The measures announced by Macron on 12 July constitute a genuine declaration of class war:
The counter-reform of the pension system, aiming at the destruction of the various specific systems and extending the average age of retirement by two years;
Application on 1 October of the counter-reform of unemployment insurance, depriving hundreds of thousands of unemployed of a large part of their benefits;
A ban on the exercise of their profession and loss of wages for all hospital and healthcare workers, whether or not they have been vaccinated by 15 September, regardless of their place of work;
A ban on access to most public areas, and on long-distance travel by plane and train for anyone who does not have a valid “health pass »…
These announcements have provoked anger and indignation among workers and the youth. Particularly revolting is the attack on health care workers: yesterday hailed as heroes, they are now designated as responsible for the public health situation, and threatened with being treated like dogs!
Should we be surprised?
A government that lies about masks, tests and vaccination; a government that has continued, since the beginning of the pandemic, to close beds, wards and entire hospitals, and to cut jobs
by the thousands instead of recruiting staff ; such a government bears sole responsibility for the public health situation and cannot inspire the slightest confidence in the measures it announces.
A government which, in the midst of a pandemic, encourages redundancies by the hundreds of thousands in the private sector and cuts jobs massively in the public sector; a government which represses the Paris Airports strikers who refuse pay cuts and demands that their trade unions enforce strike-free policies for three years; a government which wants to force hundreds of thousands of local government staff to work for free for several days a year – such a government can convince no one that it is concerned about the well-being of the working population.
A government which deprives millions of secondaryand highereducation students of courses in physical presence; a government which refuses to recruit the teachers necessary to double the number of classes, lecture theatres and tutorials and which, in the middle of July, has dismissed thousands of contractual teachers; a government which thus pushes hundreds of thousands of young people to abandon their studies, mainly in working class areas; such a government cannot pretend to be concerned about the fate of the youth.
All the more so as this government, during the same period, gave 560 billion euros to the capitalists who over-speculate and increase their profits while laying off people massively! Such a government cannot claim to defend any other interests than those of the capitalists.
Massively rejected – on 20 June, Macron’s party received 3 % of the votes of registered voters – he is increasingly resorting to the weapons of coercion, prohibition, violence and repression (let’s recall the banning of the 5 June demonstration called by the Independent Democratic Workers’ Party on the grounds that it was called to get rid of Macron and his policies!)
Macron claims that his objective is the massive vaccination of healthcare workers and of the population: this is a lie. His own administration estimates that 91.7 % of healthcare workers have received at least one dose of vaccine and 63.4 % have received two doses. These figures were published by the Santé publique France agency (press release n° 64) in May, specifying that they are « underestimated ».
As for the population in general… the official data from the Sécurité Sociale (i.e., the French healthcare system) show that the map of non-vaccination overlaps with that of the poorest incomes areas: twice as many people are vaccinated in the rich districts of western Paris and the wealthy towns of the Hauts-deSeine as in the Seine-Saint-Denis district!
Under these conditions, what effect can the announced measures have on the millions of workers and young people who, in any case, neither travel nor go on holiday, nor go to restaurants, theatres and cinemas? In reality, it will only push the inhabitants of working-class areas even further into the precariousness of destitute ghettos.
We, the members of the steering committee of the Independent Democratic Workers’ Party, note that 93 % of us have freely, without constraint, threat or party instructions, made the free and individual choice to be vaccinated. We demand that the same freedom be given to all.
This is why we are calling for the withdrawal of the Macron 12 July plan, and all its anti-working class , antiretiree , anti-unemployed, antiyouth and anti-democratic measures.
For the POID, this struggle is linked to the search for a political outcome in line with the needs and aspirations of the majority, namely: « Macron and his policies must go« , satisfaction of workers’ and people’s demands, confiscation of the 560 billion for healthcare, education and employment, a ban on redundancies, for a sovereign Constituent Assembly abolishing this capitalist Fifth Republic and opening the way for a government of the majority, a Republic of workers and youth.
In the aftermath of Macron’s announcements, we saw elected officials and leaders of « left » parties giving their support to Macron’s plan, side by side with elected officials and leaders of the right and the Macronist party. And we saw other leaders of the « left » respond to the call to demonstrate « for freedom », launched by politicians of the right and the extreme right, who do not hide their nostalgia for regimes that were enemies of freedom, starting with the Vichy regime .
But we also saw in some localities and districts , trade union organisations (notably hospital staff trade unions ) convene workers’ rallies, on a class basis, against the measures announced.
The situation clearly underlines the responsibility of organisations that claim to represent workers’ interests and democracy.
The POID affirms that it is the working class that is under attack. It is up to them to achieve their unity, in order to defend themselves as a class and to repel Macron’s attempt to divide them, between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, between the « privileged » pensioners and the others, between the « scandalously indemnified » unemployed and the other workers.
On this path, the responsibility of the organisations that claim to be working class and democratic is to reject any sacred union with Macron and to refuse any promiscuity with the enemies of democracy. The trade union confederations, in particular, would be assuming
their role in calling for the organisation of a united response on the strict ground of workers’ and democratic demands.
For the withdrawal of the Macron plan in all its aspects: withdrawal of the counter-reforms of pensions and unemployment insurance, withdrawal of the threat of loss of jobs and salaries against hospital staff, withdrawal of the Macron « pass » which is health-related only in name.
For emergency measures allowing access to free vaccination for all those who so wish, by organising this in particular in working-class areas, as close as possible to the population; emergency measures also, guaranteeing young people a real job, a real salary in conditions of statutory and contractual durability and the means for real studies in physical presence at high school and university. An emergency plan to save the working people which, let us repeat, implies breaking with Macron, banning redundancies, defending public services and opening the way to other policies in line with the interests of the majority.
The POID has decided to circulate these proposals at every level, national, regional and local, to all workers, activists and young people and to all organisations claiming to be defending the interests of the working class and of democracy, and declares itself open to any meeting and any discussion on these proposals.
The Steering Committee Monday, July 19th, 2021, 8 pm