A World Sickened by the Violence of Society

May 30, 2023 editorial of the workplace wewsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France, translated from French.

On the night of May 22 or 23, a patient (with a psychiatric history) murdered a nurse on the psychiatric ward of the Reims University Hospital. Her death naturally aroused immense emotion, not only among her relatives and colleagues, but throughout the country. This murder resonates more broadly with a situation of daily violence faced by all employees in psychiatry, and healthcare in general.

How Can We Not See Where this Violence Comes From?

In health care, in public and private hospitals alike, this violence brings to light a lack of resources and an inability to meet people’s needs – to care for all those who need to be cared for, under safe conditions for caretakers. And how can we separate these safety conditions from sufficient staffing levels that allow us to respectfully meet patients’ needs? Why had the murderous schizophrenic patient been taken out of the psychiatric hospital? In order to make room, we discharge patients, some of whom can be veritable time-bombs. We urgently need resources for health care. President Macron and the government are shedding crocodile tears! Who has been eliminating beds for years, even in the midst of a pandemic?

The Government’s Only Language: Security Overkill

At almost the same time, three police officers were hit by a drunk driver and killed in a car accident. President Macron and his ministers rushed to pay tribute. And, above all, they took the opportunity to use the language of the far right, denouncing “de-civilization,” an expression drawn from the vocabulary of racists.

Yes, their society is violent! As demonstrated by Interior Minister Darmanin’s Operation Wuambushu in Mayotte (French territory), where he attacked “migrants” living in shantytowns that government bulldozers had destroyed. We see their society’s violence in Darmanin’s immigration law. Their cops are violent whenever workers demonstrate or go on strike. We saw this last week at the gates of Vertbaudet (children’s clothing factory) in the Northern region of France.

Macron and Darmanin know a thing or two about violence! They’re the ones who insist on imposing a pension law that nobody wants – apart from employers – on the whole country. Not even Palme d’Or winner Justine Triet, who decried the pension reform at the Cannes Film Festival!

We are Not Moving on from this Struggle!

For the last few months, the inter-union has led the movement against pension reform. But after May 1st, they only proposed a general date of struggle for Tuesday June 6 for the next protest – more than a month later. And the different unions have individually agreed to meet with the government to discuss other issues. Shouldn’t the fight against the reform stop all dialogue? This is a strange way of “blocking the country.” And after June 6, what would be the consequences? Waiting for the deputies’ last stand on June 8?

On June 6, there must be hundreds of thousands of us in the streets again. Not because we have any illusions in the pension reform bill that LIOT (a group in parliament) was trying to pass by gathering votes from both the right and left but because we want to do away with this government and those it serves: the bosses.

Rely Only on Ourselves

Uniting in the fight to stop the bosses’ attacks, to respond to the violence of the capitalists and their system, is the only way to confront this so-called “de-civilization.” We need to fight together against the masters of this world, who are leading us into barbarism to save their billions in profits. It’s a fight that involves building all struggles against the capitalists’ attacks, and organizing to put an end to this society of misery and exploitation. For wages and incomes, against layoffs, against racism, against war and the ecological crisis, in the face of capitalism, let’s get organized!