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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #280 - Laws Work 1 and 2: Why the failure of the social movement (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 3 Mar 2018 10:43:47 +0200

Crying about the " union leadership " that did poorly or not enough, maybe it relieves, but it is very insufficient to explain the impossibility of expanding the movements of 2016 and 2017 beyond the " hard cores " Employee is aware. The January 2018 LA Federal Co-ordination discussed these limitations, and the work to be done to overcome them in the future. ---- The years 2016 and 2017 will have seen, in quick succession, two major defeats for the whole of the wage-earning of this country. Several months of struggle have failed to stop the El Khomri law (known as the " Labor Law ") in 2016 ; in 2017, for lack of substantial mobilization, the defeat was faster against Macron orders (known as the " XXL Labor Law "). How to explain these defeats ? And what lessons to draw for all those who are not ready to give up before social regression ?

Let us say quite clearly that it will not be enough to point out the failures of the confederal " directions " to understand, not only defeat, but the impossibility of bringing up a powerful and ingrained mobilization in the companies. The discomfort is deeper.

The extent of union deserts posed a problem

Focusing on complex legal reforms that led to a sharp decline in social and trade union rights, the counter-reform El Khomri and the Macron ordinances offered no easy catch. The mobilization needed to explain and raise issues that are less obvious to be grasped than a reform that retreats the retirement age, for example.

From this point of view, the extent of trade union deserts posed a first problem. A majority of employees have never experienced either the existence of social rights (Labor Code and collective agreements), or that of trade union rights which allow, at least, to require employers to comply with social rights. And when a union presence exists, it is often folded in on itself in a duel delegates-bosses whose employees remain passive spectators and spectators, failing to succeed [1]to associate them with the elaboration of the demands and the means of struggle.

In many small and medium-sized enterprises, the fragile trade union presence often rests on two or three elected officials without real support from their colleagues. In the largest, elected officials take advantage of their functions to climb the hierarchy of the company, or use their hours of delegation to go to the restaurant (with the works council card ...) and / or 'lock up in the union premises. Inter-union wars sometimes take on a sordid way of settling scores, and the elections of delegates are not always the occasion for substantive debates on the demands and democracy of the workers. In short, the practical experience of employees does not always push them to mobilize to defend the right to organize.

Finally, under the weight of mass unemployment and precarious employment, many employees no longer dare to go on strike to defend their immediate demands. Overall, as shown by the statistics published by DARES over forty or ten years (and what we know of the field), the number of strike days at the national level continues to decline, even if strikes continue to hatch, some of a very long duration. The ideological victory over " the crisis And the need to make sacrifices to keep one's job weighs too. The great majority of hard conflicts take place at the time of massive layoffs and closures of companies, restructuring of services. The consciences sharpened during these conflicts are then lost with the dispersion of the collective in the isolation of each and everyone faced with unemployment.

In the end, it is hard to imagine that employees who do not strike when mandatory annual negotiations (NAO) fail, will go on strike to refuse the decline in the number of elected. es and the inversion of the hierarchy of standards !

In fact, beyond the reproaches that must be addressed to the confederations as well as to the basic unions on the way in which the stakes were explained and whose mobilizations were pro¬posed [2], all and all the revolutionaries found themselves faced with the difficulty of extending the mobilization beyond a core of employees, certainly not negligible and rather stable, but very insufficient to win.

For the camp of the bourgeoisie, the stake was considerable. It was, more or less, to inflict a historical retreat into the proletariat's capacity to preserve its rights and the very means of defending them. Faced with such an issue, only a generalization of the strike in important sectors of the economy could drive back the PS / Macron governments. It was also the awareness of the level at which the confrontation had to be constructed that discouraged activists, and even more generally combative sectors who thought that, since the general strike would not be successful, it was not used to nothing to follow the twenty-four hour strike days.

Federal Coordination of LA, January 2018

To do despite the decline of class consciousness
Since the election of Mitterrand at the Elysee Palace in 1981, disappointments have accumulated for the camp of the workers, largely structured at the time by the political and trade union organizations - the CGT, but also sectors of the CFDT and of the FEN - which carried the Joint Program of Government PS-PCF-Left Radicals as Hope for Change.

Not only has the hoped-for change not come, but the destruction of entire sectors of the industry has dealt a violent blow to many union strongholds. The collapse of so-called communist regimes not only confounded those who still believed in " real socialism " but removed the idea that an alternative to capitalism was possible, even desirable. The decline in the involvement of activists in interprofessional structures testifies to a decline in class consciousness and signs a decline in unionism in the company, which strikes even the professional structures, and shows the lack of interest union unions and federations.

The accumulation of defeats weighs heavily on the militant generation of the 1960-1970s. Massive early retirement plans have shaken up the construction of relief teams in the unions. The definitive retirement of this generation, which was particularly politicized, leaves a gap that must be filled.

The decline in the involvement of activists in interprofessional structures shows a decline in class consciousness and signs a decline in unionism in the company, which strikes even the professional structures (disinterest vis-à-vis unions and federations).

Mélenchon's self-proclaiming intervention in the calendar of mobilizations with its September 23 rally added to the confusion and dispersion. While he himself, as a former socialist leader, co-responsible for the political turmoil in the world of work, his posture challenging unions and the Charter of Amiens to claim the right of political parties to lead social mobilizations is worrying for the future.

Federal Coordination of LA, January 2018

[1] Sometimes, it's for lack of trying to associate them ...

[2] The revolutionaries can not be exonerated from all these " reproaches ", which emerge from a collective report

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