After two months of a “great debate” shaped as a presidential one man show, Macron and his government got a reality call this weekend from mass demonstrations. Back urgently from his ski holiday, the president tried a new manoeuvre: to oppose the “hateful crowd” of yellow jackets to the peaceful ecologists who want to protect the climate. And yet, all over France demonstrations have converged behind slogans against this government, which serves the capitalist multinationals that exploit workers and nature.
The violence of the rich
So much outrage about the Fouquet’s restaurant on fire! For this fine establishment dear to their heart, politicians are calling for immediate action from the government. Marine Le Pen proposes to close down far left organisations, Eric Ciotti asks for demonstration to be prohibited. Macron himself promises more active measures, even though his “anti-violence” law, in fact “anti-demonstrations” law, has just been passed. Hire police officers, equip them, give new weapons to this class justice that only puts the poor in jail. We need emergency measures to save the Champs-Elysees avenue!
Imagine if the same sense of urgency was applied to solving the issues raised by yellow, green or red jackets. To fight unemployment, an emergency plan that prohibits layoffs, starting with the 15,000 jobs that automobile bosses want to cut because of the end of diesel, while in fact new jobs are needed to help with the transition from diesel. To organise a dignified welcome to the thousands of migrants who flee from war and poverty, but die in the Mediterranean, repelled by European coastguards. For the people in working class neighbourhoods or remote impoverished countryside with no access to public services. But for all these life and death issues of the poorest, there is never any hurry. Macron avoids the issues, organises a great fake debate, hoping the people’s anger will pass.
But fortunately, it doesn’t. The president, who was going to hand in his report last Saturday got his answer: a resurgence of the yellow jackets movement, going strong after four months of fight and enhancing its coordination so that teams at roundabouts, headquarters, assemblies and local groups can all hit together.
“If climate was a bank, it would already have been saved”
A new front has been opened by young people: one million across the world, including over 160,000 in France, demonstrated last Friday to point out the destruction of our environment while governments do nothing. The next day, Saturday 16 March, hundreds of thousands took to the street again, some proudly wearing a yellow jacket, to protest against those responsible for climate change.
Two of Macron’s ministers joined the Friday demonstrations, just long enough to take some selfies. But these pathetic reclaiming attempts will not make us forget that the government itself must be held responsible. That very evening, the pro-Macron majority in the House voted to allow large chemical corporations to keep on making dangerous pesticides until 2025. Beyond such a symbol, Macron’s entire policy is anti-environment. You can’t reconcile protecting the environment and the law of maximum profit. And we all know which side Macron has chosen.
A small gesture for the climate: overthrow capitalism
Many workers from large companies joined the demonstrations. This movement would make a big leap forward if it could reach the workplaces. With their numbers, their key role in production, and the pressure they can put on the bosses and government through strikes, employees in large public or private workplaces are best positioned to protest environmental scandals in production, and to fight exploitation of man and nature precisely where it takes place. By imposing their views directly to the bosses, not just the bosses’ agent Macron.