Two Items on Guadeloupe General Strike

by Chris Sturr | March 29, 2009

Two items on the recent massive general strike in Guadeloupe. First, from Friday’s Democracy Now!:

Labor Victory in Guadeloupe After Six-Week Strike Reverberates Across French Caribbean and France

The financial crisis has had reverberations beyond the United States and Europe, with people taking to the streets in cities across the globe to protest rising wealth inequality and to call for economic and labor rights. Perhaps the most significant action took place in the French Caribbean, on the island of Guadeloupe. Amid rising costs of living, labor leaders in Guadeloupe led a forty-four-day general strike that closed down roads, schools, gas stations and public transportation. The strikers claimed a victory earlier this month with a plan to improve wages and living standards.

Hear it or read it here.

Second, an article on the general strike by Immanuel Wallerstein:

Guadeloupe: Obscure Key to World Crisis

by Immanuel Wallerstein | Released: 1 Mar 2009

Guadeloupe is a tiny island in the Caribbean, the size of greater London. It has a population of about 400,000 persons. The world press hardly ever mentions it. Since January 20, it has been the site of an ongoing general strike, which has managed to get 10% of its population actually marching in the streets, which must be a world record. The strike has been called by Liyannaj Kont Profitasyon (LKP), whose name translates from Creole as “Collective Against ‘Profitization’ (or outrageous profit).”

The LKP is a collective of 31 trade unions, political parties, and cultural associations, who represent just about the entire civil society. The leadership comes from the UGTG, an independent local trade union that received a majority of the votes in the last trade-union elections (in an official French system called élections prud’hommales).

The LKP issued a list of 126 demands addressed to four groups—three levels of the French state (the national government, the region, and the department) plus the employers. Most of these demands concerned economic matters. But as the French minister in charge of dealing with overseas zones of France, Yves Jego, said, beyond these economic demands there is a “societal” crisis. This is a polite way of saying that the strike is not merely about bread and butter. It is also a profoundly anticolonial movement. And it is this combination that makes what is going on in this small and obscure part of the world a key to the world crisis in which we all find ourselves.

Read the rest of the article.

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