Kevin B. Anderson

Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

French Union Evicts Africans

This article was co-authored with Marilyn Nissim-Sabat and published in US Marxist-Humanists, July 17, 2009.

The French CGT union’s racist expulsion of African immigrants from its offices reveals deep contradictions inside the labor movement.

On Wednesday, June 24, a terrible event took place in Paris: Hundreds of Africans sans papiers (undocumented immigrants) who had occupied the Bourse de Travail for over a year were evicted and pushed onto the street with their belongings. These workers had taken refuge in the Bourse du Travail, a union-run employment service, because they have no work permits and hope to secure legalization.

The General Confederation of Labor (CGT), a union with historical ties to the Communist Party, used a strong-arm squad to evict the Africans, 800 of whom had occupied its office at the Bourse since 2008. The CGT goons, who were wearing masks and orange armbands, set off tear gas canisters, forcing everyone onto the streets during the middle of the day, when the number of occupiers was at a minimum because most were attending their weekly public demonstration.

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