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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL press release: Deconfinement: between the hammer of disease and the anvil of unemployment (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 6 May 2020 07:11:31 +0300

In front of the National Assembly, Edouard Philippe, this April 28, confirmed the main announcements of Emmanuel Macron but by bringing many nuances, proof that the multiple reactions reached the ears of the government. Édouard Philippe justified the deconfinement, recklessly announced on April 13, by the risk of economic collapse. If this risk is real, the solution is not a hasty deconfinement but a reorganization of society. ---- This confinement is suffering for many, especially since it is poorly organized (arbitrary rules not always linked to health imperatives, police violence in working-class neighborhoods ...). It must also be remembered that if we must remain confined it is because the hospital and public research have been destroyed in recent decades, because the leaders are calamitously managing this crisis.

The dangers of brutal deconfinement
However, brutally deconfining the population would not be a solution. This would risk setting off the pandemic for a second deadly wave . So, if it is obvious that we want to go out, to see our family and our friends, to resume our usual activities, we will still have to stay cautious, voluntarily, for our lives. It is not brutal deconfinement that we need, but on the contrary protective equipment for workers in essential sectors who work to stop the pandemic and make society spin. How can we imagine opening factories, as is already the case, with masks for everyone, when hospitals and supermarkets lack these basic protections?

May 11, a patronal date
Because it is obvious that May 11 is an employer date and not health. The proof, the reopening of many activities on May 11, and a little before or a little after, is planned to go to work, not for our leisure ! Moreover, the Scientific Council recommended opening schools only next September. Isn't it ironic, then, to propose a reopening of schools from May 11 when sitting in a theater or cinema for two hours seems too dangerous ? The educational explanation seems a bit short and the real reason is elsewhere: for employers, economic activity must resume, it's enough to lose profits! There is only one solution for this: deconfining, at the risk of causing tens of thousands of additional deaths. But what are our lives worth, doing to the possibilities of accumulating ever more capital ?

Reorganize society
Rather than taking reckless risks, when there are already more than 20,000 dead in France, it is obvious that we must maintain the lowest possible activity, keeping only the essential sectors open. This is what caregivers say, this is what researchers say, this is what wrestling unions say. The economic crisis is lurking, of course. But the solution is not to quickly send the workers back to work to maintain the bosses' profits. The solution is to reorganize society in depth, by putting companies under the control of workers and redirecting economic activities towards meeting the essential needs of the population.

Between the devil and the deep sea
But the ruling capitalists sing a very different song to us. They tell us that a threat greater than the coronavirus and its hundreds of thousands of deaths hovers over us. This threat is that of the economic crisis ! The owners of small boxes explain to their employees that the box will sink and that they will lose their job if the activity does not resume. And liberal economists, editorialists and politicians follow one another on television to explain that a longer economic slowdown would be fatal.

The workers are therefore caught between the hammer and the anvil: it is either the health crisis or the economic crisis. Either health or unemployment. These false choices are unbearable, especially since these two crises are already there ! But contrary to what one would have us believe, there is an alternative: it is to do away with the capitalist system and to reorganize the economy to meet basic needs while preserving the health of all and all, without trying to maintain the profits of a few.

Libertarian Communist Union, April 28, 2020

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