Defend Basic Rights, Stand with those who Defy the French Ban on Demonstrations

By Eric Lerner and Jay Arena, NJ ILN

The French national government’s ban on public demonstrations, now extended for up to three months, is an assault on the basic rights of working people not only in France but in the entire world. The so-called “Socialist” government of President Hollande, backed by almost the entire parliament, has made its first huge capitulation to the growing force of fascism by emulating its tactics. They have made a terrorist attack into the excuse for the suppression of basic rights—a scenario that originated in the Reichstag fire of 1933. If this ban is allowed to succeed, it will encourage every capitalist government to copy it, at untold cost. In France itself it will pave the way for the National Front.

But France 2015 is not Germany 1933. The working class movement, the left organizations, the unions have not suffered the crushing defeats that the German workers had leading up to 1933. And sections of the French movement have already declared their willingness to defy the ban on demonstrations.

It is crucial that activists everywhere express concrete solidarity with those in France who fight against the repression of basic rights. While the struggle will begin with the planned November 22 demonstrations in defense of immigrants, it will almost certainly not end there. As in Quebec in 2013, when similar prohibitions against demonstrations were defeated by mass mobilizations in the streets, a defeat of this repression will probably take weeks or months. Demonstrations of solidarity with the struggle in France throughout the world will not only strengthen the movement in France but build global working class unity.