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
May 15, 2023
This article is translated from the May 5 issue #2857 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.
May Day 2023 was a great success in France. More than one million people demonstrated across the country. There were parades and rallies in some 300 towns, including some very small ones. This was one of the biggest May Days in a long time.
The union coalition had decided to make this international day of workers’ struggle a 13th day of mobilization against the government’s attack on retirement. This offended journalists loyal to the government, such as at Les Echos newspaper. They say they did not anticipate this tidal wave. News channels replayed nonstop images of thugs in the attempt to ignore the motivations of the vast majority of demonstrators. The media tried to frighten everyone who did not protest. But the working class responded.
The retirement law has been signed and the first decrees to implement it have been written; French President Emanuel Macron and his ministers would like to move on to their next attack. But no. Millions of workers continue to refuse to lose two years of retirement or to retire with a poverty pension. The anger is deep. Workers do not feel demoralized or defeated by the fact that Macron legally forced the law to pass and was supported by the supposed “wise men” of the Constitutional Council. Workers’ refusal to give up is a thorn in the side of the government. This gives workers hope.
In addition to refusing to work for two more years, there is anger and concern over soaring prices and falling wages, which slip behind inflation every day. Meanwhile capitalists’ profits and the fortunes of a handful of leading bourgeois people skyrocket.
Many workers see more or less clearly that behind Macron and his arrogance is the bourgeoisie on the offensive. The bourgeoisie is waging a constant struggle to suck in the maximum amount of wealth. They will never stop. They demand continuously that their representatives in office—Macron today and his successors tomorrow, whatever their political color—carve endlessly into the living conditions of working people.
This is why we must target the real players behind Macron: the capitalists and bankers. Because workers have immense collective power, due to being concentrated in companies at the heart of the economy, they can stop the profit machine. There will never be a good president, legislature, or constitution to defend workers’ interests. What will change the balance of power will be the awareness that the class struggle never stops as long as the bourgeoisie rules.