La Forge, July-August 2016
Organ of the Workers’ Communist Party of France

Movement against the El Khomri Law:
Consolidate the gains

They are there to please the bankers, the traders and other sharks of finance, trying to attract them to the financial scene in Paris. Sapin, Pécresse and Hidalgo came to support Valls in their operation to promote the attractiveness of France, with repeated promises of lowering of the corporate tax and tax exemptions for the "repatriates," those who would leave London following the announcement of the Brexit.

We already knew Hollande and Le Drian as traveling salesmen for the arms merchants and El Khomri as a labor minister stubbornly repeating that the law that bears his name was an advance of social democracy in the enterprises. The government has used Article 49.3 [of the French Constitution – translator’s note] in order to stop the debate in the National Assembly, hoping to put an end to this movement. But if it has the institutional means to finally impose this law, it has set in motion a social and trade union dynamic full of potential.

"We are neither tired nor resigned, our determination remains intact." This determination has fostered a rich experience accumulated by weeks of mobilizations. What a long way, in four months of strikes, demonstrations, blockades and militant actions! These advances in consciousness, which rely on collective action, must be "digested" and shared. They also raise the issue of violence and its class character, the decisive role of the working class, the importance of strikes and demonstrations to change the relationship of forces, of actions to call for the support of the workers and popular strata.

Let us take the question of confrontation with the police, violence, etc. All the demonstrators were confronted with this in one way or another. The authorities tried to criminalize the whole movement, up to trying to forbid a declared and announced demonstration under the pretext of violence. But they had to retreat. Why? Because Hollande and some of his ministers realized that this demonstration would take place anyway, that thousands of people were coming.

What became clear in the minds of the demonstrators is that violence has a class character and that the government, police and judiciary wield it to enforce the interests of capital, of the bosses. The forces of repression are primarily there to intimidate the workers who defend their class interests, to beat and arrest the youths, to try to prevent them from joining the workers, from participating in the demonstrations. The fact the judicial system sends them to prison is a clear condemnation that this is class justice, as we have already seen with the fury in the case of Goodyear, of the shirt-rippers of Air France and many others. And despite this, the protesters held their ground, confronted them and organized to resist and released several young people from the claws of the police.

What has also become clear to the majority is that this movement has a class character and that it is confronting a government, a state in the service of capital, of Medef, of the big bosses; it is that the successive counter-reforms under different Hollande governments have, most of them, been aimed at the working class and laboring masses, to enable capital to super-exploit the labor force.

The fight against the El Khomri law sets the forces of capital, of the bosses of the major groups, of the government at their service and the state apparatus with its forces of repression, against the working class, the laboring masses, the youth of the popular circles, the popular strata, etc.

This battle has put the issue of changing the relationship of forces at the center of all the discussions, of all actions: to bring together, unite and organize strikes and actions over time, to test forms of struggle, to concentrate forces to exert maximum pressure.

This time it is the movement that has taken the initiatives for the demonstrations, decided and announced that same evening. The balance of forces is being changed in the process, with a determination that is being reinforced.

The activists of the political forces, which have been fighting for years against the neoliberal policies, have joined this movement without hesitation. For many, this movement has rekindled their courage and confidence in the working class, the youths, the popular masses who did not refrain from fighting for their interests. This movement has dealt a fatal blow to the discussions around the question of the "primary elections" and "how to save the left," how to avoid its "disappearance of the electoral arena." Such a movement does not fit within the framework of the electoral game: the class confrontation that it has highlighted poses questions that go beyond the election of 2017 and of parliamentary majorities. These issues revolve around the need to break with the system, of the conditions needed to achieve it. This is expressed by the slogan: "we do not want this society, we want to fight it," with the idea that this fight that should lead to a change in society and that the fight against present society builds the relationship of forces necessary to achieve it.

These are, in any case, the issues that our party poses and wants to deepen, highlighting the need for a revolutionary break. Now is the time to do so, to consolidate the gains of this movement collectively.

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