On May 1st, let's demonstrate for our pensions, our wages and the unity of workers against nationalism and xenophobia!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
April 24, 2023

The fight against retirement at 64 is not over, so the government is lighting a counter-fire on the theme of immigration, to divide the working class. Mayotte, France's 101st « département », located in the Indian Ocean, is at the heart of this anti-immigrant campaign.

Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin has just launched the Wuambushu police operation there, which is intended to be spectacular. He has deployed magistrates, 1,800 policemen and soldiers, members of the CRS, Raid and GIGN1, and set up a temporary detention center. The aim is to dismantle the shanty towns inhabited by illegal immigrants and to expel 10,000 of them, mainly to the Comoros.

In other words, in Mayotte, the war on the poor is on! Darmanin can say what he wants, talk about delinquents and invent potential islamic terrorists, he has ordered the demolition of what is the only refuge for thousands of poor families, whether they are Comorian or from Mayotte. These are poor people, with or without ID documents, and he is about to have them arrested and perhaps deported. It is poor families he is about to separate and tear apart.

In Mayotte, hospitals, schools, and all infrastructures are undersized and inadequate for a population that is growing quickly, three quarters of which live below the poverty line. Some of the youth are prey to violent armed gangs who live off racketeering and theft. But the prime culprit for this unbearable situation, the first victims of which are the poor of all origins living in Mayotte, is the French state, which has failed to provide the means to curb this poverty.

As usual, the right and the extreme right blame immigration from the Comoros. How utterly revolting ! It was France that colonized the Comoros. Then, when they became independent, France detached Mayotte from the archipelago through an arranged referendum. In 1975, the inhabitants of the other islands of the Comoros were thus transformed into foreigners, and metropolitan France - 8,000 kilometers away! - remained in control of Mayotte.

In the present case, the defenders of the "French nation" cannot use differences in skin color, religion or culture to pit the French of Mayotte against the immigrants: they are part of the same people! So this operation is nothing more than a vile campaign orchestrated by a government in need of nationalist and racist demagogy.

The policy of France in the Comoros is no different from its imperialist policy in all of its ex-colonies in West and North Africa. On all continents, in order to plunder vast regions and exploit their workforce, the great European powers traced borders and carved out states in the very flesh of the peoples. In doing so, they concentrated wealth and human progress in the hands of the imperialist bourgeoisie and plunged the rest of the world into a sea of misery and incessant conflicts between peoples. It is these perpetrators of misery and war that must be stopped!

Our rulers and exploiters encourage competition between workers, between women and men, between nationals and immigrants. They would like us to tear each other apart for the crumbs they leave us. Let's not let them divide us in order to better crush our sisters and brothers in exploitation! Many workers need to move around to make a living. That is why we should all make the right to move around freely part of our collective demands!

We must respond to the class struggle waged by big business with the awareness that we are part of one international working class. May Day embodies this perspective because it was chosen by the workers of different countries to be a day of common struggle.

This year, it is also the date the trade unions have chosen to continue to express opposition to retirement at 64. It's up to us to make May Day 2023 different, with more massive demonstrations than usual! Let's rally in great numbers to also proclaim that workers have no homeland and that they constitute one big social class, regardless of borders.

Before us, in all countries, generations of workers have gone on strike and often been subjected to repression on May Day. They fought for workers' demands but also against capitalism, the way it pits workers and peoples against each other, against its ravages on the planet, its nationalism and its wars.

They proclaimed that the workers have an interest in ending the exploitation and oppression of poor countries by rich countries, and that they have the strength to do so. They proclaimed the necessity of social revolution on an international scale. Let’s show that this perspective is still alive!

Nathalie ARTHAUD

1 CRS (« Compagnie républicaine de sécurité ») : founded in 1944, a military body systematically mobilised to intimidate, and occasionally repress, social movements. RAID (« Research, Assist, Intervene, Deter ») : a police unit founded in 1985 with the specific task of neutralizing criminals and terrorists. GIGN (« National Gendarmerie Intervention Group ») : a body with the same mission as the RAID. Members of the GIGN, like the CRS, are soldiers, as opposed to the members of the RAID, who are policemen, so technically civilians.