Socialist Worker

France


Marching in London? Then head for Paris

27 September 2003
PEOPLE WILL be heading for the French capital in November to take part in the second European Social Forum (ESF). The first ESF was in the Italian city of Florence last November, when 60,000 people took part in three days of rallies, debates and forums. The Florence forum culminated in a million-strong demonstration against war. And it was out of meetings at Florence that activists from across Europe called for massive anti-war protests on 15 February this year.

The People's Friend: touching a chord with the people

20 September 2003
THE FRENCH Revolution between 1789 and 1794 was the first time in history that revolutionary newspapers played a decisive role in shaping the course of events. The revolution was the key battle in the birth of the modern capitalist world. It swept away the old feudal order of aristocrats and kings. In its place it forged a national state dominated by the middle class of merchants, doctors, lawyers.

Hawks at each other's throats

20 September 2003
"IRAQ: THE New War". That headline in the prestigious New York Review of Books captures the scale of the fighting that continues in Iraq. The word occupation does not adequately describe what is happening. There is a new phase in this war that we were assured was won when Western television stations took carefully choreographed shots of the fall of statues to Saddam Hussein five months ago. It is like the colonial wars conducted in the 1950s by the British army in Kenya, Malaysia, Aden and Cyprus, and by France in Algeria.

Find the right culture in the Left Field

13 September 2003
I DON'T know about you, but I hate columnists who write about their holidays abroad. So I had better apologise in advance! This year I stayed in a tiny village just outside Marciac in the south west corner of France. Marciac, a village of 6,000 inhabitants, puts on the biggest jazz festival in Europe. Over two weeks some of the greatest names in jazz played there-Wayne Shorter, Oscar Peterson and Wynton Marsalis.

Interview with Donna Franceschild, writer of TV's The Key

13 September 2003
The Key is a major new drama about three generations of working class women in Glasgow. Their story reveals an inspiring history of political activism and working class militancy rarely seen on TV. Donna Franceschild wrote The Key. She spoke to Socialist Worker about why political drama is back in fashion.

Politics will fizz in Paris

06 September 2003
"THE FAR Left Is In Fashion". That was the headline in the right wing French daily Le Parisien on Wednesday last week.

Letters

23 August 2003
Larzac success is a great sign for Paris The Larzac festival in France two weeks ago was the biggest anti-capitalist event France has seen. Over 250,000 people attended. Besides the usual activists lots of people came to the festival out of the vast social movements that have swept France in the last six months. Workers have struck against the Tory government's plans to attack pensions.

France sees its biggest ever anti-capitalist protest

16 August 2003
AN ASTONISHING crowd converged on the Larzac plateau in southern France last weekend. It was the biggest anti-capitalist event we have ever seen in this country, far bigger than anyone had expected.

Etre et Avoir : an unsentimental education

19 July 2003
The film Etre et Avoir (To Be and To Have) should be required watching for all New Labour politicians. It might enlighten those who believe education can be reduced to a barracks regime of testing designed to fit young people for the needs of employers. Etre et Avoir follows in great detail the life of a real school in the French countryside. The school is tiny so there are children from four years old to ten in a single classroom.

Vive la Revolution by Mark Steel

19 July 2003
Vive la Revolution by Mark Steel is a lively and witty history of the French Revolution. It is an accessible history which reclaims the 1789 revolution from the widely held idea that it was a period of terror, murder and mayhem. Steel celebrates the revolution as a time when masses of disenfranchised people played a part in radically changing the society in which they lived.

Start planning for these great events

19 July 2003
THE demonstrations against the G8 summit in Evian, France, a month ago showed that the anti-capitalist movement is alive and well. Around 100,000 people took part in the biggest protest, shattering the predictions of some critics. They had said just a few tens of thousands would turn up.

Rank and file took the lead in France

12 July 2003
THE STRIKES in France during May and June were amazing. Some people have compared them to the public sector workers' strikes of December 1995. In many ways they were better. On 13 May, for example, there were at least eight million on strike.

Leaders' fear of effective strikes

05 July 2003
ONE OF the most well-known figureheads of the global movement against corporate power was thrown in jail in France last week. José Bové, leader of the radical farmers' Conféderation Paysanne, faces ten months inside.

The wrong strategy in French pension strikes

21 June 2003
FRENCH TRADE union leaders may have allowed their Tory government to survive the mass protests over its attack on workers' pension rights. There were two more days of strikes and demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of workers last week, and more protests were planned this week. But they were not on the scale of the earlier strikes that repeatedly paralysed the country in recent weeks.

Crunch time for pension strikers

14 June 2003
THE TRIAL of strength between French workers and their Tory government reached a decisive stage on Tuesday. The government pressed ahead with its attacks on workers' pension rights, presenting its plans in the country's National Assembly.

Can strikes shake Tory government in France?

07 June 2003
TUESDAY SAW another huge show of strength by French workers in their fight with the country's Tory government. Strikers shut down much of the country. But the government was gambling on some union leaders now holding back from the all-out action which could bring workers victory.

Storm of protest descends on G8

07 June 2003
"TO THE eight who want to rule the world, the world replies - resistance!" The chant was in French, but taken up by people from a dozen or more European countries - and some from Africa, Asia and Latin America too.

France - High stakes as fight over pensions grows

31 May 2003
THE STAKES are mounting in the battle over workers' pension rights in France. Sunday saw a new round of massive demonstrations against the Tory government's plan to force workers to work more years, and pay more, for poorer pensions. Around 600,000 people marched in Paris, with tens of thousands more marching in cities across the country.

Two thugs aren't better than one

31 May 2003
ONE OF the biggest talking points of the past few months has concerned where the war on Iraq leaves relations between Europe and the US. Many people on the left have been speculating that the European Union (EU) can, under French and German leadership, emerge as a counterweight to the US.

A killer comes to Europe

31 May 2003
GEORGE BUSH, the butcher of Iraq, is arriving in Europe this weekend. He is flying into Evian in France to meet with his fellow leaders of the "G8" richest industrial countries. He comes determined to hammer home his victory in Iraq - even though every day there are reports of more deaths and killings in the country he claims to have liberated.

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