Authoritarianism in China? A place that nipped Covid in six weeks and ended poverty in 2020? Let’s turn the camera, shall we? And let’s fix it on the Western/capitalist bloc. Do you see any recrudescence of BOURGEOIS AUTHORITARIANISM in examples from recent times?
1. Slovakia: passes law on 1 Dec 2020 designating Czech and Slovak Communist parties “criminal organizations.”
2. Poland: the anti-communist hysteria is well established in the persistent “witch hunt” against the communists that for decades has characterized the Polish bourgeois authorities on a dangerous undemocratic and reactionary ridge, with the complacency and encouragement of the EU. In fact, the persecutions, restrictions and criminal proceedings that have been conducted for years against the Communist Party of Poland (KPP), its daily “Bzrask” and their members are known “for the promotion of totalitarian regimes”. Furthermore, among other things, we remember the interruption of scientific conferences on Karl Marx organized by universities, the use of public institutions such as the National Memory Institute (IPN) for the dissemination of anti-communist propaganda and the establishment of a dangerous legal framework for communist persecution which includes the 2017 “decommunization law”
Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune. The Commune (Council) was formed as result of what should be considered the first uprising and revolution led by the working class in history. This new class was the product of the industrial revolution in the capitalist mode of production that Marx and Engels first spoke of most prominently in the Manifesto of the Communist Party published in March 1848.
Before the Paris Commune, revolutions in Europe and North America had been to overthrow feudal monarchs and eventually put the capitalist class into political power. While socialism as an idea and objective was already gaining credence among the radical intelligentsia, it was Marx and Engels who first identified the agency of revolutionary change for socialism as the working class, namely those who owned no means of production but their own labour power.Read More »
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the extraordinary experience of the Paris Commune, it is fundamental to draw a number of lessons from it. The measures a government takes regarding its Central Bank, the debts of working class people, public debt and private banks are decisive. If a popular government does not implement radical financial measures, it will be responsible for ending in failure, with possibly tragic consequences for the population. The Commune, an extraordinary and dramatic experiment, exemplifies this, and must thus be analyzed from this point of view.
The role of debt in the emergence of the Paris Commune(1)
It was the desire of the reactionary government to pay off its debt to Prussia and continue to repay existing public debts that precipitated the Commune experiment. Let us recall that it was Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon III) who declared war on Prussia in July 1870 and that that military venture soon ended in a total fiasco.(2) The Prussian Army beat the French Army in early September 1870, and imprisoned Napoleon III in Sedan, triggering the fall of the Second Empire followed by the proclamation of the Republic.(3) The payment of 5 billion francs was the condition laid down by Bismarck for signing the peace treaty and withdrawing the forces of occupation.Read More »
On January 20, thousands of university students marched in the major cities of France demanding concrete actions from the government to help the students who are in distress due to COVID-19 restrictions.Read More »
On September 17, trade unions in France, including the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) took to the streets of Paris against the anti-worker policies of the Macron government. They marched in opposition to the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the proposed pension reforms.
On July 8, Wednesday, the research community in France under the leadership of Faculties and Labs in Struggle protested against the controversial LPPR (Pluriannual Research Programming Law) bill and the ‘Welcome to France’ program introduced by the government with the aim to privatize and commercialize higher education and research institutes in France. Protests took place in Paris, Lyon, Nice, and Montpellier.Read More »
The call for the mobilization was given by major trade unions, including the General Confederation of Labor (CGT)and health workers collectives like L’Inter-Urgences and Collectif Inter-Hôpitaux also joined the protests.
Demonstrating in the pre-pandemic days: Members of the French Communist Party in St-Martin d’Hères march on May Day 2018. | PCF St-Martin d’Hères
France has a long tradition of electing communists locally. As Georges Marchais noted in his 1980 book L’espoir au present (Hope in the Present), “The French Communist Party has 28,000 elected officials—1,500 mayors, nearly 500 councilors. One in five French people lives in a communist-controlled municipality.”
Forty years later, the French Communist Party (PCF) has certainly faded, especially after the counter-revolution in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Still, even today, however, several “red cities” remain, particularly in the working-class suburbs around urban centers. These centers of power, which elude the bourgeois parties, are commonly called the “red belts.” The tradition of communist municipalities is so strong that it is sometimes crudely identified as “municipal communism.” Some town halls have been run by the PCF since the 1920s (the Parisian suburb of Malakoff is a notable example), but the history of most of these red cities began with liberation from the Nazis in 1945.
Trade unions have been protesting the French government’s pension reforms since July 2019. (Photo: Romain Lafabregue/ AFP)
French trade unions and workers’ organizations are preparing for further struggles after president Emmanuel Macro’s government decided to bypass parliament to put into place the controversial pension reforms.
On March 3, Tuesday, the French government opted to use article 49.3 of the constitution to take this route and approve the pension reforms proposed by Macron. Workers in the country have beenprotesting the controversial reforms since they were proposed in July 2019. Outraged French trade unions staged a protest on Tuesday against the government’s move. The opposition parties have also moved two motions to censure the use of article 49.3 which allows the government to unilaterally pass financial or social security bills without consulting the parliament.
ationwide protests against the government of Emanuel Macron entered their seventh continuous week today in France, as between 187,000 (a government estimate) and 250,000 people (the unions’ count) took to the streets to oppose Macron’s plans to radically alter the country’s pension plan, seen by many as the crown jewel in France’s substantial welfare state.
Led by transport unions, mass protests occurred yesterday across the country, including in Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Nantes, Dijon and Angers. Meanwhile, in Nice, there was a party atmosphere as activists organized a torchlight evening demonstration. Despite the light-hearted tone some of the protests took, they now constitute the longest and most intense actions against the government since the famous May 1968 “revolution,” an event that continues to define French society.Read More »