Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Air France Bosses: What did they expect?

Sean O'Torain.

Yesterday the arrogant bosses at Air France told the workers that 2,900 of them were going to be fired. They will, lose their livelihood, their homes, their ability to keep their family together. And these bosses thought they would get away with it! Well they had another think coming. Things are reaching a breaking point on front after front world wide. Mass movements many of them inevitably violent as the state moves to suppress them, are taking to the streets on every issue from the environment, to poverty, to repression, to the special oppression of women and minorities, to so called austerity.

Some of these have taken backward turns such as the ISIS movement in the Middle east. But what they all have in common is that they signify that things are reaching breaking point. This is the significance of the events at Air France. These arrogant bosses thinking they could just keep on with their offensive against workers announced 2,900 firings. But this time they were not accepted. The workers stormed the meeting, attacked the bosses, tore the clothes off the bosses' backs shouting "Naked, Naked,"and chased them from the building. They had to be rescued by security guards. This was great.

Let us keep in mind. France is an advanced capitalist country. One of the highest living standards in the world. Yet this happened in France. It is a sign of things to come for all countries. I am talking here especially about the USA. The USA is about to blow up. The arrogance of the bosses is unbelievable. The living standards of the working and middle class are being cut unmercifully. The capitalist offensive against the working class and the middle class is being stepped up. People are having to work two and three jobs. Young people are in tens and tens of thousands of dollars debt for their education. Violence and mass killings are regular. This cannot go on. The USA is on the brink. The signs of this have been in the Occupy Movement, the movement against low pay, the movement against police brutality and violence and racism and sexism.

There is one thing that has not yet surfaced in the US. The big battalions of the working class are still not in action. This is because the pathetic pro capitalist union leaders have still been able to hold them down. But this will not last for ever. And not only that, but because the union leaders have been holding them down so long, when they do take action the movement of the big battalions of the working class, will be even more explosive. The movement of the big battalions of the US working class when it comes in the future will be incredibly explosive. It will take the form of the Air France workers only on a much greater mass scale.  Great struggles lie ahead.

Those of us who want to end capitalism need to be prepared. Need to look at our ways of working, need to look at our past mistakes, need to look at how we are going to help the tens of millions of US workers and youth who will take action in the period ahead to organize in an effective way. When the US workers move they also will tear the shirts of the bosses backs. But on a mass scale. We need to prepare so that we have something to replace these rotten bosses and their rotten system. And prepare in a way that assists a movement of tens and tens of millions to organize itself, to clarify what it wants to do and to do it. Again we are talking about a movement of tens of millions. For all of us activists we need to see the size of the movement to come, the great potential of the movement to come but also the great challenge of the movement to come.

1 comment:

Stephen Morgan said...

I'm glad you covered this Sean, good points.

France is without doubt the most inherently revolutionary country in Europe and events there reverberate across the continent.

The Air France strike shows again that when the French workers move into action there are no holds barred. They are not held back by fear of (bourgeois) public opinion, and moreover, pay no heed to the moderating calls of trade union bureaucrats - they just take matters into their own hands. Taking bosses hostage is a frequent tactic in France - its called "boss-napping" If there was any country in the world most inclined to proletarian-direct-action, it is France.

In fact, it is an irony of France that the proportion of the workers organized in unions has always been traditionally smaller than other countries, but that is no barrier for the non-union workers to move into action, they just move independently, throwing up ad hoc fighting committees. In 1968, the revolutionary crisis begun by the students was taken over by 10 million workers in a movement which swept up from below through ever-widening wildcat strikes. In France, revolution can suddenly break out even when conditions might make it seem unlikely. France is the place where we can all be taken by surprise - "watch this space"