France: protests against new labour law

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Ed's picture
Ed
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May 30 2016 09:41

Hi rat, it looks like those images aren't coming through coz they're linked to a private section on another website.

Another idea: would you be up for adding those images as an image gallery? Just click 'submit content' (in the top bar of this site) > 'Images' and then upload everything there.

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May 30 2016 11:52

Ah, as I can see the images, I thought it must have worked.

I'd certainly would like to create an image gallery.
Will I be able to upload photos straight from my desktop?

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Ed
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May 30 2016 12:28
rat wrote:
Ah, as I can see the images, I thought it must have worked.

I'd certainly would like to create an image gallery.
Will I be able to upload photos straight from my desktop?

Yep, definitely. Nice one! Looking forward to seeing these pics.. smile

So as not to derail the discussion further, if you've got any other questions then just drop me a PM..

Battlescarred
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May 30 2016 16:00

History repeats itself:
Maurice Brinton aka Chris Pallis on May 1968 and the CGT and its service d'ordre:
"The CGT is desperately keen that its hundreds of thousands of supporters should disperse quietly. It fears them, when they are together. It wants them nameless atoms again, scattered to the four corners of Paris, powerless in the context of their individual preoccupations. The CGT sees itself as the only possible link between them, as the divinely ordained vehicle for the expression of their collective will. The Mouvement du 22 Mars, on the other hand, had issued a call to the students and workers, asking them to stick together and to proceed to the lawns of the Champ de Mars (at the foot of the Eiffel Tower) for a massive collective discussion on the experiences of the day and on the problems that lie ahead.

At this stage I sample for the first time what a service d'ordre composed of Stalinist stewards really means. All day, the stewards have obviously been anticipating this particular moment. They are very tense, clearly expecting "trouble". Above all else they fear what they call débordement, i.e. being outflanked on the left. For the last half-mile of the march five or six solid rows of them line up on either side of the demonstrators. Arms linked, they form a massive sheath around the marchers. CGT officials address the bottled-up demonstrators through two powerful loudspeakers mounted on vans, instructing them to disperse quietly via the Boulevard Arago, i.e. to proceed in precisely the opposite direction to the one leading to the Champ de Mars. Other exits from the Place Denfert-Rochereau are blocked by lines of stewards linking arms.

On occasions like this, I am told, the Communist Party calls up thousands of its members from the Paris area. It also summons members from miles around, bringing them up by the coachload from places as far away as Rennes, Orléans, Sens, Lille and Limoges. The municipalities under Communist Party control provide further hundreds of these "stewards", not necessarily Party members but people dependent on the goodwill of the Party for their jobs and future. Ever since its heyday of participation in the government (1945-47) the Party has had this kind of mass base in the Paris suburbs. It has invariably used it in circumstances like today. On this demonstration there must be at least 10,000 such stewards, possibly twice that number.

The exhortations of the stewards meet with a variable response. Whether they are successful in getting particular groups to disperse via the Boulevard Arago depends of course on the composition of the groups. Most of those which the students have not succeeded in infiltrating obey, although even here some of the younger militants protest: "We are a million in the streets. Why should we go home?" Other groups hesitate, vacillate, start arguing. Student speakers climb on walls and shout: "All those who want to return to the telly, turn down the Boulevard Arago. Those who are for joint worker-student discussions and for developing the struggle, turn down the Boulevard Raspail and proceed to the Champ de Mars".

Those protesting against the dispersion orders are immediately jumped on by the stewards, denounced as "provocateurs" and often manhandled. I saw several comrades of the Mouvement du 22 Mars physically assaulted, their portable loud-hailers snatched from their hands and their leaflets torn from them and thrown to the ground. In some sections there seemed to be dozens, in others hundreds, in others thousands of "provocateurs". A number of minor punch-ups take place as the stewards are swept aside by these particular contingents. Heated arguments break out, the demonstrators denouncing the Stalinists as "cops" and as "the last rampart of the bourgeoisie"."

ken0wells
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May 31 2016 03:42

The police struggle to control this each time and kind of keep a distance while a march is in progress and just try to stop blocs of people leaving a contained area.

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May 31 2016 08:10

The waste depot at ’Ivry sur Seine in the thirteenth was blockaded by street sweepers and sewer workers yesterday with a general call for assistance.
There was a 'happening' at Gare de Montparnasse organised by 30 people and railway workers.

Film of violence on the 26th.
Someone was seriously injured when police threw a 'grenade de desencerclement' (basically a grenade, but instead of metal it's made of rubber and filled with rubber ball bearings, so very dangerous when propelled by explosive force) into a crowd with no warning and for no real reason.
You can see it at 6:21, you can also see the cops throwing gas grenades at people helping the injured person. The police official statement claimed he'd hit his head in a bollard.

Edit link missing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIcUlkujVU8

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May 31 2016 10:16

Thanks for the info Jeff.
There seems to be a link to the film clip missing or is it in an earlier post?

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May 31 2016 16:06

Article here about filming / photographing demos

Basically, don't stream because you have no control over what you're showing.

IF you're going to take pictuires take pictures of results, not action.
Copwatch and ONLY film cops.
Blur faces and other distinctive signs
encrypt your storage
Cover your face to protect your identity and against gas.

Think about why you are taking a photo and what it will achieve (they argue largely nothing)
They also call on journalists to stop pretending to be neutral and support people, they also call on journalists to speak up when undercover cops pose as journalists.

There's also an article about attacks on people filming. They point out that the Russia Today periscoper was not hurt, but that police hospitlaised a photographer earlier this month and another nearly lost an eye on the first.

In other news, the Ivry waste depot is still out, In Romanville the drivers have blocked the waste depot and St Ouen voted on a blackae this morning but not seen the results. They've asked for solidarity pickets there and at Ivry.

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altemark
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Jun 1 2016 08:28

Thanks for the updates

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Jun 2 2016 09:52

PAris luttes has an article criticising demonstrators who linked arms to prevent damage to an Emmaüs shop (They don't really have charity shops in France, but Emmaüs is the nearest thing, it was founded by Abbé Pierre so there is a religious aspect). They're arguing that it's a multinational organisation that exploits workes and depends on poverty and as such is a less obvious but equally valid target.
1.1M people had power cut during off-peak hours accoridng to the CGT, quite a few power stations and sub stations were shut down.
The SNCF is out on strike, there are no official national statistics, two lines running out of Bordeaux were completely shut down last night by strikers, no idea if they are back up yet.
Most commuter trains in the PAris regions are running a 1/3 service, but some are more frequent.
RATP strike has begun, the police have broken blockades at three out of four bus depots and the RATP is reporting a normal service. Tramline 4 is blocked by strike action. Metro doesn't seem to be affected.
Waste treatment centres, riot police broke one blockade, 'police pressure' ended another.
Postal workers in the 91 have joined the strike.

There's a demonstration planned for 14H at Gare Montparnasse, rail workers and solidarity.
There's also an open general meeting outside the exchange at 6pm for all strikers, solidarity etc.
Film a cop save a life: a French guide for filming police, basically yu'ore allowed to film cops unless they're part of certain units that are protected for national security reasons etc.

S. Artesian
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Jun 2 2016 15:50

Thank you, Jef

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Jun 3 2016 16:44

Some stuff in English:

Nuit Debout: The Longest Month

Notes on the movement against the loi du travail, by a waitress.

Leftcom.org - The Strikes in France May 2016

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Jun 3 2016 19:26

France: Protesters vow to disrupt Euro 2016 football

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Jun 4 2016 11:25

Two pieces from Roland Simon of Théorie Communiste on events in France:

One from 3rd May: https://edicioneschafa.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/from-outbreaks-to-inbrea...

And a follow-up from 24th May: https://edicioneschafa.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/outbreaks-inbreaks-and-e...

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Jun 4 2016 12:18

Strike at the refineries – reportback

withered
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Jun 5 2016 20:33

Hi folks, here are some articles I've translated from French, which you might (or might not) find interesting:

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This is no insurrection (hosted here)

Why appending "and its world" doesn’t add anything to the current movement against the labour reform...

I don’t intend to demean or turn my nose up at what is happening (or not happening) in the current mobilisation "against the labour law". Sometimes, words are used precisely for that. Ultimately, it’s true that talking and writing are very limited uses of bodily and mental capacities. There are others which are just as important: arms that move, legs that run, hearts that beat. The former are all too easily removed from the latter, and run the risk of drifting into a separate world. One runs that risk every time one opens one’s mouth or starts wiggling one’s fingers to write. Still…

While I rejoice, alongside many others, over a few fully lived moments during the movement, some people’s enthusiasm perplexes me. I hear it be said that "there are some interesting things at Place de la République", because ultimately, it’s a place to meet people. I hear that "our numbers are growing", because ever more people are joining the "autonomous" or "unaffiliated" marches. I hear that the unions are becoming "radicalised" because some of their members mask up during demonstrations. I also hear that we are "more combative" because swimming goggles and masks have become indispensable at demos, thanks to the cops’ generosity when it comes to dishing out tear gas. What’s more, ever more people hate the police, because of how nasty it proved it was. And, for some, it can all be boiled down to the notion that "everything’s going to blow up", yelled by hooligans having traded the football field for the "social field".

I do not refute any of these descriptive and optimistic observations. As for the description of the State, I don’t confound anyone. However, as far as the enthusiasts are concerned, I challenge their enthusiasm.

Because, just as with speech and writing, a lot of what is gained in form is also lost in content, and it would be a mistake to think that one can replace the other. Today, for instance, a large part of the discussion (still) revolves around the question of property destruction. And I’m not referring to Le Monde, Libération, Russia Today, Le Figaro and other all too famous ennemies. I’m referring to "activist" sources, often devoted to justifying so-called radical practices. Anything goes: the youth are smashing stuff and confronting the cops, because they’ve had enough, or because they’re just young, you don’t understand, or they weren’t like that before the police revealed its true colours, or they hate the miserable future being promised to them, or… One looks for short and economic phrases to justify the things people do for their own reasons, as if those reasons were made clear by the tactics themselves. Reasons which are often not short, nor necessarily economic. Their motives are complex, sometimes evasive. How can one, no matter one’s point of view, explain such actions in a manner so close to that of sociologists? The latter at least look for arbitrary correspondances which statistically suit them, whereas to those who desperately want to justify a method of struggle, everything is already clearly defined.

But why look for these curt justifications? To convince us that difficult times require proportionally difficult measures? Do we not end up back in the same tired old debate over "violence" and "non-violence", albeit in a slightly updated vocabulary adapted to our era?

Let’s not tire ourselves. But since we’ve started with property destruction, let’s talk about it, but not to justify it. In the beginning of April this year, following a blockade which was part of the movement against the labour law, a few teenagers from the Léonard de Vinci high school in Levallois-Perret set fire to some bins. The fire damaged that awful cage. Nearly two months later, 47 high-schoolers are summoned to the Sûreté Territoriale, several are arrested. There are initiatives to support them, find lawyers, give them advice, support the accused, etc. which is obviously all important. But why did the high-schoolers do what they did in the first place?

Some explain it as the high-schoolers being very, very angry because the institutionalised stultification authorities didn’t give them permission to go demonstrate. But really, while I won’t question the "true" motives of the authors, hopefully unknown, of what billions of children everywhere dream to see come true, I will emit this very probable hypothesis: the act of setting fire to a school has more to do with the school than with the labour law. More precisely, it has something to do with school being a concrete manifestation of this authoritarian and mercantile world, which the children and teenagers have to suffer through daily. Some of them just took advantage of favourable conditions and expressed their disgust.

While the ongoing movement is often presented as not just "against the labour law", but also against "the world that goes with it", few aspects of the latter are mentioned. And this to the point that some even took it upon themselves to protect premises of the Emmaüs charity, which collaborates with the deportation machine and has already been attacked in and of itself, from its assailants, as was the case during the demonstration of May 26th. But even if some may ignore what Emmaüs really is, everyone knows what school is. It’s an institution possibly more essential to the "world of the labour law" than the accursed law itself.

And yet, those standing with the high-schoolers defend them only as accused parties, not as schoolchildren who hate school beyond any judiciary considerations of "guilt" or "innocence". Sure, the technicalities are important. But if it’s to be as part of the movement against the labour law and its world that we stand with the high-schoolers, how is possible that the issue of school itself, an aspect of that world, isn’t raised, focus going instead to the debate over guilt?

Whence my languor. Despite these very (although sometimes less) beautiful acts, and despite the increasingly mask-wearing demonstrations, the movement’s "and the world that goes with it" seems to get blurrier and fainter. Because when one looks around —in the cafés, in the streets, in the public transports, at work—, despite a few noteworthy exceptions, conversations revolve around the property destruction, the demos, the ’nuit debout’, sometimes the "police brutality"… In short, technical issues, as if they were the be all and end all. Some are against, some are for, most couldn’t care less. Very few seem to grasp the very reason and essence of why we go take to the streets, alone or in groups, during the day or the night, demo or no demo, to a give a little coherence to our disgust of this mercantile and authoritarian society: the incompatibility of the life which is forced upon us with the one we wish to live, one which might be worth its name.

Never mind that people are sympathetic to the actions, even the most "radical" ones. Whether we are more numerous or not in the "autonomous" marches, or more masked up than ever, minority acts of revolt do not seek to convert. They seek to contribute to social tensions, in order to polarise this world on the one hand, and to make life less shit on the other. If we get "angry", if we "lash out", if we simply destroy, it isn’t because this law will prevent us from succeeding in this society; it’s because the slightest chance of succeeding runs up against everything which makes life worth living: beauty, passion, happiness, freedom —let’s not measure such things.

However, some breaches are opening in the broader context of this movement. There are some moments of fracture. They all existed before and will keep on existing. So let’s continue to seek them out and contribute to them. But let’s do so in such a way that when the movement dies down —as it certainly will do— these breaches don’t stop opening and cracks continue to show up where no one expects them to. If one day we manage to link them all together, perhaps we will at last have some real chance of subverting this insufferable society.

J.L.

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Paris/Clermont : I witnessed the (citizenist) hell of Nuit Debout (hosted here)

For reasons not entirely dependent on my own will, I found myself drawn into Nuit Debout. Not that I had any intention of "radicalising" the middle class' revolt, but I had been told that it wouldn't be what I soon discovered it was…

I thus ended up at a Nuit Debout occupation. I managed to enter because I knew people inside (entry is otherwise forbidden, in case "rioters" come to "vandalise", of course…). At the entrance, two people searched my bag… An "occupation" in name only, and which I would designated by another term, upon learning that the owner of the place consented to it. So be it.

Entering, I had the completely feigned joy of finding the place full of littered bottles, of hippies smoking joints and playing the guitar. Further on, a (sitting) General Assembly. A few activist photographers. A flag of Che. Oh, well. I felt like I might have some trouble finding congenial folks, other than those I knew. Thus, nothing happened, the hippies smoked, drank, played and the others did too. I soon found a corner in which to rest by weary head. At least until, early in the morning, a bunch of cops came along to perform identity checks, so I made it for the exit. Tremble, bourgeois, here come the petite-bourgeoisie.

A little later, I ended up at the Nuit Debout proper, in the Big City. Okay. Why not, there were concerts. Well, mainly a concert by a reggae band well-known to the citizens, but unknown to me (Rastafarianism stinks even more than citizenism, so…). I went around the stalls, having been told it would be different… A huge Palestinian flag (I've never seen such a large flag). Because, dear companions and proletarians, let it be drilled into you skulls: the nationalism of the oppressed has nothing to do with bourgeois nationalism, hence the French flag painted on the Square, still adorned with the words "Je Suis Charlie". There quite a range of stuff concerning Palestine: GA Abdallah, BDS, Palestinian students, a meal to collect funds, all spread out over 30 metres. I also saw an activist library, advertising its donations, mainly to… l'Humanité. And to other papers that I didn't know, but whose names arouse the imagination: Le Patriote, La Marseillaise. Hence perhaps the fact that the red-and-brown folks of the PRCF were distributing carefree, without Nuit Debout lifting a finger despite its insistance that it excludes conspiracy theorists, fascists, and so on. L'Humanité had a stall too (so yeah, no political parties, but parties' newspapers are fine). Stalls of Psy Debout (anything as long as it's "debout"), an anti-speciesist stall, perhaps the least worst of the bunch. A less-than-incredible stall against Françafrique. A pro-bourgeois ecologist stall. L'Envolée. Oh, and the publisher Libertalia, along with a bunch of 'stars' of the milieu, with nearly an entire marquee to themselves. The only ones missing were the anti-semites and racialists of the PIR.

Oh, well. On to the commissions, from the oxymoronic "secure IT", to the "action" commission (aha), the "citizen Jury" commission and its "recruiting office", and wait for it…… the "Separation of MEDEF and State" commission. I must admit that citizenists are good at reinventing themselves. At one point I could have sworn I was at a situationnist fairground. Then, above all, on the 15th of May, a debate with Nuit Debouts from around the world: Brussels, Berlin, Brasil, Spain who were celebrating the anniversary of the 15M, etc etc; and whose message was always the same: "let's unite the citizenry's struggles against neoliberalism".

In short, quite an unbearable moment. A leaflet, trying to pass itself off as revolutionary, was scolding those revolutionaries who dared to criticise Nuit Debout, which they claim aspires to break free from the pitfalls of representative democracy… Well, that's hardly what I witnessed there. Middle class rebellion is a counter-revolutionary tool, and we can't expect anything from this movement. Not a thing. I came, I saw, I ran away.
Citizens of the world, punish yourselves.

Ernest Coeurdeuaine

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We are their common enemy

The repression which is cracking down on the social movement against the labour law, and indeed against all struggles, didn't just appear from nowhere. It has long been ongoing in the ZAD (autonomous zones), and from the town centre of Rennes to the streets of Paris and the picket lines. This State violence has been deployed for years in working class neighbourhoods, and its use has now been generalised to the entire population. From the teams of BAC (plainclothes/undercover "anti-criminal brigades") or Companie d'Intervention (riot police units) that are unleashed like rabid dogs on the marches, to the RAID (elite police unit) which was deployed to evict an occupied building, and what seems like a culprit fabrication by a servile Justice system; such occurrences have marked the daily life of our neighbourhoods for 30 years.

The security tourniquet used to strangle social protests in our neighbourhoods is now being used to criminalise the social movements. The figure of the rioter in a Lacoste tracksuit and baseball cap shown in the media is replaced by one in a black anorak. Governments always try to depict working class opposition as juvenile delinquents intent on looting. For the social movement, it's the cliché of the petit-bourgeois class-traitor who "plays at revolution before taking over daddy's company". Reducing rioters and demonstrators to these symbolic caricatures enables the deployment of an exceptional police and judiciary arsenal, which reassures the "good French citizenry" only too happy to beat up the roguish proletarian or the rebellious petit-bourgeois. This media staging, with its two rioter typologies, presented every evening on the televised news, serves to patently and latently answer the hidden question: why are men and women in the suburbs or town centres confronting the police?

With these two symbolic figures, the petit-bourgeois and the delinquent, the answer is simple: the thug in sweatpants is just out to loot, the petit-bourgeois is just going through adolescence. It's in their nature.

The second effect, and not the least, of this media staging is that it prevents any unity between these populations which live in separate areas but are fighting against a common enemy: the State.

Who, in the middle class or the petite-bourgeoisie, feels sympathy for the suburban looter? Who, in the suburbs, feels sympathy for the petit-bourgeois, whose revolt is presented as factitious?

These two symbolic figures serve to foment division and foil a union which might overcome the oligarchy which governs us.

It is nothing new, however, to see "petit-bourgeois" risking their freedom and health to stand up to the guard dogs of the state and the bourgeoisie. Here is what Marx and Engels wrote in the manifesto in 1848:

"Finally, in times when the class-struggle nears the decisive hour, the process of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact, within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movements as a whole."

Not new, either, that during riots in the working class neighbourhoods, lumpen-proletarians take to the streets alongside the rioters. Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party explained that "more and more of the proletariat will become unemployable, become lumpen, until they have become the popular class, the revolutionary class".

From the penal and police treatment to the fabrication of caricatures, the ongoing repression of social movements is a direct copy of the securitarian management of the suburbs.

The memory of struggles in proletarian neighbourhoods is there for us to recall. A history among others of popular uprisings perfectly illustrates these similarities. At Dammarie-lès-Lys, the police, judiciary and media techniques deployed to break a protest movement were in all respects identical to those used today. That was nearly fifteen years ago.

At Dammarie, on the 21st of May 2002, Xavier Dem, overcome by dementia, shoots at two police officers with a pellet gun, lightly injuring one on the elbow. The second officer answers by killing Xavier with a bullet to the head. Two days later, Mohamed Berrichi dies during a motorbike chase by the police. Mohamed Berrichi was the brother of the President of the Bouge qui Bouge association, which was created following the assassination of Abedelkader Bouziane (16 years old) by a BAC officer in 1997. His death two days after that of Xavier Dem, combined with a national climate in which the far-right National Front succeed in entering the second round of the presidential elections, sends a shock wave throughout the neighbourhood.

(https://youtu.be/ILe0yfjnyXw)

On the 27th of May 2002, 800 people protest together against police brutality. For the first time in a suburban neighbourhood a demonstration was cordoned by an imposing group made up of by activists from the neighbourhood. It's a peaceful show of strength without precedent in the popular neighbourhoods of France. The stand-off in front of the Dammarie police station remains a highlight in the annals of many activists. During the night, the demo's banners in memory of Abdelkader, Xavier and Mohamed, are hung up on the Bas-Moulin highrise.

Looking for "responsible" people in the neighbourhood with which to talk to, the State authorities in Dammarie dispatch the rector of the Évry mosque and representatives of the Paris mosque to offer their condolences "and those of the Mayor and the Prefect" to the father of Mohamed Berrichi.

Supported by the MIB (immigration and suburbs movement association), Mohamed's father replies that mourning is a family affair. The MIB points out that such a mobilisation was politically motivated, and points the finger at the hypocrisy of the State, which didn't summon catholic authorities to visit Xavier Dem's family. The State's religious messengers are sent packing, back to their flocks.

Vexed, Khalil Merroun, rector of the Évry mosque, states that "the family is taken hostage by people who refuse dialogue". One would think one was reading the prose of a union bureaucrat bidden to condemn the violence of demonstrators resolved not to let themselves be gassed and beaten up by the police. This is a typical tactic of the State, which tries to use intermediary religious or syndical bodies to sort the "good" citizens from the "bad".

The mobilisation around Mohamed Berrichi's death gives way to many pressure surges from the police, with the instrumentalisation of "contempt of cop" and judiciary repression instruments. This is a technique we witness today, for instance with the indictment under counter-terrorism motives (conspiracy, organised gang…) of young protesters who took over into the Rennes metro to organise a "free transport" operation.

Already, in 2002, supposed "anti-police hatred" is used to justify, and to sway public opinion in favour of, repression. In June 2002, the SPNT (national union of uniformed police officers) demands the suppression of banners which it deems are "calling for anti-police hatred". The union calls for a demonstration on the 2nd of July 2002, in front of the Seine-et-Marne prefecture. It's an avant-premiere, 14 years ago, of the recent love-the-police demonstration at Place de la République.

At Dammarie, the elite RAID unit is deployed in the neighbourhood during a police search of the premises of the association Bouge qui Bouge, similarly to its recent use during the evacuation of the "people's house" in Rennes…

In each of these struggles, one encounters the instruments and techniques of repression which are used today against the social movement. These last few years have seen the emergence of an increasingly violent arsenal, first destined and tested in popular neighbourhoods, and now used on everybody.

In addition to the physical, comes a judiciary repression. The Kamara brothers from Villiers-le-Bel were the first victims of this State vengeance, which can have people sentenced on the basis of "white notes" or anonymous tips. In Paris, after the burning of a police car, 4 people were brought in by police for "attempted homicide of a representative of public authority", with the only evidence being the anonymous account of an infiltrated police officer. As with the Kamara brothers, the only evidence consists of elements constructed by the police or intelligence services. The generalisation of these methods is yet another step towards a police state. With them, the police services can fabricate entire cases, as illustrated by the Quai de Valmy affair. A few hours after the fire, 4 known activists, singled out by the DGSI (general direction of interior security), were arrested. The investigators even admit that "their implication in the arson of the vehicle is not established". As with the case of the Kamara brothers, an entire apparatus articulated around police services and governmental storytelling is used to justify these incarcerations.

These similarities between the repression of neighbourhood unrest and that of social movements create the conditions for such struggles to converge. Those who are fighting on the front lines in our neighbourhoods and those in our social movements faced with police brutality are fully aware of this. They realise that now isn't the time to argue over who was doing what back in 2005, but instead to work on building bridges and battlegrounds common to all those who refuse to resign themselves to mere survival in this unequal and violent world.

Quartiers Libres

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edit: please forgive the occasional quirkiness due to poor translation

destroy capital
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Jun 6 2016 03:07

Ed's picture
Ed
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Jun 6 2016 17:10

Trying to get a handle on where the movement is at the moment as mainstream press reports are (unsurprisingly) all over the shop:

RT mention this French minister being pelted with eggs and told to get lost, while Reuters reports on the same event but add "strikes wane".

Reuters wrote:
a strike against planned labor reforms disrupted rail services for a sixth day but appeared to be running out of steam.

Industrial action in the oil sector was also waning. Oil group Total SA said three of its five refineries in France were being prepared for restart after days at a standstill. [...] Participation in action against the labor reform is dwindling with just 8.5 percent of rail workers still on strike

The Local FR, on the other hand, says the rail strikes are still really disruptive:

Quote:
Rail traffic in France remained hugely disrupted on Monday as workers continued to strike for a sixth consecutive day.

There was some slight improvement in the number of services on Monday, with six out of ten high speed TGVs and regional TER trains running, according to rail operator SNCF.

However Intercité trains were still hugely disrupted with only one in three trains running and in the Ile-de France region around Paris only 50 percent of the Transilien services operating.

Rail workers staged demonstrations at the Montparnasse train station to the south of Paris, blocking trains for around half an hour, while chanting and throwing smoke bombs. They moved on at around 2.30pm.

While some cunt from The Independent says that Hollande "is winning"..

Anyone closer to the ground what to make sense of all that for me?

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Steven.
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Jun 6 2016 19:58

Withered, thanks so much for those translations. Would you be okay to post them separately direct to our news section/library has appropriate, with a photo perhaps for each one? You now have posting permissions (that way they will get a much wider readership)

Thrasybulus
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Jun 6 2016 20:14

I think in general the strikes are disruptive but are not enough to cause a critical problem. As well as the train strikes a number of the rubbish collection stations have also been blocked recently around Paris. Each day there are a number of strikes or blockades but few seem to be able to hold long enough to create a major problem. Then the floods added to the sense of gloom over the French state but maybe also took away something from the energy and momentum.

Along with the strikes the demonstrations continue too. On the 4th an antifascist march in Paris saw some clashes and smashed windows and on the 2nd another demonstration ended in a spontaneous march breaking off and hitting various targets. Somewhere around the country there is normally some incident each day, e.g electricity cut off in St.Nazaire, police cars burnt outside Paris, motorway tolls blocked or lifted, Socialist Party offices attacked, etc. And I think the guy injured by the police in Paris on the 26th May is still in a coma.

So overall things still continuing at a constant but low level, disruptive but perhaps not critical. It will be interesting if things continue like this because even relatively low levels of disruption and actions could cause problems, or a heavy state reaction, if it starts to interfere with the football tournament.

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Schmoopie
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Jun 7 2016 13:31

Ed:

Quote:
Building on Schmoopie's point: he could well be right (probably is, tbh).. but it may also be worth noting that Belgium is also currently undergoing its own protest movement against its own labour reforms..

See, http://libcom.org/forums/news/wildcat-strikes-belgium-28052016

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Ed
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Jun 10 2016 06:27

Not sure about how relevant this is but there will be a demonstration in Sesto San Giovani (a working-class suburb of Milan) on the same day as the big day of strikes/protests in France on June 14th. Called by a few different base unions (USI-AIT, CUB, SI Cobas and SGB).. dunno if the aim is to eventually move towards strike action against the Jobs Act, though the language of the call-out seems to imply it..

More info for Italian readers here.

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Ed
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Jun 13 2016 21:36

Dunno what the story is behind this photo but it's from the Le Havre docks and looks pretty cool..

Edit to add:
Obviously tomorrow is supposed to be the big day of protests.. let's see how it all goes..

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 14 2016 13:23

Yeah, that's a sick picture.

Have the strikes/protests affected the Euro Cup?

Gulai Polye
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Jun 14 2016 15:51

It is now a general strike
http://archyworldys.com/general-strike-in-france-tough-test-for-the-euro...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWyFVUfUtnE

nokta
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Jun 14 2016 16:15

Block of CNT-F at the demonstration in Paris today:

Members of FAU were also there:

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Ed
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Jun 14 2016 16:35

Also, this happened:

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Ed
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Jun 14 2016 17:08
julio27
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Jun 14 2016 18:09

good performance of the dockers

https://paris-luttes.info/mardi-14-juin-manifestation-6129

Thrasybulus
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Jun 14 2016 20:44

Lots of people in the demonstrations in Paris today. Estimates range from 75,000 to as much as one million. The former is a police estimate and so can be more or less discounted but I'd say at least the biggest single gathering since March 31st which was with more unions and maybe around 200-300,000 people.

To begin with the police seemed to want to attack strongly to send a message that they had control but as has happened many times during the last months people hit back just as strong. So again the police couldn't do much to stop the demonstrators and plenty of targets along the route were smashed(banks, starbucks, etc). The media is focusing on the windows of a children's hospital which were also cracked in the middle of the fiercest confrontations with the police. When the police attacked it was indiscriminate and brutal, with frequent use of the water cannons, leading to a number of injuries(11) and detentions(58), 29 police are also reported injured.

A number of people regrouped later on at Republique and headed off an a spontaneous demonstration in the evening.