France: Our outrage!

March 27, 2020

this post is translated from French from:

I am angry and I am outraged” is the cry from the heart of a psychologist from Mulhouse hospital, in a text published on March 24 by ​Libération​, in the face of saturated hospitals and the helplessness of staff in the health crisis which is largely the result of a lack of resources after years of dismantling the public hospital, bed closures and budget cuts. A rage against the politicians responsible for a situation that has led to the wall and who today parade through the media to blame the inhabitants or foreigners and are particularly worried about the risk of recession.

Caregivers are right to be outraged​, when Macron shows up in Mulhouse, where the epidemic is at its peak and the hospital is at the bottom of the abyss, to speak empty words in front of the cameras. The rage to be granted 2 billion euros to respond to the health emergency when 345 billion are given to the bosses and banks. They may be furious about this so-called “massive investment and career upgrading plan”, for which they will still have to wait… and believe in fine promises.

Caregivers are right to be outraged​, when the director of Paris hospitals, Martin Hirsch, comes to shed a tear on the radio after having imposed years of austerity. When he calls for general mobilization, when they are already counting down the hours to do whatever they can to remedy the understaffing. And that for all paymen, they are offered “thanks”.

Caregivers are right to be outraged​, when they have to choose between which patients they can look after, and those they can’t, because the critical threshold is reached in an increasing number of hospitals. When lives are lost due to lack of respirators, when the government does not lack drones to monitor the population and when tear gas and grenades never lacked to repress demonstrations – starting with those of hospital workers a few months ago.

Caregivers are right to be outraged​, when they warn of shortages of tests, masks, gloves, gowns and that the government’s priority is to revive construction sites and car factories.

And factory workers too are right to be outraged, when their bosses ask them to return to work, while the epidemic is killing more people every day. When the urgency is to turn the profit machine back on.

Construction workers too are right to be outraged, when their bosses admit that they are unable to put in place minimum protection measures and the government is calling for the reopening of construction sites.

Post-office employees too are right to be outraged​, when the post office sends them to deliver mail and parcels, often without masks or gloves, when hydroalcoholic gel is delivered in drips, but management finds a way to send 300,000 masks for the cops. The rage to see a management that tries to hide the number of workers infected by the virus, which is soaring: 900 cases have been recorded to date by the unions.

All workers can be outraged, when the government of the rich takes advantage of the confinement to cut leaves and prepare to end the 35 hours week. Some sectors will be able to work up to 60 hours, while unemployment, whether miserably paid or not at all, is likely to explode rapidly, as in the United States, which already has three million more unemployed people.

And the inhabitants of working-class neighborhoods can also be outraged, when the police multiply the violence, taking it out on the young people who go out to escape their cramped apartments. There are no fines or police custody, however, for bosses who endanger their employees by confining them to work. And now the army is going to be deployed for targeted operations in certain neighborhoods, as a substitute for the police.

All this rage, all this anger, it will have to be expressed. It’s already shown itself in the withdrawal rights that have multiplied in the last week. It is asserting itself through the shouts of the care workers, who are well justified, such as those at the Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris. Macron and the bourgeoisie cannot be allowed to feel free to impose everything on us. The workers, pushed to the limit, could well decide to take everything in hand again.