France: Huge Turn Out Again on May 1st: We Won’t Give Up the Fight!

May 1, 2023, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Translated from French

This May 1, millions of workers marched again to affirm their refusal of the pension reform, and more broadly, of all the policies of French President Macron and his government, at the service of the capitalists. This mobilization is strong, because this is the first time since World War II that all the trade unions marched together on May 1.

Anger Against the Government and its Policies

Despite the inter-union days of mobilization being spaced out, the protest is continuing. Thousands of workers, trade unionists, and young people, notably at the call of the national student coordination, marched. But above all, not a single member of the government was able to leave the house without facing the anger (and the clanging pots and pans) of the population, and they sometimes found themselves in the dark (power cuts by electricity workers). Macron even tried to forbid the distribution of red cards and whistles around the stadium, Stade de France, where he was attending the final of the French Football Cup. Too bad for him, the court overturned this ban, and the President hid in the referees’ room to avoid being booed by the audience!

A Racist Policy to Divide the Workers

The government is trying to divert attention by distributing promises: here it promises bonuses to teachers, there some aid to the disabled, but everyone is quickly realizing that it is only talk.
This government is showing its true face above all in its hunt for the poor, especially in Mayotte (French overseas territory), with its “Operation Wuambushu.” Mayotte is a territory in the Mozambique channel, off the southeastern coast of Africa. Shantytowns are being razed in a racist expulsion of neighboring islands’ population that has come to Mayotte in order to escape even greater misery; a misery for which the French colonial policy is primarily responsible. Minister of the Interior Darmanin is using the violence committed by gangs due to their misery as a pretext to send his riot cops to repress the population, and even to fire live ammunition at the people. It is a crude attempt to divert the workers and designate immigrants as scapegoats, while anger is rumbling against Macron, the French president of the bosses.

After May 1, We Continue…

Although it is continuing to show off its muscles, the government is in trouble. Proof of this is that the Fitch agency, one of the main agencies at the service of the capitalists that rates governments according to their policies and the profits they expect from them, has downgraded France’s rating because of the social movements. This is a sign that we must continue, without waiting for June 8 as proposed by the inter-union organization! General assemblies and committees, including the national student group, are calling for a new demonstration on May 4. We must seize every opportunity to continue to show our anger.

Against Macron and his Capitalist World!

The press is stirring up the threat that the extreme right is waiting in ambush. It is certainly true that the National Rally Party (French far-right) is rubbing its hands together while watching the rejection of Macron and his policies. But Le Pen’s Party is just as much at the service of the bosses as Macron’s. Some bands of Nazis have even physically attacked picket lines and demonstrations. Behind the speeches that claim to be in favor of the working classes, the true nature of the far-right shows its real face time and again. And it is certainly not Le Pen who will increase wages, as she is opposed to raising the minimum wage.

For “a better world,” as many people sing during demonstrations, we must rely on our struggles. By not giving up on pensions, but also by extending the mobilization to all other issues, from wages to understaffing. To make Macron back down, we must attack his sponsors, the employers. We, the workers of this world, are the ones who make their companies run, and we have the means to make them run however we want!