Workers have no use for electoral platforms: what they need is a fighting program!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
September 13, 2021

The environmentalists are planning their primary election, Anne Hidalgo has announced she’s running for president, Eric Zemmour1 and Marine Le Pen are gesticulating as usual, right-wing candidates are competing with one another… All this means that voters are in for eight months of political rhetoric and promises – as was shown last weekend.

The promises include: salaries to be increased by 10%, a net minimum wage of 1,400 €, the doubling of teachers’ wages, the nationalization of highways, reindustrialization, environmental planning, which is supposed to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Now who can beat that?

Every five years, it’s the same electoral circus. Speakers pledge, hand on heart, that they’ll be the president to bring about change, economic recovery, better purchasing power, more security... But let's remember that promises only bind those who believe in them!

We must remember all the promises that were trampled on as soon as the winners got to power. Whether they were from the left or the right wing, whether they were tightly related to finance like Macron or denounced it like Hollande, once in office, they all became the doormat of the bourgeois class. The essence of their job is to justify the anti-worker measures dictated by big business.

Working people will never get anything without a fight. Wage increases? We will have to wrest them from the bosses ourselves, through our struggles, our strikes and our mobilization. The jobs that need to be created to share work among all of us will also have to be imposed!

The same holds true for problems like the lifting of patents on vaccines, which remains essential to fight against the present pandemic. It is true for many other issues like global warming and the preservation of the planet. It is true for any question that implies a cost and the possible loss of profit for the capitalist class.

Stock prices have sky-rocketed and the wealth of billionaires continues to increase. The profits of big corporations are expected to reach an all-time high in 2021. According to the government and the bosses’ union, the outlook is excellent for all employers. But this is because working people have never been so overburdened.

It is by increasing the pace and duration of work, by impoverishing the working class, by closing factories and by freezing wages that the capitalist minority accumulates exorbitant fortunes. This enrichment comes at the price of increased exploitation, at the price of a relentless class struggle, rising unemployment and of the spreading of poverty.

As long as there is no reaction on the workers’ side, the employers' attacks will continue and big business will continue to weigh like a steamroll on the whole of society.

We must not remain on the sidelines. We must fight to defend our interests without waiting for the results of the presidential election. We must take advantage of every opportunity to do so. The appeal to workers of all trades issued by various unions for Tuesday, October 5, is one such opportunity. We must ready ourselves to strike back and reverse the balance of power with the government and employers.

Workers must unite and be on the offensive whenever their essential interests—that is, their jobs, their wages, their working conditions, their pensions, as well as their rights to unemployment benefits—are at stake. Such a fight would embody the interests of the population at large, because the ruling class is not merely parasitic, it is also a threat to society as a whole.

Trying to find a “good” candidate who could better manage the capitalist system is a dead end. This system only works well for the rich. It condemns the rest of us to competition and crises. It leads to the plundering and destitution of a large part of the world. It creates rivalries and wars which slowly transform the planet into a heap of embers.

The solutions to change the fate of the exploited and the future of society do not rest with Hidalgo, Mélenchon, Roussel and even less so with Pécresse or Le Pen. They rest with the working people and their struggles.

The workers, the poorly paid, the despised, the humiliated, are the only ones who can change the present state of things. I run in this presidential election to defend this perspective. I want those who share my views to gather around my candidacy. In doing so, they will affirm that the future belongs to the working class. They will defend the idea that the only program which is worthwhile for the workers is not an electoral platform, but a fighting program.

Nathalie Arthaud

1 Eric Zemmour is a reactionary journalist (for Le Figaro) and TV presenter (on CNews) who may run in the presidential election.