Macron’s Government Reshuffle: Worker Protection Ahead

After imposing an unpopular pension reform where two-thirds of French people favored a general strike, Macron decided to reshuffle his government in anticipation of attacks on social gains at the start of the September school year.

With the reshuffle, the government plans to continue its reforms and austerity measures while knowing that its policies are very unpopular in the context of the resurgence of the class struggle in France and across Europe. The war that NATO is pursuing against Russia in Ukraine has produced the rise in inflation which is destroying the daily life of the population.

The Macron government is embroiled in a political crisis facing worker opposition to its pension reform. Macron trampled on the will of the overwhelming majority of French people, imposing his pension reform by 49-3 without even a vote in parliament, with the parallel deployment of a large police service to break strikes. Despite this, the workers’ struggle became more radical with two out of three French people wanting a general strike to bring down Macron.

The latter then faced a second movement against his government during the riots against police violence after the murder of Nahel by a policeman. President Emmanuel Macron’s regime responded to the revolt of workers and youth by mobilizing 45,000 heavily armed police to quell the protests. Shortly after the riots began, police unions declared they were at “war” against “those savage hordes”. With the vocal support of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, the police, aided by far-right elements, brutally suppressed the demonstrations.

Just before the reshuffle, the Macron government applauded its reactionary pension reform. Macron told BFMTV “We made things happen, from pensions to the labor market. We have taken major measures on employment, energy and ecological transition. We have carried out major reforms. “For Emmanuel Macron, the executive” can be proud “of what he has accomplished:” Where we were predicted the worst, the government carried out many reforms which were envisaged by some, shifted by others, unthinkable for many “.

Macron’s triumphalist posture in fact hides a power extremely weakened by the opposition of workers and by the war. The press indicates that Macron and Borne, who was kept on as prime minister, had a hard time reshuffling the government. The Huffington Post reports that it took three meetings between Macron and Borne to decide on the new ministers.

The presentation of the reshuffled government should have taken place on Thursday before being postponed to the next day. A leading ministerial adviser on Thursday evening as the government leaked, still live on BFMTV without any Elysian or government communication arriving, was annoyed: “When you start on the wrong foot, you start on the wrong foot. Everything sucks in this sequence.

Thomas Cazeneuve replaces Gabriel Attal at the Ministry of Public Accounts who becomes Minister of National Education and Youth in place of Pap Ndiaye. Aurore Berger becomes Minister of Solidarity and Aurélien Rousseau Minister of Health and Prevention. Bruno Le Maire remains Minister of the Economy and Dupond-Morreti remains Keeper of the Seals. Gérald Darmanin, a former member of the far-right Action Française group which oversaw the crackdown on protests against pension reform and police violence, remains interior and overseas minister.

Macron, who is due to speak on television on Monday, told his reshuffled government that he wanted further “decisive reforms” to be carried out “in the fall”: “Things won’t be easier next fall, because French political life won’t be easier.”

The government wants to reinforce the austerity policy to make the working class pay for the imperialist war. Macron falsely claimed that there was no money for pensions. However, with his call to build a European “war economy”, it is increasingly clear that Macron’s pension cuts are intended to finance a massive diversion of resources from workers and pensioners to the military machine for a global war that is being prepared behind the backs of the people.

The future Military Programming Law brings the total budget of the armed forces to 413 billion euros over seven years. The military budget would reach 69 billion euros in 2030, compared to 32 billion euros in 2017. In his 2024 finance bill, Macron wants to cut state spending by 4.2 billion euros, a first for about 10 years that the budget has been part of this trend. The French ruling class, like its counterparts, is responding to worsening economic and political crises by pursuing its imperialist ambitions through military means.

Despite the overwhelming opposition of French people to Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, the union bureaucracies and their pseudo-left allies, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise (LFI), Olivier Besancenot’s New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), or Nathalie Arthaud’s Lutte Ouvrière (LO), have stifled social opposition to Macron. While two-thirds of French people say they want to block the economy and harden the fight, the union apparatuses have insisted that workers must be ready to stop it.

While Macron wants to step up his attacks on the working class while increasing the military budget for the war, all the cynical measures proposed by these organizations have failed. Recent events have fully confirmed the analysis of the Socialist Equality Party (PES) and its call to bring down the Macron regime.

From the start of the fight against pension reform, he insisted that this fight pitted workers against the entire capitalist state, in which workers would be forced to organize independently of the union apparatuses to bring down Macron.

The PES said, “A mass movement is developing, but it is immediately at an impasse. All the half-measures proposed to stop Macron have failed. The Assembly failed to censure Macron for forcing it to pass his reform without a vote. Macron’s slump in the polls and growing panic in ruling circles over social anger did not persuade Macron to retreat, nor did the one-day strikes of the union bureaucracies.”

“The direction of the class struggle points inescapably to this: Macron must go and the French presidency, with its vast undemocratic powers, must be abolished. In fighting to bring down Macron, the working class must fight to develop grassroots action committees, to prepare what will replace his regime.”

To impose the next attacks against the working class, the government is counting on the trade union organizations which were received ahead of the reshuffle in order to impose austerity measures on the workers. For François Hommeril, president of the CFE-CGC, Elisabeth Borne has proven that she does indeed want to re-establish the link, “in the sense that her intervention today is fairly consistent for the part of the negotiations that we want to start with employers and for which we want the government to commit to a framework”. François Hommeril believes that the Prime Minister “has met our expectations on this subject”.

Binet boasts of having won 40,000 members during the pension reform, but the CGT went to the negotiating table with the intersyndicale to line up behind the government weakened by the demonstrations against the pension reform and seeking to end the demonstrations. Binet’s remarks are above all an admission of worker opposition to Macron’s policy, which will continue and become more radical and by which the CGT fears being overwhelmed.

Mobilizing the working class against the ruling elite’s senseless war policy, like mobilizing the working class against austerity, can only be achieved through building a grassroots, mass movement independent of the union bureaucracies and their pseudo-left allies. These forces, which provide no perspective for the struggle against Macron’s austerity measures, are more aligned with the French imperialist wars.

This article is originally published on wsws.org

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