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Evaluate the idea that class conflict is on the decline in contemporary France, paying particular attention to the strikes of winter 1995.

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Introduction

Jeanette Kwakye A263626 Evaluate the idea that class conflict is on the decline in contemporary France, paying particular attention to the strikes of winter 1995. Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to determine whether or not class conflict in France has decreased and if it has, how significant are the strikes of 1995. This is to be done using a systematic analysis of French political culture, class structure and struggle and an in depth analysis into the 1995 strikes and the role of trade unionism during strike waves. Dave Berry The Left in France December 2004 Evaluate the idea that class conflict is on the decline in contemporary France, paying particular attention to the strikes of winter 1995. A critical evaluation into the decline of class conflict in contemporary France requires an in-depth analysis into the various political and economic subject areas which surround the issue of class struggle. The main objective of this paper is to discuss declination of class conflict in France and to discuss the significance of the 1995 winter strikes. A conclusion is to be reached after a thorough but concise assessment of this movement and its effects on French class struggles. In order to evaluate this issue there must be a thorough understanding of French political culture in the years post World War II, together with a comprehensive understanding of the specific events and movements that led to an alleged decline. ...read more.

Middle

This plan coupled with the tradition and characteristics of French political culture have been blamed for the uprising of 1995 and the discontent of the French nationals that was witnessed all over the globe. However just how 'essential' was this reform by freshly elected Premier Jupp�? The proposed reforms, were all but too far for the French working class, from the proposals of an increase in work before pension entitlement to the taxation programs suggested, the French working class felt they were being victimised by a bourgeois government, echoing the previous period of revolt in 1968. By introducing such an austere program it put the new right wing government in a bad situation, which would ultimately, lead the way for devastating repercussions. Nonetheless, this set of measures was seen as crucial for reassuring the foreign exchange markets that France would be able to stick to the Maastricht timetable.5 However, these plans were obviously not essential enough for the 5 million citizens that protested against it. Of course, if an individual or a section of society feels that government plans are not in their best interests and will effectively jeopardise their current position, why shouldn't they protest? However it is this type of attitude that have led some to describe the French nationals as being sectionalist and backward looking. ...read more.

Conclusion

Here, what is involved is not the occasional struggles of individual groups of workers against their employers, but the struggle of the proletariat as a whole against the bourgeoisie as a class, and its state. In conclusion, the winter strikes of 1995 had a profound effect on the consciousness of the working class in France. The social upheaval that lasted for five weeks involving hundreds of thousands of workers was undoubtedly the highest expression of the class struggle in France since the revolutionary crisis of 1968. The ruling class only narrowly avoided an extension of the strike to the private sector, in which case the movement could have rapidly assumed a pre-revolutionary character. Indeed, it was the growing threat of such a development, in spite of the treacherous role of the trade union leaders, which eventually forced the Jupp� government into an embarrassing retreat.9 The radicalisation of the working class as a whole was an awakening of a formerly immobile section of society and the shift of middle class and rural opinion to the left all indicate that French society is hurtling towards a new confrontation between the classes. Which finally leads to a conclusive disagreement that class conflict is on the decline. The factors assessed above hold far too much substance to be dismissed and for all classes to come together as a united front. The elites and the working class, will remain apart until there is a common political and ideological consensus, amongst all parties involved. ...read more.

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