Macron’s in a hurry to turn the page ? Let’s keep fighting!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
March 13, 2023

Last weekend, 195 highly paid senators – who take long post-lunch naps and have exceptionally generous pension plans – voted to raise the retirement age for 36 million workers. On Wednesday, March 15, a Joint Committee will finalize the text, which will be presented to the National Assembly the following day.

The only suspense is whether Borne will find a majority to adopt the text or choose to use the 49.3 article to force it through. Who cares? 49.3 or not, the adoption of this law against the unanimous opposition of the working classes is a brutal attack on the workers, and an insult to all of them.

This is proof, if need be, that the government is fiercely anti-worker. Though Macron, his ministers and his deputies are, for the most part, strangers to the working class, they have eyes and ears. They can see and hear the difficulties and expectations of the working class. They have the statistcs for tendonites, back pains, work accidents and burn outs. They have the statistics for mortality in the months following retirement

They know that the employers are pushing out the older workers who, in general, are likely to cost more and produce less than the younger ones. They know how many workers and pensioners have to rely on food aid to feed themselves, how many are poorly housed, how many cannot afford to heat their homes.

They also know, far better than we do, how many billions flow into the coffers of big business. They know that wages have not increased in line with profits and that they have not even kept pace with inflation. They know that the pension system’s deficit is a drop in the ocean of profits and dividends paid to the privileged few.

They know the capitalist groups that have taken advantage of inflation to increase their margins and make super-profits – in the food industry, for example. If they wanted to act against the war profiteers, they could, they have their names. But no, that’s out the question: it's the workers who are getting the short end of the stick!

Constantly reducing the share of wealth that goes to the working classes in order to increase that of the bourgeoisie is the roadmap of all governments, whatever their country and their political label. This is necessary for every bourgeoisie to hold its own in the jungle of global capitalism – all the more so as the system is in a deepening crisis.

The privileged people we stand against may be a tiny minority, but they are no less determined. So it’s up to us, to our social class, to be just as determined to impose our interests as workers!

After two months of being mobilized, faced with the risk of demoralization, everyone understands that it's necessary to move on to the next stage, i.e. to go on strike. Only certain categories of workers have taken that step: those employed by the SNCF (railroad network), the RATP (public transport in and around Paris), EDF (the major electricity network) and in certain refineries; garbage collectors in certain cities and teachers here and there. They are helping to keep the pressure on the government and big business, and to create unrest that encourages mobilization. But they cannot win on their own.

To force Macron to back down, these strikes must spread. Of course, going on strike has a cost. But passivity costs us much more, because resigning ourselves condemns us to low wages and an increasingly unjust, barbaric and war-prone society. And we can’t accept that. The current mobilization shows that millions of women and men no longer accept it.

Thanks to our collective action, we have begun to create a balance of power against the government and big business. Many workers are re-learning how to express themselves and act collectively. Bonds of solidarity and trust are being built and many workers feel more legitimate than ever to express their demands. Just getting into the habit of discussing among ourselves the various problems we are facing (wages, hours, working conditions, transport...) is a precious step forward for our class and a threat to the bosses. So, let's make sure this agitation continues and is generalized to all companies, so that our full-strength forces both the bosses and the government to back down, using our best weapon: going on strike.

Macron hopes that the adoption of the law will signal the end of the mobilization and a return to peace and quiet in companies. It depends on each and every one of us to unsettle his plans.

The working class is huge. It has resources and an inexhaustible fuel: anger. Let's continue to express it! Let's motivate those of our colleagues who are still hesitating! And let's be even more numerous on strike and in the streets on Wednesday 15th and beyond!

Nathalie Arthaud