Macron wins presidency — Workers can only count on themselves to fight off impending attacks

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
8 May 2017

Le Pen’s defeat in the French presidential election was greeted with relief by a lot of people. The problem is that, after Macron's sweeping victory, the occupant of the Elysee Palace for the next five years will be an outright enemy of the working class.

Reassuringly, Le Pen won’t be able to use the state’s resources to spread all kinds of divisions among workers. But with more than 10 million votes, the Front National (FN) has recorded its best electoral score ever. Because Fillon and Dupont-Aignan were both eliminated in the first round, quite a few right-wing voters cast a Le Pen vote in the second. Le Pen also got a significant number of votes from workers who were disgusted with the policies implemented by parties claiming to represent them.

Voting for the FN is a deathtrap. It is the last step in a lengthy process leading to the complete abandonment of working-class values (worker solidarity, internationalism, the red flag…) and their replacement with chauvinism and xenophobia. This time, many workers viewed the presidential election as an opportunity to express their anger and did so by coat-tailing the far right, despite its ingrained anti-working-class prejudices.

The FN will try to bank upon the disappointment that Macron will inevitably generate. As a far-right party, the FN pits workers against each other, according to their origin, nationality or religion. In so doing, the FN disarms workers fighting against big business. The FN’s high electoral scores are bound to encourage fascist-inspired individuals and groups to take action against immigrant workers and foreigners. Those thugs represent a real threat to all workers, their unions, their associations and their basic freedoms. They constitute yet another weapon in the hands of the bosses.

The fact that 12 million people abstained and that a record-breaking four million either cast a blank vote or spoiled their ballots, especially in working-class neighborhoods, goes to show that a significant number of voters refused to choose between the far-right millionaire and the bankers’ representative.

Most politicians, across the political spectrum—from Fillon’s hard right to the Socialist Party's left wing—consider Macron’s victory to be “a victory for the Republic and Democracy”. Corporate managers and businessmen are also jumping for joy.

But the man who will sit in the president's chair is an enemy of the working class!  The ex-banker Macron is ready to meet all the demands of big business and high finance.

Let's not forget that Macron drafted and carried through a law which has generalized work on Sundays, has made it more difficult for workers to take management to court and easier for bosses to lay off workers. He also inspired the El Khomri law which is pro-business in every respect.

As early as this summer, Macron intends to further dismantle French labor legislation by ordinance. He wants to make it easier for employers to lay off workers, to limit the amount of money that can be granted in compensation by a labor relations tribunal, to increase job flexibility, attack job security and do away with the 35-hour working week. He wants to boost company-level agreements, which are a pure blessing for the bosses. He intends to cut 120,000 jobs in the public sector and 60 billion euros in funding for public services, health services and allowances for the unemployed. This is a policy which will inevitably leave millions of workers unprotected.

The capitalists have launched a ferocious social war and are prepared to lay off more workers and to cut more jobs. That is exactly what they are doing at Whirlpool, Mim, Vivarte, Tati, and in many other companies which the media never mention. They’ll also continue to aggravate job insecurity and keep wages low in order to increase their wealth.

Workers will have to defend themselves with the weapons of class struggle: massive strikes and demonstrations—like those which were organized against Sarkozy and Hollande.

The bosses’ greed will inevitably generate major social protests. Protests are necessary to prevent the working class from sinking into misery. But more is needed. Workers must become aware of their class interests. They must understand that the enemy is the bourgeois class, that is, the capital-owners who manage corporations worldwide and control the entire economy.

A great number of political and material threats weigh heavily on workers. The only effective way to hold them off, to stop exploitation from getting worse and to prevent society from falling apart is to start fighting again. Workers have got all the weapons they need to defend themselves against the bosses’ and the government’s attacks—and to put an end to capitalism and bourgeois domination.