Hamon and Fillon : the creator of pipe-dreams and the sworn enemy of workers.

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
30 January 2017

Workers have no reason to feel sorry for Valls who lost the primary organized by the Socialist Party (PS). As Minister of the Interior, Valls aped Sarkozy's strong-arm approach and, as Prime Minister, he implemented an outright anti-working class policy. In collaboration with Holland, he handed out all kinds of gifts to the bosses: the Competitiveness and Job Creation Tax Break, the Labor Law and other measures like the generalization of Sunday work. His arrogance towards the workers was as blatant as his servility towards the rich.

Valls' disrepute was beneficial to his rival. Hamon has promised to create a 750-euro universal income by 2022. He presents this as progress after endless years of massive unemployment and growing poverty. But 750 euros are not enough to pull people out of poverty! And workers don't want handouts: they want decent jobs and salaries.

According to Hamon, robotization is bound to make jobs rare. Yet, if society was organized to satisfy the majority, robotization could mean fewer working hours and better wages. But the capitalist system uses technological breakthroughs to increase profits, not to improve the workers' living conditions. Breaking with that logic is something Hamon can't even conceive, since he doesn't call capitalist exploitation into question.

And how does Hamon intend to finance his universal income? Apparently not by making the rich pay – or he would say so. No, he hasn't considered taking the money from France's capital owners, starting with the 21 super-rich who own as much as 40% of the population. So he’ll make the workers pay more taxes

In short, the illusions peddled today by Hamon will inevitably be followed by disappointment tomorrow, adding Hamon's name to a long list of PS dream weavers – notably Mitterrand, Jospin and Hollande.

Now that the leading roles of the coming election are cast, one of them, right-winger Fillon, has just been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar! The man who poses as a model of righteousness is accused of having provided his wife with a bogus job costing the taxpayers 500,000 euros. Some 100,000 euros are also said to have been paid by a billionaire friend of the couple for yet another fictitious job. Fillon likes to pass himself off as a devout Christian but he is above all a fervent worshipper of the Holy Cash!

Fillon can be remarkably generous with members of his family but he has promised only blood, sweat and tears to working people: longer working hours and lower wages; 500,000 job cuts in the public sector; a further increase in the retirement age; lesser coverage of most medical expenses; increased VAT; etc. At the same time, he has announced new government presents to his bourgeois friends. Fillon could hardly voice his intentions more clearly: he is announcing an all-out class war against the workers.

Fillon's present loss of popular support will perhaps benefit Macron or Le Pen, who both dream of pandering to big business! The ex-banker Macron makes no secret of it. As for Le Pen, who lives a luxurious life in a manor house near Paris, she targets immigrant workers and carefully avoids upsetting capital owners—much in the manner of her idol, Donald Trump, the immigrant basher and Wall Street darling.

Faced with these professional politicians, workers must make themselves heard in the coming presidential elections. Nathalie Arthaud's candidacy has no other aim.

Standing against the open enemies of the working class, she will stress the need for workers to stand up for their class interests and demands.

To fight against unemployment, the planned job cuts and layoffs must be halted – most urgently in profit-making companies. The available work must be shared among the workforce without any loss on wages.

To fight against the drop in workers' purchasing power, wages, pensions and benefits must be increased, and indexed to the cost of living. No salary should be under 1,800 euros net per month.

It is unacceptable for a company like Vivarte (André, La Halle, etc.) to suppress thousands of jobs in the name of alleged losses, after years of profit-making. Business secrecy must be abolished so that company accounts can be controlled by workers.

Expressing one's agreement with the ideas put forward by Nathalie Arthaud is obviously not enough to really change things. Merely casting a vote cannot achieve that. But it can give workers the opportunity to express their opposition to both their real enemies and their false friends; and to start preparing for tomorrow's fights against the capitalists' offensive.