Le Pen, arch enemy of the workers & Macron, mouthpiece of big corporate owners

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
24 April 2017

Declaration made by Nathalie Arthaud after the first round of the presidential election.

“So the second round of the presidential election will pit the figurehead of the extreme right, heiress to the racist ideas of her father and other defenders of French Algeria, against a dedicated supporter of the big bourgeoisie who worked in high finance.

Le Pen is a bourgeois woman who sets herself up as a protector of the poor and the fatherless but who will serve the privileged as faithfully as the former occupants of the Elysée Palace. She qualified for the second round thanks partly to the votes of ordinary folks. She relies heavily on chauvinism and protectionism, which have been used—even by left-wing parties—as substitutes for internationalism and class struggle. This has already weakened the working class. And Le Pen creates deadly divides between French people and foreigners, people with a job and the unemployed, public and private sector workers.

To those of the working class who are tempted to vote FN, I say that by picking on immigrants, they are undermining their own strength. Our real enemies are those who sit on the boards of directors of large industrial and financial conglomerates.

If Le Pen came to power, she would trample on the basic rights and freedoms of the working class even harder than her predecessors. She would target foreigners, then their children, even if they are French. She would attack the unions that don’t do her bidding, the associations that she doesn’t like–as FN municipalities are already doing locally.

So don’t vote Le Pen!

How about Macron? This ex-banker is also a foe to workers. He gave ample proof of this during his tenure as Minister of the Economy, when he carried through a law that bears his name, which generalized work on Sundays, and introduced the El Khomri law that he would have liked to make even tougher.

Even though unemployment is catastrophic, he wants to cut 120,000 jobs in the public sector which is already run-down due to lack of personnel. He says he wants to “liberate work” but that just means making jobs even more precarious and letting exploitation run wild. He claims to be a barrier against Le Pen but his devotion to the interests of the ruling classes and the policy that he will pursue can only strengthen the FN.

Fillon and all the right-wing leaders are calling on their voters to support Macron. The PS and the government are doing the same. We, at Lutte ouvrière, refuse to be part of a republican front supporting Macron.

I will cast a blank vote, to eliminate Le Pen without endorsing Macron.

I don’t own the votes I received. Some of my electorate will hand in blank ballots, like me. Others will spoil their ballot by writing their protest on it and some will abstain. Some will vote Macron believing, wrongly, that in doing so they are stopping the rise of the FN. It is really important for workers, retirees and the unemployed to be aware that the occupant of the Elysée Palace is their enemy. The only way they can defend themselves is by coming together, soon, when the very necessary social explosion happens.

I would like to thank the 230,000 or so electors who gave me their vote and thus expressed their awareness of belonging to the working class. This minority has contributed to the communist current being present in this election, upholding the best thing to come out of the struggles of the past: the consciousness that the working class can overthrow capitalism.

The small flame that is kept alight by this minority represents perspectives for the future that are brighter than those of the big electoral bonfires and their deflated hopes. Our ideas reach beyond our results. The working class may not weigh much in the ballot boxes but it is a different story when it’s on the move.

This is a necessity. The economic crisis and the threat of another financial crash are prompting the big corporate managers to wage a more and more violent war on the exploited. It doesn’t matter who occupies the Elysée Palace, the capitalists will continue to create unemployment and job insecurity, reduce wages and make work more and more flexible. We have to defend ourselves and engage in class struggle

Capitalism breeds war and generates terrorism, leading humanity into catastrophe. To stop this, we need to start fighting again and not just defend our living conditions.

These are the ideas I have defended. I am sure that, sooner or later, the working class will rise up and embrace these ideas and refuse the insane system in which we live.”