Demonstration organized by the trade unions in the French uprising against the government pension reform

Demonstration organized by the trade unions in France against the government pension reform, Paris, March 23, 2023. Photo by Anne Paq.

Today on the show we’ve brought on Konstantin — a Parisian garbage collector and union militant.

For the past two months, France has been in a state of agitation. A growing movement of workers has been engaged in protests and strikes which erupted in Paris and other cities in response to President Emmanuel Macron unilaterally raising the French retirement age from 62 to 64. You may have seen the viral images of piles and piles of garbage bags out on the streets in Paris — this is because garbage collectors, like many other unions in the city, have been on a series of strikes to protest the new pension reform.

We spoke with Konstantin about the state of the movement and what it’s been like organizing and participating in the strikes, the long string of events that have led to this current uprising, why it’s more important than ever to build class consciousness and solidarity — not just in France but internationally, and where he sees this movement headed.

‘The French Uprising” episode credits:

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