A landslide victory for Macron in Parliament: workers will have no choice but to use their class weapons

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
12 June 2017

Judging by the results of the first round of the general election, Macron will probably win an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly. Because of the way the French electoral system works, he will have a devoted parliamentary majority even though he only obtained 24% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election – which actually turns out to be a mere 18% of the total number of registered voters – and despite the historically low voter turnout in the first round of the general election.

Macron has created a new political configuration in which the discredited parties of the successive left-right governments no longer have a place, even if a number of experienced politicians have indeed been recycled. He has succeeded in providing the bourgeoisie with a refreshed team to manage its political affairs.

Macron and his government embody the arrogance of the French property-owning class. They are declared enemies of the workers and applauded as such by those who willingly conform to the bourgeois way of thinking. His plan to “reform labor” is a declaration of war on all wage earners.

The new government is resuming the offensive exactly where the previous one stopped and pursuing the legalization of what bosses already impose in reality.

The El Khomri law allows employers in every workplace to lower overtime pay and to increase working hours beyond what is allowed by branch agreements. According to recent press revelations, government ordinances will allow bosses in each company to establish the employment contracts that they want and dismiss workers according to the criteria they decide upon. They will be able to determine the duration of short-term contracts and renew them as often as they wish, with even fewer restrictions.

These ordinances, which will be published in September and become law immediately, will cap the compensation to which a worker is entitled in the event of wrongful termination and will attack the representation of trade unions in the workplace.

Macron intends to make every boss's wishes come true. The workers at the GM&S plant in central France are fighting to save their jobs. Last week, Macron told them that he is not “Santa Claus”. These are workers who have been exploited for decades by “serial buyers” and by the capitalists of the auto industry. Even though the State holds shares in both Renault and Peugeot, Macron's statement is crystal-clear and applies to all workers: they can expect nothing from the government and will find it on the opposite side every time they fight to defend their interests.

Some of the more clear-minded politicians of the bourgeoisie are beginning to worry about the extent of the Macronite victory in the general election. A parliamentary opposition which is too small or too restricted cannot maintain the illusion of being a counterweight to the executive and it cannot channel discontent by turning it into useless parliamentary talk.

The popular classes, the workers most of all, who are affected by the measures taken in favor of the bourgeoisie, will thus easily understand that they can hope for nothing from Parliament – all hot air and no real power. The bourgeoisie rightly fears the possibility of opposition being expressed elsewhere: in the streets, in working-class neighborhoods, in the workplace.

In this context, the 159,500 votes obtained by Lutte ouvrière's “Make the workers’ voice heard” candidates represent a hope, even if the percentage is small. Those who, by voting for LO, affirmed their pride in belonging to the working class, must continue to express their convictions, to strengthen and propagate them. To be conscious of belonging to the exploited class with interests that are fundamentally opposed to those of the exploiters, is essential for the fights to come.

It is vital that the context of these fights be the workers’ class interests. The struggles must not be diverted by the demagogy of those who want to set worker against worker. The working class can only make the most of its collective strength by being conscious of who its real enemies are.