August 16, 2021, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the NPA, Translated from French

After a fifth Saturday of street demonstrations, we enter the second week of the “health pass.” This time we were told there will be no tolerance for resistance! Resisters will be fined. Threats of the gendarme in puppet theatre! This is all Macron knows how to do, at a time when the pandemic is skyrocketing, not only dramatically in the French Caribbean Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, but in many of the country’s provinces. Viruses and their variants do not know borders. Public health concerns, in order to be reasonably and effectively addressed and dealt with, should be done so on a global scale and “freed” from the law of capitalist profit.

The Delta variant from India is blazing around the world…

Now the Beta variant strikes. Macron and his minister promise to reach 90% vaccination by autumn within French national borders. Even if such a project were feasible, the epidemic would continue elsewhere. The pandemic would inevitably return to us in the form of new variants, that are already simmering in poor countries where vaccination is non-existent.

This is because, despite Macron’s declarations that vaccines should be a “global good of humanity, and not the property of these or those,” there is still no move to remove the big pharmaceutical patents. This has created a “vaccine divide”: 3% of people in poor countries are vaccinated, and in rich countries like France where the vaccination rate is much higher in the upper middle-class neighborhoods and cities than in the working-class neighborhoods. This is because the freedom to take care of oneself, equal access to care, does not exist on the capitalist planet. Health care is a commodity that is not within reach of everyone! U.S. President Biden, German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron protect the profits of the mega-pharmaceutical companies, which remain more important than our lives. The appearance of new variants is even used by the laboratories to justify an increase in the price of vaccine doses! BioNTech has just renegotiated with the European Union a price increase on the Pfizer vaccines from 15.50 to 19.50 euros.

Rejecting health scapegoats

Moreover, even in rich countries such as Israel and Iceland, where vaccination rates are among the highest in the world, partial lockdowns had to be organized in the middle of the “epidemic recovery.” We are dealing with a pandemic, which means the spread of a disease on a global scale. The eradication of the virus and its multiple variants can only be carried out on this scale. This is where the lies of the leaders of the rich countries, who defend the law of maximum profit of the multinationals of these imperialist metropolises, are criminal.

Macron uses those who refuse to be vaccinated as scapegoats to clear his name within the French borders. He accuses caregivers and other frontline workers of being “anti-vaxers,” the very people he hypocritically thanked at the end of the first lockdown. Yet they are not the ones responsible for the decay of the public hospitals, or the death of thousands of people due to lack of personal protective care or equipment!

Facing Macron’s trick of the health pass

In recent months, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs to ensure that shareholders receive their insane dividends. The “health pass” law allows for new grounds for layoffs and salary “suspension.” It is a new weapon for the bosses on workers who might have made the error of projecting their hate of Macron onto vaccines. During this pandemic, the bosses took advantage of everything they could to maintain their profits – part-time work, remote work, odd jobs and overexploitation, all with billions in state aid. All the while, the attacks on pensions and unemployment benefits are back on the table. The CAC40 (French stock market) is at an all-time high.

And us, workers? We will have to organize ourselves to put an end to this hold-up.