The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Nothing Can Replace Our Mobilization!

Apr 17, 2023

What follows is a translation of the editorial that appeared on the front of all Lutte Ouvrière’s workplace newsletters, during the week of April 12, 2023. The Constitutional Council subsequently confirmed Macron’s retirement decree.

With the adoption of the law, Macron and Borne thought that the trick was done and that they would only need a few days to turn the page. They have paid for their efforts because, from demonstration to demonstration, the mobilization holds firm.

We have now entered a war of attrition, with the government betting that the combatants will tire out. But there are millions of us who think that working two more years will tire us much more than a few additional demonstration days. As for the anger, it does not wear out, it is building up.

Everything the government does to impose the 64 years sounds like a provocation: the lies about the 1,200 euros, the hasty adoption of the law of 49.3, and now Darmanin’s attempts to intimidate the demonstrators with police batons and arrests.

Every day, there are new reasons to be angry. Just go to the gas pump or do your food shopping. At the bakery, in supermarkets, at the market ... all prices are going up. Tomorrow, the water bill will go up to pay for the greed of Veolia, Suez and others who have not maintained the system, and for all those who plunder and drain this common and essential resource.

It is impossible to forget, too, that big business ensures its margins and dividends by refusing the minimum of the minimum, that is the indexation of wages to prices. And since there is no question of the politicians and the government imposing anything on the capitalists, they are content to whine about excess profits!

This is what they are doing again today, with yet another report proving that the capitalists who manage the highways have cashed in much more than expected when the state signed the contracts. The report denounces an “excess profitability” of 20 billion, stolen from our pockets, at each toll. The government will do nothing to change this.

France scores a double, when it comes to the world’s great fortunes. It tops the list for both genders: Bernard Arnault and his 200 billion dollars is the world’s richest man, and Françoise Meyers-Bettencourt and her 80 billion is the world’s richest woman. But apart from that, the state coffers are empty and, really, the government has no idea where to find the money to finance schools, hospitals or pensions....

For pensions, the government repeats from morning to night that it defends the pay-as-you-go system. But how is the money distributed? It’s a distribution between active and retired workers, that is to say, the distribution of the crumbs that the big bourgeoisie wants to leave them, once its profits have been taken out.

That’s not distribution, it’s swindling! The only real distribution would be to take from the profits and the great fortunes to ensure wages, working conditions and dignified pensions. And this must be imposed by our collective struggles.

We can expect no miracles from the Constitutional Council. This institution can, in theory, strike down all or part of this law. But its members, from Fabius to Juppé, have a resume as long as an arm in terms of attacks on workers. Six of its nine members have even been appointed by Macron or his supporters, and if they are called “wise,” it is because they have never done anything unpleasant in the eyes of the bourgeoisie that dominates the whole society.

Perhaps the Constitutional Council will accede to the request to organize a shared initiative referendum, the RIP. This will cost it nothing and will not bother the government: the procedure is so long and complicated that it has little chance of succeeding. And, above all, the RIP is not suspensive—the law can come into force without delay.

There is no substitute for the collective pressure imposed by the mobilization of millions of people. Nothing can replace the fact that we debate in the companies, that we gather and organize to defend our interests as workers.

The employers and the government were able to make their law with the conviction that the workers, divided and resigned, would not manage to react massively. One of the achievements of the movement is to have shown that we have the strength to fight back and to make ourselves respected. It is to have regained the pride of those who fight, even if the fight is difficult.

Each additional day of mobilization grows and strengthens our camp. Each strike and each demonstration is a step forward for millions of workers. So let’s be there again, as many as possible to continue the struggle!