Looking for an agreement… to make the workers pay

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
June 27, 2022

Macron is trying to find 44 Members of Parliament to make sure he gets an absolute majority in the National Assembly. Political staff are being poached and phones are ringing off the hook as Macron explores all the ways in which he can strengthen his majority.

Will he end up achieving his goal? Will his majority by ensured for the next five years? Will he be forced to make contortions, using a thousand and one tricks offered by the institutions to govern by decree and ordinance or by resorting to article 49-3 of the Constitution to bypass Parliament altogether? Time will tell.

For the moment, Macron is taking advantage of the situation to try and come across as the master of dialogue and compromise. That’s a bit much coming from a Jupiter-like president who has been governing on his own and against the laboring classes. But that hasn’t stopped him from making a lot of noise about it and the media are following along.

All week, the spokespeople of opposition parties have been summoned to take a stance: will they be obstinate in a head-on opposition? Will they be constructive or will they block the country? In a nutshell, will they be responsible or irresponsible?

This type of political dramatization is pure comedy. There’s only one thing that makes politicians – left- and right-wing alike – hesitate: their careers. Supporting Macron now means governing right away but with the risk of being discredited over time. Refusing to support him means joining the opposition without any guarantee of ever being able to take the reins.

These petty calculations pose a problem for Macron but the capitalists can be reassured: their interests will be protected because all the parties that have MPs in the National Assembly – from the National Rally (RN) to Unsubmissive France (LFI) – respect the existing social order.

Within the NUPES (New Popular Ecological and Social Union), both Fabien Roussel (French Communist Party) and Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecology – the Greens) stuck out by showing their openness towards Macron. But, in general, all the MPs, including those from Unsubmissive France, made a point to come across as responsible and “concerned about France’s interests”. And the same goes for Marine Le Pen and the National Rally.

Yes, compromises can indeed be made between politicians who can’t imagine that another society other than the one that we are familiar with (based on private ownership, the laws of profit-making and competition) is possible. That’s why, in many countries, the left governs with the right and even sometimes with the far right and vice versa.

In fact, all the politicians who aim to govern talk about the same thing: “the interests of the country”. They maintain the illusion that it is possible to have a fair, balanced policy which would be in the interest of all. In doing so, they mask the core problem in our society, that is the power of the capitalist class and their class war.

The bourgeoisie at the head of huge capitalist corporations has nothing to do with seeking the common good! Those who speculate on the price of oil or grain don’t care in the least about collective interests. Despite soaring prices, the bosses of big companies refuse to raise wages and couldn’t care less about impoverishing their employees along with all the other social categories like small business owners and farmers whose livelihoods depend on the laboring classes’ living standards.

The health crisis demonstrated that the number one emergency should be the rehabilitation of hospitals. Well, the capitalists are making the government pursue restrictions because they refuse to fork out the money. On the contrary, they demand more tax breaks and that the government take from the workers’ pockets, by pushing back retirement age for example.

Clearly, the bourgeoisie won’t be paying for the extra military expenses Macron has lined up or for the state’s debt, which has sky-rocketed and weighs heavily especially since interest rates have gone up!

The only policy that the capitalist class will accept on the part of those who govern is one that ensures its profits. Capitalists fight to make even more money, against workers’ interests and oftentimes against those of society in general.

If the planet and the climate are in the state they are in today, it’s precisely because of capitalist greed, which has become all the more reckless as the consequences of the war in Ukraine makes the economic crisis even worse.

The capitalist class is leading the class war. The politicians that aren’t willing to confront them aren’t on the workers’ side. The interests of the exploited and those of the exploiters are irreconcilable. We must be conscious of the fact that we can only count on ourselves. If we are determined to save our own skins, collectively, we have the strength to do so.

Nathalie Arthaud