Tuesday, March 3, 2009

“Guadeloupean society has been constructed according to the dictates of race and class .


'As Demota recently stated, “Guadeloupean society has been constructed according to the dictates of race and class for the past 400 years…[and] you speak to us about social harmony! Social harmony cannot exist in a country when the majority of its children are excluded from work, from education, from power.”"





23/02/09Trade unionist Jacques Bino was shot dead and police fired upon in the French Caribbean colony of Guadeloupe on Tuesday (February 17). Further details of the occurrence are yet to be ascertained although it is certainly linked to the wave of social and political turmoil that has been gripping the group of tropical islands: a general strike was called by an alliance of about 50 unions and associations known as LKP or “Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon” – “Stand Up Against Exploitation” in the local Creole dialect.The Guadeloupean archipelago is a living reminder of France’s colonial past and the practices that sustained it – over 70% of the population are direct descendants of the surviving indigenous population and slaves stolen from Africa to enrich their European masters. Today the vast majority of businesses remain in the hands of the white settlers (who comprise little over 10% of the population). This fact is further compounded by the knowledge that, in spite of the high rate of unemployment and lower wages, the price of basic goods is greater than that in France.Riot police have been sent from France to quell the protests, while LKP spokesperson Elie Demota stated, “If anyone injures a member of the LKP or a striker on Guadeloupe, there will be deaths.”The dedication and desperation of the working class protestors is becoming ever fiercer in the face of an intransigent French government that has flatly rejected the basic demand of the striking workers to raise the lowest incomes by €200 (£178) per month. This just ten days after Sarkozy was forced to go live on television to defend a €26 billion (£23.1 billion) bail-out for French capitalists.The continuing unrest in metropolitan France (with mass demonstrations, escalating strikes and flammable banlieux) may yet be further increased by the happenings in the remnants of France’s empire. Already the strikes and protests of Guadeloupe have spread to the colonies of Martinique and the Antilles with social movements threatening to topple France’s final colonial regimes as the global capitalist economy reaches an ever-deepening crisis.One thing can be sure however – the historic and contemporary injustices that are giving rise to these struggles will not disappear without resistance and, given the new paths toward socialism being travelled in Bolivia and Venezuela, the alternatives seem closer and more necessary than ever.As Demota recently stated, “Guadeloupean society has been constructed according to the dictates of race and class for the past 400 years…[and] you speak to us about social harmony! Social harmony cannot exist in a country when the majority of its children are excluded from work, from education, from power.”

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