Socialist Worker

France


Mood is to resist

04 May 2002
THE NEWS of Le Pen's election breakthrough in France broke on Sunday night. I felt I had to do something. So I did a collection at work the following morning. The response was inspiring. It raised £178 for the Anti Nazi League. I work at Marconi, the company that has gone belly-up and may still collapse. It is making redundancies, and that has had a terrible impact on the atmosphere at work.

Socialists from France speak out

04 May 2002
The first questions were put to Daniel Bensaid: WHAT DOES the result mean?

French shockwave sweeping Europe

27 April 2002
"EARTHQUAKE"-that was how French newspapers reacted to Jean-Marie Le Pen's success in the presidential elections. He came second with more votes than Lionel Jospin, the equivalent of Tony Blair. Le Pen is a Nazi. He described the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews as a mere "detail of history".

'Confront Nazis on streets every day'

27 April 2002
SHOCK AT the election result in France has been quickly matched by a huge explosion of anger on the streets. The wave of demonstrations, hardly reported in British newspapers, shows how the Nazi Le Pen can be crushed. Established politicians were merely telling people to vote for the right wing Chirac.

Jospin's failures boosted Le Pen

27 April 2002
FRANCE'S PRESIDENTIAL election was the result of mass disillusionment with five years of government by the Socialist Party and its coalition allies, the Greens and the Communists. The vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen was terrible, with just over four and a half million people backing the Nazi leader. But it was almost exactly the same vote Le Pen got in the last presidential election in 1995.

Time to unite with Chirac?

27 April 2002
It is not just ordinary people who have been shocked by the French election result. Establishment politicians across Europe too have been shaken. These politicians agree the only solution to the danger of Le Pen is to unite behind Tory candidate Jacques Chirac in the election run-off on 5 May. Chirac is almost certain to be elected.

Inside the system

13 April 2002
Desmond's lies invade Express The Express under millionaire boss Richard Desmond has been at the forefront of whipping up anti-refugee feeling. It recently ran an article with the headline "Migrant Wave Swamps Tunnel". A picture appeared to show two refugees crawling through the fence near the Channel Tunnel terminal in France.

One in ten will vote for a revolutionary in the French presidential election

06 April 2002
One in ten people in one of the world's key industrial countries say they will vote in two weeks time for a socialist who calls for "revolution" to sweep away a "bankrupt capitalist system". That poll finding is sending shockwaves through the French political establishment as the country gears up for the 21 April presidential election. Paul McGarr reports from France.

Trade unionists join struggle

23 March 2002
Over 100,000 trade unionists marched in Barcelona against the European Union (EU) summit two days before the anti-capitalist demo. The march was organised by the European Federation of Trade Unions. Hundreds of coaches, plus a train and a plane, came from other areas of Spain. And some 20,000 trade unionists came from France and Italy, with smaller delegations from other countries.

Charlotte Gray: just too many shades of grey

23 February 2002
Set in occupied France during the Second World War, Charlotte Gray tells the story of a young Scottish woman who is recruited to the Special Operations Executive. Charlotte, played by Cate Blanchett, wants to defeat fascism and search for her missing lover. She is sent to work with the French Resistance.

US threatens new targets

12 January 2002
PEOPLE IN the poor African country of Somalia feared this week that they were to become the latest targets in the US "war on terror". The US, and key allies Britain and France, have increased surveillance flights to four or five a day over Somalia in the last week.

Refugees' desperate defiance

11 August 2001
"WE ARE not animals. We are not criminals. We are human beings," cried hundreds of desperate and defiant refugees last week. They were fighting back against the treatment they suffer because of the policies of Tony Blair and other European Union leaders. Over 900 refugees are at a Red Cross centre in a giant hangar outside Sangatte, near the French Channel port of Calais.

Montpellier: 15,000 march against globalisation

24 February 2001
A Two-day carnival-like event took place in Montpellier, southern France, last week. It was a 15,000-strong protest against globalisation that saw people pack into meetings on everything from how to fight the multinationals to the threat to privatise public services under the planned GATS trade agreement. There was also an inspiring march, with students, peasants and trade unionists chanting what has become the slogan of the movement: "The world is not for sale!"

BSE: They say it's all over-it isn't

10 February 2001
BSE-"mad cow disease"- has suddenly become a key issue right across Europe. In France, Italy, Greece, Spain and, above all, Germany, beef consumption has slumped by up to 40 percent in the wake of a sudden rise in BSE cases.

France: Temperature is rising fast

27 January 2001
Workers and bosses in France were set for a major trial of strength on Thursday. All the country's major union federations have called for strikes and demonstrations against a "frontal assault" on workers' pension rights. It comes as the social and political temperature in France is rising. Strikes and demonstrations have been multiplying in recent weeks. Now the Les Echos business paper worries that bosses are playing "a dangerous game". Thursday's action centres around a provocative move by the Medef employers' organisation.

Opel's ad strikes

20 January 2001
The internet is a curious and contradictory thing. A sign of the times in France is a useful website called lesgreves.com (strikes.com), which gives a detailed and long list of strikes taking place each day around the country. The main sponsor on last week's home page was Opel. Opel is the German subsidiary of the giant General Motors car firm. Hopefully the firm will feature in a different way in a round-up of strike reports later this month when workers across Europe join a day of action against GM.

French spirit

20 January 2001
Workers in the French port of Calais have shown exactly how to take on a multinational. Hundreds of workers at the Lu biscuit factory walked out on strike last week after the giant food multinational Danone announced it wanted to shut the plant. The workers were still out on strike this week, and a strike across Danone in France was planned for Thursday. Danone is a multinational company that produces drinks, yoghurt and other dairy products, and biscuits.

Breaking chains

06 January 2001
YOUNG WORKERS at McDonald's in France have shown how to take on the fast food multinational and win. McDonald's workers struck and occupied the Boulevard St German outlet in the centre of Paris just before Christmas. Their 15-day occupation won huge support.

ATTAC

05 February 2000
Some 50 people attended a meeting in London last Saturday to launch the Association for the Tobin Tax for Aid to Citizens (ATTAC) in Britain. The tax, named after economist James Tobin, would be a levy on financial speculation. Katherin Matheison of War On Want addressed Saturday's meeting, as did a member of ATTAC from France. Across the Channel ATTAC has grown to some 70,000 members with 130 local groups in little over a year after it was launched by the left wing monthly paper Le Monde diplomatique. Most of those at Saturday's meeting were inspired by the Seattle protest against the World Trade Organisation. A series of further meetings is planned, including a joint conference with W

Picket lines and protests in France

05 February 2000
FRANCE SHOWS another face of Europe, how workers can take on bosses and governments, marginalising the far right and the Nazis. Over 10,000 health workers united to march in Paris on Friday of last week. Thousands joined similar protests in other cities around the country. They were demanding increased funding and more staff. More protests were planned this week. Four years ago the Tory government attacked France's welfare provision, including health. This was beaten back, and strikes and protests ensured a left wing coalition government was swept to power.

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