Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected president. While we can be happy that the most immediate fascist threat has been averted, the losers of this election and its campaign are easily identified: all the oppressed and the exploited. For them, 5 more years under Macron will increase their distress and anger, and they may not have the opportunity to sit on their rights again until the next election.
Likewise, we also know its winners: employers, tax evaders, polluters, racists, those who use fear and contempt to crush those more precarious than themselves. Broadly speaking, it is the rich and the selfish who want to knowingly destroy the lives of the losers – if not end them.
Thus, the capitalist order will not only be perpetuated, it will be strengthened. While it may be tempting to give up in this situation, it is the opposite that must be done. Solidarity, liberty and equality are built through constant effort, all together, much more than they are written on schools’ and town halls’ facades.
More than ever, they must guide and support our actions and commitments. As a tool for empowerment, unionism must commit itself in this direction, defend workers and marginalized people, and conquer new rights.
The choice of syndicalism
In a capitalist economy where work is unfortunately central to our lives, it becomes the main battleground for neo-liberal, totalitarian and fascist ideologies. We have seen this clearly in this election campaign with candidates’ stated intentions to force people to work, even in the worst conditions and always more, to prevent people deemed “not French enough” from working and therefore earning a salary, to reduce all welfare protection…
For decades, repeated attacks on labour law and individual freedoms have given more and more power to employers, and have reduced workers’ options for action even further. We already know that the next five years will be at least as difficult as the ones we have just experienced.
Politics cannot be reduced to participating in a few elections: the fight for a fairer world is played out every day, and on scales much more diverse and complex than the few institutional moments of electoral deadlines.
The STJV, which will celebrate its 5th year of existence this year, has assisted hundreds of workers and continues to do so. In doing so, we have witnessed workers and students in distress, exhausted and crushed by corporate performance logics, harassed and belittled by bosses, administrations and HR. But in winning the majority of these cases, we have helped them improve their conditions, and thus seen them regain the freedom, dignity and pride that had been stolen from them.
We have seen that whenever victory is possible, it is through collective struggle. We will carry on these battles together. By facing up to the employers’, governmental and state attacks every day, we can determine and try to build, together, the organisations that are best able to face them and to go on the counter-offensive.
All social progress is the result of the combined action of workers who, through strikes, demonstrations and occupations, have succeeded in establishing collective rights and protections. We are going to continue our struggle outside of electoral politics through collective action on the ground, in order to build a balance of power in favour of the people.
In the video game industry
As video game workers, we have everything to gain by defending our interests and those of our industry through union organisation. Our bosses don’t refrain from doing so, why should we? The end of capitalistic logics, of performance, crunch, but also the end of violence at work, sexist acts, harassment and discriminations of all kinds, this is what we have been fighting for at the STJV for almost 5 years.
In addition to the legal and social actions we support, we also work to reveal the shortcomings of the industry and of private/public video game schools, and assert our rights, for example by publishing propositions for a fairer industry.
Finally, and since video games play a significant role in shaping collective imagination and cultural, social and political spaces, we are fighting for video games to become a medium for positive change.
The lack of democracy in creative processes invariably leads to a tendency for our industry to become increasingly right-wing. Depoliticised themes in games, the use of our medium as a tool for military and nationalist propaganda, the lack of diversity in development teams, the industry’s passive attitude towards the proliferation of fascist groups online, the use of sexist and racist clichés in marketing campaigns… We, as video game workers, have better things to offer to the general public and to society as a whole, and to do this we must impose a balance of power in our favour.
This long-term work, from the creation of a union from scratch to our current strength, is made possible by our members. By pooling our volunteer work and dues, the union gives workers the means to undertake procedures and actions and to win them. Joining a union is part of this titanic work, made possible by the collective.
It’s time for us to take action.