A 100-billion-euro stimulus package... for capitalist profits!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
September 7, 2020

All around France, there’s an epidemic of job cuts: 320 at Figeac-Aéro and 200 at Verallia in the South-West, 186 at Cargill and 290 at Stelia (an Airbus subsidiary) in the North. These recent announcements come on top of the job destructions already planned at Courtepaille, La Halle, Renault, ADP, Alinéa, Nokia... The list of companies making workers redundant is growing day by day.

Even in sectors which have done well and for which the crisis is an opportunity for development, corporations are restructuring, laying off workers or putting pressure on them to accept new sacrifices.

From assembly-line workers to engineers, from clerks to foremen and even managers, no one is immune from what is one of the most serious crises of capitalism. And the stimulus package presented last week by the government will do nothing to protect workers from its effects.

This plan won’t prevent a single layoff because that’s not what it’s for. It aims to help and boost “businesses”, says the government. But when Prime Minister Castex speaks of “businesses”, it's the class of employers he has in mind, small, medium or big business owners and shareholders, not the employees! Supporting “businesses” does not mean supporting or even guaranteeing jobs.

Castex and Minister of the Economy Le Maire have been clear: the reductions in taxes and contributions are unconditional. The various envelopes are made available to capitalists without any obligation on their part. There is no constraint whatsoever.

This is a way of saying to the bosses: “Help yourselves!", "Do what you want with this money, we trust you". Employers will therefore be able to use this blank check while continuing to cut jobs and reap their profits.

For Castex and Le Maire, this money will sooner or later boost job creations and “trickle down” to workers. What a pathetic joke!

Big business has received public money by the billion for decades. Where are the promised investments and jobs? The only result of the state’s generosity has been the surge in dividends and in the wealth captured by a handful of privileged people, an economy that is increasingly based on purely financial operations and unbridled speculation. Nothing different should be expected from the latest stimulus package.

The government’s 100-billion-euro plan means putting profits and profitability under respiratory assistance. It will artificially open market opportunities for certain companies. Yes, where profit is guaranteed, employers will seize those opportunities. But that won’t revive sectors that are seeing their markets shrivel, such as aeronautics, tourism or the car industry, and it won’t pull us out of the crisis.

Capitalism has been in a dead-end for years, and the health crisis has only worsened that. In a situation where markets are saturated and productivity continues to rise, competition is increasingly fierce and profits uncertain. This is why big capital is reluctant to invest in production.

Capitalists are supposed to be investors, entrepreneurs who take risks. They haven't played this role for a long time. Without bringing anything to the companies they own, they suck up the profits and then gamble their billions in the worldwide casino of speculation. And it's to this parasitic class, to billionaires blinded by the law of profit, that the state is handing over 100 billion euros!

Workers are under no obligation to submit to this predatory minority that is crippling the economy. They don't have to sacrifice themselves for a system on the verge of collapse.

Public money should be used for what is useful to society. 100 billion euros correspond to 2.7 million jobs paid 1800 euros every month for a period of one year. This sum would be enough to hire the workers that are so urgently needed in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and public transport. It would be enough to undertake major public works, be it in the building or the energy sector.

But we will not succeed in imposing these common-sense measures without overthrowing the power of the bourgeoisie, without taking the reins of the economy into our own hands – that is to say without a revolution.

The workers are the only class capable of replacing the bourgeoisie. They must realize the force they represent.

The workers make the whole of society function, they’re capable of reorganizing the economy on other bases. If, with the wealth and the level of development reached by society, the bourgeoisie is not capable of building a world without poverty or unemployment, the working class is!