By CrimethInc, March 30, 2023
In France, a powerful movement has erupted in response to an attempt to raise the retirement age. While millions have gone on strike and poured into the streets, President Emmanuel Macron and his henchmen have attempted to crush this movement by escalating police violence to lethal extremes. In the following report, we offer a chronology of the events of the past week, including a translation of an account by one participant in the movement and a statement from the parents of another who remains in a coma. You can read an overview the first phase of the movement and an analysis of the issues at stake here.
When French president Emmanuel Macron ran for office last year, part of his platform was an unpopular pension reform that would force workers to work several years more before retirement. Forced to choose between outright fascists and neoliberals, French voters grudgingly elected Macron, but a showdown has been brewing ever since.
The movement against the pension reform got underway with a strike on January 16, 2023. Polite protests gave way to generalized unrest on March 16 when prime minister Élisabeth Borne used article 49.3 of the Constitution to bypass a vote in the National Assembly, implementing the new law by force. As the revolt gathered steam, it expanded beyond opposing the pension reform to rejecting neoliberalism as a whole. The protests, strikes, and blockades became gestures of resistance against the arbitrary power of the executive office as well as against Macron and his cronies (“Macron et son monde”), reminiscent of the Yellow Vests movement in 2018.