We must challenge the government’s demagoguery and fight to change society

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
July 10, 2023

In the wake of the riots, Justice Minister, Dupond-Moretti declared: “Parents should control their children”. Macron, using the right’s demagoguery, went a step further and evoked a possible financial penalty for families. As the representative of the privileged classes, he showed the contempt for which he is renowned by adding: “Some kind of minimum tariff for the first dumb thing a child does.” Prime Minister Borne hammered this home by saying that the government was considering “a flat-rate fine for parents” for any offense by their child.

As if parents of children in working-class neighborhoods don’t do what they can for their children! Most of them bleed themselves dry to pay for their children’s studies and are sometimes even obliged to pay for private tutoring to make up for teacher absences!

And whose fault is it if many neighborhoods have become real ghettos where poverty and precariousness lead some young people – sometimes even very young people – to get mixed up in trafficking of all kinds? Whose fault is it if racist police enjoy provoking every young person they come across?

From the very same neighborhoods, well before the children get up, crowds of workers leave in the early hours of the morning to go to their cleaning job, to drive buses or start their shift at the hospital when they’re not working the night shift.

By driving a hateful campaign against working-class families, the government wants to divert attention away from its own responsibility and that of the capitalist class whose interests it serves.

Those at the head of the state claim to worry about children’s education in the working class but have shut down classes in schools to save money on teaching positions. They’ve planned and organized the reduction of facilities that are of use to the population: post office closures, funding cuts in hospitals and healthcare.

Borne explained that children shouldn’t be doing nothing before the official start of summer vacation. But again, whose fault is that? And what is organized in working-class neighborhoods to offer activities to the most disadvantaged youths during the summer vacation? Not much!

This society is rotten with inequality based on exploitation and permanent social violence. Macron and his ministers have partially or totally deprived tens of thousands of workers of their unemployment benefits and have programmed a reduction in pensions by stealing two years of retirement from workers. They have done this so they can help a minority of rich people get richer and give billions in handouts to big corporations.

The entire state apparatus is set up to control, repress and, if necessary, terrorize the poorest with a police force that is full of racism. To “bring back order” to working-class neighborhoods, the government has mobilized tens of thousands of police, resulting in more victims among young people. The courts meanwhile came down heavily on the young people arrested during the riots, condemning them in fast-track trials to months in prison for having set off fireworks, stolen jeans, sneakers or food from supermarkets. Courts are slower and less severe when it comes to judging powerful people who have broken the law, industrialists who have killed with asbestos or chlordecone or who have bypassed basic safety measures on worksites and elsewhere.

So yes, this should make us revolt! This society has nothing better to offer the greatest number than increased poverty and violence!

Manual workers, office workers, whatever our business or activity, we are the ones who make everything function in this society and this gives us tremendous collective strength. By uniting, no matter where we come from, no matter what nationality, in a common struggle to overthrow the rich class that dominates society, we are the only ones who can offer a different future, one that will not plunge us into barbarity and chaos. It’s our responsibility as workers, to be capable of offering prospects for hope and change to all young people.