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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Il ne peut y avoir de « changement » sans rupture avec l’ordre ancien

by Jean-Jacques Candelier, French Communist Party, Member of the National Assembly of France, Departement of North.

There can be no "change" without breaking with the old order

Translated Wednesday 23 January 2013, by Chrysanthie Therapontos and reviewed by Derek Hanson

What is to be done now that the Constitutional Council has invalidated the 75% tax?

Consulted by UMP parliamentarians, the Constitutional Council has held that the 75% tax on income over 1 million infringed the principle of equality of imposition. A household in which each member has an income of 900,000 euros could be exempt from this tax, while another, in which one member earns 1.2 million euros and the others earn nothing, should pay it.

The Prime Minister is preparing a new tax of 75%. We should give him strong encouragement, because new signs of retreat are beginning to emerge. We are available to discuss the modalities of this tax and to vote for it. We can vote for it even though it could, once again, be not entirely satisfactory (not taking into account capital gains, or its being of a temporary nature...).

It is however worrying that this new tax is liable also to censorship. Indeed, it is "without adjudicating on the other grievances," the "confiscatory" nature of the tax, as claimed by the right wing, that the Constitutional Council censured the 75% tax. The sword of Damocles still hangs over the heads of citizens and their representatives. The risk is even more serious, since the Council has generally used such language to censor fair measures taxing "golden umbrella" supplemental retirement plans, stock options, distribution of free shares, and capital gains on building plots!

Recall that all great revolts that marked the history of France started because people wanted to decide the budget, from the communal revolt of Etienne Marcel up to the French Revolution. Recall that sovereignty over the Budget is enacted in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, and it is against privileges that the Republic was founded!

Without entering into a discussion about persons, if the Council makes policy decisions, this is also because our fundamental law has political orientation based on class: the Constitution of the Fifth Republic is not limited to determining the place and role of each institution, it also contains the principles by which social relations of exploitation and domination, and the preservation of property, become "inviolable and sacred rights."

Wasn’t it the president of MEDEF (Movement of the Entreprises of France, the largest union of employers in France), who was scandalized by the threat of nationalization of ArcelorMittal, as an "expropriation in a society based on the right to private property"? Wasn’t it the Council that has always censored, in the name of free enterprise, the provisions in favour of a greater workers’ involvement in their work definition? This was the case of a law in 2001, where the Council had repealed a provision that would have restricted economically motivated layoffs, in the name of safeguarding competitiveness!

For the nationalizations of 1981 and 1982, wasn’t it the entire action of the left, united at that time, that was censored on the ground that one should provide better compensation for the owners? Recently, haven’t we seen the Council declare "consistent with" the Constitution the Sarkozy-Merkel austerity treaty, contrary to many analyses? The Constitutional Council, has it ever censored a single anti-social law against pensions, employment, working conditions, human dignity, social security, social democracy, the right to strike, the right to asylum, union action, secularism, "equal access to education for children and adults, vocational training and culture," gender equality, "the establishment of free public and secular education, the duty of the State," or even during the glorification of colonization, the attacks on French language and on the Republic, one and indivisible?

Fine words contained in the preamble of the Constitution of 1946, from the CNR (National Council of the Resistance), cannot remain a dead letter. Today again, the Constitutional Council, the ultimate guarantee for the preservation of the interests of the wealthy and powerful oligarchy, is the barrier to change. A change to the Republic is the mother of battles for social and democratic progress. This was a key message of the Left Front, while François Hollande and his majority claimed to fit well into institutions and the mould of the European Union. A new bitter and symbolic defeat !

Censorship of the Council has the merit of reminding everyone, not just revolutionaries, that just taxation and fair distribution of wealth for employees are not possible without a break with the old order. The idea of a Sixth Republic, which demands, in particular, a break with the Lisbon Treaty, in order to give power to the whole society, both citizens and employees, makes sense. We need a project that must not suffer from any censorship other than from the people.

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