PARIS, September 30 — Up to 80,000 demonstrators from across France marched here today, shouting “Resistance!” as they protested the European budget treaty forcing the French government to impose austerity measures.
Workers were outraged at the attacks on their class. Many of the demonstrators were activists from trade unions, associations and political organizations. “Hollande [Socialist Party president] promised to renegotiate the Merkozy treaty but not a comma has been changed,” said Jordi, a 26-year-old computer technician. [“Merkozy” is a combination of German Chancellor Merkel and former French president Sarkozy, the politicians who drafted the treaty]. The treaty is likely to “anchor austerity in all the countries of Europe,” he added.
Jean-Claude, a 70-year-old retired food processing worker, said “this treaty is going to make people into paupers.”
Christine, a 58-year-old high school teacher, said, “With the adoption of the golden rule, austerity budgets are going to be voted year after year…. France is going to wind up resembling Spain or Greece.”
Many women marched behind a banner reading, “Women in struggle against austerity, for steady jobs and for solidarity in Europe.”
About 50 workers from the Fralib factory near Marseilles marched. “We are here above all to demonstrate against the European treaty, to say that we don’t agree with this treaty invented by Sarkozy and Merkel,” said the union secretary of the company works council. [See CHALLENGE, 2/2/2011, page 5, for the Fralib workers’ struggle].
The austerity falls most heavily on the Arab and black North African immigrant workers who, because of racism, suffer the lowest wages, highest unemployment and worst working conditions.
The demonstration was called by the Front de Gauche, mainly an alliance of the Left Party and the phony “Communist” Party. Nearly 60 other organizations also supported it but the governing Socialist Party and its junior partner Green Party did not.
The Front de Gauche presidential candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, insisted the demonstration was against austerity policies but not against the Socialist Party and the Greens. Although the leadership of the CGT trade union confederation did not call for participation in the action, many rank-and-file CGT members participated.
The governing Socialist Party, which paraded as the “opposition” to right-winger Sarkozy, is no opponent of the French ruling class but is in opposition to the class interests of the working class. Workers needs a real communist party to oppose all wings of the ruling class, and have the goal of a communist revolution, the only solution to the austerity-driven poverty and exploitation built into capitalism.