After a 4 weeks long general strike in Guadeloupe which has also extended for 10 days in Martinique, the struggle of the workers of these two French West-Indian islands enters a difficult phase. The French government has just refused its support for the draft agreement on a wage increase which took shape between the trade unions and the employers organization.
Demmonstration in Guadeloupe
Riots in Guadeloupe 02/17/09
The French State secretary for Overseas Departments which had abandonned the negotiations to leave for Paris, has returned with reinforcements from the "Gendarmes Mobile" (anti-riot Mobile Police squads) declaring that it would enforce respect for "the Rule of law" - i.e. the right of the capitalists to exploit the proletarians - in the island. The elected town councilors of the Socialist Party of Guadeloupe after having proposed that the region grant a premium of 100 euros for the period of a few months for the workers with too low a wage (instead of a true increase of salary), call for a "relaxation of the general strike"; in Martinique the SP and UMP (the president's party) have together called "to loosen the stranglehold of the strike".
It is obvious that these bourgeois parties, just like the authorities, hope for the exhaustion of the strikers after so long a movement, and the gendarmes are afraid of the strike. It should be remembered that in 1967 a great movement of struggle in Guadeloupe was crushed by brutal repression by the Gaullist regime with 87 fatalities.
The "Lyannaj Kont Pwofitation"collective, bringing together a multitude of various organizations, which is leading the movement, has amalgamated elemental proletarian demands with demands of the reformist type; and it has launched an interclassist call for the unity of the "People of Guadeloupe", from the workers and peasants to "enterpreneurs"! . In its declaration of February 15, it declared that "the fight continues"; but after having admitted that it had made concessions on the salary demands, the LKP affirms that "the Guadaloupean bosses, conscious of the role which they have to play in the economy of their country, decided to rebel against the organizations supposed to represent them (MEDEF, CGPME) and to organize themselves in order to find solutions in response to the demands of their employees".
But the bosses, whether Guadeloupean or not, live only by the exploitation of "their" workers: it's impossible to fight against pwofitation (exploitation), if you ally yourself with the exploiteurs!
There is no doubt that the central mobilizing demand, the one for which the workers, the only driving force of the currents struggle movement, decided to strike on, is the proletarian demand for a general and uniform increase of 200 euros in wages, pensions and social minimums. The popular interclassist unity can only be viewed as a weakness which adversaries will seek to utilize to derail the struggle.
If the government supports the West-Indian patronat in their intransigence and refuses to grant more than crumbs to the West-Indian proletarians, while at the same time it mobilizes billions to assist capitalist enterprises, it is because it fears that the success of the strike will have the effect of encouraging not only the workers of nearby territories (Reunion, New Caledonia, French Guyana), but also among the workers of the metropoles: particularly France, if indeed the situation of the proletarians of the Antilles is worse than that their class brothers in France (endemic unemployment, low wages, higher consumer prices), the French workers actually face the same problems, the same exploitation; and they need the same means of struggle: the unlimited general strike, renewable by general assemblies of workers and supported by strike pickets.
In refusing to yield to the demands of the West-Indian workers, the government intends to demonstrate that it will refuse to yield to the demands of French workers.
On this line, the government has received the implicit support of the reformist trade-unions and organizations. Thus , the large union that organized the Day of Action (Day of Letting Off Steam) of January 29, has declined the slightest solidarity, even verbal, with the Guadeloupean strikers; for this genuine United Front of anti-worker collaborationists, who must above all avoid real proletarian struggle, even the mention of a general strike in Guadaloupe might give the workers bad ideas ...
As for Martine Aubry, the secretary of the SP, after having declared that she feared an extension of the West-Indian movement to France, she affirmed in an interview in the Parisian of 13/02: "everything should be done to make sure that this does not happen"!
Faced with a government that has decided not to give in to workers, given the manoeuvres of the reformist parties and organizations, the Caribbean proletarians can count only on the solidarity of the proletariat class of the advanced capitalist metropoles, and that solidarity can only occur in one way: by entering into genuine proletarian struggle to defend their own class interests!
The West-Indian workers show us the way: their fight is not that of the people of a particular island, it must become that of all the workers. So that today, just as 40 years ago, their fight becomes the harbinger of the resumption of the general struggle of the proletarians of France and the capitalist metropoles!
Long Live the General Strike of the Workers of the Antilles!
International Communist Party, 2009/02/15