France: Macron in Trouble Plays the Race Card, and the Billy Club!

May 8, 2023 editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), translated from French.

The government is still trying to end the fight against the pension reform… It can even thank the trade union leaders, who agreed to meet with Macron on May 17, and who set the next national strike day for as late as June 6, despite the huge success of the May 1 demonstrations. But the anger and protests are far from over!

The Attacks Can Not Stop Us!

Except for attending the coronation of another useless person, the new King of England, President Macron can’t even announce his trips in advance anymore, for fear that his visits will be held in the dark to the sound of clanging pots and pans! When on May 4 he went to Saintes (in the Charente-Maritime province) to announce his new attacks on vocational education, his team brought their own generator. At the same time, the demonstrators, including those from the school he was visiting, were kept at a distance! All his ministers and deputies are having the same experience. And the “concerts of pots and pans” do not mean the end of the strikes and demonstrations. The struggle is continuing in different forms, inter-professional general assemblies keep up the strike, and demonstrations continue, such as on Thursday, May 11, when the youth organizations called a protest.

Faced with a movement that won’t give up, the government is intensifying the repression: 540 people were arrested throughout France on May 1, and violently! Even Claire Hédon, France’s official “Defender of Rights,” though appointed by Macron, has herself denounced the “absolutely shocking images” of police violence. The General Controller of Places of Deprivation of Liberty, Dominique Simonnot, denounced in a report these “preventative arrests” whose only purpose is to intimidate and prevent people from demonstrating. And as if this were not enough, Minister of the Interior Darmanin has announced his desire to further expand the repressive arsenal, with the umpteenth “anti-thug” law, targeting demonstrators. Drones, files, preventive arrests, DNA markers, it looks like a bad TV show on the internet.

But the real violence is not what we see at times being expressed in demonstrations: it is the violence of exploitation at work, of poverty, of miserable wages, of precariousness, of suicides, of workplace accidents. It is above all the violence of the state that defends the wealth of a minority of exploiters, and crushes those who dare to say no.

Darmanin in the Land of the Far Right

More isolated than ever, Macron and his clique are trying to gather around them the most reactionary forces. Darmanin, who once called Marine Le Pen “soft,” now declares that the Italian neo-fascist leader Giorgia Meloni is “incapable of solving migration problems!” He has launched a real hunt for immigrants in Mayotte (French overseas territory), and is still working on his project for a new immigration law, in order to better exploit immigrant workers, by making their right to stay in France dependent on the goodwill of the bosses. Divide-and-conquer is his method, by designating some as responsible for the difficulties of others, so as to reinforce precariousness and exploitation, to maintain a system of colonial domination over the least developed countries… Darmanin is killing many birds with a repulsive stone.

Our Struggles Have No Homeland, No Borders!

But our hatred for Macron won’t put food on the table. Let’s not fool ourselves: their political program is to get the poor to fight each other. Let’s not fall into this death trap: a worker who struggles to make ends meet has no common interest with a billionaire, on the pretext that they are both French. Two workers suffer exploitation by their bosses in the same way, even if they do not have the same nationality or origin.

What defines our interests is not our origins, nor our status in whatever territory, but rather our place in society. This increased repression, this hatred, does not hide their fear, because they have seen that there are millions of us fighting. We too have learned a lot: together we are a force, far from the Parliament and the comfortable negotiation rooms, in the streets.