The following article was first published as the editorial of workplace bulletins distributed by members of L’Etincelle (The Spark) faction in France.

March 6, 2017

In the last few episodes of the Fillon saga, the conservative candidate acted as the victim of a heartless justice system, harassing him for petty reasons (only a few hundred thousand euros). This is perhaps a stretch from someone who proposes to reduce the age of criminal responsibility to 16. For Fillon and his class, the way things should work is for the justice system and the police not to look into their business, but instead hit the poor hard… And that’s what they do, without restraint, against the young people in working class neighbourhoods.

This is what happened again in the last few days, when high school students demonstrated in many cities against police brutality, after Theo’s rape. The government answered by sending the police, which used its flash-balls and aggressively booked tens of young people.

The main candidates for the presidential election, left and right, saw nothing wrong. They all position themselves on the same side, despite the strong competition.

Nothing new with Fillon and Macron

Fillon campaigns on cutting 500,000 public sector jobs. People will have to pay more for healthcare or their kids education.

Macron follows in his footsteps, but only promises to cut 120,000 public sector jobs. Add to that a new pension reform.

According to Pierre Gattaz (the head of the bosses’ union), this program “goes the right way”, the way of big business.

On the left, nothing we don’t already know!

Hamon, a new look candidate for the SP? A party that passed many anti-worker laws during its five years in government. What about his universal income? A meager €750 to survive while the bosses keep firing who they want whenever they want. That doesn’t exactly guarantee a better future for us.

From Mélenchon, another candidate with government experience, we just get a few promises. To increase minimum wage a bit… When? How? He doesn’t say, nor does he explain how he will impose it. These promises are likely to be dropped without a mass mobilisation of workers.

National Front: racism as a programme

Marine Le Pen also aims to defend the same interests as the right and the left: the bourgeoisie’s interests. She tries to divide workers by attempting to make us believe that the immigrants are responsible for the problems that hit the working class. That’s a lie! The problems of the working class come from layoffs, insecurity… What will she impose on big business? Nothing.

Philippe Poutou: a worker candidate

The only ones calling the workers to take matters in their own hands, and impose emergency measures through their mobilisation, are the revolutionary communists candidates Nathalie Arthaud (LO) and Philippe Poutou (NPA).

The latter knows better what we need than all the politicians who make sweet (or not so sweet) promises. Philippe Poutou, a Ford worker in Blanquefort, is faced with the same corporate attacks as all of us. Still mobilised with his co-workers against the closure of his factory, he fights for his livelihood like many other workers.

He is still in the process of collecting 500 signatures from elected officials endorsing his candidacy. It would truly be a shame if Philippe Poutou, the only mobilised worker among the candidates, were not able to run.

Ban layoffs

Share the work between all without wage loss

Raise minimum wage to €1,700 after tax, and increase all wages by at least €300.

These are the policies supported by Philippe Poutou. If this clashes with other guests on television programs, that’s fine: it’s our voice, the one that defends our interests.