No to the health pass and forced vaccination!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
July 19, 2021

When a new surge of Covid infections unexpectedly broke out, Macron decided that the only solution was forced vaccination. He, and all the MPs of La République en marche (Macron’s party), had previously declared that the health pass would never be required for everyday activities. But starting this week-end, people will have to provide a negative test, proof of vaccination or of recent recovery from Covid to get into cinemas and theatres. Starting August 1st, the protocol will be extended to cafés, restaurants, trains and even shopping malls!

These measures will cause havoc and will make life impossible for those who are not fully vaccinated. But Macron doesn't care: he gives orders and people are to obey. What contempt!

What will become of workers who won’t have an up-to-date health pass or don’t want to get vaccinated? Will they be fined, suspended or fired? Non-vaccination has become a new motive for sacking people: here is a new anti-worker attack to fight against! 

Vaccination is a powerful means to fight the epidemic, but Macron is using it as a political weapon to cover up his own responsibility. He is using it to hide the criminal way in which hospitals have been managed, following a purely capitalist logic. He wants us to forget about the lack of human and material resources in hospitals.

Macron has in fact already begun his election campaign. He is using the health crisis as a way of strengthening the ties with his supporters, by pitting the vaccinated against the non-vaccinated. He wants us to bash, monitor and scrutinize each other, rather than judge his actions or hold him accountable.

Gabriel Attal, Macron’s official spokesman, dared to oppose the "hard-working and proactive people of France" to "a capricious and defeatist fringe that is satisfied with living in chaos and doing nothing". In other words, for him, the non-vaccinated are just lazy people! All those he is referring to – the caregivers, homecare workers, cashiers, bus drivers, cleaners, that is all those who helped keep society running during lockdown – will surely appreciate that!

Many right-wing and Socialist Party politicians have hailed the president’s "political courageousness". Of course, what they call "courageousness" is nothing but the accumulation of vicious attacks against workers and the permanent boot-licking of the rich and powerful.

Let's not fall into the trap set by Macron. The authoritarian measures he has taken are preparing the way for future attacks like cuts to unemployment benefits and raising the age of retirement to 64. Needless to say, there’s a lot to be angry about!

The rejection shown by those who have been demonstrating against the health pass isn’t solely fueled by conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine ideas. It is also an expression of their opposition to Macron's policies and of their lack of trust in politicians who are complicit with capitalists and back their wrongdoings.

We have to fight to stop that anger from being used by far-right demagogues like Dupont-Aignan and Philippot to their advantage. They don’t give a damn about workers' rights. Working people can and must transform their anger into a conscious fight against the capitalists by defending a program that corresponds to the interests of the whole working class.

The argument put forward by many opponents to the health pass and mandatory vaccination is the defense of "individual liberties". This is not the program workers need. What liberties are they talking about? The liberty to walk around inside a huge shopping mall without a health pass? But if you can't fill your shopping cart because you are poorly paid or unemployed, the freedom to do that won’t get you very far!

Defending "individual liberties" also means recognizing the bosses’ freedom to exploit and fire workers as they wish. It is no coincidence then that this slogan is brandished by the far-right! Workers will only be able to conquer their freedom by becoming aware of their class interests and by forcing the capitalist class and its political stooges to back down.

The epidemic has exposed the lack of resources in hospitals: it is necessary to hire, massively train and increase the salaries of healthcare workers!

It’s not enough to vaccinate as many people as possible in France because as long as poor countries are deprived of vaccines, new variants will emerge. The patents on vaccines must be lifted despite the opposition of pharmaceutical laboratories which are only interested in making their profits grow!

The government says that the health crisis is costly. Well, the answer to that is to make each and every contract known to the public to show the real cost of tests and vaccines and to stop making pharmaceutical companies richer!

We can’t accept that workers who aren’t allowed to make any decisions be accused of all evil! Those who are in charge must be held accountable!