FRANCE Wage war on the epidemic, give oneself the means to do so Statement by the Independent and Democratic Workers Party (POID)

On 12 March, French President Macron solemnly called for sacred union against coronavirus. One week later, pandemonium has spread at lightning speed. This government, and the governments that came before it, are very largely responsible – and guilty – for this expansion.

The terrible lack of masks, testing kits , beds, intensive care units and medical staff  accuses the successive ministers and presidents of the French 5th Republic. 

They had a billion masks and they got rid of them. They had the means to produce tests kits and they didn’t. They had hospitals and beds, and they closed them. They had medical  staff  and they refused to hear their demands – all of that in order to meet  the demands of capitalist profit.

Macron claims to be at war against the epidemic. But who is he waging war against? While he threatens sanctions for whoever won’t not obey the lockdown, he has multiplied joint calls with MEDEF (the French bosses’ union) to demand that “production” keeps going and, in order to do so, that the employees work without protection.

Who is the government waging war against, when its emergency law  (which has just been passed by  Parliament) calls workers’ rights and social gains into question, beginning with those workers on the front line: the medical staff .  This law is aimed at silencing the workers who, throughout the country, are refusing to allow their lives – and the lives of their families – to be gambled with. They are fighting to obtain protective equipment, or for their right to withdraw from the workplace in case of danger, and even to stop protection. How are we to interpret the fact that, in both the Senate and the the National Assembly the leaders of parties of the “left” have congratulated the government for its emergency sanitary law?

No. No agreement is possible with this Macron-MEDEF government, for whom – epidemic or not – all that counts are the interests of the capitalists and the bankers!

A government determined to wage war on coronavirus would put the totality of means of production under State control, in order to mobilise the production of all that is indispensible for protecting the population (masks, screening test, hospital beds, etc.). Thusly equipped, it would decree systematic testing and free distribution of masks for everyone.

Such a government would, in order to do so, call on the availability and skills of workers organised with their trade unions, such as the workers of Luxfer (manufacturer of oxygen tanks in the Puy-de Dôme) whose workers are proposing to restart production immediately, while the shareholder wants to wind up and close down. 

A government at war against coronavirus would requisition all available premises, some to be turned into emergency hospitals and intensive care units, and others to house the homeless, who are particularly in danger due to the impossibility of being secluded.

A government at war to protect the population would guarantee full  wages, income and allowances , would decree a moratorium on rents and charges, and would organise food supply and basic necessities, free for all people in difficulty.

In order to do this, such a government should break with the demands of capitalists and the multinationals. Such a government could only be a government of the majority – and not a government in the service of the minority of exploiters and profiteers.

In order to respond to the urgency of safeguarding the population, it will be necessary – sooner or later – to get rid of Macron, his government of imposters and the anti-democratic 5th Republic of France.

The movement has already been engaged, the movement that has seen the workers, in the full-blown coronavirus crisis, begin to take things in hand for their own defence: on construction sites, in factories, in offices and in hospitals. This is, at one and the same time, the defence of the population, making – in words and deeds, the song of workers worldwide, The Internationale, their own: “Producers, let us save ourselves/Decree the common salvation”.

The POID (Independent Democratic Workers Party) fights for a workers’ government, for a government of the majority in the service of the majority. It builds itself with the help of the concrete struggle  of the resistance of workers for their survival.

At this difficult time, it continues to ensure the weekly publication of La Tribune des Travailleurs, which gathers all the converging testimony, reports and commentary by workers and activists of all tendencies. This is in the service of one sole cause: forging the bloc of workers and their organisations, class against class, against the MEDEF and the Macron government in its service.

Workers; young people: the time of the greatest of fights is approaching. Join the POID. Subscribe to La Tribune des Travailleurs.

Montreuil, the 21 March 2020

The POID National Secretaries