The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

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MAY 2018 Issue
Field Notes

Document 4:

After two weeks of total strike with countrywide factory occupations, the State and the corporate powers have totally refused the demands of ten million workers.

While in all major industries workers demand recognition of their rights in the workplace, pay scales adjusted to the cost of living, pay for strike days, we are offered only a return to normalcy, that is to say, to kill us even more at work. As for the rest (guarantee of employment, a forty-hour work week without decrease of salary, an end of company-imposed fines), all that is out of the question, except in the form of vague promises with no real guarantees.

The current action shows the power we have, that is, if we remain UNITED. The capitalist economy is paralyzed and the State is unable to restart it as long as we keep up the action. And it would be up to us alone, if we wanted, to put essential business sectors back in operation for our own use and to dry up indefinitely the sources of capitalist profits. Only our will to continue the struggle will enable us to achieve our demands.

But for our strike to succeed, many more workers need to participate in it. While the material sacrifices of the strike are sustained by all of us, too many of our comrades rely on a minority of workers to actively participate in its ongoing development. This allows the government to sow discord in the ranks of workers by playing on the weariness of some and the misinformation of others, and to wear down the strike sector by sector, factory by factory, by alternating threats with false promises.

There is only one answer to these divisive manoeuvers: the massive entry into the strike of all the workers who up to now have kept themselves outside of the occupied factories. A solid rank-and-file unity is the only way for our demands to succeed and to withstand the government’s bluffs.

In this spirit, it is essential, right now, to strengthen the strike organization at the grassroots level. Our current experience shows that where—like at the factory at Rhône-Poulenc de Vitry—the trade unions (CFDT, CGT, and FO) have taken the initiative to organize the strikers into rank-and-file assemblies by sector, which discuss, decide, and transmit decisions to a strike committee elected and mandated by the sector, active participation in the strike is particularly strong (at Rhône-Poulenc, there are about 1500 occupiers out of a total workforce of 3500).

In addition, it is essential to break the isolation of companies on strike, to establish the maximum amount of contact among them, so that striking workers can quickly grasp the overall situation, and so that companies can lend each other support in case of attacks by fascist commandos, a possibility that cannot be ruled out at this moment.

This organization must not only make it possible to end the strike on favorable terms, it must also continue to exist after work resumes. This is both in order to continue to defend the workers’ material interests (because today’s victories would be quickly challenged when workers are no longer mobilized) and to maintain an essential achievement, which at all costs must be irreversible: the fact that workers, who never before had their own say, have now done so, and must continue to decide their own affairs.

Let’s continue the struggle until we are entirely satisfied, so that the sacrifices already made have not been in vain.

—No resumption of separate agreements!
—Reinforce and extend the occupations!
—Build our strength:
            Strike committees elected and revocable by union members and non-            members
—Expand contacts among companies

This leaflet was written by strikers (unionized and non-unionized) from the following companies:

Bâtiment (Paris)
B.N.P. (Siège)
C.E.T. (Malakoff)
C.S.F. (Malakoff)
Nord Aviation (Châtillon)
Ascenseurs OTIS
P. et T. (Paris) R.A.T.P.
Sud Aviation (Suresnes)

June 3, 1968



The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues