France: Against the Extreme-Right, and For the Solidarity of Working People

May 15, 2023, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Translated from French

After months of extreme right-wing demonstrations in the city of Saint-Brévin-Les-Pins, from the National Rally (RN) Party to neo-fascist groups and Éric Zemmour’s far-right party, the Mayor of the town had no choice but to resign. He had experienced months of threats, and on March 22, there was even an arson attack on his home. What is he accused of? In February, 2022 he had agreed to create a reception center for asylum seekers (CADA) in his town, at the request of the government. And many townspeople were in favor of this — this xenophobic idiocy is far from dominating the town!

Too Little too Late from a Fireman who’s a Pyromaniac!

As soon as his resignation was announced, suddenly President Macron made it known that the mayor had his full support, and Prime Minister Borne invited him to Paris, information he only learned about through the media. This belated support underlines not only the complete absence of support from the State in the face of the threats of the extreme right, but also its complicity with the extreme right. The government is trying to catch up with the right wing. Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin is staging the expulsion of families from shanty towns in Mayotte, and is carrying out serious raids. He shouts at the top of his lungs that Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Meloni is failing to stop the migrants. So he can go ahead and make a show of ordering police prefects to ban all far-right demonstrations, but this is only because of the outrage provoked by the authorized demonstration of hundreds of hooded fascists in Paris on May 6. His actions do not deceive us; he will always reserve his heaviest repression to forbid our loud protests with pots and pans.

Divide to Conquer More Easily

These xenophobic speeches try to divide us. If a majority of Mayotte’s population lives in poverty, it is not because even poorer people from the same archipelago of the Comoros (as Mayotte) are migrating there, but because of the French State’s neglect. If we have low wages and precariousness in France, it is not because of migrants but because of the employers’ greedy rapaciousness.

And these employers’ interests are defended by Macron and Le Pen. Thus, Darmanin’s “Immigration” law provides for a one-year residence permit for sectors experiencing labor shortages, that is, the most difficult and poorly paid jobs. He is trying to find a balance between satisfying the needs of employers and using xenophobic rhetoric in favor of expulsions and against family reunification.

War on the Poor and the Workers

Meloni’s government in Italy is a telling example of what the far right in power has in store for the working classes. On May 1, it chose to announce the abolition of the “citizenship income,” an average of 572 euros paid to the poorest families. Those considered “employable” will now receive 350 euros on the condition that they do (unpaid!) work in their municipality or community.

These attacks on the poorest are accompanied with gifts for employers. Limited-term contracts are facilitated while any inspections to check on whether these contracts are abusive are almost abolished. In the hotel and restaurant industry, which offers extremely low wages for grueling working conditions, the state is providing an apprenticeship contract for unemployed people over 40.

One Working Class

After three months of a mobilization that has caused them a lot of headaches, Macron and his ministers are trying to light a xenophobic counter-fire. These diversionary maneuvers are meant to sow hatred and make us give up on our collective struggles. Faced with low wages, which inflation continues to reduce; faced with the extension of the retirement age, which nobody wants and which Le Pen’s party has been careful not to denounce; and faced with everything else — our mobilizations must and will continue.

Whatever our origins and nationalities, our only enemies are the bosses, and we have a world to win by coming together in our struggles.