Inflation, crisis, war... we must take control of our own affairs if we don’t want to be sacrificed

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
May 2, 2022

There will be no honeymoon period for Macron. He was reelected for want of a better candidate and despite the fact that many working-class women and men can’t stand him. Their hostility towards Macron was pointed out by many commentators and expressed again in the May Day demonstrations.

And it’s even truer now as the economic crisis brutally worsens under the impact of the war in Ukraine. The prices of vegetable oil, cars, energy, fruit and vegetables continue to sky-rocket. Many companies are having to shut down several days a month due to supply disruptions. Whole sectors of the economy are completely disorganized and threatened with shortages now that economic relations with Ukraine and Russia have come to a halt. And these are just some of the most visible signs of the worsening situation.

Germany, the industrial heart of Europe, has been weakened because of its dependence on Russian natural gas. The Chinese economy is idling because of the pandemic. Speculation has increased on all natural resources. Hunger riots have started to break out in the poorest countries. We are reminded of the consequences of the climate crisis and pollution every day...

Macron is doomed to manage this growing chaos, and he’ll manage it just like he did the pandemic: according to the interests of the big bourgeoisie and bankers. He will help the bosses of huge multinational corporations find new sources of profit and use authoritative measures against the laboring classes so that they will continue to suffer in silence.

Economic crises and wars are incredible opportunities for capitalists to get even richer. For the laboring classes, they are always a pretext to make more sacrifices such as accepting job insecurity and low wages due to imposed furlough schemes, the pushing back of retirement age and the decrease in purchasing power.

The war has already allowed major oil companies to steal from our pockets. The oil giant TotalEnergies is proof of this. It owns a multitude of oil and natural gas fields around the world. While the cost of extracting oil hasn’t gone up, the company has doubled, even tripled selling prices and made record-breaking profits in the first trimester of 2022, reaching 5 billion dollars in net profit despite its losses in Russia!

If we don’t want to be sacrificed so that capitalists can profit from the crisis, workers must get ready to fight back. Not only against Macron’s attacks but also against the setbacks that bosses in big companies will impose on workers. Individually, we may not have the force to defend ourselves, but collectively, we do. It’s a question of getting organized and gaining confidence in the strength of the working class.

Since Macron’s reelection, both Mélenchon and Le Pen have been claiming that “the game isn’t over yet”. They both maintain that they could obtain a majority in the National Assembly1 and turn Macron into window dressing. After first explaining that the presidential election was THE crucial election, they are now saying that, no, actually the legislative election is. Well, no, neither of them is “crucial”.

What is crucial, though, is for workers to organize and participate in strikes and demonstrations, which have always been their strength. Members of Parliament won’t be the ones to protect workers from the crisis, exploitation or bosses’ greed, it’s the workers’ class struggle that will!

Over the last five years, the opposition that weighed on Macron’s policy didn’t come from the National Assembly. It came from demonstrations, mobilizations on roundabouts and the street. It came from the yellow vests2 and workers who went on strike and demonstrated against pension reform. “The people are sovereign” they say, but that’s only true when workers fight back.

So, it’s necessary to prepare a working-class opposition based on our own class interests in complete contrast with far-right demagogues. Le Pen and her party Rassemblement National (National Rally) never hold the bosses responsible and point to immigrants instead. In doing so, Le Pen divides and weakens the working class.

Against Macron and the far right, against the left-wing illusion-mongers, Lutte ouvrière candidates will be running in the legislative elections in all constituencies in the name of the working class. They will affirm that it is necessary for workers to take up the class struggle again and fight to overthrow the capitalist system which is leading us to disaster.

1 The National Assembly is the lower house of the French Parliament, the upper house being the Senate.

2 The yellow-vest movement refers to the weekly protests that began in France in November 2018 against rising gas prices and the high cost of living. Protesters wore hi-vis jackets which became a symbol of the movement.