After Macron’s re-election: workers will have to fight for their interests

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
April 25, 2022

After Macron’s re-election: workers will have to fight for their interests

April 25, 2022

With 58.5% of votes, Macron was re-elected to a second term with a comfortable lead. The big bourgeoisie, which saw its business, profits and fortunes prosper under his previous five-year term, has good reason to rejoice.

For the labouring classes, however, the fact that Le Pen was eliminated doesn’t even come as a relief since the one who won the election, Macron, is an open enemy of the exploited.

In the second round, voters only had the choice between a far-right millionaire pretending to speak for the poor, and the big bourgeoisie’s preferred candidate. This led to very high levels of abstention in working-class neighborhoods.

Openly or implicitly, many left-wing parties and trade unions called on workers to vote for Macron. Contrary to what they claimed, he will not protect us from the far right.

Le Pen's defeat should not mask the increase in the number of people who voted for her, which will be an encouragement for far-right anti-worker and racist individuals and groups. The success of Le Pen's campaign as well as Zemmour’s may incite some of them to take action. And let there be no doubt about it: they will have the moral support, if not the active support, of all those who, at the very heart of the state apparatus, in the police and the army, also carry fascist projects.

Those who believed they were blocking the far right and the fascist threat by spending a few minutes in the voting booth must realize the growing pressure of these ideas on society. That pressure has already pushed Macron to make concessions to the most reactionary forces in society. It will be exerted even more strongly tomorrow and will lead Macron himself to ‘out-Le Pen’ Le Pen.

Of course, among the 13 million Le Pen voters, many are not racists, not fascist ‘remigrationists’, not islamophobic police officers. Many working-class women and men voted for Le Pen to get rid of Macron. The results from overseas are an indication of this: in French Guyana, the French Caribbean Islands and La Réunion, Le Pen came out on top, even though a majority had expressed their discontent through a vote for Mélenchon in the first round.

For many poor workers, including the jobless and the retirees, hatred of Macron was stronger than anything else and led them to vote for Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally (RN). In doing so, they strengthened the far right, that is, their worst enemies.

In the working class, political disorientation is leading some to indifference and abstention, others to electoral illusions, a dead end since it means believing their fate depends on the election of Mr or Mrs so-and-so.

This situation can be blamed on the parties of the Left. For who has replaced militant struggles in the workplace by electoral struggles? And once elected, who has disappointed and confused the labouring classes by adopting the same anti-worker policies as the right-wing parties, if not the Socialist Party, with or without the Communist Party by its side? The same parties have blurred political reference to the point of passing off the enemies of workers as saviors, in the name of the so called ‘Republican front’1 - which is what they have just done with Macron!

It is not a question of laughing or crying, but of understanding: as long as we keep looking for a representative in the political personnel of the bourgeoisie, we can only lose.

In the capitalist system, there can be no good president for the workers. No president can control inflation, the economic crisis or wars. As long as the law of competition prevails, no president can reduce exploitation, or the inequalities that create so much suffering.

Workers had nothing to gain in this election and not much to lose. The main thing is for them to get their fighting spirit back. Our strength has always been in collective struggles, strikes and demonstrations, and it will remain so.

With Macron in office, we know what to expect: a delaying of retirement age (to the age of 65), harsher conditions to receive RSA benefits2, a rehabilitation of the merit-based salary that Sarkozy was so fond of... And in the face of the worsening economic crisis, of the capitalists’ determination to profit from it, Macron will help them to attack the working-class condition.

The near future will depend on ourselves, on our capacity to stand together to collectively reject the anti-worker attacks. And to face the political threat of the far right, we must pursue the fight against capitalism led by previous generations, with the ultimate goal of putting an end to the power of the bourgeoisie.

Nathalie Arthaud

1For decades, in the name of a ‘Republican Front’ rarely respected by right-wing parties and voters, left-wing parties in France have called their voters, in cases where there was no left-wing candidate left to face the far right in the second round, to vote for right-wing candidates.

2RSA means ‘revenu de solidarité active’ (active solidarity income). It is a very low benefit received by workers who have been out of work for so long they are no longer entitled to their job seeker’s allowance.