19 January 2023 : Big succes for social mobilization in France against the neoliberal government

20 January by CADTM International

The international CADTM expresses its warm support to the people who are mobilising in France against elitist government attacks on the pension system. We are glad to see the huge success of the mobilisation of the national day of action on 19 January.

The number of strikers and the massive participation in the street demonstrations are historic. The police, whose figures systematically minimise the size of demonstrations, speak of 1.2 million demonstrators. The organising trade unions assert that there were more than two million. Strike rates were very high: more than 70% in education, paralysis in transport, significant participation of private sector workers. The mobilisations in the streets were impressive: hundreds of thousands in Paris (the Ministry of the Interior minimises by speaking of 80,000, Union figures say 400,000), 50,000 in Bordeaux, 20,000 in Le Mans, 50,000 in Toulouse, more than 100,000 in Marseille, 15 to 20,000 in Nîmes, 3,500 in Alençon, 4,000 in Compiègne, 20,000 in Nice, 7,000 in Agen and Montauban, 4,000 in Gap, 15,000 in Avignon, 50,000 in Nantes, 10,000 in Saint-Nazaire, 20,000 in Rouen, 35,000 in Le Havre, 15,000 in Bayonne and Pau, 13,000 in Quimper, 13,500 in Brest, 11,000 in Angoulême, 10,000 in Poitiers, 13,000 in Angers, 2 to 3,000 in Albertville...
It is important to note that many young people took part alongside the over 50s. In short, the different generations were united in the streets.

The number of strikers and the massive participation in the demonstrations are historic.

For weeks, the government, with the support of the mainstream media and in particular public service radio and television, had been claiming that the call to strike and demonstrate would not be successful and was completely unnecessary, this was scathingly denied. The Macron government has claimed that President Emmanuel Macron has been given a mandate to change the pension system in the 2022 elections. This is totally contrary to the truth as a large proportion of the votes that went to Mr. Macron in the second round were motivated by a rejection of the prospect of the nationalist leader Marine Le Pen as president. Moreover, the presidential camp was in the minority in the legislative elections. All the polls of the last few months indicated that 2/3 of the people questioned were opposed to this pension system counter-reform.

The government is using the pretext of the rising public debt and the alleged deficit of the pension system to justify its anti-social policy.

The government’s policy is highly illegitimate: while it knows very well that the majority of the people reject its reform, it is counting on 1. the exhaustion of the movement; 2. the support of the right-wing “opposition” to vote for the new pension law.
The French government’s policy is part of an authoritarian evolution in the exercise of power that can be seen all over the world.
The government’s discourse is also profoundly misleading because it claims that life expectancy in good health is constantly increasing, Wheras, a series of studies show that there is a deterioration in living conditions and that in certain countries of the North (the United States, for example), life expectancy has fallen since 2020. This also begs the question: If life expectancy is longer does that mean the supplement is destined to be exploited under the burden of capitalism or should it be considered a progress towards improving the quality and liberty of life?

The government uses the pretext of the rising public debt and the alleged deficit of the pension system to justify its anti-social policy.

The international CADTM enthusiastically supports the social movement in France. A victory for the movement would be a victory for all the peoples of Europe and beyond.

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