Why Interview Frontline Covid-19 Workers?

By Collectif Classe (firstly published in classe)

Here is the text that we, the “Collectif Classe”, wrote in order to present the general framework within which we are currently conducting interviews with workers in France. We will regularly publish some of these interviews on the website “Fever” when they provide important insights on the global situation of workers. We hope that this initiative will inspire others.

Some workers interviews under Covid – Why?

Since the beginning of 2020, containment measures have been affecting more and more people of this planet. These measures have been taken following the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the virus’ scientific name, that has spread like wildfire from mainland China to the four corners of the world. The worldwide social explosions, that just preceded the outbreak of the infectious virus, would have envied the effectiveness of this spread. Of course, these containment measures affect people unequally, depending on their job, gender, housing, medical insurance system, wages, bank account… In short, on their class.

The motor of the capitalist system is based on a simple separation: Those whose role is to produce commodities are separated from the means of production that make it possible. It is the private ownership of the means of production, a property that belongs to the capitalist class which can thus exploit the class of producers, the proletarians, with the help of the State, as a member of the capi-talist class and also game master. The production of these goods only obeys the law of profit, and we are forced to note that this law doesn’t vanish in the urgency of the pandemic hitting us. Quite the opposite.

The group Collectif Classe decided to focus on the stories of workers still actively working despite the confinement. We do so because we believe that the viral catastrophe, as the government presents it, is a real social catastrophe where proletarians are thrown onto the front line to fight the epidemic and produce the goods necessary to maintain the balance of the system. It’s on this front line that the State relies on when it talks about collective immunity. In these moments, when urgency makes us shut our mouth, when ethics pressure us with all its bourgeois splendor, we think it’s important to highlight the strategy of the capitalist class. The “state of health emergency” emerging in France, as elsewhere, is a particularly violent modality of exploitation, with the calibrated suppression of the rights, means of recourse, capacities for action and self-defense of the proletarians, far beyond the only sphere of work.

Of course, it’s not only waged workers. There are those who no longer have a job, whose horizon darkens as the bills pile up. There are those who are in prison, for whom the expression “like caged dogs” is no longer a metaphor. There are the old people for whom they don’t give much of a chance. There are millions of situations all generated in specific conditions—those of a class struggle.

Through these interviews, we modestly wish to contribute to the necessary coordination of the cur-rent and future struggles facing the State and capitalists’ tour de force, a tour de force that promises, more than a mere anecdotal passage, an increased exploitation of our class.

Today it’s necessary to disseminate as widely as possible our words, our testimonies, our experiences of struggle, so that they can spread from one place to the other, beyond the oceans that separate us.

Considering the predictable and rapid attacks by governments and employers on our living and working conditions, we’ll try as much as possible to follow up on these interviews.

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