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

Macron Claims to Give Us the Floor, Workers Must Take It!

Jun 17, 2024

What follows is a translation of the editorial that appeared on the front of all Lutte Ouvrière’s workplace newsletters, during the week of June 9th.

Following the success of the Rassemblement National (RN, the National Rally Party) in the European Union elections, President Emanuel Macron has decided to dissolve the National Assembly. What’s behind this surprise decision and the announcement of legislative elections in three weeks’ time? Is it a shabby political ploy, or an attempt to get out of a political instability that would have become embarrassing for the upper middle class? No one can say.

Whatever the case, Macron is giving us back our say, so let’s use it to put forward our concerns as workers! That’s what the Lutte Ouvrière candidates will be doing, and they’ll have a strong presence in these legislative elections.

The first of our demands concerns our purchasing power. It’s plummeting as prices soar. It plummets when you fall ill or become disabled, when you’re laid off and forced to take a lower-paid job, or when you retire.

These setbacks are disgusting compared to the 200-billion-euro fortune of a Bernard Arnault, the 18 million euros cashed in every day by Stellantis shareholders, and the 100,000 euros a day earned by its CEO, Tavares. There’s no reason why those who work and make society function should see their lives deteriorate while parasites and speculators gorge themselves.

Demanding that wages, disability pensions and retirement pensions rise in line with all prices, i.e., that they be indexed, is a minimum requirement. Demanding the reversal of setbacks imposed on retirement or unemployment benefits is a minimum.

Living without fear also means refusing to be pushed toward a third world war. What good is the right to retire at 62 if you die at 30 in a new war? What use is a wage indexed to inflation if we find ourselves under the bombs? We must refuse to march into wars decided by politicians, general staff and generals who have proved they have nothing to do with workers.

Along with these demands, let’s express our opposition to all these politicians who can promise us wonders but are all lackeys of the big bourgeoisie. There are those we’ve already tried and who have betrayed us. And there are the others, like the right-wing Le Pen and Bardella, who pride themselves on never having disappointed.

But if they haven’t done so, it’s because they haven’t yet been in a position to do so. For, like Macron, Le Pen and Bardella support the bourgeois order, employers’ power and capitalist private property. The fact that Macron is now opening a door to Bardella, and that Bardella says he is ready to form a government with him, proves that the two are perfectly compatible.

Both are enemies of workers. Without being in power, the National Rally is already pitting workers and the poor against each other by attacking immigrant workers. It divides and weakens the working class in the face of big business, while the latter accumulates fortunes through exploitation and the plundering of the world.

Le Pen and Bardella pretend to oppose Macron’s war-mongering policies, but they are fanning the flames of nationalism, patriotism and militarism. As their far-right forebears did in their day, they will march the population into murderous wars. Workers who support the RN are seriously mistaken.

But if the RN embodies for many workers the ability to change their lives, it is due to the betrayals of the left-wing parties. There was a time when they embodied the desire for change. They betrayed it, because they abandoned the revolutionary perspective and ended up imposing the same anti-worker policies as the right when they came to power. Today, this same Left, divided or united, continues to deceive workers with electoral promises that are as laughable as they are misleading.

Whatever the twists and turns of political life, this umpteenth election will change nothing in the unequal, chaotic and destructive evolution of society. It will change nothing in its nationalistic and warlike evolution. All this is part and parcel of capitalism, its race for profit and its economic war.

The only source of hope lies in workers’ reactions. So we need women and men to rediscover their sense of strength and the path of collective struggle. We need men and women who are aware that their struggle for better conditions can only succeed if the capitalist class is overthrown.