Fighting capitalism: a material and political necessity

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
February 18, 2019

After the anti-Semitic aggression suffered by Alain Finkielkraut, a flurry of politicians and journalists put the blame on the yellow vest movement as a whole. Never mind their legitimate demands for an increase in purchasing power! Never mind their demands for social justice and the restoration of the ISF! The movement is now caricatured as a hateful and violent mob, made up of hooligans addicted to conspiracy theories.

Conscious workers can only reject anti-Semitic crap, as they reject all forms of racism. The  thugs who profit from the present popular movement to strut around are reminiscent of the worst moments in 20th century history, when Jews, Gypsies and anti-fascist workers were led to extermination camps.

Anti-Semites, like xenophobes and racists, whether they come from the extreme right or fundamentalist circles, are preparing a barbaric society where workers would be the main victims. But anti-Semitism was not invented by the yellow vests!

If anyone is to blame, it is political leaders, including many who will probably participate in the silent demonstration on Tuesday, February 19, to denounce the latest aggression and anti-Semitism more generally. By accusing immigrants of all evils and constantly referring us to our national identity, they have nourished the destructive climate on which anti-Semitism too can flourish. To see those people lecture the yellow vests is simply disgusting!

Three months ago, hundreds of thousands of women and men put on their yellow vests to express their social anger. Every week, tens of thousands continue to mobilize. Not only in the Saturday demonstrations but also on roundabouts and in small towns where TV reporters have nothing really exciting to film because the discussions are all about how hard it is to make ends meet or to find or keep a job.

But the daily injustices suffered by the workers and the poorest, including the social scorn so often tinged with racism, do not interest the government at all. Macron organized his “big debate” to drown social demands amidst a lot of other problems and to let the movement rot.

But the whole economic, social and political situation is rotten!

The government would like us to believe that mass unemployment is over because the unemployment rate has dropped and companies say that they are having difficulties recruiting. But job cuts continue in all big companies and the State refuses to hire the necessary staff in hospitals, schools and public services in general. In the meantime, thousands of people are desperately waiting for job centers to offer them some kind of training.

The economic crisis is deepening; injustices and inequalities are soaring because the capitalist class is getting greedier and more and more blinded by the pursuit of profit. And the whole economy is poisoned by finance.

Employment, wages, pensions, housing, childcare, medical services in rural areas, public transport, care for the disabled and the elderly... the government is unable to provide even a minimal solution to any of these basic problems.

It is also unable to stop the environmental and humanitarian disasters that threaten society. Nor is it capable of countering the rise of reactionary ideas or the moral disintegration of society fueled by misery and social marginalization. This already has serious consequences because reactionary political forces which feed on prejudices of all kinds are operating in different countries in hopes of taking the place of the old, widely discredited political parties.

If they come to power, these forces will come to the aid of the bourgeois order and begin by attacking immigrants, before attacking the entire world of labor.

For the workers, fighting for their material interests cannot suffice. We must also fight against the capitalist system, which carries so many other threats. Raising the flag of social emancipation, that is to say of a society free from the dictatorship of big capital, must be the workers’ perspective.

Every day, workers are forced to defend themselves against big business. Their struggle must become collective, the struggle of the working class against the capitalist class. And the culmination of that struggle must be the overthrow of this rotten and poisonous capitalist system.