The French ruling class is being shaken to the core and the huge people’s struggle has just begun.
It began with the now familiar Yellow Vests movement, a militant street rebellion against intolerable economic conditions of poverty as the super-rich flaunt their wealth stolen from the workers.
With each day, the movement is rapidly deepening, sweeping across France, with mass popular sectors, high-school, university, working and unemployed youth, postal, port, firefighters, transportation and other unionists, and more, joining in.
After weeks of remaining silent while he oversaw the deployment of 89,000 police in a brutal assault in the hopes of crushing the protests, today French president Emmanuel Macron pleaded on national television to the public.
Stating, “Maybe I gave the impression I didn’t care but that is not true. Maybe I hurt some of you. That was not my intention,” Macron declared a state of economic and social emergency, and promised immediate changes.
Among the few concrete measures he announced is an end-of-year untaxed bonus for all workers, while promising to work toward guaranteed work for students after graduation. The French president also committed to raising the minimum wage. Macron said that Prime Minister Édouard Philippe will announce further changes tomorrow in Parliament.
But he made clear that repression will be the order of the day to stop the protests.
He began by accusing the protesters of violence and warned that the state will intervene to stop them. “When there is violence, freedom stops. The calm and republican order is what needs to be restored. We will do everything to restore it … I have given the most rigorous instructions.”
Yet, what could become the biggest mobilization to date, “Act V,” is set for this coming weekend.