October 5: an opportunity to protest!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
September 27, 2021

Several of the biggest trade unions in France – the CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires – have called for a general day of strike action in all sectors for Tuesday, October 5. All those convinced that the working class needs to fight back must take part.

The situation is different from company to company. In some, there has been no call to strike, in others workers will down tools and send a delegation to join the protests. And in companies where workers are already putting up a fight, like at Transdev where bus drivers are on strike over worsening working conditions or in Marseilles where garbage collectors are refusing to have their work hours increased, there may be enough determined workers to form a block and march together.

But no matter how many workers are actually willing to mobilize in their workplaces, those who are angry must come out and protest. We must show that there are women and men who want to put up a fight, even if it’s hard to do and there’s no sign of an easy victory.

That’s what those opposed to the health pass did in their own way when they took to the streets every Saturday this summer. That’s what the yellow vests did two years ago. They refused to remain silent and even though they weren’t sure they’d win, they continued to express their opposition and group together. Workers need to have the same sort of fighting determination in workplaces. There are so many reasons for it!

Over the past two weeks, thousands of healthcare workers have gone from being heroes to being outcasts. Some have been suspended from work and deprived of their salaries. This is an unprecedented attack on the working class. Keeping unvaccinated people away from the sick to reduce risks is one thing, but what right does the government have to deprive them of a salary?

Starting October 1, the government is going to cut 50, 100 or 200 euros off the welfare benefits of a million unemployed workers but we’re being told that the economy is thriving again and massive sums of money continue to flow into big corporations.

Hundreds of thousands of workers live under the constant threat of having their factories close down or getting laid off. Others are under the threat of having their wages drastically cut because of the periods of unemployment the bosses have imposed or of losing their bonuses while the cost of living and the price of fuel, gas and electricity are all soaring.

Let’s show them that we won’t accept such ignominious behavior! Let’s show them that those who suffer from all this are not alone and that they can stand with the working class alongside workers who are conscious of their collective class interests. Workers in the private and public sectors, in both industry and services, those who have a permanent position and those who don’t, let’s show them that we all want to fight together.

Many employees see this day of strike action as just another day of demonstrations organized by the unions. And that’s exactly how trade union leaders see it. In order to change the balance of power with the bosses, we need a real battle plan and the will to fight as well as agitation campaigns in workplaces and in the media. We must put an end to calls for separate days of action sector by sector that disperse all the anger before it even has a chance of being heard. We must be on the offensive and look for ways to fight back against every attack from the government or bosses.

The union leaders won’t do it. The will to fight must come directly from the most conscious and pugnacious workers. So, let October 5 be a day to reaffirm that we need a general working-class fight because capitalist society has always been ferocious with the exploited who have only ever been able to bring about change by fighting together.

Let’s take this opportunity to talk about our problems as workers, to discuss how the whole of society is evolving because, behind the bosses’ attacks , our children’s future and that of all of society is at stake.

Where is capitalism taking us? It has opened up immense possibilities for scientific and technological development. But the bourgeoisie uses these advancements to satisfy its own desires and to make life harder for the laboring classes!

By opposing the capitalist class, by aiming for their emancipation, workers can put society back on its feet. It’s with this awareness that the working class can once again become the fighting force capable of challenging both the bosses’ and the government’s policies.

Protesting, gathering together with those who refuse to be crushed and trampled on is the first necessary step in gaining awareness. So, let’s protest for that purpose on October 5.

Nathalie Arthaud