The Mélenchon affair: a political show of no interest to workers

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
October 22, 2018

A new soap opera with a political edge was launched last week when the police carried out searches in the homes of Mélenchon and members of his entourage, as well as on the premises of his movement.

The leader of Unsubmissive France is the subject of a preliminary investigation into his campaign accounts for the 2017 presidential election and the alleged fake jobs of his attachés in the European Parliament. But the resources mobilized to carry out the searches were unprecedented: seventy police officers and nine magistrates in fifteen different locations. A raid worthy of the fight against organized crime!

Mélenchon was understandably outraged by such a deployment of force and shocked by the irruption of police officers who came to search his apartment at seven in the morning, with no regard for his private life. And he justifiably criticized the double standard in the judicial system: although irregularities were noted in Macron's campaign accounts, neither he nor his party were treated that way.

Political life is continually peppered with this kind of settling of scores and legal cases. After Sarkozy, Fillon and Le Pen, it was Mélenchon’s turn to be targeted, but he cast himself as the hero of a drama. And Mélenchon knows all about drama!

Facing the police officers, Mélenchon made a scene in front of the cameras, donning his tricolor scarf, taking advantage of his position as a member of Parliament and shouting: "My person is sacred!” The time is long gone when he criticized Le Pen for invoking parliamentary immunity to refuse to answer the judges!

But why should a member of Parliament have more protection than a private citizen from this kind of police intrusion? If it's an injustice to one, it's an injustice to the other! If it had been a suburban youth who had resisted police intervention, what would have happened?

Mélenchon declares: "I am the Republic ". Meanwhile, his detractors accuse him of flouting the police and the courts. All politicians, including Macron and Mélenchon, keep using the portentous words “justice”, “democracy” and “Republic”. But the "Republic" to which they all claim to belong is that of the all-powerful bourgeoisie and of exploitation.

Where is the justice for full-time and temporary workers who find themselves out of a job, sometimes overnight, with little or no justification from their employer? How many of them get robbed because the boss doesn't pay for overtime? When workers enter a company, democracy stays outside and they have to permanently defend their rights against the arbitrary actions of their employer. A boss has a thousand and one ways, legal or otherwise, to impose changes in schedules, shifts or refuse a day off.

The state apparatus, police and justice serve the interests of the capitalist owners and their job is to silence all those who challenge the capitalist order. Most of the time, they do it brutally, with no holds barred! Many workers fighting to defend their jobs in recent years have experienced this. Like the workers from Goodyear who were given a prison sentence or those from Air France who were accused of having participated in the episode of the torn shirt and were arrested at home, in front of their children, and treated as common criminals.

When Mélenchon protests against the way he has been treated, his experience is a long way from what millions of workers are going through: their daily lives are nothing but injustice and violence. He wants to be seen as "unsubmissive" but throughout his career as a politician, he has accepted the system! And he’s now outraged that judges and police officers are putting obstacles in his way? This whole affair is above all a lot of play-acting on both sides.

While Mélenchon, Le Pen, Macron and their peers make the headlines, the real masters of society–the shareholders, the corporate leaders and the entire bourgeoisie–continue to wage war on the workers.

Our fate has nothing to do with the ridiculous agitation that goes on in political circles. The only important issue that we should, as workers, be interested in is the defense of our class interests against those who exploit us.