On Thursday January 29, France experienced what the UK Guardian termed "the first general strike to hit a major industrialised nation since the start of the global financial crisis." Millions of workers stayed off their jobs and took to the streets instead, demanding that the French government help workers find and keep jobs at decent wages, instead of shelling out public money to bail out banks and big corporations.
On the same day, in a demonstration of worker anger that was smaller and closer to home, but still significant, the LA Times reports that "Thousands of teachers and other union members rallied Thursday at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles to oppose state and local cuts to education." Thanks to Without a Paddle for bringing the LA demo to our attention - and, even more, for being there to stand up and be counted!
A related Northern California struggle is also in progress. See Charles Rachlis's recent post about the community movement against school closures that Charles is helping to lead in Richmond, California.)
As the worldwide so-called recession deepens even further, more such demonstrations against budget cuts, layoffs, and fat cat bailouts can be expected. Will they rise to the level of a revolutionary movement, as at least one French Trotskyist leader is hoping?
Only time will tell, but one thing is clear already: ordinary working people are angry, and they will only get angrier as conditions get worse. Be careful what you ask for, pro-capitalist Obama supporters - as the class struggle heats up, you may find yourselves facing the prospect of some real change!