Working-class voter abstention met an all-time high in the first round of the regional and departmental elections. This is an indication of how uninterested or even disgusted the working class is by what are nothing more than competitions to designate which political clique will run the bourgeoisie’s affairs in the country’s institutions.
The pushing and shoving for a seat at the table is all the more pitiful because it comes after several months of a pandemic that has weighed heaviest on the working class. Workers are faced with more and more brutal attacks by the capitalist class: layoffs, plant closures, wage and unemployment benefit reductions, worsened working conditions. Those who have always worked to keep society running, even during the recent pandemic, are driven into poverty while the big bourgeoisie, by exploiting workers more than ever, is getting richer than ever and shareholders are accumulating fortunes thanks to state handouts and speculation.
False promises and populist slogans are all that the bourgeoisie’s politicians offer as electoral programs. And those won’t give the exploited a means to resist the coming disaster. An explosion of anger from the despised and oppressed working class is both inevitable and indispensable.
But tomorrow’s anger from the workers mustn’t be side-tracked by those who are their obvious enemies or false friends! Their anger must be directed against those who are hidden behind the interchangeable puppets of the bourgeoisie’s political caste but who are really the ones in power: the capital owners, those who own the plants and the banks.
To keep all jobs open by distributing work to all without any loss of wages, the financial means must be wrested from the privileged class that is of no use to society and yet is rich. Income from big capital, from shareholders’ dividends, from the money squandered on financial speculation must be used to increase salaries, retirement pensions and aid, and to index them on price increases to protect their buying power.
The Lutte ouvrière lists in the regional elections were presented on the basis of this program. Taken all together, the lists received nearly 320,000 votes. This is very close to the number of votes received in the previous regional elections in December 2015 and almost twice as many as the number of votes in the 2019 European elections.
This election was marked by massive abstention particularly in working-class towns and neighborhoods. In this context, the stability of Lutte ouvrière’s results is all the more remarkable. Most lists, whatever the party, be it the far-right Rassemblement national (RN) or the coalitions bringing together the Greens and various left-wing parties, saw a drastic decrease in numbers between the last two regional elections. But the number of votes for the revolutionary communist movement remained steady. This shows as a percentage increase from 1.5% to 2.23%.
However modest the electoral scores of the lists “Lutte ouvrière – making the workers’ voice heard” may be, their increase gives great hope for the future. It testifies to the presence in the working class of a political current whose aim is to overthrow the power of the big bourgeoisie. Managing society must be in the hand of those who, through their work, keep it alive and functioning. Lutte ouvrière’s militants will be present in tomorrow’s struggles to uphold that goal and will do everything they can to play their part.
The first round of the election is over, the only round in which “the workers’ side” could be expressed. The workers have no stake and no interest in the second round. Politicians who are every bit as reactionary and anti-worker as politicians on the far right are being presented as a means to bar the way to the threat of the RN coming to power. These are false claims and Lutte ouvrière will not endorse any of them.
Lutte ouvrière is not going to give its support to any of the so called “Republican Front” variations1. The republic is that of the bourgeoisie. The future that the republic reserves for those whose only income comes from their work is one of being exploited and despised by rich parasites. Workers are going to have to fight the capitalist class to stop it from pushing society towards catastrophe.
1The ‘Republican Front’ option that the Socialist and Communist Parties have defended and practiced for decades is when left-wing lists or candidates choose to stand down in the second round and support the right-wing list or candidate so as to maximise the chances of beating the far-right list or candidate. This means supporting politicians on the right who are often not so different from their far-right rivals, and all in the name of anti-fascism.