In 2023, let’s take our future into our own hands

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
January 2, 2023

The traditional New Year wishes sound particularly meaningless in 2023.

Peace on earth? Not while war is raging in Ukraine and every government is preparing for war.

Happiness and prosperity? Not while inflation is soaring and paying for meat and cheese or decent heating is becoming a luxury for millions of families. How can we rejoice when Macron has confirmed that he is going to push retirement age up to 64 or 65 years of age?

What progress can we see? Crisis everywhere. We don’t even know that we’ll have electricity all winter. Hospitals are saturated again. Public transport is stretched to the limit and getting more and more expensive. And although it seemed as if the Covid epidemic was behind us, we’re now seeing an explosion of the number of cases in China.

The whole system is based on frenzied profit seeking and the reign of competition between companies. This continuously sets peoples against one another and leads to the domination of rich countries over poor.

Solidarity is very precious to the working class that is made up of women and men from all over the globe but it is battered by xenophobic and racist demagogues and by the tracking down of migrants carried out by all the governments in the world. How can we talk of harmony and fraternity in this situation?

The only hope lies in knowing that it is possible to change this society and that the workers have the strength and the capacity to do it.

The best we can wish for one another at the start of this new year is to be able to unite, to organize and fight to defend our collective interests. To be aware, through our combat, of the strength we possess when we act collectively. To reconnect with the consciousness that the workers can change not only their own future but that of the whole of society.

We are sinking into a permanent state of crisis but it is not inevitable. When billions are amassed at one end of society, the regression of living conditions for workers has nothing to do with fate. Riches do not flow naturally into the coffers of the capitalists! They are the product of exploitation and the class policy of governments that serve the bourgeoisie.

Widespread inflation doesn’t just happen: energy and many raw materials increase in price because capitalists organize and profit from shortages in order to demand higher prices. This speculation has now set off a chain reaction that no one can control.

War itself is a product of the social order in which capitalists and their states compete in the world arena to impose their economic domination.

Workers, employees and technicians may feel overwhelmed and unarmed to face big business and the government who are in charge. But the workers create the wealth, keep everything running in society and produce the billions that the capitalists grab for themselves.

The government even depends on us for war. Who but the workers can produce weapons, have them delivered and operate them? Without the consent of the workers, there can be no war

The government’s strength lies in our passivity. We are the ones that have the strength to stop society from a catastrophic evolution towards greater poverty and more wars!

In Macron’s new year speech, he asked workers to trust him and unite in favor of his policies. Our answer must be the loud thunder of our struggles: workers unite and trust in your strength to take your future into your own hands!

The first major battle will be against the retirement reform. This goes hand in hand with the fight to have wages linked to prices. We need to prepare now. Macron wants to push his law through and justifies this by explaining that, by electing him, the majority approved his project.

We have to show him that we can express ourselves, and a great deal more clearly, through strikes and demonstrations. Let the whole working class unite and assert our interests with one voice: wages must increase, not dividends! Hands off our retirement pensions, take the money from the capitalists’ fortunes!

Nathalie Arthaud