Capitalists are choking us: it’s time to expropriate them!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
June 10, 2019


The mobilization of hospital emergency workers that started a few weeks ago is spreading and getting stronger. Right now, more than 80 hospital departments are concerned all around the country. And for good reason: the situation is catastrophic.

With the bed closures and job cuts that have been going on for decades, emergency services have been submerged by the influx of patients whose number has increased from 10 million in 1996 to 21 million in 2016.

The strikers demand the financial and human means they need to do their job properly. They know that they can count on the support of every worker in such a  battle because health services are vital in the true sense of the word. And they're also demanding wage increases because, like all workers, the wages they receive aren’t enough to live on.

Tuesday, June 11 – a day of mobilization chosen by several unions and a national council of hospital emergency workers – will be an opportunity to make these claims heard.

The current state of health services is a pathetic symbol of the decay of public hospitals and, more generally, of all public services. The state keeps reducing budgets that are vital for the population such as the budget for healthcare, education, transport, or the postal service. They do this in order to continue to finance handouts to big bosses - like getting rid of  employer social contributions - and to finance subsidies for big business as well.

The cutbacks are a direct consequence of the crisis of capitalism. Big bosses now enrich themselves first and foremost by increasing their parasitism, and no longer bother to play their role as investors in charge of developing production.

You only need to look at the current layoffs planned here and there to understand that investing in production is of little interest to capitalists. In Amiens (Picardy), the ex-Whirpool plant is about to close down; in Saint-Saulve (in the Hauts-de-France region), the Ascoval plant is also threatened with closure. As for General Electric, they have decided to cut 1000 jobs in Belfort. The bosses simply disinvest where quick profits aren't guaranteed.

You can't really call them investors any more because they've become financial adventurers chasing after the millions in public money that the government is prepared to give them. Markets are saturated and commercial war is ferocious. Investing in finance and speculation is much more profitable.

Even helping the poor has become a market for the kings of finance. A few days ago, a scandal was revealed: charities had been sold minced meat that didn't contain an ounce of meat! One of the two companies pocketed 5.2 million euros for these so called foodstuffs. And it wasn't even a real company but a virtual one, set up by a French specialist in tax havens, Valery Le Helloco, who imported these meatless steaks from the other side of Europe without owning either a plant or an office.

The capitalist class, like a parasite, is sucking life out of society, leading humanity straight to the precipice. Only the working class can stop this process.

This may seem utopian. In recent years, while many social groups have fought to defend their interests, there has been no massive mobilization in large companies – even though the workers would have far more effective means than any other social category to confront the bourgeoisie and make it pay.

When workers lack confidence in their collective strength, bourgeois values prevail. With the help of journalists and intellectuals devoted to the current social order, the bosses’ ideology dominates, and the exploited are pushed into accepting their fate. But the fact remains that the working class is the only class that can overthrow the bourgeoisie.

Capitalists, in their race for profit, have concentrated thousands of workers in mines, plants, offices, warehouses, etc. Hundreds of thousands of employees working in multinationals take part in the same production process. Today, everything is organized for the benefit of a tiny minority of bourgeois families. But the fantastic means of production could all be organized to serve the needs of the laboring majority… on one condition: expropriation of the capitalist class.

Only the workers can do that. Because, as Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto, workers have nothing to lose but their chains.