Strikes, Pickets and Hypocrisy: Who is behind France's 'climate of civil war'

France’s prime minister, government and media have ganged up against the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) trade union with a particular vigor, calling its strikes at oil refineries “social terrorism.”

France’s prime minister, government and media have ganged up against the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) trade union with a particular vigor, calling its strikes at oil refineries “social terrorism.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ current speeches completely contradict the ones he made in 2010, when he was in opposition. But most worrying is the police state tactics used to push through the “El Khomri” law, (named after French labour minister Myriam El Khomri) which through its language created a climate of civil war in France. This is happening while, at least in theory, we live under a state of emergency. This completely irresponsible behavior by the government threatens the civil peace.

The price for the EU and the euro

The truth, denied by the government but revealed in many statements by EU leaders, is that the El Khomri law is the price that France should pay Brussels, the European Union and the euro to admit the deficit is above the norms set by Brussels.

It is known that various European institutes criticized France for its “lack” of reforms and threatened it with disciplinary procedures. In fact, this law fully complies with the “Lisbon strategy” and the “Broad guidelines for economic policies,” which were developed by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs. That is why the government is making so many efforts, because it does not want to or cannot reverse its decision.

We are being robbed, which is logical, since we are no longer a sovereign country. Economy minister Emmanuel Macron announced a policy of limiting wage growth, or a wage diet, at the same time opposing a similar measure for his bosses. It’s good reasoning for a person, who confuses the government with a company board of directors. According to the minister, France can restore its competitiveness through a race to the bottom for wages. The desire to conduct all negotiations within a strict framework of “corporate agreements” over sectoral and national agreements are dramatically changing the balance of power between employees and employers.

Force and the right to self-defense

A balance of power is needed nevertheless. It’s not good when negotiations are conducted from a position of strength and threats, for which it is necessary to involve external agents. Here, the question of strikes and pickets emerges. There is a conflict, which is obvious for everyone.

This conflict pits the government and the sympathizing portion of the left and right “political class” against the majority of the country’s population. Polls show that 70 to 74 percent oppose the El Khomri law.

The growing protests had some echoes in the party that calls itself “socialist,” the government lost a majority in parliament and decided to use the Constitution’s article 49.3, which allows the prime minister to put a bill through parliament without debate and votes if he considers it necessary, which is nothing more than a blatant misuse of procedure.

From this point of view, the use of forms of violent struggle is more akin to a legitimate defense. A legitimate social defense against legislation, which was imposed from abroad and in defiance of democratic procedure. The riots in France are a reaction to the original disorder, which was the use of article 49.3.

We should not confuse cause and effect - that is pure hypocrisy. We cannot condemn the pickets, as, at first, we must condemn the use of article 49.3 and the government’s tactics in general, of using police methods in response to a social movement. In fact, Manuel Valls has become a follower of Jules Moch, who believed that the intervention of government and trade unions could lead to a “social” wage, that is, completely in correspondence with labor costs.

Hypocrisy and consistency

There is currently a lot of hypocrisy in the condemnation of oil refinery pickets by those opposition lawmakers who were the first to resent EU measures and the loss of sovereignty, but heave when workers actually take action against those measures.

France is currently being threatened by a combination of two phenomena. On the one side is the stubbornness of the government, which is nothing more than a proxy for a foreign power, and is ready to fling the country into a civil war to avoid angering its true masters. On the other side is the broad hypocrisy and the inconsistency, which reveals it. However, our opponents in Brussels and Frankfurt, who seek to impose in France what they have already imposed in Greece, Spain and Italy, are consistent.

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