On June 9, vote “Lutte ouvrière – the workers' side”!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
June 3, 2024

In the run-up to the European elections, some try to present the European Union as a guarantee of prosperity, while others advocate protectionism and national borders. But no parliament, whether European or French, will protect workers from impoverishment or from the rising threat of war.

Horror continues to escalate in Gaza, with the Israeli army bombing refugees in Rafah. After months of massacres that have caused 36,000 deaths, US President Biden now talks of stopping the war and has proposed a plan for peace. But he continues to support and arm Netanyahu, in the name of Israel's right to defend itself and of the fight against terrorism. As if the massacre of a people robbed of its land could ever guarantee peace to the occupier!

In Ukraine, the fratricidal war – which is already being paid for at a high price by the Ukrainian and Russian youths sent to the front – has reached a new level with the authorization granted by the US to use the weapons it supplies to bomb Russian territory. By prolonging the war a little longer, they show no more concern for the rights of the Ukrainian population than the autocrat Putin does for those of the Russian population.

Those leaders who claim to be devoted to the rights of peoples are in fact defending the interests of their capitalists. It is to offer them the best markets and the most profitable parts of the economy that they constantly provoke and fuel wars. Today, the major powers are rearming on a massive scale and are preparing to lead us into a third world war.

In France, we're not yet huddled in trenches reminiscent of those of WW1. Our families don't run into the metro for shelter when the sirens sound. But we’re already paying for the march to war with the budget cuts at our expense. We're short of hospital beds, nurses, teachers and train drivers, but we'll have tanks and missiles, which will make Dassault and other arms’ dealers flourish.

And we already suffer from the social war waged by employers to keep us marching in step. The government is making sure of this with its measures against pensions, immigrant workers and the unemployed. By extending the period of work required to qualify for unemployment benefits, the government is condemning many workers to poverty. But, by picking the pockets of the unemployed, it intends to save three billion euros and thus please its only masters: the capitalists, financiers and their credit-rating agencies.

By attacking one part of the working class after the other, the government is giving employers the means to implement their policy, to force workers to accept any job at any wage, while trying to divide them and foster war between the poor.

Not enough low-cost housing? Blame those who occupy social housing “abusively”, claims the government. Not enough resources for healthcare? According to the government, there are too many “abuses” and workers should be taught to stop “wanting” to fall ill. The Cour des Comptes1 is therefore proposing that workers should start getting sick pay after seven days off work instead of three2!

The problem isn't whether decisions are taken in Brussels or Paris: it’s about whose interests they serve, and what social class profits from them.

The Lutte ouvrière (LO) list I'm heading defends a fundamental idea: there will be no future for workers until they take power out of the hands of the capitalist class, the class which is leading us from economic crises to climate catastrophes, from regional wars to a potentially global one.

So on June 9, vote LO to affirm that workers, who make society run, must control it! Speak out in favour of the unity of workers across borders, whatever their status, skin color or nationality. Say that we must refuse to see our lives sacrificed for the profits of the bourgeoisie!

Voting for these ideas is against the flow, but it's the only way to preserve hope. No providential party, no supreme savior will save us from the catastrophe to which capitalism condemns us. Elections will not change our fate, but the LO ballot will serve to show that a fraction of the working class wants to oppose the march to war into which capitalism is dragging us.

It will serve to raise high the red flag of internationalism, of revolutionary communism, the flag of all the workers who are conscious that the only worthwhile prospect is to overthrow capitalism!

Nathalie Arthaud

1Cour des Comptes: literally, the “Court of Accounts”. A public body in charge of reviewing public expenditure and of suggesting budgetary cuts.

2In France, when a worker goes on sick leave, he does not earn any salary during the first three days – though some of the biggest private companies do cover that period. In the public sector, the period is of one day “only”.