FRANCE Statement by the POID (Independent and Democratic Workers’ Party) National Bureau, Saturday 15 April
Out with Macron, his pension reform and his war economy”!
On 14 April, the “Constitutional Council”1 approved Macron’s counterreform of retirement pensions. In the wake of this approval, Macron hastened its enactment, despite the vast majority of the country’s rejection of this counter-reform. This is how « democracy » works under the Fifth Republic, a monarchy without a crown, where all powers are concentrated in the hands of the president. This Fifth Republic, under Macron, is drifting more and more towards becoming a repressive and autocratic regime, ready to do whatever it takes to impose whatever the capitalists demand. Sooner or later, real democracy will have to be established. It will be established by the people themselves, who will kick the Fifth Republic out and appoint their representatives to a Constituent Assembly, to decide what a genuinely democratic and social republic should be.
The counter-reform has been enacted. This does not mean that the millions of workers and young people who have been on strike and demonstrating for three months have disappeared, vanished.
It does not make the vast majority’s aspiration to be able to live off their labour with dignity, to be able to look after themselves and to educate the younger generations, disappear.
It is true that the leaders of the all trade union alliance have ignored the voice rising from below throughout the country saying : « Leaders, call a general strike!” But, let us say it again : their not hearing has not made the movement disappear.
A new phase of class struggle is beginning, nourished by the lessons of this first period. In many companies, the workers have set up strike committees; they have constituted committees of delegates. All the demands remain. To start with: the repeal of the pension reform. But also: a demand for the increase of wages and the freezing of prices (especially the prices of basic necessities). A demand for the banning of lay-offs and redundancies, for cancelling the closure of hospital wards and the closure of classes in schools.
A new stage is beginning. The workers and young people have gained confidence in their strength. In all the demonstrations, we hear the shouts: « Macron resign! », « Down with the 49-3! »2.
The POID, whose members actively take part in all the workers’ struggles, is fighting for a government without Macron, without war, without bosses; a government that breaks with the Fifth Republic.
This break is urgent. It is urgent because Macron insists and persists and continues. In the next few weeks, he intends to pass the “law of military programming” (LPM), which includes a 40% increase of military spending over the previous law: 413 billion euros for war. He intends to make the people pay for this plundering of the nation’s resources.
Thus, the government has just confirmed to the European Union that it will reduce all public spendings – except for the army, to which money is flowing:
– by cutting all other public spendings by 5%
– by cutting the wages of civil servants
– by further attacking the right to housing;
– by cutting the number of civil servants in the municipal and regional administrations.
The government’s plan, unveiled by the French daily Les Échos, is what Macron himself calls « war economy ».
This “war economy” is the price of his ever-growing involvement in the war in Ukraine and in the one being prepared in Asia.
Macron’s « war economy » is part of the march towards a real militarisation of society, starting with the youth. The government is preparing the introduction of “Universal National Service” (SNU), which will be compulsory military training for all middle school or high school students. Meanwhile, direct intervention by the army is increasing in schools, for the recruitment of young people.
For the POID, the duty of organisations that claim to be democratic and of the working class is to join forces to block this march towards the militarisation of the country.
The POID is submitting to all a platform of unity against Macron’s « war economy »:
– Repeal of the pension reform!
– Confiscation of the 413 billion euros of the “law of military programming” and the allocating of those funds to the needs of the working people and youth (schools, hospitals, wages, pensions)!
– No to compulsory SNU!
– Army and the police out of the schools! Young people need education, not enlistment in the army!
– No to the law of military programming!
Adopted unanimously by the POID National Bureau
1 The “Constitutional Council” is made up of 9 members appointed by the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate and the President of the National Assembly (i.e., the parliament) respectively, with one third each. Councillors take an oath before the President of the Republic (ex officio members are exempt from this oath).
2 Article 49 paragraph 3, known as « provoked censure », allows the government, during the debates on a text that it presents, to engage its responsibility on this text and therefore propose its enactment without a vote.
European Meeting Against War and Exploitation
Sunday, June 4, 2 p.m.
Espace Charenton, 327, rue de Charenton, Paris