On Tuesday, January 31, let’s all go on strike and protest!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
January 29, 2023

The strikes and demonstrations on January 19 were massive. They will have to be just as massive on January 31 to put even more pressure on the government and big business. And that depends on each one of us.

Workers in all professions, no matter what their status, have had enough. That was made quite clear all across the country, in both the private and public sectors, in companies big and small, on January 19.

They aren’t just unhappy about the retirement age being pushed up, that’s only one aspect of their discontent. The main concern on everybody’s mind is wages. Despite soaring prices and a 12% increase on food products, pay increases rarely exceed 4%. How can we not feel completely disgusted when, at the same time, we see profits going through the roof?

On top of that, working conditions are also getting worse. In factories, offices, hospitals, everywhere, workplaces are permanently understaffed and there’s more and more flexibility and job insecurity. And now, Macron is attacking our pensions. Enough is enough!

Since this attack on pensions concerns us all, we can voice our anger together. So, let’s do it beyond the factory floor or whatever department or company we work in and turn it into a general protest!

The battle over pensions raises the fundamental questions concerning the working class. Who should benefit from the wealth that we all help create? Those who exploit us just because they invested their capital? A handful of billionaires who, along with the government, are ready to ruin the lives of millions of workers by stealing part of their pensions to pocket a few billion more? Definitely not!

Where will we end up if we continue to give in to the excessive demands of the politicians and the bourgeoisie who rule today? The whole of society is heading towards disaster, both on the economic and political level. Profit, competition and speculation act like juggernauts, causing the destruction of public services and never-ending crises.

Worse yet is the dangerous escalation of the war in Ukraine.

By simply looking at how Macron wants to force pension reform through, it’s easy to see that he won’t ask for our opinion to go to war. And money won’t be lacking to buy missiles, tanks and fighter jets either. The government has already increased the military budget to 413 billion euros, an additional 100 billion over seven years! If France does go to war, the government will not only rob us of two years off our pensions, it will rob the youth of twenty by sending them into battle.

More injustice, more inequality, more wars, that’s what the capitalists and their political lackeys have in store for us and our children!

The way forward is clear: we, the workers, must unite in solidarity and fight together. We must fight so that society is no longer governed by capitalist interests, exploitation, economic warfare and the domination of a tiny minority over the whole world.

It is never easy to start a fight, especially a fight that we know will be a long one. One or two days of demonstrations certainly won’t be enough to make the government back down. There will have to be more strikes that spread across all sectors to do that.

On January 19, hundreds of thousands of workers discovered or rediscovered the strength and unity of the working class. The more of us there are on Tuesday, the more confident we’ll be in our collective strength, and the more determined and combative the working class will be.

On the evening of the 31st, the trade unions will announce the dates for the next demonstrations according to their own logic. And some unions, in different sectors, are already calling for indefinite strike action. If we want to reverse the balance of power, that’s the right direction to take.

But no matter what decision the trade unions make, it’s up to each of us to keep the demonstrations going, to learn how to organize and control them. One thing is certain, to win, we must put all our strength into this fight. Together, let's show them that we too can lead the class struggle, get rid of this reform and command respect.

Nathalie ARTHAUD