How right Gil Scott-Heron was when he wrote his poem "The Revolution will not be televised" (1970). The "yellow vests" have been protesting and marching every Friday, uninterruptedly, since October 2018, in all major French cities, but you will see little or nothing about it in the mainstream media, especially scenes of police brutality against peaceful demonstrators.
Almost the same thing is happening with the strike against pension reform, which has been going on for 50 days now (since 5 December 2019); just some news here and there - because of course, how could the media completely ignore the train cancellations during the end of the year festivities? - But there’s almost nothing about the reasons for the reform and the impact it will have on the lives of millions of citizens if it is approved.
the strike against pension reform has been going on for 50 days now
The strike started with the shutdown of public transport, especially trains, and then education workers, firefighters, port workers, health service workers, lawyers, musicians from the Paris Symphony Orchestra, dancers from the Paris Opera, and even farmers have joined the movement.
Macron's pension reform
is the current retirement age
is the new retirement age proposed
different pension schemes to be replaced by a single one
The controversial reform proposed by the Macron government aims - among other things - to raise the retirement age to 64 (it is currently 62) and to restructure the system by abolishing the current 42 different pension schemes (with specific rules according to the sector or the company), and replacing them with a single, points-based system, which may lead to significant losses for some professions.
After almost two months of protests, the President is reluctant to make any concessions, even though only a few days after the start of the strike on Monday 16 December, it claimed its first and most important victim: Jean-Paul Delevoye, the high commissioner for pensions. Delevoye was the person who conceived the reform, but he had to resign because of a possible conflict of interest. He has been replaced by Laurent Pietraszewski, a Member of Parliament and former director of human resources at Auchan hypermarkets, a retail industry colossus that is part of the multinational Auchan Group.
The strike doesn’t come free for the workers either; many of them have stopped receiving their wages and have had to spend an austere New Year. But as Karim, a tram driver in Paris, says, "we would rather sacrifice a salary than our pensions and those of our children and the children of all French people". "We have to decide which society we want [...] Either we continue to have a society with solidarity between people, or we move on to a purely individualistic society where everyone has to look after themselves," reflects Patrick. Both were interviewed by EL PAIS, one of the few international media that has published news on the matter.
PSI supports the strikers in France. They are an example for workers all over the world. Solidarity forever!