On Friday, October 22, finally the
French government managed to get the pensions reform passed through the
Senate. The increasingly unpopular government of Sarkozy, faced with an
unprecedented movement of strikes, demonstrations, road blockades, mass
pickets and general assemblies, hoped that this, together with the
beginning of the All Saints school holidays, would bring the mass
movement to a halt. This does not seem to be happening, however.
After October 12th, the movement against
the attack on pensions has reached a critical threshold. The great days
of action are no longer the centre of gravity, although they are still
massive and increasingly militant, as shown by October 19th. Now, the
central axis of the struggle has shifted onto open-ended strikes and
pickets blockading different sectors of the economy.
The FIAT plant at Pomigliano d’Arco
(Naples) has become the centre of attention for all militant trade
unionists in Italy. The bosses are trying to implement new draconian
work conditions and in the process have used all kinds of bullying
methods. But they can push too far and the workers are reaching the
limit and preparing to fight back.
The downgrading of Greece’s credit
ratings by Standard & Poor’s
has sent shockwaves around the world’s financial markets, with stock
exchanges seeing significant falls over the last few days. The fear is
could default and drag the rest of the eurozone into a severe crisis,
putting immense pressure on the euro. The problem the bourgeois face is
the Greek working class, which is not taking this lying down.
Last week, on March 11, Greece was
shaken by an even bigger general strike than on February 24. As the
government announced its third austerity package the mood of Greek
workers has become one of growing anger and militancy. All the
conditions are there for a massive escalation of the conflict.