French youth and student revolt - Part II

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 23 2006 23:59
French youth and student revolt - Part II

This thread is a continuation of this one:

http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8484

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The background to the revolt is on libcom.org news here

Check out the now world famous libcom.org blog with constant English translations of breaking French news stories - here

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If you can help us report on the situation in France for our blog (translating, finding photos, collating info, etc.) please post here so we can contact you!

beanis
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Mar 24 2006 09:05

yes the :muggers: zere pretty much non white, but, some where white. i dont know how much of a race thing it is, i assume that it is really.

also, yes they were all masked up. they kicked off with anyone photographing them. but then again, im sure they want to make it on the telly!

toussaint
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Mar 24 2006 09:43

I will try to explain in my bad english what I think about the violence yesterday.

First, you have to know that there is a great part of the student and above all the high school pupils from the suburbs who where demonstrating peacefully.

The small groups who were around the demo were clearly from the suburbs and most of them but not all of them were blacks or arabs.

They come from northern paris and the poor surburbs where a great part of the inhabitants are non-whites. And they can developp the analysis that it's not only the government , the police or the justice who are against them but white people. But I think that as there are not real ethnic gettos in France, it is more a hate against all those people who don't live in there neighbourhood and who are often white people.

In fact they tend to identified those who are not dressed like them like near ennemies even if those people are blacks or arabs. This is more a social question than a racial question even if they clearly indentified that in this country blacks' or arabs' are often poorer thant whites'.

What is confused in there heads is why this situation, who is responsible of that and how it can be changed.

They are enraged against the system and they tend to see everyone who seems to be richer or different from them as an ennemy but at the same time they can understand that the real ennemy is the state and they turn their despair more against the police than against the students.

These kids are unemployed, they live isolated from the working class' movements, and in areas like the red belt around Paris where the communist party used to socialize and educate politically the workers but now only try to keep electorally one of its last stronghole.

They are the consequences of a double crisis.

An objective crisis, whith a high unemployement and the incapacity to experiment in concret terms that they form part of the proletariat.

A subjective crisis with the absence of political response to their social despair and the political destruction or the take over by the socialist party or the comunist party of every autonomous movements that try to emerge from those areas.

They form part of what can be called the lumpen proletariat but I don't think they can be described as ennemies. In fact they are the living proof that the left and the extreme-left do not succed to offer a political response to their social despair.

They are in fact the minority in the suburbs who clearly will not be the first to be attracted by the extreme left or the left.

And I think the state can used them indirectly to separate and weaken the movement.

The solution to this problem is to offer a political alternative to the inhabitants of the poor suburbs to chanel their fury, to turn it against the real ennemies. It will not begin with those kids who attacks somme demonstrators to steal them but with the large majority of the suburb kids who were demonstrating with us against Villepin.

It is interesting to know that there is an important rise of electoral registration immediately after the suburbs’ uprising. It is clear that there is a strong demand in the suburbs to political response to their social misery.

But there is not yet a strong answer.

And we must find a strong answer to avoid that the french working class be weakened by the bourgeoisie.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 24 2006 10:04

good stuff toussaint - thanks for the explanations.

Are there any autonomous organisations from the banilues other than the 'gangs'? Have there been any autonomous political movements? (you say many more suburb kids are joining the demonstrators than mugging them ... a good sign?)

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Steven.
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Mar 24 2006 10:35

Yeah thanks toussaint interesting stuff.

Do you know how many people were involved in the muggings? Were any attempts made to confront them?

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 11:45

Yesterday the Banlieu came to Paris. They moved with incredible efficiency through the crowd, forwards and backwards as they co-ordinated with each other. But these co-ordinations (always on the basis of friendship networks/gangs - often one estate doesn't even co-ordinate with that next door) were as much for attacks on rival gangs/banlieu, mugging of demonstrators and the requisition of drug money as attacks on the police.

It needs to be said that the demonstrators themselves may well have been substantially responsible for what happened later, at the place de la invalide. In the past, at the occupation of the Sorbonne and the riots after the eviction and on Saturday's big demo, the banlieu have fought effectively alongside those willing to fight with a very limited level of sectarian activity. Even now, in Rennes, les banlieux, the students and the militants fight together under the banner 'nous sommes tous cassuers' - we are all fighters.

There are things that should be remembered. Students and unionists have been overwhelmingly hostile to the banlieu on their demos, booing them when they overturn cars or attack police. Union stewards and their private security have been active in attacking les Banlieux and giving them to the police.

This is not to excuse their actions but merely to historicise them.

The anarchist/autonomist/lib-comist bloc from l'EHESS (the university occupied by militants some days ago for co-ordination across the movement, evicted this morning with 75 arrests) was also attacked at the place de la invalide, as they retreated to escape the trap that had been set by the police (who had completely secured all entrances to the place, which has the least materiel of any place in Paris for resistance) and the unions (who, once the militants and banlieux were in the place diverted the rest of the march away, then left through police lines.) The reasons for this are not clear. The entire episode was fucking horrible. There were a series of mobbings, and there was an absolute divide between the banlieux and the unions.

The movement in Paris is dead. The unity that was emerging within the Banlieu and between les banlieux and the students/lycées has collapsed almost certainly irreversibly. The real movement in Paris is now almost certainly towards recuperation (which also means the end of any effective resistance to the CPE, let alone capital/the state), resisted only by a few ineffective militants. Look towards Rennes.

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 24 2006 11:50
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There are things that should be remembered. Students and unionists have been overwhelmingly hostile to the banlieu on their demos, booing them when they overturn cars or attack police. Union stewards and their private security have been active in attacking les Banlieux and giving them to the police.

Ouch sad

Thats a pretty pessimistic post there sad

Cheers for people giving us an idea of what going on!

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Mar 24 2006 11:53

Cheers for the info Hermit

Hermit in Paris wrote:
The movement in Paris is dead. The unity that was emerging within the Banlieu and between les banlieux and the students/lycées has collapsed almost certainly irreversibly. The real movement in Paris is now almost certainly towards recuperation (which also means the end of any effective resistance to the CPE, let alone capital/the state), resisted only by a few ineffective militants. Look towards Rennes.

So what do you think of the possibilities for the strike on the 28th then in Paris?

And what organisations/tendencies have been responsible for this degeneration do you think?

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 11:58

One day general strikes are two-a-penny in France. They are spectacular rather than real interventions designed to empower the unions in their negotiations with the police. The only hope is if the grève generale becomes a grève sauvage, a wildcat, and workers begin with student support to mount a sustained, unmediated economic intervention. But no-one I talk to believes that is possible. No-one in the student movement is to my knowledge co-ordinating directly with workers, no-one is seeking to intervene to give workers the confidence to do it. It's a wait-and-see situation. Even the militants at EHESS were more interested in carrying out their own economic interventions (blocking the péripheriaque etc) than seeking to encourage worker self-organisation.

Very depressing.

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 12:00

The degeneration can be laid directly at the feet of the unions and the liberals, who have alienated the banlieux from the movement by moralistically condemning them, tactically isolating them, and physically intervening against them.

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Mar 24 2006 12:02
Hermit in Paris wrote:
Very depressing.

Even though you were so excited two days ago?

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 12:05

what do you mean, jack? Certainly in France the unions (especially the CGT) are incredibly deeply entwined with the state. If you think that their negotiations haven't included ways to isolate those forces outside the control of either from the real movement then you're dreaming.

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 12:07

John: yes. For two reasons. One, today was a major qualitative break. It was the first time sectarianism on both sides was clearly manifest, cam into the open. Two, I have learnt a great deal in the past days. It seems very different from England and that still influenced my thinking on Saturday.

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Mar 24 2006 12:11
Hermit in Paris wrote:
John: yes. For two reasons. One, today was a major qualitative break. It was the first time sectarianism on both sides was clearly manifest, cam into the open. Two, I have learnt a great deal in the past days. It seems very different from England and that still influenced my thinking on Saturday.

Are you not so enamoured with the union leaderships then I take it?

Are many Paris university occupations still going?

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 12:15

the unions are professional recuperators. I understand how the situs came up with the concept now, why we still use the French word.

There is one university occupation, at Censiers. I think that's all. There are very very many lycées (highschools) blocked, though I'm not sure how many, nor how many occupations.

alibi
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Mar 24 2006 12:21

still most universities are disturbed though, more yesterday that ever before, according to the ministry figures

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 12:23

the blockades are strong, and the disturbances even more widespread. Nothing seems to be coming out of them in Paris, though.

Hermit in Paris
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Mar 24 2006 12:28

Paris-Tolbiac is occupied as well. The ex-occupation council of EHESS is meeting there this afternoon.I may or may not go and listen to militant polemics.

toussaint
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Mar 24 2006 13:04

“Even now, in Rennes, les banlieux, the students and the militants fight together under the banner 'nous sommes tous cassuers' - we are all fighters. “

You are not in Rennes and you seem to misunderstand and idealize the situation there.

The Paris region concentrate the essential of the immigrants (2/3) and it’s clearly with Marseilles the place that is the more multiethnic in France. When you know that in France there is a clear problem of racial segregation, it is not difficult to imagine that in Rennes a city that is not really multiethnic, the problem caused by the existence of gettos are less important than in Paris.

It concentrates too the richer and the poorer areas of France, and with more than 10 millions inhabitants compare to 1 million for the Marseilles area, the second one, concentrates all the problem of big cities.

“Students and unionists have been overwhelmingly hostile to the banlieu on their demos, booing them when they overturn cars or attack police”

That’s not true. I’m in the middle of the movement and I can say clearly that this is not the reality for the students.

Some of them are hostile to those attacking the police or overturning cars, but they are booing the anarchists like the kids from the banlieue who are doing that.

If I disagree with these tactics , I’m against the state, not against some anarchists and some violent kids from the suburbs, because I have a clear undersatnding of what is the violence of the state.

But it is more difficult to explain to a kid who were attacked by another one that he should be in solidarity with them.

And you seem to forgot the thousands kids from the suburbs mostly blacks and arabs who were with the demonstrators and who were not attacking them like the hundred ones around the demo. The kids from the poor surbubs are not only those who attacked the police. This is a curious way to analyzed events.

I think that some anarchist/ autonomist by concentrating their action on attacking the police and overturning cars take the risk to break the movement.

I’m not against violence especially against the police but I think that when it is used in a bad way it could kill the movement.

We know we will not win by facing day after day the police but by convincing more and more people to join the movement and above all the workers.

That is the real question. Some militants don’t attack systematically the police but they concentrate on convincing workers in their place to be on strike on Tuesday and to continue after.

That is how we will win, by a general strike like in 1968 and not by small fights with police. Yes, this is funnier to play with the cops after the demos and it looks boring to take time to write, to organize, to talk in order to convince, to vote. .

And if we are all together, if the workers are with us, the use of violence to break the capitalist state will certainly be necessary but not in the same conditions that now.

And no , the movement is not dead in Paris like you say.

Perhaps you are not in the universities, you are not in the general assemblies organized everywhere. This is there that the movement is really, there that the students can build big demos and convince more and more people to come in the movement.

One thing is clear, the tactics of using violence without thinking of the consequences for the movement will have clearly proven its failure.

The problem is clear now. Can we build a general strike in this country ?

If we want to do that, it’s not by fighting with cops that we will win but by inviting workers to the universities and by convincing more and more student.

From the beginning, it was clear that only a general strike could stop this goverrnment. This is the only way to weaken capitalism.

But there is a real danger that the violence showed on tv could weakened the movement by discouraging workers to go on strike and frightening all those people who cannot understand for the moment that sometimes it can be necessary to use violence.

For those kids from the suburbs who attacked somme students, I think like I said before that there is for the moment a clear incapacity for the extreme left to offer a political alternative for them and those who are the more desesperate express their anger in an anarchic and improductive way.

But, one more time, we should not forget that the large majority of the kids from the suburbs are not attacking the demos, they are in the demos.

I must add that I'm black and I'm coming from the french west-indies and I have many friens living in the suburbs who were demonstrating in the middle of the demos.

So I do not agree with the way Hermit exposes the situation.

beanis
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Mar 24 2006 13:54
toussaint wrote:
“Students and unionists have been overwhelmingly hostile to the banlieu on their demos, booing them when they overturn cars or attack police”

That’s not true. I’m in the middle of the movement and I can say clearly that this is not the reality for the students.

Some of them are hostile to those attacking the police or overturning cars, but they are booing the anarchists like the kids from the banlieue who are doing that.

If I disagree with these tactics , I’m against the state, not against some anarchists and some violent kids from the suburbs, because I have a clear undersatnding of what is the violence of the state.

But it is more difficult to explain to a kid who were attacked by another one that he should be in solidarity with them.

I have many friens living in the suburbs who were demonstrating in the middle of the demos.

So I do not agree with the way Hermit exposes the situation.

Good points.

from what i saw, yes it was a minority of gengs attacking people and each other.

Also, this situation, and yesterdays demos have really REALLY changed my views on demonstrations ant violence. before i was anti violent in all senses. now i can see why people last out at the police, BUT i also still think that the kids who attacked other kids, then the police, were out of order. mainly because i hate violence for the sake of it. they were attacking police in a way that was pointless and totally uneccesery. especially when i see a young lad being dragged and throzn into the police line by some of these kids, i mean, that is just horrible to watch, and you really know then that its out of control.

I think thought, without knowing the situation very well here, that all is not lost, i mean, ok, there has been these bad incidents, but in some ways it hopefully should make people pull together.

Yesterday was like NOTHING i have seen in the UK, and i realse the reason i feel so anti violent in the UK is because when your running around london side streets shoving cops and chucking stuff, and getting nicked, its so pointless. violence on demos i have been on before is not necessery atall. but yesterday, the violence was horrible, but spelled out the desperation of the situation. still, i do not like it. and focus should be on getting more people involved rather than small battles with the cops like toussaint said.

beanis
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Mar 24 2006 13:57

p.s ive got some bloody throat infection, soi cant go to anything else at the moment, i was looking forward to meeting people ane seeing the unis. hopefully i should recover soon, i will continue to read this with hope though.

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Mar 24 2006 14:00
beanis wrote:
p.s ive got some bloody throat infection, soi cant go to anything else at the moment, i was looking forward to meeting people ane seeing the unis. hopefully i should recover soon, i will continue to read this with hope though.

suprised to hear you are there in the middle of all this! Stay safe comrade! red n black star

beanis
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Mar 24 2006 14:04

yeah its unlike me! i havnt been doing stuff for ages, but thats just cos mcr is annoying me regarding anarchist stuff. maybe this is me getting re politicised.

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Mar 24 2006 14:09

BBC: Huge blast rocks French college

confused

alibi
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Mar 24 2006 14:26

i don't think so J, no, was in a chemistry lab

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Mar 24 2006 14:58

This is from the CNT-F:

Après le succès incontestable des manifestations des 16 et 18 mars, la

CNT-FTE appelle l'ensemble des personnels de l'Education Nationale à

poursuivre et intensifier la mobilisation contre le CPE, le CNE et la loi

sur l'égalité des chances. Notre fédération a déposé, comme chaque semaine

depuis le 07/02, des préavis de grève couvrant les personnels de la

maternelle à l'université. Nous sommes totalement solidaires des étudiants

qui bloquent ou occupent les universités, des personnels de celles-ci qui

sont en grève reconductible depuis plusieurs semaines tout comme des

personnels du secondaire qui débrayent en soutien avec les actions de leurs

élèves. En dehors de la lutte anti-CPE, les problèmes engendrés par 4

années de démolition systématique du service public d'éducation

ressurgissent, les occupations d'établissements scolaires à travers la

France l'illustrent bien. Ce combat est le même : fédérons nos luttes !

Malgré cette montée en puissance de la protestation, le gouvernement reste

sourd, persiste dans son intransigeance et cherche par tous les moyens à

attiser les tensions; les arrestations arbitraires et violentes en sont la

preuve. Par son mépris et ses provocations, le gouvernement est le seul

responsable des violences. Cela n'entame en rien notre résolution et nous

réaffirmons : pas de retrait, pas de paix ! Ainsi nous appelons l'ensemble

des personnels à être en grève le jeudi 23 mars et à rejoindre les

manifestations prévues ce jour-là, à l'appel de la coordination nationale

des universités en lutte ainsi que par les syndicalistes de GDF en

opposition à la privatisation. Il est nécessaire de faire monter la

pression en préparation de la journée de grève générale du 28 mars, auquel

évidement la CNT FTE s'associe. Comme en 2003, (re)forgeons nos outils de

lutte (comité de grève, collectifs, AGs démocratiques) afin de décider la

reconduction de la grève partout où cela sera possible dans les prochains

jours. Le 28/03 doit être le point de départ d'un vaste mouvement de grève

faisant échec à la démolition, par ce gouvernement, de notre cadre de

travail et de nos vies ! La casse sociale mérite bien une grève générale,

organisons-là ! Le secrétariat fédéral de la CNT-FTE.

After the undeniable success of the manifestations of March the 16 and 18, Cnt-fte invites the whole of the personnel of National Education to continue and intensify the mobilization against the CPE, the CNE and the law on the equal opportunity. Our federation deposited, like each week since the 07/02, of the strike notices covering the personnel of the nursery school at the university. We are completely interdependent of the students who block or occupy the universities, of the personnel of those which have been in renewable strike for several weeks just like of the personnel of the secondary which disconnects in support with the actions of their pupils. Apart from the anti-CPE fight, the problems generated by 4 years of systematic demolition of the public utility of education re-appear, the school occupations of establishments through France illustrate it well. This combat is the same one: let us federate our fights! In spite of this rise to power of the protest, the government remains deaf, persists in its intransigence and seeks by all the means to poke the tensions; the arbitrary and violent arrests of it are the proof. By its contempt and its provocations, the government is the only person in charge for violences. That does not start of anything our resolution and we reaffirm: no withdrawal, not of peace! Thus we invite the whole of the personnel to be in strike Thursday March 23 and to join the demonstrations envisaged this day, with the call of the national coordination of the universities in fight like by the trade unionists of GDF in opposition to privatization. It is necessary to make assemble the pressure in preparation of the day of general strike of March 28, which cavity CNT FTE joins. As in 2003, (let us re)forgeons our tools for fight (strike committee, collectives, AGs democratic) in order to decide the renewal of the strike everywhere where that will be possible in the next days. The 28/03 must be the starting point of a vast movement of strike making failure to the demolition, by this government, of our framework of work and our lives! Social breakage deserves a general strike well, organize-there! The federal secretariat of Cnt-fte.

Ace
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Mar 24 2006 15:07
Hermit in Paris wrote:
The movement in Paris is dead. The unity that was emerging within the Banlieu and between les banlieux and the students/lycées has collapsed almost certainly irreversibly. .

Well, I think you're wrong.

But, it entirely depends on what "movement" you were expecting and whether or not you think the kids from the banlieu and the students share the same objectives.

I don't want to jump the gun, but to me it just looks like a fairly inevitable class struggle emerging within a movement that has, up to now, been supported by 70% of the nation and has been virtually unopposed on the streets.

In that sense, where's the surprise?

The students protesting against precarity have something in common with the kids from '93 who can't get jobs because they are black or brown, but common sense should show you there is a limit to the communality between a precarious job and no job at all.

The movement in Paris and France is about to have the head of Villepin. No small achievement. What happens on the streets. How the CPE fits into the wider anti-liberalisation struggle in France is another issue.

Poss one best left to the PCF wink

Ace
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Mar 24 2006 15:08

double post roll eyes

sam05
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Mar 24 2006 15:37

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74964

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 24 2006 15:59

What's the news about Cyril Ferez??

Are there any other demands being made by striking unions (a la '68 )??

What evidence of demonstrator muggings has there been outside of Paris??

What efforts have students/"legit" demonstrators made to combat antisocial elements within the movement??

etc.

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Mar 24 2006 16:10

the bbc were apprently reporting this but then pulled it:

Quote:
PARIS, France (AP) -- A large explosion rocked a chemistry school in eastern France on Friday, killing one person and injuring another, authorities said.

Preliminary indications were that the explosion was not caused by a bomb or act of terrorism.

The blast occurred on the ground floor of the Superior National School of Chemistry in Mulhouse, near France's border with Germany, and was followed by a fire, officials said.