The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

"Labour Party" against "right to laziness"... Is work a leftist value?


FIGAROVOX / INTERVIEW – If the left seems to form a common front against pension reform, two traditions are in reality opposed, analyzes the philosopher Denis Collin.

Denis Collin is a philosopher, author of

Introduction to the Thought of Marx

(Seuil), of

After the Left

(Free Perspectives).


- The left says it is united in opposing the pension reform and defending the legal retirement age at 60.

Historically, what was the position of the left on this question?

Dennis Collin.


The left, since it is necessary to use this word, has always defended the guarantee of a right to retirement.

But it is to Bismarck, who was not particularly a man of the left, that we owe the first system of social protection, with the establishment in 1889 of old-age and invalidity insurance for workers.

If the traditional left defended pensions by distribution and the lowering of the retirement age, it is also on the left, to Marisol Touraine (2013) that we owe the extension to 43 years of the contribution period .

Read alsoOpposed to the pension reform, François Hollande estimates his own: “11,000 to 12,000 euros per month”

Be that as it may, the workers (and the bosses when they do their accounts) conceive of retirement as a part of the salary, mutualised and paid when one is too old to work.

When we see the differences in life expectancy according to income and profession, we see that retirement at 60 is not a luxury.

One can, of course, want to work longer, especially when one has an interesting and not too physically exhausting job, but this freedom has always been guaranteed (except for civil servants!).

The problem is not there.

It is a question of workers' rights and protection.

Especially those who have worked since a young age or women.

In reality, deep divisions exist on the left on this topic.

In response to the communist deputy Fabien Roussel, who denounced last September a left of “benefits and social minima”, the ecologist deputy Sandrine Rousseau asserted a “right to laziness” against the “labor party”.

This opposition between a left that wants the emancipation of work, and another that was built around the value of work, has it always existed?

Fabien Roussel wants to defend "the labor party" and he is right.

The serious right that workers can claim is the right to work, which alone can give, in our society, other rights: the right to leave, health insurance, and the right to retirement.

If there were no unemployed, there would be no problem financing pensions.

The problem is therefore not to guarantee a right to laziness — because old age is not laziness, alas — but to make this constitutional right to work effective and to strengthen the protection of workers.

Just look at how many work accidents there are (twice as many in France as in other European countries, according to

Le Figaro

) and occupational diseases to realize that there is still a lot to do.

Formerly, the propertied classes claimed the right to leisure of "well-born" people when the workers claimed the right to work.

Nothing has changed.

It is not a division within the left, but a class opposition.

If the children don't work, it's because they have to train and educate themselves, if the old don't work anymore, it's because they have worked well and deserve to rest, to take care of their ailments and to possibly take care of their grandchildren — a whole aspect of the activity of retirees that is often forgotten.

Dennis Collin

How has the relationship to work evolved in post-Industrial Revolution societies?

Broad topic !

The Industrial Revolution massively put millions of people, of all sexes and ages, to work in appalling conditions.

It is enough to read the reports of the factory inspectors of His Britannic Majesty in the 19th century to have a precise idea.

But at the same time, machinery has been massively developed leading to a phenomenal increase in labor productivity.

The industrial revolution also expropriated the great mass of workers (artisans, peasants) from their means of work;

they were forced to sell their labor power to whoever now possessed these means of labor.

This revolution produced the modern worker who, in order to live, must obtain a legal status and whom the State must protect.

Being protected against bandits is very good,

but having fairly stable life prospects is even better.

The State must be the guarantor of this real freedom which consists in being able to enjoy an assured life, as much as is humanly possible.

The enormous increase in the productivity of labor should free up our time—provided that it is equitably distributed and that we stop wasting it on purely parasitic activities.

But let's not kid ourselves: we are at the end of a historical period.

Already, life expectancy is no longer increasing, or almost, and life expectancy in good health is beginning to decrease.

Biology is killing baby boomers.

Read alsoJean-Pierre Robin: "The reduction in working time takes precedence over purchasing power for the French"


Le Droit à la Paresse,

published in 1880, the socialist Paul Lafargue was astonished at the working class's love of work, accusing priests, economists and moralists of being behind it.

Can work really be a leftist value?

I don't know if it's “a leftist value”, but I believe that the defense of work and workers is essential.


The idler will go and stay elsewhere

 ” says the


, a song that Madame Rousseau must not know.

Defending pensions is part of defending work and its value.

You don't retire because you want to save on CO2 production!

The “ 

right to laziness

 ”: enjoyed, so to speak, by the unemployed, most of whom only want to work.

In addition, many people over the age of 60 are also, against their will, transformed into “lazy people”.

Once again, the right to retirement complements the right to work.

If the children don't work, it's because they have to train and educate themselves, if the old don't work anymore, it's because they have worked well and deserve to rest, to take care of their ailments and to possibly take care of their grandchildren — a whole aspect of the activity of retirees that is often forgotten.

But apart from that, as the apostle Paul said, “ 

he who does not work does not eat.

 » This is also addressed to those who live from the work of others… Common decency is to be proud of earning one's own living, of not being a burden on others.

There is also pride in work.

Bernard Lavilliers sang it in his beautiful song "

Les mains d'or

": "

 I want to work again, forge red steel...

 " And retirement is recognition by the younger generations of what they owe to their parents.

None of this has anything to do with a so-called “ 

right to laziness


Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-02-06

You may like

Business 2023-03-18T10:37:59.854Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-03-22T09:17:36.069Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.