To our class brothers and sisters

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
June 19, 2023

A boat carrying hundreds of people attempting to reach Europe sank off the coast of Greece last Wednesday. How many children, women and men lost their lives? 500 or 600 of them, as the photos of the overloaded boat suggest?

Most appalling is that all those on board could have been saved. The Frontex agency had noticed the boat, and the Greek coastguard was on the scene. Did they try to push the boat back into the open sea, as the survivors are accusing them of doing? Anything is possible, because the criminal policies of the European Union encourage this kind of ignominy.

We will never know the identity of all the victims. But one thing is sure: we will not find the sons or wives of millionaires or oil magnates among themtheyve got all the necessary papers, as well as the means to fly wherever they want.

The migrants on this ship were bound to belong to the laboring classes. They all had to find a way to earn their bread and ensure a future for their children. It is precisely because they could no longer do so that they found themselves on a floating coffin and that is what any worker from this country would do in the same situation.

Fleeing misery is no crime! Freedom of movement should be a basic human right. We have to assert it loud and clear against the European Union's rulers, who are waging a real war against migrants. And we must shout it out against all the demagogues who turn immigration into a threat.

No law in any country on earth guarantees that men and women lacking capital have the ability to earn a living with dignity. This remains true even in a rich, developed country, like France. The law that prevails is that of the capitalism, which leaves the exploited no choice but to work their fingers to the bone for the right to live. That's what we have got to stand up against.

Workers wont protect themselves by barricading themselves against workers who are poorer than they are. The problem is to fight together against the misery created by exploitation and imperialism.

Fighting the capitalist class that thrives through pauperizing the overwhelming majority of humanity can only come from the exploited. It can only come from the exploited when they rise up here, in Africa, in the Middle East and in other places, fighting against all the barbarism carried by capitalism.

This is not a figment of the imagination. Anywhere workers are to be found, there is resistance, organization and struggle. On a global scale, there are regularly major revolts capable of overthrowing the most dictatorial regimes. And workers are always putting up a fight, even a limited or localized one, because resignation isnt everlasting.

Whether these struggles are waged at a port in Dakar or Abidjan, in a mine in the Congo or South Africa, in a factory in Turkey or France, one finds workers making similar demands for wages and working conditions everywhere. Why? Because, from one end of the planet to the other, working conditions are subject to employersagressive greed, the arbitrariness of the market, and the unpredictability of economic warfare.

And the exploiters are often the same, because big business knows no borders: it operates on a global scale. Multinationals in the automotive, oil, agri-food, construction and surveillance industries are just some of the many examples where brothers and cousins are exploited by the same company, one on the African continent, the other on the European continent.

Here in France, every major strike brings together workers from all around the globe. And some of the most significant struggles in recent years, such as the strikes by hotel cleaners, have been led by immigrant workers.

So, whatever our origin, culture, nationality or beliefs, whatever the country we live in, we are all tethered by the same chain: that of big business, which exploits us, destroys the planet and provokes war. The only way to break this chain is to raise consciousness around the facts that we are all on the same side and that we must unite against the capitalist class and its political lackeys.

Let's never forget that our only enemy is the big bourgeoisie that dominates the world.

Against the politicians who use immigration as a diversion to mask their subservience to the rich, lets unite! Against employers eager to find workers to exploit, let's unite to defend our interests as workers!

Nathalie Arthaud