French Government Attacks Democracy


By Stathis Habibis

How would you call a political system where the government tries to impose a law that nearly 75% of its citizens reject? How would you call a political system that wants to ban protests and strikes, when people use them as a weapon to defend their rights for as long as it takes?

During the last months in France, we are witnessing the continuation of the neoliberal experiment, which started in Greece and is spreading through the whole continent of Europe. President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls are determined to impose a regressive labor law that the majority of the French society does not want.

So what happens when an elected government opposes the will of its people? Two things may happen. Either people stoop its head like “a bidden dog” and return to normality, remaining an obedient subject who sees all his rights to be taken back from the oligarchy of Finance, or people fight back! In the case of France people have decided to fight back! The French and the European elites after Tuesday’s demonstrations on the 16th of June, the biggest one up till now, must have been at least worried…

The French government has decided to act against the union trades and the protesters. Using as an excuse some violent incidents that took place by no more than a few hundred protesters, Prime Minister Manuel Valls threatened to ban further protests against the labor law. As he put it: “When one is incapable of ensuring security at a protest, when 700 or 800 rioters are allowed to infiltrate the protest and get out of control, one does not organize such demonstrations, which can quickly degenerate.” In the same time according to François Hollande’s spokesman Stephane Le Foll Hollande stated: “At a time when France is hosting the Euro 2016, when it is faced with terrorism, demonstrations can no longer be authorized if property, people and public property cannot be safeguarded.” Of course neither Manuel Valls nor François Hollande threatened to ban the Euro 2016, due to the riots among hooligans…

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Moreover the Socialist government found allies in the opposition. Marion Maréchal-Le Pen of the National Front said: “The question of the legitimacy of these protests can be posed. If the unions cannot avoid the sort of violence we have seen for weeks, these protests must at all costs stop”, while the former Prime Minister François Fillon: “We can no longer accept repeated protests in big cities in France”.

This situation where almost all the political parties in the parliament “form into line” reminds me of what happened to Greece in the summer of July 2016, when almost all the Greek political parties worked like a team in order to reverse the will of the Greek people expressed on the 5th of July referendum, when a great No to the international mafia of Finance was turned into a miserable Yes… What a democracy this is!

The protests still goes on and next week will increase in intensity, while CGT has called for two “national days of mobilization” on 23rd and 28th of June and Air France pilots have announced a strike from June 24 till June 27, while the bill is going to be voted in the Senate on the 28th of June and afterwards is going to be debated in the lower house of parliament. Philippe Martinez after his meeting with Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri said: “”We’ve always said the bill should be withdrawn to be re-written” an opinion which is in stark contrast with what the government believes.

It seems that we are heading to a dead end. The global neoliberal regime of Finance has decided that by all means the deregulation of the labor relations should pass now in France. French people are now on the front line of the neoliberal attack. If the French government manages this labor reform to be a voted law and the protesters move backwards then the door is open for more austerity, for the complete destruction of the well fare state and for the validation of the TTIP agreement.

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Having the French people humiliated just like Greeks are, is going to be a great victory for the global mafia of Finance and it will be a confirmation that they can launch their final attack “on all fronts” in order to enslave humanity.

What is at stake is not only the future of the French working class, but also the fate of Freedom and Democracy.

People around the world should realize that real Democracy is a political system where people have the power and not some faceless elites.

So the question is what should we do to restore Democracy around the world?