Economy. What is this notion of “lifetime salary” that the Communists defend?

Economy.  What is this notion of “lifetime salary” that the Communists defend?
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Bernard Friot, during his speech in Cahors, before the Friends of Humanity.
Bernard Friot, during his speech in Cahors, before the Friends of Humanity. (©JCB)

Bernard Friot, sociologist and economist, professor emeritus at the University of Paris-Nanterreis known for having theorized the notion of “lifetime salary” with the popular education association Employee Network. Its work is based on a rereading of economic history and its institutions, including the general social security system and social security contributions.

Passing through Cahors, at the invitation of the association “Les amis de l’Huma”, chaired by Gérard Iragnes, Bernard Friot returned to the notion of “lifetime salary”, opposed to the notion of “universal salary”. , carried by Emmanuel Macron, in particular.

News: Do communists still have something to say to today’s world?

Bernard Friot: Of course, once you know how to read as a communist, what was essentially created by communists, such as the civil service statute, the general social security regime, the statute of electricians and gas workers. .. all these novelties of 1946, still promising for the future, because they attribute rights to the person himself. This is how civil servants kept their salaries during the confinement period, not because it would be their activity that would be paid, but because it is their very person that is taken into account. This is the great invention of the Civil Service. It is also for this reason that the Civil Service and also the statutes that have been copied from it, such as those governing railway workers or electricians and gas workers, are the subject of such determination by the ruling class to suppress them. . Macron began his five-year term by abolishing the status of railway workers.

Why would you want to untie the salary from the employee’s activity?

BF: Because insofar as the bourgeoisie has a monopoly on production, it is not the employees who decide where the investment will take place, what will be produced, who will be hired… The employees do not decide anything on the essential work. You have to be subject to job blackmail to be able to work in such conditions of absence of decision of what will be done, without the opinion of the employee. It is the whip of the risk of losing the job that is rife.

How does this notion of “lifetime salary” hold promise for the future?

BF: Anything that makes it possible to untie the salary from the job, to tie the salary to the person himself, which is the case of the Public Service, is a theme with a promising future. If we want to conquer the mastery of work, to get work out of this anthropological madness in which it is engaged today, because of its capitalist logic, then we must become sovereign, we must decide for ourselves. To achieve this objective, our wage rights must be linked to our person and not to our contract or our job. It is the heart of communism to posit the sovereignty of workers over work.

“Anything that makes it possible to untie the salary from the job, to link the salary to the person himself, is a theme with a promising future”

Bernard Friot

What is your position on the notion of universal wage which comes up in the debate from time to time?

BF: The universal income is a weapon of war against the salary. The ruling class wants to put an end to the salary for qualification, the salary of the collective agreement, it multiplies fixed-term contracts, to the point that young people are hired on mission contracts. It wants to return to the fee-for-service which is characteristic of capitalist remuneration. This will cause great hazards in people’s lives, if everyone is paid on a fee-for-service basis, as was done a lot during the confinement period. All the self-employed, all the workers who had fixed-term contracts, found themselves with nothing!
To be able to replace the skill-based wage, as it has been constructed, with fee-for-service, the ruling class needs a universal, unconditional safety net. This is why it is building this subsistence income quietly, with the RMI and the RSA. This is why we must fight this idea of ​​universal income. This universal activity income, as set up by Emmanuel Macron, is only the foundation of an income which will be very contributive and will once again introduce the vagaries of the market into our lives.

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In your eyes, does communism have a future?

BF: From the moment we assume what we have been able to build at home, in terms of the status of the Public Service or the General Social Security System, yes communism still has a bright future ahead of it.

Are you optimistic about the advent of a salary linked to the person and not the act of work?

BF: Of course I am optimistic. Optimistic, because Christian. The believer in Jesus Christ does not deny the tragedy, but we are victorious, because the crucified Christ is also the risen Christ.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, your point of view?

BF: We are once again in the aftermath of Stalinism. Putin is none other than a classic Stalinist who fights for a great and holy Russia; any nationalist reflex is extremely dangerous and that is why I am against the extreme right in France and all nationalism in general. Communism has nothing to do with Stalinism, the latter being an absolute anti-Communist, which had 900 of the 1,200 leaders of the Communist Party of Russia assassinated; in other words, he was a Putin-style nationalist. Stalin’s big problem was Great Russia and not the purchasing power of the workers. This is therefore absolute anti-communism.

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