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(en) Italy, UCADI #167: CE N'EST QU'UN DEBUT CONTINUONS LE COMBAT (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 11 Mar 2023 09:36:48 +0200

The general strike in France on 19 January brought to the streets at least 2 million demonstrators belonging to all categories; this is supported by both La République En Marche and the Front National who oppose Macron's project to bring the limits of the retirement age from 62 to 64 . The minimum age required to access social security treatment (l'âge légal) should rise three months every year, for all those born after 1968, so as to reach 63 years and three months in 2027, at the end of the five-year period by Macron and reach the final goal in 2030, when the pension system should be able to become sustainable again. Furthermore, the special regimes that characterize the different pension treatments of the categories should be greatly reduced. [1]
For the first time in 12 years, workers' organizations are united in contesting the government's choices, while an Ifop-Fiducial survey shows that 68% of French people are against raising the retirement age.
In the light of the electoral results, the President's party alone does not have the necessary votes to get the reform approved and would therefore need the support of at least the Républicains, who would be willing to vote on the measure desired by Macron under two conditions: the increase generalization of the current minimum benefits and a slower progression of the retirement age, so as to reach 64 in 2032 and not in 2030. With the support of the neo-Gaullists, the government could avoid recourse to article 49-3 of the Constitution, which allows for some laws to be passed (explicitly: the financial one, and interventions on social security) without parliamentary approval and subject to a vote of censure.
On 23 January, the Government officially presented its project and it was therefore learned that the reform, in any case, is not limited to the increase in the retirement age, for which exceptions are envisaged (58 years for those who started working before the age of 16, 62 for other "long careers".The project provides for an extension of contributions to obtain the "full" pension to 43 years, a level to be reached in 2027 and no longer in 2035 as envisaged by the reform desired by Marisol Touraine , the Socialist Minister in 2014. Most of the special schemes, which have made the French social security system very complex, will however be abolished.The minimum pensions will also be raised to 1,200 euros net for all pensioners and not just for new ones as it was initially expected.
While the majority intensifies its search for political support, all the unions are preparing for a new general strike called for January 31 which is preceded by strikes in a series in many sectors such as transport, energy and logistics, strikes which they will certainly continue well beyond January 31, opening a phase of intense social conflict such as that which France has repeatedly experienced, an inevitable conflict imposed by the structural conditions of the class conflict taking place on access to the enjoyment of goods for the satisfaction of primary needs.
Capitalist accumulation, demographic crisis and income distribution.
It is quite clear that the class war has been fought and that the bosses have won it, but this does not mean that the struggle will not continue, but rather that the struggle between capital and labor can, must and will continue. To do this, the structural problems posed by demography and the general economic conditions connected to these cannot be ignored. If this is the case, it is necessary to start from the fact that Europe, which hosts 10% of the world's population, constitutes the area of greatest consumption for expenses for social services and for the person as much as 20% of its resources. Meanwhile, its population is ageing, due to improving living standards and life spans while the number of young people fit for work decreases. This means that the resources available for welfare are inexorably reduced.
Europe is only the first on this road because the phenomenon will soon appear on a gigantic scale in China due to the lack of family welfare also due to the abandonment of the countryside and the prospective decrease in the share of the population fit for work. This means that the social structure needs to be rethought and that this is one of the limits of development which adds to the climate and energy crisis which find their greatest enemy in the capitalist system, due to the growing inequality in the distribution of resources and incomes. This is one of the structural causes/reasons that determine the necessity/inevitability of class struggle.
To perpetuate the vitality of the system of exploitation, capitalism, unable to fully use war as a system of zeroing development to then restart accumulation, conditioned by the consequences of the use of atomic weapons, resorted to the third war piecemeal world war that is being fought globally without exclusion with an intensity that risks total destruction, as in the Ukraine.
The only possible solution is to increase the share of class power, set a limit to exploitation, increase the weight of deferred wages and find the necessary resources in reducing the share destined for profit in the eternal competition between capital and labour.
The stakes are great and go far beyond any possible prediction: a not improbable defeat brings French society and not only closer to an inevitable clash that will be increasingly radical.

[1] Gianni Cimbalo, France: a new cycle of struggles?, Newsletter, UCAdI n. 15, 19 May 2021; Gianni Cimbalo, Union Struggles in France, UCAdI Newsletter n. 126, December 2019

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