It’s the class struggle that counts

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
June 13, 2022

Considering the results of the first round of the legislative elections, the new National Assembly will likely be composed of a narrow majority for Macron and a strong presence of opposition parties, with La France insoumise (Unsubmissive France) in the lead. For those who delight in politicians’ pompous displays, there’s sure to be some fine spats in Parliament.

But while they amuse us with their parliamentary jostling, the big capitalists – the ones with the most power over our lives – will continue to call the shots and the government will obey their orders. And as long as the laboring classes stand by and remain passive while this political comedy carries on, nothing will change for the working class.

The bosses of big companies are constantly waging class war. So, the political parties that only suggest workers go and vote, disarm us.

In fact, the illusion that elections bring about change - an illusion which has long been maintained by left-wing parties - is precisely what has disoriented and demoralized the laboring classes because their hopes in Mitterrand, Jospin and Hollande were crushed, causing disappointment. This has brought a fraction of the working-class electorate to vote for the far right and the majority of the working-class population to turn away from politics altogether.

Extremely low voter turn-out is a reflection of the state of mind of many workers. It reflects their indifference and just how disgusted workers are with politics especially the poorest and those who are exploited the most.

Their rejection of politics is legitimate because people have had enough of hearing politicians make thousands of promises when they cannot and don’t even really want to solve the problems of the working class once they are actually in power. People are tired of seeing them act like supreme saviors while they are completely overwhelmed by their own system – incapable of managing hospitals and education – by soaring prices, war and the climate crisis, the consequences of which can be weighed every day. Their main function is to manage the chaos while preserving the interests of the big bourgeoisie.

But we can only reject this political comedy and the political parties devoted to the bourgeois order by opposing them with another policy, one that represents the workers’ interests, a policy that defends their class interests and aims at overthrowing capitalism.

So, although some workers are disgusted with this electoral comedy, they mustn’t turn their backs on political preoccupations altogether. When you are exploited there is no individual solution. Either we fight together for our class interests or we fall backwards under pressure from the bosses. Affirming this idea to those around us is already a political act.

Even the everyday battles to defend our livelihoods, our jobs and salaries, call for political consciousness because in order to win we must be able to tell the difference between those on the workers’ side and their enemies or false friends.

With the crisis, we have to understand that there can be no possible compromises with the big bourgeoisie. It’s either their dividends or our salaries! Their fortunes accumulated through exploitation or our pensions! Their private jets or our hospitals and schools! It’s them or us!

So, we cannot put our trust in the politicians who don’t want to confront the bosses of big corporations or question the sacrosanct private ownership at the base of capitalist society: for them, the bourgeoisie’s interests will always come before those of the workers.

Lutte Ouvrière candidates ran in every district in the country to express this class consciousness. 230,000 people voted for them which indicates that a political current which raises the flag of the working-class struggle and solidarity between workers exists, and it is the only current which can offer the exploited a political compass to guide them.

Workers’ class consciousness is the basis on which they will be able to rebuild their own political party. One that doesn’t seek to hold seats within society’s institutions and try to change things from the inside but one which seeks to overthrow capitalism, the cult of money and individual success. A party which affirms that the workers are capable of running society much better than the bourgeoisie. A party composed of and led by workers and built to help them lead the necessary struggles ahead.

The resurgence of such a party will be of much greater importance for the future than all the drama and fine talk that will take place in the National Assembly.

Nathalie Arthaud