Our struggles, not the ballot box, will decide our future!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
June 28, 2021

With nearly 66% of abstention, and much more in working-class neighborhoods, the workers' lack of interest in the Regional elections was confirmed in the second round. But the political circus is still in the ring. And the lower the number of voters, the more the politicians interpret this any way they want!

The right is claiming victory because some of its regional leaders have been reelected. Some of the Socialist Party regional leaders have been reelected and, even if the participation rate is only 34%, they’re explaining that the left-right political divide is back, and that they are now the natural leaders on the left. It’s a good thing ridicule never killed anyone.

With no victory to boast of, EELV1’s presidential contenders are nevertheless putting themselves forward, explaining that ecology now appears in every political program. And LFI2 is pretty much saying that the massive abstention is in fact a popular vote for the Sixth Republic it wants. They’re all saying that their dreams have come true! While those who lost the most–Macron’s party La République En Marche (LREM) and Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN)–prefer to talk about the predictions for the presidential election.

Until the working class makes its interests heard in an unambiguous way, by demonstrating, striking and occupying factories, politics will be limited to inter-politician discussions that are light years away from its everyday worries. We’ll continue to see the electoral charade with misleading speeches about security when we all know that the subject can’t be dealt with on a regional basis. And we’ll have candidates like Bertrand, Pécresse and Wauquiez3 who proclaim their love for their region while what they really want is to run the whole country as president.

The servants of the bosses have shown once again in these regional elections that they really couldn’t care less about the vital needs of the population.

The decision to close down the MBF smelting works in the Jura region has just been made and the workers are going to join the ranks of the unemployed. Why should their only choice be between the bourgeoisie’s politicians who all accept what the big bosses decide? Why should territorial workers who are under threat of losing vacation days vote for the very people who are attacking them? We are emerging from a pandemic that killed more than 110,000 people and has left millions in fear of what tomorrow may bring and we should act as if nothing has happened?

All the workers Macron praised during the different lockdowns-hospital staff, home helps, garbage disposal workers, cashiers, workers in the food industry-are still underpaid, overexploited and despised. Why should they go to the polling stations to elect politicians who don’t even have anything to say to them?

Our best hope is that the indifference, the rejection and the revulsion that the workers feel about the bourgeoisie turns into anger. There’s a lot of work to be done to turn the disgust of the exploited into combativity.

No supreme savior is going to pop out of the ballot box and make sure that workers have decent living and working conditions, starting with a job that pays a living wage. These are vital demands that will have to be wrenched from the big bosses. And it will take a massive and determined fight bringing together the whole of the working class.

We all need to earn a living. To do so, to combat unemployment, we need to fight against layoffs and plant closures by sharing out work among all working people with no loss of salary. To fight the loss of buying power, we must demand an increase in basic salaries, pensions and allowances and that they be linked to the cost of living.

As if attacks on the part of the bosses weren’t enough, Macron is now attacking the unemployed by reducing their benefits and he’s perfectly open about wanting to push the retirement age to 64 years’ old in the near future. The working class needs to find the strength to defend itself. Only by making ourselves feared through our mobilization can we force the big bosses and the government to take the money from big capital’s income, from shareholders’ dividends, from the money wasted on financial speculation.

A social explosion doesn’t figure in the bourgeois politicians’ plans. But it must be the goal of all those who are not resigned to the current situation and who find political demagoguery unacceptable. And future eruptions should be aimed not against the political lackeys but against those who are truly in power, the capital owners, those who own the banks and plants.

The privileged class is of no use to society and yet it’s rich. It must be held accountable!

1 EELV stands for Europe Ecologie Les Verts (“Europe Ecology The Greens”). It is the biggest green party in France.

2 LFI stands for La France Insoumise (“Unsubmissive France”). The party’s leader is Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

3 All three are hoping to be chosen as the main right-wing candidate in the 2022 presidential election, though Bertrand and Pécresse have ceased to pay their dues to the main right-wing party, LR (Les Républicains - “The Republicans”).