“We stand with you because all of us are in the same fight”

US autoworkers express class solidarity with French workers

By Jerry White
6 December 2018

American autoworkers who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site expressed their solidarity with French workers and youth fighting President Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax hikes, austerity measures and state repression. The “Yellow Vest” movement, which is not under the control of the unions or any political party, has highlighted the opposition of broad layers of the working class to social inequality and the financial aristocracy. The tenacity of the demonstrators has shaken the ruling class in France and internationally while giving inspiration to workers in the US and around the world.

“You are my brothers and sisters and we have the same struggles,” Angela, a Fiat Chrysler worker in Kokomo, Indiana, said to French workers. “I am with you. I wish you could bottle up some of what you are doing and send it to us American workers.

“Those in power, whether it is Trump or Macron, have a vested interest in dividing us between countries—it’s the oldest trick in the book. The United Auto Workers union does it too. They don’t want us to know how powerful we are if we stand together.

“The fight by workers in France and in every country, fundamentally, is against the capitalist system. History has shown that this is a failed system. It gave us the Depression, world wars and the 2008 crash and the Great Recession, which we’ve never recovered from. Workers in the US, France and everywhere are teetering on the brink, we don’t have any financial stability. We have to go outside the control of the unions to organize, and then we’ll have the power to fight,” Angela concluded.

Mike, a Fiat Chrysler worker in Detroit, told the World Socialist Web Site, “If I could speak directly to the French workers, I would urge them to continue their fight and stay strong. What they are doing is a great example and is encouraging to us workers in the United States. There are billions of us in the US and around the world who stand in solidarity with the French workers because we all face the same fight.

“What France shows is that this is a class struggle, not over race, gender or any other superficial tool of division. This is a legitimate and real struggle that we are living through every day, not a make-believe one. It is the working class vs. the monied class, the bourgeoisie.

“The Yellow Vest movement is a great example for American workers to emulate. The firefighters, ambulance drivers and others are supporting it, and the workers are standing up and battling the police. The unions, the controlled opposition, have no control over this movement and have not been able to stop it.

“But the government is putting police and military snipers on the rooftops. The six-month moratorium on the tax hike is to diffuse this movement, to tell the workers to go home. But this is only to get the troops in position and be better prepared, so they can roll them out to stop the mass protests.

“Here in the US and Canada, GM is shutting five plants. It’s not that GM is not profitable it’s all about corporate greed at the behest of the big investors. Workers are outraged but that anger has to be directed and workers need to know what to fight for and how to fight for it. We should not give ground on anything. Instead we should fight to win back everything that the United Auto Workers union has given up because it’s ours.

“All over the world, the corporations want to transform us into a pool of expendable labor, temporary at-will employees, who pay union dues and have no rights. Corporations like GM and Ford are not bound by national borders and to combat them workers need to unite globally.

“Mankind has made immense technological and scientific progress but there has not been an equivalent social evolution. We shouldn’t have poverty and scarcity anywhere. The next stage in human progress must be a massive social transformation and we, workers, have to do it. The French workers are a good example for workers in America and around the world, and they should continue their fight.”

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