This page shows events from March 2016 to the end of 2016
For events starting at the beginning of 2017 up until the present. see here.
This has been due to over-long pages causing technical hitches.
France: cars burnt in Strasbourg, Brest, Vannes, Creil, Montataire, Nogent sur Oise, Compiègne, Carcassonne, Mantes la Jolie, Chanteloup les Vignes, Nanterre, Rennes, Nantes, Forbach, Watrelos and Poitiers
France,Trégor, Lannion (Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany) : windows of forensic radiology office smashed & tagged with named forensic scientist rightly described as “collaborator” “This action was aimed particularly at Remy Bonfils, a forensic pathologist and radiologist known for performing bone tests in the service of the state. This action seeks to highlight the actions of these cops in white coats, participants, too often forgotten, in repression. These tests, intrusive as well as humiliating, include scans to study calcification of the bones of the wrist as well as thorough examinations of the body (palpation of the breasts, weight gain, size, examination of teeth and hair … ) and serve to get rid of and enclose those which are considered as significant. Because doctors are in the service of control and surveillance technologies. Because they serve the state and its logic of security. Because under the guise of ethics, their deontology allows them to be detach themselves from any responsibility for their actions. Because they seek to bring our bodies into social and moral norms especially with regard to women’s bodies and reproduction. Because they seek to stifle our “deviations” with masquerades and diagnostics. Because they work hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical companies and all the participants in deathly projects on humans and non-humans (DNA research, Genetics, biotechnology, etc.) and seek to bring more and more technologies into our lives and bodies. Because they think they know what is good for us. They are not neutral, they are responsible and are our enemies – the silence of pacification has lasted long enough. Let us attack them and the enterprises in which they work everywhere. Through these acts we also express our solidarity with the people who make the choice of critique through attack. Solidarity and couRAGE with the comrades who led the offensive, without mediation, against the physical workings of the control of people with or without official documents. Today, they are accused of several attacks (in particular) against the construction of a detention centre in Brussels and against the world that produces them. Let us not wait until tomorrow to bite the hand of those who set themselves up as master and expert. Let us unleash our bodies and our desires“
France, Valence: new prison riot “”… several cells …were set on fire…Shortly after 12:00 on Sunday, two detainees threatened a prison officer with a “knife” , in order to steal his set of keys…The supervisor was then released and was not injured…The detainees then opened cells on the three floors of this section intended for long sentences. A fire broke out …Several cells were burned and water damage was reported but no injuries were reported “...Montpellier: Socialist Party office windows broken, anarchist tags
France (Hauts-de-Seine) : blockades of several high schools “An outbreak of violence this Tuesday morning in front of a middle school and three high schools…. The incidents started at 7:30 am with a gathering in Gennevilliers in front of the Galilee high school against the end of “zones of priority” education. Around 10 am, nearly a hundred young people stood in front of the school and projectiles were thrown at the police. At 8:30, garbage cans were set on fire in Clichy, in front of the René-Auffray high school, a priori for a completely different reason: the departure of the cook and the delivery of dishes to the canteen replacing “homemade” cooking. At 10 o’clock, another garbage fire was reported this time in Colombes in front of the Moulin-Joly College, not far from the Lycée Maupassant. At the same time in Suresnes, pupils organize a blockade in front of the Lycée Paul-Langevin and set fire to garbage cans whilst others were in their classes…The reason for this last blockade…: the lack of heating, of equipment and the condition of the premises. Firemen intervened and the main entrance was blocked up, but courses were not interrupted.” It should be pointed out that the “zones of priority education” mentioned as the reason for the first conflict at Galilee school were put in place by the former president, Mitterand, as a way of controlling the schoolkids, whilst being publicised as a method of giving the possibility of obtaining better more stable jobs, etc. Whilst it gave extra money to these “priority” schools, it more importantly involved the eldest brothers of kids, who’d been to prison, going into the schools, giving advice on how not to do what they’d done, and supervising the kids, calming them down, etc.
France: Vinci (company involved in prison construction and the Notre Dames de Lande airport project) becomes the object of a fake press release, by supporters of the resistance at Notre Dame de Landes This press release claimed that there’d been 3.4 billion euros worth of accounting irregularities and that the director of finance had been sacked. It included a fake link to a site which was almost exactly the same as the Vinci site, with a phone number to the pre-paid mobile phone of a person who confirmed the report. The media publishes the information immediately and the price drops 18%. Since it is unprecedented to publish such things during stock trading hours, and suspicions were aroused, a 2nd fake communique is issued with the sentence “Malicious people have harmed our group by diverting information that has been leaked from our offices”, which implicitly confirmed the content of the initial communique. Just before the closing of trading, Vinci issues a very clear denial, but they still finished 4% down. The “pirates” welcomed Vinci’s stock market downturn, and attacked them for a variety of projects, notably the Notre Dame des Landes airport, whose forest “already feels its retreat under concrete”, and “the blows that this company constantly gives to the Nepalese and the Indians who die every day on their construction sites in Qatar “.
France, Toulouse : Eiffage Construction Van Destroyed by Flames Eiffage is a large construction company with projects including the Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high speed rail link.…St.Denis: 2nd night of garbage bins set on fire in response to heavy-handed arrests
Montauban small farmers & agricultural workers show what they think about the EU; however, many of these are not-so-small farmers, who are in fact petit-bourgeois bosses employing lots of wage slaves, so this apparent independent opposition should be taken with a heavy pinch of salt
France, Yvelines: 4 attacks on cops within 5 hours “At Trappes, at 10.40 pm Monday, a dozen youths threw an incendiary device at police who were intervening with firefighters at Clement Ader Street to extinguish a bin on fire. The bottle missed its target and the attackers dispersed. About 11pm … public lighting was cut on a transformer. In the process, the officers of the BAC, who were on hand to monitor the premises, were attacked by forty people. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at them without touching them…Earlier in the evening, shortly before 8pm, a bottle possibly containing acid was thrown into the courtyard of the police station of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. At 1 am, a municipal policeman from Carrières-sous-Poissy was injured on the shoulder after receiving a stone. Buses were also stoned at Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie and Trappes. No injuries were reported”…Bretagne (Lorient): 30 12-15-year-olds set fire to bins, smash bus shelter, stone cops, break cop car window…Rennes: bins and cars burnt, cops and fire engines stoned in several parts of town…La Réunion: restaurant looted, bins burnt clashes with cops after arrest of motorbike rider…Lyon: bins and cars burnt in 5 different areas of town…Marseille: clashes, bin burnt, stones thrown, as cops evict social squat involved in anti-Labour Law struggle (video)…Seine-et-Marne: police station attacked with stones, BAC cops attacked with molotovs…Essonne: cops surrounded by about 20 youths and stoned
France, New Caledonia (French department in the Pacific), Nouméa: 6 cops hurt, 5 by bullet wounds, as riot develops after killing of young escaped prisoner by cops; major road blockaded for several hours – armoured cars sent in Also this in English… video in French here
France, Val-d’Oise: dozens of youths clash with cops after they intervene to stop afternoon rodeo…Yvelines (Mureaux): bins burnt, cops attacked with stones by about 25 youths…Dunkirk: molotovs thrown into courtyard of police station
France, Lyon: molotov thrown at police station “It could be revenge for a security operation conducted by the police on Thursday in the Saulaie neighborhood, resulting in the arrest of several individuals for throwing stones at a police car. They were immediately given a prison sentence”
France, Montpellier: another cop demo complaining about their unhappy lot I went to a counter demo there, where we numbered about 30, maybe a bit more. A brief leaflet pointing out the fact that 148 cops have been killed in 12 years whilst 500 people die each year in work “accidents”, mainly on building sites; this was followed by a list of fundamentally violent aspects of this society. In response to this, the BAC cops came and stood in front of us with their psychotic smiles to prevent us moving towards the cop demo about 100 metres away. So, instead of moving, we placed, in front of the leading banner, some mini-“tombstones” listing some of the people killed by cops over the last couple of years, including Remi Fraisse, the 2nd anniversary of whose murder was this very same day. Then the riot cops arrived in a show of force, coming up close and very obviously ready to attack, batons at the ready. But the final bit of over-kill was really quite flattering: 11 young soldiers, each very publicly carrying a large machine gun, arrived along with several “vigipirate” cars with other soldiers in them, to make a grand display of state power. And all this for just 30 of us – clearly not intending to do battle (eg no-one was really masked) in the middle of the main square of the town, with lots of tourists and people drinking their coffee or eating meals in the square looking on. Why these soldiers were ordered to do this is anybody’s guess: maybe to imply that “anti-authoritarians” = terrorists or just to impose an image of state terror. But flattery will get them nowhere….Most depressing of all, however, was the sight of bourgeois, middle class and would-be middle class people going up to the cops to lick their arse with tongues of flattery for their “difficult job”…Meantime, in Calais: “…teenagers were lured out of the site of the camp in the afternoon with the promise of transport to a reception centre where they could be assessed for asylum or reunification with families in the UK. However, after an hour no bus had arrived. Police units emerged in force with riot shields, teargas and taser guns and began to kettle the group, pressing them into a side street in an industrial estate. Some of the refugees were in tears as it appeared that they would be sleeping on the streets again….One Afghan teenager, wrapped in a yellow and green sleeping bag, said: “Fuck France, Fuck Britain. You are racists.” He was in tears as a French volunteer tried to console him by asking him not to be angry with aid workers. He retorted: “You didn’t have to sleep on the side of the road last night – you have documentation, you have money. Fuck France.” [SF] And this gives a list of companies profiting from the eviction:
Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS): freight searching, detention and prisoner
Tascor: holding facilities and detainee transport
Biro Sécurité: biometric technology and security guards in the
“Container Camp” and Jules Ferry Centre
ATMG: Security on the container camp construction site
Mondial Protection: port and rail freight security
Wagtail: Border detection dogs
Walls, Fences, and Construction:
Vinci, including subsidiaries Sogea and Eurovia: camp demolitions,
wall construction, and just about everything else …
Jackson’s Fencing: 2015 fence
Zaun Ltd.: 2014 NATO fence
Groupe CW (Clôtures Michel Willoquaux): container camp fences 2015
Logistic Solutions: containers for the Container Camp
L3 Communications: X-Ray Scanning Equipment
Roke Manor Research / Chemring Group: PMMWI (Passive Millimeter-Wave
Imaging) and Vehicle Scanning
Thales: port security and drones
FLIR Systems: thermal cameras
Smiths Detection: X-Ray technology
AMG Systems: CCTV technology for Eurotunnel
Clearview Communications: Eurotunnel CCTV
Rapiscan Systems Ltd. / OSI Systems: X-Ray Technology
Scan-X Security: X-Ray Technology
Chess Dynamics: day/night vision systems for Border Force boats
SmartWitness: DIY truck security systems
VisionTrack: DIY truck security systems
Deportation and Detention:
Twin Jet: deportation jet charter
Police support services:
IBIS (Accor S.A.): hotel of choice for the CRS riot police
Buzzlines Travel: bus transport of UK Border Force officers
SAE Alsetex: teargas
Etienne Lacroix: teargas
Nobel Sport: teargas, most common variety used in the Jungle
SAPL: stun grenades
Brügger & Thomet
Combined Systems: teargas and rubber bullet guns
France, Calais: more clashes, fires etc. “…migrants setting fire to tents, bins, shelters and toilets in protest against the camp’s closure.”…Rennes: police station covered in graffiti: “No nations, no borders”, “ACAB”, etc.
France, Calais: more clashes “..refugees and asylum seekers started pelting bottles and stones in protest at plans by French authorities to move thousands of people from the area and then dismantle the makeshift camp.”
France, St Etienne: lots of tags and destruction during wildcat demo against factory producing cop weapons “…on a giant cardboard reproduction of a flash-ball was written: “a bullet to restore social peace.” [ also: “this toy kills and mutilates “]…demonstrators, wearing balaclavas this time took advantage of the absence of security forces near the march to tag walls and windows, particularly referring to environmental activist Remi Fraisse, who died two years ago at the dam site at Sivens. The most virulent of them also broke bus shelters and put ATM machines out of order… A window of a bank was broken and the room of the Departmental Federation of PS [Socialist Party] ransacked…Computer equipment was destroyed, records and lots of documents were scattered in the street. To enter the local activists had raised the metal shutters and smashed windows. On the facade they put tags, particularly in connection with the Labour Law”
“Verney-Carron [state arms manufacturer] – final warning”
“This toy gun maims and kills”
…Calais: more clashes “..refugees and asylum seekers started pelting bottles and stones in protest at plans by French authorities to move thousands of people from the area and then dismantle the makeshift camp.”…Seine-St.Denis: 3 different attacks on cops in different areas within 24 hours “Aulnay Saturday night, midnight, a car of the Brigade (BSQ) of the district of Sevran was targeted by a Molotov cocktail near the Galion, an estate of of 3000. The object exploded next to the car, causing some damage. No injuries to policemen, other than to their feelings…At Villetaneuse on Saturday night on the Allende estate. While they were conducting an arrest, police saw their vehicle targeted by several individuals who stoned it from the upper floors of some buildings. No injuries were reported. In Lilas on Friday night shortly after 11pm, a police car was stoned whilst patrolling the estate of Gagarin. The police crew was attacked by twenty individuals who threw concrete blocks on the vehicle and tried to open the doors. The police turned back. One of them was slightly injured.”…Nanterre: cop car gets stones thrown at it from upper floors of estate; cops retreat…La Courneuve (Paris banlieu): bus and car burnt
France, Isere: town hall windows smashed, over 10 vehicles and a dozen bins burnt, anti-gendarmes tags after seizure of cannabis…Seine-et-Marne (Melun): 2 attacks on cops in 2 different areas “Thursday night around 6.30 pm, police were attacked in the district of Montaigu, in Melun, when they wanted to arrest a wanted man. They were stoned by ten people and had to make use of flash-ball and disencirclement grenades. Two police vehicles were damaged and three bins burnt. …Earlier, around 1.30 pm, in Dammarie-les-Lys, officers were stoned when they intervened in a fight ….”
France, Paris: cops demonstrating about their unhappy lot defending the ruling society threaten anti-cop demonstrators with guns Should be pointed out that the next day, and the one after that (20th and 21st) an evening demo by cops in Montpellier, demos which are taking place throughout France, was verbally insulted (“everybody hates the police”, “cops maim, cops kill” etc.) by about 40 anti-authoritarians without the cops retaliating, though they were pretty pissed off. Some said it was the only town in France where anti-cop demonstrators got away with it – though almost no other town had anti-cop demonstrators. On the 21st passers-by, unconnected to the anti-cop demo, joined in the haranguing of the filth….But who needs a demo when you’ve got this constantly recurring: Vénissieux (outskirts of Lyon): 40 youths attack BAC cops with molotovs and paving stones (video included) More here…and elsewhere in Lyon, cops harassed by angry crowd trying to free 2 arrested youths; one manages to escape
France, Indre-et-Loire: 2 local Socialist Party deputies’ offices tagged with pro-migrant graffiti “No nation”, “rotten Socialist Party”… “No border”, “long live migrants!”…”Evict ministers!”, “ZADs everywhere”, “Refugees welcome”…Toulouse: administrative court’s locks and digicode sabotaged with glue by anti-authoritarians
France, Seine-St.Denis: headmaster of high school hit, molotov cocktail and fireworks thrown into school, cops attacked with heavy fireworks by about 50 youths outside…Grenoble: cops stoned by youths during arrest on estate…Var (La Seyne): cop car damaged as 20 or so hooded youths chuck projectiles at it from estate
Pi writes: “[We should] be more careful about the news on French attacks in estates, suburbs, poor neighbourhoods, etc. Some comrades who manage other sites choose to put them all, but I think it contributes to giving priority to form over content.
These attacks are generally of two types : those linked to local anger against cops, and those linked to drug-dealing. Of course, those who deal drugs in the estates can as well feel anger against cops, which is of course justified.
I don’t even want to engage in endless researchs about each attack. Drugdealing in french estates is pretty antisocial and often prevails over fair relationships between people, but it’s not even the case in every place. And the presence of “gangs” is often an argument used by the cops to justify their actions…clearly, very organized gangs such as those in the US don’t exist in France. The estates’ population is in general pretty mixed, and lots of elements of foreign culture and traditions’ remain. Even those who deal drugs are usually just groups with loose ties between “members”…they don’t have particular rules, identity, etc and even their territory claim is pretty light.
What happens for a few weeks in “La Grande Borne” (a big estate in Grigny and its neighbour town), with the recent molotov cocktail attacks against cops, seems to be linked to groups protecting their trade from police. Some elements indicate it…and so far I haven’t found anything indicating that the attacks were made out of pure rebellion. Which is enough I think to be careful, and certainly not to engage in such glorifying as calling all this “Insurrectionary France” (https://fireonthehorizon.noblogs.org/post/2016/10/15/meanwhile-in-insurrectionary-france-four-cops-get-burnt-in-molotov-attack/).
To give another example…a prostitute was arrested in Lyon, a group of guys intervened and clashed with cops :
Given the pretty machist culture in French estates, I doubt this group did such a thing as engaging in a battle out of pure solidarity with unfairness, even less with a prostitute ! Never heard of estate guys engaging in “pimping” either…so I really don’t have a clue what happened there. But it’s also enough to be careful about it.
What happened in La Seyne sur Mer on 17-10 was linked to a drug raid.
So basically I’d give priority to news in which elements indicate that actions have to do with a feeling of rebellion with possibilities of anti-authoritarian developments (to put it very simply)…”
France, Savoie: prisoners torch parts of prison – 50 cells out of use Video here… Gard: riot cops defend bullfight with tear gas…Marseille: 2 cops hurt by projectiles thrown at them from estate during car chase
France, Yvelines: about 100 rioters attack annex of town hall, smashing every window; cop car attacked with molotov; cops attacked with projectiles…France, Calais: more clashes as state prepares to build 13 foot high wall (video)
France, Lyon: cops attacked by 15-20 individuals whilst trying to arrest young woman for prostitution…on average 544 cops injured per month this year so far, up 14% on last year…Paris: anti-cop graffiti found in Sorbonne…
Hit quick, hit hard, a good cop is a dead cop
It should be pointed out that this might well be to do with the cops’ cracking down on drug-dealing, though it’s hard to say.
….Montpellier: Socialist Party offices window smashed during wild meandering nighttime carnival in solidarity with Notre Dame de Landes Lots of tags (“to err is urban” as a detourenement of “to err is human” was one of the better ones), many of them anti-state and anti-banks – in fact, one bank got the whole of its windows covered in white paint sprayed from an adapted fire extinguisher; lots of fireworks, loud and/or beautiful; lots of small-types of traffic-slowing “barricades” (bins lain down in the roads, etc.). More here … ….demo against “Ligue de Midi” fascists prevent the fascists from escaping their caged-in demo in park
France, Seine-St.Denis: 2 cars burnt, 3 overturned as dozens of hooded youths attack cops in front of high school …Montpellier, 34: squatted land evicted, some eople hurt, some arrests…P.M. Valls announces construction of 33 new prisons
sites of the first 9 new prisons to be constructed
France, Brest: cop car stoned as they try to stop “rodeo” (stolen car race) …Pantin: a utility of a company involved in prison construction burnt in soidarity with people being put on trial in Italy’s Opération Scripta Manent
Paris: high school blockaded with burning bins, CCTV sabotaged, banks attacked This took place on a day where nothing was organised nationally.
“It’s beautiful – a high school which is burning”
“1. The Lycee Voltaire was not blocked because the police were in front and prevented the students from bringing garbage bins while deliberately aiming at them with a flash-ball at face level . A similar situation in other high schools last week and today.
2. Bergson High School is the only school that held a blockade last week and today, where there were 200 to 300 people.
3. Bins were set alight and everyone moved on to Lycee Voltaire to get hold of people at recess.
4. In front of the school, the administration locked students in, claiming that there would be risks. What risks? Use of the state of emergency against rebellious youth. It is the administration which blocked the high school students because they could not do it themselves.
5. Wildcat demo to Nation [area of city], where there were a few tags and banks attacked [and the manufacturer of prisons and CRA – ‘Bouygues’…].
6. The metro is taken collectively to go to Paris 1 [university] and try to get into the faculty whilst chanting messages of solidarity with Abdoulaye. He is a young guy threatened with expulsion, while this is a political [sic] refugee [sic!]. And he risks death in his country. The CRS block the entrance of the faculty, but slogans are chanted.
Voltaire cops defending to the death the right to say stuff they disagree with
“The students, many of whom had their faces concealed by a hood or mask, also shouted “Justice for Adama! “, referring to Adama Traoré who died in July in the Val-d’Oise during his arrest by the police, and” Everybody hates the police! “.
They stacked bins outside the gates of the establishment of the 11th arrondissement, tagged slogans “It’s closed” and “Burn your school.” They sported a banner of MILI (inter independent struggles Movement) proclaiming “Youth is here, it will explode throughout Panama.” The MILI, a movement of high school students and Uni students, had called September 22nd a day of the “fight against the labor law and its world” and to denounce police violence.The Labor law, contested since the spring in the streets was promulgated on 9 August. In front of the gates of the Voltaire high school, a girl had put a white sign “Youth Arise”. Another high school student was trying to break a security camera installed a few meters higher, using a stick.” [On a video from Taranis News, a metro camera is seen to explode]
Paris: inflamed desire
And windows will know the perfume of the stone and of morning’s air
France, Drome: cops and firemen ambushed as 50 or so youths burn closed kindergarden The video accompanying this report tries to make out that it was a gratuitous attack on a kindergarden, even though it had been closed for several months pending its proposed transformation into a library. But what can you expect from journalists?
Vivonne: a hundred or so prisoners revolt and set fire to part of prison More here “A dozen cells were destroyed”
Isere: 20 classes at Middle School smashed up as France returns to school “Computer equipment, tables, completely shattered doors as well as broken windows and tags on the walls…The damage is estimated at around 50,000 euros”
Le Havre: 6a.m. home arrest of 2 dockers for their participation in demo of 14th June provokes solidarity strike stopping, according to the CGT, all port activity…strike ends after dockers released from police custody
wheels on fire, driven by fury, Le Havre
Nantes: funeral procession for the ruling Socialist Party “”with mourning clothes, red roses in buttonholes, candles …” The funeral procession was organized “with dignity and restraint, in the streets of Nantes.” The procession entered the Bouffay neighborhood chanting anti PS slogans. …Galerie Lafayette’s [expensive department store] windows were broken, tags inscribed on the walls and on bank ATMs” Tags included “For Adama” (young guy killed by cops in Parisian banlieu in July) and “The PS is dead”. The whole “funeral” was connected to the cancellation of the Socialist Party’s summer university; see this in French.
French state plans massive insecurity drive in schools for beginning of September, using terrorist threat as pretext for even heavier control of the institutions of miseducation “Over 3,000 reservists of the police will be mobilized for the next school year…To prepare the staff and students in crisis, three simulation exercises will be conducted in each school, including providing for an “assassination attempt”….As part of this preparation for the terrorist threat, the Ministry of Education provides training for students, appropriate to their age and understanding of events. For younger people, it will not raise the subject directly… For older ones, the subject will be addressed more directly…. Three new police centers will be open to welcome teachers, principals or school inspectors….The Minister of Education said that 50 million euros will be devoted to the issue of the security of the institutions, in addition to 70 million already paid as part of Interdepartmental Delinquency Prevention.”
Cantal (Aurillac): festive confrontations with cops at festival “Clashes broke out Friday in the late afternoon between security forces and hundreds of festival goers…between 300 and 400 festival-goers demonstrated against the police presence and security measures imposed on this festival, especially against the searches at the entrance of the city center… For the demonstrators, the police presence “changes the tone” of the festival…In the city center of Aurillac, protesters set up barricades, stoned cars, lit fires and attacked shop windows….A hundred demonstrators forced the end of police roadblocks in the afternoon…The police retaliated launching teargas grenades.”
More here in English
Apparently when the cops launched teargas grenades, more than 100 people spontaneously picked up scattered cardboard posters and everyone together wafted them up and down in the air so that the teargas clouds retreated back towards the police lines. Afterwards someone put up some large graffiti saying “One solution – ventilation”.
Givors (close to Lyon): firemen stoned whilst putting out car fire after 2nd night of attempt to burn annex of town hall “Since the beginning of summer, vehicles and dustbins have been burnt, even a school has been the target of molotov cocktails”.
Cantal: anti-fascists piss & shit all over Front National offices; furniture smashed, front window completely destroyed, chairs stolen, texts and posters destroyed, graffiti like “here is the theatre’s urinal” painted on walls
France, Meuse (Bure): 6 rocket fireworks fired at low flying cop helicopter surveilling eviction of anti-nuclear occupation…Grande Synthe: motorway blocked in both directions by 150 migrants…Tarn: 4 ATMs sabotaged in solidarity with those arrested for bank robbery in Aix-la-Chapelle
Toulouse: sabotage of nuclear power vehicles “On the night of August 10 to 11, we punctured the tyres of several “Electricity Transport Network” vehicles and a vehicle of the SNCF [French national railway company] , which amongst other defects, covets nuclear waste. The fight against nuclear power can be conducted anywhere at any time. We undertook this action to express our solidarity with the individuals fighting against the nuclear dump in Bure. Through this modest attack, we also salute the comrades accused of robberies in Aachen and the comrades of CCF, against whom the repression continues unabated.”
Paris: legal demonstration by undocumented migrants blocked by riot cops “Given the proliferation of informal settlements of migrants which are replenished regularly in northern Paris, the police, who have orders to dismantle them,have been using early intervention and strong-arm methods over the last few days… This Saturday, August 6, they [the refugees] shouted their anger in the streets. Despite the Prefecture’s official authorization of the demonstration in Place de la Republique in Paris, they were blocked by riot police beforehand, in Flanders Avenue. Violence, arrests, beatings, tear gas. …. “350 people arrested in 4 days, 25 people hospitalized, 5 people in prison. Sleeping in the street is illegal in France today, when you are an asylum seeker, when one is undocumented. This is war, “he says. Abudiana is Eritrean. He has been in Paris for only a week. “We, we came here to ask for protection, and make an application for asylum in France. And what I have suffered is an absolutely unspeakable violence. Every day, the police come and tear gas us. Every day at 4 am they force us to gather our belongings and make us leave, “
Calais: truck used by cops to block tunnel set on fire by furious migrants “…the French police placed a truck to block the migrants from entering the tunnel. This provoked a savage response from the violent outsiders. “The truck was set on fire last night, where illegal immigrants had set up a blockade, piled trees, stones and so on. After they began to throw bottles with an inflammable mixture to burn down the barricade, they also hit the truck.” The language of this report clearly shows its stance: not that I care whether they’re legal or not, many of them are clearly not “illegal” by state definitions of the term.
Toulouse: about 40 youths attack forces of disorder and de-arrest scooter driver who ran into cop “…a scooter was controlled by the police before scooting off, hitting one of the policemen. The young driver was immediately arrested. Following this eventful arrest, a crowd of 30 to 40 people formed, and clashes took place with the forces of order who had to use tear gas. During the operation, and while the police were being stoned, the arrested individual managed to escape.”
This Daily Mail article, including video of the incident, makes out the passengers weren´t at all given warning and had had a narrow miss. And this makes out that “Allahu akhbar” was shouted out by the group chucking the molotov, though this was not reported, as far as I know, in the French press, even the most obviously conservative press (not that shouting out “Allahu akhbar” necessarily means adherence to Islamic fundamentalism).
Doullens: high school smashed up “The laboratory has been particularly affected, says the police. But they also attacked the doors, the windows, they made holes in walls and overturned several pieces of furniture. “
Niort: front window of Socialist Party HQ covered in shit – so no change there “The front window of the headquarters of the Socialist Party, rue de la Boule d’Or, in Niort, was covered with excrement and inscriptions referring to 49.3 [parliamentary method by which the labour law was forced through in the National Assembly without even the pretence of bourgeois democarcy – neither parliamentary debate nor vote amongst duputies], on the night of Monday to Tuesday. “Nothing justifies such acts. Any citizen wishing to engage in a debate, express any opinion whatsoever, solicit a point of view, can do so by all the means offered by our democracy: correspondence, inquiries, requests on social networks. Deviating from these methods is to enter into an escalation that can only lead to the worst,”…The federation of the party is pursuing a legal complaint. For her part, the Socialist Regional Councillor Nathalie Lanzi denounced the “irresponsible perpetrators who should be ashamed: unable to exchange ideas, only able to wreck. In these days of bereavement [reference to the masssacre in Nice and other horrors] when we must express our solidarity sensitively and fraternally, what does such vandalism and unwillingness to accept republican legality represent? “.
Besancon: old building recently sold cheaply by local state to anti-abortionist and anti-contraceptive Catholic priests attacked with 20 paintbombs and graffiti The graffiti said “Neither God nor master”, “Fascist Catholics out of our lives”, and “Down with the skullcap, long live the Dutch cap!” and the attack was accompanied by a communiqué.
Val d’Oise: 5th or 6th night of riots Not sure how many nights of riots there’ve been, as the indifference of reporters can´t even maintain (in this sloppy French language report linked to here at least) any consistency in the date of the death of this young guy: “A youth stands with his hunting rifle at his shoulder in the middle of the estate, surrounded by a dozen rioters and opens fire. Shooters, crouching behind shrubbery, shoot the gendarmerie or police vehicles that go past them ten meters away, and immediately run away, disappearing into the darkness. Investigators from the Versailles Research Section are seeking gunmen with shotguns who have targeted security forces in recent days in Persian and Beaumont-sur-Oise. Eight police vehicles (police, gendarmerie and CRS) were targetted during the riots that marked Persian and Beaumont-sur-Oise since the death of Adama Traoré on Tuesday, July 17…Violence that´s unprecedented since November 2007 in the Val-d’Oise and the riots in Villiers-le-Bel in which 90 police officers were then wounded by gunfire. The young man died on the day of his 24th birthday, on July 19, during his arrest…During the riots of Beaumont and Persian, forty police and gendarmes were under fire…. Gunfire was often aimed at face level with 12 gauge shotguns – loaded with pellets for small game. Ten policemen and gendarmes have been slightly injured by the shots, despite their shields, helmets and bulletproof vests. A policeman and a gendarme have received a lead pellet in the face, one a few millimeters from his eye. A total of 25 shots were recorded during the first night of violence on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, mainly on the estate of Boyenval in Beaumont, where Adama Traoré lived. Then five shots in the night from Friday to Saturday, especially in the Village, Persian. Shots that have not been responded to by the security forces, with their service weapons….Investigators have… found a series of caches where incendiary devices and pebbles had been collected, reflecting a coordinated effort by rioters.”
On this day this revolt inspires some prisoners to express solidarity with the rioters “ 81 inmates of the prison of the Val-d’Oise, in Osny, refused on Sunday at 6pm to leave the exercise yard after having set fire to some sheets, according to the FO union [Force Ouvriere – or “Workers Force”, a union that in its history since 1947 has combined both Trots and right-wingers united in their opposition to the Communist Party; this union represents, amongst others, screws]. These acts were committed in reaction to the death of Adama Traoré. Some prisoners of building F1 sported slogans on their T-shirts dedicated to the youths of Boyenval. The Eris (specialized response units) were dispatched … again. Calm returned at 10.30pm. The FO union “demands the transfer of leaders” and “an immediate resolution” so that “the situation does not last all summer.” Two transfers were immediately instigated by the management of the prison.“
Val d’Oise: 4th night of riots “At 00.30 am, the violence touched mainly the housing estate of Village, Persan, where a dozen cars were torched by fifty individuals…Two shots wounded two militarised cops from the gendarmerie and mortar fire rang out in the park Robespierre. A helicopter flew over the area, where some 150 military gendarmerie and police officers had been deployed in the evening.” Video here
This follows a daytime march of about 2000 in the small town, in which slogans such as “No Justice, no Peace” or “Adama Traoré – we won’t forget, we won’t forgive” were both shouted out and written on t-shirts.
Seine-St.Denis (banlieu just outside Paris): 4 cops hurt in ambush by 30 youths on estate “About 30 individuals fired heavy duty fireworks towards police functionaries…forcing the police to use flash balls and anti-disencirclement grenades…a temporary work building, 2 vehicles and some dustbins were burnt. In addition, a bus was vandalised.”
Lancon: major tollbooth opened to allow free driving for north to south side of this motorway as part of movement against labour law As with many of these apparently interesting actions it’s very hard to know how much is spectacle of opposition initiated by the CGT intended to boost its credibility with a genuinely angry base frightened for its future and how much is fairly independent opposition coming from this base of the union. What’s clear is that the CGT could – if they really wanted to – bring key sectors of the economy (railways, refineries, electric power, docks) to a halt if they thought that that was the only way that would enable them to maintain their power and finances within the current system. That they don’t is not just that that would bring them into possible violent conflict with the state that they still fantasise they could eventually negotiate with, a state which they still hope to be recognised by as social partners, but that it might also inspire intensified independent opposition that they would probably find hard to control.
Val d’Oise (Persan & Beaumont-sur-Oise): 2nd night of riots after arrested guy dies in custody; molotovs thrown, attempts to burn down nursery school and town hall More here “15 cars burnt and 35 fires on the streets” This report in English claims: “The local town hall and a kindergarten were set ablaze. Six police officers were injured, shot with pellet gun”
More here: “Fifteen vehicles on fire including a vehicle of the Bruyere-sur-Oise municipal police and one from the Persan municipal police. The local garage of the municipal police was also set alight.“ This report also states that there were 180 cops mobilised against 200 rioters.
Besancon: vehicle belonging to transport ticket controllers/cops attacked with stones, one injured; cops also targetted “…several buses and trams had their windows broken, street furniture destroyed, the tram tracks were blocked at several places using various objects on fire, requiring the complete cessation of movement of trams for several hours“. This is probably part of an opposition to the intensified control of fare-dodgers, and of the increasing use of CCTV, and vastly increased fines (in some towns fines have risen 3 times in under 2 years), as exemplified by this recent poster campaign:
The town of
Constructs for you a town made septic by tramway, by Bien Urbain and other urban subsidised cultural associations
Opens up each day for commerce – large enterprises like BTP (Eiffrage, Eurovia…) and promoters of luxury housing (SEGER, SMCI )
Employs 26 additional police and increases 4-fold CCTV cameras throughout the city’s space to keep the population under surveillance and to protect the rich!
NO WAY TO REMAIN PASSIVE!
Avignon: as part of anti-Labour Law movement, waged workers at world famous music festival issue communiqué declaring all government members “persona non grata” and say they won’t allow shows to start until government member leaves the hall
Not sure if they have applied this in all cases, as François Hollande went to a concert there (though in a personal, not official, capacity) and apparently only left on being informed of the atrocities in Nice.
It should be pointed out, in the wake of the horrific attacks in Nice, that over the previous 6 months almost 3,700 refugees have died trying to find a country that could allow them to stay, an 18% rise on the previous 6 months – see here in French… Which of course, doesn’t lessen the horror of these attacks but does put them into some kind of perspective other than the standard media/politician response.
Val d’Oise: several small incidents in different towns of this department “The evening of July 13 did not escape tradition. This year again scuffles broke out in different cities of Val-d’Oise. …clashes occurred in the commune of Gonesse, Argenteuil, Garges-lès-Gonesse and Villiers-le-Bel. At Villiers-le-Bel, the night seems to have been particularly violent. A policeman was injured during scuffles. He was hit by a firework or a firecracker in the stomach, which led to his hospitalization. In addition, several garbage cans were set on fire and at least two vehicles were burned…a bus shelter was torched near the Champagne city ofArgenteuil. In Argenteuil, several cars were also torched during the night. …The North Valley neighborhood and The Slab were also the scene of garbage fires. The security forces intervened in Garges-lès-Gonesse in the night. At least one car was set on fire in the town and several bins caught fire. “
France, Chailly-sur-Armancon (Côte d’or) : golf course wrecked just before Medef (bosses’ organisation) were due to have a competition “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” – Mark Twain; “Golf is typical capitalist lunacy.” – G. B. Shaw
Report in English here “According to the course manager, the turf was damaged, holes filled with concrete, and posts ripped up”
Montpellier: BACcident Drunk driver provides 100% proof that alcohol improves your driving by hitting the right target (3 Bac cops)
France, Paris: 3 state security officers whose job is to police estates and who are known for their nastiness hurt as molotov burns out their car during patrol of housing estate with “bad reputation” “They were attacked by a dozen youths. One of them threw a stone at their car, breaking a window, and another launched a Molotov cocktail inside. The three GPIS officers then got out of their Scénic car on fire. But as they left running, they were pursued by the group which continued to target them with shots of handmade mortars, without getting them. …The three officers had first and second degree burns on their arms, face and head..” …
Montpellier: PM Valls inaudible as 100 demonstrators shout him down at inauguration of new tramway This gets national mainstream media coverage.
CFDT opens its doors to the filth
(see entries for 23/6/16 & 26/6/16)
Paris: suffocatingly controlled demo “The Paris demonstration was very controlled by some 2,500 police, also using lots of water cannons. Very extensive searches were carried out against anyone arriving at the Place de la Bastille and the entire route was heavily secured (at least one cop every couple of metres…). Some small attempts to make the demo a little more lively, with stone throwing and the breaking of wooden panels that have replaced ads and bus shelters were repressed by firing disencirclement grenades and gas. There were about 64,000 protesters (200,000 throughout France) and 81 arrests, most before the demo, for carrying forbidden objects. In the morning, people coming to occupy the Bourse du Travail [large state building for workers, hosting union meetings and giving professional advice, etc] were kettled by the cops, who remained at the square all day, always filtering access.”
The Effluent Society: “we shit on your laws!”
Alain Juppé, former PM – now mayor of Bordeaux – seeking inspiration for his next speech
…very heavy policing for anti Labour Law demo after burning tyres are speedily extinguished A spectator on a pushbike is attacked by 15 cops, handcuffed, humiliated; another truncheoned and gassed just for putting on a hood.
Montpellier: empty cinema 1 minute from Place de la Comedie (town’s equivalent of Trafalgar or Times Square) with 5 separate movie theaters and large flat, occupied for several weeks, throws public party after a call from the bailiffs and EDF cutting off its electricity Communiqué:“Revolt against misery: reappropriate space, your memory, your desires…Bring your musical instruments and instruments of revolt, your nutritional or etholic fuels, your overflowing laughing imagination, your fireworkish anger like a sparkling bouquet“. This mainstream crap makes out that the squatters are occupying a space which needs to be transformed into desperately needed accommodation. In fact, the 2-year project is to gut the interior and transform the space into luxury flats for the rich, costing about 200,000 euros for less than 40 square meters. The selling of these flats has already started in order to finance this transformation even though it’ll be at least 2 years before they actually exist.
Royal cinema, 1 minute from Place de la Comedie
Clermont-Ferrand: philosophy has merely tried to justify this increasingly policed world; the point, however, is to subvert it
“war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” – Orwell, 1984, #state of emergency
Montreuil (outskirts of Paris): CGT HQ vandalised by anti-authoritarians “…masked individuals broke several doors and windows…Immediately condemned by the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, these degradations occur two days after those committed at the headquarters of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT) in Paris….”It happened pretty fast. hooded individuals with backpacks crossed the barriers and hit, doors and windows with powerful objects…They broke between seven and eight windows before being chased away by security guards….”We avoided the worst,” said the CGT Secretary-General, asserting that the HQ had until now never been a victim of violence of “this magnitude.”
YESTERDAY THE CFDT, TONIGHT THE CGT
Yesterday many were those who ended up in the dungeons of the state.
One hundred to be exact.
One hundred detainees because of the union betrayal.
We would have liked to write more to explain our action.
Unfortunately, following this action, carried out in a place under surveillance, we were seriously injured.
We managed to escape the cops thanks to the complicity of the crowd in the street who cheered us and covered our retreat.
Insurrectionary solidarity with the 250 prisoners.
Insurrectionary solidarity with Olga, Panagiotis, Christos and the comrades of the CCF who want to ecape.
WE MUST HELP THEM.
Fuck justice, fuck the state and fuck the collaborators…
Our choice is made…
Clandestinity and attack!
A cell among many others…
See here for a discussion in French concerning the different opinions amongst anti-authoritarians concerning this attack on the CGT HQ.
Paris: wildcat demo occupies tracks of Gare de Lyon for a short while, bank windows broken, cop car attacked, windows of CFDT union HQ and of Job Centre smashed, etc.; woman with serious cop-inflicted head wound hospitalised
The attack on the CFDT occurred in response to the collaboration of the CGT and CFDT unions with the police to stop violence by anarchist comrades and other radical militants. On 23/6/16 the unions collaborated fully with the police and comrades were pursued not just in the vicinity of the union demonstration but throughout the city. Throughout the day in Paris a true “man hunt” took place against radical militants. More than 100 comrades were arrested in Paris.
Toulouse: brief occupation of part of massive building by opponents of Labour Law The entrance to the building was occupied by a mish-mash of lefty organisations for a short while, dangling a horrible citizenist banner: “those who are elected ought to serve the people, not themselves” – here
Hauts-Pyrénées (Tarbes): 2 deputies (equivalent of MPs in UK) get their electricity cut off by CGT base activists The CGT trying to show how radical it is in order maintain some credibility and its union dues or genuine expression of anger by the CGT base? Probably a combination of the two: there are many people in the CGT who, on the one hand express some element of independence from the hierarchy, but on the other hand are essentially submissive to “their” organisation (for instance, by not criticising CGT stewards for their horrendous policing role on demos). The need for “the organsation” is the first expression of resignation and submission. Such a dependence is reinforced by an ideology of the collectivity which avoids seeing the difference between organising an organisation and organising specific activities. Proletarianised individuals believe that they are protected against the misery of this world by adherence to an organisation, when the contradictions of such organisations invariably undermine such protection (a bit like the traditional family).
“Let’s be ungovernable”
Between 125,000 and 1.3 million demonstrate throughout country, whilst in Paris there are heavy confrontations with cops Cops were exceptionally violent, it seems, including pushing people down off a wall into a confined space and firing flashballs directly at them from 3 or 4 meters away, yet the media (surprise surprise) talked about the horror of a few windows of a children’s hospital broken. In a world that is truly upside down, cracked windows are infinitely more word-worthy/screen-worthy than cracked skulls.
“…Breaking the windows of a hospital, even inadvertently, is idiotic; but jumping at the chance to exploit the plight of sick children and their parents to discredit a social movement is indecent and unacceptable. And yet it is the communication strategy implemented since yesterday by Messrs Cazeneuve [Minister of the Interior] and Valls. Gleefully taken up by the right and relayed on a golden tray by all the media. …This indecency is all the more shocking when one knows the situation of the public hospital today. Messrs Valls and Cazeneuve, “revolted” from the bottom of their hearts by five broken windows, are they revolted by the appalling working conditions of the hospital staff? When a clinical geneticist has to work 70 hours a week because the direction of the hospital cannot afford to employ a new doctor or even a secretary, what are the consequences for all these sweet little sick children whose bedsides our ministers came running to since yesterday? When the orderlies and nurses are exhausted, worn to the bone and paid the minimum, what about the quality of care and attention necessary for those who spend months or years in hospital corridors? When they are on the same “emotional” plane of the plates of broken glass and hundreds of thousands of bereaved families, have Messrs Valls and Cazeneuve no shame? And all those journalists who headlined this horrific attack against the hospital for “sick children”, do they weigh the meaning of their words? The prize for infamy is obviously presented to Mr. Cazeneuve who still managed to add to the equation the son of two policemen killed the day before yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of people defy the government in the streets. One or two break the double glazing of a hospital. A shithead kills two policemen with knives. Their three year old son is in care at Necker hospital. Mr. Cazeneuve establishes an emotional relationship, emotional and psychical between these two sets of facts: the struggle against the Labour Law and the government, the shock of the brutality of the murders and the plight of this child. If the young rioters who broke the windows of Necker were idiots, MM. Valls and Cazeneuve themselves are obscene.” – A parent of a very sick child at the Necker hospital (translated from here).
RATP (public transport) security van, Paris
“And let the time come when we fall in love”
Video of CGT syndicalists attacking cops, with 20 cops injured. This is almost certainly after the cops had indiscriminately attacked CGT members who’d been utterly non-violent. The state also used water cannon laced with tear gas.
Some sources say around 10,000 in the independant/autonomous part…several vehicles burnt Repression was hard, with very violent attacks from cops on the side of the combative part of the march…”street medics” say they treated several hundred injuries from defense bullets (replacing the flashball), gases, string grenades, blows and charges.
Apparently this march was the biggest of this 3 month long ongoing movement…lots of people went to Paris, so events in the rest of France were more symbolic and limited in terms of participants. That’s in the context of a huge number of security measures for fear of a terrorist attack during Euro 2016, during the state of emergency and just after attack by Islamic State supporter that left 2 cops dead.
A short video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVJlunWZ4us
At least 29 cops were injured…and 58 arrested.
After main march, wild demo around 9pm instead of another “Nuit Debout” : very few cops (those who were in the way were attacked), some shops attacked, a vehicle burnt. 4 were arrested after intervention of the BAC cops.
A few pictures and a personal report in french here.
Greece: solidarity with movement This is for “the BIG day” – ie the first mass demonstration/ strike for some time, which has, unfortunately, seen loads of young people rushing from all over France to Paris, as if the capital is still the centre of proletarian revolt it was 50 years ago. It remains to be seen what happens, but with the killing of a cop & his wife by some idiotic ISIS sympathiser, I suspect the filth are going to seek some outlet for their “anger”, vengefully focusing on rioters as “pre-terrorists”, as one cop spokesman put it.
END OF EURO CUP 2016.
In the distance somewhat distanced from the giant TV, screen rioting fans are confronting police and tear gas……
Essonne (just outside Paris): Tarterêts – BAC cops ambushed – deliberately blocked by car and then stoned … Vigneux-sur-Seine – cops trying to make arrest surrounded by friends of youth and stoned; youth charged with rebellion and incitement to riot
Paris: projectiles v tear gas as 500 or so people upset Socialist Party meeting protected by riot cops Slogans such as “everyone hates the PS” [Socialist Party] and “PS = Putrid Shitheads” .
Nice: report on how disturbances during trials become widespread in the department
Lots of french libertarian militants talk a lot about poor estates and peripheric neighborhoods, and sometimes tend to fetishize their young and sometimes rebellious inhabitants (an important part of them being sons or now grandsons of immigrants) as a new revolutionary subject, but it’s not that common to see texts evoking daily life in these areas or material distributed there, where revolt has occurred without any anti-authoritarian militant presence for years. Here’s a poster that was stuck up in the poor neighborhoods of Eastern Nice called “To the angry of Eastern Nice and elsewhere, revolt is life !”: tract_nice_est2
Nice is more famous for its huge tourism industry and pseudo-pleasures for the rich and less rich tourists than for its misery and social contradictions…it doesn’t mean they’re not as strong as anywhere else there, if not sometimes stronger, considering the huge gap between the rich and poor in livelihood and conditions of life. The city being little connected with the rest of France (and sharing more past with Italy than with France, considering it became french in 1860), it is often considered a conservative, right-wing place of little interest for social fighters. It’s true that anti-authoritarian milieus and militants are pretty unheard of there, but the city’s still very mixed in terms of the origins of its inhabitants, and has lots of low income neighborhoods with important communities from Green Cape, Tunisia, Algeria, other african countries, spanish Gypsies and more recently Chechens, for example. Estates neighborhoods such as l’Ariane (East) and Les Moulins (west) are very populated areas where confrontations with police and forms of revolt occur regularly, as well as other parts of the city, or neighborhing towns poor and derelict areas (Carros industrial town, Saint-Laurent du Var, Grasse, Cannes, etc.). Burn Riviera burn ! [Pi]
Paris: heavily armed state “vigipirate” military “security” attacked and insulted by about 20 youths …right wing homophobes attacked by anti-fascists. Without knowing much about precise details of this homophobe group, I find this a bit silly. It’s quite easy to annoy these idiots by taking the piss out of them; physically attacking them outside of a situation where they are obviously encouraging physical attacks on gay people seems crudely militant.
“During the interval of Germany versus France 2016 Euro semi finals, a short, contemporary montage – made in the UK – video was shown [probably influenced by Nuit Debout?] of the dramatic match in Seville between Germany and France during the 1982 world cup. The video was immediately arresting because it begins with that wonderful quote from Breton’s Nadja, “Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all”. WHAT DA FUK AM I SEEING!!!! only then to be followed by Baudelaire, “My heart is lost, the beasts have eaten it’, other quotations appearing whenever a dramatic incident occurs during this most memorable of footie games: “All happiness depends on courage and work” (Balzac), “Tears are the silent language of grief” (Voltaire). And finally when France crashes out of the world cup after a penalty shoot out, Rimbaud’s great lines taken from the opening lines of A Season in Hell, “One evening I sat beauty on my knees and I found her bitter – I reviled her”. Significantly the vid’s editors omit the next kick in the shins, the send-off of all send-off lines, a red card held up to capitalism: “Oh witches, Oh misery, Oh hatred , it was to you my treasure was entrusted”, the latter obviously a step too far for even ‘daring’ BBC modernisers .
Shit, this is revolutionary recuperation in the classic sense of the term beaming into homes, bars and what-have-you of millions worldwide. It’s as if “the beautiful game” having gone really tawdry needed to be slyly reminded of much more subversive definitions of beauty nonetheless significantly omitting Lautreamont’s many, many comparisons “as beautiful as [for brevity’s sake] an alcoholics shaking hand”. And there the media provocations stop short: no mention of situationists or this RAP web though no doubt the film’s ‘creatives’ will be somewhat familiar with both in a kind of distancing way.
Finally, nothing like this has even remotely been screened on prime time UK TV during a sports tournament and indicative of just how much the ground is upheaving beneath our feet, the unexpected becoming the order of the day as the political class disintegrates before our eyes in a manner perhaps not seen since the 1640s. The mind boggles! Were Lineker, Shearer, Rio Ferdinand (guided by a more clued-in Thierry Henry) about to engage on some really playful tactics inciting subversive strategies…… Or is this just the loaded dice of yet another massive con trick whereby “no one escapes” (and guess who said that???)” – from the Revolt against plenty site, which persistently refuses to acknowledge or post links to this page, even though they know perfectly well that it’s the most extensive coverage in the English language of events in France of interest to radicals.
Ales: 4am blockade of tramway – confrontations with cops and firemenThese things are happening all the time, in different parts of the country, involving few in number but often effective – ie preventing the circulation of trams etc. for a few hours.
Paris: various letters reporting on movement The following was altered on 13/6/16 following a highly critical email from a friend in Paris.
Originally I wrote: “These, despite being excessively uncritical of much of the base of the unions, and also fairly uncritical of Nuit Debout, have some interesting facts – eg a “Banlieux Debout” developing on the outskirts of Paris, or a brief story about some CGT electricity workers who have managed to ‘fix’ a cheaper peak hours tariff all day for particular consumers in their area. “
But I received this email from a friend: “Decidedly, with the Wises, via Jack, we are in highly embroidered fantasy politics!
The various attempts to launch a “Banlieues Debout” ” were even more lamentable than “Paris Debout”. It was so grotesque that even the organizers of the “Place de la Republique Debout” preferred not to talk about it. The few “Banlieues Debout” were launched by micro-cartels of organizations close to Mélenchon [Leftist former minister], such as the NPA [semi-Trot New Anti-capitalist Party], the Marxist-Leninist sects, sometimes with the participation of the PCF [French Communist Party]! Plus a handful of anarcho-leftists, AL [Alternative Libertaire – Libertarian Alternative]-types and “free” electrons around Lundi Matin [Tiquunistes] trying to get closer to the “masses” of the suburbs, especially the young masses originating from the Maghreb. To give you some insight into the extent of their opportunism, the neo-AL-type leftists even wanted to ban pork in the canteens they intended to hold in the suburbs, so as not to alienate Muslims! In Montreuil, it’s obviously the Gatti [well-paid artist-recuperator with a”libertarian” image] gang which tried to organize his “Montreuil Debout” coming along to defend his crap and calling on people to support Gatti getting state subsidies to maintain his politico-cultural boutique…” Nevertheless, the link has some good photos.
Paris: anti-fascist demonstrators, on 3rd anniversary of death of anti-fascist at hands of skinheads, smash gentrifying luxury shop windows, estate agents etc.…restaurant “occupied” during lunch hour for an hour, with banner hung out 1st floor window “Against the Labour Law and its world” As someone else has pointed out, this now widely-used slogan really doesn’t extend any significant critique to “its world” beyond sometimes talking about neoliberalism as if it’s the only form of capitalism that exists or has existed. In this case, a critique of restaurants as such (see this excellent critique) is reduced to a critique of multinational fast food restaurants, which even fairly mainstream ideology criticises.
Nuit debout: “Retirement at 25″, ” Minimum wage of 10,000 euros per month”
CGT organises the symbolic die-in of trade unionism, which – sadly – is alive enough to function as an obstacle towards genuine struggle amongst those hoping for some salvation through bureaucratic means dressed up as street theatre
“Trade Unionism is the heavy policing of revolt”
Paris: Gare de Lyon [major railway station] blockaded for a short while in a largely symbolic union-organised action…wildcat demo: lots of windows of banks, estate agents, job agencies, bill boards, etc. smashed and/or tagged, champagne looted from off licence…more than a million homes in the Paris area switched to low-cost power supply
“Once, we did an activity where the kids made posters about how they would change the school for the better if they had the power to do so. Almost every kid in the classroom of about 20 drew the school on fire.” – from here
Caen: “work, consume, shut your gob!”
Seine-St-Denis: 10 “alarm explosives” dropped on railway line “The alarm explosives, well-known to train drivers because these devices are used to report an incident on the tracks, were identified through the testimony of a man…Based on these indications, an agent of the SNCF went there. The officer then discovered nine packages which he decides to take away from the tracks. For lack of time one remains and explodes on the track as a TGV train passes. The train had to be stopped but no property damage or injuries were identified.” According to a traindriver friend of a friend, this “sabotage” is part of the CGT’s recuperative “radical” image designed to represent genuine anger at the base of the union with the spectacle of a violence that wants to compete with black-blockbusters. But not in order to have fun like black block, to literally break the separation between the world and our anger at it, but to self-promote the CGT. The low level CGT bureaucrats feel a genuine fear of future developments (not least of which is losing their role in negotiating directly with management in works councils and the easy security that goes with it) and so confine themselves to expressions of sabotage lite that enable them to play their fence-sitting role as professional negotiators at the same time as professional representatives of rebellion.
President of organisation for all independent hotels complains about how the movement in France is ruining tourism “The degraded image of France, which is transmitted in loops over the international news channels, is disastrous. It will take months to recover “
Rennes: loads of ticket validation machines sabotaged yet again with expanding foam as part of demo, which included calls for free transport “A similar action was taken one morning in several metro stations in Rennes and gave rise to twenty arrests on May 19 These people are awaiting trial and are subject to strict judicial control. Since the arrests, several actions aimed at asserting “free public transport” were carried out on subway terminals.”
Rennes: eviction of “House of the People” for the 2nd time (after 2 days) sparks off confrontations with cops under the banner “untameable Rennes”…dozens of tyres belonging to company and state cars deliberately punctured
General-Secretary of Info’com section of the CGT is ordered to appear before the police for being suspected of “having committed the offence of public defamation against a court, a public administration, a constituted body or the army” because of this innocuous pseudo-critique of the cops:
“The police should protect citizens and not hit them”
This appears to be an example of the increasing totalitarianism of the state, but maybe it’s just to help give the CGT some credibility in the eyes of its members and the naive…
“What is a policeman? He is the active servant of the commodity, the man in complete submission to the commodity, whose job it is to ensure that a given product of human labor remains a commodity, with the magical property of having to be paid for, instead of becoming a mere refrigerator or rifle” – The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy by Guy Debord
There are enormous amounts of enormous illusions about unions that exist amongst people who either support from afar or are directly part of this movement: such naive optimism, encouraged by anarcho-opportunism, is usually followed by deep depression when the reality of what’s been happening hits home and there’s yet another failed half-revolution. There are, sadly, lots of people who want this movement to grow who believe that the CGT is a genuine opposition to the state at present, or that at least many of the local branches of the union are, when there’s loads and loads of bullshit coming from them – eg, if 2010 is anything to go by, when both dominant and “opposition” propaganda said that the refineries had completely closed down, this is definitely not the case at present; or these images of demo stewards helping the filth. In Marseille, they even gassed the more lively demonstrators, which is why people there statrted changing the normal slogan “everyone hates the police” to “everyone hates the demonstration stewards”.
Rennes: “Maison du peuple” reoccupied after having been evicted 2 weeks before Slogans on roof: “long live the strike!” “We’re taking back what is ours”…cops attacked with stones and other stuff because of arrest on estate during rodeo
Traditional song by strikers: Workers sing anti-cop songs at lines of gendarmerie “the police are paid for by our mothers, to beat up our brothers, the police are paid for by the state, to kill our brothers… we will never be police”
Amiens; just outside the station
Paris: car showroom smashed up, tagged with “Fuck the CRS” and a heart
Bordeaux: metal bar chucked at cop station after charge by CRS
Nantes, above: 1st step towards the abolition of banks
Nantes, below: 1st step towards the abolition of manipulative propaganda:
Unions under pressure, fearing movement from the base, decide to extend strikes to trains, airports, etc. After two and a half months of quite obviously keeping all struggles separate, the bureaucrats have decided to apparently stop dragging their feet in order to lead strikes that would possibly get out of hand if they didn’t. In the same way as that Stalinist scumbag Thorez had said in 1936 “one must know how to end a strike”, they have decided that they need to start a strike for fear that if workers started the strikes themselves they might realise the sense of a struggle run by themselves is very very different from a struggle of which they are merely members (ie arms and legs, but no head or heart). Those who can be led into a strike can be led straight out…
Rennes: job centre windows smashed with hammer This state-run un/employment bureaucracy has, for at least 6 years now, a (secret) policy of kicking half a million people per year off the dole for whatever reason possible – eg being 2 minutes late for an interview, when the queue is an hour long – and that’s no exaggeration!. Sometimes they can go back on the dole almost immediately but it’s a constant hassle, having to fill in all the forms again and provide the enormous paperwork (which is at least 3 times as much as would be required in the UK, for instance). Sometimes people are kicked off for a lot longer. They are hated by all those forced to use them. This secret policy, initiated when Sarkozy was president, was revealed by someone who’d worked for “pole emploi” but resigned her position because of this policy – she published a book about it, which received very little media attention.
Also in Rennes, surveillance camera on police station covered in paint, and 2 letters – AC – painted on wall there “But what is this message?
Was it the beginning of a word?
a)ACcordeon ? But we can’t see much of a connection…
b)ACcumulation ? As if to denounce the accumulation of mutilations and murders by the police?
c)direct ACtion ? As if also advocating this way of struggling, whether getting together for specific acts, alone or in small groups at night in a thousand ways?
d) “A” and “C” as in “All Cops …”, the beginning of the famous slogan “ACAB” (All Coppers Are Bullshit …). Maybe they didn’t have enough paint in the can to write out all the letters?” Strange that Indymedia Nantes don’t know the real English words for this traditional slogan, which as an acronym dates back to the 1970s, but as a full slogan – “All coppers are bastards” – dates from much earlier and has for some time been used internationally.
Aube: nuclear power station workers vote to go on strike and stop production on Thursday Whilst the spectacle of opposition inevitably thrives on genuine anger and fears, I suspect not much more will come from this particular development other than a political flexing of muscles, unless groups of workers take some initiative independently of their union bureaucrats. A possible strike of all nuclear power stations is also announced. See this brief video.
All France’s oil refineries on strike “The Esso refinery and the fuel depot of Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches-du-Rhône), whose access has been blocked since Monday, May 23, 2016 by CGT militants opposed to the Labour Law, were “liberated” at dawn on Tuesday 24th May by the forces of order who were met with “significant resistance” …The CGT considers it “a declaration of war … We will respond,” said Yann Maneval, secretary of the CGT Departmental Union of Bouches-du-Rhône, on RMC. A heavy intervention, trade unionists were “especially hit in the face and back of the head,” says BFM TV. Seven injured…”
“Yann Maneval, secretary of the CGT Departmental Union of Bouches-du-Rhône, tells us live how it unfolded: “We were evicted by CRS without warning….I think it is an unprecedented situation,” he says, adding that “the gas had been launched to enter the Local Union.” Yann Maneval also explained that the CGT activists faced “the CRS in phenomenal quantities , the use of water cannons, large quantities of gas and without warning and the use of force with batons”. It therefore considers it “a declaration of war and will respond. ” “Many comrades have been affected”. The tension is at its peak on Tuesday morning at Fos-sur-Mer as live RMC confirms Laurent Pastor, docker CGT in this refinery. “The CRS intervened in a very forceful way. They used rubber bullets, batons, tear gas, “he says before asserting that” several comrades present were affected,” especially in the face and back of the head. ” “They pursued us into the local Union and now they are pertmanently posted outside the door. Nobody can enter, no one can get out. ” “We learned that there had been four arrests … one having been heavily beaten with batons,” he said while stating that it had been “filmed”. Despite this intervention, he considers that the social movement “is not over. It is a beginning. We will come together to take the necessary decisions to continue the struggle and achieve the withdrawal of the Labor Law. “…7 cops injured
Left of Socialist Party say that a general strike with occupations is now worth having These reports show how both the trade unions and the various politicos of the Left hope to make political capital out of this movement with a “combative” image, to “lead” a working class base that still doesn’t feel capable of taking any direct lead outside the unions or parties but puts pressure on these bureaucrats to do things for them, which will probably lead them straight back to defeat dressed up as “realistic compromise”…unless………………(fill in the blank) [SF]
romantic nostalgic yearning for bliss was it that day…
Grenoble : twelve live ammo rounds fired at Socialist Party local offices The article mentions 31 attacks against the Party’s local offices since last December
Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie: oil depots blockaded by unions in “unlimited” strikes “The tension is palpable. A protester who said he was “already on police files” rudely asks a journalist for his press pass – “sometimes you’re like the police.”
Blockade of oil depot
Without knowing anything about this development other than these press reports, I tend to avoid a simplistic optimism over it. This is not just because the unions often appear militant in response to pressures from the base, and then – after having barricades of burning tyres, etc. – do their best to show how “responsible” they are by, having led workers to the barricades, then lead them straight back to work, but also because – at least in the past – in 2010, for instance, some of these oil depot blockades/pickets, after the initial genuine expressions of anger, and maintaining the appearance of being a serious threat to the economy for some time, became – behind the scenes – purely symbolic, with unions usually continuing to ensure “essential” work whilst the pickets were being manned by people who didn’t even work there and so couldn’t seriously be called strikers. On the other hand, the next week could see some serious wave of strikes despite the unions attempts to contain them and keep them separate from the wider movement. The future is, of course, unwritten and unpredictable [SF]
France, Marseille: 3 cars belonging to prison guards completly burnt out by arsonists “According to our information, 2 cars belonging to guards of Baumettes [Marseille prison] were burnt out a month ago and 3 others three years ago” . For a text in French about this prison, see this.
Lille: local offices of Socialist Party tagged & covered with paint twice within 24 hours; tags and paint splattered over banks; same with offices of Bouygues, which participates in prison construction
Tours: station and track occupied (scroll down for video)
This report contains lots of facts, videos and photos – eg graffiti on a bank in Rouen (where there were also clashes with the filth) – “If the climate was a bank it would have already been saved”; tear gas v stones as cops and banks are attacked in Paris; similar events in Nantes and Lyon.
Dijon: Socialist Party offices bricked up (see video at 15h20 on this page) For those who complain about “breakers” (“casseurs” ) – something constructive.
Paris report “Lycée Mozart, in the suburbs, Blanc-MEsnil, was blockaded today by the students protesting against saliva tests for drugs. The school was labelled the most drugged up school by minister Valérie Pécresse (The protests in 2006 were against the ‘loi Pécresse’)”
Paris: demo against cop violence forbidden by prefecture…incites illegal demo Videos and report in English here. “French railway and port workers went on strike protesting the law. Train services were halved and ferries to Britain were canceled.”
Paris: cop car with 2 cops inside smashed with iron bars, flare thrown inside, burning car; state launches “attempted homicide” enquiry.
“Roast pig – pay what you like” found next to burning cop car
[poulets= chickens= slang for cops, ie pigs]
“Under the bridge of Avignon, we hang all the bosses”
Besancon: report on how a mix of independent protesters blocked the rail lines, and how also the unions organised a blockage of the rail lines for 20 minutes with the agreement of the stationmaster (ie just to show how militant they were).
…Rennes: video of 5 hours of confrontations “…at about 1pm, nearly 200 people separated from the main procession. Their goal was to reach the blockade of the road on the ring road of Rennes where a snailspace operation [where truckdrivers travel at a snailspace] was being carried out ,” … There then followed clashes with riot police who fired tear gas at the demonstrators to separate them. A confrontation that lasted five hours….A youth was arrested Saturday night as he threw cans and cobblestones towards the CRS. The judges were strict: the 28 year-old young man was sentenced to six months in prison. This is more than what was requested by the prosecutor. “
…Nantes: water cannon & tear gas used as demonstrators chuck bottles at prefecture, at journalists and other cops and at FNAC multimedia chainstore Tags: “He who sows gas, reaps paving stones” and “In ashes, everything becomes possible”. More here: “From 11.47 onwards, bottles and projectiles flew towards the CRS which had closed access to Orleans Street and the rue du Calvaire… the PS [governing Socialist Party] was tagged with “social traitor”. Demonstrators were shouting “P for Putrid, S for Shitheads, down with the socialist party.” Mehdi, spoke softly to one of his neighbors, “the CRS, the blues, cops – are all the same, we must exterminate all of them”. Nearly 100 to 150 young people, some casseurs from the estates, some anarchists trying to move from words to deeds, breaking windows and street ads…. With paving stones, many bottles and other projectiles, lots of young casseurs pelted the police and the windows of the prefecture, while the police retorted with powerful jets of water. Around 12.10, four casseurs moved back along the procession to aim at the prefecture. They were booed and stopped by militants of the CGT and Sud marching behind the youths. An activist of the CGT tried to take a bag full of glass bottles from a tagger. He was immediately grabbed by several anarchists and slaps were exchanged…..officers down Strasbourg Street were heavily stoned by youths shouting “a cop who commits suicide is half forgiven.”…A stolen scooter…was burned by several youths from estates …A variety of rubbish fueled a strong blaze that allowed casseurs to get away and then pelt the BAC …Meanwhile, protesters continued westward…. where new clashes broke out. At 1.44pm, five of them blocked the tramway … with garbage. Three others coming from the dangerous area of Bellevue, smashed the windows of the station…According to the protesters themselves, including members of the “medic team” …. there were dozens of injuries during the event, especially “because of the defense bullet launchers of rockets, explosions of disencerclement grenades or broken glass; some people were also shocked and had discomfort from having inhaled tear gas”. However, there are many who agree that the police changed their approach, being more present but also having less direct contact with the demonstrators, which helped limit damage and tension in the event.”
Paris: demonstrator beaten by CGT stewards
Paris: prefecture of the police forbids independent photographer from participating in demos This is just one of the dozens of people forbidden from participating in demos without having been arrested for any specific “crime”, state prohibitions permitted under the “state of emergency laws” which followed the Paris massacres of November 2016. These laws have been extended until the end of July, though will almost certainly become constantly renewed until the end of the world or the end of capitalism. More detail here.
Bourget (near Paris): 4 femen activists put into police custody after bearing their breasts at a Tariq Ramadan conference People get taken into custody for everything and any old thing nowadays!
Funny to see that Femen, though not particularly radical, sometimes engage in much bolder actions than many of the so-called anti-authoritarians vis-à-vis religious ignominy (the UOIF is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood who organized the conference and national meetings at Bourget), more preoccupied with unmasking the alleged Islamophobia of cetain people in the libertarian miieu, supporting anonymous attacks (see this, about the 3rd attack on this library by these cretins) against an anarchist library openly proposing discussions and the critical incapacity of the authors of these attacks (not a text that explains the accusations of “racism”, except subliminal messages in SMS language on social networks).
We are happy to see that elsewhere, for example in Spain (see here the website “La religión esclaviza” or “religion enslaves”), religion is still treated with all the seriousness it deserves. One can also read this text, which speaks about the historical and present role of religion, and more specifically that of the Catholic Church, shortly after the convictions of the anarchists Mónica and Francisco given several years in jail. [Note written by Pi].
Paris: masses amounts of teargas as clashes erupt…Several clashes reported with the security personnel of the CGT These agreed to do police work for the authorities during the marches and to contain dangerous elements (they used gas in Marseille). The CGT still works hard to prevent the various strikes taking place in French cities and towns from uniting with the movement against Labour Law. For a critique of the union manipulations written in April in French, see this …Russia Today producer gets hit on head by rock
Paris: the road to heaven is paved with good and bad tensions
This is a good source of basic information about strikes, though it’s part of the left of the CGT and tends to list everything and anything without giving much information about things that are outside the unions.
Nantes: future uninsured
Lille: burning bins, teargas and clashes (various videos and photos). This article also mentions Bethune, where traffic was disrupted and an important roundabout was blocked; Valenciennes, where a major bridge was blocked for half an hour as well as the the tramway and the shops of a shopping precinct closed up; Calais, where 150 students blocked the crossroads of Quatre Boulevards for fifteen minutes then staged a sit-in for ten minutes outside the town hall; and Douai, where protesters burned some tires.
Paris: confrontations with cops as labour law is passed in parliament without being submitted to a vote of deputies Apparently there were several occupations in Paris (a Novotel hotel, a part of the University of Fine arts, a premise of the Authority of financial markets) which lasted a few hours, except the University one, which is still going on and apparently meant to serve as HQ for a part of the movement. In the morning, there were two attempts to block express highways in Paris and Montpellier (as part of a campaign spread by anti-authoritarians through social media) failed because social media informs the cops ahead, and ended with a few people arrested. At night in Montpellier, there was a wildcat demo, with bins overturned and a rare bottle thrown at the cops guarding the station (which was forced to close), which lasted a couple of hours involving about 200 people.
…Seine-St.Denis: cops violently (even according to a mainstream bourgeois site) attack high school students blocking school in support of week-old strike by teachers and others against lack of renewal of contracts
…Besançon: trams and bridge blocked despite cop controls during spontaneous night-time demo (account in French about the last 2 months in this town here)
Seine-St.Denis: burning barricades of tyres and construction site material blockade tramways at entrance to Paris ring road opposite tram depot “…tram lines were also sabotaged a bit further on by quick-setting cement…Whilst under the smoke the sound of “neither work nor the law – from revolt to class war” rang out and passersby and motorists could read a large banner: “Everyone hates Monday morning” and a tag on the wall of the tracks ‘“Let’s block everything.”
The slogan “Everyone hates Monday morning” is a cleverly ambiguous one; for most people, it means what it says, but for French people who know about the sub-Leninist Appelistes/Tiquunistes who produce “Lundi Matin” (“Monday morning”), it’s almost certainly a way of saying how much this group is coming to be detested, particularly after one of their leading ideologists, a highly-paid surgeon, has declared that the slogan “everyone hates the police”, whilst being “understandable” is “not intelligent”. Apparently the correct slogan should be “drop your helmets – the police with us!”; according to this patronising advice, cops should be discussed with and persuaded to leave the force, it seems. See this, (in French) published as a “minority opinion” in Lundi Matin, but without comment.
Nantes: school vandalised “…ripped doors, an interactive table on the ground, taps left open. This is the sad spectacle attended by the head of the high school of Our Lady of the Abbey. “In the administration building, two doors were forced open. The mess has been in the office, the infirmary, specialized halls of science and life, earth, physical chemistry, music, plastic arts or CDI [centre de documentation et d’information – documentation and information centre], “, said Jean-Philippe Thoiry, the principal. Tags were noted in the office of Deputy Director and furniture was overturned. Paint was spilled in the plastic art room. In the laboratory, the water taps have been causing a flood….The facility was the target of damage two weeks ago”
Clermont-Ferrrand: mayor’s car vandalised by leftists and others after 2 weeks of conflicts and arrests “The violence has crescendoed; a first violent incident occurred during a Nuit Debout protest by activists in April. A police officer had received a blow… on April 27, clashes occured at the entrance to the Polydôme on the sidelines of the economic conference organized by Clermont Community…Two days later, it was the decision of the municipality of Clermont to dismantle the illegal settlement in Jaude Square which again mobilized members of Nuit Debout. The same evening, the municipal council meeting had to be suspended and postponed (to Wednesday) after violent clashes between leftists and police. The head of the Departmental Directorate of Public Security, Marc Fernandez, was wounded in the face…. this weekend, the Socialist mayor of Clermont-Ferrand, Olivier Bianchi, had the unpleasant surprise of finding his official car vandalized on Monday morning while parked near City Hall . The rear windshield was destroyed on the night of Sunday to Monday by two cobblestones found in the cabin, the projectiles painted with a sickle and hammer and stamped “Freedom for Antoine.” …Also, on Monday night we learned that a similar message demanding the release of Antoine was tagged on the walls of the sub-prefecture of Riom.”
Gard (Nimes): small very lively demo at detention centre for undocumented migrants Lots of tags, a bit of sabotage of centre’s door keypad, traffic disrupted for some time and encouraging support from hooting cars and passers-by.
“Neither documents nor borders” , “Forged papers for everyone!”, “”Neither law nor borders”
Gironde: 15 hour blockade (including Thursday to Friday night) of logistic platform preventing provisions of several huge chains of supermarkets organized 23 trucks and 40.000 packages were blocked by anti labour law protesters.
Paris: casualised cultural workers (“intermittents”) occupy cinema (they were evicted during the night)
Val-de-Marne: immigrants protest against “social” housing agency, smash doors “For a month we’ve had no electricity, says one of them. There are no lights in the showers, nor doors to the toilet … we point this out to them but nothing is ever done. “… they tried to break into the administrative offices….One of the police who intervened was slightly wounded in the hand and leg.”
France, Nantes: cop captain hospitalised after being attacked with iron bars during new clashes over labour law; 7 cops hurt; Melenchon (boss of “Front de Gauche” – “Left front”) denounces “violence” of the oppressed, this after a young man lost his eye from a flashball in Rennes on April 28th
wishful thinking: “yesterday a Porsche, tomorrow Parliament”
France, Montpellier: cops heavily repress blockades but a blockade occurs
“..,. the BAC, the National Police and riot police positioned themselves in front of every blockade from 7am, threatening students with rubber bullets, forcibly expropriating garbage cans, megaphones and banners, and proceeding to the arrest of dozens of high school students, regarded as “ringleaders” of their institution, who were all released after 4 hours of “checking identities”. Despite the lack of a city blockade, high school students did not demobilize, and nearly 300 students gathered at the Place de la Comedie, then went on wildcat demo savage through the town, including past the Clemenceau high school, then to Joffre High School before the school around noon. There, taking advantage of the exit of many students for their lunch break, the demonstrators started to block the school gate. An incursion of helmeted police to keep the gate open then caused a tense standoff between the mobilized students who were shouting combative slogans ( “everyone hates the police”)… the students then began, under the sun, a festive occupation of the square. Several passersby stopped to then provide support to students. The sit-in then gradually waned around 14:30, along with the police presence.”
From a testimony of a street medic about these events (translated from here):
Witness testimony of a Street Medic on the events of 1st May 2016 in Paris, Published May 2nd, 2016.
May 1st, 2016 saw the repressive side. With lots of injuries and broken limbs caused by the cops, but also marked by an unfailing solidarity.
A collective statement will be released very soon. Meanwhile I wanted to write this testimony about what we experienced during the day of action on May 1st against the Labour Law in order to make it rapidly public.
The event was, from my point of view, one of the most violently repressed since the beginning of the movement. However, it is also on that day that I was able to participate in the practice of group solidarity, on a scale and a strength I had never known before.
As StreetMedic, we had to give medical help to medically help, reassure, and take care of countless injured. …We have seen and treated serious injuries, caused by flash balls, tear gas, disencirclement grenades. Shots on faces, eyes, hands, limbs, all over the body. We saw fingers severed in half, burnt skin, people in shock, terrified.
In general, the wounded come to us in spurts. The first time was in a large trap before reaching Nation: 4 serious injuries, many others with lighter ones. We had to improvise a triage [a way of sorting the wounded depending on the degree of urgency to decide the order of treatment] in a care outpost despite the nearby fighting.
There I saw the protesters protect us, making a barrage using their bodies to block the CRS charges when they came upon us. Lots of people stayed there, putting themselves in danger, taking the risk of being arrested, clubbed, shot. Out of solidarity. And it was this attitude which continued to impress me throughout the day.
Later, at Nation, we took care of a person whose artery had been severed at the ankle through a direct hit by the police. It was a haemorrhage of the pulse, which, in order to maintain a pressure point, made her unmovable. So we stayed with her, to treat her in the centre of the square, while the tear gas rained everywhere and direct hits whistled. Soon other injured people were brought to us.
A security perimeter formed by thirty people stood around us. We waved a large StreetMedic flag in the hope that the police would not charge and would keep out of our reach until we’d rescued…the heaviest injured to be evacuated.
But a continuous shower of tear gas began to rain on our little area. We were almost the last in the square. I was blinded and asphyxiated. One hand compressing the artery of the injured, the other protecting her head from the shooting. But even with the two hands immobilised, seeing nothing and unable to breathe, I knew someone was protecting me.
All these people, StreetMedics, demonstrators, strangers remained around us and kept the line. Some placed their bodies above us to block the cannisters of burning teargas falling on us like rain. One of them saw her bag start to go up in flames. But they all stayed until the end.
I do not want to make a martyrish apology here, and I think we will have a lot of questions to ask ourselves about how we had to put ourselves in danger physically, us protesters, especially the StreetMedics.
But at the end of the day, I wanted to say how I was touched by the massive collective solidarity I witnessed, and this, throughout the day. I saw protesters from very different tendencies take care of each other. Individually, in groups or en masse. Despite an intense and sustained degree of repression.
From my point of view as a StreetMedic, this day was a bloodbath. Our interventions are increasingly that of wartime medical help. But paradoxically, the strongest feeling, the most present for me at the end of the day, is gratitude, a strong sense of cohesion, of solidarity, of strength, of convergence and of determination. The proof-in-acts that we – students, workers, unemployed, precarious – can be stronger in the face of the bosses, of the state, of its police.
Solidarity is an invaluable weapon.
Some Paris graffiti from mayday:
“The world of work in ruins or nothing!”
– a development of lots of examples of “The world or nothing” (“Le monde ou rien”) graffiti throughout Paris, a slogan taken from a crappy individualist-capitalist rap song, but given a new twist
“Neither God – Nor Master”
“Neither cops – Nor prophets”
“Even if God existed it would be necessary to stone him”
France, Paris: car and scooters burnt after cops attack remnants of Nuit Debout…..account of events of day in French…Correze: local Socialist Party HQ vandalised with indelible paint …Toulouse: office windows of journal smashed because of its crude sexism…Nice: politicians emerge out of Nuit Debout 2 significant partcipants in Nuit Debout here are put up as candidates for the legislative assembly.
France: various confrontations with cops in Paris, Rennes, Marseille, Nantes, St Etienne…high school students in several regions are still on vacation, but in places where classes were supposed to have started again – at least 15 high schools blockaded (totally or partly)… 124 arrested in whole country, in about 10 cities; at least 100,000, maybe double, took to the streets; clashes and autonomous actions reported in 9 cities or towns…various photos and videos
Mulhouse (below): “Those who sow misery, reap fury”
…Paris: flights cancelled at Orly…lots of police violence after Genneviliers’ harbour occupation Mentions also that several refineries were blockaded, as well as a few gasoline dumps, Le Havre harbour (France’s main harbour) and an industrial zone in Amiens (northern France)…injured cop “between life and death” (so, no change there then).
Nantes: Porsche burning in front of prefecture (video here)
Germany, Mannheim: lots of bank windows smashed in solidarity with movement in France Communiqué: “This is an attack against a symbol of capitalism… For a world without classes, without exploitation and war! We welcome the struggling youth in the squares and in the streets of France! Your struggle is our struggle! The world is Ours !”
France, Paris: cop car burnt on the margins of the Nuit Debout just after midnight Friday to Saturday “a hundred individuals formed in procession headed towards the Boulevard du Faubourg Saint-Martin” around 0:15. The security forces, which had managed to contain the square, were then pelted with projectiles. A police car parked nearby was “deliberately torched and completely destroyed.” Another police vehicle and two vehicles were also damaged…. “Up to 2 am and, despite the call for dispersal by the police, the clashes multiplied against officers – requiring tear gas” .
…Ales (Gard): several banks, estate agents, temp employment agencies, etc. covered with anti-work etc. posters and stickers [from an email list] “Saturday morning in downtown Ales a charming band of revelers changed the decor. Our posters adorned the windows of banks, temp agencies and real estate, as well as the sad municipal areas of underemployment. Overjoyed, the group tried to organize a crazy dance in a CIC bank, but executives wearing ties didn’t play along …Despite the arrests of the police, we nevertheless showed our anger. For sure: WE WILL RETURN !!!”
Here, in French, is a compilation of those who condemned the riots and clashes that took place since the beginning of the movement.
France, Montpellier: 100 demonstrators against labour law blockade motorway toll booth for 90 minutes This followed a decision by the Nuit Debout (and was also announced by high school students on Facebook), so they’re not all utterly impotent like the citizenist crap going on in Paris. These 100 or so people tried to lift the barriers of the tollbooth so cars could travel for free, but being greatly outnumbered by heavily armed riot cops who’d followed them all from the centre of town (making very public this action beforehand helped them) and started pointing their flashball guns at them when they tried to do this, they decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of being maimed.
…Nantes: bank and employment agency windows smashed, prefecture gets paint and stuff thrown at it, by about 200 “The security forces, targets of stones or glass bottles, responded with tear gas. A group of demonstrators faced the police, flowers in hand, chanting “the police with us” and shouting “stop throwing stones” at the younger ones”
…Besançon: Chamber of Commerce graffitied, windows broken “As I was strolling in the area of the Jules Haag high school on this lovely sunny Wednesday afternoon, splashes of different colors on the front of the gigantic building caught my attention. And what a pleasant surprise to see that these were only the visible part of the iceberg! In addition to the ten paint stains visible on several meters high on a white façade of the ICC [chamber of commerce], some windows were cracked by thrown projectiles. On one wall of the huge edifice, a piece of graffiti said “On the ashes of the old world freedom will be born – Let’s light the fire! (A in a circle)”. It’s nice to see that some spend their night standing [reference to NuitsDebout] by staying away from the citizenist and pacifist discourse, held for several weeks in the company of journocops and politicians.”
Lyon High Court: “no justice no peace”
Calais: report on how migrants are constantly blocking major roads with tree trunks “These constant acts provoke a feeling of impotence amongst businessmen and the riot police”
France, Paris: a 100 or so clash with police and destroy various things The media insists on the fact that disturbances after the “Nuits Debout” have finally stopped …though it’s hard to believe, it seems they’re slightly careless with the truth. Video here – half a dozen brand new Jaguars smashed outside Jaguar salesroom, CCTV cameras attacked, etc.
This, in French, is a critique of Hazan, one of the main Invisible Committee supporters and ideologists and his plan to create links with the police. It’s a critique of this lundimatin article (can’t be bothered to translate this almost surreal and totally crap appelistes text – google translate it to get the gist of it).
anarcho-cops maintain their committed invisibility
France, Montpellier: high school students march again while nothing happens in the rest of France – just a few minor clashes and some disturbances …This gives an account in French of cop behaviour: “…several high schools in Montpellier were blockaded to continue the movement against the Labour Law. … the revenge of the security forces on Friday was unprecedented in the city….In front of the blocked Clemenceau high school, hundreds of students were trying to maintain their barricade across the boulevard despite heavy tear gas fire. At the same time, the high schools of Jean Mermoz and Guesde were partially blocked, calmly. A procession started from the second high school around 9:15 am to increase the numbers of the rally outside the Clemenceau school, who were being increasingly harassed by agents of the BAC. When they linked up, the riot police suddenly charged the students covering themselves by firing tear gas, pushing the procession towards the city centre. … the crowd of 600 high school students joined the rally in front of the Jean Mermoz Lycée, where several hundred students were present. The students of these three schools, from the working-class, hardly had time to greet each other when hundreds of riot police immediately charged the crowd without warning, with disencirclement grenades and tear gas. BAC officers followed, armed with batons and rubber bullets, and hitting the slow ones on the ground. The crowd of schoolgirls gathered at the entrance of the Polygon shopping-mall overlooking the Antigone district, found itself face to face with a booth run by activists of the party Lutte Ouvrière, which distributed leaflets to passersby. It was at this time that a dozen plainclothes police bolted the doors of the shopping center and threw grenades at everyone – students, Lutte Ouvrière activists and customers from the shopping center, which caused the rapid flight of the high school students to the adjacent streets, towards the station area. The BAC officers then conducted a real hunt through the city, shooting at the students at close range with their rubber bullets, and consistently beating those they managed to catch. Many students and some bystanders were injured by these armed men, some seriously.”
play on words: nuire=to damage, harm
France, Montpellier: about 300 (according to some reports) tear gas grenades launched in 2 hours against 2000 high school students in centre of town…at least 8 Montpellier high schools blockaded during national strike Lots of videos here. Report in English here.
The morning began early with various blockades at different schools. There’s a nice irony in the fact that one of the main high school student banners throughout France has been “We won’t get up in the morning for just 1200 euros” (ie per month), when they’re often getting up at 5.30 am to blockade their schools: whilst work as wage slavery is increasingly put in question, the work of the negative is always worth getting up for…
At least 2 of these blockades of schools involved burning bins to block the tramway, resulting in the suspension of trams for about 6 hours. There are many leftists and liberals who – reduced to the role of spectators demanded by this society – are incapable of understanding the point of burning bins etc., and look down from the self-styled maturity of their senile heights at such “infantile” actions. It’s not just that they don’t understand that blockades without something that disrupts the normal daily life of other people generally get ignored and have no objective effect; they are also clearly so stuck in political notions of struggle that they’re incapable of grasping the desire to play with the alien environment, that doing things that disrupt normality unites individuals with this rapidly transformed environment, an environment which is normally considered as something separate from yourself and from your internal monologue. It’s no surprise that it’s the youths from the popular areas of town, those most used to playing in the streets insofar as they can, who were the first to disrupt the trams and overturn or burn bins, etc.
Passing through the main shopping centre of the town, which leads to the main square, some high school students completely smashed 2 large windowed doors of this cathedral to the commodity. The high school students then moved to the “esplanade”, a tree-lined strip running from the main square (Place de la Comedie) to a large theatre complex. It’s about 400 meters long with a park area, some cafes, a bandstand, statues, etc. A couple of minor fires (just small piles of rubbish burning on the pavement), and the scattering of lots of free daily propaganda sheets (“newspapers”) incited the CRS to arrive in about 12 – 15 vans. Their firing of tear gas into the large crowds created panic but also incited someone to set fire to a large bin that made the situation more dramatic with the flames and smoke. For about 2 hours there was a lot of running from one end to the other as the riot cops launched tear gas first near the main square, then at the other end near the theatre. Some stone throwing, lots of masking up and lots of small groups chatting. Occasionally people distributed some anti-tear gas serum, or some lemon for those most distressed by the gas. At one point some “good” students, union-organised – instructed by CGT stewards, sat down on the pavement in front of the CRS to protest the stone-throwing; some students hurled stones at the cops, some of which missed their target and hit the good students; when the cops retaliated with tear gas these “good” students clapped them. It seems that many of the university students involved in these demonstrations have a very condescending attitude towards the high school students and want to “educate” them towards “correct” political activity. Fortunately without that much success. Most of the time the cops were just firing tear gas just to piss people off: e.g. teenagers dancing round some loud music were fired at. The media, of course, made out it was all in response to “casseurs”, of which, sadly, there were very few. But then, apart from the cops, there were hardly any viable targets. A lot of fear of cameras also helped. Youths have yet to learn how to hide their faces with t-shirts like in the US.
Worth pointing out that this amount of tear gas is virtually unprecedented for Montpellier; the last time was over 40 years ago in the mid-70s, when there were confrontations throughout the town between “peasants”/agricultural workers and cops.
At about 1pm the demo moved off from the main square and immediately it was clear that this was essentially a “wildcat demo”, with virtually no union, and no political party or anarchist organisation, banners or flags – almost all banners and placards being self-made. Apparently the official union demo had refused to join up with the high school student mob. Very large banners included “High schools are angry” and 2 held by high school students at the head of the march saying “We won’t live live like slaves any more” and “Neither boss fodder nor truncheon fodder”. Lots of tags (mainly “ACAB”) and paint bombs against the mainly luxury shops. The more obviously conventional looking bystanders were clearly shocked and scandalised by the appearance of these riff-raff who, for some inexplicable reason, preferred having fun doing unacceptable things to going mouldy during an interminable day of lessons. Some from a shop called “The Exclusive” stared out of their upstairs shop windows (the downstairs part having been shuttered off) and when someone shouted “You’re excluding yourselves” one responded with Oscar Wildean wit – “you little cunt” to which the guy responded “I’m not a little cunt – I’m a big cunt”.
There were very few stewards trying to keep order, and these few were largely ineffectual – for instance a couple of people carrying a UNEF (university union) banner were angrily confronted by a small group and forced to roll their banner up. Another – an elderly unionised teacher – tried to let the cars pass on the road, whilst people marched on the tramway; he was unsuccessful as the demonstration spread right across the road, halting traffic.
Lots of funny untranslateable slogans like “Ni droite ni gauche ni troglycerene” (literally “Neither right nor left – nitroglycerine!”, but the repetition of “ni” makes it funny in French). Another, which unfortunately was hardly taken up, was “Je te dis sans faille, Ni loi ni travail” – which means literally “I tell you unwaveringly – neither law nor work” – the first part being a line from a song (of course, it rhymes in French – maybe it could be unliterally translated as “Let me tell you how much I adore Neither labour nor the law”).
It was a crazy, funny, long and winding march all over the place, eventually – though by this time the march had dwindled to maybe just 300 people – going towards the the town’s main police HQ, where bins were overturned and used to block the road a bit, with a very small fire of rubbish close to this HQ. Many went there to chant “Free our comrades!” (about 30 were arrested) – don’t know if this was a naive slogan or just a way of hopefully boosting the morale of those inside who may have been able to hear the chants. A more popular chant was rhythmically shouting out “Everyone detests the police!” over and over again. If only it were true. A bit later someone, probably having just recently read situationist stuff for the first time, spray-painted in very large letters: “Never work ever!”.
Someone managed to throw a bottle of beer through a cop car window, the beer going all over them.
It wasn’t all good though – the worst thing was that about 10 high school students managed to rip off other students’ mobile phones, caps, etc, which must have been quite demoralising to the victims, even if these muggers also got chased, threatened and insulted (eg “You’re just like the cops” or “steal from the shops or the rich – not from poor youths”). However, it should be pointed out that these didn’t seem to be gangs, but individuals, protected by their friends who, despite protecting them, often seemed quite embarrassed by what their friend had done. Which is indicative of the fear of self-affirmation. This was an example of a more general limitation of this event – the fact that most people seemed to confine themselves to their small clique – of friends or fellow “radicals” or whatever, that they didn’t try to communicate all that much outside of these little groups, when normally in situations like this people generally open up and show curiosity towards “strangers” that they would normally avoid or be indifferent to. It’d be dangerous to minimise these things, which many amongst the anti-authoritarian milieu often ignore (see, for instance, this in French).
Or worse, to cynically sneer at such miseries as if everything like this is inevitable, and are simply proof that nothing can change. These things are a consequence of this repressive world which inculcates lack of self-confidence and the belief that conforming to the demands of your clique, especially to those in your group who’ve got the biggest mouths, can offer some security. Rather than complain that high school students “lack organisation” or “have no tradition of struggle” or don’t have the cohesion of the old working class, etc. etc. or to only emphasise the radicality of the forms of these struggles (confrontations with cops, etc.) without also seeing the limitations of their content, it is important to develop some kind of dialogue (a dialogue that leaves a place for anger) linked to action, when energies come together and find ways that translate into specific targets against the frustration and alienation of the various miserable living conditions. And it’s more useful to develop modest or imperfect tentative initiatives (which aim to be superseded) than to cheerlead the radicality of forms without questioning our social relations and the system that enforces them. In this city segregation, political control of neighborhoods (via associations in particular), gentrification and post-Georges Freche [mayor of Montpellier for 27 years and then president of its region for 6 years until his death] ideology pushes everyone, including the poorest, into standard narrow forms of survival individualised like never before. These methods push everyone into carving out their small hole by taking refuge in religious nothingness, or into the worship of money, merchandise and a beautiful car. But above all, this individualised rat race pushes people into their small hole of an identity totally absorbed in the decaying world of work: a narrow niche that’s often found by jumping the queue through informal political cliques – and in France, generally far more than in the UK for instance, work depends enormously on who you know. Yet these days, when people begin to erupt, also show that there are many individuals who do not at all feel happy about this state of things (whilst all the forces of this society try to make people believe otherwise), and are willing to take risks.
Unfortunately, only a very limited number of individuals on this day attempted to overcome the contradictions mentioned briefly in these few lines. But it paid off several times, and can only incite further persistence along such a path.[modified 24/4/16, partly influenced by this article in French]
Outside Jean Mermoz high school, Montpellier
…Paris: repressive/depressive normality disturbed by at least 300 after Nuit Debout broadcasts Hollande’s TV speech on a big screen saying the Labour Law will not be withdrawn “300 youths, according to police, some wearing balaclavas, broke … windows, bus shelters, a branch of Pole Emploi [social security office], a Franprix [supermarket] store and even Autolib [electric cars provided by the town hall] vehicles. “Everyone hates the police!”, “The street it is ours!” shouted the protesters, defying the CRS. …clashes broke out for about twenty minutes in the Place de la Republique. Hooded protesters threw chairs, sticks and bottles at riot police, who responded with charges and tear gas.” Video of clashes with cops
“We’re all in danger” “Angry cultural workers”
It has to be said that these nude photo-shots, in very cold weather, are purely for the cameras, quickly carried out, then back on with the clothes. They’re standard “intermittents” practice and are never carried out in crowds, because that would be exhibitionism and therefore – heaven forbid! – illegal! So these intermittents confine themselves to one hall, and don’t want to break into the shower room area, because there’s lots of stuff there that could be damaged maybe. Since most of this theatre is not being used at the moment, this really is merely a show, Particularly as the most immediately obvious problem with this action was that it’s taking place far from everywhere: an area in which only buildings associated with culture exist, no shops or residential buildings or any non-cultural workplaces. Those who take their work far too seriously find themselves defined by it totally even when they think they’re struggling; hence these performers can only perform , whether paid for it or not (of course, a lot of them aren’t paid performers; they work the ropes or do the electrics or whatever in theatres, concerts, etc.). But although this occupation is rather miserable it’s all for the cause, even if their cause – as long as it’s carried out in this timid fashion – is doomed to failure.
lycee Villeneuve, Montpellier
More here. Leaders of NuitDebout call the cops:“About 300 people”, according to police headquarters, decided at about 11pm to leave the Place de la Republique to protest at the home of Manuel Valls in the eleventh district of Paris. An initiative that has resulted in incidents leading to the arrest of eight people. …For one hour, the whole neighborhood was cordoned off…and a strong police presence was deployed on site. To block the advance of the procession, the police used tear gas. Rubbish bins were burned and a small group of protesters also threw objects at the police station of the eleventh arrondissement. Violent actions that were visibly disapproved of by most of the protesters. But later, several windows of banks or insurance agents in Boulevard Voltaire were smashed, kicked in or by using iron bars by masked casseurs. At Place de la Republique, one of the members of NightStandingup shouted “these guys, they have nothing to do with us.” According to the police department, “six bank branches” were targeted by rioters, three were victims of intrusion. “A temp agency and an insurance agency” were also damaged. …At 2.50am, a manager [“responsable: in this case, a person presumably elected to a position of “responsiblity”] of NightStandingup requested the assistance of the police “because of the difficulty his stewards were having in ensuring security”…Police were sent to secure the rally, and they were made “the object of provocations and many thrown stones.” An Autolib vehicle [Paris car-sharing electric cars] was “burnt at the corner of Republic Square and Boulevard Saint Martin,” requiring the intervention of firefighters.” From a friend I’ve heard that when a group of fascists arrived at the Nuit Debout in Paris lots of people shouted abuse at them. The Nuit Debout stewards told those shouting at them to shut up because the Nuit Debout is “open to everyone”. Citioyennisme = toleration for your future torturers.
…Rennes: confrontations as local state bans demonstrations in historic centre “The security forces repeatedly used tear gas and stun grenades against young people trying to access the historical downtown centre of the city…The CRS also charged… when they were “attacked by extremely violent elements using smoke bombs and projectiles” against them, said the prefecture…Scores of people were inconvenienced by the gas, the procession consisting mostly of employees, families with children, pensioners. “We’re sick of being gassed”, complained Isabelle, recently retired from Telecom. “This is disproportionate, “she said, as protesters continued to march shortly before 1pm. ..The prefect of Ille-et-Vilaine earlier in the week banned any event in the historic centre of Rennes….The demonstrators…were joined by youth and students, some wearing carnival masks or balaclavas, which were placed at the head of the gathering. “Beneath the ashes, embers are burning again” and “The objective conditions have come together” could be read on banners.” Video here Tag: “End of work, magic life” Rioters shield themselves with light plastic transparent windows.
...Montpellier: demo of a couple of thousand; paint bombs thrown at various targets (mainly banks and army recruitment); some shop windows smashed; lots of tags A NuitDebout was held with about 300 people in the main square. As soon as it started, much of it came over as bureaucratic bullshit, suggested partly by anarcho-leftists of the CGA (Coordination des Groupes Anarchistes): creating “commissions” of small groups of people who would act out what the large assembly had decided. Whilst this idea may have some use in far larger circumstances, such as those involving hundreds of thousands, for 300 or so people to delegate others to act for them is an absurd evasion of responsibility for doing actions themselves, a wilful submission to “experts”.
At one point a guy suggested that the form of the meeting should be changed: that everyone should sit in a circle rather than face one spot at the front, and that the mic should be rotated from person to person, rather than someone standing up in front like in a traditional meeting. He immediately went to a vote and most people who voted voted for his idea. But it was overruled – without debate – by those who’d initiated the NuitDebout because they’d decided beforehand that this wasn’t the correct procedure. So much for “horizontalism”.
France, Paris region: confrontations between cops and high school students outside at least 4 high schools on day where nothing national is organised “In Hauts-de-Seine (92) and Seine-Saint-Denis (93), protesters attacked the security forces, and burned garbage…At Courbevoie (92), nine people were arrested in front of the Paul Lapie high school for throwing projectiles at law enforcement and damaging things. Another person, accused of throwing projectiles was arrested at Guy de Maupassant school in Colombes (92). Three others were arrested near Voillaume high school in Aulnay-sous-Bois (93) for throwing projectiles and setting fire to trash….The biggest clash took place in Tremblay-en France (93). One hundred hooded high school students… faced a dozen police officers in front of the Hélène Boucher high school. A vehicle was set on fire, two others overturned, and police “copiously stoned,” … the police used tear gas and flash-balls.”…Montpellier: 3 high schools come out on strike against labour law More here. “In front of Jean Mermoz school, more than a thousand students blocked traffic with some rubbish, some in flames, causing the rapid arrival of several CRS trucks. These arranged themselves in line immediately, then began running toward the high school crowd, firing tear gas and rubber bullets without any warning. This police aggression immediately provoked a defensive reaction expressed by aiming a fire extinguisher towards the armed men. As the police advanced in front, the crowd …dispersed towards the city center and the Antigone district, where groups of youths were pursued by the CRS and the BAC. To slow down the advance of the police, barricades were quickly improvised on the way. The massive arrival of students in the city center caused the immediate closure of many stores, including the Polygone shopping center….” [though this says “more than a thousand students”, apparently this is grossly exaggerated – 350 is more exact]
burning bins at Jean Mermoz high school, Montpellier
France, Hauts-de-Seine: 22 arrests following confrontations at 5 high schools “Two days after the blockade degenerated at Leonardo da Vinci school in Levallois-Perret, causing damage amounting to some € 150,000, other institutions of the Hauts-de-Seine experienced a very tense situation on Thursday morning….At Clichy, a hundred policemen were deployed …It all started around 7.15 a.m. when a group of ten youths torched garbage bins. The fire under control, they stoned the municipal police who’d rushed to the scene. The tension rose a notch with the arrival of students. Difficult for officers to make the distinction between those who wanted to go to class and those who hoped to blockade the high school. The police eventually pushed them back towards the Seine, tear gas responding to various projectiles thrown. In the confusion a car was torched…Firefighters also had to help two youths inconvenienced by the stinging gas. “The ground was covered with puddles of milk”, a passer-by witnessed. “Young people use it to protect themselves against the gas” … The situation also escalated on the outskirts of Newton High School, north of the town. Many CRS were deployed Thursday morning near the building, where a vehicle was torched.
Newton high school discovers gravity
A Courbevoie. Around 8am, the vocational school of Paul Painlevé…was also targeted by a group of young people. The latter… emptied and burned garbage and threw bottles against the walls of the establishment. Very quickly, police in riot gear and firemen were mobilized on site while the streets of La Montagne and Victor Hugo were closed to traffic. Colombes: The situation was very tense this morning in front of the general and technological lycée Guy de Maupassant, Robert-Schumann Street….30 policemen in riot gear advanced, meter by meter, in order to disperse the demonstrators. “It’s super hot,” says a young woman in a flat voice…Gennevilliers: youths and police also found themselves face to face near the Galilee school, already the scene of incidents late last week. Projectiles were thrown.”
Montpellier, Georges Clemenceau high school
ignition key, Compiegne
Rennes railtrack occupied
Hauts-de-Seine (outskirts of Paris): Leonardo-da-Vinci high school facade burnt after barricade is torched – Leonardo says he’s quite pleased with this realisation and suppression of his art
Lille “Boss, your place is in prison. Shareholder, your place is in the cemetery”
France, Haute-de-Seine: 2 cars torched outside high school as 100 students block classes; cops stoned, very loud fireworks thrown at firefighters……many squares throughout country “occupied” (ie with people chatting, eating, sleeping etc. in groups) Apparently this initiative of “NuitDebout” (“night standing up”) has partly been made by some of the old “indigenes” (“indignants”) with their citizenist ideology and their secret connections with the left of capital – the “Front de Gauche” (ex-Minister Mellenchon’s party) and other rackets, and use such words as “assembly”, “democracy”, “self-organisation” in a purely demagogic manner, to sound correct, but in fact are against “violence” (but not the intrinsic violence of the state and the whole market system) and prefer symbolic attacks. Back in 2011, square assemblies spread throughout France (as they did elsewhere) but were manipulated behind-the scenes by the left of the Socialist Party, who participated in these assemblies specifically to merely talk and to consistently avoid and decry any practical suggestions other than sitting down in a square and endlessly talking. Which doesn’t mean that everyone participating in these attempts to occupy the squares is taken in by these recuperators. “Alongside these trade unionist and citizenist masquerades, there are individuals who want to screw up the old world. To burn down factories rather than self-manage them, to make those who have exploited us all this time pay the price for their disgusting acts. Individuals who want freedom, not just a piece of it…. Individuals who don’t want to “barter a part of now for a fictitious share of tomorrow” (Albert Libertad, To The Resigned, 1905). Individuals who want neither Labour nor the Law. Individuals who understand that to re-take our lives, lives that have been stolen from us, we must necessarily go through the joy of violence against those who are responsible, by fire everywhere we find the tools of our exploitation to reduce it to ashes. And these citizenist collectives, and these productivist trade-unionists, are an insult to uncontrollable revolt, and an insult to intelligence also. Because today, the only intelligent action that is concrete is to destroy, in deed, what destroys us.” (from here)
Someone from Paris wrote me this email about the text partly translated here and the situation in the Place de la Republique in Paris: “[This article]summarizes well what is going on with “Fakir,” the journal that in reality is published for Mélanchon and is organising three days of massive political-cultural shows in the Place de la République in Paris. The Place de la République is really disgusting, French-style citizenist posture par excellence, with a lot of people who, hardly even a few months ago, paraded against terrorists and for freedom of expression at the time of Charlie [reference to Charlie Hebdo killings]. With the free gift, in Place de la Republique, of the film of the shit guru from “Fakir”, “Thank you boss” which was applauded by high school and University students. All with the agreement of the Paris police headquarters. Blessed state of emergency! Meanwhile, the police use their truncheons on undocumented Syrians squatting under the elevated railways, just three station stops from this place! And when one speaks of this in Place de la Republique, no-one moves. Misery and shit without end!”
France: according to unions 1.2 million demonstrate on streets (cop estimates: 390,000) Pity most of them just played follow my leader – but fortunately not all:
video in French, unfortunately preceded by an ad
Clashes reported in most of the main French cities. Around 200 high schools took part in the movement. This mentions clashes in Grenoble, Rennes, Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Rouen, Toulouse.
bank in Grenoble
Rouen, bin burning after peaceful occupation of square in front of town hall is violently repressed by filth (see this video)
Lille: firefighters set fire to tyres
This isn’t the only irony: these “pompiers” are militarised, with ranks such as “colonel” etc., and are officially not allowed to go on strike; most significantly, they’re often the target of youths in the banlieux when they put out fires aimed at ambushing cops. The liberal-left media article linked to above is slightly hypocritical in its apparent approval of the unionised firefighters’ tyre-burning, but very moralist against those attacking cops on horseback or paintbombing of banks
Lille: “slavery – it’s now!”
“Le travail tue” – Work Kills
…Toulouse: bins torched, clashes with cops during national strike and demos against new labour laws after 400 – 500 refuse cop orders to disperse “The day before, a police operation was conducted at a squat called “The House of March 32nd” at 36 rue Roquelaine, where twenty people were preparing Thursday’s protest against the Labour Law. According to a police source, the “home-made projectiles” were discovered in the squat of this “small group of the extreme left.”… late Thursday afternoon … a journalist was wounded in the head after receiving a truncheon blow to the head following a charge of riot police. He was taken to hospital to receive first aid. Demonstrators also tried to snatch the camera of an audiovisual journalist.” More here about the eviction of the March 32nd squat. 200 occupy theatre for at least a night Initiated by precarious cultural workers.
…Montpellier : 2 arrested During the official union-dominated demo (about 4000 people), one person was truncheoned by the BAC trying to arrest him for doing graffiti, but the guy was liberated by other demonstrators; following this official demo a high-spirited “wildcat” demo with drums took off (about 250 people) with lots of tags being made, ATM machines glued, paint bombs against banks etc., finishing at the main square (Place de la Comédie) with a General Assembly. High-spot was a brief speech by a 10 (or something)-year-old who said “It’s all finished – now let’s crush them”.General Assembly and small group discussions continue from 2pm into the night.[SF]
France, Alès (Gard): high school completely blockaded by a couple of dozen high school students, hoping to remain blocked until official national strike against labour laws on Thursday, 31st March. They also aim to get other high schools in the town to blockade their schools today. This school was probably the first to come out on strike and get other schools to blockade back in September 2010 against Sarkozy’s reform of pensions, though back then this obviously involved different students from this high school (see this) (from an email; no link)…Nantes: 2 employment agencies and the HQ of the Socialist Party have their furniture removed in the middle of the day by students
new Socialist Party HQ, Nantes
…Rennes: a hundred of students block subway for about 4 hours…video of chairs blocking subway…“While some activate the alarms for the metro to stop it working, others look for chairs to put on the track. The alarms are activated, a maintenance officer calls …the chairs are thrown onto the track while the subway is not running, but …. Suddenly a metallic sound is heard. It seems that the STAR (Rennes transmission networks) did not take the alarms seriously…and not giving a damn restarted the subway.” – from here.
France, Rennes: students blockade ring road in movement against new labour law & distribute leaflets to drivers…Tours: 100 students occupy Socialist Party HQ, then go on to occupy MEDEF (bosses’ organisation)
France, Paris: high school students attack police station after video showing gratuitous cop violence circulates in media; “fuck the cops” and “death to the cops” tagged; windows broken; police station forced to close; 2 supermarket chainstores looted Famous video of cops here
franprix supermarket liberated:
angry of the world unite – we have nothing to lose but our chainstores!
This report says looted food was distributed to refugees “On leaving, we went to distribute food to refugees at Place Stalingrad. Well, it’s true, we kept a little for ourselves”, concedes a girl who attended the stampede.”
The following video is best appreciated with this musical accompaniment:
19th arrodisement po-lice station
po n. (pl. pos). (colloq.) chamber-pot
France, Paris: students etc. clash with cops over new labour law; 2 cars burnt (video)…CGT (Communist Party union) HQ windows broken after their stewards collaborated with the cops in handing demonstrators over to them
Paris: burning desire at entrance of high school
Rouen: confrontations with cops at Socialist Party HQ
…Toulouse: students, high school students and striking workers blockade strategic roundabouts on town’s ring road at rush hour…Nantes: several arrests as young demonstrators burn bins, take up tramway paving stones and clash with the filth
France, Paris: wildcat demo from general assembly of the university at Tolbiac smashes various aspects of this society (banks, Socialist Party shopfront, local town hall windows, etc. etc.)…this time Tolbiac is successfully occupied for at least one night…student union condemns vandalism and theft “On the seventh floor, computer cables, phones and even microwaves were systematically severed; two CPUs were stolen; water was poured over the photocopier… printers, computer keyboards and educational and administrative files being processed were sprayed with different liquids”. Communique in English here.
graffiti at Tolbiac:
“2017: the ballot box reduced to crumbs!!
What’s the difference between a slave and a worker? The slave wants to emancipate himself”
Thought this from Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism”, Chapter 9 , “The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man”was pertinent in relation to the current migrant crisis, and the hostility of possibly a majority of passive spectators to this migration: “The official SS newspaper, the Schwarze Korps, stated explicitly in 1938 that if the world was not yet convinced that the Jews were the scum of the earth, it soon would be when unidentifiable beggars, without nationality, without money, and without passports crossed their frontiers…The very phrase “human rights” became for all concerned – victims, persecutors, and onlookers alike – the evidence of hopeless idealism or fumbling feeble-minded hypocrisy.” And in a footnote she writes: “The early persecution of German Jews by the Nazis must be considered as an attempt to spread antisemitism among “those peoples who are friendlily disposed to Jews, above all the Western democracies” rather than as an effort to get rid of the Jews. A circular letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all German authorities abroad shortly after the November pogroms of 1938, stated: “The emigration movement of only about 100,000 Jews has already sufficed to awaken the interest of many countries to the Jewish danger…Germany is very interested in maintaining the dispersal of Jewry…the influx of Jews in all parts of the world invokes the opposition of the native population and thereby forms the best propaganda for the German Jewish policy…The poorer and therefore more burdensome the immigrating Jew is to the country absorbing him, the stronger the country will react.” [SF]
France, Caen: roads blockaded, stones and other stuff thrown at cops, as high school students continue movement against new labour law…Metz: sit-down blockade of university violently repressed by riot cops (video); Strasbourg – projectiles thrown at cops
the world or nothing
makes the heart grow fonder
Labour law? We want neither law nor labour! Wildcat Strike Looting Sabotage Insurrection!
Leaflet in English about this labour law here.
This leaflet is from an “appelistes”/Tiquunists site, a group which got international fame with the arrests in Tarnac in 2008. They are generally disliked nowadays because of their increasing sub-Leninist desire to represent, involving worrying about the media image of actions, amongst other things. See, for example, our entry for Rennes 6/2/16. On 27th February in Nantes some of them, amongst other “anarchists”, screamed at people trashing a Total petrol station because it would give the media an excuse to rubbish the ZAD movement; moreover, one of the texts in the link above is signed by Quadropanni, a local mayor (maybe a councillor) who used to be part of the ultra-left scene, who, in his local political position, collaborates with the French CP, which has invariably played a counter-revolutionary role ever since it came into being (but most noticeably in 1944 and 1968), and is undoubtedly continuing to do so in the current movement. [SF]
Most of what they publish, in the continuity of the Invisible Commitee, has more to do with radical democratism, or democratic insurrectionalism, or whatever, than anything else. I wouldn’t call them “anti-state communists” like in the introduction of that translation..
They’re criticized for what SF mentioned, but for tons of other things as well, their collaboration with the mass-media and their very bourgeois relations being some of the most important (and of course everything having to do with small businesses).
The worst weaknesses of their movementist ideology is quite obvious in various sentences…all that grandiloquent shit they’ve been writing for years is still there…which has much to do with the “we are the 2006 movements’ vets” attitude they’re so famous for here. But it’s nothing surprising, they were very focused on trying to compare their role in the 2006 movement with that of the situationists in ’68, and still more or less try to make people believe that they have a role to play in what could be something historic.
When they write, at the beginning, that they’ve received this text from the “Action Committee”, anyone can guess that themselves and that Commitee are pretty much the same.
When they say that, as always, the leaders follow the uncontrollable base, always at the vanguard of movements…it could almost be taken as a joke when you know a little bit how things work in France, including in this movement.
As for what they say about French youth…it’s just a more basic version of the situationists’ theories, applied in a very different context. They’re really the only ones who seem to think that today’s young generations are on the verge of something major. French youth has never been so passive, so divided, so alienated by religion, the middle-class way of life and ideology, consumption, than it is now.
It’s true that there’s a certain return, since last year, of young people in the antifa movements, and the movement in the high schools is surprising and interesting…but nothing justifies, in my opinion, the tremendous positivity of this article, except the will to justify roles.
What is true is that the “Appeliste” ideology has spread quite a lot…and everybody knows that the original Appelists have worked hard to make it so : basically through social media and antifa groups (this is why they refer to “youtubers” in the text). [Pi]
“The night is for fucking, NOT FOR WORKING“.
More here “The French education ministry said 115 high schools around the country had been blockaded. The organisers have put the figure at between 120 and 200…The Sorbonne, Tolbiac and Saint Denis universities are closed.”...confrontations in Paris, Rennes, Marseille, Nantes and Strasbourg “…dozens of young radicals and casseurs disrupted the Parisian procession …Ten minutes after the start of the parade in the charged atmosphere, some were throwing projectiles, cans and other bottles at the riot police. The atmosphere is “definitely less goody goody than last week,” said a CGT unionist come as an observer…. a flaming Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police. Firecrackers stuck into bottles of alcohol mixed with chlorine exploded, causing a bit of a panic. The windows of several banks, shops and a real estate agent were broken at the first subway of Charonne Faidherbe-Chaligny after being tagged with anarchist symbols. …On the campus of the University of Tolbiac in Paris a hundred students stormed a theater in the evening. Police intervened at the request of the President of the University, and confrontations erupted. Five people were arrested for “degradation, threats and missile throwing.” Two policemen were also injured….A schoolgirl of 18 was slightly wounded in the head during the Strasbourg event …In Rennes, it was the station that was stormed by thousands of protesters at mid-day. Hundreds of young people took to the tracks, causing power failure for about thirty minutes…Several people, some of them hooded, also went outside the town hall, at which they threw pots and paint cans; tear gas was fired by the police to prevent intrusion into the building. An injured person was identified among the security forces, hit by a stone. Finally, on the sidelines of the gathering, a group of youths attacked a patrol of the BAC [plain clothed psycho-cops] and a young man was arrested. In Marseille, scuffles briefly broke out between hundreds of youths, some masked, and police outside a police station on the Canebière. And in Nantes, garbage was burnt and a car overturned in front of the Gaspard-Monge school, leading to the intervention of the police and firefighters. Windows were also smashed, and paint cans thrown in the town of Nantes. There were also incidents in Rouen.” [This latter refers to eggs thrown at the local Socialist Party HQ]
Rennes on track: no points for sleepers – ideological platforms forbidden!
Rodez: hundreds of high school students demonstrate…Limoges: campus blockaded, students and high school students demonstrate …Montreuil (outskirts of Paris): a hundred or so high school students demonstrate…Dieppe: 500 high school students demonstrate…Besançon: 400 demonstrate etc. etc. etc. – all against new labour laws.
Nice video of cops forced to retreat (at least at the beginning):
a cop takes a well-earned rest
France, Marseille: carnival attacked by uninvited gate-crashers Cops teargas crowd after people cover CCTV cameras with paint, tag banks and ATMs, graffiti walls; anti-gentrification/anti-mayor papier-maché tank and pictures against borders; 2 BAC [plain clothes psycho-cops] are beaten a bit, some arrests. More here
France: between ¼ and ½ million demonstrate against new labour laws It should be pointed out that nationally the unions refused to call a strike – only local unions were involved (not that they’re much better)…100 high schools involved in movement against these laws…
For the cops to fire live rounds in such a situation is unusual in France nowadays, and an investigation into attempted homicide on the part of the cops is being opened up, though this is largely a way of showing how the state, despite the state of emergency, is still a liberal state. If this had happened in almost any other area, it would have been pretty scandalous but it should be pointed out that this is in an area (a banlieu of Paris) that was virtually occupied by the army and cops after the attacks in Paris in November, with any Arab being searched at gunpoint, or even pregnant Arab women being forced to lie down on the pavement for a search, and anyone complaining (even non-Arabs) getting a gun pointed at them along with racist verbal abuse. [SF]
This chronology continues here.
Original notes and introduction
The following used to be at the top of this page but has been put here to give the chronological events greater prominence:
This is simply “France: a reader” with a new title & a note about the current movement; as always the chronology is the latest news about events in France
france: a reader (updated regularly)
There are 4 sections to this page: a constantly updated chronology of events taken from the News of Opposition page, a list of texts about France on this site, some quotes about France from texts on this site which otherwise are not directly concerned with France, and a list of interesting historical texts about France not on this site. This is very far from being a definitive list (not that there ever could be such a thing) – things will be added constantly.
romantic nostalgic yearning for bliss was it that day…
It seems worthwhile putting all the entries about France from the News of Opposition page here in one place, entries going back to March 2013. Here you’ll find, alongside the confrontations with the cops over the new Labour Law and innumerable clashes in the banlieux, strikes, official and unofficial, farmers struggles, ecological struggles, struggles of cultural workers, etc. etc.
Note added 20/4/16: the current movement (which started in March) is certainly not as extensive as what happened exactly 10 years ago in the movement against the CPE in 2006 – it doesn’t involve as many people, the strikes are hardly followed, etc. It would be rather typical to be over-optimistic about it so far, to exaggerate its extent and its general influence. The most interesting aspects are the high school student movement, which are almost invariably organised independently, though there’s a high school student union that also seems to be part of it, predictably usually amongst the most pacifist elements, always trying to “calm” things down. Since the 16th April, half of the high schools and universities in France are on holiday, and given that there’s very little happening outside of these institutions, it’s likely that significant events will not start up until May (hopefully: even significant revolts nowadays often seem to simmer out rather than flare up). However, the casualised workers in the culture business ( “intermittents”) are carrying out various occupations and have an interesting history over the last 13 years (see “Culture in danger – if only”), despite their incredible naivety towards unions; and the “Nuits Debouts” (assemblies taking place at night in squares in the country), despite their citizenship ideologies, their bureaucratic mentality and tendency to drop wet blankets on anything other than talk, will now and then have people who suggest going off on a wildcat demo during the night, and these things can develop into something else. The problem, as always, is the fact that the current workforce are largely passive, indifferent or scared, despite the horrible future them and their children face.
Texts about France on this site
A translation of 2 leaflets written in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo assassinations. ” In this society “freedom of speech” does not exist: speak out against your boss, or a cop, or your teacher if you’re a kid, and you’ll discover how far this “freedom” gets you. … in France there’s a law against “outrage”, which means that you can be prosecuted for insulting anybody who’s a paid civil servant…. despite the fact that the international media focus almost exclusively on the journalists killed, in a society divided into the scene and the unseen, the male cleaner and proof reader who were killed have been – with a few exceptions – photochopped out of the picture”
“Tuesday, 26th April 2011, saw yet another suicide of a man working for France Telecom, this time by self-immolation in the parking lot of the France Telecom offices in Mérignac near Bordeaux. The picture above shows the exact place Rémi L. set fire to himself – beneath what was architecturally designed to look like a cross. The glories of sacifice. Ironically part of the guy’s most recent job requirement was to assess stress levels within the company and their remedy. Some remedy!…Management have been rehearsing and performing their show of concern for several years now, but behind this facade, they are clearly caught up in the logic of reification which they are structurally incapable of opposing. All they can do is put in place the psychologists and social workers and stress assessors and all the other professional reformists of daily life who are also structurally incapable of getting to the root of the matter – unless they subvert their prescribed roles of course. In this case, one of them has fallen victim to what he was trying to cure. Under suicide capitalism, the increasingly intensified logic of commodification of everybody and everything not only drives those at the bottom into mass depression and the world further into the abyss of environmental disaster, but also effects the individualist careerists who try to rise above the whirlpool – the cadres.”
2011: The Paris Commune Reflections 140 years after
“The strike… at Jean-Baptiste Dumas High School in Alès …started on Monday 27th, with the building of barricades 3 metres high around the doors of the school. The pupils then marched to other schools, including private ones, and several hundred ‘kids’ (15 and up) came out at different ones, amassing into at least 4000 demonstrating in the centre of the town in front of the prefecture and elsewhere. A cop on a motorcycle, surrounded by angry teenagers, accelerated quickly out, narrowly missing many of the demonstrators. At one private school, about 4 kilometers outside of Ales, over 200 kids came out on strike before the headmaster locked the others inside. The CRS were called and threatened the demonstrators outside with tear gas, who were trying to break down the doors, forcing them to disperse. Monday to Tuesday night, some of the students slept in tents in front of the schools (though a hot autumn during the day, it’s pretty cold at night). These demonstrations continued into Tuesday, including another one in front of the prefecture where stones were thrown and a school student arrested. At 7.45 p.m. four truckloads of gendarmes and 8 truckloads of CRS cops came along to the Jean-Baptiste Dumas school and dismantled the barricades, whilst just 6 teenagers “occupied” the roundabout in their tents in front of the High School, forcing fairly long drawn-out negotiations between Alès’s ‘sous-préfet’ (vice-president of the prefecture) in person, along with the commander of the cops, a leading councillor and CGT union reps….The demands are not yet a critique of miseducation, or of the futureless world this miseducation is preparing kids for, but totally within the boundaries of normality: withdrawal of the project of abolishing the national plan for lycées, against over-sized classes and withdrawal of the plan to extend retirement age to 62. But, being self-organised and a practical break with normality they point to a different perspective.”
“Nomad life is no longer compatible with modern life in Europe” – Francois Fillon, 30/8/10. There is no “specifically Roma problem” and the attacks on them are not “specific attacks”, as the specialists in manipulation (UMP, etc.) and the false opposition (the left, the liberal humanists, etc.) would have us believe they are, but a means of dividing so as to better rule. Those who, actively or passively, follow and accept the discourse of either side in this pseudo-debate, are ultimately as complicitous in their own misery as those most in the forefront of this “debate”.
“Social contestation will increasingly become possible and the more the European crisis continues with its domino effect the more the State will want any gatherings of young people repressed before such gatherings become a good pretext for attacking this stupid society. In Montpellier, the whole area was immediately surrounded by the police observing the intoxicating mix of marijuana and alcohol, and the mayor, drunk on the most destructive drug in the world – hierarchical power, proudly claimed that she watched it all in great detail through CCTV.”
“Friday, 5th March at Théatre Grammont near Zenith just outside Montpellier, France, a few people preferring to entertain themselves rather than be entertained, decided to take the piss out of the ridiculous spectacle of the critique of the spectacle “Scanners” with its pretentious subtitle “Howlings in favour of Guy Debord”.“
“France has been bubbling up on and off since 2003 (see “French movement 2003”, “Culture in danger – if only”, “Lycée movement 2005”, and a leaflet on the riots of November 2005 ). The pretext for the latest movement is, in itself, fairly unimportant: a change in the labour laws which makes it possible for bosses to sack under-26-year-olds in the first 2 years of employment without giving any reason (the name of this contract is CPE; Contrat Première Embauche). Even the French equivalent of the CBI admits that it doesn’t change much, except for small or average-sized private companies (on March 22nd, the employers’ movement Ethic “deplored” the “catastrophic consequences” of the CPE on the image of employers). But anyone who knows anything knows that if they get away with this, it’ll be extended to all workers, as has happened in Germany”
“In mid-April 2005, a Parisian annexe of the Ministry of Education was invaded by between 150 and 200 lycéens (secondary school students from the age of 16 upwards), and the offices were wrecked, with virtually every computer smashed, two being chucked out of the window. When the CRS (riot cops) arrived, the students quickly rushed up the stairs to the roof, quickly covering the stairs behind them with oil and liquid soap that they’d found there. As the cops slipped and fell, a fire extinguisher was chucked at them”
““This little army threatened to burn all the theatres if they did not close immediately, saying that the French people had no right to enjoy themselves in the midst of public misfortunes and that they no longer had any reason to amuse themselves. All theatres were duly closed; moreover no actor would have the courage to appear on the stage in the midst of the general alarm inspired by the certain prospect of tragic events.”– Professor Bellfroy, Paris, July 12th 1789….Last June and July (2003) the ‘intermittents’ launched the best practical critique of modern culture for a long time – by shutting down festivals that have been going on since shortly after the Second World War. As insurrectionaries discovered over 200 years ago, truly enjoying and amusing ourselves involves also attacking the official market-enforced and State-protected forms of enjoyment and amusement, the representations (but not the reality) of life. These representations are the essence of culture so it’s ironic that the ‘intermittents’ should dress themselves up in the same language as the State and the market – accusing the State of putting ‘culture in danger’, pre-empting the inevitable accusation the government launched against them.”
“Are the French less capable than European-Americans or Britons of recreating music of African-American origins? Does the peculiarity of French culture impede the reproduction of a music founded in the alienation of first a racial minority and then a rootless, alienated American population? The explanation frequently offered by French musicians and fans of rock and roll is that there is indeed a cultural limitation in France: the language. In their opinion, the phonetic structure and monotone stress patterns of the French language make the articulation of the emotions, the feeling at the heart of African-American music, virtually impossible. But this explanation is inherently contradictory. Artists possessing will and talent can overcome problems of technical execution. Most importantly, feeling is not subordinate to technical ability; and, as it happened, rock and roll was successfully performed in France even before it found a large market.”
” On one demo I asked someone, a CNT anarcho-syndicalist, what was going on in the way of occupations and assemblies and he looked at me as if I was from the moon – “It’s impossible to know what’s going on in France” he said. So, as everywhere else, if you don’t have friends and contacts in specific areas where something is going on, you’re effectively reliant on the dominant media. Superficially, at least, the media do seem to publicise more things than they would in the UK, but maybe it’s because there’s a great deal more going on here. The CNT has 5000 members, though admittedly concentrated in limited areas, but they still don’t know what’s going on. For example, 18 days after it had begun, the telly mentioned for the first time (and I’d not seen it amongst any of the ‘alternative’ media), a total dustman’s strike causing massive rubbish pile-ups in Brest”
“For the leadership of the trade unions, who are always hostile to individual and collective initiatives which escape their control, the decision to call a strike was the result of exhausting negotiations conducted with all the pedantry and ceremony proper to democracy with the objective of gaining credibility from people concerned. But individuals not lacking in decision already know from experience that the formal unanimity thus achieved doesn’t signify anything in itself. Without waiting for the approval of all their still hesitant comrades, they not only went on strike but also began to seize the signal control centres. Such initiatives were denounced by the SNCF management as irresponsible acts “which put the security of the rail network and equipment at risk” whereas it is them who have been responsible for numerous railway catastrophes on the lines which don’t pay – by letting them fall into disrepair. In reality, such acts reveal the vulnerability of the transport network which is more and more centralized and computerized. The generalization of the latest technology is at once the source of the power and the general weakness of the system. It is a weapon of capital aiming to domesticate humans and to render their presence more and more obsolete. At the same time, all that was necessary was for a handful of individuals to occupy the control centres and signal boxes, carry out some basic acts of sabotage, like erasing the computer’s memory, for the network to be paralysed in its entirety.”
“NOVEMBER 1986, PARIS: The State’s anti-terrorist strategy means that almost every time you go out in the evening you’re virtually sure that you’ll get searched by the cops…Over the previous months, two drivers have been killed by the cops for going the wrong way down a one-way street…Even jumping the Metro ticket barriers have the cops pulling out the shooters…Paranoia…suspicion…”Two years minimum before anything could come to life” ….Hell. DECEMBER 1986, PARIS: …..and people are beginning to talk excitedly with one another once again. Of course, nothing’s that easy, and explosions after years of repression tend to be full of confusion, which is why we’ve produced this: to set the record straight about what we know of these events this last winter, to help clear up this foggy mess.” This text contains leaflets made by vocational “students” training to work in electronics factories, written with a lot of help from their situationist-influence “superviser”. They called themselves “the Lascars of LEP” (Lascars meaning “rascals”, though we translated it as “likely lads”). A film made with the Lascars of Lep is here, A note about this film here.
“There’s a lot of mythology surrounding this group, and some of it deliberately promoted by them themselves. But some of the myth also comes from those who merely want to be known for simply associating with them, to pump their own history up with some “by your notorious friends shalll ye be known”. Undoubtedly they did some excellent exemplary stuff – like this text I’m putting out here, supporting the prisoners in revolt in France in ’85, forcibly stopping trains and distributing this text in the trains in order to get maximum publicity for this solidarity action. Or their theft of architects’ plans for prisons. They also provided rebels, mainly those in the French squatting scene, with some good ideas on how to expropriate the expropriators”
Other pertinent quotes from texts which otherwise are not directly concerned with France
“At the moment of writing (29th September 05) in Marseille, and in Corsica, there’s a mini-insurrection over privatisation and redundancies. A few sporadic mini-barricades are going up over Marseille and at Bastia in Corsica, some small burning obstacles here and there on and off all over the place over the last 48 hours, trucks chucked in the harbour, some riot cops pelted with stones, a blockade of the two ports, solidarity strikes with dockers and petrol refineries coming out in support of the ferrrymen sailors theatened with privatisation – 40 of whom hijacked (unarmed) a massive ferry ship, a virtual mutiny, and took it to Corsica where it was intercepted by three French navy ships, helicopters and armed masked French soldiers, arresting them all but holding only 4 of them after demonstrations of solidarity with them in Marseille and Corsica.” – from here
“It’s useful to consider the examples of others, not as an ideal to be aimed for, but as something worth adapting to different circumstances. A critical knowledge of other people’s struggles helps to convince us that the danger is not overwhelming; that there will always be more security in organising some innovative subversive activity than in repeating past mistakes. For instance it’s worth looking at some of the struggles in France. Like, for instance, the French railway workers’ strike of ’86 – ’87. There, over a month before the strike, a 31 year old class-conscious train driver put out a petition calling for a pledge from other drivers to an indefinite strike, listing the various demands. It was asked that this petition/pledge be reproduced and passed round by those in agreement. It received an overwhelming response, so later a leaflet was produced by other train drivers, 2 and a half weeks before the strike, also to be reproduced and passed around: it clearly set out the strikers’ demands, stating exactly when the strike would begin, asking the unions involved to support the strike, threatening them if they didn’t. The strike began without a single command from the unions and developed partly by means of daily assemblies of strikers held in each station, in which no particular striker held any greater power than any other. Where delegation seemed necessary, it was subject to immediate recall by the assemblies. Of course, many exemplary actions – such as sahotage – were carried out without discussion in the assemblies, and sometimes against the wishes of the majority. But, without wanting to make out that assemblies and co-ordinations are some insurance for active commitment, they did provide an environment of direct communication which made manipulation difficult and provided the strike with some continuity, although it must he said that there was often a lot of suspicion towards ‘outsiders’ and a lot of division amongst strikers along the lines of their different work roles and later developments of co-ordinations in France sometimes had a reactionary content – e.g. railway workers striking in support of a ticket collector who’d shot and killed a guy who’d aggressively refused to pay his fare. So they’re no fixed model – just worth adapting.” – from here
Politics of French Rap
“ French culture combines a highly rationalistic mode of discourse with great value placed upon verbal articulation. In an important way, every educated French person is expected to ‘rap’ …Those who possess African, North African, Caribbean or other third-world cultures in addition to being French, combine the rhetorical training peculiar to the educational system with more “traditional” oral cultures…” – L. Portis, “French Frenzies”.
Rap in France has recently been given a boost in its rebellious image. A leading government party politician, backed by 200 senators and deputies, has recently started the prosecution of 7 rappers, including the most famous – a rapper called ‘Mr.R.’ (Richard Makela) for insulting France, for saying that “France is a bitch, don’t forget to fuck her till she’s exhausted/You have to treat her like a slut, man…I piss on Napoleon and on General de Gaulle”. This combination of genuine hate and a crass traditional masculine way of expressing it has been the classic content of rap for years. Undoubtedly these words are an insult – to ‘sluts’ and to women for liking sex – the usual hypocritical mysoginist crap rap. France and Napoleon and de Gaulle are obviously unquantifiably worse than ‘sluts’, as are all countries and all their leaders. The compulsion to shock sometimes hits the right target a bit – particularly when it’s attacking France, the cops or the media. But it undermines anything valid by expressing itself so shoddily. By being often arbitrarily provocative for its own sake, it illuminates little because its aim is always to sell, to turn anger into a commodity, to popularly represent anger in a traditional masculine way. Sadly, it also reflects some of the stupidities of many men (their deformed attitude towards their own sexuality, as well as women’s) , not only in these ‘ethnic’ groups, but amongst many French men generally.
The prosecution got the go-ahead post-riots(i.e. the riots of November 2005).
Is this a bizarre self-delusion on the part of the State? Do they think that attacking rap is necessary because it genuinely incites riots? Surely it is riots that feed rap, which then, through the inverted logic of the need for this society to find hierarchical scapegoats/Leaders, is seen as the instigator. At the same time, French rap seems to be more genuinely on the edge of merely teasing with an image of violence and a heart-felt hatred of the system than, say, in the USA, probably because France is often more overtly racist, and up to now hasn’t been forced to adopt much of a margin of integration like the States was after the far more threatening riots of the 60s (in the US the State made a conscious attempt to create a black middle class, a social buffer zone; a strata of black representation and a social position to aspire to). For instance, the ‘political’ rappers are almost invariably banned from radio and TV (so far). And yet, at the same time, some municipalities have been providing financial subsidies to selected rappers for some ten years now, so in many ways it’s a French version of the very usual stick and carrot, sometimes 20 years behind everywhere else, sometimes very modern. This is partly because of the vast across-the-board rebellion in many different aspects of society and of life there. And the need to use race as a basic divide and rule makes for some very intense contradictions: French society has to brutally repress and falsify the non-whites (e.g. by caricaturing the explosions as simply ‘preying on their own kind’ or ‘shitting on their own doorstep’) at the same time as enticingly integrate a few of them, providing ‘hope’.
Some American Leftists complain about the lack of affirmative action there, ironic since it is the obnoxious right-wing Presidential hopeful Sarkozy who is now pushing for positive discrimination as a way of providing “hope” (“hope is the leash of submission” as a 60s revolutionary once said). Mr.R. has as guest co-star on his last album – “Politically Incorrect” – the head of the Trot organisation, the LCR (which, faced with the non-existent, and manipulated, fantasy prospect of the National Front coming to power, urged its audience to ‘Vote for Chirac’, as did quite a few ‘anarchists’ – about as ‘politically incorrect’ as you can get). Are there those in the State who think it’s worth boosting this professional image of opposition? Isn’t French rap simply an unthreatening image, like the LCR – essentially representing the poor, and almost always in terms of some amelioration of conditions, rather than in the radical destruction of these conditions (French rap, when it tries to be positive, calls for work and respect, as if the two are compatable)? Mr. R. himself appealed to this unthreatening image when he said, “There are plenty of songs that are part of this country’s artistic heritage and every bit as virulently anti-France, and nobody complains.” – but then when possibly facing 3 years inside, you use such democratic arguments. Repressed, rap appeals to such democracy within a limited narrow perspective of a moan about cultural censorship – when most people have to shut their mouths all the time when they work and can never appeal to the privilege of a specialised cultural bubble -“Hey – I’m an artist!”. At the same time it reflects something more general – an increasingly common individualist consciousness which thinks only of one’s own misery: everybody wanders why they are the ‘exception’, why the State and the system is picking on them even as it ‘picks on’ millions. This is essentially because unless there is common class struggle, all these miseries become just little you on your own, or in your little unit, trying to fight your way through the jungle. And rap artists too have to defend their corner. But there’s a difference in a rap artist and other workers. Workers who rebel for the most part only identify with the money they get from the work, not with the alienation they produce. Rappers pretend to rebel but identify very strongly with the commodity they produce: it’s them themselves.
Sarkozy has already, some two years ago, tried to prosecute some rappers, for, amongst other things, “anti-semitism” (in fact, for supporting Palestinians against Israel) but without success (though a few years back, in Toulon, the National Front mayor and judge did manage to successfully prosecute some rappers, who got 3 months inside, and were banned from playing for 6 months which shows how insanely racist France is). Maybe the State thinks it’s worth experimenting with trying to terrify everybody into silence? Regardless of the intention, the effect is the same – providing rap with a post-riot image of genuine rebellion and and a post-riot role model for getting out of the hell-hole estates. Mr.R. himself no longer lives on the estates – despite his continuing need to claim to represent these estates; after all, it’s the estates that provide him with his income, and the announcement of Mr.R.’s intended prosecution has already boosted sales, surprise surprise.
This was written at the end of 2005. In July 2006 the prosecution of Mr.R was dropped.” – From here
“The recent popular French film Les Choristes depicts a pion from an earlier period – early 50s. The film takes place in a vicious boarding school for ‘difficult’ kids, often in trouble, orphaned or just a burden to their parents, where the ‘pion’ is a middle-aged classic sympathetic authority role. The clichéd, oft repeated, nice authority role in a nasty dictatorial sadistic environment, enforcing a milder form of discipline whilst reluctantly going along with many of the heavier aspects but also ‘revolting’ against it, is the main character. This revolt takes the form of secretly (against the tyrannical headmaster’s wishes) conducting and helping the boys sing as a choir, which of course gives most of these previously ignored and often brutally suppressed kids a way of ‘expressing themselves’, at least two of whom later become world famous musicians themselves. And they ‘express themselves’ so beautifully too: the record of the film is a top seller. The (unpaid) teenage choir is followed by fans singing the classical-style tunes. The real choirmaster who teaches this choir to perform in the film and now in concert halls is not at all sympathetic – but a typical rude humiliating bossy choirmaster openly displaying his nasty manner to the documentary cameras. But the kids seem to like producing a beautiful product despite the heavy social relations, which aren’t even based on wage slavery – just slavery straight. Perhaps part of this is their parents’ pressure, but undoubtedly the biggest seduction for enduring this is the fact of becoming celebrities, the compensation for miserable social relations. The tautological nature of this society is thus well affirmed by this well-made film: culture, the production of ‘beauty’, appears as the way out, though the hierarchical relations involved in producing culture are just as ugly and bad as the misery for which culture appears to be the way out. This film comes 80 years after another, far more innovative and – for its time – subversive, film which also portrays a sympathetic pion – Zero de Conduite (“Zero for Conduct”) by the French anarchist Jean Vigo, a silent movie from the 20s which influenced the recuperative movie “If” in the late 60s; Vigo is now accepted within the mainstream of French culture, with media libraries named after him – but that’s down to the enormously recuperative power of French capitalism, in particular its culture (mind you, what, worldwide, isn’t co-opted into the system in some way or another over half a century, and often a lot less, afterwards?) ” – here
“At about the same time that Moore was sitting down in the streets of Cannes to show his CGT-sponsored ‘support’ for the ‘intermittents’* the increasingly precarious intermittents themselves were expressing an interestingly innovative critique of the cinema – occupying one of them, only to be evicted, beaten up and arrested by the cops.” – here
“The French equivalent [of Big Brother] was greeted with denunciations of its totalitarianism, its disrespect for human dignity, its public humiliation, its voyeurism. Though some of this sounds like classical French bourgeois philosophy, this perspective does carry within it the germ of a genuinely revolutionary desire which is still there. Which is one reason why some protestors dumped rubbish bins in front of the offices of the commercial channel that broadcast it, protesting at “trash television”, whilst riot police launched tear gas against 70 protestors who tried to storm the loft area it was being broadcast from.” – here.
“During the movement against pension reform in France the cops applied certain methods which were qualitatively very different from those which had been used in the past. No more police lines encircling everyone. No more threatening legions of cops. No more tear gas bombs emptying public squares. Instead we saw a few plainclothes cops discreetly moving among the demonstrators, arrests which were as singled out as possible, small cans of tear gas which the cops used to spray the eyes of the rare undisciplined proletarians in such a way that it wouldn’t hurt those standing near him. In this way the demonstration took place, expressing its democratic right with no outbursts whatsoever. Ten minutes after the end of the demonstration had been called ( stipulated in the negotiations with the prefect) the public square was clean and empty. It’s certainly efficient.” – here
Other useful historical texts in English
This is very very far from complete but will be added to over the next weeks (written 19/12/15)
The Great French Revolution by Kropotkin
History of the Paris Commune of 1871 by Prosper Olivier Lissagaray
Enragés and Situationists in the Occupations Movement by René Viénet
The Beginning of an Era by Guy Debord
The following appeared at the top of this page until 13th February, 2017, but has been put here for the sake of giving immediate access to the latest expressions of contestation in the chronology at the top:
Although many of the events here are related to the movement against the new Labour Law, many of them are not directly related at all.
The chronology is followed by a list of links to other texts on this site, and a few elsewhere, about movements and other critical aspects of the social situation in France.
…the rumbling revolt…
…a movement moving in mysterious ways…
(banner from March 31 2016)
From afar (and even within France amongst the young – those who’ve never before directly experienced a nationwide movement) what’s going on seems like the prelude to a social revolution. This tends to make those yearning for a revolution to exaggerate to such an extent what’s going on that some even believe that now is the time to talk of the form and content of workers’ councils; which would be a bit like talking about what your son or daughter is going to call the name of their baby when they’re still a virgin and have only just had their first snog.
Without wanting to in any way minimise (or worse, cynically dismiss) what’s going on, it should be clearly stated that France often experiences intense social contestation, or at least gives the appearance of it (2010, 2006, 2005, 1995, 1986, etc. ), without it leading to the social explosion that wishful thinking makes people want to see as imminent. And if you were to look at the explosions happening almost every day in South Africa over the last few years, you’d have far greater reason to think every week that revolution was just round the corner. Moreover, the UK had massive forms of social contestation in the 1970s and 80s, and with a far greater base in working class communities of struggle and solidarity than exist at present, divided as people are nowadays from themselves and each other by years and years of the relentless onslaught of conditioning by the society of the spectacle, invading parts of our lives other class societies never reached….And we know the mass depression-inducing consequence of the failure of those movements, movements that seriously threatened the neoliberal project, which at that time was very much in its infancy.
Let’s be clear: these strikes, demos, riots, etc. do not cause much of a breakdown of normal daily life outside of the very temporary moments of these actions, and then largely only for those directly involved – even the most rebellious students mostly keep studying for their exams between demos etc., even the most revolutionary precarious workers keep working in the black economy – and have to. And the numbers directly involved in these forms of opposition are relatively low. Moreover, there seems to be an incredible repression of class consciousness/explicit theory compared with previous revolts (for example, no explicit critique of the form and content of school and miseducation). All this is, of course, SO FAR – and obviously the situation could change. This has been a very very slow burning fuse, persistent but weak; whether it leads to a significant explosion or just fizzles out, is hard to say. Clearly the French (and world) bourgeoisie will do everything to extinguish it before the European cup starts on June 10th. And we have to seriously consider the possibility of Daesh/ISIS doing something horrendous (and/or being allowed to by the state) which would certainly immediately create a pro-state mentality in the country, even if this mentality would possibly be somewhat reluctant.
There are so many anarchists/autonomists etc. who, despite themselves, contribute to the general movementist tendency to ignore or at best minimise problems and contradictions (just in order to give the appearance of a clear unequivocally radical social movement) when it’s so very vital to make these contradictions explicit as part of confronting them – for example avoiding or minimising a critique of unions. This is a situation which is fraught with dangers both exciting and frightening: a French version, but in very very changed conditions, of Thatcher’s assaults on the working class in the UK in the 1980s. And the failure to go into unknown territory – making new mistakes and new successes – could be devastating for both French proletarians and proletarians globally.
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