Macron: helping the capitalists, fighting the workers

Print
Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
July 18, 2022

During Macron’s July 14 interview his contempt showed again when he presented his roadmap: an action plan for the capitalists, sacrifices and more attacks for the workers.

Asserting that the war in Ukraine "will last", that the French army must participate in the deployment of troops against Russia while continuing its interventions in Africa or the Middle East, Macron promised to increase the military budget by 3 billion euros per year until 2025. He will help the arms industry to speed up the production of the tanks, guns and drones that are all the rage in Ukraine. This money will be sorely missed by hospitals, in the renovation of train lines or for firefighters dealing with giant infernos.

Using the threat that Putin might close the Nordstream 1 gas pipeline, with a risk of gas and electricity shortages this winter, Macron announced an energy sobriety plan that would affect “individuals and companies alike”. But it’s obvious that “sobriety” won’t be the same for everyone.

Companies, particularly major ones, will receive generous compensation if they agree to shut down their most energy-intensive installations at peak consumption times. They’ll receive even more government aid if they generalize working from home and reduce heating and air-conditioning. Workers won’t have any say in the matter as to whether they work from home or freeze or boil at their workstation.

As for individuals, their wallet will decide whether or not they are being “sober”. Energy sobriety is already violently forced on the working classes through gas, electricity and vehicle fuel prices. Millions of households already have to lower their heating in winter, reduce travel or use failing public transport. It’s not the effect of the government’s moralising but that of their low wages or pensions.

Today's heatwaves and yesterday's lockdown have made it perfectly clear that, even if the temperature is the same for everyone, its effects vary according to class. Some have air-conditioned homes or a second home in a cooler place while others are in tiny appartements where they can barely breathe.

In the 1970s there was "waste-busting" and in the 2020s there's "sobriety" but it’s a smokescreen to justify price increases and hide the fact that the major energy conglomerates are getting shamelessly richer. The reasons for gas and fuel prices skyrocketing are a lot deeper than the war in Ukraine. Having hidden the reality of global warming for decades, multinationals want to make the whole of society pay for the investments that they are now having to make for energy transition that they didn't make earlier.

Not only are Macron and his European counterparts refusing to tax the incredibly rich people who are profiting from the crisis but each state is also giving all available means to their respective national producers. The capitalists give orders and government leaders and ministers execute them.

Engaged in an economic war that keeps getting tougher, the capitalists demand that the state's money be reserved for them and that workers submit to them. That is why Macron wants to push up retirement age, that is why he's preparing a new labour law to oblige the unemployed to accept any position under threat of losing all or part of their unemployment benefits.

Bosses, particularly in the catering business, are complaining that they cannot find sufficiently docile workers despite persistent unemployment. But will Macron impose massive wage increases? Of course not! He keeps repeating the worst lies about "people who abuse national solidarity”. As if workers themselves didn't finance unemployment benefits! Along the same lines, RSA1 will only be paid if a person finds a job. Workers must not fall into the trap: attacking the unemployed drags all employees down and condemns everyone to accept the hardest and worst-paid jobs.

Whether or not Macron has an absolute majority, he will continue to apply the policies demanded by the capitalists. The only choice workers have if they are to defend their interests is collective mobilization.

Nathalie ARTHAUD
 

1 RSA (Revenu de Solidarité Active): an allowance paid to people who have no income at all, whether or not they are able to work. The amount is currently around 550 euros per month for a single person. Although non-taxable, there are a number of conditions attached.