It's Christmas time, a time to stop and think about the poor... Members of Parliament who make up Macron's majority. Many of them have been complaining about their working conditions: some used to earn 20,000 euros per month and now they must live "with a quarter of that" while working "much more". One Macronist MP, who now gets paid 5,000 euros per month, explained quite seriously: "I eat out less often, I eat more pasta, I have taken my old clothes down from the attic... I may even have to move." This MP is not sure she can "stick it to the end"! Another MP complains that her husband was forced to make similar sacrifices: despite his taste for nice cars, he won't be able to buy the Porsche Cayenne he really wants because of the looks he'd get from "ill-intentioned people". "It's awful", she whines. And these happy few are convinced that the minimum monthly wage of 1,150 euros is too high!
As for Macron's ministers, they haven’t dared complain about their salaries. The fact is that they aren't exactly poor, as the press has recently revealed. A dozen of them are actually millionaires. The richest is Muriel Pénicaud, former HR manager at Danone where she was granted one million euros for carrying through a plan of massive job cuts. Now, as Labor Minister, she is doing the same thing on a national level.
Nicolas Hulot, Macron's minister for "environmental transition", is the happy owner of an electric scooter – to which must be added six cars (including a BMW and a Land Rover), a powerful motorcycle and a motor boat. It's a good thing that he has promised to put an end to the sale of diesel and gas vehicles...for 2040!
Macron's MPs and ministers were said to be "different". They were said to represent "civil society". But they come from and speak for the upper classes of society. It is therefore only logical that their political action should consist in catering to the capitalist class. Ex-banker Macron and his henchmen have dealt many blows to the working class. And they have done it as fast as they could, which might explain their present-day "fatigue". With the executive orders reforming labor law, they have allowed the bosses to cut jobs and downgrade company agreements at will. By capping the compensation handed out by labor courts in the case of unfair dismissal, they have satisfied one of the bosses’ major demands: workers can no longer even hope to get a sizeable lump sum when they are unfairly fired.
The government has also lowered housing aid and, on January 1, the CSG (1) will increase from 7.5% up to 9.2% – a measure which will mostly hit retirees. In the coming months, new attacks will be launched, like the reform of the unemployment insurance system which will be aimed at cutting job seekers' benefits.
In one way or another, they make the working class and the poor foot the bill for the tax rebates handed out to the rich. At the same time, President Macron and Prime Minister Philippe have suppressed the wealth tax and reduced corporate tax.
In their war against workers and poor people, Macron and his government do not hesitate to take crass measures against migrants. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb has instructed all those under his orders to expel more foreigners. Border controls have been toughened, forcing those who flee war, dictatorship or hunger to take ever greater risks to reach France or the United Kingdom. The right of asylum is ignored. The government intends to hunt down migrants wherever they are, including inside the relief centers set up by various associations. In fact, they are preparing a law on "asylum and immigration" which would make it more difficult to help foreigners and make it easier to expel them.
Macron and his government are waging a head-on social war against working people. While Macron rarely misses an opportunity to strut about and show off just like he did last week during an interview broadcasted from the Elysée Palace, he can only afford these self-promoting antics because he has met with little opposition. Working people have lost none of their strength. It will be up to us to use our class consciousness along with strike action and demonstrations to put an end to Macron’s boasting and to stop the attacks against us.
The government's plans for 2018 are clear. Let's hope that the coming year will see the working class fight back. Let's hope that the working class will refuse to be victimized further and will retaliate as it did 50 years ago with the general strike of May-June 1968.
That would definitely make kinglet Macron swallow his pride and give his court of boot-licking MPs something to really moan and whine about.
(1) CSG (Contribution sociale généralisée): a supplementary social security contribution created in 1991 by Rocard's Socialist government. It “extended” the tax base to include retirement and disability pensions, unemployment and early retirement benefits, etc. and provided for lesser contributions by the bosses. Its rate was increased over the years and is now bigger than income tax. It finances over 20% of all social security expenses and is paid mostly by workers themselves (over 90%).