The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

France:
A Presidential Candidate Stood Up for the Working Class

Apr 24, 2017

The first round of the French presidential election took place on Sunday, April 23, with eleven candidates. Two weeks later, there will be a run-off between the top two candidates, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Claiming they can change people’s fate, in order to get votes, both are preparing to carry out the policy that big business wants. Whatever promises, whatever demagogy toward the working population they use, they are ready to serve the interests of those who rule society.

This is exactly what happened with the socialist Francois Hollande in the presidency, and what happened before with the right-wing president Sarkozy. Those politicians may have carried out somewhat different campaigns because they do not address the same electorate, but once in power they both carried out a policy aimed at making the working population pay for the crisis of the capitalist economy. Their goal was to boost still higher the profits of the biggest companies and the dividends those companies issued to their share holders.

Whoever is elected on May the 7th, he or she will wage a war against working people who will have to defend themselves.

This is what Nathalie Arthaud, who was the candidate put up by Lutte Ouvrière, a French revolutionary communist organization, was advocating during her campaign. She said that she was running in order to have the working class side heard in these elections. She put forward the interests of the workers, saying that they should come first since the working class produces all the riches and makes the whole society function.

She pointed at all the needs that should be addressed, as well as the measures that workers would have to impose on the government and on the bosses not to be pushed further backward into poverty.

She insisted that everybody should have a good job with good wages. She said that it is necessary to ban layoffs and to share the work among everybody without decreasing anyone’s wages – on the contrary, raising all the wages and pensions a lot so that everyone has the means to have a decent life, to get healthcare and to provide education for their children.

And she said that the workers should oversee and control the accounts of the companies. Then they would see that there is plenty of money to meet the basic needs of the population.

But she also said that the elections cannot bring all that, only large struggles can.

Nathalie Arthaud was the only candidate to put her campaign on the grounds of the class struggle and she was the only communist candidate in this election.

And she called people to vote for her if they agreed with that program – even if she could not be elected – rather than vote for people who will win but be the enemy of the workers. She called for a vote of class consciousness, a vote of workers’ dignity.