Against All Anti-Working Class Attacks! Against the CPE!

The Government’s attacks on all workers are continuing. Today it is the young who are in the line of fire just as other sectors were before because the CPE (Contrat Premier Embauche or First Employment Contract) is part of a coherent package of measures. For some years the ruling class has made an ever larger part of the working class (starting with the young) insecure, with temporary contracts, compulsory short time working, unpaid “work experience” for the young, or the promotion of recruitment of temporary casual workers through a work agency (called l’interim). After the CNE (Contrat Nouvelle Embauche or New Work Contract), and now the CPE, the Government intends to go at even greater speed and has begun to talk of bringing into play some CDIs (Contracts with No Specified End Date). The aim is to reinforce the competition and divisions between workers.

But we must not forget the measures concerning working time arrangements: from the authorisation of night work for teenagers (in the same law as the CPE) to the attempts to lengthen the working week (putting a question mark over the 35 hour week). The pension law of 2003 (lengthening everyone’s minimum contribution period to 42.5 years), the decline of Social Security payments and, above all, the decline in wages which, if they increase do so only below the rate of inflation, either real or official.

It is the mobilisation of the young which has paved the way for today’s movement. The students and high schools pupils have no choice but to struggle against the CPE because they are not an isolated social group, they are in the process of becoming workers. The vast majority of them will become part of the working class like their parents before them, or else they will be temporarily “excluded” from exploitation like the unemployed.

As for the unions they have decided to have only a minimal mobilisation. No appeals in workplaces, no leaflets, no meetings to give out information, still less general assemblies of workers! Whilst the government is looking to go as fast as possible to push through its laws the unions have given several weeks advance notice of strikes which haven’t been prepared on the ground. It is this union logic which always defends the firm and the nation in competition with other firms and nations. The unions are mediators who organise token strikes for 24 hours and then when the workers begin to move on their own (as in 2003 in education and in the movement against pension cuts) divide and demoralise the proletariat in order to safeguard the interests of our opponents, the bourgeoisie.

The CPE, like the job cuts and other attacks against us, requires a genuine workers’ response. We have to organise ourselves from the bottom up, to widen the movement as far as possible by going to meetings of other students, other workers, to create workplace defence committees and autonomous organisations based on General Assemblies and recallable delegates. It is we, the workers, not the unions or the politicians, who must defend our own interests. The union logic of negotiations and “partnership” is aimed at preserving capitalism. After the CPE the bourgeoisie will bring out new anti-working class measures and will continue to try to make us believe that the decline of our living standards is inevitable. Against the illusion of a possible harmony of classes, against the illusion that there is such a thing as the national interest common to both proletariat and bourgeoisie we have to find out own class unity. We have to fight for our exclusive interests in both the short and longer term. Lets all unite in class opposition to capitalism, against the bourgeoisie and its hangers on. Lets respond in a concrete way to put an end to exploitation and the Governments that promote it. Lets organise our own struggles.

Bilan & Perspectives
French Affiliate of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party