October 9: an opportunity to protest against Macron and the bosses' attacks

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
October 1st 2018

President Macron is aware that he is losing popularity every day and so he explained in an interview with a Sunday paper that it was time for him to get back to being in “physical contact” with people and start “hugging” again. During his trip to the West Indies, in both Guadeloupe and Martinique, Macron was questioned on unemployment, low wages, dilapidated hospitals – and he responded... with a bunch of handshakes and fine talk! That is all he had to offer to the inhabitants of the island of Saint-Martin, which was devastated by a cyclone last year and is still in need of reconstruction despite all the promises made during his previous visit.

When a young West Indian reproached him for having declared, two weeks ago, that you only need to cross the street to find work, Macron answered him with the same contempt as the bosses he represents so loyally, stating: “You must accept a job offer even if it's not exactly what you want”. As if the jobless had waited for Macron's advice! Millions of unemployed women and men go from one odd job to another, from one temporary contract to the next – but are never given the chance to get a stable job.

Macron and his ministers can serve us all the “spin” they like to try and persuade us that our purchasing power is on the rise, workers know very well what the situation is. They know that they are having more and more trouble making ends meet, that the prices of gas, electricity, fuel, etc. have risen sharply, while wages and pensions are stagnating or decreasing. According to a recent study, a majority of retirees will lose 470 euros per year on average due to the freeze on pensions and to the increase in the CSG[1].

Since he's been in power, Macron has led an aggressive policy against the working classes to satisfy the greed of the bourgeoisie whose interests he is committed to serve.

To make it easier for employers to lay off workers and to make their work schedules more flexible, Macron attacked the labor legislation. To hand out billions to the privileged minority, he is sacrificing vital public services such as the health and education systems, retirement homes, public transport and social housing...

With its economic system in the doldrums, the bourgeoisie can only maintain its profits by increasing exploitation and impoverishing society in general.

And all this material deterioration affects every aspect of social life. At their annual convention, firefighters denounced the inadequacy of their resources – like other public services they are suffering from a lack of funding. They also criticized the fact that they are increasingly confronted with violent reactions during their interventions. The rise of violence, individualism and selfishness testifies to the decrepitude of capitalist society.

Putting an end to these regressions can only be achieved by attacking the very foundations of this capitalist system which is governed by economic laws that no one controls. To do this, the bourgeoisie must be deprived of its control and leadership over society. And the only class capable of doing this is the working class because workers form the only class that doesn’t exploit anybody.

To defend their jobs, wages and living conditions, workers will have to engage in collective and determined struggles. Their survival is at stake. But those struggles will be in the interest of society as a whole. By fighting their fight against the power of the bourgeoisie and overthrowing the capitalists, workers are the only force that can rid society of capitalism and replace it with an economic organization based on satisfying everybody's needs.

Labor activists as well as workers who understand that the future depends on the ability of their class to fight back must take advantage of every opportunity to come together and be heard. Several trade unions are calling for a day of strike action and demonstrations against the government's anti-labor policy on October 9. We must seize this opportunity to protest. Let us show Macron and the bosses that, after the mobilization of the railroad workers last spring, there is more trouble for them ahead – and that workers are still alive and fighting.

[1]               CSG (Contribution sociale généralisée): a supplementary social security contribution created in 1991 by Rocard's Socialist government. It “extended” the tax base to include retirement and disability pensions, unemployment and early retirement benefits, etc. and provided for lesser contributions by the bosses. Its rate was increased over the years and is now higher than income tax. It finances over 20% of all social security expenses and is paid mostly by workers themselves (over 90%).