Whatever its scale, the 14th “day of action” against Macron’s rotten pension reform, scheduled for 6 June, will have no more effect on the government than did the 13th. Even if Macron did not really obtain the ‘appeasement’ he was hoping for, he can conclude that, on the pension reform, he has undoubtedly won the battle, at least temporarily. However, from the point of view of the French bourgeoisie, it is a Pyrrhic victory in which the winner emerges much weaker, overall, than the loser.

Our Brazilian organisation (Esquerda Marxista) recently sat down for a discussion with Jérôme Métellus, leading member of Révolution (the IMT in France), about the powerful movement of strikes and protests that rocked French society starting in January. This struggle, triggered by Macron attempting to hike the retirement age, has entered into a phase of stagnation, but the situation in France is more polarised and enraged than ever.

In his inaugural speech as President of France in 2017, Emmanuel Macron said that he wanted to “convince our compatriots that France’s power is not declining, but that we are on the threshold of an extraordinary renaissance”. Since then, the decline of French imperialism has accelerated, both economically, geopolitically and militarily. This is particularly the case in Africa.

During his televised speech on 17 April, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to move on from the uproar surrounding the recent pension reform by promising the Earth to all those who, since 19 January, have mobilised in the streets and have been on strike against this bill.

On 17 April, British police arrested Ernest Moret, a French publisher, as he exited a train from Paris to London on a work trip. The arrest was carried out using British anti-terrorism laws, on the grounds that Moret had taken part in the recent protests against the Macron government in France. This is not only an attack on the basic democratic right to protest, but a clear sign of collusion between the French and British authorities to victimise those who dare to speak out against them.

The 53rd Congress of the CGT, which was held at the end of March, marked a turning point in the history of this union confederation. The 942 delegates were polarised between a left and a right wing, which clashed over four days. Above all, the left wing appeared stronger and more on the offensive than ever, even if the right wing managed to retain control of the leadership and place one of its own, Sophie Binet, as general secretary.

On Wednesday, the day prior to the eleventh day of action against the Macron government’s pension reform, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne will meet the leaders of the ‘intersyndicale’, a coalition of French trade unions. “Everyone will be able to discuss the subjects they want to,” she has said. That’s very kind of her. The union leaders will be able to reiterate their opposition to the reform, and the prime minister will be able to reiterate that she couldn’t care less.

Another day of action was held on Tuesday (28 March) to oppose the rotten Macron regime, which last week forced through an increase of the French retirement age. The struggle remains strong, evidenced by the millions of people who took to the streets. But in order for the workers and youth to emerge victorious in their battles with Macron, the old bankrupt methods of the union leaders will not suffice. Our French comrades of Révolution draw a balance sheet (published 29 March) of the last mobilisation and point the way forward.

Yesterday’s mass demonstration in France brought the struggle against Macron to new heights. For the past two months, the movement (triggered by a new attack on pensions) has been intensifying. Government officials were hoping that everything would be back to normal by the weekend, counting on the movement to fade away after Thursday’s demonstration. They were wrong. Yesterday, 3.5 million workers and youth flooded the streets of most cities in France, as the strikes and protests took on a decidedly more militant mood.

Yesterday, for the eleventh time in 10 months, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne invoked article 49.3 of the French Constitution, to force through Macron’s hated pension reforms without a parliamentary vote. This, however, did not go unnoticed. In the hours following the Prime Minister's announcement, thousands of people gathered at the Place de la Concorde in Paris to denounce the manoeuvre. Spontaneous rallies took place in other cities.

Almost two months into the movement against Macron’s pension reform, the French masses have yet again proved their determination to fight. On Tuesday 7 March, around 3.5 million people were on the streets at 300 rallies across the country, according to the unions. This is the sixth day of action since 19 January, and brought record numbers on the streets.

The mobilisation against the pension reform in France is entering a decisive phase. All the days of action since 19 January have confirmed the extent of the opposition to the Macron government's planned attacks on pensions and, beyond that, its entire policy. But as we anticipated, these 24-hour mobilisations in and of themselves could not make Macron back down on the heart of his offensive: the postponement of the retirement age, the increase in the length of the contribution period, and the abolition of special regimes for certain sectors of the workforce. From now on, all eyes are on a new stage of the struggle, starting on 7 March.

We are proud to announce the publication of the French translation of Alan Woods’ History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective. The English language edition received a phenomenal reception upon its release in 2021, demonstrating the thirst that exists for serious works of Marxist theory. The appearance of this latest translation is an important advance for Marxist ideas in the Francophone world, and we congratulate the French-speaking comrades of the IMT on this achievement.

A second ‘day of action’ yesterday (31 January) saw huge crowds hit the streets of France to oppose Macron’s planned attacks on pensions. The CGT union confederation put the attendance figure at 2.8 million, which if accurate would be the biggest single manifestation since 2010.

The New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France – formed in 2009 by members of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), with the primary intention of uniting France’s far-left – announced at its 5th congress in December it would be undergoing a split, into two roughly similar-sized groups. The following article by Révolution, the French section of the IMT, draws the lessons of this split.

More than a million people were on the streets of France today at over 200 rallies, as part of a national strike against President Emmanuel Macron’s latest attack on pensions. Workers from the railways, the Paris transport system, oil refineries, and the media; along with teachers, civil servants, truck drivers and bank staff all walked out in opposition to Macron’s plans to increase the age of retirement. The potential for a showdown exists, but will the labour leaders rise to the occasion?

On 10 January, the French government will reveal the details of its draft law on pensions. We already know the main measure that has been proposed: the postponement of the retirement age by four months, each year, to reach 64 or 65 years of age (against the retirement age of 62 today) in 2027 or 2031. In addition, the increase in the length of contributions required for a full pension could be raised to 43 years (from 42 today) before the planned deadline of 2035. There is no doubt that these policies will be opposed.

On 11 October, the French government decided to use state powers to “requisition” several oil depots where workers had been on strike since 27 September. This has led to a call for a day of national strike action on Tuesday (18 October). Coming off the back of a large demonstration against the cost of living yesterday (16 October), the class struggle in France is roaring back onto the scene.

The Bank of France has once more revised down its projections for the growth of the French economy: in 2023, GDP is predicted to experience somewhere between a 0.5 percent fall and a meagre 0.8 percent growth. Analysts from Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, estimate that French GDP could slump by over 1 percent. This would, fatally, translate into a sharp rise in unemployment and poverty.