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

May 15, 2017

It’s done: Emmanuel Macron is officially president. And Edouard Philippe, conservative member of parliament and mayor of Le Havre, is his prime minister.

A “wind of change” blowing with old stuff

Edouard Philippe was in a previous conservative government, and other cabinet members include well-known liberal and conservative politicians such as Francois Bayrou, Gerard Colomb (Socialist Party mayor of Lyon), or Jean-Paul Delevoye who had been a minister under Chirac. So the “renewal” government has an old taste.

Macron also puts forward members of the “civil society”, newcomers to politics that will represent his movement, En Marche (Forward), at the general election. They have a specific profile. Many are company owners (already 58 among Forward candidates). The others are company managers, lawyers, or doctors. Not a lot of rank and file employees.

Macron’s programme fits perfectly with the people who support him. He doesn’t hide it, clearly saying he wants to “liberate work (i.e. attack the workers) and support businesses”. This summer, he will have a go at the Labour Code using ordinances, an even faster way than Valls’ decree for passing the Work Law. Macron also plans to cut jobs in the public sector. He wants to attack retirement benefits and force the unemployed to take any kind of job, or lose their unemployment benefits.

Macron wants to “unite the left and the right”.  In a way he’s done it, his policy is a synthesis of all the anti-social policy led by governments from Juppé’s pension reform in 1995 to Valls’ Work Law in 2016.

Their “civil society” and ours

There is no question that Macron is an avowed, uninhibited enemy of the working class. His “civil society” encompasses the bourgeoisie and those they choose to manage this capitalist world; nothing in common with the workers, the unemployed who suffer from lack of job security and low wages.

On the second round of the election, we had a choice between Macron and Marine Le Pen, a far right politician just as ready to serve the bosses as any politician. No surprise that many people preferred to abstain or cast a blank ballot, rather than choosing between two enemies of the working class.

But it’s high time that our “civil society”, the one at the bottom, make itself heard, for real. High time for us to go forward and defend our interests. There is only one way for this, through fights, in the streets and in the workplaces. This is the only way we can have an influence. Mobilised in high numbers, we could be a strong enough to be feared by the bosses and all the politicians. Alain Juppé had to withdraw his pension reform in front of mass mobilisation in December 1995. Let’s do the same to his pupil Edouard Philippe.

There have been many social plans and company closures announcements in the last few days. Tati is under legal liquidation, Whirlpool threatens to close a plant in Amiens, 1,900 job cuts announced at Engie (ex GDF-Suez), and there’s no end in sight: the bosses feel supported, they are on the offensive. GM&S workers in the center of the country have been fighting for weeks against the threatened closure of their plant. A rally to support them is planned on May 16.

We must seize all the opportunities to show that workers won’t stay passive against attacks from the bosses and their new president. The response against the bosses’ and the government’s attacks must be organised right now!