Great Success of the General Strike of January 29

Communist Party of the Workers of France

‘When there is a strike, nobody notices’. This provocative statement came back to strike Sarkozy like a boomerang. The first day of the nationwide strike of people of all occupations, with demonstrations in all the large cities, but also in medium-sized cities strongly affected by the lay-off plans of the private companies, was a success. A success from the point of view of numbers, which made the figures put out by the police look ridiculous, a success from the point of view of the participation of the workers of the private sector, from the point of view of the content of the demands, the slogans and the combativeness of the march. A success from the point of view of the range of sectors mobilised, the auto workers, the supermarket employees, public sector employees, all together, the researchers, students, the justice and cultural workers, etc.

It is capital that must pay for its crisis

All categories of the popular masses, of the workers affected by government policy were together to express their rejection of this policy, their anger, to say ‘enough’ and that there is no question of paying for the crisis, which is that of the system.

This refusal to pay for the crisis is the political and social message of this day of strike and demonstration.

This show of force made Sarkozy and his government manoeuvre. They say that they understand the concerns, but they take refuge behind the international character of the crisis and they proclaim far and wide that they will continue the reforms of social destruction, continue to help the bankers and large companies, at the cost of billions in public money. And when they say that they are open to ‘dialogue,’ immediately afterward they say that they will not call into question the policy they are pursuing.

In this context, the publication of the ‘joint declaration,’ which was distributed at these demonstrations by various signatory parties and organisations, including our party, is an important political act. It was greeted as such by many demonstrators.

The success of this day is a step in the formation of a front of resistance to the policy that wants us to pay for the crisis.

Joint Declaration

Democracy Socialism Alternative (ADS), Alter-Ekolo [network of ecologists – translator’s note], Libertarian Alternative (AL), Association of Unitary Communists (ACU), National Coordination of the Unitary Collectives for an alternative to liberalism (CNCU), The Alternatives, New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), Communist Party of France (PCF), Communist Party of the Workers of France (PCOF), Party of the Left (PG).

The People Will Not Pay For the Crisis

The popular classes are severely affected by the crisis. The concern for the future is growing. The policy of the authorities is more than ever at the service of the privileged people. It is time for a response. The organisations signing on to this appeal are defending the proposals for another policy, and are engaged in the support and participation in the mobilisations, in particular of the day of the strikes and demonstrations of people of all occupations on January 29.

In two months, the number of the unemployed has grown by more than 100,000. In the private companies, under cover of the crisis, the plans for layoffs are increasing and the part-time work affects whole sectors. Temporary and precarious workers are affected full force. The rights of the unemployed are continuously questioned. In the name of the fight against the ‘deficits,’ the authorities have cut public budgets, privatised and placed public services into ‘free and unfettered’ competition. It is a real plan of neo-liberal change and privatisation which is accentuated with the elimination of public employment.

A few months ago the government announced to us that ‘the coffers are empty.’ Later it found hundreds of billion (more than 428 billion Euros) to save the banks, insurance companies and other financial agencies. The various ‘stimulus plans’ here and throughout the world have only one objective: to maintain the profits of the large capitalist groups. The crisis is a European and a world crisis. In this context, we must also mobilise for a social, ecological, democratic and feminist Europe.

There is resistance! The workers are mobilising against the layoffs; they are organising demonstrations with the support of the population. The movements in National Education, in particular of the high-school students and their teachers show that it is possible to make this government retreat. Poorly-housed families or those without homes are fighting for the application of the law of requisition of empty residences. The undocumented workers are continuing the fight for their regularisation. We are an active part of all these resistance movements and we are taking part in the next mobilisations in January, for National Education on the 17th, for Health and Public Hospitals on the 24th, the strike and mass demonstrations of people of all occupations on January 29.

Another policy is possible, attacking the profits and financial speculation, while questioning the payment to capital. Priority must be given to wages and social rights, using the profits and dividends paid to the shareholders, replacing the ‘tax shelters’ for privileged people and speculators with the social shelter allowing the greatest number to live better.

We demand an increase in wages, in the national minimum wage, in social security and the social minimum. We propose the cancellation of the tax package of the summer of 2007, a redistribution of the State budget to meet social needs and to develop public services at all levels, a tax reform so that companies cannot any longer favour speculation, as they do today, to the detriment of employment and working conditions.

We are opposed to lay-offs, we demand the veto right for workers on layoffs. We demand the maintenance of the work contract, the maintenance of the totality of incomes and the rights of employees placed on layoff.

We reaffirm the principle of the CDI [contract of indeterminate length – translator’s note] such as reference to the work contract in the private sector and of statutory employment in the public sector. We defend the resumptions of the self-management of companies by the workers. We reject any government aid to companies that carry out lay-offs.

We are acting for the suppression of tax havens, for a public appropriation of the credit system allowing another investment policy in the service of employment, social housing, public services and projects that take into account the ecological emergency.

We call into question the stability pact and the European directives of privatisation; we call for a new type of development, to fight all forms of discrimination that affect the social field, to create jobs that are useful on the social and ecological level. We propose to unleash the means necessary for the objectives of production that will save energy and produce jobs, particularly in the sphere of the environment, public transport, the renewable energy sector and support for peasant agriculture.

We want to break with the financial logic developed by the European Union and its institutions, in particular the European Central Bank.

We reject the elimination of jobs in the public sector, we demand restoration of the 30,000 positions whose elimination has been decided upon, the cancellation of the privatisation of health (the Bachelot law), the creation of socially useful jobs (in Health, Schools, the Post Office, Research, and new public services, housing, for early childhood, etc.). We demand the reduction of working hours without flexibility or annualisation with corresponding hiring.

Strikes and demonstrations such as those of January 29 express our anger and broaden our struggles. A general popular response is urgent. We commit ourselves to placing all our forces at the service of the convergence of the struggles against layoffs, the high cost of living, unemployment and precariousness, and for the defence and increase in public services. Now is the time!

January 2009

It is capital that must pay for its crisis

Sarkozy, who wants to ‘save capitalism,’ has spent billions in public funds for the banks that are announcing rising profits!

At the same time, he is continuing the policy of liquidation and privatisation of public services, of support for the large companies that are restructuring and laying off workers.

The auto workers are right to fight against layoffs and for payment of full wages for those on layoff.

The young people are right to fight against a society which makes their life precarious.

Minister Hortefeux [former Minister of Immigration, now Minister of Labour – translator’s note], who went from the ministry of ‘national shame’ to that of labour, says he is open to negotiation. The government is worried about the show of force and unity of the labour and trade-union movement this January 29.

A wave of worker and popular mobilisations, of working people and youths started in Italy and Greece and has gradually affected the various countries of the EU whose governments are applying the same policy of support for the monopolies on the backs of the workers and the people.

The ‘joint declaration’ signed by our party and a broad range of left-wing political parties is a call to support the social movement which is taking the initiative in the streets, the schools and the enterprises. It is a basis for us to fight together against this policy, which is at the exclusive service of the banks and the monopolies, and to advance demands that break with this policy.

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