“May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.”
– Fennel Hudson
“Sweet April showers Do spring May flowers” –
France, Parthenay, Deux-Sèvres: burning of cop car damages building …(Tourcoing) : another Socialist Party office attacked with tags…Ivry-sur-Seine: blockade of waste disposal site by street sweepers and sewer workers… 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.”
South Africa, Kroondal: wildcat strike continues despite court order declaring it illegal three days earlier on 27th
Mexico (Akumal, State of Quintana Roo, Yucatán) : local beach sellers clash with police after privatization of beach threatening their survival…two cops patrols and a local administrative building set to fire, six molotov bombs sent on vigilantes
France, 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”.
What’s more, 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. 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 in 2 weeks times. 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, despsite themselves, contribute to the general movementist tendency to ignore or at best minimise problems and contradictions ( just in order to give theappearance of a clear unequivocally radical social movement ) when it’s so very vital to make these contradictions explicit as part of confronting them. I shall try to find time to elaborate more but for the moment that’s all I have to say about the situation, 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. [SF]
France, Besancon: some 15 or so youths smash cop car window; cops fire flashball and hit van; owner complains that there are kids around and anybody could have been hit … Brest: 100 square meters of shopping trolleys set fire to, subsequently burning supermarket offices
South Africa, Limpopo: new detailed report on social conditions that led to burning of 24 schools worth R720 million during municipal conflict “In this report, decisions about demarcation are not merely about demarcation, but they concern issues loaded with the hopes and disappointments of communities that have often been failed by their municipalities. The Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision to have the Bavenda community in the Vyeboom area in Vuwani included in a new municipality concerns every woman who is still forced to walk kilometres to fetch water. It affects every person standing in a queue while waiting for medicine that is rarely available, and every child learning in a classroom without the necessary educational tools at hand.”
US, San Diego: cops declare anti Trump protest illegal “ some protesters scaled a barrier and hurled water bottles at police.”
France, Essonne: some 30 or so youths attack BAC (psycho-cops) after rap concert …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”… Normandy: concrete block thrown from footbridge smashes cop car windscreen… Essonne: some 30 or so youths attack BAC (psycho-cops) after rap concert
South Africa: National state-owned broadcaster announces systematic self-censorship of all protest coverage, encourages other media companies to follow suit The same thing was done during apartheid, for the same reasons [SK]… Kwa-Zulu Natal: no-go zones mushroom residents organise social strikes throughout the province … Johannesburg: WATCH police helicopter monitor protestors from Jeppestown Hostel
Iraq, Baghdad: protesters ignore Prime Minister, take to streets in their thousands in ongoing anti-government movement “Thousands of anti-government protesters, many carrying flowers and olive branches, walked for kilometers Friday to converge on the Iraqi capital’s Tahrir Square to call for political change. “They are coming like ants,” said a police officer who declined to give his name. “They are coming from Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad.” Najaf and Karbala are two Shi’ite cities south of the capital. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had called for Friday’s march to be canceled to ease the pressure on Iraqi security forces, who already are taking part in an offensive against Islamic State extremists in Fallujah. But few protesters were listening.”
Papua New Guinea: students riot after cops tear gas large “awareness” campaign gathering “”When all the police and people ran away the angry people got up and they stoned the BSP (Bank of South Pacific) building and the provincial centre building the Ipotas centre. Many shops around the town were destroyed and they were broken.” Enga’s acting provincial police commander Chief Inspector Epenes Nili told the National newspaper that students staged the forum after he refused their request to hold the meeting on Thursday morning. Mr Nili said the crowd started throwing objects at his vehicle when he tried to stop the forum.”
South Africa, Cape Town: wildcat bus-driver’s strike… Vyeboom: cops terrorise residents … Ennerdale: total shut-down of area in social strike… Bloemfontein: roads blocked and shop looted in protest over political appointments and demarcations
France, 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: clashes (video) … gratuitously launched disencirclement grenade seriously hospitalises man…see this video 6 mins 15 seconds in…more details here… Street medics stripped of supplies and equipment by cops
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:
The following report from here provides some first-hand accounts, about which SF expressed some important reservations/comments, included as a postscript:
“The oil strikes and blockades, which are now being reported more in the
international press, have been ongoing since Thursday 19th, and with
increasing strength. On Thursday we heard it was not possible to get
cash or oil in Rennes, since the ATMs were smashed during the
manifestation, and the refineries were on strike. This is an explicit
case in which the actions of /casseurs/ support the actions of a strike.
Every day there has been news of another refinery blocked, a new one
evicted. They are often reoccupied. Road blockades are too many to
count. The headlines suggest that the union, the CGT, has the power to
block the country, and Manuel Valls has reproached them for the same
crime. On Tuesday Minister Bruno Le Roux (the leader of the Parti
Socialiste inside parliament) seemed to move on the law, saying it could
be modified, but head of FO Jean Claude Mailly, wrote back with the
minimal demand of retraction. On thursday morning, a senior CGT member
reported having received personal and intimidating text messages from a
Videos from elsewhere in France show gas workers singing antipolice
songs at lines of gendarmerie “the police are paid for by our mothers,
to kill our brothers, the police are paid for by our… we will never be
police”, linked here
The longer that refineries remain blocked, the more chance there is
that they will have to close down all together, since it is a health and
safety concern to keep them running without workers. Tuesday 24th, 1/3
of gas stations were in complete or partial penury, according to Le
Parisien, 6/8 refineries were stopped or functioned only partially,
petrol boats were blocked in Marseilles, there was a call for a strike
on the SNCF with 10% of members already striking. These strikes linked
here, are, additionally, ongoing or about to commence in Paris . By Thursday
26th, 1/5 of gas stations nationally were without gas according to
LeMonde’s live feed, 40% of gas stations in Paris were having trouble obtaining gasoline, and
indeed, one in the 19eme read /PAS DE GASOIL/ in 1m tall green felt
tipped letters. The pickets had casualties too, in Cherbourg a unionist
was killed on his motorbike on the way to a picket, whilst on another
blockade a protester was injured being run over by a truck driver.
Thursday was counted as the 8th of grand day of mobilisation against the
Loi du Travail, meaning that there were large mobilisations across the
country, union marches, accompanied by strikes and blockades. The police
estimate for the number of protesters for the whole of France was 180
000 whilst the CGT said it stood at 300 000 (Le Monde). In Paris,
lycées Voltaire and Montaigne were blocked again, along with the
industrial zone of the Porte of Gennevilliers (from 8h30-9h20). A
manifestation walked from Bastille to Nation (a deliberately short
route). As with last Thursday’s protest, the bloc autonome (non-union
affliated block), which has been renamed the tête de cortège was
large, full of everyone – black bloc and lycéens. The CGT had
already started walking when we got there, presumably to stop the
non-affiliated sections of the march from taking the head.
Sections of this tête break off, break stuff, including the glass of
bus shelters, the glass of moving billboards, the glass of shop fronts,
but it seems only because it is glass, although some breakings are
accompanied by anticapitalist chants. The rest of the crowd call to each
other to wait, applaud when things are broken, and protect each other.
They have a quiet solidarity with those more active, masked sections of
the march, contradicting what is said against casseurs in the press.
At one point the march tails to the right, presumably for an action, but
after letting thousands through the gendarmerie try to form a kettle.
Everyone boos and everyone is defiant this time, they walk forward,
their arms raised, saying ‘free our comrades’ in the imperative tense.
The police push them back, gas them, but the whole of the march is
there. As people are gassed, others take over, hands up. Everyone hates
the police, the crowd chants, moving forward again. The police push
back, beat people, use pepper spray. People reel, recover. Ahead you
can’t see anything through the smoke. Later I hear that there were
thousands crushed in to this space and the tear gas and disengagement
grenades caused several protesters to go on fire, since the missiles
landed on pieces of clothing. The crowd advances saying cassez-vous,
(fuck off). Eventually the cops are defeated, give up, let everyone go.
Everyone comes back in a rush, crying, injured, and the march continues.
The rest seems to be without police. More is smashed, including a skoda
shopfront, which people get inside. This is all done under the watchful
gaze of a high definition camera operated by an /RG/ (French
intelligence service) pretending to be a journalist, on a balcony, and
as a few members of the _Cheminots _pass, saying /casseurs, collabos/
(breakers, rioters, you collaborate with the state). The graffiti along
the walls says things like /1789: les casseurs prennent la Bastille!/
(1789 the rioters/breakers take Bastille) and /vivre, sans temps/ (to
live without time) and /enfin une manif qui se passe bien/ (in the end,
the march went well). At one point an /Emmaüs/ shop (a kind of large
thrift store with cheap furniture and slightly too expensive clothes) is
under threat. One section of the autonomous bloc argues with the rest –
not /Emmaüs/! it is a shop, we understand, which caters for the poor. So
the black bloc stand in front of it and everyone claps.
Nation is again a half /nasse/, a violent playpen: the police have
cordoned half off it off using these transportable barricades. They are
metal and are often used to block whole streets ahead of demonstrations.
Every third manifestation or so, they seem to use them. I wonder how
they transport them, since they are like large decorative screens that
you might get dressed behind were they not made of blue mesh. A
multi-coloured phoenix, made of cardboard, which has been there
throughout the march, is emblazoned with the words /à l’assaut du ciel/.
Marx’s letter to Kugelmann, 12 April 1871, re the commune: /‘…ces
parisiens montant à l’assaut du ciel’/ – ‘these Parisians storming
heaven’. It goes up in flames, but is reported in /Le Parisien/ as a
‘burning shopping trolley’. It has fake money in its jaws. The police
have the perimeter of a half moon of the square and moreover the rest of
the /cortège/ has not arrived yet. People, standing on the grassy banks,
on the floors, on beds of roses, on the square, throw things at the
police. For a moment the sky is full of stuff, flying at random, then
the gas comes back. The BAC (undercovers) come in, steal a random boy,
everyone runs at the BAC, they come back with iron bars in their hands.
It is reported that earlier that two of these undercovers were chased
out of the demonstration, and that one got his gun out and pointed it at
a protester. The square was again gassed, leagues of riot police
charged, from one direction, from the next.”
Obviously there are mainstream reports constantly linked to in the News of Op whose slant we would take with heavy pinches of salt, but when there’s something that seems to be coming from an angle that supports the movement it seems necessary to be explicitly critical of what it says if there are dubious aspects to the text. In this case, the first paragraph of the text simply illustrates and adds to the 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. Whilst the rest of the text is an interesting enough eyewitness account of the situation in Paris last Thursday, the first paragraph implies that the CGT is a genuine opposition to the state at present, when there’s an enormous amount 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). What’s more, this paragraph contradicts everything I’ve said about the CGT elsewhere. Obviously I could elaborate a lot more about all this; for example, on how 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; or how the numbers directly involved in these forms of opposition are relatively low etc….Moreover there seems to be an incredible repression of class consciousness/explicit theory compared with previous revolts. 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 in 2 weeks times. 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.
But the main point is – I do not want the site to contribute to illusions and lies, or 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. I shall try to find time to elaborate more but for the moment that’s all I have to say about the situation, 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… developing these points seems essential. [SF]
South Africa, KwaZulu Natal: 3rd day of water riots, verry bad… see also here… Hammanskraal: victory for squatter’s movement after massive anti-eviction riots “Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile announced that not only would the community be allowed to return to their shacks from which they had been evicted, but that the area would be developed to accommodate them.”… Wolmaransstad: shops looted, roads barricaded, 10 arrested, no demands reported
Thailand (Ayutthaya) : a strange Robin Hood… The type of things misery sometimes lead to…
Mexico : large movilization in Several states against Education reform by Coordination of Education Workers – Chiapas capital city paralized by roadblocks, clashes with cops The Education workers received support from local population in several areas. In a Chiapas town (Chiapa del Corzo), police came to expell teachers and ended up expelled by locals (see videos here). The teachers’ movement is evidently dominated by political currents, and though it often takes very violent forms and there’s serious and clear hate for police, it is also very much influenced by the ideoogy of the defense of public education, and criticism of the role of teachers (who have an important social status in Mexico and are often called “maestro” [master] by people even out of school) is low, to say the least… In the State of Guerrero, where two tendencies oppose and have different forms of actions, 500 schools are blocked by strikes
France, 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… [SF]
…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. [SF]
“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. [SF]
…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 permanently 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…
Thailand (Phang Nga, south) : Rohingya migrants escape from detention center, one is killed by police One can never emphasize enough the absolute horror experienced by Burmese , Cambodian or Laotian migrants in Thailand, and the treatment of refugees by the authorities (and by some non-negligible part of the population) over several decades. Thailand did not hesitate, in the late 70s, to return Cambodian refugees, in the middle of the Khmer Rouge horror, across minefields and later to return Vietnamese boat people by sea… similar treatment is reserved today for the Rohingyas of Burma, a group coming from Muslim culture and religion who are escaping the state of Arakan en masse , where they are treated as outcasts.
Whilst this is going on, rednecks from our part of the world (who’d do better by joining the movement happening now) watch “people from Marseille” [French TV reality show] in Thailand – some jerks (who could just as well be from Lorraine or Bearn) filmed close to Phang Nga, Koh Lanta, for the umpteenth pathetic broadcast for which the society of the spectacle has the know-how (and it can keep it!). [Pi]
South Africa, Hammanskraal: three busses destroyed and two demolition workers killed during anti-eviction action One of the residents in the area who did not want to be identified was interviewed in this report. She said working-class community members turned on the two men when this pair of “security and eviction services” workers started demolishing their homes. ‘We were trying to get them not to damage our homes but they continued to damage everything and that’s when the community turned on them and hit them with objects and burnt one of them‚” she said.“My shack is also in the area. It’s not like we just came out of nowhere‚ we don’t have any other homes. This is where we leave and now they just want to remove us like that. Where do they want us to go?” she questioned.’ [SK]
— Neo Motloung (@MrNeoMotloung) May 23, 2016
More info on the killed men is available here
… Umzinto: 11 women arrested for ‘public violence’ during protest. They were just 0.3% of the total 300 protesters arrested by ignorant and incompetent pigs. This behaviour is one of the reasons why the most popular sentiment towards the state is ‘Fok die polisie’. There must have been many men among that 300. Why did the cops arrest only women? And what does this say about the female liberation movement? [SK]
France (Grenoble) : twelve live ammo rounds fire at Socialist Party local The article mentions 31 attacks against the Party’s locals since last december [Pi]
Spain, Barcelona: rubber bullets used against evicted bank squatters as they riot; leftist mayor caught up in the inevitable contradictions of her recuperative hierarchical position “Colau, a long-time housing activist who had her own confrontations with the police before she became mayor…faces the ire of some of her natural constituents. She is deeply rooted in Barcelona’s long tradition of grassroots militancy. One activist who has been involved with the expropriated bank told the Guardian that people were divided between those who resented what they saw as a lack of solidarity on Colau’s part and those who understood the city could not intervene when …it was not the property owner….Colau said: “The occupants have made it plain that they’re not interested in any sort of mediation or alternative and therefore it’s something between private persons that has been resolved in the courts.” She said that although it wasn’t the business of the city council to interfere, “that doesn’t mean we are trying to avoid the issue”. In response, the protesters tweeted: “Ada Colau says it’s between private parties – people without scruples, like her and the police.” On Tuesday Colau condemned the violence “
US, New Mexico: clashes with cops at anti-Trump rally “Protesters threw rocks and bottles at police, set fires and broke a door at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Several police officers were struck by the rocks and needed to be treated for their injuries”
Spain, Barcelona: 2nd night of riots after squat eviction ” some 200 demonstrators overturned 12 street trash containers and set one alight in the disturbances late Tuesday. No arrests were made.”
Mexico, Cancún : incendiary attack in memory of chilean anarchist Mauri … Coyotepec, State of Mexico: locals oppose politicians’ meeting to privatize self-managed water system, clash with City Hall supporters and “granaderos” (mexican riot cops)
Switzerland, Bern: party in waste incinerator site turns into clashes with cops “partygoers spilled out of the site and began marching towards the city centre, spray-painting and smashing shop windows as they went, according to the police statement. Police officers and fire fighters arriving at the scene were met with violence and pelted with rocks, it said. A fist-sized rock had smashed through the window of a firetruck, and hit a person inside, it said. Police said they had used water cannon, teargas and rubber bullets in a bid to stop the procession, but did not say how many people were injured on either side in the skirmish.”
Iraq, Baghdad: four killed and 90 as protesters successfuly storm high-security ‘green zone’ for the second time in three weeks, briefly breaching prime minister’s office Initially I was reluctant to post this, as it is reported to be composed of (and possibly dominated by) supporters of a religious celebrity, namely the Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. These celebrities are deadly enemies of every potentially revolutionary working-class struggle, as was proven by the role of the Ayatollah Khomeni in crushing the Iranian Revolution of 1979. All organised religion is unashamedly counter-revolutionary, although the underlying message of almost all religions is in fact revolutionary. In any case, it felt important to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Iraq, as the participants of this protest are in fact described as not only working-class, but the ‘poorest of the poor’, and their cause is not at all religious but a question of basic survival.
The main problem at stake is the fact that the government is completely rotten. Like our own one in South Africa, the Iraqui ruling class are nothing but a bunch of bandits interested in growing fat by snatching bread out the mouths of the nation’s children babies. Because, as is the case everywhere in the world, politicians in Iraq are only interested in grabbing as much power into their filthy little hands as they possibly can, they are not only corrupt but incompetent. As in South Africa, as in Mexico, as in the United States and France, the Iraqi state is directly responsible for the countless unnecessary, untimely deaths. The spark for the latest rebellion was the car-bomb explosion in central Baghdad, planned by Islamic State, that killed more than 100 people. In an interview about the day’s events former UN spokesperson for Iraq Said Arikat said: ‘I can tell you that security in Baghdad has never really been good ever since the invasion of the US. It has gone, deteriorated a great deal, and there is a great deal of frustration. People see how these politicians live so opulently in former palaces. They have taken basically everything, while in fact the level of living has gone down tremendously for the poorest among the poor, which is the people that are inside the city, who have stormed this area twice this month.’
In this context an authority figure with an aura of religious purity who is at the same time able to articulate the legitimate grievances of the people can be a very dangerous enemy of all that is sane and beautiful about the struggle. Like Mandela or Khomeni, such a person would effectively destroy the radical working-class tendencies of any potentially emancipatory social movement and replace it with more of the same empty promises dressed up in new packaging. Whenever we express solidarity with our comrades around the world it is our opportunity and our responsibility to criticise all these reactionary tendencies so that we are very clearly support our brothers and sisters suffering fighting and on the ground rather than one more politician — all of which are bastards — one more political racket — all of which are mafias. [SK]
France, 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, 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)…molotov thrown at police station denounced as “an act of terrorism” by the state
…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’)”
France, 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.” The same report states “there is a mounting ‘anti-cop hatred’ becoming evident in France” and that the “sporadic anti-labor law protests in France have grown into something more substantial – now people are rallying against capitalism, the French government and intolerance, very similar to the Occupy movement in the US that turned global”. When asked about the accuracy of these statements, a French participant made the following very interesting observations in response:
Not accurate at all in my opinion. Here’s what I wrote to comrades today…sorry for the style, not having much time right now, it was written a bit hastily, but I guess it will answer your question in a few details. I hope it doesn’t sound too negative or pessimistic…But it certainly contradicts the overly positive interpretation of the recent events, which often has much to do with propaganda, or a tendency (more understandable) of being excited about what we’re living and participating in.
You probably can’t use my answers as such, but they might give you a few ideas of what’s going on, hoping it helps. It’s not well redacted and a bit straightforward, sorry for that.
–Describe the environment in France before the beginning of Nuit Debout: the aftermath of the attacks of November, the state of emergency, the El Khomri law. Did you see this coming?
Pretty morose and boring seen from an anti-autoritarian perspective, with few things happening, little critique of the state of things and of society in general (for example of the misery of contemporary social relationships). Lots of confusion, reactionary ideas pretty widespread among lots of sectors of population. We didn’t see the movement coming (in fact lots of anti-autoritarians complained for years that nothing was happening for years : they meant no large movement). But then, large and surprising movements happen every 5 to 10 years in France, so in a certain way it’s normal and expected to be surprised…this goes since 1968.
-What is the significance of the Place de la République, where the first clashes took place after the declaration of the State of Emergency, and the Nuit Debout occupations began?
I’m not in Paris and am not too sure about this…I guess it’s a symbol of the Nuit Debout thing…not really of the movement “against Labour Law and its world”.
-Give us a timeline of what you consider to be the important events in the course of the evolution of Nuit Debout, both in Paris and elsewhere around France.
That’s too hard a request, especially for someone who doesn’t live in Paris. But I don’t think there’s really been an evolution of the Nuit Debout movement…It was just outflanked a few times by radicals, but then in general it’s “citizenist” (citoyenniste)-leftist business as usual.
-What different currents have been involved? What are their different agendas and ways of understanding the world? How has their participation in the movement and their leverage over it changed over the past month? (If you can, you could make this like the list of characters at the beginning of a play, describing each of them—it will be an overgeneralization, of course, but it could also be entertaining.)
Lots of traditional leftist militants including the youngest ones, traditional union militants (in marches and the recent blockades), a minority of them leaning towards something a bit more radical ; lots of anti-autoritarians of all tendencies (anarchists, “autonomes”, generally quite “movementist / leftist”…independant youth are protagonists of clashes, but mainly in Paris and I don’t think on a very large level). The whole anti-autoritarian “world” is surprisingly active and creative in my opinion. The biggest surprise probably came from high school students, especially knowing that the young generations (as opposed to those of the 2005-2006 generation and the previous) weren’t that involved in social / radical struggles recently. Lots of high school students involved in actions come from poor areas and are of various origins. Overall in terms of composition the movement is pretty limited : very little involvement of non-militant workers, and little outside of politically organized people. As a matter of fact, total participation in protests is in fact pretty low in huge cities (on a french scale) such as Toulouse, Lyon, etc. Most of the marches involve 2000 to 5000 people…in cities of nearly a million.
-How do you see the relationship between Nuit Debout and the CPE protests? How about other contemporary French struggles, like la ZAD, and the situation of migrants?
Between Nuit Debout and the anti-CPE I think there’s none. The Nuit Debout ideology and organization can be compared to the lefty part of the “zadiste movement”…while more radical forms (outside of Nuit Debout, I’m referring here to the movement against Labour Law) has close ties with the more radical zadiste movement.
-Why is Nuit Debout taking place in 2016, rather than 2011 ?
The Nuit Debout movement, which doesn’t break with political methods, doesn’t have a class perspective nor roots in historical radical movements. It takes place at the end of a Socialist Party President mandate, whose governement leads such reactionary reforms and politics that no traditional leftist can continue ignoring the absolute false opposition between right and left (something they wouldn’t stop doing with Mitterand for example). Thus lots of these people evolve towards new forms of politics, more adapted to contemporary soft ideology…of course the Podemos or Syriza experiences are huge references, but it also goes back to the zapatistas.
In a widely circulated article in The Guardian, Pierre Haski implied that Nuit Debout is taking place now, almost five years after the plaza occupations in Spain and Greece, as a result the opposite sequence of events from what developed in those countries: in 2011, many French people were looking forward to the election of the socialist Hollande, whereas today, when fierce movements in Spain and Greece have been at least temporarily pacified by the ascension of Podemos and Syriza, many French people are absolutely disillusioned by Hollande and government in general.
That’s absolutely right.
– On the other hand, it is strange for us in the US to witness French people employing a strategy and rhetoric that we imagined had been thoroughly exhausted four years ago, when many people here in the US tend to think of France as being in the avant-garde of radical theory and practice. Why has the rhetoric of democracy and demands, and the idea of occupying public space, been able to gain so much traction on the popular imagination in France?
It’s pretty hard for us anti-autoritarians remembering the past theoretical and practical developments that took place here in France to realize that France is now heavily colonized by the middle class ideology other places are more famous for (but it’s often probably a stereotype). France is definitely not an avant-garde of anything, and the few excellent theoretical pieces of theory (that sometimes come together with practical actions) are more an exception that a norm. The radical movement is nowadays extremely influenced by reformist ideologies, post-modernism, and not at all willing to confront the contradictions of movements…large alliances, and “tolerance” for leftism, dominate. While various rebel episodes of the past had a very anti-political spirit (opposed to all forms of politics), a very political logic now predominates. People know very well about the situationists, but few would be willing to go as far (even in writing) as what was commonly circulated at that time.
-How much influence does the discourse of democracy really have in Nuit Debout? How has that discourse and the practices associated with democracy interacted with more traditional French Ultraleft practices and values?
The discourse of democracy (in its “direct” form) has a big influence on Nuit Debout. And it’s used by everybody nowadays, it’s even central in the Communist Party discourse, among other examples. The most radical events so far happened outside of the Nuit Debout : clashes with police in which lots were involved…and actions lead by small groups, much in the logic of the autonomous movement of the post-68 period. (I refer here to the French autonomous movement, not to the more political one in Italy), especially strong in struggles against nuclear power…it was then a common practice to organize actions of sabotage and to circulate leaflets.
-What limits has Nuit Debout reached so far, and why?
I guess the answers so far answer that question.
Overall I would say that the Nuit Debout thing is not central to understand the most interesting aspects to the present opposition to…lots of things. Basically the most interesting stuff happening happens outside of Nuit Debout, and sometimes in opposition to it. But also that this whole opposition, though it seems to be changing a bit in the past days, is very limited among French population. Most marches even could go almost unnoticed (I’m not talking about the important exceptions in Paris or the northwest) weren’t it be for the violent stuff the media used to condemn the movement.
In lots of cities and towns, people marching and even clashing with cops etc, didn’t really interest people nor change much in their daily lives : it was business as usual in streets, malls, commercial areas and at work.
The recent blockades could gather support…but for now it seems lots of people seem to be pretty opposed to it, as they won’t have gasoline to go to work, and will be late, and so on. Not to mention that many people don’t really give a fuck about it all. People at work are so isolated, the labour world is so unpredictable (short time contracts, mixed activities replacing traditional jobs, high unemployment, minimum wages and so on) that it would be pure demogagy to say that people who work are really mad at what happens. The system is still highly credible in people’s eyes, and many, even at the lowest levels of qualification and salaries, seem to consider the false opportunities the system promotes to earn money and succeed as real and positive opportunities. I’m hearing it all day at work, so much as to personnaly consider that class consciousness, or the feeling of sharing common perspectives with people based in similar situations of oppression and exploitation, is extremely low.
I’m quite positive at what happens, surprised and happy to see the creative and offensive forms the movement found to attack aspects of the present society…but I still consider it’s really limited to small parts of the whole population.
I would say beware of the spectacular aspects of the blockades of the past days…and beware of the unions, which, though they have few militants, still have a very tight control of things happening both on the workplaces and in the streets. But the blockades could represent something, and lead people to be involved at their level…only if participation gets higher things could take a different tone, namely a critique (even only in practice) of the role of unions.
Traditional, “usual/normal” strikes are actually taking place in many places in France…but there’s been little connection with the movement against Labour Law and its independant aspects. Here in Nice, bus drivers have started a strike 20 days ago…and even blocked transported totally at least a day, and partially for several days. It was controlled by unions, had nothing to do with the movement against Labour Law…and didn’t lead to any interesting developement whereas from people outside the strike (those “affected” by it) or from strikers (with initiatives to connect with others, such as hospital workers who were also on strike, or high school students who blockaded a few days). Of course it’s different elsewhere, but this is just to illustrate how life is pretty much business as usual in different places, with a few strong moments for a limited part of population from time to time.
In Montpellier, high school students have been really active during several weeks and were able to provoke some damage to normal life and activities…but with no connection to other sectors, these actions have little influence on the whole population…people can even continue shopping and forget about it all at the same places where clashed and repression happened a few hours ago.
– how does the situation in Paris compare with those in other regions? what kinds of coordination exist, or is this mostly an informal dynamic?
The situation is probably the most intense in the northwest…especially linked to the local developement of anti-autoritarian ideas and practice in the continuity of the struggle against the airport in Notre-Dame-Des-Landes. I think the coordination is informal for the most radical actions of the movement (or say based on affinities, or sometimes links between groups and “radical” organizations). Apart from that, coordination efforts come from union canals or political campaigns of actions. Pretty traditional.
The more spectacular clashes (especially in Paris) are more spontaneous, and lots of people are there without previously knowing other participants.
-speaking not of political currents, but of participants, what kinds of people are involved? how has this changed from previous movements? what of the high schoolers? where do they learn to be so wild? and what of the unions and their members? are there internal tensions there?
I have answered the first parts of this question previously… Don’t really know how students learn to be so wild…well they’re not that wild everywhere! But in places where they were, it mostly has to do with suburban conditions of life, French estates, the feelings of being isolated, despised, poverty, violence, and so on. It also comes from a lack of belief in future professional careers, knowing the present condition of the Labour world, its whole uncertainty and the confusing forms work, employment, professional environments take. A reject of that, or/and a lack of belief in it, is quite widespread, even sometimes in students coming from more middle class backgrounds. Can’t really say if it’s particular to this generation…as similar forms of rebellion have existed for years…I would say the generation that was 15 to 20 in the mid-end of the 90’s was more class conscious, rebellious and wild than the one who was 15 to 20 around 2007-2013 (after a whole generation pretty marked by the 2005-2006 events). But these more active and rebellious generations have also pretty much now adapted to nowadays’ state of things…and I’m often terrified to hear people of my generation I knew (the first I mentioned), who were full of rage, anger, was raised on often socially conscious and rebellious rap, had a form of class discourse, were positive about the 2005 riots now legitimate the misery of today’s relations (I also talked about the recent religious boom here: http://www.non-fides.fr/?Letter-on-the-attacks-the-question).
I think internal tensions at workplaces are still limited. The traditional unions’ mode of organization is to have few militants in workplaces…they don’t have a politics of having lots of workers registered, so they basically count on a minority to act for others…the strategy is working pretty well, combined with the isolation well planned through new techniques of management by employers and companies…making people passive and unable to organize collectively, and to rely on union representatives (whose discourse is in general non-offensive) when they have small problems… That makes challenging unions much more difficult…especially since they are the ones who call for limited strikes, etc.
-Here are some questions I’ve been working on… we should also ask about whether they have any thoughts about folks like David Graeber, et al. flying in, and what international narratives the movement has been plugged into.
Don’t really think lots of people in the movement have thoughts about people like this. There’s no common reference to large numbers of participants…but what’s related to the “ZAD” and to the defense of environment is very popular. Lots of people refer to very consensual figures, such as Angela Davis (whose books are flowing everywhere lately), the Black Panthers, the Zapatistas…never mentioning their contradictions.
The good number of excellent theoretical developments were made by small groups, individuals…they’re not really discussed or known outside of anti-authoritarian circles…and generally the most important parts of the “radical” movements tends to adopt the popular figures so as not to isolate themselves from what they think others think. [Pi]
…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”
according to this report, ‘The protesters also tried to burn down a school‚ but the municipality’s fire department doused the flames before any significant damage was caused. At the centre of grievances aired by the community is the failure‚ by the ANC‚ to remove mayor Nosisa Jojozi and deputy mayor Bheki Mtolo. Protesters said the pair‚ who are high up on the list of local government councillor candidates‚ have failed to deliver basic services. “They have failed to deliver and the ANC is bringing us the same people again‚” said Eric Jiyane, of Mount Currie Reserve. Mkululi White‚ a Kokstad resident who posted a picture of burning municipal offices‚ wrote on Facebook: “Hello beautiful Kokstadians … there’s nothing we can say because we have been warning our leaders for a long time about the wrong things they do‚ we will just drink alcohol and (watch).”‘
Greece, Idomeni: cops clash with refugees as they clear out camp on railway track “police had to resort to flash bangs and tear gas to disperse a group of about 200 refugees, who were attempting to use a train wagon as a barricade.”
This article is quoted here: https://libcom.org/forums/news/wildcat-strikes-belgium-28052016#comment-579397, and the guy quotes this in order to support these screws. A good example of how fetishism of the form of struggle (apparent “anti-state” violence) separated from the content of struggle (ie a wage rise for one of the more obviously repressive functionaries of state violence) ends up in an absurdly contradictory position. See the earlier parts of this very old libcom thread for some comments by me (and others) against this idiocy, at a time when I thought it worthwhile participating in libcom. [SF]
…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
US, California: they’ve found their thrill on blueberry hill – but unions hover like vultures More here… Standard union nonsense: “Obviously that motivates workers to know that they recognize that somebody like the former president of the United States, for the first time in history, is coming to visit farm workers and be with farm workers and listen to their concerns, that’s important.” … This mentions how (pre-Clinton, unmotivated) strike started
South Africa, Durban: cop forced to jump off bridge during protest, lands up in hospital “…a collision occurred between two vehicles when the drivers apparently tried to avoid the burning tyres protestors had placed in the road. One person sustained moderate injuries and was treated before being transported to hospital.While paramedics were busy attending to the motor vehicle collision a secondary collision occurred on one of the nearby bridges. It is understood that protesters started burning debris on the bridge. A law enforcement official apparently jumped out of the way to avoid being hit by the vehicles. He fell off the side of the bridge and down an embankment. Paramedics found the official with fractures and several scrapes and bruises. He was treated and later transported to hospital.”… University of Johannesburg: R100 million damage caused by arson attack “Arsonists broke into and fire-bombed a 1,000 seat auditorium at UJ’s Auckland Park campus at around 2am. They also destroyed computer laboratories and equipment used for career assessment and guidance…. No motive was given for the attack.”
Kenya, Nairobi: students riot after forbidden from cooking in hostels “Protesting Kenyan university students reportedly destroyed property worth millions of shillings following a decision by the University of Nairobi to ban cooking in hostels. According to Citizen TV, students at the university went on the rampage on Saturday evening. They said the university’s decision was tantamount to harassment by the institution’s leadership. The students accused Vice Chancellor Peter Mbithi of dictatorship and said he was using underhand methods to try and stifle the students’ union and curtail basic freedoms. They destroyed the university kitchen and dining area, before looting and destroying equipment which was set to be used for a concert at the institution the following day… [a voter registration campaign targetting the youth organised by the United States embassy – SK] The students, according to The Standard, claimed that they could not afford to buy food from the university, saying it was overpriced. The latest incident came just weeks after the institution was reopened following a five-week closure, following violence in the aftermath of student union elections… The University of Nairobi is one of Africa’s best ranked institutions of higher learning, with a recent report rating it fourth best in Africa.”
UK,London: Oxford street blocked as protesters against Top Shop neoliberalism clash with cops
France, 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.
Mexico (State of Oaxaca) : 5 Álvaro Obregón Communitarian Assembly and Police members shot at by Juchitán police
France, 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].
US (Alabama) : Alabama Prison Strike Ends After Scabs Brought In would be good to have more info on it, but communicate has some ambigueties to me, see strategy of dialogue led by outside representants (I wrote something on it in french) [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. [Sam]
South Africa, Orlando: high-school inmates trash the machinery of bourgeois brainwashing… Vaal University: residences torched in the night whilst other buildings looted in the morning as students ordered to vacate campus
Action began on Tuesday with thousands barricading the national highway and burning down the local traffic department…. Picture gallery here demonstrates creative detournement of materials for defensive and offensive purposes, and enthusiastic participation of very young proles…
lots of interesting little on the ground video clips here, including the best one, with the caption “Residents, mostly kids, destroying what’s left of the traffic department”
A particularly interesting aspect of this revolt is the involvement of both ‘Coloured’ (mulato) and ‘Bantu’ (african) proletarians (as demonstrated, on close examination, in the first photo) in an area where these two ‘races’ have historically been played off against one another in the interests of Power (in 1994 the Western Cape was the only province where the National Party, which ruled during apartheid, won the majority of votes during the first multi-racial elections, based on the traditional fear & loathing fostered amongst coloureds, who constitute a majority of the population there, for their Bantu brethren. This fear and loathing has never really dissipated even today, and clearly can only be overcome during moments of rebellion where so many other false separations (such as between children and adults, male and female [note conspicuous abundance of women on the front lines]) are likewise superseded. [SK]
Venezuela, Merida: food riot and massive looting over desperate conditions “There is no food …a month without buying basics, Mayor Concepcion Rivera is a liar,” were the cries of dozens of angry people, who, uncontrolled, ransacked everything in their path. …It transpired that the local leader had promised on May 10 the sale of food for the next day. The food was not delivered as announced, and in the afternoon, the group went to city hall …to plunder. People …loaded with everything… diapers, milk, flour …The local government had lied to the people and the reaction was violence and vandalism. There were about 150 people, a little over 50 had their faces covered, who wanted to burn the municipal building …An officer was almost lynched when cornered by the mob. The man was rescued by neighbors …The officer was badly wounded. The policeman took shelter in his unit, which is next to the town hall, a motorcycle was burned. For more than two hours …stones and petrol bombs were thrown into the building. Neighbors rescued five town hall staff …looting occurred at about 6:45 pm., the target was the town hall. 80 people loaded up with everything. There was food, tires, batteries, vegetables, stationery, computers, digital equipment, chairs, cameras, printers, dishwashers, pocetas, coffee. …”
UK: exams deliberately sabotaged by anonymous leak of answers “The Department of Education branded disclosure of the leak to the media as an “active campaign by those people opposed to our reforms to undermine these tests”, the BBC reported.”
India, Bangalore: report on artists collaborating with the dominant powers in making anti-proletarian propaganda
“The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will put its buses – which were set on fire during the recent protest by garment factory workers – on display in major bus stations…Managing Director of the KSRTC, Rajender Kumar Kataria, said it had become a habit for vandals to damage public properties during protests, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer….Several artists,…will be roped in to give an artistic touch to the charred premium and non-premium buses … Organising such exhibition will definitely inspire people not to vandalise buses, said Kataria…a street play and signature campaign will be organised under the ‘It’s My Bus’ initiative of the KSRTC.” That the boss of a state bus company can state so flagrant an inanity as the assertion that this exhibition ‘will definitely inspire people not to vandalise buses’ simply demonstrates, once again, the boundless idiocy of the ruling class and its agents. Whilst this is hardly cause for celebration, proving as it does the sort of stupidity poor people routinely put up with in their rulers, it is also not cause for despair, proving as it does that our enemies are not the omniscient super-powers they are too often made out to be in the descriptions of those who would use such an idea as an excuse for resignation. Of course this is also an indication of the vast difference in the level of class struggle around the world. It would be impossible to imagine anything resembling this display in South Africa, where actions demonstrating the coherence of working-class vandalism have been an every-day occurrence for decades. [SK]
France, 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. [Sam]
…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)
South Africa, Dutwa: second day of total shut-down as social strike continues “The small rural town of Dutywa in the Eastern Cape experienced a second day of total shutdown as a service delivery protest intensified. Traffic was disrupted and schooling was brought to a halt at seven schools. Residents are protesting for improved roads, housing and sanitation.”… Sharpeville: several supermarkets looted in protest against electricity outages
…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. [Sam]
…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”
Burma (Sagaing division) : local farmers protest against Chinese-Burmese copper mine project threatening their land. Unfortunately involves nationalistic arguments and a dialogue with burmese authorities. [Pi]
Belgium: report on how 2-week strike by screws is effecting prisons and prisoners “The Belgian government “decided to requisition the assistance of the army, in order to provide additional humanitarian support in the Brussels and Walloon prisons”, said the Prime Minister Charles Michel in a statement tonight. … In this chaotic context, prisoners have revolted in a certain number of establishments: destroyed furniture, beds on fire, broken windows … Lack of sufficient staff due to the strike, the detainees haven’t been able to go out of their cells for fourteen days. They have no outlets in the yard, no family visits and have had the opportunity to have access to showers only three times during the two-week strike…. Amateur images of the prison of Andenne, between the Belgian city of Charleroi and Liège, have been leaked on the internet and social networks this Sunday. A prisoner filmed a scene inside the institution and we see a room ravaged with objects on fire. … “They set fire to pieces of paper or tissues and throw them into the yard. There were some incipient fires but nothing that requires the intervention of firefighters, “…In the prison of Namur, “prisoners are breaking furniture and throwing mayonnaise and urine on the rare guards who are working”
Moldova, Chisnau: “NATO = War & death” demonstrators force American NATO troops to leave square during manouevres
Greece, Athens: Molotovs v tear gas as Syriza presses ahead with intensified financial misery for everyone but the Troika
Israel: ultra-orthodox Jews riot in different parts of country in support of draft-dodger
France, 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.”
Chile: several towns in explosive clashes over fishermen’s compensation “In Valparaiso, Santiago and Concepcion marches were held to express their support for the demands of artisanal fishermen affected by the “red tide”. This afternoon in Puerto Montt, 10,000 people marched peacefully through the Costanera Puerto Montt. At night clashes began in the city between Special Forces and protesters. The team of Special Forces used tear gas to disperse the participants protesting against the proposal made by the government to deal with the crisis….In Concepcion, about 2,000 people were mobilized in the city center …. incidents between unknown people and the police were recorded when barricades were set up at the University of Concepción. Meanwhile, in Valparaiso, 8 people ended up arrested as they marched through the historic town. Upon entering the Plaza Anibal Pinto, police clashed with participants who didn’t want to stop the protest, which was not authorized. Meanwhile, in the capital…. Special forces had to intervene when hooded men barricaded areas”.
Belgium, Anvers: major prison riot ” 170 prisoners refused to return to their cells. They set fire to several places and threw stones….according to the mayor the damage is very significant. “This is the largest uprising that’s happened in this prison,” added the mayor. “It caused a fire, walls were broken, windows were broken, locks were foced . This will weigh on our capacity for the coming months. In some blocks, the cells are totally destroyed.”
Spain, Andalucia ( Melilla): unemployed riot against high unemployment etc. after sabotaging street and traffic lights, burning bins These riots last all week from 2/5, all of them involving burning bins and sabotaging street lighting – eg this from 5/5/
France, 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”
“Midi-Libre” renamed “Shiti-Libre”
This mainstream report, in a town whose mayor has an alliance with the fascist Front National, makes out (as objective fact) that the crowd surrounding the cops were pro-terrorist Islamic militants – protecting people’s right to drink alcohol in public! Media manipulation demands the spectator accepts such reasonably expressed contradictory inanities because to remain a spectator means sleep-walking your way through a totally schizoid notion of reality. [SF]
…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.”
…Gironde, southwest) : 15 hours’ 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.
Mexico, San José del Progreso (State of Oaxaca) : members of the Coordination of United Villages in the Ocotlán Vallery symbolically occupy mining site and ask for its departure They accuse the company of the killings of 2 activists in the past years.
I think for Mauritius a note could be added on the huge 1999 riots that shook the island after singer Kaya’s murder in prison. Kaya was a rasta who sang “seggae” (a mix of local sega and reggae), a very popular form of expression among poor youth of the island. Mauritius strongly punishes marijuana users, and seggae singers advocated its use, which is why repression was high on rastas and probably the cause of Kaya’s murder.
At that time I was 13 and listened to lots of rap. They had talked about these events in a rap magazine I read every month. It happened that I had just started hanging out with a friend whose mom was from Mauritius…so we were kind of marked by that (especially since french rap at that time talked positively about riots, attacking cops, etc. and probably had a good role in giving us a form of class consciousness), and started listening to Kaya, his group Racinetatane, etc. [Pi]
South Africa, Vuwani: state claims 100 000 kids given impromptu holiday as 50 obedience training centres shut down, 23 being damaged by fire with 17 completely destroyed …community resolved not to collaborate with any agents of alienated communication
Burkina Faso, Dedougou: cops threaten to release all detainees after massive riot attacking them for beating to death man held in custody “…protesters threw projectiles at the police facility, after ransacking the homes of some gendarmes…This has created frustration within the gendarmerie and some police stations are considering releasing their detainees, according to security sources which state that negotiations are underway with the military hierarchy. A government delegation arrived at the scene. For several months, Burkina Faso has been facing a rise in incivility and distrust of state authority. On Saturday, angry people burned a transit bus within the walls of the gendarmerie of Ziniaré, about thirty kilometers from Ouagadougou, after an accident in which a motorcyclist died. In mid-March, a mob consisting of about 1,000 people, confronted the Cinkansé gendarmerie, in order to attack an alleged murderer of two stockbrokers from Cinkansé-Togo, who was in custody in a cell… killing one gendarme and injuring four others.”
More here: http://lepays.bf/mort-dun-garde-a-vue-a-dedougou-population-colere-incendie-domiciles-cb-adjoint/
” …traditional authorities, religious and administrative, were forced to intervene to try to calm the situation down. But it was futile because the event flared up with the sacking and burning of the private homes of the commander of the brigade and his deputy. “
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
“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”
Several incendiary news from Germany (late april)