Clearly, Macron felt the blow. Almost an entire month of demonstrations of the yellow vests and the incorporation of the high school students in the past few days have set him on the defensive.
By Daniel Sugasti
Neither generalized repression nor the more than 4 thousand arrests have calmed the streets. The contrary is true. The protest began against the increase in fuel taxes, which escalated to radicalized demonstrations in Paris and other departments. Now, they have a broad set of demands, including the renunciation of the president.
Actually, the yellow vests managed to channel the anger of broad sectors of workers, youth in precarious jobs, and ruined middle classes after years of austerity. They managed to mark a path: open struggle against the adjustment by Macron and his administration for the rich and powerful. As a result, the government and the regime are going through a legitimacy crisis of great proportions.
Macron already retreated regarding fuels. Now, he gave up a deceitful increase of 100 euros in the minimum wage (which would not be paid by the entrepreneurs). The president always bragged arrogantly of being immune to street pressure and a few days ago, he called the protestors “bums” and “vandals”. Now, he had to lower his tone and recognize that “the anger expressed today is fair in many aspects”. Macron promised that overtime would also be exempted from taxes and social charges (actually, a favor for entrepreneurs). He asked the patrons to pay “willingly” an end of the year bonus, also free of charges. Finally, he said to eliminate the increase in taxes to the retired who earn less than 2,000 euros per month.
Those “above” are in crisis. A sector of the government and the French patrons spoke against Macron’s “concessions”. They claimed these would cost between 8 and 10 billion euros. The European Union, on their part, alerted about the disequilibrium in the public accounts.
The main question is if these new retreats on behalf of the government will calm the movement or not. Although it is hard to assess this, the press is gathering distrust statements by the yellow vests who continue blocking roads and affirm being ready for more actions. Mainly because Macron did not announce any measure on taxing great fortunes, one of the more felt slogans in the streets.
Now, the fight must go on. The government is on the defensive. This is precisely why popular pressure must double.
However, to achieve the demands, the first need is to overthrow Macron. This is only possible with a general strike for undetermined time that joins the action of the workers movement and the yellow vests. For this, it is very important to strengthen and unite the growing rejection movement in the union rank and files, before a bureaucracy set on protecting the Macron administration and stopping the workers movement from joining the yellow vests. It is also essential to take steps forward on the way to democratic organization of the movement, for general assemblies and the coordination of their elected representatives in a local, department and national levels.
The French working people have shown to have the necessary will and strength to bend a neoliberal, anti-worker government. They also showed that one could defeat in the streets the social war set on by the European Union and its imperialist governments against the working class and the people of the continent.