Jul 19, 2010
The following was translated from the June 18 editorial of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.
Wednesday, June 16th, the French government made public its proposed new retirement law. The retirement age will be raised to 62 – from 60. The number of years required for retirement will be increased, and the contribution paid by government workers will be increased.
The politicians justify their attack, claiming that increases in life expectancy make measures to “save the retirement system” inevitable. It’s a lie!
While life expectancy has gone up, the productivity of labor has gone up even more. There would be no retirement problem if this increase in productivity weren’t completely pocketed by the capitalist class.
The debate around retirement is a smoke-screen. The two basic measures of the government project, increasing the retirement age and increasing the number of years necessary to receive benefits, aim to make it more difficult, or even impossible, to retire with a full pension. All this is a hypocritical way to reduce pensions. It’s theft, plundering the future retirements of all workers.
Over the course of the past two years, the state has spent colossal sums to save the bankers, and to help the bosses save their profits: tax breaks and other stimulus.
The state is digging into everyone’s pockets to pay for these gifts. The state taps into retirement accounts. It taps into health insurance. It takes money out of indispensable services for the population. The state imposes restrictions on the entire working population in order to pay off a debt which only profits the bosses and bankers.
The capitalists have become so parasitic that they cannot safeguard their profits during the crisis of their system without the help of the state, which shakes down the whole population.
The rising public debt has become the main pretext for imposing an austerity policy on the popular classes.
Up to the point that the laboring population explodes. One can hope that this will not simply be an explosion of unhappiness, but one that leads to workers’ consciousness that the public debt should be paid by those who have profited from it.