The Spark

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

Nathalie Arthaud, Communist Candidate:
A Vote for Workers’ Dignity and Struggle

Apr 24, 2017

We reprint below a speech by Nathalie Arthaud, presidential candidate for the French revolutionary workers’ group Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle). On Monday, April 10, the French electoral campaign officially began, and with it, the candidates’ broadcasts on the public T.V. and radio stations. Nathalie Arthaud called to “make the workers’ side be heard.”

I am running to make the workers’ side be heard.

We factory workers, employees, technicians, teachers, railroad workers, homecare aides, housewives, functionaries, cashiers ... we make the whole society run. We produce all the wealth. Including the superprofits taken by a minority. And including the deluxe products reserved for the rich.

The progress in transportation, in medicine, in all kinds of technical processes – that’s us! We make the whole economy function, we make the whole society live.

When I speak of the workers’ side, I obviously include those whom the capitalist class turn into the unemployed, by laying off workers. I also mean independent workers, artisans and storekeepers who live by their work and who are also held hostage by big capital.

We must impose our interests, our jobs, our wages, our retirements, our conditions of work and of life, against the dividends of the stockholders, against the fortunes of a capitalist minority, against the golden parachutes of the C.E.O.’s.

We must stop what’s been happening for years, where a privileged minority profits from the crisis by enriching themselves even more, by attacking the conditions of existence for those who work.

Women and Men Workers

All the candidates explain that if they get in office, things will not be like before. This is a lie. The day after the election, what will change for us?

Many will try to get day labor, go to temp agencies, or be stuck doing odd jobs to make a living. In the workplaces, we will face the same big bosses, the same invisible but all-powerful stockholders. And they will continue to impose a more and more ridiculous pace of work on us, less consistent work schedules, for insufficient wages, because they build their fortunes and grow their profits by increasing our exploitation.

And we will still face the banks or the landlords who won’t hear about any kind of reduction in rent. We will still be faced with the power of the state, that rolls out the red carpet for the rich, but which shows no mercy to ordinary people.

The presidential election will not change our life because, no matter who is elected, they will carry out the policies dictated by the capitalist class. The candidates who might be elected have demonstrated, for their whole careers, their membership in and their devotion to the bourgeois world.

Voting for one of them is voting against our side.

We reject this fake game! We denounce this society, where the bourgeois have all the rights and the workers have only obligations. We affirm the collective interests of our class: To have a job, a wage, a dignified retirement that allows us to afford a place to stay, and to raise and educate our children.

It is a vote for the dignity and the struggle of the workers.

Together, we can make the workers’ side be heard!