Against the capitalists and their wars, long live the working class!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
May 6, 2024

The European election campaign is underway. Only the leading candidates of seven or eight of the competing lists will get to express themselves on television while all the others will be practically denied access to the media.

The lists that the media have selected all claim to have a specific policy for Europe. But, in reality, they are all competing for a position to manage the French bourgeoisie’s affairs.

After seven years in power spent attacking the workers, Macron knows he is hated by the working class. So he is trying to mobilize his camp – the affluent and well-off – by evoking the perils faced by Europe.

Bardella, on the other hand, is obsessed with France. He's racing ahead of the pack, thriving on the fact that the RN hasn’t been worn out by the exercise of power yet. He claims to be "anti-system" but places senior civil servants, ex-prefects, lawyers and police officers as leading candidates at the top of his party list to show the bourgeoisie that his party is ready to serve them.

Behind this show of political rivalry, all the candidates, from the left to the far right, agree on one thing: French sovereignty is supposedly being threatened by unfair competition. But what does national sovereignty mean for us workers?

The only people who make decisions affecting the workers’ lives, whether they live in Paris, Berlin or Warsaw, are the bosses of big companies. Michelin and Tesla are the ones who choose when and where to open or close a factory. TotalEnergies and Eni are the ones who dictate the price of energy. Auchan and Lidl are the ones who determine the prices of products in supermarkets.

Those who claim that national borders protect us are lying and sowing division between us. Because who exploits us? Who lays us off? Who freezes our wages or postpones retirement? It's not Polish or Moldavian workers!

It's wealthy corporations like Sanofi and Stellantis that are respectively cutting jobs and liquidating subcontractors. And the politicians serve them, by granting subsidies or voting new laws, whether they sit in the French government or in European institutions. Thierry Breton and Christine Lagarde sat in both and served the same masters.

The working classes are still footing the bill for the trade war waged by these major companies to conquer market shares. This rivalry is being waged within the European Union itself. Indeed, far from being a peace zone, it is a battleground for economic confrontation. The EU was built to organize competition between the most powerful industrial and banking companies within a vast market, through sordid bargaining.

This economic rivalry is fought with the muscles and nerves of workers. In Europe, it means outsourcing, job insecurity and factory closures that ruin entire towns. In Africa and the Middle East, it means wars for access to uranium, rare earth elements and oil. There, the rivalry between trusts has led to millions of deaths and forced hundreds of thousands into exile.

But war is now spreading and catching up with Europe. It’s already raging in Ukraine, and all those in power, whether heads of state or high-ranking army officers, are openly preparing for war.

They are preparing for it materially, spending tens of billions of euros to produce death machines. Hospitals are being neglected, but money is flowing in to buy missiles.

They are preparing for war morally, by getting us used to marching in step behind the French flag. Those who constantly speak of "the interests of France" are preparing us to die for the interests of capitalists.

Today, they are sacrificing our jobs and pensions, attacking our working conditions in the name of competitiveness. Tomorrow, the same people will sacrifice our lives and turn our children into cannon fodder, in the name of freedom or democracy.

So, on June 9, we must use our ballot to affirm that we refuse to sacrifice ourselves for the interests of big business and that we have no trust in the politicians who aspire to run its affairs. We must affirm that the workers who make society work must also run it. There can be no peace on the planet as long as capital controls society. Whatever their origin or nationality, workers must unite to overthrow this dictatorship.

The only list that defends this program is the one I'm leading with my comrade Jean-Pierre Mercier: "Lutte ouvrière, le camp des travailleurs" (LO – the workers’ side).

Nathalie Arthaud