France History Archive
Paris May-June 1968

The Correct Position

by Etienne Fajon

Source: page 1, L'Humanité, June 6, 1968;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor.

It is necessary for the millions of workers who just conducted — or are still conducting — a protest battle rarely equalled in its strength or unity, for the militants in whom was invested the confidence of their class brothers, to attentively read these days certain articles in the bourgeois press that transparently translate the hopes of the exploiters and their government.

As examples I'd like to cite Le Figaro and Paris Presse of June 5.

Here is what we read in the first of these newspapers, under the signature of P. Hamelet:

“Yesterday some characteristic incidents demonstrated the existence of an insurrectionary organization in certain big enterprises on strike...Is the CGT playing a double game, aimed at shifting the current events from the union to the political field? Are we in the presence of a deliberate attempt to sabotage the upcoming elections? And for whose profit?”

And here’s what H. Marque wrote in the other newspaper:

“Does the refusal to return to work risk preventing the general elections? ... The role of the Communist Party isn’t clear, and certain observers ask as well: what exactly does the CGT want?”

In the first place, it’s important to stigmatize these lying inventions and denounce these dirty tricks.

What the CGT wants everyone knows, including the writers in question. In conformity with its vocation, it wants the demands for which the workers entered into the struggle victoriously met.

As for the role of the Communist Party, it’s perfectly clear. We have supported and do support without reserve the actions of the working class for the fulfillment of its legitimate demands. At the same time, we carry on in broad daylight our political struggle for the union of democratic forces in order to defeat the regime of personal power, and to promote a government of the people and of republican union, within which the Communists will have the place they are due.

That said, what is the status of the strikes at this time?

In certain professions, like metallurgy and construction, the rapacious bosses and their government have up till now refused to satisfy the just demands of the employees, and they prolong the conflict. The workers in question, who are consequently forced to continue their action, are and remain assured of the material and moral solidarity of their comrades who have already won and, more generally, of the majority of the people of France.

On the other hand, in other branches some very important results — in some cases without precedent — have already been obtained.

This is the case in the textile, food, paper and cardboard, petroleum, and numerous other industries.

This is the case in the civil service (increases in salaries of from 14% to 21% for 1968, reduction of the work day, guarantee of union rights); at Electricité and Gaz de France where salaries have been increased by from 11.7% to 19.5%, with the strike days paid; and at the SNCF and the RATP (substantial increase in salaries, reduction of the work day or extension of vacations, indemnification or recuperation of strike days, etc).

On these victorious bases, the strike has come to an end in different sectors of national life.

In every case, it’s up to the workers involved, if they haven’t already done so, to democratically make decisions in the full knowledge of the concessions imposed by their fight.

In its last communiqué the National Bureau of the CGT “considers that everywhere that essential demands have been met, it’s in the interests of employees to en masse call for the return to work in unity.”

The great union organization, in saying this, furnishes new proof of its sense of responsibility in service to the working class. As for us, we fully approve its correct position.

Any other attitude would provide De Gaulle with the pretext he’s waiting and hoping for in order to avoid consulting the people, and to enter — as he says — other paths than “the immediate vote of the country”; it would aid him in his feeding of the feeling of anxiety in a part of the population, anxiety that the “civic action committees” are working to sharpen by all methods possible. The above- mentioned articles leave no doubt on this subject.

This must be all the more stressed given that pseudo-revolutionary groups, after having worked to sabotage the great movement that is in progress under the pretext that the demands are of no interest, are currently trying to prevent the return to work, now that a victorious conclusion has crowned the fight.

The most sonorous phrases of adventurers will fool no one. It would be giving them too much credit to consider them irresponsible. In truth, in striving to disorient and divide the workers; in fomenting provocations from which we all know who will profit; in insulting the worker’s unions and the Party of the working class, they give the government and the capitalists the assistance they need so much.

The defeat of those they serve will be theirs as well.