“I make the decisions, you figure it out!”, says Macron

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
April 5, 2021

The school calendar has been changed; there is no travel between regions; schools are closed and replaced by distance learning; small shops are closed…Macron has changed his strategy and now we are on national lockdown.

Macron is totally incapable of forcing pharmaceutical labs to keep their commitments and deliver vaccines but he is deciding how we live our lives, as if he can do what he likes with us. This has become a habit: it’s been like a roller-coaster for a year now. The constant ups and downs show just how little respect Macron has for us.

The rich can make last minute arrangements. Of course, when you have money, it’s a lot easier to find a child minder or just jump into your car and drive to your second home. But what if it’s not possible for you to work from home or if you don’t have access to childcare?

The government assures us that parents who don’t have a solution can benefit from the furlough scheme. But that only works if your employer accepts! And being furloughed means that you only earn 84% of your wages and you lose any bonuses. Do you only have to pay 84% of your rent, your loan or your bills? Of course not!

Political leaders, like the capitalist class, have a profound contempt for the interests and feelings of the working majority. In their eyes, that majority is only there to work and do as it’s told, not to make suggestions and definitely not to decide, control or audit anything.

But if they listened to healthcare professionals and if budget savings weren’t considered more important than staffing needs, hospitals wouldn’t today be canceling operations with serious consequences for millions of sick people. They wouldn’t be running “disaster healthcare”, managing patients on a just-in-time basis and making exhausted healthcare professionals work 60-hour weeks.

Over and over again, healthcare workers have decried what is happening in hospitals. They have been ignored, despised and deceived by those in power. Not one permanent bed has even been opened in resuscitation wards over the past year, despite health minister Olivier Véran promising after the first wave that he would increase the number of these beds to 12,000.

And now he’s using the excuse that there’s not enough staff in intensive care. Who’s he kidding? Healthcare workers know what’s needed to solve the problem: raise salaries, improve working conditions in the profession, reduce working hours and the workload… All these changes could make nursing and nursing auxiliary jobs attractive.

Society would indeed be better managed if the workers made the decisions! But as long as society is run by those who serve the bourgeoisie, following only the laws of the market and profit, we’re headed straight for disaster.

The current vaccine shortage isn’t just a temporary glitch. It’s symptomatic of how wasteful and irresponsible the capitalist organization of society is.

A few laboratories have been officially approved but they are unable to mass produce the necessary vaccines quickly. AstraZeneca has only honored a quarter of its contract. Not to mention Sanofi who has received a great deal of public money but still hasn’t been able to develop a vaccine! What’s their area of expertise? Filling shareholders’ pockets and cutting jobs!

Are they penalized? Are they regulated? No! They have a free hand because private property reigns and they can do as they please within their own company. And the labs that have the monopoly on the patents wring as much profit from them as they can! In wartime, governments requisition industrial companies in order to organize, control and plan the production of weaponry. So they’ll do what it takes when it’s a question of killing but not when it’s a question of healing!

Macron boasts that Europe will soon be the number one vaccine producer in the world. The European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, is vaunting the merits of vaccines that are “made in France”. But right now there’s a shortage and every week one thousand deaths can be attributed to the delay in delivery. For the families in mourning, even if the vaccines arrived tomorrow, it would be too late!

Those in power may well point their finger at youths partying but the truly irresponsible ones are the political leaders! They are irresponsible because they defend a system that gives priority to the profits and private property of the capitalist minority over the interests of workers and of the population.