To counter their reactionary campaign, our class consciousness!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
December 7, 2020

As if the law on global security wasn’t enough! The government is set to submit yet another authoritarian and repressive law, the so-called “law against separatism” to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday. It’s an abominable piece of legislation that essentially targets Muslims and reeks of xenophobia.

The aim of this new law, the government claims, is "to combat the militancy of political Islam activists". With each new terrorist attack, the rejection and hatred of Muslims grows, as does far-right propaganda. And the fact that Macron has chosen to submit the law right now only makes matters worse!

Shining the spotlight on working-class neighborhoods and on one religion in particular, Islam, can only fuel prejudices and suspicion against all Muslims – and rekindle, among Muslims, the feeling of injustice and oppression upon which fundamentalists thrive.

Macron is acting like a pyromaniac firefighter, and he knows it. He does so for crass electoral reasons: by adopting the same security-obsessed and racist demagoguery as the right and the far right, he is hoping to pull the rug from under their feet. The right and Le Pen demand more law and order? Macron appoints Darmanin as interior minister to put an end to the "savageness" of society! The right and Le Pen flatter the police? Macron draws up the “global security” law to please them! The right and Le Pen accuse Muslim communitarianism of being responsible for terrorism? So why not create a major law “against separatism”! As the French saying goes, “The shape of the bottle doesn’t matter as long as you can get drunk”. In other words: anything goes, only the impact matters.

The measure making education compulsory from the age of 3, presented a few days ago as the most important component of the new law, is gradually being emptied of its content. As for the other sections, they are, like section 24 of the “global security” law, subject to so many different applications and interpretations that they can open the door to anything and everything.

And that's also the point of using the word separatism! This word could be used to designate the bourgeoisie, a class that lives apart from the bulk of the population, in sheltered and luxurious neighborhoods of its own; a class that also manages to escape paying the taxes that it should. But the word isn’t used in that sense by Macron and those in power. The government is using it against Muslims and, tomorrow, it may use it to fight the workers, the poor or the oppressed if they dare challenge its policies.

This reactionary electoral race at the expense of Muslims and immigrants is a dangerous threat to the working class as a whole. It is paving the way for a more authoritarian future for all of us. In this period of crisis, workers confronted with the worsening of the bourgeoisie's offensive will have great struggles to lead, if only to preserve their jobs.

In addition to the repression organized by employers and governments, there are countless acts of violence carried out by reactionary forces whose main goal is to keep the workers in line.

On one side, that threat is represented by fundamentalist activists who seek to impose their reactionary ways on people with a Muslim background and culture, fundamentalists who preach hatred and jihad. On the other side, the threat is embodied by far-right activists who hate immigrants in general and Muslims in particular. These two sides have the same aim in mind: they both seek to control the men and women they consider as belonging to their community, to impose their laws, prejudices and ways of life on them. In doing so, they divide workers, pit them against each other and disarm them.

For the working class, the only way out of this deadly spiral is to understand that the exploited have a common struggle to lead; to realize that, as workers, we need to come together to defend what is essential for all of us: a decent job and salary, a proper pension, not to mention the good-quality housing, education and healthcare we should all be entitled to in the 21st century. Beyond the defense of their material interests, workers must rebuild and strengthen a labor movement which will fight against the established order with the objective of overthrowing the capitalist minority’s dictatorship as they are the only ones who benefit from exploitation and class-based inequalities. A labor movement which will fight for the emancipation of all those who keep society running.

Obscurantism and racism are the products of a social order rife with misery, frustration and injustice. They are fanned by the prevailing law of the jungle, by the “every man for himself” principle which is the bourgeoisie’s only guideline. That social order is sick and rotting. It’s time for the workers to realize that they can overthrow it, and to fight for the revolutionary perspective.