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Saturday 23 October 2010

Information from CNT-AIT France

Here is an update after our previous message.

The situation in France is getting hotter :

on the one hand, the young pupils are now entering into the struggle. The governement is afraid that the situation would evolve toward a "greek scenario". In 2006, a previous struggle of the pupils and students against the "CPE reform" (see here for more infos on this struggle ) succedeeded to remove a law that was already adopted.

The french youth, that is under the constant police repression, expreses now all his anger against this system and especially against the police. Some very hard fights with anti riots units occured in the popular cities in the suburb suronding paris, but also in other towns elsewhere in France and also in small cities.

At a first time, the governement criticised the youth to be manipulated and told their place was at school and not in the street. But as the governement passed years ago a law that teenagers could be considered as penalty responsible, the young people replied that if they were old enough to go in jail at the age of thirteen so they were mature enough to talk about politics and demonstrate in the streets.

Now the government tries to develop fear of the "young thugs" that come only to break everything and only for violence. But in fact this arguement doesn’t work to much (at least for now) and people are still supportive of the movement.

On the other hand, workers in some strategic sectors like transport, ports, and essentially fuel supply maintain their strike and even increase the level of struggle.

At least 2/3 of the fuel supplyiers ran out of combustile (a part because of the blockade, a part because the individuals were afraid to lack of fuel so they ran to the fuel stations... So this irrational panic movement was a big help to the strikers by creating chaos :-) )

The fuel chain supply was almost close to collapse. That would lead to a total collapse of the economy. So the president himself has decided today to send the army and police, to stop the blockade on fuel. The fuel workers has decided not to confront police but to continue the actions by other means.

Apart from that, we can see the begining of some self organisation in some cities and / or sectors. Even if those self organised groups/movement are not massive yet, they can have a significant impact on the general movement.

For instance in Toulouse, the CNT AIT local union, called for Popular Assemblies. The purpose of those popular assemblies is to free the speech, to make politic not only a question of professional or specialist, in order to promote self thinking and self organisation. While during the first demos, those assemblies only gathered 50 people, the number of people participating increased around 10 times (300 on the 2d of october, 500 on the 12th, 500 to some said 700 on the 16th). Those popular assemblies gathered in calm and with determination. For instance, on the 2d of october, when anti riot police asked the Popular assembly to disband itself, people just refused and replyed to the police they shall not move. The popular assembly stayed where they were gathered, continuing their discussion, occupying and blockading the center of the town. As police felt the power of this assembly, they didn’t dare to confront it. After 3 hours of occupation, the popular assembly then continue under the form of an spontaneous demonstration in the center of the city. And now this form of organisation is spreading, as others are organised in the Mirail University, in other cities like Auch, Montauban, Figeac (where are others CNT AIT unions) or also Poitiers (where there is not)

About police repression, in other cities the anti riot police is currently very nervous. They act very brutaly. In the city of Caen, they shot right in the middle of the face a demonstrator a tear gas grenade. The aluminium can of the grenade had pushed into the cranium, and it is a great chance that he has not been killed. The Caen CNT AIT local union is in close contact with the family of the demonstrator. We will keep you informed on this case. In Montreuil, in the suburb of Paris, a pupil was shot down by a "flash ball" by a policemen and lost half of his face and may be will loose one eye.

But in many other cities, and especially in the ports / heaven cities like St Nazaire, Le Havre, Boulogne, there have been hard figths beetwen strikers and policemen.

Since the begining of the event, police has arrested more than 1300 people during the various actions.

Apart from those spectacular fights, a lots of other small actions are organised to try to popularize the idea of general strike. For instance on the 13th of October, we participated to a picket in front of the Peugeot factory of Aulnay to call other workers to join the movement. But we have to say that even if a lot of workers are supportive of the movement, they can not join the strike as they have a lot of debts to pay. That is why we are also thinking about actions that can be made by people without loosing their salary, as sabotage, slowing down the work, circular economical blockade, ... For instance at the university library of Paris XIII, the workers are on strike each ones a different day. By doing so, the system is stoped while workers do not loose to much ...

We try also to extend the focuses of the movement to the capital on its international aspect. For instance, in Clermont Ferrand, our local union organised during the last demonstration an action of solidarity with Peruvian workers, in front of a Zara shop.

But as there will be national holidays for one week that will start on this saturday, the governement hope that those vacations will break the pupil movements and that the movement will not bounce after.


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