On September 2, 2021, Emmanuel Macron, still unofficial candidate for his re-election, delivers a speech in Marseille on the coming ultraliberalism. Between the seduction of the far-right, the threat of repression and infantilization, it is by carrying the most hackneyed clichés to Marseille, by fostering the fears of the bourgeoisie and by brandishing false promises that Macron announces his plan: the Phocaean city no. t is a field of experimentation, destined to be deployed throughout the territory.
La Plaine, surrounding Place Jean-Jaurès, is one of those central districts where the gentrification of Marseille is trying to gain a foothold. A distracted glance could conclude that the class struggle does not exist, or that it is over. However, it suffices for the eye to shift a little from the few minimalist shops for hipsters and bobos to observe: the eternal cosmopolitanism of Marseille, its poverty too, the dilapidation of buildings, resourcefulness and courage, sometimes inertia, but also the awareness that it is a question of resisting what falls from Paris. If we look a little further: the shipyards, the docks and the refineries of Fos, a fierce unionism in the face of an often dynastic, always busy, violent employers. On the outskirts: factories, factories … Behind the imbecile cliché of the laziness of the South, Marseille is industrious. And fighter. And united.
Macron is not mistaken. The class struggle, he knows it to be real, and he has the firm intention of making his own win. The speech delivered in Marseille on September 2 radicalized the ultraliberal, ultra-brutal methods of this government. Because if its ” Marseille en grand ” provides 1.5 billion euros for transport, security or culture, we will see that its implementation is largely subject to privatization, financial and political control by the State, and intensification of the repressive apparatus.
Transport: open up the northern districts, where – according to Macron – only drugs, lawlessness and the parasitic life of unemployment benefit recipients reign, those who buy flat screens at the start of the school year. For the president, “ the emergency is security, social and health ”. Security: Macron wants “to see blue everywhere ” and will release 150 million for 300 more cops, 500 cameras deployed in the northern districts ; 8.5 million more is allocated to modernization of equipment – more weapons, of course.
We must not tell each other stories ; drug trafficking is a reality in Marseille which has left 15 more dead this year. But the causes of crime are to be found in the abject poverty of certain districts, among the poorest in Europe, in the relegation of populations and the absence of … everything: schools, shops, culture. During the health crisis, entire neighborhoods came close to famine and as we told in Alternative Libertaire in February 2021 , it was the solidarity of the northern neighborhoods that made it possible to face the food emergency in the entire region. ! And the solutions are obviously not found in an increased reinforcement of repression, but in a social opening up, a concrete taking into account, finally, of the people who live here.
” Emergency “
Health: 169 million allocated. The sum is not ridiculous. But how will it be able to reduce the “ health divide ” between central districts and northern districts ? The health crisis alone shows the enormity of the distress in Marseille. Barely 60% of the Marseille population is first vaccinated. This figure falls to one in three people in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Screening is almost nil, the elderly impossible to reach, and as always it is the associations that compensate for the indifference of the public authorities.
Meanwhile, in the podium, Macron is still speaking. In terms of culture, he “ wants ” “ big studios in the Mediterranean ” to shoot “ big films, big series ”. Because ” the city must carry the Mediterranean dream “. The film Bac nord undoubtedly sums up his idea of culture ” pillar of the economic life of tomorrow “,but the fact remains that the training of the young generations will be subject to a managerial and managerial vision of the school. Insalubrity of many schools, insufficiency of teachers and school coverage of the territory… Macron answers: it is up to a new model of “ school of the future ” to serve as a national “ laboratory ” . The directors will choose their professors as long as they ” adhere to the project “, all under the control of the State. Because Macron reminds us: like municipal agents, teachers spend their time on strike.
On the other hand, the eternal business logic does not say how much aid will be given to schools or how much is affected. Funny notion of ” urgency “. What is certain, however, is that good management presupposes acute control. A local public development company of national interest (Splain) for schools, chaired by the Mayor, but steered by the State: conditional grants, therefore, and “ repayable ” to the State. Not enough to allow Marseille to get its head out of the water. Forty schools have already decided to boycott the Macron experiment. Ditto for transport, subordinated to a public interest group which it is likely that the operation will be offered to private actors.
Managerial thought and class contempt
It will be understood, Marseille is perceived as a problem, its inhabitants as thugs or lazy, that it is not a question of getting out of the mess once and for all, but on the contrary of keeping under material dependence and under police surveillance. Make no mistake: what is true for Marseille is true for the whole country. The Marseille laboratory is only the exercise ground for Macron’s ultraliberal policies. His pagnolesque vision of the city, his contempt for its inhabitants, his vision of Marseille realities like a television series, his bourgeois mistrust of the working classes, he shares them for France as a whole. This speech is a campaign speech. This is his program. This is what threatens us.
Here it is the associations, the collectives, the trade unionism, the Marseilles militancy which support the life. In short: the Marseillais and Marseillaises – concrete, creative, independent, united. It is therefore time to reconnect with the example of these Marseillais and Marseillaises of 1792 with the impeccable vision and revolutionary tenacity, who left to make throat with contempt of class, the privatization of our lives, the exploitation. unbridled capitalist.
Cuervo (UCL Aix-Marseille)