GRANDSTAND. “Between work and benefits, there is the Social Republic”

7:15 a.m., September 21, 2022, modified at 12:28 p.m., September 21, 2022

Here is his platform: “Just before the Fête de l’Humanité, the left had imposed two subjects in the public debate: the scandalous superprofits of the big private monopolies and the business thefts of the ultra-rich. Reversal of the situation, with the decision of the general secretary of the PCF, Fabien Roussel, to incriminate the payment of social minima by “the left of the allowances” defender of a “right to laziness”, and to oppose it to the occupation of a job by “the left that defends work”. Far from confining himself to this opposition, he took the most reactionary line by pointing to a “system which feeds unemployment through unemployment benefits”. Does full employment therefore depend, logically, on the abolition of unemployment benefits?

Either Fabien Roussel did not anticipate how the public debate would evolve, and that is a serious mistake. Either he anticipated it, and it is an unworthy political statement. In both cases, here is the extreme right in the saddle from rubbish. The role of each political leader is henceforth to fight the poison which he has diffused, exciting absolutely all the agencies hostile to the Social Republic.

Because since the French Revolution, our country has broken with the idea of ​​an ineluctable divine order which would punish the poor, idlers who are therefore responsible for their fate. Poverty depends on the policies that are carried out in terms of work, employment, housing… Therefore, the fate of the poorest is a political choice. Therefore, poverty is not a curse to be endured: it is an organized crime to be abolished. It is not a deserved individual sentence: it is the collective condemnation of an entire family, including children, to deprivation. This fundamental rupture led the Revolutionaries to create as early as 1793 a National Provident Fund, in order to administer the first payments to pregnant women, families, the elderly, care for the poor or protect abandoned children. And this, because there is no democracy possible when part of the population is kept away from public discussion, for lack of time, rest and peace of mind to devote themselves to it.

The offending remarks are all the more frightening in that they turn their backs on the tricolor flag and the red flag.

The offending remarks are all the more frightening as they turn their backs on the tricolor flag and the red flag. They abandon the fundamental principles of the French Communist Party, creator of our Social Security… with the idea of ​​abolishing any opposition between wages and allowances! Family allowances, for example, are not “national solidarity” but a salary supplement. When he obtained a unanimous vote from the National Assembly in 1946 in favor of their creation, the Communist Minister Ambroise Croizat saw in them “a means of transforming a salary measured solely on the importance of the tasks provided into a social salary taking into account the everyone’s needs”.

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If the opposition between work and allowances does not make sense, it is because the same person regularly moves from one to the other. Indeed, a significant part of the “allocs” in France… results from work! They are called “contributory”, in the sense that they are open to individuals who have previously contributed, and therefore who have held a job. Retirement, survivor’s, disability, unemployment compensation, daily allowances for maternity, illness or farmers: all are only available as a worker. It is therefore absurd to oppose allowances and employment, since it takes, for example, 6 months of contributions to be eligible for unemployment benefit. Work therefore leads to allowances, in that it opens up social rights. Moreover, today, 13 million households (almost half) receive housing allowances, family allowances, social minima or the activity bonus!

The opposite is just as true: employment is often at the end of the allowance, hence the importance of defending them fiercely, in the name of work. This is shown by all the studies on the resumption of activity and the course of recipients. A sufficient allowance allows you to go to job interviews, pay for transport, cover the telephone bill… and therefore look for a job in good conditions. Reductions in allowance thwart access to offers, because they force you to concentrate on daily survival to the detriment of the pursuit of your personal project.

In reality, who pays what in our country? It is the poor and the middle classes who subsidize the oligarchy

In reality, who pays what in our country? It is the poor and the middle classes who subsidize the oligarchy. We often forget that the lowest 10% pay the maximum contribution: they pay two-thirds of their primary income in social contributions (22%), taxes (6%) and taxes (39%). Conversely, the richest 10% pool only half of their personal earnings. No one tries harder than the poor; no one does less than the rich.

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Finally, the opposition between allowance and work comes up against one last essential limit: accessing allowances can constitute real work, which takes several hours a week! It is for this reason that the non-recourse to rights, that is to say the renunciation of an allowance when one is eligible for it, is so strong in our country. To claim that an RSA recipient represents the “laziness camp” is morally unworthy and practically absurd – that Fabien Roussel is trying to fill out an RSA form to find out!

Far from only concerning the beneficiaries, social allowances protect the whole country. Every economic crisis reminds us bitterly of this. When wages fall or unemployment rises, it is the benefits that keep the shops open. The florist, the baker, need recipients in order to keep a clientele and, therefore, their shop open! Contrary to that of the rich, the money received by social recipients immediately goes back to the most dynamic sectors of the economy. Since recipients do not have the means to put a lot of money aside, everything that is distributed to them fuels demand from companies.

The allowance of the few is the shield of the many, which forces management into concessions

But the allowances also protect the country’s employees. Why ? Because as soon as we provide a safety net to a person, this one can survive without exercising a multiplicity of small precarious jobs. She can refuse to work for free, to drive for half a day in order to do a little job or to chain 15 hours a day. And what is good for her is good for everyone, since current employees are not at risk of being replaced by destitute people, ready to do the same thing in exchange for twice as low a salary. The allowance of the few is the shield of the many, which forces the employers to make concessions. Faced with better compensated unemployed workers, who therefore have strong bargaining power and are able to compare jobs to each other for a few weeks, employers are forced to raise the stakes!

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This is our history, this is the ever-renewed task of our times. Achieving it requires both well-paid jobs and the guarantee that no one lives below the poverty line. The two go hand in hand.

Politics consists in choosing the conflicts that one maintains. It involves distinguishing one’s allies from one’s adversaries. Fabien Roussel puts his audience and his speaking time at the service of a confrontation against “the left”, “laziness” and “benefits” of the same movement. In doing so, and as a result, he does not confront the right, the crisis profiteers and the shareholders. Worse, he takes their words and gives them grain to grind. Everyone has their own priorities. »