refer to the same thing.

The main difficulty seems to be that Cocq does not simply repeat the party line on this ideological issue.

There also appear to have been differences over the degree of warmth and enthusiasm for some of the Gilets Jaunes, notably the leading figure  Eric Drouet.

Cocq appears to have been more guarded in his support for this figure.

It is clear that, as the letter cited above states, banishing the individual, who is widely known in the Rally, apparently a “national orator ”, by tweet from the Party leader, is hardly democratic.

As those protesting have said, this is an off the cuff pronouncement from Mélenchon not a the result of LFI party members’ decision-making.

It reminds people of Trump’s behaviour.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm

Gilets Jaunes Menace Rape and Beat up Journalists.

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Gilets jaunes : de nombreux journalistes agressés dans plusieurs villes

Comrade Journalist Attacked by the Gilets Jaunes. 

As the Gilets Jaunes movement is in its death throes, they have turned on the media.

The Local reports.

Reporters Without Borders on Sunday called on those who speak for France’s “yellow vest” protesters to condemn numerous attacks and threats against journalists across the country during the latest round of anti-government demonstrations.

“A turning point has been reached,” Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the Paris-based media rights watchdog, told the BFM television channel.

“We are facing a very serious situation which is threatening to get worse,” he said, after reporters were beaten, kicked and threatened with rape during Saturday’s rallies.

“We call on the spokespersons of the ‘Yellow Vests’ to solemnly condemn increasing violence against journalists during demonstrations,” he tweeted.

Threats of rape:

This is one of their acts, a journalist put in serious danger.

 

Here is the worst, which is described as an attempted lynching.

Those in the UK who wish to imitate this movement have made a serious error.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Les Misérables: absolute BBC triumph.

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BBC Triumph. 

Last night’s BBC adaptation of Les Misérables was an absolute triumph.

Judging from the the first episode.

It put the central theme of the weighty book centre-stage: the  story of Jean Valjean’s redemption.

I imagine, the geezer who wrote the screenplay is intensely aware of this Hugo’s Christian inspired  socialism.

To this French speaker I could not disagree more with this jugement,

The two main difficulties with this adaptation? So far it doesn’t feel very French.

The way in which they rendered  bagne as the Hulks felt precisely right.

As was the way they had people talking in French softly shading into English.

I read Les Misérables some time back.

It is long, very long.

The section on socialism alone is, well long.

It is also simply one of the best books ever written. 

The fact that people in this country have taken it so closely to their hearts sends a message to the Brexit Bolsheviks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 31, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Macron, Faced with Gilets Jaunes, “état d’urgence social”; Mélenchon calls for “Citizens’ Insurrection.”

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Point 24. Immigration: stem migratory fluxes.

Macron raises minimum wage to appease Yellow Vest protesters

He said people on the minimum wage would see their salaries increase by €100 a month from 2019 without extra costs to employers. Pensioners earning less than €2,000 would see the recent increase in social security taxes scrapped. Other measures promised include the abolition of taxes on overtime pay in 2019 and asking profit-making companies to give workers tax-free year-end bonuses

However, he also said he would stick to his reform agenda and refused to reinstate a wealth tax.

“We will respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures, by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns,” Macron said.

Let us go into the details:

PAULINE BOCK New Statesman.

He promised an additional €100 for workers on minimum wage “without it costing a cent to employers” – because it’s not a new raise, just the re-evaluation of a specific allowance that was already planned. (Le Parisien has calculated that the levelled system will negatively impact around 30,000 of the most precarious households). He said that a tax on pensioners “earning less than €2,000” would be cancelled – without making clear that “€2,000” included all earnings, not solely their pension, and would therefore impact less people than his rhetoric implied. He announced an annual tax-free bonus for workers – “whose employers can afford it”, so at a boss’s discretion. Mere hours before Macron’s speech, the Senate also adopted a freeze of welfare payments for 2019. Macron is a bit like a sneaky character in a Disney film: if you don’t negotiate precise terms in the contract, chances are you’re losing out in the agreement as a whole.

Bock’s excellent article misses nevertheless, one thing from this, the overtime tax break.

Le Monde: 

Les heures supplémentaires seront « versées sans impôts ni charges dès 2019 » alors qu’elles devaient initialement être « désocialisées »(pas de cotisations) en septembre 2019. Cette mesure avait déjà été mise en place sous le quinquennat de Nicolas Sarkozy, avant d’être abrogée par François Hollande.

Les heures supplémentaires correspondent au temps travaillé au-delà de la durée légale des 35 heures, et sont rémunérées davantage. Cette majoration de salaire est généralement de 25 %, mais peut être réduite à 10 % par un accord d’entreprise.

Overtime will be “paid without taxes or charges from 2019” when they were initially to be “unsocialised” (no contributions) in September 2019. This measure had already been implemented under the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy,  and was  repealed by François Hollande.

Overtime is the time worked beyond the statutory 35-hour period, and is paid more. This salary increase is usually 25%, but can be reduced to 10% by a company agreement.

So, in effect, Macron has not just tried to appeal to the lowest paid, but to the ‘hard-working’ middle earners who can do overtime.

Bock comments that, “These “crumbs” are unlikely to convince the gilets jaunes to cancel their “Act V”, planned for 15 December.”

I would not underestimate the effect of the latter measure on their constituency, as those interviewed on RTL this morning illustrated.

Nevertheless the refusal to reinstate the wealth tax, the  l’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) irks many (Piketty : « S’il veut sauver son quinquennat, Macron doit immédiatement rétablir l’ISF » )

There is also the lycéen movement which the left can support unreservedly, not only because of the scenes of police brutality and efforts to humiliate school pupils, but because their protests against education “reform” are right.

Mouvement des lycéens et Gilets jaunes : “On espère faire converger nos luttes”

Update:

Whether they will find an echo in the Gilets Jaunes remains to be seen.

In the meantime the self-appointed leader of the Citizens’ Revolution announced that the Gilets Jaunes protests must continue.

Français encore un effort si vous voulez être révolutionnaires!

The obvious thing to say about Macron’s actions is that he is trying to “reculer pour mieux sauter”.

This can mean either, make a tactical retreat in order to leap back when the time is ripe, or to put off the inevitable.

Unfortunately having had that thought I noticed that  somebody has already made that comment (Pour Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron “recule pour mieux sauter” ). The leader of the far-right notes that the President is putting off the need to face up to globalisation, free trade, AND …..”‘immigration de masse et ses conséquences sociales et culturelles.”

As in:

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Some enthusiasts for the Gilets Jaunes have got so carried away that they ignore the issues this raises.

Verso, apparently a left-wing publisher, has this translated interview (“Paris is not an actor, but a battlefield”) Eric Hazan interviewed about the Gilets Jaunes protests.

Hazan is already notorious for saying, of Jews (he does not bother with the word ‘Zionist’) on the ultra-left  insurrectionist’ site, Lundi Matin, recalling a Paris and a time when ” les juifs n’étaient pas du côté du manche. ” figuratively meaning “près du pouvoir “, that is, to translate. “when the Jews were not on the side of those wielding power.” (EN DESCENDANT LA RUE RAMPONEAU)

This is his latest, on why many intellectuals are reluctant to give unreserved support for the Gilets Jaunes.

A whole range of intellectuals see violence is evil. For those who do not stick to this position and may sometimes consider it legitimate, the fact that the far right is present in this violence puts them off quite a bit. But it doesn’t bother me.

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Amongst many reactions is this one:

Convalescence difficile pour Éric Hazan

Interrogé par Mediapart à propos des «Gilets jaunes», Éric Hazan a fait – notamment – la déclaration confuse et confusionniste ci-après.

On voudra bien considérer le fait que l’éditeur du Comité invisible a connu de graves soucis de santé l’été dernier, qu’il est encore très fatigué, et par suite ne tenir aucun compte de ce qu’il dit.

The following (thanks Paul) from a World to Win News Service  puts some thoughts together not far from those of this Blog, and shared by others, notably French leftists, both from the far left, and more mainstream.

However mad the political origins of the WWNS these points are far from off-beam.

France: “The house is on fire”

…the Yellow Vest movement cannot be evaluated as an isolated phenomenon. Le Pen’s fascist party has been a major force on France’s political scene for over a generation; not only did she make it to the run-offs for President 18 months ago, but her party is leading in the polls for the upcoming European Parliament elections. Le Pen has played a major role in shifting the whole political process to the right. As the mainstream of traditional French politics collapses, as it has in growing numbers of other Western countries, there is an increasing basis for major sections of the ruling class to support her bid for power. Macron is hoping that cancelling the fuel price hike will divide the Yellow Vests and cut off the most determined among them from those among the middle classes whose greatest concern is order, and undoubtedly to use an iron fist on hard-core elements who persist. But stepping up repression against a popular protest risks losing the support among those who look to him as a rampart against the fascists, even as this paves the way for the even more clearly authoritarian Le Pen.

The most important thing is not whether Le Pen is “behind” this movement organizationally. Consider the example of Italy’s Five Star movement. For years it declared itself apolitical and opposed to all parties in the name of “horizontal democracy” by means of social media and Internet referendums, but it ended up in a fascist coalition government alongside openly terroristic thugs who dominate despite the fact that Five Star won far more votes. Again and again mass movements that focus on fighting to turn back the clock and bring back the promises of the past social welfare state have been eaten alive by forces with very clearly defined reactionary political projects – in this case installing a fascist regime as part of defending and advancing France’s position among the bloodthirsty rival thieves of the imperialist world.

How to go beyond the inevitably temporary intersection of different interest groups and unite the people against their enemy, the capitalist-imperialist ruling class and its state? Not like Mélenchon, trying to unite different parts of the masses on the basis of nationalism and futile dreams of reviving the social-democratic welfare state. And not like the anarchists trying to prove that the character of the Yellow Vest movement can be changed and the movement led by proving to be the best street fighters against the police. The people can’t be united spontaneously. Revolutionaries can’t tail after anyone..

For those, by contrast. who wish to dream of the Gilets Jaunes as “une nouvelle construction démocratique” “une respiration démocratique ”  with their ” parlements locaux” and “l’expérience d’une communauté” the following E-pamphlet is recommended:

GILETS JAUNES. Des clés pour comprendre.

Cloud Cuckoo Land Publications is said to be preparing a translation.

 

Gilets jaunes L'actualité

The Gilets Jaunes: some details on the political composition of Saturday’s events in Paris.

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Au pied de l’Arc de triomphe, des manifestants arborent un drapeau avec le blason de Jeanne d'Arc.

 

Quel mythe! dit Hussonnet. Voilà le peuple souverain!

Sarpolotte! Comme il chaloupe! Le vaisseau de l’État est ballotté sur une mer orageuse!”

L’Éducation sentimentale. Gustave Flaubert. 

Who hasn’t taken an active part in a political riot?

I have a friend, a close friend, who recalls chucking bricks at fascists, and bank windows. He tells me that back in the day he got caught up in some protests in the Quartier Latin that ended with a luxury shop being pillaged. He still dislikes the taste of fruit flavoured tea bags.

Last Saturday saw a much more serious series of confrontations across France.

Eyes turned to those that took place in Paris.

Le Monde offers what, by all accounts, is an accurate report on the events around the ChampsÉlysées.

The article says that at the start, at the Place de l’Étoile, there were 2,000 to 3,000 militants prepared for a fight. Amongst them was a strong contingent from the far-right, including Bastion social (ex-GUD), and Action française. They called themselves ‘nationalists’. Harder to find were those responding to the call of the site Lundi Matin, the latest incarnation of the Comité invisible. At another rallying point, there were also a people from the anti-fascist Comité Adama (Le comité antiraciste appelle les quartiers populaires à manifester samedi aux côtés des gilets jaunes.)The latter groups were involved with a few clashes with far right, one of whose leaders, the anti-semite, Yvan Benedetti was hurt. The vandalism at the Arc de Triomphe involved Gilets Jaunes. Many ordinary Gilets Jaunes were caught up by their anger and enthusiasm in the violence. The first rioters likely to be arrested were the less experienced, that is neither from the far right nor the fringes of the left. A third group, involved in the pillage of shops, had young people from the banlieue taking advantage of the opportunity.

Violences de samedi à Paris : quel a été le rôle des ultras ?

Lundi Matin has a theory to justify their involvement: that this kind of action is a challenge to the infrastructure  of society, and a step on the way to destabilising  the state. This idea can be traced to the text  Introduction à la guerre civileThe epigraph, which calls for a permanent effort to conjure up stasis, unrest, is their loadstone. They celebrate the violence over the weekend and blame the CRS and Police (Contrairement à tout ce que l’on peut entendre, le mystère, ce n’est pas que nous nous révoltions, mais que nous ne l’ayons pas fait avant.)

The strategic geniuses published a text recently  saying that the victory of the extreme right in Brazil was not too bad at all, it’s the occasion to get rid of illusions in democracy, the left, and to prepare better things in future: “En réalité, l’arrivée du fascisme n’est jamais aussi mauvaise qu’elle ne paraît à première vue. Au moins est-elle l’occasion de déchanter, de mûrir et de faire un peu mieux à l’avenir.”   LE PROLÉTARIAT BRÉSILIEN N’A PAS ÉTÉ VAINCU PAR LA DICTATURE MAIS PAR LA DÉMOCRATIE

By contrast, les quartiers en gilets jaunes, that is, the initiative of the Comité Adama, attracted several hundred people. It ended caught up in the chaos of the main march (Reportage à la manifestation des “quartiers en gilets jaunes” à Paris). It was and is a democratic and open initiative. These are good people who should be supported. How far they come from the banlieue is not clear.

Image result for quartiers en gilets jaunes a paris

 

In the meantime one of the – all too representative – figures of French conspiracy thinking, who is very active in the Gilets Jaunes, has a secret hoard pf documents  which involve  the imminent start of the Third World War:

(1) “La politique fut une de ces évidences, une invention grecque qui se condensait en une équation : tenir une position, c’est prendre parti, et prendre parti, c’est déclencher la guerre civile. Guerre civile, position, parti, c’était un seul mot en grec, stasis. Et la politique, c’était l’art de conjurer la stasis.”

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm