CFDT: One Common Fight
The extremely violent clashes, with blind and bloody repression from the government and a several hours’ long siege by the students, determined to win, are all signs of a deep malaise among the students, but also in the whole of our Society.
THE IMMEDIATE CAUSES:
–The attitude of the Government
• in arresting several hundred students at the Sorbonne on Friday, 3 May, although a number of similar meetings had been held previously under the same conditions without harming anyone;
• sending in the police with such brutality that the press largely reported on it;
• in refusing all “overtures”, rejecting every way of defusing the situation such as releasing the imprisoned students;
• the conviction of many student without any proof, under unacceptable conditions. These instant arrests and convictions are new tactics that were inaugurated in Caen against the workers on strike, and which the workers will be the victims of tomorrow.
Actually the large peaceful demonstration organised by the UNEF on Monday 7 May showed that students are perfectly able to keep order themselves provided that the police do not interfere.
THE DEEPER CAUSES:
– The ANXIETY of the STUDENTS FACED with their FUTURE.
The university, this enormous graduate-manufacturing machine, is becoming industrialised and now produces graduates without concerning itself with job opportunities for those who are being processed. For example, students who started Human Sciences courses a few years ago, are bitter today when they learn about the scarcity of possible future employment. Nobody has informed them about this state of affairs. Such examples are unfortunately quite common. The question these students are asking themselves – and we, as workers facing our own employment problems, should understand it well, is:
TOMORROW WILL WE BE UNEMPLOYED, OR UNDER-EMPLOYED,?
– THE REJECTION OF GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITARIANISM
There is an important issue, about increasing the number of students, which poses the question of professional career prospects.
The government has unilaterally decided to reject dialogue with both the students’ and teachers’ Unions on the authoritarian methods of selection for entry to the faculties.
This method is used in exactly the same way to exclude a growing number of our own children from entry into further education.
When were the parents’ associations consulted?
–SUSPICION OF CAPITALIST SOCIETY
We would like to refer to a statement previously made by workers, and (alas) reproduced in pamphlets “Students are the sons of bourgeois parents. Tomorrow, they will be the managing directors of our industries. We want nothing to do with them.”
Let us add two comments:
• If the number of sons of working-class families is so small in universities, it is the responsibility not of the students themselves, but rather of the system that the government enforces, which tends to shut the door of higher education to children of less well-to-do families.
• Whatever their social origin, students rebel as we do ourselves against a society which does not satisfy them, because it is led by oppressive capitalism and therefore is incapable of satisfying deeper human aspirations.
The following quotation from a pamphlet produced by UNEF is indicative of this view:
“… The workers reject a society which is exploiting them, the students reject a university which attempts to change them into docile executors of a system based on exploration, and sometimes even into direct accomplices of exploitation.”
This rejection of a society of the car, TV and conditioning by advertising where men are sick, not knowing why they are living any more, is extremely healthy.”
If we are determined, this can be the beginning of a positive enterprise to build our new society not on anarchical production, waste, and wealth for same through others’ destitution, but on justice, solidarity, freedom. responsibility, and respect for every man, whoever he is.
POSITION OF THE CFDT• We workers must not let ourselves be led into unjustified reaction which would cut us off from our allies the students.
• On the contrary, with them we demand:
• the freedom of those in prison and the withdrawal of unjust charges;
• the removal of the police from the Latin Quarter;
• the reopening of the universities;
• the solution of the basic problems of the university: we are especially concerned that our children will beneﬁt from the solution.
THIS IS WHY WE CALL ON ALL WORKERS
– FOR A 24-HOUR GENERAL STRIKE ON MONDAY 13 MAY,
– TO TAKE PART EN MASSE IN THE DEMONSTRATION
decided on by the union organisations.