In his first year as France’s president, Macron hasn’t stopped attacking workers’ rights. His government has adopted measures that threaten our living conditions. If we don’t stop them, they’ll keep on taking more and more away from us. When their system is in crisis, capital owners respond by waging a ruthless war on working people. It’s by exploiting workers even further that capitalists guarantee company profits and increase the dividends that they so generously hand out to the wealthiest shareholders.
Macron’s political line is to make everything easy for the big corporations and they certainly make the most of it. For instance, the top management of French automotive company Peugeot want the workers of their Vesoul plant to work 37.45 hours a week instead of 35 hours, an increase of 8%. But for a wage increase of less than 3%! On top of this, Peugeot has planned 150 job cuts per year for the coming three years! This is a direct consequence of the recently passed Labor law: the capitalists increase their profits and the workers pay the price!
So we, the workers, must also stand up and prepare for battle! It’s thanks to the railroad workers and their strike action that Macron and the bosses have had their first setback. Macron was so sure of himself when he attacked the railroad workers that they had no alternative but to strike. And the fact that the strike is continuing is Macron’s first stumbling block. This strike is convincing many workers that the only answer to the bosses’ greed and the government’s arrogance is a united working class fighting against them!
The railroad workers’ strike is carrying on and more demonstrations have been scheduled. On Tuesday May 22, there will be strikes and demonstrations organized by public sector workers against the job cuts planned by the government. On Saturday May 26, left-wing political parties, associations and various unions including the CGT have organized another demonstration day.
Lutte ouvrière will be participating along with all the workers who want to seize this opportunity to show their support for the railroad workers who are fighting Macron’s pro-capitalist political line. But we are aware that this is also a political maneuver among the left-wing political parties. They want to a create a new “union of the left” or “multiple left” that would limit the workers’ horizon.
We must have a different perspective. The workers who were around in the 1970s and 1980s still remember that, during his election campaign, Mitterrand declared that you couldn't be a member of the Socialist Party if you didn't fight capitalism—and that, once elected, he carried out a policy that served the capital owners. Similarly, Hollande kept repeating “Finance is my enemy” during his election campaign and then caved in to the financiers.
All those who today are trying to sell us a new “alternative” left-wing option have played an active role in pushing the anti-working-class policies of various left-wing governments. Let’s not forget that Mélenchon was one of Jospin’s ministers and Hamon was a minister under Hollande. There’s no way they’ll suddenly be on the workers’ side tomorrow! When they’re back in government, they’ll roll out the red carpet for the bourgeoisie.
The real power in our society lies in capital and is monopolized by big capital owners. Politicians may well sound harsh when criticizing the powerful but workers can’t trust them to take on the capitalists in defense of working people's interests!
On May 26, as many people as possible must be in the streets to demonstrate against Macron’s policies in favor of the rich. Lutte ouvrière will take part in the demonstrations but will also make it clear that those who propose yet another “union of the left” and present it as the only alternative for workers are in fact leading them down a blind alley.
Workers do need a political outcome to their struggles. But we can only count on ourselves to achieve our material and political goals. We must address workers using the ideas and language of class struggle. Merely replacing Macron with another politician won’t put an end to the power of the capitalists’ money. Only a working class that is fully conscious of its collective strength and organized to defend its political interests can achieve such a goal.